Chess in 1959
by Bill Wall
In 1959, Svetozar Gligoric was voted Yugoslav Sportsman of the Year for chess.
In 1959, a Soviet scientist killed another Soviet scientist at a Soviet research station in Vostok, Antarctica after a chess game argument. The losing player got so mad that he killed his opponent with an axe. After the incident, the Soviets banned chess at their Antarctic stations.
In 1959, Frank Street won the US Amateur Chess Championship. He was the first African-American to win a national chess championship
In 1959, Walter Harris became the first African-American chess master after his performance at the US Junior Championship. In 1959, Walter Harris, the first African-American chess master, was unable to get a hotel room where the US Open was being held in Omaha, Nebraska, because he was black.
In 1959, Robin Ault (1941-1994) was allowed to play in the 1959-1960 US championship, but lost all 11 games. After that, the US junior champion was not allowed to automatically play in the US championship. Robin Ault was the first person to win the US Junior championship three times (1959-1961).
In 1959, John Wayne starred in Rio Bravo. Between takes, he played chess with his son, Patrick (1939- ), Claude Akins (1926-1994), Dean Martin (1917-1995), and Ricky Nelson (1940-1985). Akins said that he always beat John Wayne when they played chess.
On January 4, 1959, Bobby Fischer, age 15, again won the U.S. Championship with 6 wins and 5 draws. His USCF rating was 2665. First place was $1,000.
On January 30, 1959, Milan Andrijevic was born in Pancevo, Yugoslavia. He was awarded the IM title in 1982.
On February 2, 1959, Dr. Alexander Rueb (1882-1959), died at Zeist, the Netherlands at the age of 76. From 1923 through 1928, he was president of the Royal Dutch Chess Federation. He was elected the first FIDE president in 1924. (source: San Mateo Times, Feb 3, 1959)
On February 5, 1959, Dan Cramling was born in Stockholm. He was Swedish champion in 1981. He was awarded the IM title in 1982.
On February 7, 1959, Karel Mokry was born in Czechoslovakia. He was awarded the GM title in 1984. He won the Czech Championship in 1995.
On February 12, 1959, Glenn Flear was born in Leicester, England. He was awarded the IM title in 1983 and the GM title in 1987.
On February 14, 1959, Petar Popovic was born in Orlovat, Yugoslavia. He was awarded the IM title in 1977 and the GM title in 1981. He won the championship of Yugoslavia in 1995.
On February 20, 1959, Sergey Dolmatov was born in Kiselevsk, Russia. He was World Junior Champion in 1978. He was awarded the IM title in 1978 and the GM title in 1982.
On February 20, 1959, Melvin Haifetz, the proprietor of the Humoresque Coffee Shop, contending several detective raids interrupted the chess-playing of his patrons, filed a $25,000 damage suit against the police and the city of Philadelphia. He claimed in U.S. district court action that his business was “permanently damaged” because customers now were afraid to come in for fear they may be arrested for playing chess. At least 34 chess players were arrested, fined for disorderly conduct and fined $12.50. The police under the command of Captain Frank Rizzo (120-1991) conducted the raids on grounds the neighbors of the coffee shop complained of too much noise (I guess they were yelling “Check” and “Checkmate” too loudly). Police also suspected drugs and interracial mixing. (source: York, PA Gazette and Daily, Feb 20, 1959)
On February 22, 1959, Mikhail Gurevich was born in Kharkov, Russia. He was USSR champion in 1985 after a play-off and tie-break. He was awarded the IM title in 1985 and the GM title in 1986
On March 6, 1959, Javier Campos-Moreno was born in Santiago, Chile. He was awarded the IM title in 1979 and the GM title in 2005. He won the Chilean championship in 1979 and 1980 (both times after play-offs).
On March 18, 1959, Bogomil Andonov (1959-2010) was born in Kiustendil, Bulgaria. He was awarded the IM title in 1986.
On March 27, 1959, Mark Ginsburg was born in Louvain, Belgium. He was awarded the IM title in 1981.
On April 12, 1959, Edvins Kengis was born in Cesis, Latvia. He was awarded the GM title in 1991. He won the Latvian championship in 1984, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1997, 2004 and 2005. He won the Baltic Chess Championship in 1985.
On April 19, 1959, Jorge Horacio Gomez-Baillo was born in Argentina. He won the Argentine championship in 1983. He was awarded the IM title in 1986.
On June 8, 1959, Zurab Sturua was born in Tbilisi, Georgia. He was Georgian champion in 1975, 1977, 1981, 1984 and 1985. He was awarded the GM title in 1991.
On June 24, 1959, Heinrich Wagner (1888-1959) died in Hamburg, Germany at the age of 70. He was awarded the IM title in 1953. He played on the German Olympiad teams of 1927, 1928, 1930 and 1931 but retired from chess when the Nazis came to power.
On July 14, 1959, Stefan Buecker was born in Munster, Germany. He was awarded the FIDE Master title in 1983. He is publisher of the magazine Kaissiber.
On July 17, 1959 Jose de Jesus Nogueiras was born in Santa Clara, Cuba. He was awarded the IM title in 1972 and the GM title in 1979. He was Cuban champion in 1977 (jointly), 1978, 1984 (jointly), 1991 and 2000.
On July 28, 1959, Marcel Sisniega was born in Mexico. He was awarded the GM title in 1992.
On August 1, 1959, Francisco Gallego-Eraso was born in Irun, Spain. He was awarded the IM title in 1986.
On August 8, 1959, Leonid Yudasin was born in Leningrad. He was awarded the IM title in 1982 and the GM title in 1984. He was Leningrad champion in 1984. He was joint winner of the 1990 USSR Championship. He was Israeli champion in 1994.
On August 9, 1959, John van der Wiel was born in Leiden, the Netherlands. He was European Junior Champion in 1978-79. He was awarded the IM title in 1979 and the GM title in 1982. He was Dutch champion in 1984 and 1986.
On August 10, 1959, Mark Hawelko was born in Lublin, Poland. He was awarded the IM title in 1984.
On August 26, 1959, Michale Rohde was born in New York. He was awarded the IM title in 1977 and the GM title in 1988.
In September, 1959, the three highest rated players on the USCF rating list were Samuel Reshevsky (2693), Bobby Fischer (2636), and Donald Byrne (2514).
On September 7, 1959, Sergey Kudrin was born in Novosibirsk, Siberia. He was awarded the IM title in 1980 and the GM title in 1984.
On September 13, 1959, Kenneth Regan was born in New York City. He was awarded the IM title in 1980.
On October10, 1959, Barbara Hund was born in Leverkusen, Germany. She was West Germany women's champion in 1978, 1982 and 1984. She was awarded the WIM title in 1979 and the WGM title in 1982. She was Swiss women's champion in 1993.
On October 11, 1959, Grigory Kaidanov was born in Berdichev, the Ukraine. He was awarded the IM title in 1987 and the GM title in 1988.
On October 19, 1959, Ralf Lau was born in Bremen, Germany. He was awarded the GM title in 1986. He was West German champion in 1987 (=Vlastimil Hort).
On October 24, 1959, Jouni Yrjola was born in Vilppula, Finland. He was awarded the IM title in 1984 and the GM title in 1990. He was Finnish champion in 1985 and 1988.
On October 25, 1959, Steven Odendahl was born in Hartford, Connecticut. He was awarded the IM title in 1980.
On October 31, 1959, Mikhail Tal (1936-1992) won the Candidates Tournament at Bled. Tal tried to unnerve his opponents by staring at them while they were thinking. Some players thought he was trying to hypnotize his opponents. When he had to play Pal Benko, Benko brought a pair of dark sunglasses to wear during their game. Later, Benko explained that he wore the glasses not to ward of Tal’s “evil eye,” but as a stunt. A couple of Yugoslav reporters asked Benko to wear them to provide an eye-catching photo and a lively story for their newspapers.
On November 11, 1959, Jorge Enrique Armas Gutierrez was born in Holguin, Cuba. He was awarded the IM title in 1979. He was Cuban champion in 1985.
On December 25, 1959, Gert-Jan de Boer was born in Landsmeer, Netherlands. He was awarded the IM title in 1986.
On December 28, 1959, Stefan Kindermann was born in Vienna. He was awarded the GM title in 1988.