Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dave's Not Here

Nope, I'm not talking about Dave Glickman, inventor of the BCC Blog Gambit. Nor am I talking about the Dave with whom Mike Griffin and I are so familiar ("Who is it?").

Back in 1985, I organized a friendly simul that FIDE Master Dave Glueck gave in this area. Young Bob Seltzer, who eventually became a master himself, and his father Richard both played in that simul, along with me and a small number of other amateurs.

I knew relatively little about chess in those days, having only recently joined USCF, and having been playing rated games for less than a year. Some people may say I still know little about chess (and they'd be right!); my rating has barely gone up since then.

Young Bob won his game (the only player not to lose, I think), and excitedly exclaimed "I beat him!" to his father.

Honestly curious, I quietly asked Dave after the event, "Did he really beat you?", to which Dave replied with mild amusement, "No, I let him beat me." Dave was also a master of the child-encouraging finesse.

Some time later, reviewing my own game score, I was surprised to discover...Dave had also given me the chance to beat him (or at the very least gain quite a favorable ending) as well. Unfortunately, I was not as clever as young Bob Seltzer....

Back in those days, there were periodic evening blitz tournaments at Harvard. An all-play-all crosstable was drawn up with colors assigned, and over the course of the evening you just had to search out every opponent, in any order, play them, and mark the result.

One evening both Dave and Harvard Square chess master Murray Turnbull were playing, and I remember being amused to hear Dave cheerfully accost Murray with "Oh, goody, goody, do I get to play you now?"

Murray was rather less enthusiastic, rebuffing Dave with, "Oh no, I'm not ready for you yet.", then headed off in search of easier game.

Dave is currently a chemistry professor at Dartmouth, where he seems to retain a cheery outlook:

despite the fact that...
Dave's not here.

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