Dr. Joseph Platz
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
As my readers are already aware, one of my favourite chess sites is Winter’s Chess History (http://www.chesshistory.com/). In the current issue I found the following item
This is from the chess column of the Brooklyn Eagle, 9 January 1941, page 16:
Two days later Lasker died. Joseph Platz gave a personal account of Lasker’s last days on page 40 of Chess Memoirs (Coraopolis, 1979).
Em.Lasker (Dec 24, 1868-Jan 11, 1941)
Dr. Joseph Platz (b.1905 Cologne,Germany) was a master level player who emigrated to the US soon after Hitler came to power in 1933. He set up shop and established an excellent reputation as a medical doctor. For 2 years Platz studied chess under Lasker’s private tutelage.
The years 1939-40 proved to be the richest and most rewarding period of Dr. Platz‘s life as well as his chess career; The years he was under the tutelage of the former Champion of The World Dr. Emanuel Lasker, who had held the title for 27 years. Their beautiful relationship of friend and friend as well as,teacher and scholar left cherished memories in Joe’s mind that will last a lifetime.
Joe’s description of Lasker on the chessboard was: ”He was a strict disciplinarian who tolerated no foolishness whatsoever from his students in a chess game. A foolish move or a bad judgment blunder would invariably bring a severe tongue lashing, many times leaving some of his students in tears.”
This discipline was to stand Joe in good stead later when he had to use it in high-level tournament play. After several hundred games the Doctor had improved enough that on several occasions he played Lasker to a draw and in one game he beat him.
Dr. Platz won the Bronx Chess Championship 6 times. In 1948 he participated in the US Championship and finished 14th. Between 1954 and 1972, he won the Western Massachusetts & Connecticut Valley Open Championship 14 times. Platz also won the Connecticut Championship three times. He tied for the New England Championship four times. He was a USCF Master Emeritus. There is a popular memorial tournament held in his honour each year.
In 1978 Platz wrote ” Chess memoirs: The chess career of a physician and Lasker pupil.” In his chess career the good doctor has beaten World Champions Lasker, Dr. Euwe and Bobby Fischer and had a draw against Capablanca.
Bobby Fischer in 1964
On his (lucky) win against Fischer he wrote: “My victory over Fischer gave me a double satisfaction, inasmuch as I avenged Dr Lasker whom Fischer does not even rate among the ten greatest players of all time, and whom Fischer calls . Indeed, for 27 years he was a very weak player!”
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS