Chess in 1973

 by Bill Wall


In 1973, the Association of US Journalists, or Chess Journalists of America (CJA) was established.


In 1973, during the Anglo-Dutch match, chain smoker Jan Donner (1927-1988) was filling up a large Bakelite ashtray with all of his discarded cigarettes.  Cigarette after cigarette and all the ashes were making a big pile in the ashtray, much of which was still emitting smoke.  Eventually, after several hours of play and several packs of cigarettes, the mountain of ash and discarded cigarettes burst into flames, causing the Bakelite ashtray to crack completely in half.  The players were still transfixed on the position of their game as the chess table started to burn, with neither player seemingly about to take any action to control the fire.  At this point, Ray Keene picked up Donner’s coffee cup and threw the contents over the fire.  With the chess table now covered in a mess, the players looked at one another and offered a draw, shook hands, and left the table.


In 1973, the police raided a chess tournament in Cleveland, Ohio.  The arrested the tournament director and confiscated the chess sets on charges of allowing gambling (cash prizes to winners) and possession of gambling devices (the chess sets). 


In 1973, Las Vegas offered Bobby Fischer $1 million to play a chess match in Las Vegas.   Paul Marshall, Bobby’s lawyer, said that Fischer had over $10 million in offers to play chess or advertise, but Fischer turned them all down.  Fischer thought that lending his name to something was beneath his dignity.   In 1973 Bobby moved to Los Angeles.   An apartment was provided for him for $200 a month by the Worldwide Church of God.  Fischer said he wanted to continue his religious studies.  His mother Regina later sent him her Social Security checks to survive on.


In January, 1973, the top chess players were Fischer (2780), Tal (2660), Karpov (2660), Spassky (2655), Korchnoi (2650), Portisch (2650), Petrrosian (2640), Botvinnik (2630), Polugaevsky (2625), and Larsen (2620).


On January 8, 1973, an episode called “The Chess Game” appeared on The Black Arrow (TV series from 1972 to 1975) in the UK.


In January 1973, the Bobby Darin Show debuted (1972-1973), starring Bobby Darin (1936-1973).  He always had a chess set while on the air and sometimes explained tricky chess moves.  He featured a chess problem every week on his show.  He planned to sponsor a huge chess tournament, the First Annual Bobby Darrin Chess Classic, but died before the event took place.


On January 18, 1973, Vasily Panov (1906-1973) died in the USSR at the age of 66.  He was champion of Moscow in 1929.  He was awarded the IM title in 1950.  He was quoted as saying, "I consider every opponent to be a strong player until he proves the opposite."


On January 18, 1973, Israel Albert (“Al”) Horowitz (1907-1973) died in New York City at the age of 65.  He was a leading player in the US during the 1930's and was US Open Champion in 1936, 1938 and 1943.  In 1933, he founded Chess Review magazine.  He was awarded the IM title in 1950 and the International Arbiter title in 1951.  From 1962 to 1972, he was a chess columnist for The New York Times. (source: Wellsville Daily Reporter, Jan 22, 1973)


On February 13, 1973, Hans Kmoch (1894-1973) died in New York at the age of 78.  He was awarded the IM title in 1950 and became an International Arbiter in 1951.  He served as the Secretary and manager of the Manhattan Chess Club in New York City from 1951 to 1973.


On February 14, 1972, Sergei Tiviakov was born in Krasnodar, Russia.  He won the World Under-18 Championship in 1990 in Singapore. He was awarded the IM title in 1990 and the GM title in 1991.  He won the Dutch championship in 1006 and 2007.


In March, 1973, Walter Browne took 1st place on tiebreaks over with Laszlo Szabo and James Tarjan at the National Open in Las Vegas.  Browne took home $700 for his efforts.


On March 4, 1973, “The Most Dangerous Match” was one of the episodes (Season 2, Episode 7) on NBC’s Columbo (TV series from 1971 to 1978 on NBC), starring Peter Falk (1927-2011).  A chess player, Emmett Clayton murders his Russian chess opponent, Tomlin Dudek, before a big match.


On March 23, 1973, Texas A&M and the University of Texas competed in a game of chess over amateur radio.  The chess clubs of each school communicated their moves via amateur radio (3.950 MHz SSB and two meter AM).  Texas A&M won the match.


On March 24, 1973, Arthur Bisguier won the Louis D. Statham masters and experts tournament in Lone Pine, California


On April 8, 1973, Peng Xiaomin was born in Handan, China.  He was awarded the GM title in 1997.  He was champion of China in 1998.


On April 12, 1973, Joel Lautier was born in Scarborough, Canada.  He was U20 World Youth Chess Champion in 1988.   He was awarded the IM title in 1988 and the GM title in 1990.  He was French champion in 2004 and 2005.


In April, 1973, Mikhail Tal played 86 games without defeat (+47=39) starting in July, 1972.


On April 28, 1973, Aleksander Lipenieks (1908-1973) died in Lincoln, Nebraska at the age of 64.  He won the Lincoln championship 15 times.  He organized the 1955 US Junior Championship where Bobby Fischer made his first appearance on the national chess scene. (source: Lincoln Star, May 6, 1973)


On May 11, 1973, Aleksej Aleksandrov was born in Belarus.  He was awarded the GM title in 1997.  He was champion of Belarus in 1989, 1990, 1996 and 2007.


On May 24, 1973, Peter Heine Nielsen was born in Denmark.  He was awarded the GM title in 1994.  He is the current coach of world chess champion Magnus Carlsen.


On June 12, 1973, Yuliya (Julia) Levitan was born in Russia.  She is an International Woman Master (WIM).


On June 11, 1973, Bror Axel Folke Per Rogard (1899-1973) died in Stockholm, Sweden at the age of 73.  He was a lawyer and was the second president of FIDE (1949-1970). (source: Bridgeport Post, June 15, 1973)


On July 4, 1973, Walter Browne won the first World Open, held at the McAlpin Hotel in New York, scoring 9-1.  There were 732 players with a $15,000 prize fund.  Browne won $2,000.


On July 4, 1973, Leonid Zakharovich Stein (1934-1973) died of a heart attack at the age of 38 in Moscow.  He was awarded the GM title in 1962.  He was USSR champion in 1963, 1965, and 1966.  He was ranked #12 in the world when he died.  (source: Mitchell, SD Daily Republic, July 6, 1973)


In 1973, Radio Atlantis, a Belgium-owned offshore pirated station, was supposed to go on the air on July 15.  However, it was discovered that the 773 kHz transmitter crystal had gone missing.  It turned out that the crystal was being used as a replacement pawn for the ship’s chessboard, and the piece was apparently thrown overboard when a new chess set was delivered, replacing the old chess set.


On July 31, 1973, Jacob Aagaard was born in Denmark.  He was awarded the GM title in 2007.  He won the Scottish championship in 2005 and 2012.  He was British champion in 2007.


In August, 1973, Bobby Fischer gave a press conference in Beverly Hills with Stanley Rader, the chief counsel for the Worldwide Church of God by his side.  Fischer was planning a series of simultaneous exhibitions and matches for 1974.  He was also planning to play the Dutch Olympic team simultaneously and a tour of the Soviet Union and South America.  When reporters asked Bobby what he had been doing for the past year, Fischer responded, “Well, uh, I’ve been reading, working out, playing over some games, that sort of thing.”


In August, 1973, Norman Weinstein took 1st at the US Open, held in Chicago.  There were 778 players in the event.  Weinstein, age 22, was an MIT graduate student with a master’s in mathematics from Brandeis University.


On August 12, 1973, Jose Gonzalez Garcia was born in Mexico.   He was Mexican champion in 1996.  He was awarded the IM title in 1996 and the GM title in 2006.


In October 1973, the Israel Open was cancelled after a few rounds due to the Yom Kippur war. 


In October, 1973, Spassky won the 41st Soviet Championship, held in Moscow. He was followed by Karpov, Korchnoi, Kuzmin, Petrosian, Polugaevsky, Geller, and Grigorian. There were 18 players.


On November 9, 1973, Vladislav Tkachiev was born in Moscow.  He was awarded the IM title in 1993 and the GM title in 1996.  In 2007, he won the European championship.


In November, 1973, Bobby Fischer was the guest of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos. Fischer first flew to Bangkok, Thailand, then to Manila.  He made an appearance at the First Philippines International Tournament, won by Bent Larsen. Fischer played an exhibition game with President Marcos, which was broadcast on television. It lasted 5 minutes after 8 moves and a draw agreed. Fischer then played Florencio Campomanes, President of the Philippines Chess Federation, in a blitz game on television. Fischer won on time. Fischer was paid $20,000 for appearance fee and all expenses paid.  Fischer stayed at the Tropical Palace resort near Manila for a month.


On December 6, 1973, Braslav Rabar (1919-1973) died in Zagreb, Yugoslavia at the age of 54.  He was awarded the IM title in 1950.  He was Yugoslav champion in 1951 and 1953.

In 1973, Anatoly Karpov the 1973 chess Oscar and was voted one of the top 10 sportsmen of the year in Russia.