Celebrating a trio of Christmas babies who contributed to chess
Tuesday, December 25, 2012

For all the blessings of the day, there’s no denying it can be a drag sharing a Dec. 25 birthday with you-know-who. So we thought we’d pass on a little yuletide cheer to a trio of Christmas babies for their contributions to the game.

We start with the problem in today’s diagram, composed by legendary Russian problemist Leonid Kubbel, born on Christmas Day in St. Petersburg in 1891. This problem, elegantly employing a minimum of material, recalls Reti’s famous endgame study: White appears to have no way to corral the black a-pawn but finds an ingenious pattern to win the day. For those of you who hate to wait to open your presents, the solution can be found at the end of the column.

Philippine IM Rodolfo Tan Cardoso (born Dec. 25, 1937) may be remembered best for his 1957 match loss to a young Bobby Fischer and for his upset of GM David Bronstein at the Portoroz Interzonal a year later that effectively killed the great Soviet player’s last serious run at the world championship.

But Cardoso was a strong player in his own right, winning several strong tournaments and regularly holding down a top board on his country’s Olympiad teams. The Filipino star was a pioneer as the first Asian-born international master, blazing a trail that was followed by Indian world champion Viswanathan Anand and the slew of Chinese women who now dominate the game.

Our last Christmas baby is a bit of an outlier, but actor Humphrey Bogart (born Dec. 25, 1899) regularly tops the list of Hollywood celebrities who played a mean game of chess. Bogie’s chess jones was so well known that he and his wife, Lauren Bacall, posed in 1956 for the best-looking cover of Chess Review ever.

Despite taking lessons from famed Los Angeles master Herman Steiner, Bogart from the evidence appears to have been something short of expert-level strength. But he was skilled enough to hold the great Sammy Reshevsky to a draw in a 1956 simultaneous exhibition in Los Angeles, a year before the actor’s death.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/dec/25/sands-celebrating-a-trio-of-christmas-babies-who-c/#ixzz2G45Q2XFB

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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