Sunday, April 22, 2018

Club Championship 2018 Starts Monday - and Boris Kostic

Chess tournaments are fun!
Our club championship tournament starts this Monday - and it is free!
We will offer some chess medals to our young players who play in every round of the tournament.

The tournament will play one round per week, and will go 3 to 5 rounds, depending on the number of entries. The time limit will be a generous 1 hour per player, with a 5 second delay - if the clock you use has one. 
Our tournament will be played every other week, so no need to make a commitment for that many weeks in a row.
Also, our Tournament Director Ken, allows players to skip a week and play on off weeks if the actual night of your game is not open for you.

So there is no reason not to try your hand at "real" tournament chess in an ultra friendly atmosphere.
See you at the club a 6pm for registration and we will try to get the tournament started around 6:45 or so.

While many tournament players do become famous, at least in chess circles, many excellent players end up toiling away in anonymity. Probably the best player you never heard of is Boris Kostic (1887 - 1963). We will let GM Andy Soltis tell the story.

Boris Kostic was one of the top ten players in the world in his day and was the first chess world globe trotter. He introduced chess all over the world with his simultaneous exhibitions. He visited every continent on the planet.

In New York, during World War I, people who knew nothing about chess were amazed by his 20 board match that he played - blindfolded! And he did not lose a game!

He took a tour of the United States. playing an incredible 3281 games! He also won the US Open in 1918.

His career reads like a Hollywood script. He taught chess in a military school in Buenos Aires, gave chess lessons to opera star Enrico Caruso and was held in a German  concentration camp because he refused to play in the Nazi Chess Championship.

 Kostic played in over 2000 tournament games and yet few of his games are stored in databases.

You won't find a record of his victory over US Champion Jackson Showalter with a 7-2-5 record, or his victory over another US Champion Frank Marshall 7-1-2.

His best tournament was when he undefeated but finished 2nd to Jose Capablanca in the New York Championship in 1918.

Kostic are the 5th rated player in the world in 1921 - ahead of immortals Alexander Alekhine, Max Euwe and Aron Nimzowitsch.

He enjoyed a long career. So why is he forgotten today? The answer is that it takes more than that to achieve lasting chess fame. He didn't win any famous tournaments. He didn't win any 'brilliancy' prizes for his wins. He didn't even lose a 'famous' game.

And even some obscure players are remembered for an opening variation named after them, but alas there is no "Kostic Variation". And there is no good Kostic game collection books either.

He had to settle for the annual Kostic Memorial Chess Tournament held annually in his hometown of Vrsac, Serbia.

Chess owes him so much more.

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