Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Boylston Chess Club wishes to invite you to play and watch chess! Harry Lyman would have enjoyed your company! So, spread the word. Pencil in your calendar for December 22: Harry Lyman Memorial. (See Events Calendar of Boylston Chess Club Home Page, for details)

A personal note: Harry Lyman helped me in my time of need.  No surprise, he helped many a chess player on the edge. He was there to listen. His advice was suscinct. He offered money to help, if needed. If you came to a tournament he would notice you, ask you if you are playing; if not why. Then he would offer to pay the entry fee for you to play, no more questions asked.  He was a pioneer in the field of Chess and Education and led the Boylston Chess Club to sponsor women's futurities (round robins to offer FIDE titles).
Harry Lyman considering the solution to a problem he invites you to share.

Harry's characteristic gesture: he brings you into the chess world, ready to guide you through
many complex problems and combinations. Harry Lyman made it his business to come from the North Shore every Tuesday to host the Boylston Chess Club Open House. People came from far and wide to chat, share chess stories and life.  He was an open friend to all.

Peter Sherwood plays black vs Harry Lyman.
Yes, Harry was not only a chess teacher, educator, mentor and philanthroper, he was also a chess player, indeed a gambiteer!
Harry Lyman vs Harlow Daly, Boston, 1941 A90
1. c4 e6 2. d4 f5 3. g3 Nf6 4. Bg2 d5 5. Nh3 c6 6. b3 dxc4 7. bxc4 Bb4+ 8. Bd2 Qxd4 9. Bxb4 Qxa1 10. O-O Qe5 11. Bd6 Qa5 12. e4 fxe4 13. c5 Na6 14. Nd2 e5 15. Nxe4 Bf5 16. Nxf6+ gxf6 17. Qf3 Qxa2 18. Qxf5 Qf7 19. f4 Nc7 20. fxe5 Ne6 21. exf6 O-O-O 22. Ng5 1-0
Harry Lyman vs Keith Haywood, Woburn (New England Open) 1978
1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. e5 d5 6. Bb5 Ne4 7. Nxd4 Bd7 8. Bxc6 bxc6 9. O-O Bc5 10. f3 Ng5 11. f4 Ne4 12. Nc3 f5 13. Nxe4 fxe4 14. f5 O-O 15. e6 Be8 16. c3 Bb6 17. Qg4 Qf6 18. Bg5 Bxd4+ 19. cxd4 Qxd4+ 20. Kh1 h5 21. Qg3 Qxb2 22. f6 Bg6 23. Rab1 Qe2 24. Qxc7 gxf6 25. Rxf6 Bh7 26. Bh6 Qg4 27. Bxf8 e3 28. Qf7+ Kh8 29. Rh6 Qg8 30. Qf6+ 1-0

Harry Lyman won the New England Open on several occasions. His rating at that time was estimated to be 2340. In 1957, Harry won the US Amateur Championship in Ashbury Park, NJ, with a perfect 6-0.

The question is: why should you participate in the Harry Lyman Memorial?  I will not be playing (I will be photographing), but I am sponsoring a player, in much the same way Harry would have. Harry knew the value of chess as an educative tool, long before the institutions of higher learning figured this out. Harry saw the need to recruit more girls and women into chess. I took a photograph of Susan Polger performing a simul at the Boylston Chess Club/City Club of Boston, in 1985. This photo was published on the cover of Chess Horizons. Who would have guessed at that time that GM Susan Polgar (FIDE Women's World Chess Champion 1996-9) would found the Institute for Chess Excellence, encouraging girls to play and study chess. Harry was an integral part of the movement to recruit girls and woman, though he would deny this. He was the spark that encouraged all the rest of us to do what needed to be done.  Harry didn't seek fame or credit. He just wanted to see the chess community do the right thing: serving all the people, regardless of race, gender or age.

There are few chess events which are more significant in the history of chess. The name Harry Lyman is woven throughout the annals of New England Chess.  Come, be part of chess history.

The Boylston Chess Club is well lit with Harry Lyman's portrait smiling down on all of us.
So come to the Harry Lyman Memorial,
and bring a friend.

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