Vol. XIII, No. 16, Monday, April 20, 1959

Sammy Under Observation (1921)

Professor B. A. Bernstein, professor of mathematics at the University of California, had an excellent opportunity of observing the boy wonder in action at San Francisco, so that the following comments by him in a communication to Ernest J. Clarke, chess editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, will have a special interest.

"As to Sammy Rzeschewski's doings on the night of June 23 at the St. Francis Hotel, the accounts given in the papers the next day are true. He won all his ten games in about an hour and a half, and won them fairly under the conditions laid down-that we should move as soon as Sammy appeared. This condition is a very trying one, I imagine, for most players. I certainly found it so. In my game with him my ninth, tenth and twenty-fourth moves (the last proving fatal) I had to make without sufficient deliberation.

The boy is unusually quick and accurate. I doubt if Marshall's or Pillsbury's simultaneous play is more rapid. The boy fairly runs from table to table. Only occasionally does he stop at a table to deliberate, when the situation demands. He did this for some five minutes in my game before he made 15. N-K2, and a glance at the game will show that this was the beginning of a successful combination countering my 14. ..., N-Q4. And the little fellow shows a sense of position which men attain only after years of chess experience. I think my game with him shows this.

I observed the boy closely-his quick, intelligent glance, his composure at critical points in the game, his sensitiveness at being regarded as a child. I can only consider his as a remarkable brilliant adult mind, capable of highly developed emotions, lodged in a 9-year-old body, looking like 7."

The following game indicates that while Dr. Bernstein was studying Sammy, the latter had completed his analysis of Dr. Bernstein as a chess opponent:

June 23, 1921, San Francisco

White - Rzeschewski Black - Bernstein
1. P-K4     P-Q4
2. PxP     N-KB3
3. P-Q4     QxP
4. N-QB3     QxQ
5. N-B3     B-N5
6. B-Q3     P-K3
7. Castles     B-K2
8. B-K2     N-B3
9. P-KR3     BxN
10. BxB     NxP
11. BxP     R-QN
12. B-R6     Castles
13. B-Q3     P-B4
14. P-QN3     N-Q4
15. N-K2     NxNch
16. QxN     B-B3
17. Q-K4     P-N3
18. B-KR6     BxR
19. BxR     KxB
20. RxB     Q-B3
21. R-K     N-B6
22. Q-B6     Q-K2
23. P-KR4     R-Q
24. Q-B3     R-Q4
25. B-B4     Resigns

Download above game in PGN

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