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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wendell John Lutes

      Lutes is an American bibliophile and chess openings editor.  Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on 2 January 1938 he contracted Osgood-Schlatter's Disease at age eight and during his long convalescence his grandfather taught him how to play chess.
      Lutes was a Neurological Respiratory Therapist by profession but is best known by chess players as, the way Lutes put it, a student of the "Apostle of Aggression", the late Weaver W. Adams of East Orange, New Jersey, and later S.A. Popel during the late 1950s.  Lutes was known for his exploration of openings of questionable repute.
     His best OTB rating was 2245 after winning the 1961 Indiana Championship and the 1966 Pennsylvania State Open Championship.  Lutes also won the Indianapolis City Championship many times, the Columbus, Ohio Championship, and the Springfield, Illinois Championship. While studying at the Mayo Clinic in 1979 and 1980 Lutes gave up OTB chess and only rarely returned due to his job requirements.
      Lutes authored nine books on the openings which are of the rather romantic variety and are better played OTB than in correspondence play. Lutes became known worldwide for his exhaustive research in chess and his two best known books are Compendium of the King's Gambit and Petroff Defense: Cochrane Gambit.
      About 15 or 20 years ago I entered a correspondence tournament with the CCLA and was pleased to find Lutes among my opponents.  Unfortunately, after a few moves he sent me a post card saying that due to health reasons he was unable to continue.
     The following game is typical of Lutes uncompromising style.

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