Fischer Wins 1957 New Jersey Open


The 1957 New Jersey Open was where one of Bobby Fischer’s 60 Memorable Games was played…his game against James T. Sherwin. There were 81 players. Fischer scored 6 wins and 1 draw (with Dr. Ariel Mengarini) and and pocketed $125, or about $1,125 today.      

This made three tournaments in a row Fischer had won: the US Junior Championship and now the New Jersey Open. Shortly after the New Jersey Open Fischer would defeat 19-year old Rodolfo Cardoso of Manila is a match sponsored by Pepsi-Cola by a convincing score of +5 -1 =2.      Anthony Saidy (6.0-1.0), who lost to Fischer in the 5th round, was runner up a half point behind. Next came Arthur Feuerstein of New York and Robert Sobel of Philadelphia with 5.5-1.5. As the highest scoring New Jersey resident Matthew Green won the State title and Leroy Dubeck won the Junior Championship.       

The 7-round Swiss tournament was held over the Labor Day weekend and started on Friday evening, August 30, 1957 and ended on Monday, September 2nd. Some sources say the tournament was played at the Independent Chess Club which had recently been opened by the well known Master Edgar T. McCormick. The club had an advertisement in Chess Review stating it was always open. When I Googled the address I discovered that it is a private residence on a residential street.

The house hardly looks like it could have accommodated 80 players! There was a preliminary ad in Chess Life stating that the tournament was to be held at a location to be announced and for details, write Leroy Dubeck in Maplewood, New Jersey. A later ad stated that the New Jersey Open was at the Independent Chess Center in conjunction with the East Orange Hotel. It would seem the hotel was a more likely venue.

Dr. Leroy Dubeck (born March 1, 1939, in Orange, NJ) is a master and a chess politician and a retired Professor of Physics. He was president of the USCF from 1969-1972. Dubeck also writes science fiction. The entry fee was $8.00 and $4.00 for juniors. That may seem cheap, but it was a hefty $73.00 and $36.50 in today’s dollars.

In addition, you had to be a USCF and NJSCF member which cost $5.00 (about $46.00 today) and $2.00 (about $18.00 today), respectively. Prize money was offered for the first five places as well as the highest-scoring Expert and Class A, B, and C players (in those days Class C was as low as you could go). The top three juniors were also awarded a cash prize.      

The next USCF rating list after the tournament was published in March of 1958 and Fischer’s rating was 2626 placing him number two behind Reshevsky at 2713. Except for Fischer’s games, games from this long-forgotten tournament are scarce, but here’s Fischer’s interesting win over Master Attlio Di Camillo, rated 2319. 

 A word about the opening, the King’s Indian Attack. Some authors are unscrupulous. They dupe readers into buying their book by stating this opening can be played against anything black plays and insinuating that you can play it, as one author put it, without the need to waste your time learning separate lines against different black defenses because the K-Indian Attack is playable against all of them.      

Don’t believe everything the authors say! The part about it being playable against any black setup is true, but NOT the part about your not needing to waste your time learning separate lines. If that was true he would not have broken his book down into chapters on playing the KIA against various black setups: Sicilian, French, Caro-Kann, black plays …d5 and …Bg4, black plays …d5 and …Bf5, K-Indian Reversed and other defensive setups.      

Why did he do that? Because to play the KID correctly, you must adapt a different strategy against each different black setup and that is going to require you to spend your time learning separate lines.



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