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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Hastings 1954/55

1954 Miss England
     The Hastings Christmas Congress of 1954/5 had 152 players from 16 nations which was held at the Sun Lounge, St. Leonard's from December 29 to January 8. 
     The sections were the Premier, Premier Reserves (8 sections), Majors (4 sections), Second Class (2 sections) and Third Class. Robert Wade was the TD.
     The Major Section of the Premier Reserves was important because the winner received an invitation to the Premier event the following year. This year it was won by Istvan Bilek of Hungary. Bilek (August 11, 1932 – March 20, 2010) was to become a an IM in 1958 and a GM in 1962. He won the Hungarian championship in 1963, 1965, and 1970 and he played in interzonals in 1962 and 1964. Bilek played on the Hungarian team in nine Chess Olympiads (1958 through 1974). 
English ladies at a milk bar in 1954

     The US also had a representative, John A. Hudson (February 8, 1930 - October 9, 2012 due to complications from a stroke). Hudson grew up on the family farm in Clearfield County in western Pennsylvania where his father, a career naval officer, had retired. 
     Hudson attended South Philadelphia High School where he was an exceptionally gifted student and graduated early. While in high school he played the cello and began a life-long love of classical music. He went on to the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Botany. 
     In 1951, following the outbreak of the Korean War, he enlisted in the Air Force, stayed in and retired after twenty years of service. During his Air Force days he was a navigator in the Air Rescue Service, and later in the Strategic Air Command as a B-47 navigator-bombardier. He was also a navigation-training instructor and served as the editor of The Navigator magazine. He retired from the Air Force in 1971, with the rank of Major. Hudson was stationed in many places during his Air Force career and continued to travel extensively after he left the service; his favorite places included England, Scotland and Key West, Fla., where he lived for several years. 
     By his twenties, he was ranked a National Master and had won several state and national tournaments. In 1956, he won the U.S. Amateur Championship (Bobby Fischer, making an early appearance on the national stage at age 13, placed 12th). Among other victories, he was Armed Forces Champion in 1960 (tied with Arthur Feuerstein), 1961 and 1970, and won the California State Open in 1965. He also served as an officer with the USCF. 
     Hudson was also a self-taught carpenter and electrician who frequently did home repairs and improvements for friends. He was also an avid reader who never met a book store he didn't like. 
     After retirement, his life-long love of literature and learning led him back to school to pursue a graduate degree in English literature at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He also enjoyed the movies, especially Peter Sellers films, and he had an encyclopedic knowledge of movie trivia. 
     He spent his last days living in a hospice in Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands, an archipelago that is part of the state of Washington and Vancouver Island, British Columbia. 
     At Hastings, Hudson finished tied for 7th-8th with Soultanbeieff of Belgium, scoring +2 4 =3. The game between D. Andric of Yugoslavia and Raaphy Persitz of Israel went to 147 moves before Andric prevailed. Both players tied for second with scores of 6.5-2.5. 
1954 British World Cup Soccer Team
     The Premier Reserves “A” was won by M. Vasiljevic of Yugoslavia. The US was also represented in that section by Arthur Spiller who was a long time California master and State Champion. Spiller scored +3 -5 =1 to tie for 7th-8th with J.W. McLeod of Scotland. 
     The Premier Reserves “ B” Section was won by Edith Keller, German Women's Champion with an impressive 7-1 score while the Premier Reserves “C” Section was won by Holland's Dr. G. Brokerhof with a score of 6.5-1.5. 
That's not Bobby Fischer; it's Roger Bannister
     Another American was Rhys W. Hays (May 16, 1926 – February 13, 1976, 49 years old) who was to become a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin tied for first with B. Goulding-Brown and G. Booth, both of England, with a score of 6-2 in the Premier Reserves Afternoon Section. In this section there was also an 88-year old player named D. Fawcett who finished fifth. 
Elvis did OK
     A simul was given by Soviet GM Viacheslav Ragozin who accompanied the Soviet players and prominent visitors were Sir George Thomas, Harry Golombek, and Heinrich Fraenkel (897 – 1986). 
     Fraenkel may not be familiar to chess players, but he was an author and Hollywood writer most notable for his biographies of Nazi war criminals published in the 1960s and 1970s. 
     Born in Lissa, Poland (then Province of Posen, Germany), into a Jewish family, emigrated from Nazi Germany and lived in Britain. Writing under the name Assiac, he wrote a popular chess column in the New Statesman for more than 400 issues and his book, The Delights of Chess, illustrated his enthusiasm for chess. 
     There was an ugly incident at this tournament. A London scandal sheet, the Daily Express, published an article condemning Keres and Smyslov for being unfriendly, particularly to the American players. Keres, especially, was singled out as being aloof and avoiding contact with everybody. 
     The Soviet delegation wrote an angry letter of protest, but some of the players in the premier event did not offer their endorsement because they felt it went too far in the other direction even though it was generally agreed that the Russian players were, in fact, quite friendly. 
     Paul Keres had not, as reported, acted uncharacteristically. He was sick and had to spend the first two days in bed with the flu. That resulted in his having to play two postponed games on an off day, Sunday, January 2nd. It didn't seem to affect his play as he drew (of course) with Smyslov and defeated Unzicker, who was suffering from a tooth ache during most of the tournament. 
     By round 5 Smyslov and Keres were leading with 4-1 scores. Smyslov had lost the return match for the world championship in May of 1954, but since then had played four major events, including the Amsterdam Olympiad, without losing a single game. 

     In round 6 Keres suffered a disaster against the unheralded Andrija Fuderer, who sacrificed his Queen to score a brilliant win. Keres fought back to share the lead again after round eight, with one game to go. Both Soviet players won their final round games to share first place. 
     The 7th place finish of British Champion C.H.O'D. Alexander was a disappointment because the previous year at Hastings he was undefeated and had shared first with David Bronstein. In that event, Alexander, as black, played the Dutch Defense and defeated Bronstein in 120 moves. 

1-2) Smyslov and Keres 7.0-2.0 
3-5) Fuderer, Pachman and Szabo 5.5-3.5 
6) Unzicker 5.0-4.0 
7) Alexander 4.5-4.5 
8) Donner 2.5-6.5 
9) Fairhurst 1.5-7.5 
10) Phillips 1.0-8.0 

     In the following game Pachman ends the game with an obvious, but, pleasing Q-sac against Fairhurst.

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