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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Congratulations to Jacqueline Piatigorsky for turning 100 - we salute a rare benefactor of chess in the US

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hello everyone,

We found this very nice article in The New York Times by Dylan Loeb McClain. Absolute Must Read. But first at a look at this rare photo we found at RookHouse.

Boris Spassky, Mr. and Mrs. Piatigorsky, Bobby Fischer.

Milestone for a Benefactor 

of Historic Chess Matches

Jacqueline Piatigorsky, one of the most important figures in American chess in the 1960s, turned 100 this month.

Piatigorsky, a member of the Rothschild banking family, was married to the cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, and together they sponsored three significant chess events. The first was a 1961 match between Bobby Fischer and Samuel Reshevsky, the two best American players.

It was a best-of-16 match, and after 11 games, each man had won twice and the other games were draws. And that is how it ended. Fischer quit after a fight with Mrs. Piatigorsky over the scheduling of the 12th game. (Fischer wanted an afternoon game so he could sleep in, and she wanted a morning game so she could attend a concert by her husband later in the day.)

In 1963, the Piatigorskys sponsored the Piatigorsky Cup tournament in Los Angeles, which featured eight of the top players in the world, including the new world champion, Tigran V. Petrosian, who was from Soviet Armenia.Petrosian and Paul Keres, who was from the Soviet republic of Estonia, tied for first.

Three years later, the second Piatigorsky Cup included another world-class field, this time of 10 players. Boris Spassky took first place, just ahead of Fischer, who had mended fences with Mrs. Piatigorsky.

She was not only a sponsor of chess events — she was also one of the country’s top female players, ranking No. 2 at one point. In 1957, at the first Women’s Chess Olympiad in Emmen, the Netherlands, she played Board 2 for the United States and won a bronze medal by scoring 7.5 points in 11 games.

All we can say is WOW.

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