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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Naranja’s Dogfight With Matulovic

     In 1969 the East Asian Zonal Tournament was organized by the Singapore Chess Federation and was held in the Facility of Medicine. 
     It ended in a tie between a young Australian player named Walter Browne and Renato Naranja of the Philippines when both scored 8-3. 
     Their individual game ended in a draw. Both players lost two games: Browne to Haji Ardijansyah of Indonesia and Tan Lian Seng of Singapore. Narjana lost to Max Wotulo of Indonesia and Yukio Miyasaki of Japan. 
     The playoff ended in a 1-1 tie and Naranja qualified for the Interzonal that was to be played in 1970 in Palma de Mallorca on the basis of better Sonneborn-Berger points. 
Naranja in 1967
     Renato Naranja (born September 24, 1940) is an International Master from the Philippines. He was Philippine Junior Champion in 1958. In 1959, he placed 9th in world junior Under-20 championship. He played for Philippines in the Olympiads of 1960, 1964 (Board 1), 1966 (Board 1), 1968, 1970 (Board 1) and 1974. He won the Philippine Championship in 1965. 
     At the Interzonal in Palma de Mallorca Naranja did not finish very high, only 21st out of 24, but he had some major highlights when he drew with Bobby Fischer who finished a whopping 3-1/2 points ahead of the field. He also held Lajos Portisch and Vasily Smyslov, both of whom failed to qualify for the Candidates Matches by a half-point, to draws. 
     He scored five wins: Reshevsky (17th place), Suttles (15th-16th place), Addison and Matulovic (18th-19th place) and Jimenez (24th place). 
     In 1989 Naranja took a look a long break from chess after emigrating to the United States where he worked as a computer engineer. An International Master and a Life Master with the USCF, he still frequents the Marshall Chess Club. His last rated event was in 2014 when he finished an undefeated first in a small FIDE rated tournament at the Marshall. 
Naranja more recently

     Describing himself as a better tactician than strategist, Naranja calls the following game against Milan Matulovic as his most memorable game. 
     Milan Matulovic (1935 – 2013) was a Yugoslav GM who was the second or third strongest Yugoslav player for much of the 1960s and 1970s behind Svetozar Gligoric and Borislav Ivkov. 
     He won the Yugoslav Chess Championships of 1965 and 1967 and was a prolific competitor on the international tournament scene during the 1960s and 1970s and remained an occasional tournament competitor until 2006. 
     Matulovic was involved in several controversies. Much to the annoyance of his opponents, he often played on in hopeless positions in which he should have resigned. 
     Against Istvan Bilek at the Sousse Interzonal in 1967, Matulovic played a losing move but then took it back after announcing j'adoube. Bilek complained to the arbiter but the move was allowed to stand earning Matulovic the nickname "J'adoubovic". That wasn’t the first time he had pulled that trick. 
Matulovic
     In his book Endgame, author Frank Brady wrote about a match the fifteen year old Bobby played against Matulovic before the 1958 Interzonal in Portoroz. In that match Matulovic took back a move in their first game which Fischer lost. After that, Fischer, who went on to win the match, told Matulovic he’d no longer accept any j’adoubes. 
     After the 1970 Palma de Mallorca tournament, he was accused of throwing his game against Mark Taimanov in return for a $400, thus allowing Taimanov to advance to the Candidates matches. Those were the famous matches where Fischer skunked Taimonov and Larsen 6-0 and then beat Petrosian +5 −1 =3 on the way to defeating Spassky for the World Championship. 
     During the game against Taimanov, Matulovic offered feeble resistance and appeared uninterested in the game. According to IM David Levy, Matulovic arrived at the board twenty minutes late and began playing incredibly weak moves at the rate of about one move per minute; strange, since he normally he was a slow mover and used all of his available time. 
     Levy put forth two possible explanations: Matulovic was bribed, a theory that many t observers believed was probable despite a Soviet denial of any bribe at the time or that he couldn't care less about the game. Matulovic was convicted of vehicular manslaughter and served nine months in prison for a car accident in which a woman was killed. 
     GM Nigel Short, never known to mince words or exhibit good taste, said on Facebook after hearing of Matulovic's death posted, "They say only speak good of the dead. He's dead? Good!" 

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