The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is thrilled to welcome legendary GM Walter Browne in his first visit to the U.S. Capital of Chess.
The legendary Browne, a six-time U.S. Champion and apparent king of the Open tournament, will participate in the Saint Louis Thanksgiving Open from Nov. 7-9 and surround the competition with several special lectures and discussions on life as an American chess hero throughout the 1970s and 80s.
On Thursday evening, Nov. 6, Browne will kickoff his visit with a special lecture at the CCSCSL highlighting two most-important games from his career -- neither of which were discussed in his 2012 memoir The Stress of Chess … and its Infinite Finesse. Both games are slated for appearance in an upcoming second volume.
A piece sacrifice and an eight-move combination highlight the first game against Romanian GM Florin Gheorgiu, one that ultimately earned Browne the brilliancy prize at the famous Tata Steel tournament in Holland. The second game comes from the first tournament played outside of the Soviet Union for a young Garry Kasparov in 1979, back when the eventual World Champion -- 16 years old, at the time -- was only 2200 and yet to own a FIDE rating.
“It was (Kasparov’s) very first FIDE tournament, and I thought I was playing just another Russian kid,” Browne said. “My attitude right from the beginning was to come out and have a very combative game, but out of the opening I suddenly wasn’t happy after 10-12 moves. He played wonderfully, a very instructive game with few minor errors. I made mistakes.”
Browne will also lead an exclusive, limited-seat training session at the CCSCSL on the following Monday evening, Nov. 10. The two-hour jam session will cover games just played in the Saint Louis Thanksgiving Open as well as breakdowns of the Carlsen-Anand 2014 World Championship matches, taking place during Browne’s visit.
Finally, the World Chess Hall of Fame will present A Conversation With Walter Browne on the evening of Tuesday, Nov. 11, featuring stories from his epic career during the golden era of American chess. The bag of history Browne will dive into chess life alongside the game’s most-recognizable figures, from Lev Alburt to Larry Evans, Pal Benko to Robert Byrne -- and of course, Bobby Fischer. The WCHOF’s Conversation will also feature that from GM Yasser Seirawan, who played many games with Browne and shared in stardom during the 1970s “Fischer Boom.”
“I used to play quite often with Yasser, and have seen him many times in tournaments,” Browne said. “We have a lot of history together, just between the two of us there should be a lot to talk about. I’m sure we can come up with some wonderful stories.”
Or maybe some more wonderful combinations. The 65-year-old Browne is still a force over the board, the reigning Senior Open champion from September and one of the winners of the Reno Western States Open just two weeks ago. The focus of his visit to Saint Louis is, just as before, competitive in nature, set to clash with GMs Ben Finegold and Fidel Corrales Jiminez in the Thanksgiving Open.
The $4,000 FIDE-rated event and combination ALS Benefit will be a five-round Swiss (G/90+30) for three sections: Open, U1800 and U1400. Registration is still open and can be done online, with a discount on entry fee applied for early registration. Grandmasters and International Master compete for free.
First moves are scheduled for Friday, Nov. 7 at 7:00 p.m.