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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Golden Knights Oldie

     My opponent in this game was from Virginia where he was a prominent civilian physicist with the US Army. He frequently donated brilliancy prize money that was awarded in the US Championship. He passed away in 1996. The game was played in the Semi-Finals of the Golden Knights and I was pleasantly surprised when looking it over with Stockfish because neither of us got a slew of question marks. White got only one at move 40 when he overlooked a mate in 4, but he was lost anyway. 
     The Golden Knights currently is the United States open correspondence chess championship held annually by the USCF. Originally it was Al Horowitz' premier correspondence tournament that was sponsored by his Chess Review, the Picture Chess Magazine. It was first held in 1943 under the name Victory Tournament, the next year it was called the Postal Chess Championship and in 1945 it was finally renamed the Golden Knights tournament. The tournament is played in three stages: the preliminaries, semi-finals, and finals. At each stage, the participants are divided into seven-player sections with each participant playing one game (three with White, three with Black) against every other player in the section. The top finishers advance to the next round. A player's score is determined by a weighted-point total which is determined by multiplying the score at each stage by a coefficient that weighs later results more heavily than earlier results. This weighted-point system ensures that no player will be able to coast home with a series of draws, and enables a player who is behind to make up a lot of ground with a strong result in the finals. 
     In Horowitz' tournaments if you made it to the finals you got a coveted Golden Knights lapel pin. At one time I had a desk drawer full of them, but after they corroded I threw them out. Who wears lapel pins any way? The year we played this game a fellow named Robert G. Cross, an OTB Master from the state of Washington, won the tournament. 
     There were no computers of course and the competition was tough. It was not unusual to find yourself playing an OTB master and a couple of times I played a competitor who had played in a the US (Closed) championships. Hans Berliner won the event three times and James T. Sherwin won it once. 
     Horowitz had a quaint way of recording results. Under the results section you'd see stuff like Tartajubow topples Fischer. Kasparov clobbers Karpov, ties Tartajubow. Carlson conks Nakamura. Anand annihilates Topalov.

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