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I was reading a new book recently and came across an interesting eccentricity of a Soviet Grandmaster. This grandmaster carried around two pawns in his pocket. Here is Yuri Averbakh's description in his book Personal memoirs of a soviet chess legend---" I was always surprised by his enormous capacity for work at the board. Plugging his ears with the tops of two pawns so as to ensure he was not disturbed by noise in the hall he would become totally absorbed in the position and sometimes could unearth unimagined tactial resources in the position, to no less an extent than tal." He wrote some chess classics---name him if you can.
Its a toughie but dont be afraid to take a guess at out mystery grandmaster.
More information on our mystery Soviet grandmaster. When one of his books was published for Western readers this warning was in the foreword---"The publishers of this Dover edition are very much concerned that readers be aware of the propaganda techniques employed, even in the history of chess, by the Soviet Union."
More info on our mystery guest---He defeated Kashdan 2-0 in the USA v USSR radio match held right after the second world war.
Well, Alexander Kotov won against Kashdan in the 1945 Radio Match.
And the book was The Soviet School of Chess, edited by Kotov and Yudovich. Kotov was also awarded the Order of Lenin during World War II for an invention relating to the mortar.
New mystery grandmaster sign in please---In his youth he lived in Odessa hometown of famous musicians Yasha heifetz, Misha Elman, and David Oistrakh. He had a perfect ear and at first his parents wanted to make a conductor out of him. However it all ended sadly as he caught meningitis and ended up deaf and dumb. As a chess player he was sharp and uncompromising. He beat Capablanca when the Cuban's losses could be totaled on the fingers on one hand. He won the Soviet championship and was awarded the title of USSR Grandmaster. The first USSR Grandmaster was also the first deaf grandmaster.
Who is this super dude that no one has ever heard of ?
Haven't you ever heard of Boris Markovich Verlinsky?
Mystery guest---sign in please.
He was born in Cologne, Germany in 1905. He won the championship of Cologne. He won the championship of the Rhine. He won the championship of Hannover. In the 1940s, he won the Bronx Championship six times. In 1948, he played in the US Championship. Between 1954 and 1972, he won the Western Massachusetts & Connecticut Valley Open Championship 14 times. He won the Connecticut Championship three times. He tied for the New England Championship four times.
He was a close friend of Emanuel Lasker and was at Laskers bedside when Lasker died. He was the last blood donor for Lasker. In 1978, he wrote his Chess memoirs: He mentions Lasker in the title of his book. He died on December 30, 1981 in Manchester, Connecticut.
Has anyone ever heard of this elusive guy??
Mystery guest---sign in please---
He was known as the Indiana Jones of the chess world. He embarked on a series of ten expeditions to the jungles of British Guiana and Venezuela to collect zoological and botanical specimens which he brought back to museums and universities in America. He traversed the steaming jungles of south America, fighting off savage beast, poisonous insects and jungle headhunters. In 1939, he returned to New York to work on Wall Street as a stockbroker and resumed his chess career. He won the Manhattan chess club championship twice and the New york state championship. He played for America in the USA v USSR radio match of 1945.
You could make a movie about this guy!
We already did, it was called "Raiders of the Lost Ark."
kco, my dad told me one time---Son, if someone ask you a hard question and you dont know the answer and you dont want to appear stupid---come back with a humorous response!
So you have the right idea---you just forgot the humor. And before you go out into the life of comedy---remember this---DONT GIVE UP YOUR DAY JOB!
Al Pinkus for this one.
Not knowing the answer to a hard question isn't a matter of stupidity. Not knowing the answer to an easy question is another matter.
The 1945 Radio Match between the USA and the USSR was a spectacular and disappointing eye-opener for American chess. Pinkus and Steiner were the only two players on the US team to remain undefeated in both rounds (in the match a member in the Soviet team played a member of the American team in two games). Steiner played Bondarevsky, winning one and drawing the other. Steiner was the only American to achieve a plus score vs his opponent.
Mystery guest---sign in please---He played for Lithuania at first board in five official and one unofficial Olympiads. He won the Estonian championship and the Lithuanian championship.
During the European chess tours of the 30's he was given the nickname "Mickey Mouse" by Western masters. He was awarded the international masters title in 1950 and an honorary grandmaster title in 87". He was given a prestigious role in the 85' World Championship match.
Why did they call him Mickey Mouse---because they liked him! And for some other reason. See if you can nail this colorful character!
Mystery guest sign in please--- A passage from his biography---
In September of 1923, on the stairs of the Second Palace of Soviets on Lenin St. in Kazan, I accidentally found a piece of paper with unintelligible figures and signs on it while I was in the middle of a game of hide-and-seek. I quickly picked it up and put it in my pocket (they were already looking for me and I needed a place to hide). Such was his introduction to chess.
The greatest indication of his outstanding chess talent is his record against five world champions. Out of twenty games he won six, drew nine, and lost five. He thrice defeated Mikhail Tal (in four encounters) and would wipe the floor with many contemporary grandmasters. He was awarded the titles of master of checkers and master of chess.
He was also very successful as a chess teacher and trainer. He was a consultant to Tal in his first match for the world title against Botvinnik and helped him greatly in achieving that victory. In 1962 he was awarded the title of Honored Trainer of the USSR.
Have a try at it people.