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Saturday, January 3, 2015

A Santasiere Gem

    Anthony Santasiere had a running argument with Larry Evans back in 1961. Writing in Chess Life Evans said, "His games are characterized by plodding, timidity, and opening repetition. He enters even the romantic debuts such as the Vienna and King's Gambit with reams of prepared analysis, strives constantly to keep the draw in hand and prevent complications from getting away from him over the board. Where are the glorious games which qualify Santasiere as the darling spokesman of romanticism?"
     "The Queen’s Gambit is neither a gambit nor an honor to any Queen. It is like a piece of dead flesh kept overlong on ice" - Santasiere in Essay on Chess.     
     I remember reading an old issue of the American Chess Bulletin in which Santasiere annotated the games from the 1941 Reshevsky vs. Horowitz match (won by Reshevsky +3 -0 =13) and he complained bitterly about the boring openings they played and the boring games they lead to. For all his whining about the way they played chess, Santasiere himself was accused of roaring like a lion while essaying gambits without sacrifices and playing like a mouse. For the most part it was true, but he was capable of playing swashbuckling chess on occasion. Take a look at the following gem. In this game Santasiere was making a bid for one of the brilliancy prizes offered each year by the Metropolitan Chess League.

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