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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Raymond Weinstein, Shark

     I posted on Raymond Weinstein and his tragic story a few years back. Recently I've been looking at some of his games and it's unfortunate that his promising career was so short and his games are not better known. They are characterized by crisp, tactical play. 
     One game I looked at, a nice win over the very strong Robert Byrne that was played in the 1963 US Championship (the tournament where Fischer scored 11-0) was a strong candidate to use as an illustration of Weinstein's uncompromising style. 
     In that tournament, besides Fischer, Weinstein was the only other player who didn't draw any games.  His score was +5 -6 =0 and he finished in 7th place. But, the game I finally settled on was his stunning finish against Sidney Bernstein in the 1959-60 US Championship. 
     Weinstein made his US Championship debut in the Championship the previous year based on his being the Junior Champion, but had finished tied for last with Edmar Mednis, both of whom failed to win a single game, scoring 6 draws and 5 losses. 
     The 1959 Championship was a rare event in that there were no ties among the 12 players. 

1) Fischer-9.0 
2) Robert Byrne-8.0
3) Reshevsky-7.5 
4) Benko-7.0 
5) Bisguier-6.5 
6) Weinstein-6.0 
7) Seidman-5.5 
8) Sherwin-5.0 
9) Mednis-4.5 
10) Bernstein-4.0 
11) Denker-3.0 
12) Ault - 0.0

This tournament was also the beginning of complaints by Bobby Fischer. His complaint was the practice of choosing lots to determine the pairings with the players not present. Fischer complained that the practice was unfair, so guess what he did? He threatened to forfeit his games if the pairings were not redrawn in public. Tournament Director Hans Kmoch was not one to mess around with and threaten. The previous year Kmoch had double-forfeited Eliot Hearst and Edmar Mednis because they had not kept an accurate scoresheet. In this case the officials decided that throwing out the pairings after they had been publicized was certain to cause consternation among the other players, so they stuck to their guns and prepared themselves for Fischer's withdrawal by having the 22-year-old premed student Anthony Saidy, who went on to compete in the US Championship eight times, on standby. In the end, Fischer relented. 

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