Saturday, 6 May 2017

Fischer's early tournaments (Part 3)

Three more tournament books featuring Bobby Fischer from the 1960's.

Jubilarni Medjunarodni Veleturnir, Bled 1961

Edited by Anton Preinfalk and published in Ljubljana, Slovenia (formerly part of Yugoslavia) in 1962. 

The title translates into English as Jubilee International Tournament, although this event is commonly referred to as the Alekhine Memorial Tournament in English language publications.  The event was held to commemorate the very strong tournament in Bled in 1931 won by Alekhine.  

According to Frank Brady in Profile of a Prodigy, 1965 edition page 25, 1973 edition page 27, Fischer had a following in Yugoslavia with at least one of the nation's chess clubs named after him.

I am obviously struggling with the language for this book but a good description, in English, of Fischer's performance at Bled can be found in Profile of a Prodigy, 1965 pages 57-59, 1973 pages 48-49, with the dubious interview between Dimitrije Bjelica, Fischer and Tal omitted from the later edition.    

Fischer scored his first ever win over Tal in this tournament, and was the only undefeated player, but, after drawing eleven of his nineteen games, he finished runner-up to Tal.

The book has an introduction by Edo Turnher, president of the Chess Federation of Slovenia, technical details of the event, including cross-tables, and all 190 games mostly with detailed notes. A forty page Theoretical Overview of the Openings by Varja Pirc completes the work.

The commentary on the games is by Tal, Gligorić, Keres, Petrosian and Geller. Curiously, Fischer's games are recorded first for every round, except the fifteenth, but only five of his games have annotations. These are by Gligorić and Tal, who analyse their own games against Fischer, and by Keres, who analyses the games against Geller, Matanović and Trifunović.

The book has many photos including the following featuring Fischer:

This appears to be an extraordinarily interesting book for Fischer fans and it is a pity that there is not an English translation.

United States Championship 1962/63

Edited by Walter Kühnle-Woods and published by Swiss Chess Agency, Zurich 1963.

The text is in both English and German, and this is one of the 143 works, out of 2,760 entries, not examined by Douglas Betts  when compiling his Bibliography.

This booklet came with an interesting bookmark apparently showing Fischer teaching, but possibly meaning studying:

Nineteen year old Fischer won the U.S Championship for the fifth time and qualified, with Bisguier, for the 1964 Amsterdam Interzonal Tournament, but Fischer refused to play in that event. He lost his first round game against Edmar Mednis, and this no doubt inspired Mednis to write his 1974 book How to Beat Bobby Fischer, which analyses all of Fischer's 61 losses from 1958 to 1972. 

United States Championship 1962/63 has a brief introduction and commentary between some of the rounds, written in poor English, but probably perfect German. Kühnle-Woods was the editor of Schweizerische Schachzeitung and the bi-lingual periodical Chess Express/Schach Express.

All games are recorded in continental algebraic notation without notes and the booklet finishes with an Openings Index and an advert for further books published by Swiss Chess Agency. There are no photographs or illustrations.

Here is the commentary on the final round and Fischer's game against Bisguier:

United States Championship, New York, 1963/64

Published by Swiss Chess Agency, Zurich 1964, but the editor is not named.

The text is again in German and English, and this time the German text is placed first throughout the booklet. The only pictures are on the covers.

Frank Brady gives an exhilarating account of this tournament in Profile of a Prodigy, 1965, pages 84 to 86, with a slightly extended version on pages 74 to 76 of the 1973 edition. 

This was Fischer's sixth U.S. Championship and he sensationally won all eleven games. First prize was $2,000 and Fischer also won one of the two brilliancy prizes for his 21 move win against Robert Bryne.

The cross-table includes another little word-finder puzzle, did you spot the previous one in the 1962/63 book? A short commentary precedes each round and all games are included without notes.

Fischer's famous third round game against Robert Byrne is game 48 in My 60 Memorable Games, (one of four from this tournament featured in that book), and the introduction to this game on page 297 includes Byrne's memorable remark about the commentators:

An Openings Index together with sundry information completes the book.

                                       © Michael Clapham 2017

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