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Thursday, December 6, 2018

Alex Kevitz Defeats Reuben Klugman

Reuben Klugman
     In the U.S. the year 1955 is remembered as the year when Rosa Parks broke the segregated seating law in Montgomery, Alabama when she refused to sit in the back of the bus. Shortly afterwards Martin Luther King, Jr., lead a 381-day black boycott of Montgomery bus system; a year later desegregated service began. 
     Chess also suffered from segregation. William A. Scott, an African-American, was refused entry in the Georgia Open. And, in August at an international tournament in Johannesburg, Dr. Max Euwe was one of the players and although they wished Euwe luck personally, seven black youths handed him a partition protesting a South African color bar of not allowing blacks to play chess in any international tournament in South Africa. 

Some pretty good players were born in 1955: 
# Eric Schiller (March 20)
# Anthony Miles (April 23)
# John Nunn (April 25)
# Jay R. Bonin (July 7, 1955)
# Adam Kuligowski ( December 24, 1955)
# Calvin Blocker an IM from Cleveland, Ohio, one of the state's best ever players was born on June 28th. 

A number of prominent players, especially British, were lost in 1955: 
# January 31,Henry E. Atkins died in Huddersfield, England at the age of 82. 
# H.J.R. Murray died in England at the age of 86 on May 16th. 
# On November 25, Herman Steiner (born 1905) died at the age of 50 while playing in the California championship. After drawing his 5th round game against William Addison he said he didn't feel well, his afternoon game was postponed and around 9:30 pm he had a fatal heart attack. 
# On December 11, R.C. Griffith died in Hendon, England. He was British champion in 1912 and co-authored Modern Chess Openings
# On December 17, William Winter (born 1898) died in London if tuberculosis at the age of 57. 

    In January Samuel Reshevsky won the first Rosenwald Trophy in New York and in July the USSR team crushed the USA team 25-7 in a match in Moscow. 
    It wasn't all bad news...1955 was the year 12-year old Bobby Fischer played in his first tournament and scored 2.5-3.5 in the U.S. Amateur Championship in Lake Mohegan, New York. 
    Not long afterwards Fischer scored 4.5-3.5 in a Washington Square Park tournament and finished tied for 15th place. The entry 10 cent entry fee was donated to the American Red Cross. 
     In June, Fischer visited the Manhattan Chess Club where Walter Shipman, one of the club's directors, was impressed with his play and Maurice Kasper, club president and a millionaire garment maker, gave Fischer a free membership. 
     In 1955 Fischer wasn't yet good enough for the club championship which was won by Max Pavey. Pavey mopped up, finishing 1-1/2 points ahead of his rivals. It would have been more if he hadn't suffered his only loss to Arnold Denker. Denker had a bad tournament: he lost to Pavey, Arthur Feuerstein and Sidney Bernstein. He was held to draws by Raul Benedicto and the tailender, A Reiter 

1) Max Pavey 12.0-3.0 
2-3) Albert Pinkus and Willaim Lombardy 10.5-4.5 
4) Arnold Denker 10.0-5.0 
5) Arthur Feuerstein 9.5-5.5 
6-7) Alex Kevitz and Arthur Bisguier 8.5-6.5 
8) Sidney Bernstein 8.0-7.0 
9) Martin Harrow 7.7-7.5 
10) Reuben Klugman 6.5-8.5 
11-12) Morton Siegel and Abe Turner 6.0-9.0 
13) Benjamin Owens 5.5-9.5 
14) Raul Benedicto 4.5-10.5 
15) Mario Schroeder 3.5-11.5 
16) A. Reiter 3.0-12.0 

     In the following game Alex Kevitz defeated Reuben Klugman (February 13, 1928 – October 12, 2011, 83 years old). Klugman is not well known, but he was a strong USCF Master and a top postal player with Chess Review, winning their Golden Knights championship in 1954. 
Alex Kevitz
     A pharmacist by profession, Alexander Kevitz (September 1, 1902 – October 24, 1981) was active in tournament play until age 78 in 1980, the year before his death; he was also a postal player.  He often played under the pseudonym Palmer Phar because he worked at Palmer Pharmacy. 
     Kevitz defeated world champion Capablanca in a simultaneous display at New York City 1924, and former world champion Emanuel Lasker in a 1928 simultaneous, also in New York. 
     He won the Manhattan Chess Club Championship six times, no small accomplishment because from the 1920s through the 1950s, the top section of the championship was usually at the level of a strong international tournament.
     Kevitz made his international debut at Bradley Beach 1929, won by Alekhine, with a score of 4.0-5.0 and finished in 7th place. In the 1936 U.S. Championship, he finished with an even score and finished in 8th place. In the 1946 team match against the Soviet Union Kevitz made the best American result with 1.0-0.5 against Igor Bondarevsky. Considering that at the time Chessmetrics puts Bondarevsky's rating at over 2600 and he was in the world's top 30 players, Kevitz' result was excellent. 
     In the 1950 radio match against Yugoslavia, Kevitz drew both of his games against Borislav Milic who was part of the group of strong Yugoslavs that included Gligoric, Trifunovic, Pirc, Rabar, Fuderer, Karaklajic and Ivkov who rose to prominence immediately after the end of World War II. Chessmetrics puts Milic's rating at the time of over 2600. 
     On the first official USCF rating list, July 31, 1950, Kevitz ranked third at 2610, behind only Reuben Fine and Samuel Reshevsky.  Clearly, in his prime, Kevitz was of at least IM strength, perhaps even GM. 
     Kevitz made important contributions to several chess openings, including the Reti Opening, the Symmetrical English Opening and the Flohr-Mikenas variation in the English. The opening 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 Nc6 is sometimes called the Kevitz-Trajkovic Defense. 

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