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Friday, March 11, 2016

1943 US Speed Title and Bobby Fischer's Teeth

      Today blitz games are played with a clock, but in the old days it was played with a 10-second timer and when the referee sounded a bell, you moved. 
     The US Lightening Championship of 1943 was played in the Capital Hotel in New York City and Reuben Fine scored 11 wins to retain his US Lightening Championship title by defeating Reshevsky in the last round. In the preliminaries and finals Fine's record was an impressive +20 -0 =2. In the final round Reshevsky had two draws so needed the win to tie, but Fine forced his resignation in 38 moves after getting a strong bind on the d-file. Even then Fine's advantage was only a slight one, but Reshevsky, rather than exchanging heavy pieces to lessen Fine's pressure, played a couple of passive moves and allowed Fine to increase his advantage and Reshevsky's position soon collapsed.  See game.
     One of the more exciting games was Fine's crush of Dr. Harold Sussman. Sussman (born September 15, 1911, died October 9 2004 at the age of 93) was a dentist and master from Brooklyn who had a Bobby Fischer connection. 
     In 1952 the 8-year old Fischer who had been studying with Carmine Nigro at the latter's house on Saturdays played in a match with Nigro's students against a team of kids coached by Sussman. Fischer won his first game and drew his second against Nigro's 10-year old son Raymond. Dr. Sussman was also an amateur photographer and took several photos that later became well known. 
     Dr. Sussman also became Bobby's dentist. Sussman said of Fischer, “He had a great set of teeth.” Like a few other things about Fischer, that changed later in life. He went from being a dapper dresser to looking like a homeless man, seldom changing his clothes or removing his baseball cap. And his teeth...he went from having a great set to having hollow, rotten ones with a few missing. 
     Sometime in the early 1980s Fischer told a long time friend, master Ronald Gross, he had been to a dentist to get all the fillings removed from his teeth. He told Gross that the KGB could bug them or use the metal to send damaging rays into his brain. 
     It wasn't long after that that Gross talked briefly to a local reporter, but didn't mention Fischer's obscene rant about “kikes and Jew bastards” and the “myth of the Holocaust” or his theory on radio transmissions through dental fillings, but like everyone both before and after him, because he had talked to the media about Fischer, Gross was unfriended. Fischer also had a low opinion of, among other groups of people, doctors and dentists. 

Final Standings: 
1) Fine 11.0-0.0
2) Reshevsky 9.0-2.0 
3) Kupchik 7.0-4.0 
4) Kashdan 6.0-5.0 
5) Green 5.5-5.5 
6-7) Heitner and Horowitz 5.0-6.0 
8-9) Seidman and Sussman 4.5-6.5 
10) Adams 3.5-7.5 
11) Feldman 2.85-8.5 
12) Schwatrz 2.5-8.5

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