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Ever wondered what sort of historical chess events occured in 1969? Of course you have. Who hasn't? This information was compiled by Bill Wall.
In 1969, the top U.S. players were Bobby Fischer (2745), Sam Reshevsky (2604), Larry Evans (2587), Pal Benko (2583), and Robert Byrne (2530). There were 12,580 members of the United States Chess Federation (USCF).
In November, 1969, Chess Review merged with Chess Life, to become Chess Life and Review.
In 1969 the chess Oscar went to Boris Spassky, who also won it in 1968.
In April, 1969, the first U.S. High School championship was held in New York. There were 370 players. The winner was John Watson of Omaha, Nebraska. The High School team championship went to Gompers HS in Chicago.
The world chess championship was held in Moscow from April 14 through June 17. Boris Spassky defeated the world champion Tigran Petrosian by the score of 12.5 to 10.5 to become new world champion.
The world’s women championship was won by Nona Gaprindashvili, who defended her title.
1n 1969, Simon and Schuster published his My 60 Memorable Games chess book by Bobby Fischer.
Andy Soltis won the 1969 U.S. Intercollegiate championship. The Pan Am Intercollegiate Championship was won by the University of Chicago.
Kimbal Nedved won the 1969 U.S. Amateur Championship, which was held in Philadelphia.
Ken Rogoff won the 1969 U.S. Junior championship. Larry Day won the 1969 US Junior Open.
Pal Benko, Milan Vukcevich, and Arthur Bisguier tied in the 1969 US Open, held in Lincoln, Nebraska.
In 1969, Sam Reshevsky won the 20th U.S. chess championship, held in New York.
In 1969, Gisela Gresser won the U.S. women’s chess championship for the 9th time.
In 1969, the top international players were Bobby Fischer (2720), Boris Spassky (2690), Viktor Korchnoi (2680), Mikhail Botvinnik (2660), Tigran Petrosian (2650), Bent Larsen (2630), Efim Geller (2620), Lajos Portisch (2620), Paul Keres (2610), and Lev Polugaevsky (2610).
In 1969, Ray Martin won the 5th American Open, held in Santa Monica. There were 202 players (including myself, who ended up with a 1552 USCF rating).
The 1969 All Postal Correspondence championship (APCT) was won by George Fawbush.
Army won the 1969 U.s. Armed Forces Championship. The individual winner was Army PFC Steven Hohensee.
The 1969 Women’s Olympiad was held in Lublin. The gold medal went to USSR, the silver went to Hungary, and the bronze went to Czechoslovakia.
In 1969, Japan held its first national chess tournament.
Births of chess players in 1969 include Jeroen Piket (Jan 27), Ferdinand Hellers (Jan 28), Alexei Dreev (Jan 30), Vasily Ivanchuk (March 18), Susan Polgar (April 19), Gregory Serper (Sep 14), Viswanathan Anand (Dec 11).
Deaths included Alexander Tolush (March 3), Alexey Sokolsky (Dec 27), and Kurt Richter (Dec 29).
Other tournaments for 1969 included Amsterdam (won by Portisch), Atlantic Open (won by Benko), Australian championship (won by Walter Browne), Beverwijk (won by Botvinnik and Geller), British Championship (won by Jonathan Penrose for the 10th time), Busum (won by Robert Huebner), Canadian Championship (won by Duncan Suttles and Vranesic), Continental Open (won by Kavalek), Hastings 1969-70 (won by Portisch), Ljubljana (won by Planinc), Malaga (won by Benko and Ivkov), Monaco (won by Smyslov and Portisch), Netanya (won by Reshevsky), Palma de Mallorca (won by Larsen), Raach (won by Uhlmann), San Juan (won by Spassky), Skopje (won by Hort and Matulovic), Tallinn (won by Stein), 37th USSR Championship (won by Petrosian and Polugaevsky). Venice (won by Hort), World Junior Championship (won by Karpov), and World Student Team Championship (won by USSR).
Hold a Practice Tournament
After a month of meeting or so, organize a practice tournament among members of the team. You should make this as close as possible to a real chess tournament; each game should have a chess clock, touch-move, notation, and superb sportsmanship. Watch the games carefully, and note any problems. Invariably, many games of the games in the practice tournament will end quickly, with more than 80% of the clock time remaining on each side. Emphasize that for most moves of the game, you should take at least 30 seconds to decide on a move. One exercise that worked for me is to tell the kids that I want them to sit in silence with their eyes closed, and guess how long a minute is; when they think a minute is up, they should raise their hand. Then I say ""Go!"" and start timing a minute. You should then acknowledge who is closest, and who guessed too short or too long. The key is to tell the kids that in (many) tournaments, they have 30 minutes to make all their moves, and that most games between kids last about 30 moves, so they should be spending about one minute per move. This is a revelation to those kids whose games typically finish in under ten minutes.
Interesting Chess Team Activities
Team meetings later in the year can have other interesting activities. Have a consultation game, where all the members of the team play against you. Have a guess-the-move meeting, where you take a famous game, and have the kids guess the best move for each side. Have kids play in two teams against each other in consultation, but rotate which child on each team is the ""final decider"" of the move made (this gives weaker players a full stake in the decision making process).
Once you've had a couple months of meetings, you are ready for your first tournament. How should you choose tournaments in which to play? First, check with a national chess association (United States Chess Federation or Chess-N-Math in Canada) which will provide a list of tournaments in your area. In the USA, each state has its own chess organization, which can point you to tournaments on a local level, some of which are very large.
Also, Google "school chess tournaments" and your city, county, state, or province in order to get the names of other schools that already have chess teams. I have found that coaches of other schools are the best source of information for tournaments in the area. Note that many tournaments are for individuals only, and team tournaments are harder to find. I recommend to keep looking for your first tournament to be a team tournament, where the kids can root for each other.
Once you have found a tournament in which to play, you have to manage not only the kids (reading the pairing sheet, getting them to their boards), but also their parents. Parents (and coaches) of chess players are usually forbidden to watch their kids play (fears of signaling moves, unfortunately), which is different from every other sport there is, where the parents are watching intently all the action. The child is alone, and it can be frightening. Parents worry too, and will ask you all sorts of questions about Swiss system pairings, ratings, and your experience, as well as the ubiquitous question, ""If my kid loses a game, will he be eliminated and have to go home?""
After the Tournament
Once a game is over, whether it be a win, draw, or loss for the child, as their coach, you have to pick them up or calm them down and get ready for the next game. While many coaches want to go over a child's game in-between rounds, I do not; I encourage the kids to go outside and run around. Some kids will want to show their coach the game, which is fine, but I try to get them thinking about something besides chess for the few minutes they have in-between rounds.
After the first tournament is complete, publicize the results, even if the results were disappointing -- get the announcement in the school newsletter, try and get a picture taken, emphasize the positive. Good results should be submitted to the local newspaper (where a high-quality picture will greatly increase the chance of it being published). Any of these ideas will benefit recruitment for the team in the future.
Coaching a chess team is extremely rewarding, and if you take up the gauntlet, I wish you the best of luck.
Robert N. Bernard is the manager of the New Jersey Knockouts of the United States Chess League, where he started three years ago as the Knockouts' blogger. For the USCL, he also compiles an unofficial rating list and weekly power rankings. Frequently, he can be found on the Internet Chess Club, where he has a weird tendency to win a lot of their trivia contests. He is also a member of the United State Chess Federation's Ratings Committee and coaches his son's chess team. He has a very nice plaque from the 1982 US Amateur Team Championship, where he captained the team that won the Under 1400 prize.
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