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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Negative Immortality...

    That's what Arnold Denker described James F. Smyth as having achieved in The Bobby Fischer I Knew. It was because Smyth lost this "brilliancy" to Helms.  Denker wrote "everybody" has seen; I hadn't so decided to take a look at it.
     Not much is known of Smyth. Denker said he was born in England and a certified public accountant. His name pops up frequently in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle of the period and he was the librarian for the Brooklyn Chess Club, a frequent competitor in its championship and in 1915 he defeated Bora Kostic in a simultaneous. The Eagle also has mention of a James F. Smyth who was an attorney, not an accountant...same person or not? 
     Hermann Helms (1870 – 1963) was born in Brooklyn, New York, but spent his early childhood in Hamburg, Germany and Halifax, Nova Scotia before returning to the US at the age of 17. The following game has been called his "Evergreen" game, but as we will see, like many old "brilliantly" played games, it has plenty of flaws. It's still an entertaining game to play over though and any of us would have been proud to have played it, especially the final move. Arnold Denker published the game with brief notes and his analysis is some of the crappiest I have seen in a long time. 

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