My First US Open

My First US Open

Dec 4, 2012, 2:03 PM |

I was age 18 and just graduated from high school. Apparently my dad's business was doing quite well as he decided to let me play in my first USCF tournament which was the US Open in Omaha Nebraska in 1959!

I stayed in the tournament Hotel and played one game a day for about two weeks. This is a 12 game tournament and pairing is made by your success or lack of success each round.  [for example if you win 2 games in a row, you will be paired with some one who won two games in a row]

I remembering ordering breakfast via the telephone and often I would have liver and onions which I loved!

Grandmaster Bisguier came to the tournament. He had just married and everyone was excited to see him.  Also, his cousin? Paul Benko was there [Benko Gambit] Paul Benko is known as a great endgame player and also for the Benko Gamit.

The first game , I had Black and played the Ruy Lopez and won. I was later told I had won from the Puerto Rican champ! I was in high heaven until the 2nd game.

I played a very well known master [Marchand] and it started as a Smith Morra Gambit Declined.  I fell into what is now an obvious trap and lost very quickly in the opening. I lost my queen to a discovered check.... 

The next game I drew and after 12 games had 5 wins and 5 losses and two draws.

In one game I was playing the junior champion of, I think, Oregon. He was out playing me and had an advantage in the end game.

but then I noticed I could sacrice my knight for two of his pawns and he would be left with king and bishop and pawn vs my lone king.

I made the sacrifice as his pawn was on the "a" file and he had the wrong squared bishop to win!  Just after I made the sacrifice I noticed Paul Benko was wandering around and he noticed my game!

Right after the sacrifice he could not help but commenting that the game was a draw!

As it turns out grandmaster Bisguier won the tournament and I would not play in another US Open until 1973 --24 years later where I was paired with GM Bisguier in the 4th round...