- The Washington Times - Friday, September 16, 2005

We have a column on two chess players — one we almost lost and one we did.

In one of the many human-interest stories emerging from Hurricane Katrina, we learned that famed New Orleans master, author and all-around chess personality Jude Acers survived the raging winds and rushing waters and washed up safe and sound at a shelter in Greeneville, Tenn.

The 61-year-old Acers, the “man in the red beret,” is famous for taking on all comers at his sidewalk gazebo on Decatur Street in the French Quarter. In an e-mail to friends, he tells of surviving a harrowing week in his darkened apartment, without power and food, before being evacuated.

Acers, a master at 17, played Fischer, Browne and a generation of top American players. For many years, he topped the U.S. Chess Federation’s most-active list, and he staged countless simultaneous and blindfold exhibitions to promote the game.

He earned an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records for a then-record 179-opponent simul on Long Island in July 1976.

Fittingly, our first game comes from one of Acers’ 114-game simultaneous performances, conducted in 1967 when he was a student at Louisiana State University. The final combination was so impressive that longtime New York Times chess writer I.A. Horowitz featured the game in his weekly column.

For a simultaneous combatant, Peake (his first name is lost to history) conducts the Black side of this QGD with some competence, not giving his stronger opponent any early openings for the attack.

Perhaps looking to mix things up, Acers tries 14. Rxc5 Ne7 15. Bg5!? (the solid 16. Rxc8 Bxc8 16. Ne5 Ne4 17. f3 Nd6 18. Qc2 Ndf5 19. Rc1 gives White a comfortable edge based on his control of the c-file, but White has his eye on bigger game) Rxc5? (just what White hoped for — Black underestimates the danger when his f6-knight is removed; solid was 15…Ne4! 16. Rxc8 Bxc8 17. Qc2 Nxg5 18. Nxg5 g6, and White’s advantage is negligible) 16. Bxf6 Rc7 (see diagram).

The coming sacrifice is second nature to a master of Acers’ caliber: 17. Bxh7+ Kxh7 (Kh8 is tougher, but White still has 18. Be5 Nc6 [f6 19. Ng5 fxe5 (fxg5 20. Qh5) 20. Qh5 g6 21. Bxg6+ Kg7 22. Qh7+ Kf6 23. Nf7 Qc8 (Rxf7 24. Qxf7+ Kg5 25. h4+ Kxh4 26. Qf6+ Kg4 27. f3+ Kg3 28. Qg5 mate) 24. dxe5 mate] 19. Bxc7 Qxc7 20. Bd3, with a clear positional edge) 18. Ng5+ Kh6 19. Qg4!.

Black now gives up two more minor pieces, but material matters little when mate is in the air: 19…gxf6 20. Qh4+ Kg6 21. Qh7+! Kxg5 22. f4+ Kg4 23. Qh3 mate.

• • •

As we noted last week, longtime D.C. chess stalwart Homer W. Jones passed away late last month at the age of 79. Like Acers, Jones was a link to an earlier era in chess, one of the last surviving members of the fabled Washington Chess Divan.

We found a nice Jones win against John Fritzvold, played in the 1971 U.S. Open in Ventura, Calif. Black here shows excellent gambiting instincts, nicely building up his position and not worrying about the lost pawn.

In an Albin Counter-Gambit (2…e5), Black puts his pieces on good squares in support of the cramping pawn on d4. A quick dust-up in the center seals White’s fate early.

Thus: 12. Bf4 Ne4! (with the nasty threat of 13…Nxf2! 14. Kxf2 d3+; on 13. Rd3 Bb6!, the coming 14…Nc5 is annoying for White) 13. Nxd4?! Nxd4 14. Qxe4? (White’s last move was questionable, but this one is fatal; 14. Rxd4 was mandatory, but on 14…Nxf2! [Bxd4?! 15. Bxe4 g6 16. Bxb7 is fine for White] 15. Kxf2 Bxd4+ 16. Ke1 [Kf1 Qe3!] Rd8, the White king’s survival chances are questionable) Nxe2+!.

White’s game collapses, and Jones easily turns aside his efforts to keep the balance: 15. Kh1 Qxe4 16. Bxe4 Nxf4 (White must lose material) 17. f3 Nh3 18. Kg2 (fxg4 Nf2+ forks every developed White piece) Nf2 19. Bd5+ Kh8 20. Rd2 Bh3+.

Mate looms on 21. Kg1 Rae8 22. Be4 (Nc3 Nd1+ 23. Kh1 Re1 mate) Nxe4+ 23. Rf2 Bxf2+ 24. Kh1 Bc5 25. Nd2 Nf2+ 26. Kg1 Nd1+ 27. Kh1 Re1+ 28. Nf1 Rxf1 mate; Fritzvold resigned.

• • •

An interservice squad of U.S. fighting men turned in a very creditable performance at the 16th NATO Chess Championship in Kolobrzeg, Poland, late last month.

The U.S. team finished in a tie for fourth with France in the 11-team event. Germany, boasting two IMs on its top two boards, edged host Poland for the top prize, but it was still one of the best results ever for the seriously outranked U.S. squad.

The Navy’s Narciso Victoria, whose win in the 2005 Inter-Service Chess Championship we wrote about here in June, finished in a tie for fifth in the individual standings with a 5-2 record.

Simultaneous exhibition, Michigan, 1967


1. d4d513. Nc5Bxc5

2. c4c614. Rxc5Ne7

3. cxd5cxd515. Bg5Rxc5

4. Nc3e616. Bxf6Rc7

5. Nf3Be717. Bxh7+Kxh7

6. Bf4Nf618. Ng5+Kh6

7. e30-019. Qg4gxf6

8. Bd3Nc620. Qh4+Kg6

9. 0-0Bd721. Qh7+Kxg5

10. Rc1Rc822. f4+Kg4

11. a3a623. Qh3 mate

12. Na4b5

72nd U.S. Open, Ventura, Calif., 1971


1. d4d511. Rd1Qe8

2. c4e512. Bf4Ne4

3. dxe5d413. Nxd4Nxd4

4. Nf3Nc614. Qxe4Nxe2+

5. g3f615. Kh1Qxe4

6. exf6Nxf616. Bxe4Nxf4

7. Bg2Bc517. f3Nh3

8. a3a518. Kg2Nf2

9. Qc20-019. Bd5+Kh8

10. 0-0Bg420. Rd2Bh3+

White resigns

David R. Sands can be reached at 202/636-3178 or by e-mail at dsands@washington times.com.

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