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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Diane Saveride

Watching John Fedorowicz and Oscar Panno analyzing
Born on November 25, 1954. Thanksgiving Day. She won the US Women's Chess Championship in 1975 and 1976.  In 1977 and 1978, she shared the Championship with Rachel Crotto who won in 1979, but in the next championship, in 1981, Savereide regained the title. She also won in 1984 and held the title until 1986.   She was the US Women's Champion for 9 years, winning a total of six tournaments.

In the 1988 Olympiads, Saveride played on the American women's team which was generally considered weak in the Olympiads, but that year they pulled off an upset by drawing their match against the Russian team. The surprising thing was that Savereide, the only non-Russian playing on the American team, was considered the weakest player on the team but in the match against the Soviets, she was the only player to score a win. The win was against Irina Levitina, a former official challenger for the Woman's World Championship and US Women's Champion 1991, 1992, 1993. The game was a drawish ending that she converted into a win through sheer determination’

In the early 1970’s in Southern California’s Santa Monica Bay Chess Club was at that point one of the better young players in the area being rated around 1500-1600!  But something happened, and her game took off.  At that time she was known to be an intense student of the game.  In the beginning she didn't seem greatly talented but she became serious about chess in late high school.  Had she, like kids today, started earlier, who knows how far she might have gotten?

She eventually graduated from UCLA where she specialized in Literature, with specific expertise in Russian Literature and modern fiction. She used her Russian skills to study chess. Professionally, Diane has been a programmer and systems analyst since the 1980s.
Diane Saveride was the first American woman to take a "modern" professional approach to chess. The generation long dominated by Gisela Gresser and Mona Karff approached the game with enjoyment and creativity, but not as a full-time occupation worthy of consistent and intense preparation. Diane was a serious openings analyst, especially known for her use of the Keres attack against the Sicilian Scheveningen and of the White side of the Ruy Lopez.  Since the 1970s-1980s, scholastic programs and immigration have raised the level of play among American women but in those days Saveride was known for her intensity of preparation and play.

Nearing thirty, with seven national titles under her belt, she tried to make a go as a professional player and in the summer of 1984, she took time off from her job as a computer programmer to play in tournaments, but didn't make enough money so she quit. She has rarely played since.
I remember seeing her playing in one of the US Opens sometime in the 1970’s and the thing I remember about her is she had very long, well-manicured fingernails!

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