SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
I am at loss of words to describe today’s puzzle. It is simply out of this world! Perhaps it can be described by the mystique of passed pawns and their magical promotional powers!? The end is so unusual that you almost feel sorry for the Black King….
But don’t let me discourage you! Solve this gem in under one hour, and the next time I am in town I will buy you a beer! White to play and win. Good luck!
Kasparian (1910-1995)TODAY’S CHESS COMBOS
(FROM THE GAMES OF GM RUBEN FINE)
1:MATE IN 6 MOVES!
Fine vs Beckhardt, New York, 1933
Fine vs Arthur Dake, New York, 1933
Fine vs George Thomas, Hastings, 1935
Fine vs Muller, Busum, 1936
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN
Fine vs T Berg, Kemeri, 1937
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN
Fine vs Salo Landau, Ostende, 1937
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN
Ruben Fine (1914-1993)
Born in New York City, October 11, 1914, Fine learned chess at the age of 10 (some sources give 8) and developed his strength at the famous Marshall Chess Club. At the age of 17, he won the club championship, later winning the title several more times.
Fine developed very quickly and achieved national recognition by his successes in the Western Chess Association and American Chess Federation Tournaments of 1932 to 1935, and by winning matches with Steiner, Dake, and Horowitz. He won all 7 US Opens that he participated in, but curiously, was never quite able to win the US Championship; Reshevsky was mostly responsible for that feat.
Fine’s international success,however, were superior to his American rival, Sammy Reshevsky. Fine’s first important international victory was at Hastings, 1935-36, when he beat Salo Flohr and won 1st prize.
Alekhine(l) vs Fine
He followed up with 1st prizes at Zandvoort in 1936, Amsterdam in 1936 (tie with Alekhine), Leningrad in 1937, Moscow in 1937, Margate in 1937 (tie with Keres), and Ostend in 1937 (tie with Keres and Grob). In the three great pre-War tournaments, he tied for 3rd with Reshevsky and Euwe at Nottingham in 1936, placed 2nd to Keres at Semmering in 1937, tied with Keres for 1st prize in the AVRO Tourney, 1938.
Keres (l) vs Fine
his last victory (AVRO) was his crowning achievement, and with the advent of the war any dreams of fighting for the world championships were soon extinguished. Chess activity virtually ground to a halt.
Fine was a great blitz player, and long after having given up tournament play he still actively played blitz against the best in the US.
Beginning in 1941, Fine lived in Washington, D. C., and was a civilian employee of the Navy Department, calculating U-boat statistics and probabilities. An accomplished linguist, he spoke Dutch, French, Yiddish and German. Fine was married in 1937; divorced in 1944.
By the time the war was over, Fine had already lost his ambition in chess. He was invited to participate in the 1948 tournament to determine the World Championship, but he declined. He gave various (and contradictory) reasons for doing so over the years, but I believe he simply did not want to return to the world of chess and dedicate the enormous amount of time and energy necessary to do so.
Essentially, Fine gave up chess to become a psychoanalyst (PhD in psychology). And a successful one at that. In 1956 the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis published his work, The Psychology of the Chess Player.
The book is a Freudian account of the game of chess. The king is held to represent the father, while the queen is the mother. The other pieces are taken to be phallic symbols.
I have actually read the book, and I find it a load of crap! I am certainly not qualified to judge it on its scientific merits, but it is clear enough to me that only someone who has abandoned the game he once loved could write such a bitter book.
Reuben Fine’s ‘The Psychology of the Chess Player’ (1967) is based on the the dogma that all chess is a sublimated murder on the father, while the Queen stands symbol for the libido, the mother and the whore. Right! Strangely enough this small text is not tainted in any serious way by this nonsense, and what we are left with is mythmaking. The weird and wicked ways of the chess grandmaster as a special breed, as something outside statistics. Most of it is gossip rather than fact. I am digging it. Nice cover too.
But Fine did write some very credible scientific work in psychoanalysis, and published a number of respected works. One such book is:A History of Psychoanalysis
Ruben Fine. New York: Columbia University Press, 1979, iii + 686 pp.Review by: Alma H. bond
Reuben Fine’s A History of Psychoanalysis is a work of optimism in the sense that Freud’s work is optimistic. Dr. Fine is a true lover of psychoanalysis and believes it has the power to change destiny. The book’s dedication “To my grandchildren in the hope that they will find a better-analyzed world” is an example of how central psychoanalysis is to his thinking.
Indeed the centrality of psychoanalysis is the major thesis of the book. Fine believes that psychoanalysis can integrate all that is known about mankind into one unified science; that there is only one science, however the material is obtained. And all information must be integrated in accordance with the dynamic principles of psychoanalysis.
Fine attempts to integrate a massive amount of seemingly disparate subjects into that unified science. …
(this is just an excerpt, the rest can be obtained by subscription via the internet)
Fine died on March 26, 1993, in New York City.
I never met Ruben Fine, but I have studied deeply his games and , like many of my generation, I grew up influenced by his chess books. He was a prolific and great author!
Basic Chess Endings is one of the most important books ever written in the English language on the game. First published in 1941, Fine would later brag that he wrote the book in 2 weeks! I suppose what he really meant is that he put together the material from existing literature in 2 weeks.
As already mentioned in one of the earlier blog entries here, even before the birth of Emanual Lasker in 1868, core theoretical endgame knowledge was already known and published. I estimate that 99% of present game endgame knowledge was already compiled in existing literature by the 19th century. Philidor had worked out and published the Rook and Bishop vs Rook fundamentals in the 18th century!
What Fine did was to publish a book on endgames that practical tournament players needed. Ofcourse there are many typos and errors in the analysis, but this is quite normal considering the amount of material that is presented.
Even today this book is a best seller. I often refer to it in my own research and study.
This classic was first published in 1943 and I remember reading it for the first time in 1970! Considering its limitations, it still gives the best introduction to the Sicilian defence that I have ever seen! Fine explains the strategic ideas of each opening with clarity and simplicity. I recommend it to all of my students!
Finally, some last words on Fine as a talent. America in the first part of the 20th century produced some amazing players! Before the advent of the Soviet School of chess, America produced the largest number of players capable of reaching grandmaster level. I am not sure if Fine was the best of them, but there is no doubt in my mind that Fine’s talent bordered on genius level. He was not a particularly flashy player, but he was very Karpovian! He knew how to exploit small positional advantages and he could (and did ) defeat the very best in the world.
While he never achieved the greatness that he was capable of because of the advent of World War 2, he certainly gave the world a glimpse of what was possible. Fine won first prize in 23 of the 27 most important events that he participated in.
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS