Colorado Springs Chess News

The Knights Are Better Here!


Chess Nuts Boasting In An Open Foyer

Posted by Paul Anderson on April 29, 2017 at 6:15 PM

Game Of The Week

By Matt Grinberg

Have you ever heard this old chess joke?

It was sent in by Dennis Cravens in response to the Christmas Tree Chess Problems.  It was also sent to me by Jim Bailey's wife Katy a while back.  This was Katy's version:

A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories.

After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse. "But why?" they asked, as they moved off.

"Because," he said, "I can't stand chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer."

A friend of mine, Ray Jones, claimed he was the originator of this joke.  In fact, he said it was based on an experience of mine!

In August 1973, when Ray and I were both living in Arlington, Virginia, Ray his wife, Gloria, and I decided to go to the U.S. Open Chess Championship at the La Salle Hotel in Chicago.  The plan was that we would drive out together in their car, and after the tournament, we would drive back together. 

Ray had a tournament as bad as mine was good. He decided that, before going back to Arlington, he wanted to visit his parents in southern Missouri.  Well, I had to get back to work.  So, Ray and Gloria headed off to Missouri while I was left at the hotel.

It so happened that the hotel was attached to a Greyhound bus terminal.  I bought a ticket for Washington, DC and sat down in the lobby of the hotel to wait for the bus.  I broke out my chess set and started analyzing some games I was playing by correspondence in the 1972 Golden Knights.  GM Yasser Seirawan (U.S. Chess Champion in 1981, 1986, and 1989) saw me analyzing and asked if I would mind if he joined me.  At the time, Seirawan was a 13 year old 1600 player.

This tournament is where he first gained national attention.  He scored an astounding 8.5 - 3.5 against very strong competition, sending his rating over 2000.  I certainly knew who he was based on his performance.  I was flattered that he would want to analyze my game with me.  We were studying the game and Seirawan had interesting ideas of which I had not thought. 

Deeply engaged in our study, I suddenly heard someone say, "Excuse me gentlemen."

I looked up and saw someone from the hotel staff;  "Yes," I said.

"You are not allowed to play chess in the lobby."

As I was putting my pieces away, I couldn't help but think, "Let's see.  They just had the U.S. Open Chess Championship here.  There were a record 778 chess players in the two week tournament.  The tournament rented the huge ballroom on the 18th floor, plus most of their meeting rooms.  Most of chess players probably stayed in the hotel for the entire two weeks.   They just made a ton of money off of chess.  And yet, they are telling us we cannot play chess in their lobby!?"

When I saw Ray back in Arlington, I told him what happened.   Later that year, he told me the joke and told me it was based on my experience and the lyrics "chestnuts roasting in an open fire" from "The Christmas Song."  The best known recordings of "The Christmas Song" were done by Nat King Cole in 1946 and 1953.

Was Ray telling me the truth, or had he already heard the joke somewhere?

Well, sorry to say Ray, but I did a little research.  It would seem that the joke dates back about a year and a half before Ray Jones told it to me.  But, perhaps, he thought of it independently.

Black to move

You can view the diagram and answer here:

Chess Nuts Boasting In An Open Foyer


[Event "Golden Knights Preliminaries"]

[Site ""]

[Date "1972.??.??"]

[Round "?"]

[White "Grinberg, Matthew"]

[Black "Lee, Carlton"]

[Result "0-1"]

[ECO "C55"]

[PlyCount "46"]

[EventDate "1972.??.??"]

[TimeControl "0"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d4 exd4 5. O-O

Bc5 6. e5 d5 7. exf6 dxc4 8. Re1+ Be6 9. Ng5 Qd5 10. Nc3 Qf5 11. Nce4 O-O-O 12.

Nxe6 fxe6 13. g4 Qe5 14. Bg5 Rd7 15. fxg7 Rg8 16. Bf6 Qd5 17. Nxc5 Qxc5 18.

Rxe6 Nd8 19. Re2 Qd6 20. g5 Ne6 21. Qe1 Nxg7 22. Rd1 Qc6 23. Bxd4 Ne6 0-1

This Week In Chess

On April 25th, the Colorado Springs Chess Club finished its April Quick (6SS, G/24+5).

Standings. AQ

# Name Rtng Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Tot Prize

1 Aleksand Bozhenov 1771 W8 D4 W2 W3 W5 W7 5.5 $24.00 1st

2 Paul D Anderson 1986 L6 W11 L1 W4 W3 W5 4.0 $8.00 2nd

3 Mark McGough 1683 W10 W9 W6 L1 L2 W11 4.0 $8.00 2nd

4 Brian Jo Rountree 1617 W11 D1 L9 L2 W6 W8 3.5

5 Alemayeh Mekonnen 1307 L9 W10 W8 W6 L1 L2 3.0 $11.00 U1500

6 Michael Smith II 1569 W2 W8 L3 L5 L4 W10 3.0

7 Michael W Sandau 1023 H--- U--- U--- W10 W11 L1 2.5

8 Dean W Brown 1400 L1 L6 L5 W11 W10 L4 2.0

9 Peter Barlay 1703 W5 L3 W4 U--- U--- U--- 2.0

10 Clinton D Eads 1168 L3 L5 W11 L7 L8 L6 1.0

11 Douglas N Clark 496 L4 L2 L10 L8 L7 L3 0.0

Categories: 2017

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