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Reuben Fine vs Nikolai Feldman
Blindfold simul, 8b (1933) (blindfold), New York, NY USA
Hungarian Opening: General (A00)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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  Phony Benoni: There are a few questions about this game. I'm working from <American Chess Bulletin><, March 1933, p. 54 and <Lesson From My Games> by Reuben Fine, p. 30-35.

First of all, our version of the score may be incorrect. After <42.Re2>:

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Both Fine and ACB gives Black's next move as 42...B-R3 (42..Bh6) rather than 42...Ba3 (42...B-R6).

Similarly, after <43.h4 Rc3 44.g4>, bot Fine and ACB give 44...B-B1 (44...Bf8) instead of 44...Bc1 (44...B-B8).

If <CG>'s source has an error, it's a common type: confusing ranks when translating between Descriptive and Algebraic.

I'm sure Woodger and other databases have our version, , but my gut tells me Fine & ACB are right. However, that may not be enough proof, and there's not enough of a difference analytically to make a judgment.

Nov-22-19  Retireborn: <Phony Benoni> Woodger indeed gives the score we have (42.Ke2 Ba3) and quotes Fine 1958 (Lessons etc) as the source.

Similar to the Saemisch-Nimzowitsch case we looked at before; a possibly incorrect score is imported from a database, without checking that it actually matches the quoted source.

The blindfold exhibition is said to have taken place at the Hungarian Chess Club in New York. Was this opening called the Hungarian Opening then, I wonder!

Perhaps there's a story behind how this Feldman came to play Botvinnik in Leningrad and then be in New York two years later. Woodger has no biographical data for him.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Retireborn> I'm suspicious about "Nikolai" Feldman as well, and there is conflicting evidence about the venue.

Fine (<Lessons from my games>, p. 30-35) mentions two blindfold simuls. The first, held "some years" after he first tried a blindfold game, was an impromptu affair. He was scheduled to give a regular exhibition at a small club (unnamed) at a hotel in a midtown New York. When only six players showed up, he offered to play them blindfold.

This seems to be the event mentioned in the chess column of the Allentown (PA) <Morning Call> of February 26, 1933:

<"Reuben Fine, champion of the Marshall Chess Club, gave a simultaneous blindfold exhibition against six opponents in the Hotel Shelton on February 9. Although this was his first attempt against so many opponents, he won all six of his games.">

Fine next describes his first formal blindfold simul, played in the spring of 1933 on eight boards at the Old Hungarian Chess Club. That's all the detals he offers. After some general remarkds on blindfold chess, he presents a game against "N Feldman". staing it was from the "New York exhibition (but not which one).

We have some information about this second simul from Helms. First, the <Brooklyn Daily Eagle>, March 16, 1933:

<"In his exhibition of blindfold play at the International Chess Club, Reuben Fine ... made a brilliant score at eight boards, winning six games and drawing the other two. Consulting teans nade up of Persin and Shainswit and of Rosenthal and Paul escaped defeat by the young master.">

Then, in <American Chess Bulletin>, March 1933, p. 54:

<"Conducing eight blindfold games simultaneously (for the first time) at the International Chess Club of New York, during March, Fine won six and drew the other two. Two fine specimens follow.">

Pun probably not intended. ACB then gives the scores of the game with Feldman (no first initial) and with a consulting pair ((J Hesterly and J Sandford), stating they were from the

I think this seeming contradiction can be explained by a short report in ACB, November 1933, p. 164, about the "Hunaria - International Chess club. This was a simul by Horowitz, played at the club headquarters in Kreutzer Hall.

Apparently the clubs had combined operations to some extent, and met at the old home of the Hungarians. However, they maintained their identities each supporting a team in the Metropolitan Chess League. The International team (see, for instance, BDE, February 23, 1933) includeed <Jack Feldman> and George Shainswit, both mentioned as having played in the Horowitz simul.

So I'm thinking that, despite Fine naming him as "N Feldman", Black in his game was actually Jack Feldman, whom I knew of a an elderly New York Expert at US Open in the 1970s and 1980s.

Why discount Fine? Since this was a blindfold simul, he would have had no written record of the game, and would have had to rely on memory or other sources. His book was written fifteen years after the game, so his memory could have been faulty. It could be, for instance, that he encountered nikolai Feldman during his time in Russia.

I short, I believe Black was Jack Feldman, mainly because he belonged to the same club as other players mentioned in reports of the event.

Nov-22-19  Retireborn: <PB> Thanks for that. A persuasive case for the other Feldman.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: By the way, the ACB report on the Metropolitan Hungaria Chess Club was in the November 1932 issue, not 1933.

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