Saturday, January 30, 2016

When I was in High School

Rhodes School
The time that I was in high school could be divided into three periods:  1.  When I lived with my mother;  2. When I lived in my father's building and went to Hillcrest High School; 3.  When I lived in my father's building and went to Rhodes School.  I also want to talk about the Fischer Boom, the US Open in New York City, and the tournaments I ran.

Hotel Mc Alpin

You know how something innocuous can be remembered for a lifetime?  I still can arriving late at the Hotel McAlpin, soaked from the rain,  to play Brad Meese.  For some reason Paul McCartney's Uncle Albert song was on my mind.  It couldn't have been playing in the tournament room.  Brad's friends from the Suffern/Spring Valley were milling around.  They were impressed by how fast I was playing.  My pawns were a wall and they were advancing.  I lost the game, but I still remember it.

Anyhow around the end of junior high school and the beginning of high school, I got really enthusiastic about chess.  I was going to Chess House and playing at Goichberg's tournaments at the McAlpin Hotel.  It was at this site that I first saw players like Brants, Mengarini, Middleton, Weeramantry, Browne, Bisguier, Regan and Lombardy.  I drew Lewis Cohen.  I met NTD Larry King.

When I went to summer camp, I played alot of chess, this time with the other kids.  But I wanted to come home so I could play chess in the city.  My mother complained to my therapist that all I wanted to do is play chess.  My therapist replied that it was much better than nothing, and I think he was right.

I did most of my traveling after I went to live in my father's building.  But I remember that I was playing in a one-game a week tournament in Jamaica at the time I left my mother's house.  The tournament was at a church.  Does anyone remember the name of the church?  Its still there, and can be seen from the LIRR.  Do I have the correct church in the
First Reformed Church
picture?  It was at this site that I first saw Weldon, Pader, and Shipman.

   I had played Noe Dinnerstein the first round.  The second round my opponent cheated me.  He lost on time and he waited until I put the pieces away, and claimed that I had resigned.  I took a break from chess.  Even though the break was only a few months, I came back with a different state of mind.

Jerry Bibuld

GM Alekhine and Chess
My big comeback was a Pre-High School Novice tournament at the Hotel McAlpin.  I was in high school at the time, but I didn't develop any ethics until much later.  The tournament was directed by Jerry Bibuld, who was a civil rights activist.  The last two rounds I played Jonathan Lenchner who I beat, and Ivan Kline, who I lost to.  I would see Ivan again and his brother Ray at many of the tournaments in Flushing.

I was playing better.  It encouraged me that many of the Goichberg tournaments had trophies I could win.  In those days the ratings were done by hand, and there was a huge lag in the ratings due to the Fischer Boom.  So my published rating remained under 1200 was my strength went up to 1500 or 1600.

I also had my first idea for openings.  I would try to play Alekine's Defense in every game possible.  When I was White I would play 1.a3 hoping they would play 1..e5 and I
Eric Moskow, MD
could play a reversed Alekhines.  Judy Shipman foiled me by playing 1.d4.  Eric Moskow burst out laughing when I played 1.a3, but to his credit he won the game.

During my high school and early college years I traveled to many tournaments.  When the venues might not seem impressive from an adults point of view, it was very exciting to me as a youngster who had never had the opportunity to travel on his own before.

Some of the places I played:  Clifton NJ, Boston, Irvington, New Haven, Orange NJ, Oswego, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Suffern, Tarrytown, West Orange NJ, Westfield NJ, White Plains.

I first saw Michael Rohde at a tournament at the Orange, NJ YMCA.  He was playing in the top section.   Of course I didn't know who he was.  I was amazed that a teenager a little younger than myself was in the top section.  It wouldn't be unusual now, but then it was.

No comments:

Post a Comment