Memphis Chess Club Looks For Tomorrow's World Champ
By Philip Maclin
Memphis Press-Scimitar Staff writer
Somewhere in Memphis there may be a 12 year-old who will challenge American Bobby Fischer for the world chess championship in 1984, and the Memphis Chess Club wants him to have that opportunity.
"The critical period in the development of a chess master is between the ages 13 and 19," said a statistical survey in the U.S. Chess Federation magazine last July (1973.) "For a player to develop the strength of a Grandmaster he must be playing at master level (2200 rating) by the age of 18 – at most 19," the study said.
"You have to get the young people started early, and the Memphis Chess Club intends to reach all the youngsters possible in Memphis," said James Little, club vice president and chief director of a new massive teaching program for all ages. "In the past three months we have started several beginning chess classes to introduce chess to all ages," Little said.
The chess classes sponsored by the Memphis Chess club Inc. include:
- Lewis Center for Senior Citizens at 1188 N. Parkway, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Mondays, beginning chess.
- Shelby County Penal Farm on Mullins Station Road, 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays, beginning and elementary chess for inmates.
Shelby County Penal Farm
- Veterans Administration Hospital, 1030 Jefferson, 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, beginning chess for patients in auditorium and on closed circuit television for bed patients.
- Lewis Highland Heights Branch of the Young Men's Christian Association, 894 Isabelle, 7 p.m. Fridays, weekly meeting of chess club, plus lectures on chess for all ages.
Jack Sprague: Chess Problem Composer
- McFarland Community Center, 4955 Cottonwood, 2 to 4 p.m. Saturdays, beginning chess for all ages.
- Memphis Public Library, main branch at 1850 Peabody, 9 a.m. on Saturdays, elementary and high-school chess.
–Press-Scimitar Staff Photo by Glenn Peterson
CHESS OCCUPIES MOST OF THEIR TIME
James C. Little, vice president of Memphis Chess Club Inc.,
plays a game with Robert Holyfield, one of the city's most
promising young players. The chess club has started a drive
to introduce more Memphians to the game.
One of the bright young hopefuls in Memphis is Robert Holyfield, a 15-year-old sophomore at Harding Academy who has been playing chess since he was 4. Robert just passed the 1600 mark in his U.S.C.F tournament rating. If he can pass 1700 within the next six months before he's 16, he's sure to be in the top 15 in the nation for the below 16 age category. The national rating average for tournament players of all ages is 1362.
"I really don't know how many hours a week I spend on chess, but it's a lot," said young Holyfield. "I'll be playing a lot of tournament chess in the next few months to improve that rating."
In the city qualifying tournament this year (1974) Holyfield placed ahead of Eddie Middleton, top ranked in the club, and John Hurt, who has won both the city and state titles. However, in the round-robin tournament for the city title Middleton won. But Holyfield has shown he is already a threat in every tournament here.
The Club Calendar
From the 1970's until the 1990's, the Memphis Chess Club would mail out a club events calendar which gave the area's players the opportunity to plan ahead for Friday night and weekend tournaments. The example below is from the year 1980. As you can see below, the Memphis City Championship was played with one round taking place each Friday, allowing those who qualified the chance to book-up on their opponent during the week.
For the club's current weekend and Friday calendars please click these links:
Memphis Chess Club's 1980 Calendar
- * represents events at the club on Friday Nights
- # represents events at the club on Weekends
- $ represents events at a hotel on Weekends
*4 Memphis City Championship Candidates Tournament, Rd. 1 8pm
#5 Memphis City Championship Candidates, Rds. 2-4; 9-2-7 pm
#6 Memphis City Championship Candidates, Rd. 5; 2pm
*11 Memphis Amateur, Rd. 1; Memphis City Championship, Rd. 1
*18 Memphis Amateur, Rd. 2; Memphis City Championship, Rd. 2
*25 Memphis Amateur, Rd. 3; Memphis City Championship, Rd. 3
*1 Memphis Amateur, Rd. 4; Memphis City Championship, Rd. 4
*8 Memphis Amateur, Rd. 5; Memphis City Championship, Rd. 5
*15 Speed Chess Tourney #1 ; Memphis City Championship, Rd. 6
*22 Intra-Class Tourney Rd.1; Memphis City Championship, Rd. 7
$ 23-24 7th BLUFF CITY OPEN
*29 Intra-Class Tourney Rd. 2
*7 Intra-Class Tourney Rd. 3
*14 Intra-Class Tourney Rd. 4
*21 Speed Chess Tournament # 2
#22 SEVENTH M.C.C. AWARDS BANQUET
*28 Emerald Knights Tournament ( 2 Sections) ; Rd. 1
*4 Club Closed For GOOD FRIDAY
*11 Emerald Knights Tournament Rd. 2
*18 Emerald Knights Tournament Rd. 3
$ 19-20 8th ANNUAL KING COTTON OPEN
*25 Emerald Knights Tournament Rd. 4
*2 Emerald Knights Tournament Rd. 5
*9 Speed Chess Tournament # 3
*16 3rd Solid Gold Dedication Tournament Rd. 1
*23 3rd Solid Gold Dedication Tournament Rd. 2
$ 24-25 Third Region VIII Open, Amateur, & Novice (Tentative)
*30 3rd Solid Gold Dedication Tournament Rd. 3
*6 3rd Solid Gold Dedication Tournament Rd. 4
*13 3rd Solid Gold Dedication Tournament Rd. 5
*20 Speed Chess Tournament # 4
*27 Speed Chess Tournament # 5
*4 CLOSED FOR HOLIDAY
*11 Memphis Quads I; Rd. 1
*18 Memphis Quads Rd. 2
*25 Memphis Quads Rd. 3
*1 Speed Chess Tournament # 6
*8 Memphis Quads II Rd.1
*15 Memphis Quads Rd.2
*22 Memphis Quads Rd.3
*29 Speed Chess Tournament # 7
*5 Speed Chess Tournament # 8
6-8 TENNESSEE OPEN in Nashville
*12 Memphis Fall Classics; Rd. 1
*19 Memphis Fall Classics; Rd. 2
*26 Memphis Fall Classics; Rd. 3
*3 Memphis Fall Classics; Rd. 4
*10 Memphis Fall Classics; Rd. 5
*17 Speed Chess Tournament # 9
*24 4th Ivory Pawn Dedication Tournament Rd. 1
*31 4th Ivory Pawn Dedication Tournament Rd. 2
*7 4th Ivory Pawn Dedication Tournament Rd. 3
*14 4th Ivory Pawn Dedication Tournament Rd. 4
*21 4th Ivory Pawn Dedication Tournament Rd. 5
$ 28-30 21st ANNUAL MID-SOUTH OPEN
*5 Memphis Quads III Rd.1
*12 Memphis Quads Rd.2
*19 Memphis Quads Rd.3
*26 CLOSED FOR CHRISTMAS
To Qualify for competition in the Fourth annual Memphis City Speed Championship you must either be the tournament's defending champion or else win one of the nine 1980 Speed Chess Tournaments. Once qualified, you must compete in subsequent tournament; a tournament winner, however, shall be the top scorer who has not yet qualified to compete. Site for the 1980 meet shall be decided at a later date.
Except where otherwise indicated, the time control for all USCF rated events will be 50 moves in two hours with a second time control of 30 moves in one hour. Speed chess events will be 5 min.