• San Antonio, 1972: Church's Fried Chicken, Inc. First International

    From sylviadavilarn@gmail.com@21:1/5 to samsloan on Mon Sep 24 15:24:09 2018
    On Saturday, October 10, 2009 at 11:47:32 PM UTC-5, samsloan wrote:
    San Antonio 1972 was either the strongest chess tournament ever played
    in the history of the United States or, if not the very strongest,
    then second only to New York 1924.

    The tournament was organized by Bill Church, who had a great deal of
    money at that time. He had expanded a small fried-chicken chain of
    only four outlets that he had inherited from his father into a giant operation with more than 400 restaurants.

    He also established what are now called “Grand Prix Points” where grandmasters can tour the country playing in small tournaments and win
    big prizes awarded to those who collect the most points. These were
    known as “Chicken Points” and the “King of the Chicken Circuit” became
    Igor Ivanov, who could be counted on to show up at a tournament
    somewhere in the country almost every weekend. Ivanov toured the
    country with an unlimited Greyhound Bus pass.

    Bill Church is still around and the company is still in business. Bill
    Church made a cash donation to the US Senior Open Championship held
    earlier this year.

    The organizers of San Antonio 1972 put together a great collection of
    some of the world's leading grandmasters (back then when the
    grandmaster title meant something) and combined them with the most
    promising young players that North America had to offer.

    Four of the top ten rated players in the world participated, including Petrosian, ranked number 3, Portisch, ranked number 6, Karpov ranked
    number 7 and Larsen, ranked number 10. The main ones in the top ten
    who did not play were, of course, Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky, who
    had just completed their epic chess match for the World Championship
    two months earlier.

    In addition, every player who came from outside North America was
    either a former or a future World Chess Champion or had participated
    or would participate in a candidates tournament of the top eight
    players in the world to determine the challenger for the next world championship. Petrosian was a former world champion. Karpov was a
    future world champion. Keres, Larsen and Gligoric had all played in
    the Candidate's Tournaments. Mecking, Portisch, and Hort were to play
    in future candidates matches.

    Tigran Petrosian was World Champion from 1966 to 1969. Karpov was to
    become World Champion from 1974 to 1984.

    Keres had been the number two or number three player in the world (if
    not number one) since 1938, although he had fallen down recently.

    Combined with this was Walter Browne who was to win the US
    Championship eight times, Julio Kaplan, who had been World Junior
    Champion and the exciting Duncan Suttles who had invented his own
    openings which had become known as the Suttles Systems.

    I knew almost all of the players in the tournament. For example, I had traveled around the country with Duncan Suttles in 1964 sharing rooms
    with him while playing in chess tournaments, especially during the
    1964 US Open in Boston. I had sort of attached myself to him as I
    recognized early his great talent for chess and his unusual and
    creative playing style. Unfortunately, although I had often analyzed
    chess with him, I had never mastered his Suttles System and every time
    I had tried to play it, I lost.

    I also knew the one player nobody else knew, Mario Campos Lopez. I had
    spent one college semester at the University of Mexico in Mexico City
    in the Fall of 1965. Mario Campos Lopez was already regarded as the
    best player in Mexico. I played him many five minute games. I did not
    win many of the games, although I am sure I won at least one.

    Mario Campos Lopez had been invited to play in recognition of the fact
    that the tournament was being held in Texas near to Mexico. Similarly,
    Ken Smith was invited for being the best player in Texas. I must say
    that Mario Campos Lopez did a lot better in this tournament than
    anybody but me expected him to. He later won the Championship of

    I must add here that some of the players were later to become
    associated with tragedies. Donald Byrne died in 1976 at the age of 45.
    The illness that caused his death was never conclusively diagnosed but
    is believed to have been possibly a form of lupus. Donald Byrne was
    the nicest man I ever knew who played chess and his early death was a
    great loss.

    Paul Keres also died in 1976 at the age of 59 and Tigran Petrosian
    died in 1984 at only 55. The poor quality of the health care system in
    the Soviet Union may have contributed to their early deaths.

    Henrique Mecking went on to win two Interzonal tournaments and was
    regarded as one of the strongest players in the world. However, he
    then became ill and dropped out of chess although he has come back and
    played some recently.

    The great success of this tournament was Duncan Suttles, who earned
    the grandmaster title (back when the grandmaster title meant
    something) in this event by beating Evans, Kaplan, Campos, Saidy and
    Smith. As I had traveled with Suttles a lot, I knew a lot about the
    way he played. For example, he often said that the strongest place for
    the black king knight was at king's bishop two. His Suttles System for
    black often involved playing an early f6, followed by Nh6 and Nf7.

    This really threw off his opponents, who were used to facing
    traditional style moves. Suttles played his strange moves based on
    great strategic concepts he had developed. As a result, Suttles just
    mopped up anybody rated less than 2300. Lower rated players faced a
    quick death when meeting Suttles.

    His problem was that the higher rated players could see through his
    tactics. Anybody rated over 2400 usually beat him. He got into the
    1965-1966 US Championship and was almost completely wiped out as he
    finished last with 2.5 out of 11.

    However, eventually he perfected his Suttles' Systems and started
    beating grandmasters with it. In San Antonio 1972 he demonstrated that
    he could hold his own against the higher rated grandmasters while
    still wiping out the relatively lower rated. This got him the
    Grandmaster title.

    What makes this book especially great is not merely was it a great
    tournament with great players, but that the players annotated some of
    their own games. In this day and age, there are millions of games in
    the chess databases, but annotated games are increasingly hard to

    This book has games annotated by Karpov, Larsen, Hort, Suttles,
    Mecking, Donald Byrne, Gligoric, Keres, Saidy, Portisch, Kaplan, Evans
    and Smith. Two games were annotated by both Larsen and Petrosian. In addition, many of the games were annotated by International Master
    David Levy.

    This book also marks the beginning of a great series of books: the RHM Series. San Antonio 1972 was the first of many high quality chess
    books published by RHM.

    This RHM Series of high quality chess books was the brain child of
    Sidney Fried (born 22 June 1919 – died 1 June 1991). Sidney Fried was
    not a strong player but was an aficionado or big fan of chess.

    Sidney Fried had a lot of money. He had made his fortune in common
    stock purchase warrants. Then, he made more money writing books and
    two newsletters about it. His stock market books are still available
    today, including such works as “Investment and Speculation with
    Warrants - Options & Convertibles” and “Fortune building in the 70's
    with common stock warrants and low-price stocks” by Sidney Fried.

    Fried had a number of unusual habits, one of which was that he owned
    nothing. He put everything he owned into his corporations, R H M
    Press, a Division of RHM Associates of Delaware, Inc.

    Fried was a member of the Libertarian Party. Since Fried had no
    assets, this enabled him to get away with not paying any taxes.
    However, upon his death it was discovered that he had left no will and therefore nothing, including his New York townhouse, his personal home
    on Long Island, his yacht and his California estate that were owned by
    his corporations could be inherited.

    This also affected the publication of this book. It appears that all
    of his RHM books were “Work Made for Hire” books, in which he paid the authors in cash rather than signing standard royalty agreements. This certainly simplified matters. It enabled his books to have numerous
    authors, translators and editors, and a chief editor, Burt Hochberg (1933-2006). Hochberg wrote, “grandmasters were very well paid to
    write them.” Imagine the difficulties of dividing royalty payments
    among the many contributors and the even bigger problems of trying to negotiate royalty deals with different people. (For example, “I demand
    to be paid as much as Petrosian!!!”)

    Eventually, Sidney Fried lost a lot of money the same way he had made
    it, gambling on stock market purchase options and warrants. It is not
    clear whether he died broke or nearly broke, but in any case he left
    behind a great series of chess books that we can still read today and remember him by.

    This book was originally published in Descriptive Chess Notation.
    Since that time, Descriptive has become almost obsolete. For that
    reason, all 120 games in this book have been converted into modern
    Algebraic Notation and are included in an appendix in the back of the

    The games in the back are grouped and sorted alphabetically according
    to the player of the white pieces. Thus, all games in which Browne
    played White are first, followed by the games by Byrne, Campos-Lopez,
    Evans, Gligoric, Hort, Kaplan, Karpov, Keres, Larsen, Mecking,
    Petrosian, Portisch, Saidy and Smith in that order.

    Sam Sloan
    October 11, 2009

    ISBN 4-87187-814-7

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/4871878147 http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbninquiry.asp?box=9784871878142&pos=-1&EAN=9784871878142

    I’m not very internet or computer savvy but i’m Giving this a try
    My husband has an original score card from this 1972 tournament.
    We’re not sure how he came to posses this but it’s blank and just sitting in our home. I have no idea how to go about getting it to a person who might appreciate its historical significance.
    We are not familiar with the chess community. Please feel free to share my email with anyone who may provide me with suggestions on how i might get this document to an perso
    Or organization who would know what to do with it.
    Sylviadavilarn@gmail.com. Thank you

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