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Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Hair-raising Attack by Reshevsky

      In Reshevsky's Best Games of Chess he wrote of his decision to play in the US Open Championship in Boston, 1944: "During the summer of 1944, I happened to be in Boston on a vacation just at the time the U.S.C.F Open Championship was being held. There didn't seem to be any harm in competing in this one tournament so, after a brief argument with my conscience concerning the wisdom of spending a vacation playing chess, I entered." I'm not sure I quite believe that he just "happened" to be on Boston on vacation.  Who goes to Boston on vacation?!  Reshevsky won the event, losing only one game…to Walter B. Suesman. Of his game against Vasconcellos he wrote, "My last round game with Vasconcellos confounded the critics who frequently said I didn't and couldn't play imaginative chess. I cut loose with a hair-raising sacrificial attack which had the spectators (and my opponent) gasping. I consider it one of my best games."
      I am not exactly sure who Reshevsky’s opponent was. Some sources say his name was “Arnaldo” while others say it was a young Brazilian played named “Fernando." 


  1. I had the pleasure of playing Walter B. Suesman several times over the years in the period 1963-1969 when I played at the Providence Chess club. He was a powerful player, an expert in openings like the King's gambit, Max Lange attack and Ruy Lopez. Another master there was Al Martin who also played in some of the U.S. Open tournaments in the 1940's. I drew Al once in a club tournament game by spotting a sacrificial attack that led to a repeated position, but never was able to beat or draw Walter.
    The Providence Chess club at that time was in an antique 3 story Victorian era building complete with Gypsy parlor on the first floor, a smoke shop run by a wonderful old Albanian gentleman, and hissing noises from the pressing machines doing clothing on the second floor. Across the street was the Pirate's Den bar, a hangout for a cool motorcyle gang and the scene of many surreal moments on a sweltering hot August night in Providence, in a forgotten era when gasoline was 30 cents a gallon and people just cruised around the city all night long. Most of the offices from the 1920's and 30's in the building were empty, complete with ancient looking mahogany doors with frosted windows and faded lettering of their former occupants, and the building had no elevator. Suesman, who was handicapped, took 10 minutes just to get up the stairs but he would be there every Saturday afternoon just like clockwork. I wish I had taken pictures of the place... it exists now only in the memories of those that were there.

  2. Thank you for sharing! There is scant information available on Suesman, but I am going to try to put together something on him for the blog.