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Fabio La Rota vs Jeff Sarwer
Saint John II (1988)
Caro-Kann Defense: Two Knights Attack (B10)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Feb-02-07  Tactic101: It said on a website that Jeff Sarwer had emotional problems that pretty much interfered with his chess. I wonder what he made of his life after chess was over. Poor kid. His father didn't said him to school at all. Make that a lesson to you parents! Always make sure there are options if your child's main career choice goes astray.

Its too bad that they didn't save the score sheets from that game with Waitzkin and Sarwer in the Nationals. That would have been interesting. And speaking of Waitzkin, its about time he gets back into chess!

Feb-02-07  Strongest Force: I remember those times: Little Jeff was always begging me for food, little Josh got mad & told his father if he thought I was distracting him in our pick-up skittles games and Larota & other central & south american im's & gm's loved to play little 12-year-old Max Dlugy blitz chess.
Premium Chessgames Member
  jeff sarwer: hmmm......well not quite. I blitzed it out and had to go to the bathroom, so it happened sooner rather than later :) The camera's were always around, and I dont remember falling out of my chair but maybe I was more than a bit dissapointed . It was somewhere in the middle of a tournament in St. john Canada. The 1988 world chess festival. By the way Fabio probably tried the cheapo on purpose because he saw me squirming wanting to go to the bathroom, (Why not? It worked after all)
Premium Chessgames Member
  jeff sarwer: BTW who is strongest force? I owe lunch :)Thank you.
Premium Chessgames Member
  jeff sarwer: seems like tactic101 is a bit outdated and misinformed with his information :)
Oct-15-07  Riverbeast: You guys shouldn't believe everything you read. I knew the Sarwers and they were good kids, nothing like they were portrayed in the movie and in Fred Waitkin's book.

The movie made him out to be a villain because they were taking artistic license. And Fred Waitzkin tended to look down on many people in the chess scene - not just the Sarwers, but many of the players in the park also (who were not all the losers he made them out to be).

Maybe he was jealous because at the time it seemed clear that Sarwer was the more talented player. I always like Josh Waitzkin and thought he was a good kid too - but Fred thought it wasn't right that kids shouldn't go to school. Why?? Kids are homeschooled all the time. The Polgar sisters were home schooled, and look how they turned out!

If you want to see the game Sarwer and Waitzkin played in the finals of the Primary school Championship, it's right here in this database. Josh escaped with a draw by the skin of his teeth.

Oct-15-07  Riverbeast: P.S. For those of you who don't know -Josh Waitzkin quit chess. Interestingly, he then went on to become world champion at a martial art called push-hands (a tai-chi application). Someone told me that in the final match, his opponent broke Josh's hand but Josh won anyway. So the kid was always a fighter!
Oct-19-07  CapAnson: Jeff - If you came back to chess full time (assuming you had the desire of course) how problematic would it be for you to reach IM or GM level at this point? Presumably you would still have the same natural talent, and I would say if your play is still at a 2200-2300 level after nearly 20 years of no serious play it would be a possibility.
Oct-19-07  Strongest Force: RiverBeast, are you from NYC? You have the handle of someone i know in the big apple.
Oct-21-07  Riverbeast: Yes, I was born and raised in NYC, my ICC handle is Rbeast, which is a play on my last name. Am I the guy you think I am?
Oct-21-07  Strongest Force: Yes you are the guy, my brother! The last time i talked to you, you were rolling-up some master on the ICC, but that was no big deal because you yourself are a very strong master! This is bigkenny from uptown... a longtime friend of Ylon sense he was 16. I hear he's a pro poker player. You ever hear from him? Where are you living now? I usually try to remain anonymous because of the trouble your friend Roman got me into. I'm just joking about that; i had alot of fun with Roman but he did leave me out in the cold when the ICC came down on me hard! I was back on ICC for about a year (anonymously) so that i could get to know Nakamura; he's a great kid and he helped with my tactics on a one-on-one basis! Like i said, he's a great guy. Do you still play at all? I'll talk to you soon.
Oct-22-07  Riverbeast: Kenny, of course I remember you. email me:
Premium Chessgames Member
  jeff sarwer: In Response to CApAnson's question: "How problematic would it be for you to reach the IM or GM title at this point?

Well, I estimate for me to reach the GM title it would take me 1-2 years of structured training.(Something I never had except for the fundamental beginner level, and something I would find interesting about seeing, like an adult returning an old childhood love :) Of course that is a serious investment of time, and one I have to consider, since I have a tendency to spread myself out too thin with different projects. Another problem of mine is that I also have a love for good living, and when my friends are off hiking in the mountains I don't know if I want to be studying up on countless chess openings, in order to catch up on the last 200 years of theory I missed! That's because I have pretty much nothing but basic instinct and love for chess. Chess has been a "forbidden love" for me, with life's fate and very nasty people having pulled me away from it. So there definitely is unfinished business with Chess, It's just a question of I feel I have the support from everyone to come back, after all the horribly embarrasing things I have been put through in the media. (Very unfortunately connected to my childhood and chess in my mind). I think it takes more courage for me to come back then people realize.... I estimate this 1-2 years for a GM title based on how I felt recently at Malbork. I played these young GM's here (in Poland) and was feeling quite comfy with them. There is some rust and I would need some actual coaching, but the calculations and ideas seem to be working just fine! I finished in a tie for second place with 7/9 in good company, so I think it is unlikely my current strength is 2200-2300 uscf :) In Malbork I won every game quite handily against any non-GM I played, and netted 2 draws in 3 games against GM's Jedynak, Bobras, and Wojtasek. Overall I surprised myself, and had a blast! I had some silly illusions of powerful passed pawns in the middlegame against Bobras which led to a quick loss, but I am very happy at how I bounced back from the loss and finished with 7/9. I liked the game against GM Jedynak and would welcome any analysis! Oh, by the way, if anybody has anymore general comments or questions for me, can we try to just keep one thread going on my main profile? thanks! :) Once again, I really appreciate all the support and positive comments I am getting from you guys, and the fact that most of you actually remember me in a positive light, as a wild kid who loved playing the game, because I still feel the same way about the game today!

Oct-23-07  Riverbeast: I think you've got the right idea, Jeff. Play the game for love and with love, I think that's the most important thing...But you're in the right place geographically it seems. Europe is where all the strong north american players go if they want to get to the next level and/or get a title....So you'll probably improve anyway just playing in all those strong tournaments!
Oct-24-07  Tactic101: I guess I should watch what I say. I never know who's listening. :)

Welcome to the site Jeff. I beg your apology for that remark. It was some time ago.

Dec-24-08  WhiteRook48: This was also an Alekhine vs four amateurs game that went like this. How can someone not see this?
May-14-09  WhiteRook48: 6....Nbd7???
I prefer 6....Nfd7 lol
May-29-10  James Bowman: Its very interesting to have Jeff here and get the real scoop or at least from the perspective of an actual participant in his own life story.

I have always been put off by the term Hollywood licence, how bout a more accurate word like fabrication or fictionalized or since we are using F words simply false will do.

I personally have hoped that Josh Waitzkin would return and earn his GM title, while he might not be a world champion contender no doubt if not thrust into the lime light he would have reached GM level, his tutorials on the Chessmaster series are useful probably up to a master level, and enjoyable.

I see so very much in common between Jeff and Josh its remarkable, they both seem driven towards success and at the same time you could just hang out with either of them and be amongst good company. I think there is room in the chess world for two former child prodigies no?

Premium Chessgames Member
  ToTheDeath: Very interesting to hear from Jeff, great comments on this page. Sholastic chess is full of opening trap games like these, no big deal and quite common actually even among the talents.
Premium Chessgames Member
  sea7kenp: Looks like 6 ... Nbd7 is a Helpmate Move. Certainly not the way to play the Caro-Kann as Black!
Jan-03-22  JimmyVermeer: I am making a YouTube video about the shortest checkmates in the history of chess. It should be ready in a few weeks. This game will certainly be included. I like reading the comments on all these games too so I can get the backstories and include some of those stories in the video as well.

Can definitely relate to Jeff on the "very nasty people" issue... I have some of those in my life as well.

Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: <I am making a YouTube video about the shortest checkmates in the history of chess.>

Maybe you could set a lower age limit. Sarwer was ten at the time of this game.

Jan-04-22  JimmyVermeer: I see no reason to do so. Games played by children make for some of the most instructive material. And I'll try to make a point of saying something positive about some of the players who don't win, so it doesn't seem like I'm completely trashing them.
Apr-05-22  JimmyVermeer: The video ended up becoming a series of videos because there are 109 games featured in it. It's on my YouTube channel if you want to check it out.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Korora: "Who's a silly pony/You're a silly pony..."
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