Chess in 1971

 by Bill Wall


In 1971, Bobby Fischer won the Manhattan Chess Club 5-minute championship.


In 1971, the first Statham Masters event was won by Larry Evans.


In 1971, Savon won the 39th Soviet Championship, held in Leningrad.


In 1971 the Institute of Control Science, Moscow, created KAISSA using a British computer to play chess.


In 1971, Trevor Stowe, an antiques dealer in London was arrested and fined for indecent exhibition of a chess set while on display in the window of his shop.  Each of the 32 pieces showed couples in sexual positions.  The dealer had to pay $132 in fines and court costs.  Stowe specialized in newly manufactured chess sets at his “Galeries d’Echec” in Harcourt Street, London.


In a Canadian tournament in 1971, one of Walter Browne’s opponents tried to fluster him in a time-pressure scramble by banging an extra Queen down on the side of the board.  The opponent’s pawn was about to make it to the 8th rank and get promoted to a Queen.  Browne picked up the extra Queen and hurled it across the tournament room.


In 1971, James Slagle won the first US championship for the blind.


In 1971, Larry Christiansen was the first Junior High School player to win the National High School championship.


In January, 1971, the top 10 players were Fischer (2740), Spassky (2690), Korchnoi (2660), Larsen (2660), Petrosian (2640), Portisch (2630), Botvinnik (2630), Geller (2630), Polugaevesky (2630), and Tal (2620).


On Jan 15, 1971, Carroll Capps (1913-1971) died in San Francisco.  He was a long-time benefactor of San Francisco chess. He was a former president of the San Francisco Bay Area Chess League, and won the Northern California and San Francisco chess championship several times.


On  January 19, 1971, Bill Cosby and Don Knotts played chess on the Don Knotts Show.


On February 1, 1971, Alex Sherzer was born.  He won the US Junior Championship in 1989 and 1991.  He was awarded the GM title in 1993.


On February 17, 1971, Vasil Spasov was born in Bulgaria.  He was the 1989 World U-20 Chess Champion. He was Bulgarian champion in 1990, 1997, 2000, 2003, and 2008.  He was awarded the GM title in 1990.


On February 24, 1971, Christopher Lutz was born in Germany.  He was awarded the GM title in 1992.


On February 28, 1971, Hans Mueller (1896-1971) died in Austria at the age of 74.  He was Austrian champion in 1947.  He was awarded the IM title in 1950.


On March 16, 1971, Emil Richter (1894-1971) died in Czechoslovakia at the age of 77.  He was Czech champion in 1948.  He was awarded the IM title in 1951.


On April 2, 1971, David Garcia Ilundain (1971-2002) was born in Spain.  He was awarded the IM title in 1992 and the GM title in 1995.


On May 2, 1971, Olaf Barda (1909-1971) died in Oslo at the age of 61.  He was 6-time Norwegian champion.  He was awarded the IM title in 1952 and the GM in Correspondence title in 1953.


On May 31, 1971, Mikhail  Ulibin was born in Russia.  He was awarded the GM title in 1991.

On June 2, 1971, Bobby Fischer beat Mark Taimanov 6-0, in the Candidates match in Vancouver, BC.  It was the first shutout of a grandmaster in history.   When Mark Taimanov (1926- ) returned to the USSR after losing to Bobby Fischer 6-0, he was banned from playing outside the country for several years and was stripped of his title ‘Honored Master of Sport.’ He was a concert pianist and was not allowed to give any more performances. He was also banned from writing any articles and was deprived of his monthly stipend.  When former world champion Petrosian lost to Fischer, he lost his job as editor of 64 chess magazine.

On June 30, 1971, Carel Benjamin van den Berg (1924-1971) died in the Netherlands at the age of 47.  He was Dutch CC champion in 1943.  He was awarded the IM title in 1963.


On July 20, 1971, Bobby Fischer beat Bent Larsen in Denver with the score of 6-0.  Fischer’s performance rating was 3060. His USCF rating peaked at 2825.  Fischer had won 19 straight games in international play against the strongest players in the world.


In August, 1971, Walter Browne and Larry Evans won the 72nd US Open in Ventura, California.  They each won $1,200.  There were 402 players.


On September 27, 1971, Jose Joaqin Araiza Munoz (1900-1971) died in Mexico at the age of 71.  He was Mexican champion in 1957.


On October 2, 1971, an episode (Season 1, Episode 3) called “The Chess Game” appeared on The Good Life (TV series from 1971 to 1972), starring Larry Hagman and Donna Mills.


On October 26, 1971, Bobby Fischer defeated Tigran Petrosian in the Candidates match in Buenos Aires. He beat Petrosian with 5 wins, 3 draws, and 1 loss in Buenos Aires for the Candidates finals. He now became challenger for the world championship. His USCF rating was 2824. His FIDE rating was 2785.During the match with Petrosian, someone threw a stink bomb in the playing hall and the lights went out during two games.  Fischer was awarded $7,500 and a $3,000 honorarium from the USCF.  The New York Times reported the event on its front page.  The last time chess had made the front page was in 1954, when the Soviet chess team visited New York for a chess match.


On October 31, 1971, Alexander Zaitsev (1935-1971) died of thrombosis after having a leg lengthened.  He was 36.  He was awarded the IM title in 1965 and the GM title in 1967.


On November 13, 1971, David Moran, and inmate at Western Penitentiary, was permitted to play in an out-of-prison chess match as Carnegie-Mellon University.  During the chess match, he escaped.  He was part of “The Wall Knights” prison chess team.  He was serving two to four years for receiving stolen goods.  Another prisoner escaped a week later at another chess tournament.  (source: Somerset Daily American, PA, Nov 25, 1971)


On November 17, 1971, Michael Adams was born in Truro, Cornwall, England.  He was awarded the IM title in 1987 and the GM title in 1989.  He won the British championship in 1989, 2010, and 2011.


On December 7, 1971, Vladimir Akopian was born in Azerbaijan.  He was awarded the IM title in 1988 and the GM title in 1991.  He was World U16 Champion in 1986. He was World U18 Champion in 1989.  He was World Junior Champion in 1991.  He was Armenian Champion in 1996 and 1997.


On December 14, 1971, Viktor Bologan was born in Moldavia.  He was awarded the GM title in 1991.