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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

A White Man At Hastings 1950

     Arnold Denker described Weaver W. Adams as a “white man clear through.” He lived in a white house on White Street and had inherited a chicken farm on which he raised white chickens that laid white eggs. He also wrote a book White To Play And Win. 
    Be sure to read Batgirl’s fascinating article on Adams on Chess.com and the Boylston Chess Club has his autobiography HERE
     Adams’ (April 28, 1901 – January 6, 1963) greatest competitive achievement was winning the US Open Championship in 1948. He played in the US Championship five times.
    Most famous for his claim that the first move 1.e4 confers a winning advantage upon white, he continually advocated this theory in books and magazine articles from 1939 until shortly before his death. Naturally, his claims were scorned and he could never prove his theory, but Hans Berliner in a 1999 book professed admiration for Adams and similarly claimed that white may claim a winning advantage with 1.d4 instead of 1.e4. 
   Larry Evans wrote that Adams' tournament results were damaged by his dogmatism and he was handicapped of arming his opponents with advance knowledge of his best lines. One of the best examples was his game against Leonard Barden at Hastings 1950-51; it was Barden’s favorite game.View game
     The 26th Hastings Christmas Chess Festival was held at the end of the year 1950 and the notable participants were Nicolas Rossolimo who had won Hastings once previously and Wolfgang Unzicker from Germany. Though Rossolimo matched his winning score from two years previously it was only good enough to share second with Alberic O'Kelly this time around. Unzicker edged them both out by half a point and finished undefeated. 
     Rossolimo suffered one defeat at the hands of the unpredictable Jonathan Penrose while O’Kelly also lost only one game (to Rossolimo). The only other player to get by with only one defeat was Harry Golombek, but he only won one game (against Thomas). 

The final standings: 
1) Wolfgang Unzicker 7.0 
2-3) Nicolas Rossolimo and Albrec O'Kelly 6.5 
4-7 Harry Golombek, Joathan Penrose, Vincenzo Castaldi and ARB Thomas 4.5
8) Leonard Barden 3.0 
9) Weaver Adams 2.5 
10) Alan Phillips 1.5 

     Adams’ first of his two wins came in the first round against Phillips when Adams played the black side of the Giuoco Piano. Phillips, along with Barden, won the British Championship in 1954. In round 2 Adams opened with the Vienna against Unzicker and was thoroughly outplayed. 
    In round three he met Barden who played the Two Knights Defense and caught him in prepared analysis. In round four Golombek played the Caro-Kann and a long uneventful draw, the only one for Adams, was the outcome. 
   In round five Adams’ opening play was absolutely horrible and he let his King get stuck in the center. As a result he lost a 20-move miniature on the black side of a Giuoco Piano to Italy’s Vincenzo Castaldi. 
     In round 6, as black, Rossolimo played the Sicilian Scheveningen. The result was an exciting 59-mover. At one point Rossolimo had a Q and three Ps against Adams’ three minor pieces and 5 Ps. 
    In round 7 Adams was deftly outplayed by O’Kelly who, as white, played the Giuoco Piano. In round 8 Adams was soundly defeated by Thomas in a Vienna Game. 
    When round 9 arrived the Adams vs. Penrose game was important for both players. If Penrose could win it would mean a plus score and sole possession of fifth place. Adams needed a win to make sure of at least a tie for last with Phillips. Unfortunately for Phillips he got annihilated by O’Kelly in a mere 25 moves. As white, Adams defeated Penrose in an exciting Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation. Adams final score was +2 -6 =1. 
     It was fully my intention to present one of Adams’ wins, but the loss to Rossolimo was just too interesting to ignore, so here it is. 

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