Monday, 23 October 2017

William Lombardy

Sports Illustrated, January 21 1974, page 69

William James Lombardy died on 13th October 2017 and, aside from all of his chess achievements, it was interesting to read in his obituaries that he had become disillusioned with the Catholic Church in the 1970's, and disappointing to read of his financial difficulties in later life; however, very little was mentioned about his chess writings.  

Lombardy was keen to share his knowledge and experiences and he wrote or co-authored several chess books including :

Modern Chess Opening Traps, New York 1972. (Also published as Snatched Opportunities on the Chessboard in London 1973).

U.S. Championship Chess: with the games of the 1973 tournament, New York 1975, written with David Daniels.

Chess Panorama, Radnor, PA c1975, written with David Daniels.

Chess for Children, Step by Step, Boston  c1977, written with Bette Marshall. (There are also German and Danish editions).

Guide to Tournament Chess, New York c1978, written with David Daniels. 

6e Interpolis Schaaktoernooi 1982, Tilberg 1983, written with R.G.P. Verhoeven.

Understanding Chess, My System, My Games, My Life, New York 2011.

Lombardy was listed as a Contributing Editor of American Chess Quarterly from 1961 to 1965 and wrote regular articles for that magazine, generally with annotated games demonstrating various openings. 

Volume one number two included a brief Biographical sketch of William Lombardy on page 46.

Lombardy also contributed articles to American Chess Bulletin, Chess Life and later Chess Life & Review.   

The sixteen year old Lombardy was featured on the front cover of Chess Review for October 1954 in recognition of his victory in the New York State Championship for that year.  Lombardy drew with Florencio Campomanes in the final round to clinch the title.

He was also featured in My Seven Chess Prodigies by John W. Collins, New York 1974, and wrote the Foreword for that work. 

In 1974 Lombardy wrote an eight page article for Sports Illustrated entitled A Mystery Wrapped in an Enigma, this starts on page 64 (nice touch) of the January 21st 1974 magazine, and he recalls many of the behind the scenes events both before and during the World Championship Match of 1972, where he acted as an informal second to Bobby Fischer. Lombardy also recollects some of Fischer's abysmal behaviour and quotes a remark by Miguel Najdorf which summed up the situation pretty well: "Bobby wants 30% of the gate and 30% of the television, but he doesn't want the audience or the television".

Lombardy concludes his story by relating how he obtained Fischer's first autograph as world champion when he persuaded the new title holder to sign his copy of My 60 Memorable Games in the car back to the hotel after the final game of the match.  

                                       © Michael Clapham 2017

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