Vol. 6, No. 1, July 20, 1966
LE TOURNAMENT EXTRAORDINAIRE
by Gordon Barrett
It's here. It's started. It's in progress! Right here, in our city. Probably the greatest ever - the spectacular
Held at the Miramar Hotel, Santa Monica, on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; Sundays at 1:00 p.m., other days at 6:30 p.m. Make your plans now to attend all the remaining rounds!
July 17, Sunday - the memorable day every chessplayer in the southland has been waiting for. The opening round of the ten-grandmaster tournament which defies description. Indeed, close to 800 chess enthusiasts from all corners of California and out-of-state turned out to greet Grandmasters PETROSIAN, SPASSKY, FISCHER, RESHEVSKY, LARSEN, PORTISCH, UNZICKER, NAJDORF, DONNER and IVKOV. We've never seen so many of our chess-friends gathered at one time - in fact, it took us just about all of the five-hour playing session to say hello to all! But, we found plenty of time in-between to watch the games awe-inspired.
Mr. Isaac KASHDAN, Grandmaster and Organizer, opened the proceedings by greeting all those present, and introducing Mr. Jerry SPANN, FIDE representative. Mr. SPANN brought home in a few words the grandiosity of the affair, then handed the mike over to Mr. Gregor PIATIGORSKY, world-renown cellist. To quote Mr. PIATIGORSKY: "In the world of music, I am known as a cellist. In the world of chess, I am known as the husband of Mrs. PIATIGORSKY." To really appreciate this great man talk, you simply must hear him. His tone is impressive, as is his stature, and he displays eloquence with a flair of humor, becoming serious at the right time to impress us with his, his wife's, and the event's grandiosity.
Following Mr. PIATIGORSKY's introductory words, Tournament Director KASHDAN introduced the players - starting with World Champion Tigran PETROSIAN, who received a tremendous applause as he walked up to his table. The ovation continued warmly as the other players approached their places, one by one - then, the electric clocks were started, and history was in the making.
You could feel the chess greatness all around you. Silence fell upon all, as much as possible that is, with 800 people around, and the hundreds of faces became pensive, attentive, inspired. The games were clearly seen on large screens behind each board; the screens reflecting small sets operated by a crew of junior assistants... a special innovation by Mrs. PIATIGORSKY, who has actually done all the work connected with this novel idea herself. Clocks on each side of the impending move, plus a W or B, placed on the screen, changing with each move. Easy to oversee, follow and enjoy - the motto of reflecting the play to the spectators. Grand? You bet!
* * *
It was "blindfold chess" among the grandmasters for at least a few moments when the electricity, apparently overloaded, took a rest from its task of illuminating... quickly restored amid a lot of hustle-and-bustle in the dark... One of the clocks was replaced early in Round one, when two of the players had a "feeling" it was not working right... Bob HENDERSON (of City Terrace and Whittier) gave his wife a real birthday treat - brought her to Opening Day at the Cup!...Your editor pulled a good one at the conclusion of the PETROSIAN-SPASSKY game. As the two players shook hands, the game down on the screen, which your editor (along with most of the crowd) took to mean resignation. Though the position indicated a dead draw, your editor believed that a move must have been missed, possibly a blunder, and hurried to the Analysis room to report that "SPASSKY resigned". The incredulous masters, analyzing all games in front of a large crowd, asked for a recheck - and indeed, by the time we walked back to the playing room, White's King was also turned halfway, obviously indicating a draw. A case of the assistant being a little too slow on the draw... and your editor too fast... !
ONE MORE THING... Will we see you out at the Miramar?
Well, of course.
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