Chess in 1977

 by Bill Wall


In 1977, the World Chess Federation (FIDE) organized the first Telechess Olympiad where the game of chess can be played over amateur radio, telephone, or telex.  It was won by the USSR.


In 1977, Diane Savereide and Rachel Grotto became US women's chess co-champions.


In 1977, Jim Slagle won the US blind championship.


In 1977, the first world chess solving tourney was held.  The team championship was won by Finland.


In 1977, FIDE introduced the Woman Grandmaster (WGM) title.


In 1977, The Chess Challenger 1 was the first chess computer on the market.


In 1977, Dorfman and Gulko won the 45th Soviet Championship, held in Leningrad


In 1977, the first World Cadet championship for under-17 was held.


In 1977, Fedorowicz and Ken Regan tied for 1st in the US Junior Invitational, held in Denver.


In 1977, the International Computer Chess Association (ICCA) was formed.


In January, 1977, Mark Diesen, a sophomore at the University of Maryland, won the World Junior Championship, held in Groningen, The Netherlands.  He earned $160 and was awarded the International Master title.  (source: Santa Ana Register, Jan 6, 1977)


On January 11, 1977, Christian Bauer was born in Forbach, France.  He was French champion in 1996, 2012, and 2015.  He was awarded the GM title in 1977.


On January 13, 1977, Anthony Santasiere (1904-1977) died in New York at the age of 72.  He was US Open champion in 1945.  He won the New York State championship 3 times. 


On February 15, 1977, Isaac Boleslavsky (1919-1977) died in Minsk at age of 57 after a fall on an icy sidewalk.  He broke his hip and could not overcome an infection acquired during his hospitalization.   He was awarded the GM title in 1950.


On February 17, 1977, Newell William Banks (1887-1977) died in Detroit at the age of 89.  He was a famous checkers and chess master. 


On February 18, 1977, Helgi Ass Gretarsson was born in Iceland.  He was World Junior Chess champion in 1994.  He was awarded the GM title in 1994.


On February 20, 1977, Mrs. Regina Fischer, mother of Bobby Fischer, was arrested in London while protesting as government deportation order against two American journalists.  She was sentenced to one year’s probation for obstructing the sidewalk outside a British government office.  (source: Indiana Gazette, PA, Mar 16, 1977)


On March 1, 1977, Alexey Korotylev was born in the USSR.  He was awarded the GM title in 2000.


On March 3, 1977, Abhijit Kunte was born in India.  He was Indian champion in 1997 and 2000.  He was British champion in 2003.  He was awarded the GM title in 2000.


On March 22, 1977, Vadim Malakhatko was born in the Ukraine.  He was awarded the IM title in 1997 and the GM title in 1999.  He was Kiev champion in 1999.


On March 25, 1977, Dimitri Tyomkin was born in Israel.  He was Israeli Junior Champion in 1997.  He was awarded the GM title in 2001.


On April 18, 1977, Jonathan Rowson was born in Aberdeen, Scotland.  He was awarded the IM title in 1995.  He is a grandmaster.  He was Scottish champion in 1999, 2001, and 2004.  He was British champion in 2004, 2005, and 2006.


On April 20, 1977, Viorel Iordachescu was born in Kishinev, Moldavia.  He was awarded the GM title in 1977.


On April 24, 1977, Vastimil Hort played 550 players simultaneously in Iceland, winning 477, drawing 63, and losing 10.


On May 4, 1977, Mikhail Mukhin (1948-1977) died in Russia at the age of 29.  He won the USSR junior championship in 1965.  He was awarded the IM title in 1975. 


In May, 1977, Nigel Short, age 11, became the youngest player to qualify for the finals of a nation chess championship when he defeated Irish champion Alan Ludgate in a zonal playoff for a sport in the British chess championship.  (source: The Lincoln Star, May 31, 1977)


In June, 1977, Nona Gaprindashvili tied for 1st at the Louis D. Statham International Tournament in Lone Pine.  It was the first time a woman won a "men’s” tournament.


In July 1977, Fedorowicz and Henley won the World Open.


On July 18, 1977, Alexander Morosewitsch was born in Moscow.  He was awarded the GM title in 1994.


In July, 1977, Joel Benjamin became a chess master at the age of 13 years, 3 months.


On August 9, 1977, the 2nd world computer chess championship was held in Toronto. It was won by Chess 4.6.


On August 10, 1977, Li Shilong was born in China.  He was awarded the GM title in 2002.


In August, 1977, Leonid Shamkovich, Andy Soltis, and Tim Taylor tied for 1st at the US Open in Columbus, Ohio.  Sneaky Pete became the 1st computer to play in the US Open, held in Columbus, Ohio.  There were 442 players in the event.


On September 6, 1977, Martha Fierro Baguero was born in Kingston, Rhode Island.   She was awarded the IM title in 2005.  She is a Woman Grandmaster who plays for Ecuador.


On September 14, 1977, Paul Michel (1905-1977) died in La Plata, Argentina.  He was a German-Argentine master.  He was awarded the IM title in 1956.


On September 19, 1977, Emil Sutovsky was born in Baku and now plays for Israel.  He was awarded the IM title in 1993 and the GM title in 1996.  He was World Junior Champion in 1996.  He was European Champion in 2001.


On October 1, 1977, Fantisek Zita (1909-1977) died in Prague.  He was a Czech chess master.  He was awarded the IM title in 1950. 


In October, 1977, Walter Browne won his third straight US chess championship at Mentor, Ohio.  He scored 9 out of 13 points.  Browne won in 1974 and 1975.  There was no US chess championship in 1976.


On October 4, 1977, Bartlomiej Macieja was born in Warsaw, Poland.  He was awarded the GM title in 1999.  He was Polish champion in 2004 and 2009.


On October 10, 1977, Bobby Fischer was accused of forcing his way into Holly Ruiz’s apartment in Pasadena and assaulting here over a story she helped write about him for the Ambassador Report, a magazine printed by the Worldwide Church of God.  The story, “Bobby Fischer Speaks Out,” was based on tape-recorded interviews with Fischer in which he was critical of the church.  Fischer threatened to hurt her and said, “I’m going to smash your face in.” (source: The Fremont Argus, Nov 16, 1977)


On November 8, 1977, Viktor Korchnoi, age 46, was injured in a car wreck with a broken right hand and other injuries.  Korchnoi’s taxi collided with a Swiss army truck on its way to Zurich.   The car rolled over three times.  He asked for a postponement in his world championship semi-final match with Spassky.  Raymond Keene was also a passenger, but not seriously injured.


On November 22, 1977, Ivan Rohacek (1909-1977) died in Serbia at the age of 68.  He won the Slovak championship in 1930, 1936, and 1939. 


On November 23, 1977, Ivan Ivanisevic was born in Yugoslavia.  He was awarded the IM title in 1997 and the GM title in 2000.  He was Serbian champion in 2008 and 2009.


In 1977 Bobby Fischer played three games against the MIT Greenblatt computer program. He turned down $250,000 to play one chess game at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas and $3 million to play in a tournament in the Philippines. At the end of 1977 he cut all ties with the Worldwide Church of God. He claimed that the church was taking orders from a satanical secret world government.


In 1977, Anatoly Karpov won at Bad Lauterberg, Las Palmas, Bristol, and Tilburg. He won the chess Oscar for 1977.