Chess in 1958
by Bill Wall
In 1958, Raymond Weinstein won the US Junior championship, in Homestead, Florida.
In 1958, a chess program (NSS) beat a human player for the first time. The human player was a secretary who was taught how to play chess one hour before her game with the computer. The computer program was played on an IBM 704. The computer displayed a level of chess-playing expertise greater than an adult human could gain from one hour of chess instruction.
On January 8, 1958 Robert James Fischer at age 14 years and 9 months won the 1957/58 U.S. Championship and Zonal with 8 wins, 5 draws and no losses. He drew his last round with Abe Turner. His score of 10.5/13 was a point more than 4-time champion Sammy Reshevsky, who lost in the final round (Reshevsky took 2nd place). The event was played at the Manhattan Chess Club and Marshall Chess Club. At 14, he became the youngest US champion in history, a record that still stands. His USCF rating after the event was 2722. His USCF rating average for 1957 was 2626, and #2 in the USCF (behind Samuel Reshevsky at 2713). Players over 2600 were considered American Grandmasters, so Reshevsky and Fischer were the only grandmasters with the USCF. He now qualified for the 1958 Interzonal in Portoroz. Since this was a Zonal event, he qualified for the Interzonal and was given the International Master (IM) title by FIDE at the age of 14 years, 10 months. Except for Santa Monica 1966, Bobby Fischer would win every U.S. tournament he played in. On the entrance to the chess tournament hall, someone posted a sign that read "Spectators are requested not to snore in the tournament room." (source: Lubbock Evening Journal, Jan 10, 1958)
On January 11, 1958, Shaun M. Taulbut was born in Portsmouth, England. He won the European Junior Championship in 1977-78 at Groningen, thus earning the IM title.
On January 12, 1958 Dario Doncevic was born in Buenos Aires. He was awarded the IM title in 1986.
On January 19, 1958 Edmund Adam (1894-1958) died in Frankfurt, Germany at the age of 63. He was a correspondence chess master. He was president of the German Correspondence Chess Association from 1946 to 1956.
On February 14, 1959, Smbat Lputian was born in Yerevan. He was awarded the IM title in 1982 and the GM title in 1984.
On February 15, 1959, Mark L. Hebden was born in Leicester. He was awarded the IM title in 1982 and the GM title in 1992. He won the British Rapidplay Championships in 1990, 1994, 2001, 2005, 2009 and 2013.
On February 22, 1958, Spyridon (Spyros) Skembr was born in Greece. He was Greek champion in 1981, 1984, 1989 and 1993. He was awarded the GM title in 1991.
On February 25, 1958, David Simon Charles Goodman was born in England. He was World Under 18 Champion in 1975. He was awared the IM 1983.
On March 3, 1958, Bachar Kouatly was born in Damascus, Syria. He was awarded the IM title in 1975 and the GM title in 1989, He was French champion in 1979.
On March 3, 1958, Gyula Forgacs was born in Budapest. He was awarded the IM title in 1984.
On March 15, 1958, Peter Jonathan Winston (1958-1978?) was born in New York City. In 1967, he scored 12-0 in the New York Elementary School Championship. He won the event again in 1968. In 1969, as an 11-year-old, he tied for first place in the Open section of the New York High School Championship. That same year, he won the New York Junior High School Championship. He tied for first place with Larry Christiansen at the 1974 US Junior Championship.
On March 23, 1958, Jose Garcia-Padron was born in Las Palmas, Spain. He was awarded the IM title in 1981. He was Spanish champion in 1983.
On March 29, 1958, chess was a subject in "Have Gun, Will Travel." Missing chess pieces of an expensive jade chess set, taken in a robbery from Hey Boy's Uncle Sing Wo, send Paladin (Richard Boone) to a small borner town in northern Montana to intercept the bandits. (source: Provo Daily Herald, Mar 24, 1958)
On March 30, 1958, Gilles Andruet (1958-1995) was born in Paris. He was awarded the IM title in 1982. He won the French championship in 1988.
On April 2, 1958, Emir Dizdarevic was born in Zenica, Yugoslavia. He was awarded the IM title in 1982 and the GM title in 1988.
On April 11, 1958, Alexey Yermolinsky was born in Leningrad. He was awarded the IM title in 1990 and the GM title in 1992. He won the US championship in 1993 and 1996.
In May, 1958 Bobby Fischer, age 15, appeared on the television show I've Got a Secret and stumped the panel, which included Dick Clark (his secret was that he was U.S. chess champion). The made-up newspaper headline for Bobby was "Teen-Ager's Strategy Defeats all Newcomers." Dick Clark asked if what he did made people happy. Fischer responded, "It made me happy." Garry Moore asked him how long he had been playing chess. Fischer responded that he had been playing since he was six, but that he had not been playing seriously until age 9.
On May 9, 1958,Mikhail Botvinnik defeated Vasily Smyslov, 12.5 to 10.5, to regain the world chess championship.
On May 24, 1958, Krum Georgiev was born in Pazardzhik, Bulgaria. He was awarded the IM title in 1977 and the GM title in 1988.
On June 30, 1958, Jesus Maria de la Villa Garcia was born in Villahan, Spain. He was Spanish champion in 1985 and 1988. He was awarded the IM title in 1986 and the GM title in 1999.
On July 1, 1958, Goran Cabrilo was born in Gorazde, Yugoslavia. He was awarded the IM title in 1980.
On July 2, 1958, Hal Bogner was born in New York City. He is a USCF Life Master. He was awarded the International Arbiter title in 1983. He is founder of Chess Labs and ChessmagnetSchool.com. He is a past president of the Southern California Chess Federation.
On July 9, 1958, Fernando Braga was born in Buenos Aires. He was awarded the IM title in 1983. He was champion of Italy in 1986 and 1988.
On July 18, 1958 Lajos Gyorkos was born in Hungary. He was awarded the IM title in 1986.
On July 21, 1958, Dimitar Donchev was born in Shumen, Bulgaria. He was awarded the IM title in 1980. He was Bulgarian champion in 1983 (after a play-off) and 1988. He was awarded the Grandmaster title in 1990.
On July 24, 1958, Anthony Kosten was born in London. He was awarded the IM title in 1984 and the GM title in 1990.
On August 22, 1958 Alonso Zapata-Ramirez was born in Colombia. He was awarded the IM title in 1978 and the GM title in 1984. He was Colombian national champion in 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1995 (jointly), 1996, 2002, 2004 and 2008.
On August 26, 1958, Jonathan David Tisdall was born in Buffalo, New York. He was Norwegian champion in 1987, 1991 and 1995. He was awarded the GM title in 1993.
In September, 1958, Bobby Fischer, at age 15 years and 6 months, became the youngest Grandmaster in the world. The record stood until 1991 when it was broken by Judit Polgar.
On September 8, 1958, Sergei Smagin was born in Norilsk, USSR. He was awarded the GM title in 1985.
On September 11, 1958, Carl Johna Margot Carls (1880-1958) died in Bremen, Germany at the age of 77. He was German champion in 1934. He was awarded the IM title in 1951.
On September 24, 1958 John William Donaldson was born in Los Angeles. He was awarded the IM title in 1983. He is a prolific chess author.
On Sepetmber 27, 1958, John Fedorowicz was born in New York City. He was awarded the IM title in 1978 and the GM title in 1986.
On September 27, 1958, Christer Bergstrom was born in Solna, Sweden. He was awarded the IM title in 1986.
On October 8, 1958 at the 13th Chess Olympiad in Munich, Germany, Spain vs. USA were matched. On third board Roman Toran and Arthur Bisguier were playing. When Bisguier resigned, Toran said with a smile, "I am so happy, it is the best present for my birthday!" Bisguier replied, "It's all right, today happens to be my birthday too."
In the 1958 Chess Olympiad, Frank Anderson (1928-1980) scored 84% before his final round. In the final round, he became ill and was unable to play the final round for Canada. He missed the Grandmaster title because of this missed game. Even if he had played and lost, he would have made the final norm necessary for the GM title. The Soviet team (Botvinnik, Smyslov, Keres, Bronstein, Tal, Petrosian) won again.
In the autumn of 1958, the BBC started a half-hour program on chess. The BBC ran a series called Network Three (now Radio 3) with consultation games that included Bobby Fischer, Mikhail Tal, Max Euwe, Abrahams, Hugh Alexander, Barden, Broadbent, Bruce, Clarke, Fraenkel, Golombek, Haygarth, Kottnauer, Pritchard, Rhoden, Sunnucks, and Wade. All the top English players of the time appeared on the program, playing consultation games and often describing their favorite chess game. The program ran until the summer of 1964.
On October 15, 1958, Uwe Boensch was born in Halle-an-der-Saale, Germany. He was awarded the IM 1977 and the GM title in 1986.
On November 2, 1958, Semen Dvoirys was born in Zhmerinka, Russia. He was awarded the GM title in 1990.
On November 11, 1958, Benhadi Aziz Madani was born in Algeria. He was Algerian champion in 1981. He was awarded the IM title in 1982.
On November 29, 1958, Lev Psakhis was born in Kalinin, USSR. He was awarded the IM title in 1980 and the GM title in 1982. He was joint USSR champion in 1980-81 and 1981.
On December 4, 1958, Goran Dizdar was born in Zagreb. He was awarded the IM title in 1980 and the GM title in 1991. He was Croatian champion in 1995.
On December 25, 1958, Rachel Crotto was born in New York City. She was awarded the WIM title in 1978. She was US Women's Champion in 1977, 1978 (=Diane Savereide) and 1979. She first played in the women's chess championship at 13.
On December 27, 1958, Emory Tate (1958-2015) was born in Chicago. He was awarded the IM title in 2007. He won the Armed Forces Chess Championship 5 times.