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Ron Finegold, 1937-2014 Print E-mail
July 17, 2014
Ronald Finegold (1937-2014), father of GM Ben Finegold, died on the morning of July 15 after a long illness.

He was born April 5, 1937 and was 77 years old. He was one of the top 50 players in the USA for much of the early 1960s. He lost to Fischer in the 1963 Western Open in a beautiful zugzwang ending.
Ron and his wife Rita on their 50th anniversary in 2014


1.e4 e6
Someone told my dad before the game, "Fischer is bad in the ending" . ...So, my dad decided to play the French Defense. Not sure if any of that makes any sense!
2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.a3

A favorite of Fischer's.

4...Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 dxe4 6.Qg4 Nf6 7.Qxg7 Rg8 8.Qh6 Rg6
8...Nbd7 is more common now, but the text move is fine as well.
9.Qe3 b6
Black has also tried 9..Nc6.
10.Bb2 Bb7 11.0-0-0?! Nbd7 12.h3
Here the engine wants black to play 12...a6 followed by b5, and black stands better.
12...Qe7 13.Ne2 0-0-0 14.c4 e5?!
This opening of the center favors white.
15.dxe5 Nxe5 16.Rxd8+ Kxd8 17.Nf4 Rg8 18.Be2 Kc8 19.Rd1 Rd8?!
Black is too intent on trading. Black is only slightly worse after 19...Kb8.
20.Rxd8+ Kxd8 21.Qg3?!
Always play Kb1!
21...Ng6 22.h4 Nxf4?! 23.Qxf4 Ne8 24.h5
24.Bh5! f6 25.c5!±
24...Bc8 25.h6?

The game has been difficult for both sides. My dad said Fischer played the first 15-20 moves instantly, but when he saw things were not easy, he slowed down to normal pace. [25.g4]

26.Qg5+ Qe7
26...f6 27.Qd5 f5
27.Qd5+ Qd6 28.Qg5+
Always repeat!
28...Qe7 29.Qg3 Bf5 30.Qf4 Qe6?!
31.g4 Bg6 32.Qg5+ Qe7?! 33.Qd5+ Qd6?! 34.Be5!
Forcing a queen trade which improves white's pawn structure.
34...Qxd5 35.cxd5 f6 36.Bg3 Ke7 37.Kd2 Nd6 38.Ke3 b5?!
Black was worse in any case, but this move is probably losing. My dad was surprised that Bobby would part with his two bishops!
39.Bxd6+ Kxd6 40.Kd4 a6 41.c4 bxc4 42.Bxc4 a5 43.Ba2 f5 44.gxf5 Bxf5 45.Bb3
45.Bb1?? e3-+
45...Bg6 46.Ba4 Bf5 47.Be8!

Black is in Zugzwang. He cannot allow white to play Bg6!, so, he needs to keep his Bishop on f5.

47...Ke7 48.Ke5! Bg4 49.Bg6 Bd7 50.Bxh7 c6 51.dxc6 Bxc6 52.Bxe4 Bxe4 53.Kxe4 Kf6 54.f4 1-0

Ronald was inducted into the Michigan chess hall of fame a few years ago. He is survived by his wife Rita (they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary March 3, 2014), his sons Ben and Mark and his grandchildren Spencer and Erum.
His last rated game was at the 2013 Motor City open, Thanksgiving weekend, when he beat super junior talent Christopher Shen in a game that lasted over six hours (the last game to finish in the entire event).
Ron Finegold vs. Christopher Shen in 2013

Here's a win by Finegold in the 1992 US Open.


1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.g3 0-0 6.Bg2 e5 7.Nge2

My dad liked to go his own way in the Opening.

7...c6 8.0-0 Qe7 9.h3 Na6 10.Be3 exd4 11.Bxd4 Nc5 12.Qc2 Ne6 13.Be3 Nd7 14.b3
White has a clear advantage out of the opening, with more space and a bad black bishop on c8.
14...Nec5 15.Rad1 Nf6 16.Bf4 Rd8 17.Rfe1 Ne6 18.Bc1
Although white was much lower rated, he still shows the patience of a strong master.
18...Qc7 19.f4!

Black has virtually no play.

19...Qa5 20.Be3 Nh5 21.Kh2 Bf6 22.Rf1
Preparing 23.g4
 22...Bg7 23.g4 Nf6 24.f5 Nc5 25.e5
Black is being pushed back effortlessly.
25...dxe5? 26.Rxd8+ Qxd8 27.Bxc5 And white simply wins a piece.
26.e6! fxe6 27.fxg6 Nd7 28.gxh7+ Kh8 29.Qg6 Qe5+ 30.Bf4 Qf6 31.Qh5 Qe7 32.g5 e5 33.Bg3 Nf8 34.Be4 Be6 35.Rf2 Nc7 36.Rdf1 d5?

This loses quickly, but black was tired of having no counterplay!

37.Rf7 Qe8 38.Bg6?
White, in time trouble, misses the forced mate with... 38.Rxg7!! Qxh5 39.Rg8+ Bxg8 40.Bxe5#
38...Bxf7 39.Rxf7?
39...Nxg6 40.Qxg6 Ne6=
Now it's all over, or, at least it should be!
40...Rxg6 41.Rxc7 Qe6 42.Rxb7 Rd8 43.Rxa7 Qf5 44.cxd5 cxd5 45.Ra5??
45.Rf7! Qxf7 46.Bxe5++-
45...Rxg5 46.Qh4 Ng6 47.Qa4??
47.Nd4!! exd4 48.Qxd4+=
47...Rxg3! 48.Kxg3 Rf8-+
I think the time control was 50 moves in 2 or 2.5 hours, so, time trouble lasted a long time! Now, however, white was totally winning the rest of the way!
48...d4 49.Nxd4! exd4 50.Qxd4+ Ne5 51.Rxf8+ Qxf8 52.Bxe5+ Kxh7 53.Qh4+ Kg6 54.Qe4+ Rf5 55.Nd5 Kh6