Dimensional Chess in Memphis
by Dwight Weaver
|"Fed" in 76 at the University of Memphis|
For more information about the age of the players in 1976 and their achievements, click on each of these two links:
The last link above also contains details about Carol Little's qualifications as an Intermediate Tournament Director as well as some other personal information.
To view the entire pamphlet, pictured above, click on the link below:
The following information comes directly from Chess Life and Review Vol. XXI, No. 9 September, 1976, page 498. All of the photographs were taken by Dan Mayes.
1976 U.S. Junior Invitational Championship
by Carol Little, ITD
Photographs by Dan Mayes
Photographs by Dan Mayes
|Carol Little, ITD|
|Left picture: on the left, Jonathan Tisdale, to the right Yasser Seirwan|
The 1976 U.S. Junior Championship was the first national tournament to be held in the Mid-South since the Western Open Championship, the forerunner of the U.S. Open, was held in Memphis in 1914 (& 1920).
After five months of preparation — of arranging for the site and accommodations, raising the funds and coordinating the publicity — I can't say that I wasn't apprehensive. I have directed my share of Swisses all over the Mid-South, but despite their youth, these players still had an average rating of 2338 (up 53 points from last year's 2285). Much to my surprise and relief, the entire week went without incident, even though I misplayed the players' flight schedules the morning of their arrival, despite Yasser Seirwan's reaction when he realized that I was the T.D. — "A woman director? They always goof everything up" — and even after I stole a glance at the minister's notes during the opening ceremonies and his invocation was to begin, "Oh Master of all Woodpushers . . ."
Hosting such an event turned out to be quite an endeavor for our group. The Memphis Chess Club has fewer than 100 members so the Memphis business community had to be relied upon for part of the financial backing. We may eventually break even if we can sell enough copies of the games collection. However, I'm still convinced that holding national tournaments in "grassroots" areas will reap dividends for the USCF. We also tried something different for this type of tournament and held it in the evening for maximum spectator participation.
|Organizers & Spectators – John Hurt center, right picture|
Opening night was to be our big event for promotion — newspapers, television, the wire services, city and university dignitaries were on hand. I had been conned into letting the players draw for positions early in the day, with the promise that they would spend the entire afternoon studying. When I arrived at the site, in a formal gown, I found all 8 waiting, red-faced and exhausted — from an afternoon of basketball. Diesen was in his inevitable striped shirt and Tisdall in cut-offs with a bottle of Welch's grape juice tucked under his arm.
The tournament opened with 3 draws in the first round, the only win being scored by Rohde against DeFirmian. The third round was the only time there were no draws. The closeness of ratings seemed to be an overshadowing factor and was reflected by the number of draws.
|Jim Little – 1976 Memphis Chess Club President|
Michael Rohde led from the very outset of the tournament. He kept up constant scoring until his loss to Diesen in the last round. As luck would have it, he ended up in the "Death Seat" for the last round. In the arrangement of seating, the black side of board 3 scored just two draws the entire week, and this may have contributed psychologically to Rohde's loss.
Going into the last round, everyone was looking for the last, one chance for a win. Fedorowicz, who had only 1 point, had to score a win in his game against Seirawan to fight his way out of the cellar. Diesen had to win against Rohde to tie for the tournament's title and in all the other games, wins had to be played for just to keep a plus score for the week.
|John Fedorowicz at the U of M in 1976|
Our first exposure to a week of Master chess left us physically exhausted, especially after the all-night, 5-minute tournaments following the seventh round. But our club attendance has increased, we have introduced a new dimension of chess to this area, and our young people have been inspired and our older players reassured.
1976 U.S. Junior ChampionshipPlayer 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Score
1 Mark Diesen.................x 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1....................5
2 Michael Rohde............0 x ½ 1 1 ½ 1 1....................5
3 Kenneth Regan............½ ½ x 0 ½ 1 ½ 1....................4
4 Yasser Seirwan............½ 0 1 x 1 1 0 0....................3 ½
5 Ronald Henley.............½ 0 ½ 0 x ½ 1 1....................3 ½
6 Jonathan Tisdall.........½ ½ 0 0 ½ x ½ 1.....................3
7 John Fedorowicz.........0 0 ½ 1 0 ½ x 0......................2
8 Nick DeFirmian...........0 0 0 1 0 0 1 x......................2
|John Fedorwicz with the Black pieces|
|Picture and caption above from Chess Life & Review Vol. XXXI, No. 8 pg. 430 August 1976|