Utah's chess star is going to be visible to the nation not once but twice during the coming two years - thanks to Robert Tanner and his committee that have already attracted two national tournaments in the past couple of years.
Last June the U.S. Seniors Chess Championship was held at Snowbird. It drew players from 17 states. Several years ago the U.S. Women's Championship Tournament was held in Brigham City.Because of the success of these tournaments, the U.S. Chess Federation (USCF) has awarded Utah two important tournaments.
The first will be the U.S. Amateur Championships. The event will be held in late May. Invited are players from across the nation rated below the "master" level (less than a 2200 USCF rating). Unrated players will also be included.
The Amateur is held in the spirit of honor and glory - but no cash. The Amateur presents only trophies and chess merchandise prizes.
All players must be members of the USCF. Because USCF dues will be increased after January, now is the time for non-members to join.
The tournament will be held at Snowbird.
Due to the large number of entrants, however, the other tournament coming to Utah, the U.S. Junior cannot be conducted at Snowbird - it will be at the Salt Palace instead. It will be, by all odds, the largest chess tournament ever held in Utah.
The junior high meet will be May 4-6, 1990.
It will be divided into three sections: Grades K-9, any rating; grades K-8, any rating; Junior Varsity; and grades K-8, rated under 1300 or unrated. (Schools with a 9th grade are a separate section from those that do not have a 9th grade.) With an expected attendance of between 800 and 1,000, this will be exciting to watch or to play in.
"Although many people," says Robert Tanner, "have been involved in promoting these events for Utah, there is a need for many volunteers to bring these events off successfully. Anyone wanting additional information or wishing to donate time, goods or money, should contact the committee by writing to Box 614, Salt Lake City, UT 84110"
* LET'S READ - "Don't be fooled by Fred Waitzkin's little gem of a book, `In Search of Bobby Fischer,' " writes Christopher Lehmann-Haupt in the New York Times Book Review.
The book has a subtitle that is really what the book is all about: "The World of Chess, Observed by the Father of a Child Prodigy."
Gradually the author introduces some of the drawbacks to his son's genius: the essential uselessness of chess either as a livelihood in itself or as a skill to be applied to other intellectual pursuits; the conflicting demands it puts on a child like Joshua, who loves the game but also wants to live like other normal children, and the dilemma it creates for his parents of wanting to indulge their pride in him yet avoiding treating him as their surrogate and justifying the woman who told the author: "Don't you know you are making him an addict? You're trying to make up for all the things you couldn't do with your own life."
We come to see that rearing a chess prodigy is simply a heightened version of rearing any child. You have to draw a careful line between empathy and identity; you have to make that impossible distinction between the child and yourself.
Waitzkin concludes: "Of course the difference is that as a chess player Bobby Fischer was a genius and that as a political thinker he's stupid. But anti-Semitism is perfect for him because he's built on opposition. Nazis are the bad boys of the world. Fischer identifies with that; he was a bad boy who never did what he was told."
"Still," Lehmann-Haupt concludes, "by the end of Waitzkin's book, the search for Bobby Fischer has come to mean the search for both the good and the bad in Joshua. That quest is beautifully resolved here, in a contest that knits together all the book's rich themes. I won't spoil it by disclosing anything about the climax."
* CONGRATULATIONS to the solvers! Covert Copier, Hal Knight, Edwin O. Smith, Dr. Harold Rosenberg, Gordon W. Green, Steve Farnsworth, Gene Woodruff, David Cook, Hal Harmon, Jim Fulmer, Kenneth L. Cook, Kay Lundstrom, Robert Tanner, Prof. Ardean Watts, Ted Pathakis, William DeVroom, Paul R. Lindeman, Joan Nay, Raymond Linner, John Nielson, Hal Wilkinson and Mark H. Timothy.