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Thursday, March 30, 2017

A Wild Tarjan Game

Tarjan in the old days
     In 1984 GM James Tarjan was still in his early 30s when he quit chess to became a librarian and the US lost an exceptional player. Tarjan was a fierce attacking player, but away from the board he was a genuinely nice guy. 
     I remember one incident at the international tournament in Cleveland, Ohio (in 1975) where Tarjan was playing when a bunch us were looking at one of the games in progress.  One of the local masters was demonstrating how, after a certain move, black was winning. Tarjan strolled by on the way to the coffee machine and after a casual glance at the position quickly pointed out the refutation of the master's move. It demonstrated how good a Grandmaster's sight of the board is! It also said something about Tarjan.
Tarjan recently
     In another incident at one of the US Championships a few of us were looking over one of the games when IM John Grefe walked by and stood there looking at the position. Somebody asked him what his opinion was. Grefe's reply was, “Show me some money!” I don't remember what the questioner's reply was, but Grefe turned and walked away. 
     At his peak Tarjan's rating was over 2600, but after he retired a few years ago and returned to tournament play it has dropped to its current level of 2479.  His last event was in a California tournament where tied for 6th and 7th , scoring +3 -0 =3, which included two half point byes. 
     Tarjan's opponent in this game was Peter Cleghorn (born 1938), many time champion of Alaska. Cleghorn has been inactive for the last couple of decades and his last USCF rating was 2405.

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