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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Myroslav Turiansky...Plus a Bonus - the Fritz Hotness Meter

     This post is to spotlight the Upper Midwest master Myroslav Turiansky, but while looking over this game, I inadvertently had the Fritz 12 Hotness and Mate-O-Meter on. I did a post on this gadget a few years ago and noted that it was fun to watch, but didn’t find it to be much help. This game changed my mind. 
     What caught my attention was the readings after white played 18.Ne5. Stockfish's evaluation was 0.00 after either 18...Nxe5 or 18...O-O. Now, a 0.00 evaluation does not mean a dead draw, but rather that neither side can claim a clear advantage and so you might think there wasn't much going on in the position. However, the Hotness Meter was registering 7.0 out of 10 which means something is going on: tactics are lurking in the position or positional features like material exchanges, strong or weak positional features like P-structure or piece mobility are about to happen. So, even though the evaluation of 0.00 indicates an equal position, the hotness readout of 7.0 alerts us to the fact that the position is one that merits careful examination not only for tactics, but for major positional changes. This gadget does have merit after all! 
     Turiansky (October 10, 1912, Rudky, Ukraine – December 18, 1998, Radekhiv, Ukraine ) was a Ukrainian-American master. 
     In 1944, along with thousands of others, Turianksy began the westward exodus and arrived in Vienna, where from 1946-1947 he became one of the best players in the city and won the Hietzing Chess Club championship. He finished 16th (last) in the long forgotten Schlechter Memorial, won by Laszlo Szabo, held in Vienna in 1947. 
     The following year Turiansky emigrated to New York City where he became active in the Marshall Chess Club and in the 1949–1950 season placed second in its club championship, behind Larry Evans. In his desire to organize Ukrainian chess he moved to Chicago in 1950, and won twice the Chicago city championship (1953 and 1954). He finished 10th in the US Open Chess Championship at Milwaukee 1953. 
     Turiansky did not return his native Ukraine until late in 1998, soon after the death of his wife, Roma. It was during that visit that he passed away on December 28, 1998, in the town of Radekhiv, Lviv region, and was buried there not far from where he was born. 
     Turiansky's father was Osyp Turiansky, a renowned literary figure, taught him how to play chess at the age of 11. Although he had received a master's degree in law at Lviv University, it was not in jurisprudence, but in chess that he left his mark. Turiansky's early chess career was closely connected with the organization and development of Ukrainian chess in the 1920s. 
     In 1926 Ukrainians in Lviv founded a club named Chess Knight (Shakhovyi Konyk) later renamed the Society of Ukrainian Chess Players (TUSh), which during World War II became a division of the sports club Ukraina. In the 1926-1944 period, these clubs brought together the top names of Ukrainian chess in Lviv, such as Popel, Turiansky and M. Romanishin, the father of today's GM Oleg Romanishin. Turiansky won the championship of the Chess Knight club in 1928 and tied for first and second places with Stephan Popel in the Championship of Western Ukraine in 1943. 
     The quality that distinguished Turiansky was his readiness to volunteer his services for the benefit of organized Ukrainian chess. He served as secretary and librarian of the chess society until World War II and then, during the German occupation headed the chess division of the Ukraina sports club. He promoted chess by staging simultaneous exhibitions, sometimes along with Stephan Popel. 
     After moving to Chicago he offered his organizational skills to a Ukrainian club, the Lions (Levy) Sports Club. There he established a chess club and captained a chess team that competed successfully in the Metropolitan Chicago League for about twenty years He cooperated with the Ukrainian Sports Federation of the U.S.A. and Canada (USCAK), volunteering to host at the Lions Club the first USCAK Championship of Ukrainians in North America in 1966. In 1956 Turiansky finished third, but in subsequent USCAK championships he finished second twice and in 1982 won the Ukrainian Championship of the US and Canada. 
     In 1953 and 1954 he won the Chicago city championship, and several times won top prizes in the state championships of Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa. In the 1953 US Open in Milwaukee he finished 10th. 
     In Kyiv a book was published about players of the Ukrainian diaspora with one chapter devoted to Turiansky. 
     His opponent in this game, James Barry Cross Jr. (born 1930) of Waukesha, Wisconsin died on Monday, May 16, 2016, at Waukesha Memorial Hospital at the age of 86. He was born in Wilmette, Illinois. Married in 1954 and after serving in the the US Air Force, he and his wife settled in California where they lived from 1956 until 1997. They then moved to Waukesha in 1997. Cross won the US Junior Championship in Milwaukee in 1950 and in 1957 won the California State Championship.

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