Chess in 1962

 by Bill Wall


In 1962, Viktor Korchnoi won the 30th Soviet Championship, held in Yerevan.


In January, 1962, Mikhail Botvinnik won the Hastings International Chess Congress, winning $280.


On January 5, 1962, Larry Evans re-captured the US chess championship he held from 1951 to 1954.  Bobby Fischer did not play in the event. 


On February 6, 1962, an episode of The Dick Powell Show called “The Prison” starred Charles Boyer and Theodore Bikel.  A chess-playing prisoner (Boyer) on a dreary island wants companionship of his sulking guard (Bikel).


On February 6, 1962, Antonio Antunes was born in Lisbon.  He was awarded the IM title in 1985 and the GM title in 1994.  He was Portuguese champion in 1988.


On February 8, 1962, Francis Gary Powers (1929-1977) was released from a Russian prison after being shot down in his U2 aircraft on May 1, 1960.  He spent the time in prison playing chess with fellow prisoners. (source: Long Beach Independent Press-Telegram, Feb 11, 1962)


On February 12, 1962, Nana Ioseliani was born in Tbilisi.  She was awarded the WIM title in 1979 and the WGM title in 1980.  She won the USSR Women’s Championship in 1981 and 1982.


On February 12, 1962 Fernand Gobet was born in Romont, Switzerland.  He won the Swiss Junior Championship in 1981.  He was awarded the IM title in 1985.


On March 11, 1962, Vyacheslav Ragozin (1908-1962) died in Moscow at the age of 53.  He was awarded the GM title in 1950 and the GMC title in 1959 when he won the 2nd World Correspondence Chess Championship (1956-1959).  He was a civil engineer and had a career in the construction industry. (source: Troy Times Record, Mar 12, 1962)


In April, 1962, 18-year-old Bobby Fischer won the Stockholm Interzonal 2.5 points ahead of the field.  He won with 13 wins, 9 draws, and no losses. This was the first Interzonal that a Soviet player did not take first place. Fischer earned $750 for his 1st place finish at the Interzonal.  Fischer's rating was 2713.


On April 3, 1962, Ernst Grünfeld (1893-1962) died in Vienna at the age of 68.  He was German champion in 1923.  He was awarded the GM title in 1950.


On April 12, 1962, Frans Andre Cuijpers was born in Heerlen, Netherlands.  He was awarded the IM title in 1984.


On April 18, 1962, William Nicholas Watson was born in Baghdad, Iraq.  He was awarded the IM title in 1982 and the GM title in 1990.


On April 23, 1962, Frank Graves (1893-1962) died in Fort Worth, TX.   He was elected USCF President in 1954.


On May 4, 1962, Josef Rejfir (1909-1962) died at the age of 52.  He was awarded the IM title in 1956.  He was one of the strongest Czech masters before the Second World War and played in the five Olympiads between 1928 and 1935.


On May 23, 1962, Igor Novikov was born in the Ukraine.  He was awarded the GM title in 1990.


In June 1962, Bobby Fischer gave an interview over Radio Liberty before departing for the Candidates Tournament.  He said that the USA will have a better chess team than the Soviet Union within 5 to 10 years. 


On June 9, 1962, Perry Youngworth wa born in Baltimore, Maryland.  He was awarded the FIDE Master title in 1984.  He won the American Open at age 16.


On June 13, 1962, Paul Motwani was born in Glasgow, Scotland.  He won the Scottish Championship in 1978 and was World Under 16 Champion in 1978-79.  He became Scotland’s first GM in 1992.


On June 26, 1962, Tigran Petrosian won the Curacao Candidates (Fischer took 4th place).  Fischer later accused the Russians of cheating in this event and that interview was published in the August 20, 1962 edition of Sports Illustrated under the title "The Russians Have Fixed World Chess."   Viktor Korchnoi confirmed Bobby’s accusations in his book, Chess is My Life.


On June 28, 1962, Gernot Gauglitz was born in Meissen, Germany.  He was awarded the IM title in 1986.


In 1962, the US State Department made an attempt to find someone with sufficient skill and sufficient government or social rank to play chess with the new Soviet ambassador to the United States – Anatoly Dobrynin.  As of July, 1962, the State Department did not find their ideal opponent for the ambassador.  If their chess was good enough, their rank was too low; and if their rank was good enough, their skill in chess was not acceptable.  (source: Lancaster, Ohio Eagle-Gazette, Jul 28, 1962)


On July 31, 1962,  Agnieszka Brustman was born in Warsaw.  She was awarded the WIM title in 1979 and the WGM title in 1985. She was World Junior Women's Champion in 1982. She was women’s Polish champion in 1982, 1984, 1987, and 1996.


On August 17, 1962, Michael Joseph Wilder was born in Philadelphia.  He was awarded the IM title in 1980 and the GM title in 1988.  He won the US championship in 1988.


On August 25, 1962,  Alexander (Nenachev) Graf was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.  He was champion of Uzbekistan in 1989.  He was awarded the GM title in 1992.  He won the German championship in 2004.


On September 24, 1962, Raj Tischbierek was born in Leipzig.  He was East German champion in 1987 and 1990.  He was awarded the GM title in 1990. 


On October 9, 1962, Dr. Milan Vidmar (1885-1962) died in Ljubljuna, Yugoslavia at the age of 77.  He was awarded the GM title in 1950.  He was Yugoslavia’s first grandmaster.  He was an electrical engineer (PhD).  He was a specialist in power transformers.   He was also the Chancellor of the University of Ljubljana and a member of the Slovene Academy of Sciences.  (source: Connellsville Daily Courier, Oct 12, 1962)


On October 9, 1962, an episode (Season 4, Episode 3) called “The Chess Game” appeared in The Untouchables.   The TV series lasted from 1959 to 1963.  A blind fish and seafood wholesaler (and bootlegger), Ira Bauer (Richard Conte), plays chess as a way of keeping his mind sharp.  He and Eliot Ness (Robert Stack) play a game of chess and the game ends in stalemate.  The board with the fancy chess pieces was set up wrong.


On October 14, 1962, Jaan Ehlvest was born in Estonia.  He was awarded the IM title in 1982 and the GM title in 1987.


On October 18, 1962,  Antonio Fernandes was born in Pamphilosa da Serra, Portugal.  He was awarded the IM title in 1985 and the GM title in 2003.  He has won the championship of Portugal 12 times.


On October 25, 1962, Abe Turner (1924-1962) was stabbed to death.  He was 38 years old.  He won the 1956-57 Manhattan Chess Club championship.  Theodore Smith, an ex-mental patient, was arrested for murder after stabbing to death Abe Turner at the office of Chess Review magazine. Smith stabbed Turner 9 times in the back, and then stuffed his 280 pound body in a large safe in a doctor’s basement. Turner’s body was found by the building superintendent that afternoon.  Smith had been recently released from an insane asylum and claimed that Turner was a Communist spy and had to be killed on orders from the U.S. Secret Service. (source: The Brandon Sun, Manitoba, Oct 31, 1962)


On November 18, 1962, Abram Gurvich (1897-1962) died in Moscow.  He was awarded the IJComp title in 1956.


On November 21, 1962,  Dimitri London was born in Kiev.  He was awarded the IM title in 1986. 


On November 30, 1962, Ossip Bernstein (1882-1962) died in France at the age of 80.  He was Moscow champion in 1911.  He was awarded the GM title in 1950. 


On December 6, 1962, Milan Drasko was born in Capljina, Yugoslavia.  He was awarded the IM title in 1984 and the GM title in 1993.