Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Zugzwanged in Public or The Annual Chess Banquet

The Mid-South Chess Advocate 1976 Vol 2 No 3 pg 32

 My Corner
by Pion Potzer

I took my chess widow to the club's awards banquet.  At the party, I tried to introduce her to Carol Little.  Carol floated by en passant with a large glassy-eyed smile mumbling something about a 50's party that was scheduled for the same place.  "Worked out the chess puzzle on the cake?" my wife asked.  I told her that I never worried about end games because I never got that far during tournaments, and I  wasn't going to worry about it now.  Besides, I couldn't figure it out anyway. "How come you didn't win any awards?" she wondered. "Well. . . I was up for 'Most Overlooked Mate,' 'Most Fianchettoed Bishop,' 'Caught on the Back Rank Again Award,' but I asked the organizers to mail them to me. "Oh," she sighted, "you didn't want to be Zugzwanged in public."

 Editor's note:  My brother and I did attend the first banquet, making us feel privileged to belong to  such a grand organization.  It was all brought about by the officers of the chess club to in order to celebrate our club's founding and to honor the member's accomplishments––serious or otherwise.

Thank goodness I never won an award at one of these functions; I was nominated once, and as you can guess, it fell in the fun category.  Below is presented a montage of documents and photographs illustrating the "good ole days" of chess club banquets. The picture below has me (up front in the plaid coat) with my little brother, and Kenny Thomas is to his right, and to the far left side is David Meyers. Clicking on any picture will carry you to a page with a larger version of the photograph.

1st Banquet - Gary Pylant in front of the banner with Carol and Jim Little to his left.

Program guide:

First Annual Awards Banquet
Ramada Inn - East, 5225 Summer Avenue
July 13, 1974


Presentation of Memphis Chess Club Banner (Banner made in 1974 by James C. & Carol Little)


Fun Awards:

Kibitzer Award - James Mitchell

Cheapo-Artist Award - Gary Pylant

# 1 Coffee House Player Award - Rolf Pludra

The Hanging Flag Award - (tie) Eddie Middleton & Philip Morgan   

#1 Street Player Award - Mahlon Smith

"The Drive Me Nuts" Award - (tie) David Meyers & Bill Nietzel

"Having Never Won a Trophy" Award - Morris Middleton

Most Improved Potzer Award - Peter Flexner

Gary Pylant and Robert Holyfield

Accomplishment Awards:

Most Improved Player - Philip Morgan

Upset Award - Robert Holyfield

Best Tournament Player of the Year Award - John Hurt

Jim Little and John Hurt

Louis Weis

Service Award - Louis Weis

Appreciation Award - Frank Hemphill

Sportsmanship Award - Howard Haglin

Spring Rating Tournament (1st Place) James Rackley

First Annual Fish Fry (1st Place) - Chris McDade

Chris McDade and Gary Pylant


City Championship Trophies
Chris McDade in 1974

Amateur Championship:

First Place - Philip Morgan
Second Place- Mark McLaughlin
Third Place - James C. Little


First Place - Eddie Middleton
Second Place - John Hurt
Third Place - Mahlon Smith

On the right Eddie Middleton - 1974 City Champion

Program guide:

Second Annual Awards Banquet
of the 
Memphis Chess Club
April 26, 1975

7:30 PM

  • Welcome & introduce head table

  • Short address by club president

  • Charles "Rick" Herbers & Jack Sprague
  • Guest Speaker:  Eldon Roark
Fun Awards: (Presented by Phil Maclin)

Kibitzer - James Mitchel
Cheapo-Artist - Rick Herbers
Bookworm - Mike Bock
Hanging Flag - Larry Corder
Coffee-House - Kazi Lawrence
Congeniality- Ron Minor
Drives-Us-Nuts - Robert Holyfield
Never-Won-A-Trophy - Donnie Antrim

Accomplishment Awards: (Presented by John Hurt)

Outstanding High School Player - Mark McLaughlin
Jack Smith
Outstanding College Player - Mahlon Smith
Upset - James Rackley
Most Improved - Phil Maclin
Best "B" Player - Jack Smith
Best "C" Player - Kent Meadows
Best "D" Player - Fred Lowe
Best "E" Player - Howard Haglin
Best Record - Ed Middleton

Plaques: (Presented by John Hurt)

Service - Frank Garner
Appreciation - Carol Little
Sportsmanship - James Wright

Trophies: (Presented by James Little)

City Championship :
Carol Little

1st John Hurt
2nd Ed Middleton
3rd Mahlon Smith

John Hurt & James Rackley

Amateur Championship:

1st - Gary Pylant
2nd - Steve Thomas
3rd - Ken Ferguson

Banquet Adjournment: 9:45 PM

1977 Mid-South Chess Advocate Vol 3 No 2 pg 14

From the Editors .  .  .  .  .

John F. Hurt with the B.B. Jefferson Memorial Trophy:
aka Memphis City Chess Championship Trophy
At this year's Memphis Chess Club Award's Banquet, it was gratifying to us that it should be John Hurt's night.  Not only did he receive first place in the City Championship, but there were other things in store for him as well.  For many years, John has been a guiding factor in the Memphis Chess Club as club President, and more recently, as a member of the Board of Directors and Editor of the Mid-South Chess Advocate.  For his service to the club and to the community, John was awarded the Memphis Chess Club Service Award.  But, this was not the end of honors; for many years he has been the organizer of junior chess activities in Memphis, mainly in the coordinating of the High School Chess League jointly sponsored by Memphis Chess Club, the Northeast Optimist Club, Memphis Public Library, and the Memphis Board of Education.  The Officers thought it was only fitting that the new High School Chess League Plaque be named, "The John F. Hurt Team Plaque."

The Officers and Members of Memphis Chess Club are truly grateful for the many years of service Mr. Hurt has given to chess, and we expect many more active years in the future.

Mid-South Chess Advocate Staff
Memphis Chess Club Officers & Members

The photographs below are from the 1976 Memphis Chess Club Awards Banquet:

Left Picture: Arthur Hager, Michael Preston, Randall Senn –– Right Picture: John Hurt, Mahlon Smith, Edward Middleton

Editor:  One recollection from the banquet days of the late 1970's starts out with one of our members winning a tournament called the Ichthyoid Quad.  It seems the club president presented the champion a trophy with a fish decoration.  For some reason this was not satisfactory to the winner who tried unsuccessfully to  have the top component replaced with something representing chess.  Hence, a complaint was filed to the USCF, and I overheard that the argument was, "I don't want fish trophy; I want chess trophy!"  To this day I do not know if this ever was resolved nor the text of the USCF's reply.

1 comment:

  1. This post brings back some fond memories! Thank you for writing this. I will share it with family and friends.