Chess in 1975

 by Bill Wall


In 1975, Tigran Petrosian won the 43rd Soviet Championship, held in Yerevan.


On January 1, 1975, Roman Slobodjan was born in Potsdam.  In 1995, he won the World Junior Championship.  He was awarded the IM title in 1993 and the GM title in 1996.


In January, 1975, the Philippines were offering $5 million for Bobby Fischer to play Anatoly Karpov in the Philippines.  The winner would have received $3.5 million, and the loser would have received $1.5 million.


On February 4, 1975, Wang Lei was born in Shanghai.  She is a Woman Grandmaster.  She won the women’s Chinese championship in 1997, 1998, 2000, and 2001.


On March 15, 1975, Veselin Topalov was born in Bulgaria.  He was World Under-14 champion in 1989.  He was awarded the IM title in 1989 and the GM title in 1992.  He was FIDE world champion in 2005-06.


On April 3, 1975, Bobby Fischer forfeited his title and Anatoly Karpov became world chess champion.  Fischer had been living in an apartment on Mockingbird Lane in South Pasadena owned by the Worldwide Church of God since the world championship.   Karpov was declared the 12th World Champion by FIDE president, Max Euwe.


On April 22, 1975, Lajos Steiner (1903-1975) died in Sydney, Australia at the age of 71.  He was Hungarian champion in 1931 and 1936.  He was awarded the IM title in 1950.  He won the Australian championship 4 times.


On April 29, 1975, Yuri Shulman was born in Minsk, Belarus.  He was awarded the IM title in 1993 and the GM title in 1995.  He tied for 1st in the World Open in 2001.  He won the US Open in 2006.  He won the US championship in 2008.


On May 20, 1975, Norman Tweed Whitaker (1890-1975) died in Phoenix City, Alabama at the age of 85.  He was awarded the IM title in 1965. 


On June 5, 1975, Paul Keres (1916-1975) died of a heart attack in Helsinki at the age of 59.  He was among the world's top players from the mid-1930s to the mid-1960s.   He died of a heart attack while returning home to Estonia from the World Class Championship in Vancouver, B.C. He had just won the event despite a doctor’s orders not to play in the event due to the stress and his high blood pressure (he did not play in any tournament in 1974 due to health problems). His airplane had taken off from Helsinki to Tallinn when Keres had his heart attack. The aircraft turned around and landed back at Helsinki and Keres was rushed to the hospital and died.


In June 1975, Walter Browne won the US chess championship for the second time, held in Oberlin, Ohio.  By winning the tournament, he qualified for the Interzonal Tournament.  First place was $2,300.  His USCF rating was 2594, the highest in the United States after Fischer’s retirement.


On June 25, 1975, Vladimir Kramnik was born in Tuapse, USSR.  He won the World Under 18 Championship in 1991.  He was awarded the GM title in 1992.  He was world chess champion from 2000 to 2007.


On July 24, 1975, Nicolas Rossolimo (1910-1975) died in New York at the age of 65.  He had accidently fallen down two flights of stairs in Greenwich Village, New York and died of his head injuries.  He had been giving chess lessons late at night at his studio. He was awarded the IM title in 1950 and the GM title in 1953.


On July 30, 1975, Tomasz Markowski was born in Glogow, Poland.  He was awarded the GM title in 1998.  He won the Polish Chess Championship in 1993, 1998, 1999, 2003, and 2007


On August 16, 1975, Friedrich Saemisch (1896-1975) died in Berlin at the age of 78.  He was Austrian champion in 1921.  He was awarded the GM title in 1950.


On August 18, 1975, Alexandre Lessiege was born in Montreal.  He was awarded the IM title in 1992 and GM title in 1999.  In 1992, he won the Canadian championship at the age of 16.  He won the Canadian championship in 1999 and 2001.


On August 27, 1975, Vladimir Georgiev was born in Sofia, Bulgaria.  He was awarded the IM title in 1994 and the GM title in 2000.  He was champion of Bulgaria in 1995.  He was champion of Macedonjia in 2007.


On September 3, 1975, Alexander Onischuk was born in Sevastopol, USSR.  He was awarded the IM title in 1993 and the GM title in 1994.  He won the US championship in 2006.


On September 28, 1975, Nino Khurtsidze was born in Soviet Georgia.  She was awarded the IM title in 1999 and is a Woman Grandmaster.  She was Georgian women's champion in 1989, 1993, 2005 and 2006.


From October to December 1975, Walter Browne drove over 16,000 miles through 40 states and gave 50 simultaneous exhibitions.  He played 1,417 games, winning 1,328, drawing 49, and losing 40 games.  He made over $10,000 after expenses in two months. (source: Interview with Walter Browne, by Bill Wall, Statesville Record and Landmark, Dec 13, 1975)


On November 14, 1975, an episode (Season 2, Episode 9) called “Chicken Little is a Little Chicken,” Jim Rockford (James Garner) gets checkmated by his father, Rocky Rockford (Noah Berry), while Angel (Stuart Margolin) tries to explain the end of the game in his lingo.


On November 16, 1975, Karel Opocensky (1892-1975) died in Czechoslovakia at the age of 83.  He was awarded the IM title in 1950.


On December 2, 1975, Hans Johner (1889-1975) died in Thalwil, Switzerland at the age of 86.  He was Swiss champion in 1908 (joint), 1923, 1928 (joint), 1929, 1931, 1932 (joint), 1934, 1935, 1937, 1938, 1947 and 1950. He was awarded the IM title in 1950.  He was an accomplished musician, playing the viola and violin.  He was a violin teacher and was director of the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich.  He played with the orchestra for 45 years.  He wrote a chess column in a Zurich newspaper for 57 years.


In 1975, Walter Browne was the reigning US champion, Pan-American champion, and German Open champion.