Wednesday, February 23, 2011

IGM Larry Christiansen's Visits

The Mid-South Advocate May/June 1980 Volume 6, Number 3

Drubbing a Grandmaster

On April 7th and 8th International Grandmaster Larry Christiansen gave two simultaneous exhibitions at Christian Brothers College.  On Monday the 7th, twenty-nine local players were stunned with the speed and accuracy of Christiansen's play.  Nevertheless, the I.G.M. had some close calls and actually lost one game to the team of Paul Linxwiler and Greg Hood, both students at Christian Brothers High School. 

The next night, Grandmaster Christiansen played ten games at once without sight to the board.  Here his form was not so good.  I was acting as monitor, and was somewhat surprised at the number of times he confused the positions of two different boards.  This time Memphis players walked away with five wins.

Unlike the first "regular" simultaneous which was open to participants on a first come first serve basis, the blindfold exhibition was invitational.  Ten players participated: Kenny Thomas, reigning city champion; Mahlon Smith, 1979 city champion; Rick Herbers, 2nd place in this year's (1980) city championship; John Hurt (1977's city champion), James Wright (1968-1969 city champion), and Paul Linxiler.  And from Christian Brothers College: the college (chess) champion Steve Spencer (Southaven, MS), Ron Moore, Loel Hickman, and Kent Sanborn.  Hickman, Linxwiler, Hurt, Wright, and Thomas all won their games.

This visit to Memphis by a ranking Grandmaster will be particularly memorable for the press coverage received.  Channel 5 News filmed some of the actual play Monday night giving coverage on the 10 o'clock news.  (Grandmaster Christiansen told me he was exceptionally pleased with the interview he had with Myron Lowery.)  Thanks to the excellent work by the public relations woman at Christian Brothers College, Christiansen appeared on the Good Morning from Memphis talk show, a first for Memphis chess.  Larry's exhibition was sponsored by Church's Fried Chicken and Christian Brothers College Chess Club.  I would like to thank all participants and spectators who made this particular grandmaster event  a memorable one, and I hope Memphis chess will profit from and improve upon the good "press" it received.  --Gregory C. Krog, Jr. President, Christian Brothers College Chess Club.

On February 10, 2011 I received this e-mail:

. . . To add to your list of grandmasters who have graced Memphis with their skill, remember Larry Christiansen, who was brought to Memphis while I was in college at CBC between the fall of 1977 and the spring of 1981. Larry came twice, courtesy of Church's Fried Chicken's sponsorship of American chess. Both appearances were at CBC in their cafeteria in the Thomas Student Center. I think the first was in the spring of 77. The first night he put on a blindfold simul. (I think 12 participants). The next day he played upwards of 40+ players in a regular simul. As part of that same Church's promotion, they also brought Jack Peters, (then an IM), for a regular simul. I think that was during the 79-80 school year while I was Christian Brothers College Chess Club President. --Greg Krog

Six games are associated with the chess-board below.
Click the "select bar" above the Black pieces to choose a game.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

IGM Arthur Bisguier's Bluff City Visits

MCC Flier:

Memphis Chess Club, Inc.
Simultaneous Exhibition
Raleigh Springs Mall

October 25, 1974

7 p.m.

Terms: $5 per board 
(Click "Read more" below.)

Memphis Chess Club and North MS

The Memphis Chess Club has been a beacon for chess enthusiasts throughout its history.  It attracts players to participate from all over the Mid-South for weekend tournaments but also for the regular club meetings.  Each week players from DeSoto county travel to reach whatever location the club might have.  In 1973, after only a few months of having learned the game, I traveled from Southaven, MS to the Whitehaven public library and asked an assistant if she knew of a chess club in Memphis.  After looking through a card file of various information she came up with the name of John Hurt and a phone number.  My parents took me and a friend to St. Mary's Episcopal Church library that Friday night.  We met Mr. Hurt, and he tested me immediately with a game.  I was thrilled to see so many people involved in chess at one location.  There was this smell of cherry pipe tobacco in the air as the older fellows puffed away while sitting across from their opponent.  In October of that year, my friend Stephen D. Spencer and I, along with a teacher Steve Blackwood, formed the Southaven Chess Club at the newly-built Southaven High School.  A journalism project permitted me to be able to write and publish this account in a local newspaper:

DeSoto Times Volume 78 Number 41 October 25, 1973 Page 6

 Click picture for a larger view:
1973-1974 Southaven
 Chess Club organized at SHS

"Since the world championship match of chess was won by Bobby Fischer for the United States, chess has spread throughout the country.

Just recently a few Southaven High School students and teachers formed Southaven's first chess club.   The club has had 2 meetings but enrollment has climbed to 31 members.  The club elected officials on their first meeting.  These are Stephen Spencer, president, Dwight Weaver, vice-president, and Mr. Steve Blackwood, director and organizer.
(Click "Read more" below.)