Home Page arrow Chess Life Magazine arrow 2008 arrow July arrow Counterplay: Letters to the Editor
Counterplay: Letters to the Editor Print E-mail
June 25, 2008

Remembering Boris

I was really glad to see the full-page “Farewell to Boris” (May 2008 Chess Life). I too remember Boris Baczynskyj from tournaments dating back to the 1978 World Open and for me slightly earlier. Back then at the 1978 Atlantic Open (held in Philadelphia in the 1970s), just three months prior to the World Open, I had won the unrated section and I seem to remember Boris winning the Open and being rated 2412. It was kind of a small joke we had. It was with great sadness that I read his obituary on uschess.org in mid-January. It seemed like I had just seen him a month or so before at a local tournament.
Frank Jackson
via e-mail

I had the pleasure of playing in the recent Senior Open, where I met Jerry Hanken. I’d like you to know I always enjoy his colorful accounts of events in Chess Life. A good example is his personal farewell upon the loss of Boris Baczynskyj. Of course, I read most of the magazine, and also look forward in particular to “Chess to Enjoy.”
Thanks for a job done well.
Eugene L. Grumer, life member
via e-mail

Remembering Bobby

I thought the letter from Henry Haynes about Bobby Fischer was one of the best I’ve seen so far (May 2008 Chess Life). He brought up the amazing contradictions in Bobby; how his refusal to play cost him commercially, and how his anti-Semitic rantings denied his own heritage.

The only important point I think Haynes omitted was that Bobby was truly afraid he might be killed by the Soviets had he played Karpov. This fear might help us understand Fischer’s behavior, even if it was misguided fear.
Bart Gibbons, Joplin, Missouri

Hear, hear!

As the editor of a state chess magazine (Empire Chess in New York) and a life member of USCF, I believe we are all especially grateful of the support of USCF’s gold and silver members, including not only our state association in New York, but New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Michigan and Oklahoma as well. In addition, private chess organizations in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Indiana, Texas, Illinois, and Louisiana have stepped up to the plate to support U.S. Chess at a higher level. 

All of those affiliates should be congratulated for their support of national chess, particularly in states like New York where the support is to help chess alone, as the Empire State has not had a national tournament awarded to it for almost a decade and was told by a previous USCF president that USCF was “not a New York organization.”

New Yorkers, thanks to the efforts of many individual organizers, have been able to move on and support chess in spite of the move and such comments.

I am hopeful that the state associations in Tennessee (where all the USCF staff live and work, and where every membership dollar goes through), California (our largest state, which also hosts a significant number of national tournaments) and Texas (the state that consistently gets large national scholastics as well as more positive Chess Life publicity than any other state) will step up to the plate and join at the higher level. Given all the benefit those states receive from the national USCF membership, it’s only fair they support the organization at least as much as Connecticut and Indiana, not to mention New York.

Let’s all get behind USCF and support our champions, like world championship candidate Gata Kamsky of Brooklyn, New York, and make a 50-state effort to improve chess throughout the USA.
Karl Heck, life member
East Durham, New York

Mr. Heck is incorrect that “all the USCF staff live and work” in Tennessee. The majority does, but we have staff members working from a number of different states, including New York.

We disagree that Texas has received “...more positive Chess Life publicity than any other state.” They have received much
coverage of late due to the successes of the University of Texas at Dallas chess team and because of national scholastics held there, but New York has certainly held it’s own on these pages the last few years: The Mayor’s Cup, Cross-Generation Chess, Burning Boards at the Whitney Museum, and Chess in Central Park are but a few examples.

But as to Mr. Heck’s main point, we are in complete agreement: Thank you to all our gold and silver affiliates and yes, let’s all help support American chess (see our Kamsky and Olympiad appeals on pages 5 and 50). ~ed.

Chess Life welcomes letters from its readers. Letters are subject to editing for content and length. Send your letters to [email protected], and include your full name and a telephone number. Senders should not expect a personal response.