Chess in 1972

 by Bill Wall


In 1972, during the World Youth Team championship in Graz, Switzerland, Robert Huebner of Germany was scheduled to play Ken Rogoff of the USA.  Both were tired from previous long games and Huebner offered a draw to Rogoff without making any moves.  However, the arbiters did not like this and refused the game.  So the two players put together a scoresheet of a game that looked like this: 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.Ng1 Ng8 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Ng1 Ng8 and so on ... Draw.  The arbiters were not amused.   They insisted that the two play some real moves.  So the next game went 1.c4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Nf1 Bg7 4.Qa4 O-O 5.Qxd7 Qxd7 6.g4 Qxd2+ 7.Kxd2 Nxg4 8.b4 a5 9.a4 Bxa1 10.Bb2 Nc6 11.Bh8 Bg7 12.h4 axb4 draw.  The arbiters were not amused.  They insisted that the two play a valid game.  Rogoff agreed but Huebner did not, so Rogoff was given a win and Huebner was given a loss.  The Russian team pressed for a double forfeit, but Huebner insisted that he alone bore responsibility.  Years later, the main arbiter, Sajtar, admitted he was wrong in ordering a rematch of the games.

In 1972, Mikhail Tal won the 40th Soviet Championship, held in Baku.

On January 4, 1972, Bobby Fischer appeared in the Dick Cavett Show.


On January 18, 1972, Alisa Galliamova was born in Kazan, USSR.  She was awarded the WGM title in 1989.


In February, 1972, CBS’s 60 Minutes did a segment of Bobby Fischer, interviewed by Mike Wallace.


In February, 1972, Bobby Fischer appeared on the David Frost Show.


On February 8, 1972, Ilya Gurevich was born in Kiev.  He was World U-20 Champion in 1990.  She was Russian women’s champion in 1997, 2009, and 2010.


On February 9, 1972, Victor Soultanbeiff (1895-1972) died in Liege, Belgium at the age of 76.  He was champion of the Belgian federation* in 1932 (=Israel Dyner), 1934, 1943, 1957 and 1961.


In March 1972, Walter Browne won the 5th annual National Open in Sparks, Nevada on tiebreak points over Louis Levy.


On March 20, 1972, Georgy Lisitsin (1909-1972) died in Leningrad at the age of 61.  He was Leningrad Champion in 1933-34 (jointly), 1939 and 1947 (jointly). He was awarded the IM title in 1950.


On May 6, 1972, Jesse Kraai was born in Richmond, California.  He was awarded the GM title in 2007.  He was 1987 National Junior HS champion and 1988 National High School co-champion.


The May 19, 1972 edition of Life magazine had an article on Fischer, written by Brad Darrach.  It described Fischer training for the world championship match at Grossinger’s, the Catskill resort.  Darrach wrote that Fischer does not get up until 4 pm, spending the night studying chess.  Fischer said “I really love the dark of the night.  It helps me concentrate.”  Once Fischer is up, he begins with a tennis lesson from a pro for an hour.    Tennis is followed by a workout in the hotel gym with weights, skipping rope, doing sit-ups, and boxing with a 300- pound bag.  Then he swims a few laps in the pool underwater to build up his wind and build up his lungs.  Fischer was age 29, stood 6 foot and 2 inches, and weighed 190 pounds.


On May 22, 1972, Konstantin Landa was born in Omsk, Russia.  He was awarded the IM title in 1991 and the GM title in 1995.


On May 27, 1972, Kazimierz Makarczyk (1901-1972) died in Lodz, Poland at the age of 71.  He won the Polish championship in 1948.  He was awarded the IM title in 1950. 


In July 1972, Walter Browne won the National Chess Congress Premier championship, held in Chicago.  He won $1,000.


On July 4, 1972, Alexey Shirov was born in Riga, Latvia.  He was World Under 16 champion in 1988.  He was awarded the IM title in 1989 and the GM title in 1990.  He was Spanish champion in 2002.


On July 8, 1972, Victor Mikhalevski was born in Gomel, Belarus.  He was awarded the GM title in 1996.


On July 11, 1972 he began his match with Boris Spassky in Reykjavik (Smoky Bay), Iceland for the world championship.


In July-August 1972, most of the TV networks covered the Fischer-Spassky world championship match.  WNET/PBS (Channel 13) covered the match, which became their most watched program, with millions of viewers.  The PBS coverage, produced by Mike Chase, was the first-ever live, real-time American TV coverage of a chess championship match.  The PBS coverage has hosted by Shelby Lyman and Edmar Mednis.  Lyman was paid only $10 per diem to cover the match.


On July 18, 1972, Hannes Stefansson was born in Iceland.  He was World Under 16 champion in 1987.  He was awarded the IM title in 1988 and the GM title in 1993.  He was Iceland Champion in 1998, 1999, 2001-2008, and 2013.


On July 23, 1972, Sir George Alan Thomas (1881-1972) died in London at the age of 91.  He was London champion in 1911 and 1946.  He was British champion in 1923 and 1934.  He was also 7-time British badminton champion (he won 21 British badminton titles between 1903 and 1928), and quarter-finalist tennis player at Wimbledon (1922).  He played at Wimbledon from 1919 to 1926.  He was also an internationally ranked hockey, squash and table-tennis player. 


On August 1, 1972, Vadim Milov was born in Ufa, Russia.  He was awarded the GM title in 1993.  He was Swiss champion in 2015.


On August 12, 1972, Dimitri Reinderman was born in Hoorn, the Netherlands.  He was awarded the GM title in 1998.  He won the Dutch championship in 2013.  He won the Dutch Open in 2015.


In August 1972, 23-year-old Walter Browne won the 73rd US Open in Atlantic City, scoring 10.5 out of 12 (9 wins and 3 draws).  There were 350 players in the event.


On September 2, 1972, Bobby Fischer (2785) defeated Boris Spassky (2660) to become world chess champion.  Bobby became the 11th world chess champion after winning 7 games, drawing 11 games, and losing 3 games (one on forfeit). Fischer received $153,240 for his efforts and another $40,000 in royalties.  Fischer donated $61,200 of his winnings to the Worldwide Church of God.   Ultimately, his tithe to the church was around $100,000.  His USCF rating after the event was 2810. This would be his last USCF rating. His FIDE rating was 2780. This would be his last FIDE rating.


On September 9, 1972, Alexander Edelsberg died in South Carolina.  He was 5-time South Carolina Chess Champion.


On September 22, 1972, the mayor of New York, John Lindsey, declared that day as “Bobby Fischer Day.”  The mayor had offered Fischer a ticker-tape parade in Manhattan, but Fischer did not like the idea.  The mayor gave Bobby a gold medal, but not the key to the city.  In his speech, Fischer said, “I want to deny a vicious rumor that’s been going around…It is not true that Henry Kissinger phoned me during the night to tell me the moves.”  He then signed hundreds of autographs for those who were at City Hall.


On September 22, 1972, Jerry Lewis played chess with Sonny Bono in one of the episodes (Season 3, Episode 2) on The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour (TV series from 1971 to 1974).  Jerry appears as a chess champion whose annoying habits distract his opponent (Sonny).


On September 27, 1972, Alexei Federov was born in Mogilev, Russia.  He was awarded the GM title in 1995.  He was champion of Belarus in 1993, 1995, 2005 and 2008.


On October 4, 1972, Kenneth Harkness (1896-1972) died on a train in Yugoslavia, on his way to Skopje to be an arbiter at the Chess Olympiad.  He was a chess organizer and creator of the Harkness rating system.


On October 5, 1972, Bobby Fischer appeared on the Bob Hope Show.


In 1972, Larry Evans was playing Anthony Saidy in the final round of the Church’s San Antonio tournament.  The game was adjourned and Saidy had a winning position. Evans, after staying up all night studying the lost position, decided the adjourned position was hopeless and booked an early flight home.  The next day, Saidy blundered on move 46. At move 60 when there was still time to catch the plane, Evans said "It's a book draw."   "Show me the book" replied Saidy.  Evans responded, "I have a schedule to meet."  Saidy replied, "Show me the schedule."  With each move the draw became more obvious.   Finally, Saidy said "You know it's against the rules to talk to your opponent."   "Show me the rules!" said Evans .  The game was finally drawn after 106 moves.  After the game, Saidy told Evans "You know we have played 12 games and it was the first time I was up a pawn against you. I was enjoying it too much.  Sorry."  The tournament director later told Evans that he should not have told Saidy that he had a plane to catch.   When Saidy finally signed the score sheets, Evans rushed off to the San Antonio airport, but he missed his flight and had to stay another day.


On October 7, 1972, Loek van Wely was born in Heesch, Netherlands.  He was awarded the GM title in 1993.


On October 8, 1972, Hichem Hamdouchi was born in Tangier, Morocco.  He was awarded the GM title in 1994.  He has won the Moroccan chess championship 11 times.  He won the Arab championship in 1995, 2002, and 2004.  He won the French championship in 2013.


On October 26, 1972, Mary Bain (nee Weiser) (1904-1972) died in New York City at the age of 68.  She was Women's World Championship Challenger in 1937 and 1952 and was awarded the WIM title in 1952. She was US Women's Champion from 1951-53.


In November,1972 Anatoly Karpov tied for first with Petrosian and Portisch at the Church’s Fried Chicken International Tournament in San Antonio.  Bobby Fischer made a surprise visit to the event as a spectator for one day.


On November 5, 1972, “A Game of Chess” was one of the episodes (Season 8, Episode 8) in The F.B.I (TV series from 1965 to 1974), starring Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. (1918- ) as Inspector Erskine.  Erskine poses as a blind chess master in order to infiltrate a spy ring.   


On November 8, 1972, Bobby Fischer appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.


On November 12, 1972, Pablo Zarnicki was born in Argentina.  In 1992, he won the World Junior Chess Championship.


In December, 1972, Columbia University won the  Pan-American intercollegiate championship, held in Toronto.  There were 233 players.

On December 21, 1972, Bobby Fischer appeared on the Dick Cavett show and talked about chess.


In December, 1972, Bobby Fischer met the press at a luncheon in his honor at the home of his attorney, Stanley Radar, in Beverly Hills. A few producers had already contacted him with a variety of film and television appearances. He had been discussing with Wolper Productions about doing a documentary based on his life. He told the press that he eats sensibly and sleeps 10 hours a night. For relaxation he said he plays racquetball and tennis and takes walks.