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Untitled Document

New Books


The most beautiful studies and problems of Mario Matouš, the best Czech chess composer of the 20th century, and bizarre chess stories of Pavel Houser connected by illustrations of Kristina Peřichová into one splendid book. The book was published also in limited numbered edition (100 copies), bound in imitation leather with an embossed diagram, paper cover and sewn ribbon bookmark. On 240 pages you will found 45 studies and problems, 22 stories and 36 illustrations. The book is supplemented by biographies of both of the authors and several yet non-published photos. The book was published by Prague chess society in 2014.

(limited edition in imitation leather - 999 CZK + postage)

333,- Kč (+ postage)

The book can be ordered at an e-mail address Please give your full name, address and phone number.

V Autodoc
Untitled Document

Snowdrops and Oldhands 2013

From Hungary to the Wall Street

[07.12.2013 00:00:00] - The full conference hall of the Zamecek (= „small chateau“) Hotel in Podebrady has experienced an amusing lecture of GM Pal Benko on the topic „My encounters with Bobby Fischer.“ Eighty five years old Benko was continuously speaking about his career and Fischer for almost for two hours. He showed four games which he played against the famous Bobby. Pavel Votruba and David Navara successfully performed the complicated task of translating into Czech.

Pal Benko first met Fischer at the Interzonal tournament in Portoroz in 1958. Fischer came there as a fifteen-year-old youngster and already tied for 5th place with GM Olafsson just behind 4th GM Benko. Those results ensured both Benko and Fischer a qualification into the Candidates tournament. After 55 years GM Benko recalled their first encounter with the words: „Then he still could not handle the strategy.“ and demonstrated the game to the audience.

Pal Benko vs. Robert James Fischer
King's Indian Defence E81
Portoroz Interzonal (4), 1958

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 White choses the Saemisch line. 5…e5 6.Nge2 0–0 7.Bg5 exd4 8.Nxd4 Nc6 9.Nc2 Be6 10.Be2 h6 11.Bh4 g5 12.Bf2 Ne5 13.Ne3 c6 14.0–0 Qa5 15.Qd2 Rfd8 16.Rfd1 a6 17.a4 Qc7 18.a5 c5
Benko: „The whole Black's setup is bad. It was apparent that Fischer had no long-term strategy.“
19.h4 Qe7 20.hxg5 hxg5 21.Nf5 Sxf5 22.exf5 g4 23.Bh4 Qf8 24.fxg4 Nexg4 25.Bxg4 Nxg4 26.Qg5
Benko: „The rook on d8 did not interest me at all, I wanted to attack.“
26…Nf6 27.Rd3 Nh7 28.Qg4 f6 29.Nd5 Qf7 30.Re1 Re8 31.Rde3
Benko: „Here I did not play the obvious move 31.Ve6, which would allow me to win quickly.“
31…Re5 32.Bg3 Rxe3 33.Rxe3 Re8 34.Re6
Benko: „This time I already played it.“
34…Ng5 35.Rxd6 Re4 36.Rd8+ Kh7 37.Bf4 Bh6

38.Rd7 Re1+ 39.Kf2
Benko: „I was short of time. If I had retreated to h2, I would have won a queen immediately.“

39…Ne4+ 40.Kxe1 Qxd7 41.Qg6+ 1–0

Benko then reminisced about the times of his chess career in Hungary. It was severely influenced in 1952, when he was caught during his attempt to emigrate. Subsequently he spent almost two years in jail. His imprisonment could have lasted longer if not for Stalin's death in 1953 and subsequent liberation. Pal also faced problems during one of his Berlin visits, when he was arrested by the East German secret police and taken to Prague for three days before he was transported back to Budapest. In 1956 he was still a member of a Hungarian team, which achieved bronze medals at the chess olympiad in Moscow. However, in 1957 he emigrated during the World Student Teams Championship in Reykjavik, Iceland. Hungary then took 4th place behind Czechoslovakia. Subsequently he finished second behind Czechoslovak grandmaster Ludek Pachman at the Zonal tournament in Dublin. Grandmaster Benko then qualified for the above-mentioned Interzonal tournament in Portoroz, where he first met Bobby Fischer. He played the whole tournament as a person without a citizenship and with no flag.
After his emigration Pal Benko settled in New York. He commented on his start in America with those words: „After the arrival into America there was no time for chess preparation, I had to make a living. Coming from a socialistic Hungary, I got into the heart of capitalism – at the financial palace on the Wall Street, where I worked as a broker.“ He used to play with Bobby Fischer very often those days, they often visited him in his appartment and they both also belonged to the Manhattan Chess Club. Pal said:„I owe Bobby a lot. Due to his growing fame it was far easier to make one's living playing chess. I could leave Wall Street and start to play chess professionally. “
With Fischer they have played altogether 18 games since 1958. Grandmaster Benko won three of them, but was defeated eight times. He most regrets three games, which he lossed because of his blunders, mostly in the time troubles. “If I had used all my chances, I could have had a positive score against Fischer.”, regretted Benko. He showed all those three lost games to the audience:

Pal Benko vs. Robert James Fischer
USA-ch New York (1), 1966

In this position White could have played 24.Nxa8 Bxc1 25.Nc7 Bxb2 26.Rb1 Rc8 27.Nd5 Rc2 28.Ne3!, winning at least a piece. Both players missed the move 28.Ne3 in their calculations. The game followed with
24.Re1 Rec8 25.Nxa8 Rc2 26.Rxe2 Rxe2+ 27.Kf1 Rxb2 28.Bc3 Rc2 29.Bxd4 exd4 30.e5 Be3 31.Bxb7 Rf2+ 32.Ke1 d3 33.Ba6 Re2+ 34.Kd1 Rxh2 35.Bxd3 Rd2+ 36.Ke1 Rxd3 37.Ke2 Ra3 38.Nc7 Bd4 39.Nb5 Bxa1 40.Nxa3 Bxe5 41.g4 Kg7 42.Nc4 Kf6 0–1

The next two games which Pal demonstrated to the spectators were from the Candidates tournament in Cura?ao 1962, where Fischer finished 4th and Benko 6th.

Robert James Fischer vs. Pal Benko
Candidates Tournament Curacao (22), 14.06.1962

In the diagrammed position Black could have played 28...Sc6 in order to meet eventual 29.g4 with 29...Bf3!, getting a winning attack. Being in a time trouble, Benko instead chose erroneous
…and the game finished with a Fischer's victory within three moves:
29.g4 fxg4 30.Rxg4 Kh8 31.Qxh6+!
This spectacular sacrifice immediately finishes the game – on 31…gxh6 there follows 32.Jf7#

Robert James Fischer vs. Pal Benko
Candidates Tournament Curacao (8), 13.05.1962

Grandmasters Tal and Petrosian joined GM Benko during the post-mortem. The three players analyzed the following line: 19.Qh5 h6 20.Qg6 hxg5 21.hxg5 Be5 (Instead, Black could have saved the game by 21...Bxb2+, e.g. 22.Kxb2 Qb4+ 23.Kc1 Qf4+ 24.Kb1 Qb4+= with a perpetual check.) 22.Rh7 Rf7 23.Bc4! bxc4 24.Rd8+ Qf8 25.Qh5 g6 26.Qxg6+ and White emerges victorious.
And this is the missed chance. It was enough to play 19...Sxb2+!, thereby forcing a draw: 20.Kxb2 Qb4+ 21.Kc1 Qa3+ 22.Kd2 Qa5+ 23.Kc1 (23.Ke3? Re8–+) 23...Qa3+. „I saw the line and wanted to play 19...Bxb2+, but after Fischer took on e6, I automatically recaptured and consequently remained a pawn down. Perhaps I still could have saved the game, but I was too annoyed to cope with that.”
20.Qxe6+ Kh8 21.Kb1 Qxf2 22.Qxf5 Qxf5 23.Bxf5 g6 24.Bd3 Rad8 25.h5 Kg7 26.hxg6 hxg6 27.Bxb5 Rxd1+ 28.Rxd1 Rb8 29.a4 a6 30.Rd7+ Kh6 31.Rd6 Bxb2 32.Kxb2 axb5 33.a5 Ra8 34.a6 Kh5 35.Kb3 g5 36.Kb4 Kg4 37.Kxb5 Kg3 38.Rd7 g4 39.a7 1–0
The fascinating lesson of a vigorous eighty-five-year-old Pal Benko as well as the performance of both translators were rewarded by a deserved applause of all the spectators.

| Pavel Matocha | visits(3836x)

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