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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Game That Shocked Bobby Fischer

     Some things that happened in 1975 were shocking at the time, but if they happened today we wouldn't bat an eye. One example: a renegade clerk in Colorado married a male couple. That, one of the first such marriages in the country, was shocking. When they tried to get their “marriage” recognized by the federal government so one, an Australian, could remain in the country, a district director at the Justice Department's Immigration and Naturalization Service replied by letter stating, "You have failed to establish that a bona fide marital relationship can exist between two faggots." At the time that wasn't shocking, today it would be. 
     It was also in 70s that television entertainment became topical and often intentionally polarizing as it explored issues that were dividing the country. On the popular, and risque, program Maude, she got an abortion. Guest host Richard Pryor on Saturday Night Live reacted to the "N-word" in a sketch with Chevy Chase. All in the Family starred Carroll O'Connor as the bigoted Archie Bunker who was constantly at odds with his liberal son-in-law. 
    Other programs such as Good Times and The Jeffersons confronted viewers with the type of controversies, and language, that had been considered taboo in a prime-time.
     In the chess world Bobby Fischer was so shocked by an event at Lone Pine 1975 that he called his friend Pal Benko trying to find out what happened. 
   In the strong Louis D. Statham Tournament in Lone Pine, California, Alla Kushnir, the first woman to play at Lone Pine, defeated Grandmaster Larry Evans in the very first round. Shocking!! If that wasn't enough, she also defeated GM Istvan Bilek in round 7 and went on to tie for places 18-28 with an even score of 5-5.
     The 1975 Lone Pine tournament was significant because the eligibility requirements were increased again in order to limit the size which had been growing. Entrants needed an IM or GM title or a rating of 2350 or higher (2250 for juniors) to qualify. The field had forty-four players, including 22 GMs, plus the tournament was increased to ten rounds in order to allow it to be FIDE rated which made titles and norms possible for the first time. 
     Alla Kushnir (August 11, 1941 – August 2, 2013) was a Soviet-born Israeli player who was awarded the WIM title in 1962 and the WGM in 1976.  By the way, she is not to be confused with the famous Ukrainian belly dancer
Kushnir at Lone Pine 1975

     Kushnir played three title matches against Nona Gaprindashvili for the Women's World Championship (1965, 1969 and 1972), but lost them all. She was the second ranking woman chess player in the world but in order to expedite her move to Israel in 1974 from the Soviet Union, she had to agree not to enter the current cycle for Woman’s World Championship. 
     At Lone Pine she was the only woman and came over from Israel with her other ex-Russian compatriots, Vladimir Liberzon and Leonid Shamkovich. She died in 2013 in Tel Aviv, nine days before her 72nd birthday from undisclosed causes. 

1) Liberzon 7.5 
2) Evans 7.0 
3-8) Browne, Gheorghiu, Weinstein, Quinteros, Panno and Gligoric 6.5 
9-13) Benko, Sigurjonsson, Shamkovich, Torre, Biyiasas 6.0 
14-17) Tarjan, Denker, Suttles and Forintos 5.5 
18-28) Robatsch, Yanofsky, Commons, Kushnir, Martz, Pilnik, Csom, Damjanovic, Reshevsky, Bilek and Tisdall 5.0 
29-33) Schmid, Ghizdavu, Rossetto, Barnes and Berry 4.5 
34-35) Ervin and Silman 4.0 
36-40) Dake, Day, Karklins, Levy and Vranesic 3.5 
41-43) Parr, Waterman and Grefe 3.0 
44) Rohde 2.5 

     A 400-plus pdf booklet containing games from all the Lone Pine events can be downloaded from Dropbox.  You can copy and paste the games into an engine to play over them. Download

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