THE CALIFORNIA CHESS REPORTER (Vol. XVIII No. 4) January-February 1969


   David Blohm of San Francisco won the title by a score of 4.5-1.5 in a tournament which was distinguished by acrimony and the Hong Kong Flu. George Kane and Ray Schutt tied for second, 4-2. The tournament was held at the Mechanics' Institute and was directed by Charles Savery.

   The tournament, in which 11 players had originally qualified, was badly weakened by illness and other reasons which cut down the field. Oddly enough, the reduction made for larger prizes for those who were able to finish. Felled by illness were Charles Henin, Tibor Weinberger, George Hunnex and Rex Wilcox (John Blackstone was also ill, but managed to finish anyhow) and cut down by technicalities were Ray Schutt and Jude Acers. For the Schutt story, we quote Isaac Kashdan:

   "The final game between Blohm and Ray Schutt of Los Angeles lasted just half a move. At the time Blohm had 4-1 and needed only a draw to win the championship. Schutt, with 3.5-1.5, could win if he defeated Blohm. A draw in the crucial game would drop Schutt to a tie for 2nd and 3rd with George Kane. A loss for Schutt would be even worse. Kane would then take second and Schutt and Julius Loftsson would tie for 3rd and 4th.

   "Blohm, with the white pieces, moved 1. P-K4. Schutt, instead of replying on the board, made a verbal gambit. He asked "David, are you playing for a draw?" Former California junior champion Blohm, evidently more conversant with the rules of chess, claimed that the question was in effect an offer of a draw, which he accepted. Tournament director Charles Savery, called upon a decision, ruled that Blohm was right and that the game was drawn.

   "The rule has been in effect for some 30 years, on the theory that a player has no right to ask for his opponent's intentions by such queries, as, 'Are you playing for a win?' or 'Are you playing for a draw?' Any remark to that effect is construed as an offer of a draw.

   "On the other hand, players should consider that decisions in chess should be arrived at over the board, not by technicalities. Blohm would have added to his reputation by continuing the game rather than taking advantage of a query that Schutt did not think had any significance."

   We are informed that there actually was another move made. Schutt made a move after the decision had been made, intending to protest. (The move was 1... P-KKt3) Schutt then protested to the president of the California State Chess Federation, Isaac Kashdan, with copies of his letter to the executive director of the United States Chess Federation, Ed Edmondson, Gordon S. Barrett, Chairman of the southern section of the CSCF tournament committee, the writer, who is chairman of the northern section of the tournament committee as well as editor of the California Chess Reporter, and to the players in the tournament. As the previous quotation from Isaac Kashdan shows, the protest was overruled.

   The tournament director, Charles Savery, was not supported from every quarter, however. Gordon Barrett wrote in Terrachess that the offer of a draw was not made according to the rules of chess, mainly because Schutt had not moved and the rule covering the offer of a draw requires the player to make the offer just as he makes his move. Col Edmondson wrote us that because neither player had made a move the draw offer was totally against the rules of chess.

   In our opinion, the law covering the offering of a draw does not apply in this case. It is instead, the law defining the powers and duties of the tournament director.

   The other dispute occurred in the previous round. Jude Acers and Schutt arrived at the adjournment time with some play left (Acers was ahead a pawn). Schutt wrote down a move, placed it in the envelope and stopped his clock. Acers objected to this because the envelope was not yet sealed. The tournament director was called and Acers claimed the game because of breach of the rules. The tournament director ruled that Schutt should forfeit some time on his clock but not the game. The ruling was that Schutt should lose 20 minutes. Acers refused to play under the ruling and was therefore deemed to be forfeited. He was also forfeited in the next round, the last round of the tournament, and was not awarded his share of the prize for the sixth place.


1.  David Blohm 4.5-1.5
2.  George Kane 4-2
3.  Ray Schutt 4-2
4.  Julius Loftsson 3.5-2.5
5.  Walter Dorne 2-4
6.  Jude Acers 1.5-4.5
7.  John Blackstone 1.5-4.5

Games played but not counted in the results:

Wilcox-Kane 1-0
Blohm-Wilcox 1-0
Blackstone-Hunnex 1-0
Schutt-Hunnex 1-0
Henin-Hunnex 1-0
Blackstone-Henin 1-0
Henin-Loftsson 1-0
Henin-Schutt 1-0
Acers-Wilcox 1-0

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