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Monday, January 13, 2014

Dr. Anthony Saidy

At the 2002 US Championship
      Dr. Anthony Saidy (born May 16, 1937) is an International Master who played in the U.S. Championship many times from 1960 to 1974. His Elo rating peaked at 2532 in 1964. Saidy attended Fordham University and is the son of playwright and screenwriter Fred Saidy.

     Saidy earned his International Master title in Italy by tying for 2nd in the grandmaster tournament at Venice in 1969. He played third board on the 1964 US Olympiad team in Tel Aviv and he won the Canadian Open in 1960; the American Open twice (1967 and 1992); was captain/coach of the U.S. Women's Olympiad Team at Buenos Aires in 1978.
     Saidy was a contemporary of Fischer and was a key figure in the effort necessary to get Fischer to play against Spassky for their World Championship match in 1972. Fischer hid out in Saidy's home in Douglaston, New York from where Saidy used all of his persuasive powers to get Fischer onto a plane bound for Reykjavik.
     Saidy is an avid book collector and possesses an enormous library on many subjects, including one of the largest privately owned collections of chess books in the United States.
     He is the author of several chess books, including The Battle of Chess Ideas, and The World of Chess. His main chess achievement was probably The Battle of Chess Ideas, an appreciation of the greatest living players, most of whom he had faced over the board. He also authored 1983, a Dialectical Novel , which is a work of "what if" political fiction. The book was inspired Saidy's four trips to the USSR, during which he was able to get to know Russians from all walks of life. The work gained high praise from Harrison Salisbury, Pulitzer Prize-winning Moscow correspondent of the New York Times.
     In 2000, Saidy retired as an Los Angeles County doctor specializing in tuberculosis. He is twice divorced.
    He is a former vice-chair of the Coalition for Peace in the Middle East. Saidy wrote that ever since he went to Russia in 1960 where the US won the World Student Team Championship he "encountered peace-loving folks previously billed as the enemy" and that is when he said he ceased to be a typical “chauvinistic American.” Saidy said he developed friends from many countries which enlarged his perspective on the world. As a result he had an intense dislike for President (Dubya) Bush’s foreign policy in the Middle East and advocated "sending chess sets, medicines and food to Iraq - not bombs and soldiers." He had the same sentiments about North Korea.
     Here’s a quick win over GM Robert Byrne from the 1961 US Championship.


  1. How is is possible for Harrison Salisbury, who died in 1993, to praise a book that was published in 2013?

  2. Interesting question…this claim is made on the website for the book under reviews:

    You can listen to an interview with Saidy discussing the book here:

    He says the idea came to him in 1973. Is it possible Salisbury read a draft or was there an earlier edition of the book. I could not find any details. Anyone have an explanation.