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Bent Larsen vs Anatoly Lein
"Walk the Lein" (game of the day Feb-01-2006)
Lone Pine (1979), Lone Pine, CA USA, rd 7, Apr-02
Sicilian Defense: Classical Variation. General (B56)  ·  1-0



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Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Okay, now I remember why PaulLovric was on ignore. Whew.
Feb-01-06  Stonewaller2: I think I prefer Brooks-Bach Mountain . . . ;)
Feb-01-06  Stonewaller2: ... or Cao-Postny . . . ;)
Feb-01-06  HighlyOriginal: 14...Bxh4 looks OK. I can't see why white is offering up the P. Why can't black take it?
Feb-01-06  Stonewaller2: ... or Krush ...
Feb-01-06  sciacca khan: Son of a gun. I don't seem to connect the pun with what was done. That's no fun.
Feb-01-06  Jim Bartle: I see this game was played in Lone Pine, a tiny town at the foot of Mt. Whitney, closer to Death Valley than any major city. They seem to have had a few tourneys with top players there.

How did this happen?

Feb-01-06  HighlyOriginal: Larsen was bent on beating this Lein,
With an 'open line' he found in 'Lone Pine'.

Feb-01-06  HighlyOriginal: I found the following (which I've abbreviated) at

Lone Pine is located in the eastern park of the State of California on the Nevada side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It is remote ... It is tiny ... Louis D. Statham, a wealthy engineer and inventor, sold his big house in the Holmby Hills area of Los Angeles to Hugh Hefner a few years back and moved to Lone Pine … Statham, who is a pretty-good chessplayer with a postal rating of 1368 (Class A ... wanted some chessplayers around Lone Pine. He missed the chess club! So he brought in Isaac Kashdan to set up a series of master chess tournaments, paying all the bills himself. The 1975 tournament, his fifth, is reported to have cost $65,000 in prizes, travel expenses and lodging ... Statham actually invited every grandmaster in the world! He is said to have been disappointed in the response, for the highest-rated player, Gligoric, is "only" 21st in the world. Aside from a couple of missed opportunities because of thoughtless planning ... the absence of many GMs was due to the Fischer-Karpov argument and the childish retaliation of the USSR Chess Federation, which kept not only the Soviet players but also other Iron Curtain players away…

Feb-01-06  Jim Bartle: Aha. A wealthy sponsor, then.

I can't imagine there were too many spectators at the games, informed spectators at least.

Feb-01-06  Jarlaxle: lol ohio
Feb-02-06  Boomie: Lone Pine did manage to attract Petrosian and Smyslov, although I am at a loss to determine how they managed to obtain permission. Petrosian won it in 1976 and played 6 5 minute games with the 14 year old Yasser Seirawan to the utter delight of a boisterous crowd in the kibbitz room, myself included. He let Yaz win the first 2 games and then won the last 4. Petrosian was a delightful man with a great sense of humor.
Feb-02-06  Jim Bartle: Good story. How many spectators were there for the Lone Pine tournament?
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <Jim Bartle> I was there too. I wonder if I saw <Boomie> Petrosian attacted a lot of spectators for his speed games, which he would win with ease walking his King through the most dangerous attacks.

There weren't a ton of spectators overall. Lone Pine is a desert town on the east side of the Sierra Nevadas, and you could walk right next to the boards and observe the game from about three feet away.

Premium Chessgames Member
  IMlday: I played Lone Pine in '75, '77 and '79, the years there were no Olympiads. In '75 the population was about 2000, by '79, due to cheap accomodation, it was about 8000. Statham was a billionaire since he held the patent on the method of attaching a diamond head to a rock drill such that an oil drill would cut through rock without chewing up the drill itself. He and his wife were usually drunk by noon. They lived just outside of town on a big ranch. Louis pretended he was a recluse and he only went into town on a golf cart, dressed down, masquerading as 'Mr. Statham's' gardener~A genuine eccentric. He built a town hall to hold his tournament and a hospital to treat his ailments. In one room of his ranch house were a couple of dozen short wave radios with chess boards set up beside them for his in-progress games. The pairing system was crazy~first director Issac Kashdan would ask Statham what he wanted to see, which was usually inter-generational games, then the rest would be paired normally. In '79 Sammy Reshevsky and prodigy Joel Benjamin were paired in the first round "in case Sammy popped" explained Kashdan; he'd already had one heart attack.In '75 Statham was hoping for Vlad Liberzon who had just emigrated from the USSR to Israel. The automatic pairing Evans-Liberzon last round was junked for a pre-agreed draw with Florin Gheorghui making Evans furious and motivating him to try to organize a chess masters union. Statham made his pool and sauna available to players and held a closing party until some drunk viking ripped out a toilet and threw it out of the window! The Lone Pine tournaments also featured the two-day rest break between the first week and second. Two dead days, Saturday and Sunday 'sabbaths' with almost nothing to do in Lone Pine. The whole town had exactly one pool table, no library, cinemas, book was a place people passed through, a motel strip with a block of houses on either side for support staff. The first year I played there, '75, I had delusions of trying for a GM norm but I lost them after the first week which I finished with a 3-2 score having played 2 GMs (Evans and Benko). But the other three games, Tisdall, Rhode and Berry, were against US teenagers with no FIDE ratings. Statham's pairing system treated foreign IMs like fodder for American titles. Still, in those days, it was hard to get games against GMs so I went back twice more for fun. By then I knew enough to take some very thick books for the free days.
Feb-02-06  Jim Bartle: In other words, Statham was the western version of Kirsan...

I can just imagine stumbling into Lone Pine, coming off days along the John Muir Trail, and bumping into Petrosian and Smyslov. I would have thought I was hallucinating. Great stories, but I wonder about the complaint that there was nothing to do in Lone Pine during the rest days. Lone Pine lies at the base of Mt. Whitney, highest point in the 48 states, and there are all sorts of marvelous trails (many quite easy) into the Sierra Nevada from nearby towns like Independence and Big Pine. A beautiful area.

Well, Im sure the players had no time for this, spending every minute of the rest days working on their preparation.

Premium Chessgames Member
  IMlday: Yes, nature trails are great; urban-dwelling young Yanks probably got some interesting experiences. But for Canadians it was all tres deja vu~'nature', right beyond suburbia up here. Angela and I, driven by Dr. Martinovsky, went up to the snow line on Mt. Whitney, it was impressive,
and a day later we were at the lowest continental US point, 'Death Valley', also impressive. IM Bill Martz drove and IM Norman Weinstein was a passenger
to Las Vegas where card-counting in Blackjack was the new phenomenon.
Feb-02-06  Jim Bartle: I think I'll move to Canada, then.

My only real time in Canada was in Banff and Jasper years ago, and on Vancouver Island. All utterly, utterly spectacular.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: My run-in with Kashdan came when I asked him if I could buy a bulletin. He had some in his hand.

"Not for the public, only for the players!" he said and shot me a Get Lost Kid look.

Lone Pine wasn't all great, but I can still recall arriving and having breakfast in this little western diner. and having Oleg Romanishin come in and sit in one booth and Viktor Korchnoi in the booth on the other side.

Feb-02-06  Jim Bartle: Anybody who traveled for hours to get to Lone Pine deserved a bulletin.

The image of Korchnoi, Smyslov, Liberzon, Romanishin, Larsen and Reshevsky in Lone Pine still doesn't compute.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <Tamar> <...Oleg Romanishin come in and sit in one booth and Viktor Korchnoi in the booth on the other side.> Did Romanishin and Korchnoi talk to each other at all or was there a Soviet minder around?
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <Benzol> Romanishin kept away from Korchnoi, but not in any antagonistic way. I remember him chatting away in Russian then switching to German as players stopped by from that country.

I tried translating for my brother (3 years high school german) which awfulness cracked Romanishin up, so he obviously knew English as well.

Korchnoi had someone like a manager he talked to in a loud voice, and he was mad about his motel room that day.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <Benzol> How the boycott actually got broken is answered in a post by <whiteshark> I just found at Korchnoi vs Yusupov, 1981
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <tamar> Thanks for the heads-up on this one. I'm glad that the boycott issues regarding Korchnoi were finally resolved. When you and your brother saw Romanishin in 1979 I gather that because of the boycott he became just a spectator at the tournament?
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <Benzol> It had to have been 1981, because that was the only year that Romanishin and Yusupov came.

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