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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Exciting Bisguier Game

     These days when young players see a gregarious 87 year old fellow whose rating is at its floor of 2200 they know he is an International Grandmaster. They probably also know that in 2005 the USCF proclaimed him "Dean of American Chess" but I wonder how many realize how good he was really was in his heyday. 
     Arthur Bisguier (born October 8, 1929) is a two-time U.S. Junior Championship (1948, 1949), three-time U.S. Open Champion (1950, 1956, 1959) and the 1954 U.S. Champion. He played for the United States in five Olympiads and two Interzonal tournaments (1955, 1962). 
     In 1950 at Southsea, England he tied for first with Tartakower in his first international success which resulted in his receiving the IM title. Mandatory Army service interrupted his career during 1951 to 1953, but he managed to get leave so he could play in two European events. He played at the Helsinki Olympiad 1952, and then won the third annual Christmas tournament at Vienna 1952 with a 9–2 score.  After a poor performance in the U.S. Open in 1953, he entered the Philadelphia Candidates' Tournament for the U.S. Championship and finished first with an over-2600 performance. 
     His meteoric rise culminated with his winning the 1954 U.S. Championship at New York. He also won the 2nd Pan American Championship at Los Angeles 1954. In 1956 at Oklahoma City, he added the U.S. Open Championship title to his U.S. Championship. 
     Bisguier became a Grandmaster in 1957. He tied with Bobby Fischer for first–second places at the U.S. Open at Cleveland 1957, but Fischer was awarded the title on tiebreak. Bisguier also served as a second to Fischer at several international events.  Most of Bisguier's play after the mid-1960s was limited to U.S. tournaments where he won many events. 
     His list of elite victims is too numerous to mention and his results might have been much better had it not been for his sometimes risky play and love of tactics. Another thing that probably hindered his tournament results was the fact that he truly enjoyed life outside the tournament room. 
     At the 1975 US Championship at a meet and greet with the players, Bisguier asked a couple of spectators where the nearest bar was and he was informed that alcohol was not sold in the college town. He immediately pulled out his wallet and handed the two young strangers he was talking to some money and asked them to drive to the nearest town saying, “Bring me a fifth of Jack Daniels.” In that event he scored +0 -0 =13!
     A short interview with Bisguier can be seen on Vimeo HERE
     His opponent in the following game was Dr. Orest Popovych (born Jan-18-1933) who is a FIDE master. Popovych won the championship of New Jersey in 1959, 1961, 1985, and 2001. In 1970, he tied for 1st place in the North American Central Open. He is a professor emeritus of Analytical Chemistry at Brooklyn College and has a PhD in chemistry.  His highest USCF rating was over 2400. Popovych was elected President of the Shevchenko Scientific Society in New York in 2006 and he has also translated the Ukrainian poet Vasyl Makhno into English. 
     In this game Bisguier comes close to trapping his opponent's Queen. Popovych managed to extricate it, but it cost him material. Still, the game wasn't over because later Popovych, using his B, N and Q, set up an attack against Bisguier's King, at one point threatening mate in one. Then Bisguier launched a counterattack, which after some excitement, culminated in a Q-sac that won the game.

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