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Date: 15 Sep 2003 03:34:15
From: Sam Sloan
Subject: Searching for Bobby Fischer
Searching for Bobby Fischer

I just replayed the movie "Searching for Booby Fischer" on video. Of
course, I had seen the movie before, but this time I saw a few things
I had not seen previously.

I think that we as chess players can learn a lot from this movie. It
is a masterpiece in the way that it takes a subject most people would
find to be deadly boring and turns it into an exciting drama. Best of
all, the main events actually happened in real life and all of the
characters are or were real people, although some modifications were
necessary to make it into a good movie which the general public would
enjoy.

The plot line: Talented seven-year-old boy defeats his main rival to
win National Scholastic Chess Championship. Already, there is a little
fib. In real life, Joshua Waitzkin was about 13 when he won the
National Scholastic Championship. That was no big deal, so they had to
cut his age to seven to make the story more interesting.

In your typical Bruce Lee Movie, in the grand finale, Bruce Lee fights
the grand wizard to the death. Here instead, two seven year old kids
battle for the title. In the movie, the opponent is Jonathan Poe.
However, in real life, the final battle was fought by Joshua Waitzkin
against Jeff Sarwer.

To those familiar with the background, there is a reason for this name
change. Shortly after the real life tournament, the real life Jeff
Sarwer was taken away from the custody of his father by the child
welfare authorities. I do not know the details of what happened, but
it is clear that no court appointed guardian would ever agree to the
portrayal of Sarwer and his father the way that they are portrayed in
this movie.

So, the movie commits another fib. It says that the man who is
bringing the Sarwer character around to chess tournaments is not his
father at all. This man says that the parents have given the child to
his guardianship at age 4, that all he does is play chess and that he
never goes to school. The real life Sawyer, whom I once played in a
tournament (I beat him) never went to school either, but as far as I
know the man bringing him to chess tournaments was his real father.

Still, the guardian/father of Sarwer delivers one of the most
significant lines in the movie: "Eventually you realize that you have
taught them all that you can, and you just have to let them be what
they are."

Every line and every word of this movie is significant. It is a
masterpiece of writing and editing. This makes it easy for the viewer
to miss important points. It would sometimes be difficult to follow,
as the movie constantly shifts back and forth between real events and
fantasy. For example, there is actual footage of news broadcasts of
the real Bobby Fischer and as well as vintage photographs of Edward
Lasker, John W. Collins and other famous chess players.

There is the eternal conflict between the boy and his father. There
are also conflicts between the public school teacher and the parents,
the parents with each other, the parents and the coach, and the coach,
an actor, Ben Kingsley playing Bruce Pandolfini, and the chess hustler
in the park, Laurence Fishburne playing Vinnie a/k/a Vincent
Livermore.

In real life, Vincent Livermore died of AIDS just before the movie
came out. I asked Joshua Waitzkin about this (I asked the real life
Joshua Waitzkin, not an actor playing him in the movies) and he told
me that the character "Vinnie" is a composite based in part on Vincent
Livermore and in part on another chess player.

This movie has had a profound effect on the lives of several chess
players. The real life Bruce Pandolfini has become a wealthy man
giving chess lessons for $250 an hour to parents who are convinced
that their brilliant tyke needs lessons from the real Bruce
Pandolfini.

On the other hand, FIDE Master Asa Hoffmann is portrayed in the movie
as a raving schizophrenic who talks to himself. In real life, Asa
Hoffman does not do that and is a much stronger chess player than
Bruce Pandolfini, but Asa has a hard time getting paying chess
students, so he reduces himself to hustling strangers every day for
five dollars a game in Liberty Park near the former World Trade
Center.

It must be mentioned here that the producers of this movie paid the
real Asa Hoffmann a very large sum of money for the rights to have an
actor portray him, so Hoffman is not complaining. In the movie, the
Bruce Pandolfini character says that Asa Hoffmann is the child of two
Park Avenue lawyers and attended Columbia University. I learned
something here. I knew that the father of Asa Hoffmann was a prominent
lawyer. I did not previously know that his mother was an even more
famous lawyer who argued before the United States Supreme Court.

There is a chess player who in real life acts the same way that the
Asa Hoffmann character in the movies acts. That is Larry Gilden, but I
have not seen him in years and I doubt that Joshua Waitzkin has seen
him at all.

In one of the early scenes, Bruce Pandofini takes Fred Waitzkin,
Joshua's father, to see a real chess tournament. The room is filled
with smoke and it is not possible to see from one end of the room to
the other. Playing in this smoke filled room are Joel Benjamin and
Roman Dzindzichashvili, playing themselves in the movie. The point is
that these are the best chess players in the country and yet they are
playing in squalid conditions.

However, I have never seen such bad conditions in a chess tournament.
Smoking has been banned in chess tournaments for years.

There are so many other little details like that that I cannot
possibly list them all, but the big conflict in the movie concerns
chess strategy. Beginners at chess usually want to move out their
queen right away, but experienced players try to keep their queen
safely behind their minor pieces. Bruce Pandolfini, the chess teacher,
teacher Joshua to play positionally and to keep his queen back.
Vincent Livermore, who plays Joshua two minute chess in Washington
Square Park, teaches him to bring out the queen early.

In one of his first tournaments, Joshua plays an early Qf3, in an
obvious beginner's attempt at a Scholars Mate in which White plays the
moves 1 e4 2 Bc4 3. Qf3 4. Qxf7 mate. An adult watching the game
smirks at this move. You have to be a chess player to understand the
reason for the smirk.

The climatic showdown comes when Joshua is on stage battling for the
championship. His rival Jonathan Poe arrives. It will be a fight to
the finish.

I have worked out the moves. I do not believe that anybody else has
done this, so please pay attention. The game starts with a Queens
Gambit Accepted as follows: 1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 c6
5. a4 Bf5 6. Ne5 e6 7. Bg5.

This game is being watched on TV by the parents and coaches in another
room. Laurence Fishburne says, "Bring her out". Bruce Pandolfini says
"Don't even think about bringing her out." They both repeat themselves
several times and exchange dirty glances.

What they are talking about is Joshua's next move could be either Qa5,
developing the queen perhaps prematurely, or Be7 or Nd7 which are both
normal developing moves.

This is a key point in the drama. Finally, Josh plays Qa5, disobeying
his teacher.

I tried to figure out which moves came next but it is apparent that
the next bunch of moves are just random moves or more likely were
edited in out of sequence. Eventually, they reach the following
problem-like position: White has a king on e6, rook on e5, knight on
e4, bishop on g5 and pawns on f6 and h4. Black has rook on c8, bishop
on d8, knight on b6, king on c2 and pawns on a7 and g7.

This looks like a problem created by Grandmaster Pal Benko, but
Taghian Taghian told me that Bruce Pandolfini and another chess player
worked it out. Pal Benko was a consultant to this movie, however. The
last move by White was Kd5. It is now Black to play and win. It is a
cute solution. I do not know how difficult it is, because I know the
solution already, since I had to work backwards from the final
position to get to this position. It is almost ridiculous to suggest
that any seven year old child could find over the board the solution
to this problem which was perhaps composed by Grandmaster Pal Benko.

OK Ready? The solution is: 1. ... gxf6 2. Bxf6 Rc6+ 3. Kf5 Rxf6 4.
Nxf6 Bxf6 5. Kxf6 Nd7+ 6. Kf5 Nxe5+ 7. Kxe5 a5 8. h5 a4 9. h6 a3 10.
h7 a2 11. h8=Q a1=Q+ 12. Kf5 Qxh8 White resigns 0-1

By the way, it took me about an hour of playing back and replaying
this video before I got all the pieces in their correct positions and
all the moves right too.

The point is that White has queened his pawn first but Black queens
with check on the long diagonal and wins White's queen. A cute and
unusual solution to an endgame study.

By the way, in real life the game ended in a draw.

Sam Sloan



 
Date: 15 Sep 2003 02:22:29
From: Yeh Right
Subject: Re: Searching for Bobby Fischer
On Mon, 15 2003 05:13:19 +0000, Sam Sloan wrote:

> It has always bothered me that I would have been in this movie too,
> except that I was detained in Virginia at the time.
> Sam Sloan


Thank God for small favors......


--

Best Regards,
Yeh

"What's so funny 'bout peace, love and understanding?"
-Nick Lowe








  
Date:
From:
Subject:


 
Date: 15 Sep 2003 08:22:30
From: KidDon
Subject: Re: Searching for Bobby Fischer
[email protected] (Sam Sloan) wrote in message news:<[email protected] >...
> Searching for Bobby Fischer

(snip)
_________________________________
Sam is not the first to analyse this game. It is also done here,
http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Lab/7378/searching.htm,
although the analysis and "final position" are somewhat different.

KidDon


  
Date: 15 Sep 2003 16:52:20
From: Sam Sloan
Subject: Re: Searching for Bobby Fischer
On 15 2003 08:22:30 -0700, [email protected] (KidDon) wrote:

>[email protected] (Sam Sloan) wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
>> Searching for Bobby Fischer
>
>(snip)
>_________________________________
>Sam is not the first to analyse this game. It is also done here,
>http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Lab/7378/searching.htm,
>although the analysis and "final position" are somewhat different.
>
>KidDon

Thank you for pointing out this excellent site. It is very well done
and has a wealth of details I did not know. For example, it identifies
the smoke filled room where the grandmasters are playing as the Bar
Point which was on the corner of 14th Street and Sixth Avenue and was
run by Bill Goichberg. That explains the squalid conditions.

I did find a few small errors however.

It says that Svetozar Jovanovic is a FIDE Master. Actually, he is only
an 1800 player. He is obviously a very good teacher however, as his
teams have won more national championships than anybody else (at least
I think more than Sunil Weeramantry has won).
http://www.64.com/uscf/ratings/10081599

It says that Bruce Pandolfini in the movie charged $30 for a chess
lecture. Actually, he was offiered $30 but did not agree. He finally
agreed to $50.

Most importantly, it has a difference in the final chess position and
in the analysis. According to his version, Black has a rook on c7.
However, I just played back the video and checked and the Black rook
is on c8, as I have stated. This change does not affect the outcome.
More importantly, he gives a different order of moves. Again, I am
100% sure that my moves are correct and his are wrong. Also, he says
that 2. Bxf6 was a mistake and 2. Nxf6 should draw. However, there is
no difference and also White could draw at any time with either move
by playing 7. Ra5 and grabbing the a-pawn.

In spite of these mistakes, this website gives us the most important
new fact of all. It says that the nervous tuna-fish dad is Kalev
Pehme. Kalev Pehme is also the new editor of Chess Life Magazine !!!

Sam Sloan


 
Date: 15 Sep 2003 16:34:44
From: larry legallo
Subject: Re: Searching for Bobby Fischer
On Mon, 15 2003 03:34:15 GMT, [email protected] (Sam Sloan)
wrote:

>Searching for Bobby Fischer
>
>I just replayed the movie "Searching for Booby Fischer" on video. Of
>course, I had seen the movie before, but this time I saw a few things
>I had not seen previously.
>
><snip some interesting chess stuff>
>
>The point is that White has queened his pawn first but Black queens
>with check on the long diagonal and wins White's queen. A cute and
>unusual solution to an endgame study.
>
>By the way, in real life the game ended in a draw.

Wow. I haven't seen that kind of passion devoted to a film since the
poker group did a Sklanskian deconstruction of every hand in Rounders.
Nice job.

Searching for Bobby Fisher is a favorite of mine also. I don't know
about the accuracy of the chess, but the final match sequence is
magnificently designed and edited. I didn't realize how involved I
was in the match, or the movie, until Laurence Fishburne points at the
monitor and shouts "There it is!" Cut to Josh slamming his opponent's
queen. Even though you expect it to happen, it's still the kind of
electrifying moment that even most sports movies never achieve.

Of course, my favorite line comes a few moments later when Josh tells
the other boy, "You've lost......you just don't know it yet." Kind of
sums up life for many of us <g >.


  
Date: 15 Sep 2003 10:07:59
From: Paul Rubin
Subject: Re: Searching for Bobby Fischer
The book by Fred Waitzkin was also excellent. I also liked Fred
Waitzkin's less-sycophantic-than-you-might-fear book about Kasparov,
titled "Mortal Games".


 
Date: 15 Sep 2003 18:17:31
From: Sam Sloan
Subject: Re: Searching for Bobby Fischer
At 08:09 AM 9/15/2003 -0700, Elliott Winslow wrote:

>At 12:22 AM 9/15/2003 -0400, Lonnie Kwartler wrote:
>> Hi Sam,
>> The movie did some things for the audience such as amplifying the
>noises
>> made by the clocks and the pieces. The players also were announcing
>checks.
>> The character Vinnie was a much stronger player than Livermore in the
>> movie and in the book. I believe the other figure the character was based
>on
>> is senior master Morrison. The "grandmaster" playing Vinnie in the park,
>as
>> I remember it, was IM Kamrazi.
>
>Morrison? I don't remember him but it rings a bell.
>They call Kamran "Grandmaster" in the movie, but that's how it would be in
>the park. I think I've been called that a few times even. [Not in this
>lifetime...]
>
>They don't show the end of that game, by the way. And you can't see if
>Kamran is winning or not. He looks uncomfortable, which is appropriate when
>you're "pegged".
>
>Livermore would have had a fair chance against Shirazi at speed chess, not
>"no" chance" -- but I'd bet on Kamran.
>
>Sloan wrote:
>> What bothers me about the character Vinnie is that it is suggested
>> that he is a drug addict who sleeps in the park. As far as I knew,
>> Livermore did not sleep in the park or use drugs.
>
>Cocaine. I saw the traditional white-powdered upper lip on an occasion or
>three in the Village.
>
>> However, he was in
>> the park every day. I saw him there shortly before he died. Also, the
>> rap of Vinnie, constantly talking during the game, was clearly an
>> immitation of Livermore. Livermore was reputed to be homosexual, which
>> would explain his AIDS, not drugs, but I know of no evidence for that.
>
>Well, gee, Sam, what would evidence look like?
>
>He never hinted at his preferences to me, but others claimed to know.
>Certainly there are people you as crusading journalist could interview.
>
>> Poe McClinton, a rated chess master and park regular who is Black,
>
>Right color, wrong rating. 2100s. He kept it under 2200 throughout the
>1990s. Probably a career move.
>
>> has one line in the movie.
>
>You can hear him going on from the very beginning, far more than one line.
>
>> It has always bothered me that I would have been in this movie too,
>> except that I was detained in Virginia at the time.
>
>And I was detained in New Windsor, putting out a magazine.
>
>=e
>

Thank you for these corrections. So, apparently Livermore was a
cocaine addict who perhaps slept in the Washington Square Park.

I had thought that Jerry Poe McClinton was a 2150 player but two days
ago somebody told me that he was a 2250 player, so I mistakenly
assumed that he was correct.

Joshua Waitzkin, the real person, not an actor playing him in the
movies, told me that "Vinnie" was a composite of two characters.
Vincent Livermore was one. The other was a player I had never heard
of. So, I do not think it was Morrison, because I have heard of him.

Sam Sloan


 
Date: 15 Sep 2003 19:08:09
From: Sam Sloan
Subject: Re: Searching for Bobby Fischer
Just to show how far the reach of my e-mailing goes, I just received a
reply from Grandmaster Pal Benko in Hungary, the real grandmaster, not
an actor playing him in the movies.

Benko says that he did not compose this endgame and never would, as it
has several flaws.

I apologize to Benko. I should have realized immediately that this was
not a Benko problem. In the first place, it is standard in problems
and endgame studies that the first move is never a check or a capture.
There are some exceptions, but certainly not like this one where
almost all the pieces are traded off from the first move.

Next, the position is unrealistic. White's last move was Ke6. However,
instead he could have played Pawn f6xg7 winning immediately.

Also, the problem is cooked. "I have never made an endgame like that,
just putting up pieces to trade them. Even at the end, instead of 7.
Kxe5, 7.h5 draws. Matter of fact, I suggested something else but It
was found too complicated."

So, the original information given to me by Taghian Taghian, which was
that this endgame was composed in part by Bruce Pandolfini (the real
Bruce Pandolfini, not an actor playing him in the movies) was probably
correct.

Sam Sloan


On Mon, 15 2003 03:34:15 GMT, [email protected] (Sam Sloan)
wrote:

>I tried to figure out which moves came next but it is apparent that
>the next bunch of moves are just random moves or more likely were
>edited in out of sequence. Eventually, they reach the following
>problem-like position: White has a king on e6, rook on e5, knight on
>e4, bishop on g5 and pawns on f6 and h4. Black has rook on c8, bishop
>on d8, knight on b6, king on c2 and pawns on a7 and g7.
>
>This looks like a problem created by Grandmaster Pal Benko, but
>Taghian Taghian told me that Bruce Pandolfini and another chess player
>worked it out. Pal Benko was a consultant to this movie, however. The
>last move by White was Kd5. It is now Black to play and win. It is a
>cute solution. I do not know how difficult it is, because I know the
>solution already, since I had to work backwards from the final
>position to get to this position. It is almost ridiculous to suggest
>that any seven year old child could find over the board the solution
>to this problem which was perhaps composed by Grandmaster Pal Benko.
>
>OK Ready? The solution is: 1. ... gxf6 2. Bxf6 Rc6+ 3. Kf5 Rxf6 4.
>Nxf6 Bxf6 5. Kxf6 Nd7+ 6. Kf5 Nxe5+ 7. Kxe5 a5 8. h5 a4 9. h6 a3 10.
>h7 a2 11. h8=Q a1=Q+ 12. Kf5 Qxh8 White resigns 0-1
>
>By the way, it took me about an hour of playing back and replaying
>this video before I got all the pieces in their correct positions and
>all the moves right too.
>
>The point is that White has queened his pawn first but Black queens
>with check on the long diagonal and wins White's queen. A cute and
>unusual solution to an endgame study.
>
>By the way, in real life the game ended in a draw.
>
>Sam Sloan


  
Date: 15 Sep 2003 15:14:00
From: StanB
Subject: Re: Searching for Bobby Fischer

"Sam Sloan" <[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]

> Benko says that he did not compose this endgame and never would, as it
> has several flaws.
>
> I apologize to Benko. I should have realized immediately that this was
> not a Benko problem.

Are you telling us that you made yet another mistake?

StanB




 
Date: 15 Sep 2003 20:55:44
From: Mogath3
Subject: Re: Searching for Bobby Fischer
>So, the movie commits another fib. It says that the man who is
>bringing the Sarwer character around to chess tournaments is not his
>father at all. This man says that the parents have given the child to
>his guardianship at age 4, that all he does is play chess and that he
>never goes to school. The real life Sawyer, whom I once played in a
>tournament (I beat him) never went to school either, but as far as I
>know the man bringing him to chess tournaments was his real father.
>

I once saw Jeff Sarwer and his sister on Shelby Lyman's World Chess
Championships show back in 1987(?) when Karpov was playing Kasparov in
Seville(?). The thing I'd like to know is what happend to those kids? I found
Sarwer's sister a very well mannered little girl, while her brother was QUITE
obnoxious. I remembering him differering with Edmar Mednis on a few occasions
and Mednis having this look on his face like he wanted to strangle the kid.
Truth be told, I wouldn't have blamed him. So I figured I'd ask that question
of you Sam since your knowledge of such things mystifies me. Any light you can
shed on this subject would be appreciated. Thanks very much.

Regards,
Jeff



 
Date: 15 Sep 2003 23:12:48
From: Sam Sloan
Subject: Re: Searching for Bobby Fischer
At 05:53 PM 9/15/2003 -0400, Lonnie Kwartler wrote:
>Hi Sam,
> I don't believe Livermore was strong enough to play Shirazi speed chess.
>He would only play to win money and on occasion dare to play a stronger
>player at apparently good odds. I saw him lose every game to Seirawan at 6
>minutes to one. I also easily beat him at about 6-3 with numerous
>side-bettors on his side. In the book Vinnie broke even with Lobron and
>appeared to beat the "GM" in the park in the movie. That part of the
>character was not Livermore. I have read that Morrison claims to be part of
>the character. I would prefer to not speak about Livermore's personal
>traits, which were left out of the story, now.
> However, I believe the killer of Oscar Freeman should be named, even if
>only privately.
>Lonnie Kwartler

Since you have been around for a while, I would have thought that you
knew the story. If you do not, I will tell you but only privately.

I think I can tell the basic facts without naming names publicly.

The person in question had already been told that he was not welcome
at the Manhattan Chess Club, which at the time was located in the
Henry Hudson Hotel.

In December, 1972, when this person walked in the door to the
Manhattan Chess Club, Oscar Freeman immediately got into the telephone
booth, presumably to call the police.

This person realized what Freeman was probably doing and pulled him
out of the telephone booth. There was a scuffle on the floor.

Oscar Freeman was 67 years old. He died of a heart attack two or three
days later.

This person was never charged with a crime, but those familiar with
the incident had little doubt that the scuffle on the floor was what
brought on the heart attack.

Significantly, Oscar Freeman was widely disliked for exactly the same
reason Larry Tamarkin is disliked, telling people to leave the club.
Few came to the funeral of Oscar Freeman and I never heard expressions
of regret that he had died. The one person who really liked Oscar
Freeman was Burt Hochberg and Hochberg wrote the obituary which was
published in Chess Life magazine.

After Freeman died, Bethy Cassidy became director of the Manhattan
Chess Club. She was followed by Hans Kmoch, Jeffrey Kastner, Frances
Goldfarb and several others, I cannot remember them all. They all had
the same duties. Somehow, Jeffrey Kastner and the others had a polite
way to tell people that they had to leave the club without getting
anybody offended, angry or upset. Somehow Oscar Freeman and Larry
Tamarkin have not cultivated that talent.

Sam Sloan


 
Date: 16 Sep 2003 11:15:22
From: sgw
Subject: Re: Searching for Bobby Fischer
Thanks, Sam! I'm one of those people who's only played about 5 games of
chess in my life but still rank this movie
as one of my all-time faves anyway - the acting and the insight into the
making of a prodigy are just terrific. And
the kid is amazing, a wonderful actor who's perfect for the role and so
natural in it.
One thing I wanted to point out, for anyone who hasn't seen it on video: I
don't know if this is on the DVD of the
movie as well, but the video actually ends with a short ad featuring the
real Josh, Bruce, and Fred Waitzkin promoting
the national association for youth chess. It's a really nice coda to the
movie, seeing the real people from it.

Sally

"Sam Sloan" <[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> Searching for Bobby Fischer
>
> I just replayed the movie "Searching for Booby Fischer" on video. Of
> course, I had seen the movie before, but this time I saw a few things
> I had not seen previously.
>
> I think that we as chess players can learn a lot from this movie. It
> is a masterpiece in the way that it takes a subject most people would
> find to be deadly boring and turns it into an exciting drama. Best of
> all, the main events actually happened in real life and all of the
> characters are or were real people, although some modifications were
> necessary to make it into a good movie which the general public would
> enjoy.
>
> The plot line: Talented seven-year-old boy defeats his main rival to
> win National Scholastic Chess Championship. Already, there is a little
> fib. In real life, Joshua Waitzkin was about 13 when he won the
> National Scholastic Championship. That was no big deal, so they had to
> cut his age to seven to make the story more interesting.
>
> In your typical Bruce Lee Movie, in the grand finale, Bruce Lee fights
> the grand wizard to the death. Here instead, two seven year old kids
> battle for the title. In the movie, the opponent is Jonathan Poe.
> However, in real life, the final battle was fought by Joshua Waitzkin
> against Jeff Sarwer.
>
> To those familiar with the background, there is a reason for this name
> change. Shortly after the real life tournament, the real life Jeff
> Sarwer was taken away from the custody of his father by the child
> welfare authorities. I do not know the details of what happened, but
> it is clear that no court appointed guardian would ever agree to the
> portrayal of Sarwer and his father the way that they are portrayed in
> this movie.
>
> So, the movie commits another fib. It says that the man who is
> bringing the Sarwer character around to chess tournaments is not his
> father at all. This man says that the parents have given the child to
> his guardianship at age 4, that all he does is play chess and that he
> never goes to school. The real life Sawyer, whom I once played in a
> tournament (I beat him) never went to school either, but as far as I
> know the man bringing him to chess tournaments was his real father.
>
> Still, the guardian/father of Sarwer delivers one of the most
> significant lines in the movie: "Eventually you realize that you have
> taught them all that you can, and you just have to let them be what
> they are."
>
> Every line and every word of this movie is significant. It is a
> masterpiece of writing and editing. This makes it easy for the viewer
> to miss important points. It would sometimes be difficult to follow,
> as the movie constantly shifts back and forth between real events and
> fantasy. For example, there is actual footage of news broadcasts of
> the real Bobby Fischer and as well as vintage photographs of Edward
> Lasker, John W. Collins and other famous chess players.
>
> There is the eternal conflict between the boy and his father. There
> are also conflicts between the public school teacher and the parents,
> the parents with each other, the parents and the coach, and the coach,
> an actor, Ben Kingsley playing Bruce Pandolfini, and the chess hustler
> in the park, Laurence Fishburne playing Vinnie a/k/a Vincent
> Livermore.
>
> In real life, Vincent Livermore died of AIDS just before the movie
> came out. I asked Joshua Waitzkin about this (I asked the real life
> Joshua Waitzkin, not an actor playing him in the movies) and he told
> me that the character "Vinnie" is a composite based in part on Vincent
> Livermore and in part on another chess player.
>
> This movie has had a profound effect on the lives of several chess
> players. The real life Bruce Pandolfini has become a wealthy man
> giving chess lessons for $250 an hour to parents who are convinced
> that their brilliant tyke needs lessons from the real Bruce
> Pandolfini.
>
> On the other hand, FIDE Master Asa Hoffmann is portrayed in the movie
> as a raving schizophrenic who talks to himself. In real life, Asa
> Hoffman does not do that and is a much stronger chess player than
> Bruce Pandolfini, but Asa has a hard time getting paying chess
> students, so he reduces himself to hustling strangers every day for
> five dollars a game in Liberty Park near the former World Trade
> Center.
>
> It must be mentioned here that the producers of this movie paid the
> real Asa Hoffmann a very large sum of money for the rights to have an
> actor portray him, so Hoffman is not complaining. In the movie, the
> Bruce Pandolfini character says that Asa Hoffmann is the child of two
> Park Avenue lawyers and attended Columbia University. I learned
> something here. I knew that the father of Asa Hoffmann was a prominent
> lawyer. I did not previously know that his mother was an even more
> famous lawyer who argued before the United States Supreme Court.
>
> There is a chess player who in real life acts the same way that the
> Asa Hoffmann character in the movies acts. That is Larry Gilden, but I
> have not seen him in years and I doubt that Joshua Waitzkin has seen
> him at all.
>
> In one of the early scenes, Bruce Pandofini takes Fred Waitzkin,
> Joshua's father, to see a real chess tournament. The room is filled
> with smoke and it is not possible to see from one end of the room to
> the other. Playing in this smoke filled room are Joel Benjamin and
> Roman Dzindzichashvili, playing themselves in the movie. The point is
> that these are the best chess players in the country and yet they are
> playing in squalid conditions.
>
> However, I have never seen such bad conditions in a chess tournament.
> Smoking has been banned in chess tournaments for years.
>
> There are so many other little details like that that I cannot
> possibly list them all, but the big conflict in the movie concerns
> chess strategy. Beginners at chess usually want to move out their
> queen right away, but experienced players try to keep their queen
> safely behind their minor pieces. Bruce Pandolfini, the chess teacher,
> teacher Joshua to play positionally and to keep his queen back.
> Vincent Livermore, who plays Joshua two minute chess in Washington
> Square Park, teaches him to bring out the queen early.
>
> In one of his first tournaments, Joshua plays an early Qf3, in an
> obvious beginner's attempt at a Scholars Mate in which White plays the
> moves 1 e4 2 Bc4 3. Qf3 4. Qxf7 mate. An adult watching the game
> smirks at this move. You have to be a chess player to understand the
> reason for the smirk.
>
> The climatic showdown comes when Joshua is on stage battling for the
> championship. His rival Jonathan Poe arrives. It will be a fight to
> the finish.
>
> I have worked out the moves. I do not believe that anybody else has
> done this, so please pay attention. The game starts with a Queens
> Gambit Accepted as follows: 1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 c6
> 5. a4 Bf5 6. Ne5 e6 7. Bg5.
>
> This game is being watched on TV by the parents and coaches in another
> room. Laurence Fishburne says, "Bring her out". Bruce Pandolfini says
> "Don't even think about bringing her out." They both repeat themselves
> several times and exchange dirty glances.
>
> What they are talking about is Joshua's next move could be either Qa5,
> developing the queen perhaps prematurely, or Be7 or Nd7 which are both
> normal developing moves.
>
> This is a key point in the drama. Finally, Josh plays Qa5, disobeying
> his teacher.
>
> I tried to figure out which moves came next but it is apparent that
> the next bunch of moves are just random moves or more likely were
> edited in out of sequence. Eventually, they reach the following
> problem-like position: White has a king on e6, rook on e5, knight on
> e4, bishop on g5 and pawns on f6 and h4. Black has rook on c8, bishop
> on d8, knight on b6, king on c2 and pawns on a7 and g7.
>
> This looks like a problem created by Grandmaster Pal Benko, but
> Taghian Taghian told me that Bruce Pandolfini and another chess player
> worked it out. Pal Benko was a consultant to this movie, however. The
> last move by White was Kd5. It is now Black to play and win. It is a
> cute solution. I do not know how difficult it is, because I know the
> solution already, since I had to work backwards from the final
> position to get to this position. It is almost ridiculous to suggest
> that any seven year old child could find over the board the solution
> to this problem which was perhaps composed by Grandmaster Pal Benko.
>
> OK Ready? The solution is: 1. ... gxf6 2. Bxf6 Rc6+ 3. Kf5 Rxf6 4.
> Nxf6 Bxf6 5. Kxf6 Nd7+ 6. Kf5 Nxe5+ 7. Kxe5 a5 8. h5 a4 9. h6 a3 10.
> h7 a2 11. h8=Q a1=Q+ 12. Kf5 Qxh8 White resigns 0-1
>
> By the way, it took me about an hour of playing back and replaying
> this video before I got all the pieces in their correct positions and
> all the moves right too.
>
> The point is that White has queened his pawn first but Black queens
> with check on the long diagonal and wins White's queen. A cute and
> unusual solution to an endgame study.
>
> By the way, in real life the game ended in a draw.
>
> Sam Sloan
>
>




  
Date: 17 Sep 2003 06:31:24
From: Liam Too
Subject: Re: Searching for Bobby Fischer
"sgw" <[email protected] > wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
>>One thing I wanted to point out, for anyone who hasn't seen it on video: I
> don't know if this is on the DVD of the movie as well,-- Sally<<

It's now on DVD.


 
Date: 16 Sep 2003 20:36:32
From: David Vancina
Subject: Re: Searching for Bobby Fischer
Interesting post, Sam. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

DJV

"Sam Sloan" <[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> Searching for Bobby Fischer
>
> I just replayed the movie "Searching for Booby Fischer" on video. Of
> course, I had seen the movie before, but this time I saw a few things
> I had not seen previously.
>
> I think that we as chess players can learn a lot from this movie. It
> is a masterpiece in the way that it takes a subject most people would
> find to be deadly boring and turns it into an exciting drama. Best of
> all, the main events actually happened in real life and all of the
> characters are or were real people, although some modifications were
> necessary to make it into a good movie which the general public would
> enjoy.
>
> The plot line: Talented seven-year-old boy defeats his main rival to
> win National Scholastic Chess Championship. Already, there is a little
> fib. In real life, Joshua Waitzkin was about 13 when he won the
> National Scholastic Championship. That was no big deal, so they had to
> cut his age to seven to make the story more interesting.
>
> In your typical Bruce Lee Movie, in the grand finale, Bruce Lee fights
> the grand wizard to the death. Here instead, two seven year old kids
> battle for the title. In the movie, the opponent is Jonathan Poe.
> However, in real life, the final battle was fought by Joshua Waitzkin
> against Jeff Sarwer.
>
> To those familiar with the background, there is a reason for this name
> change. Shortly after the real life tournament, the real life Jeff
> Sarwer was taken away from the custody of his father by the child
> welfare authorities. I do not know the details of what happened, but
> it is clear that no court appointed guardian would ever agree to the
> portrayal of Sarwer and his father the way that they are portrayed in
> this movie.
>
> So, the movie commits another fib. It says that the man who is
> bringing the Sarwer character around to chess tournaments is not his
> father at all. This man says that the parents have given the child to
> his guardianship at age 4, that all he does is play chess and that he
> never goes to school. The real life Sawyer, whom I once played in a
> tournament (I beat him) never went to school either, but as far as I
> know the man bringing him to chess tournaments was his real father.
>
> Still, the guardian/father of Sarwer delivers one of the most
> significant lines in the movie: "Eventually you realize that you have
> taught them all that you can, and you just have to let them be what
> they are."
>
> Every line and every word of this movie is significant. It is a
> masterpiece of writing and editing. This makes it easy for the viewer
> to miss important points. It would sometimes be difficult to follow,
> as the movie constantly shifts back and forth between real events and
> fantasy. For example, there is actual footage of news broadcasts of
> the real Bobby Fischer and as well as vintage photographs of Edward
> Lasker, John W. Collins and other famous chess players.
>
> There is the eternal conflict between the boy and his father. There
> are also conflicts between the public school teacher and the parents,
> the parents with each other, the parents and the coach, and the coach,
> an actor, Ben Kingsley playing Bruce Pandolfini, and the chess hustler
> in the park, Laurence Fishburne playing Vinnie a/k/a Vincent
> Livermore.
>
> In real life, Vincent Livermore died of AIDS just before the movie
> came out. I asked Joshua Waitzkin about this (I asked the real life
> Joshua Waitzkin, not an actor playing him in the movies) and he told
> me that the character "Vinnie" is a composite based in part on Vincent
> Livermore and in part on another chess player.
>
> This movie has had a profound effect on the lives of several chess
> players. The real life Bruce Pandolfini has become a wealthy man
> giving chess lessons for $250 an hour to parents who are convinced
> that their brilliant tyke needs lessons from the real Bruce
> Pandolfini.
>
> On the other hand, FIDE Master Asa Hoffmann is portrayed in the movie
> as a raving schizophrenic who talks to himself. In real life, Asa
> Hoffman does not do that and is a much stronger chess player than
> Bruce Pandolfini, but Asa has a hard time getting paying chess
> students, so he reduces himself to hustling strangers every day for
> five dollars a game in Liberty Park near the former World Trade
> Center.
>
> It must be mentioned here that the producers of this movie paid the
> real Asa Hoffmann a very large sum of money for the rights to have an
> actor portray him, so Hoffman is not complaining. In the movie, the
> Bruce Pandolfini character says that Asa Hoffmann is the child of two
> Park Avenue lawyers and attended Columbia University. I learned
> something here. I knew that the father of Asa Hoffmann was a prominent
> lawyer. I did not previously know that his mother was an even more
> famous lawyer who argued before the United States Supreme Court.
>
> There is a chess player who in real life acts the same way that the
> Asa Hoffmann character in the movies acts. That is Larry Gilden, but I
> have not seen him in years and I doubt that Joshua Waitzkin has seen
> him at all.
>
> In one of the early scenes, Bruce Pandofini takes Fred Waitzkin,
> Joshua's father, to see a real chess tournament. The room is filled
> with smoke and it is not possible to see from one end of the room to
> the other. Playing in this smoke filled room are Joel Benjamin and
> Roman Dzindzichashvili, playing themselves in the movie. The point is
> that these are the best chess players in the country and yet they are
> playing in squalid conditions.
>
> However, I have never seen such bad conditions in a chess tournament.
> Smoking has been banned in chess tournaments for years.
>
> There are so many other little details like that that I cannot
> possibly list them all, but the big conflict in the movie concerns
> chess strategy. Beginners at chess usually want to move out their
> queen right away, but experienced players try to keep their queen
> safely behind their minor pieces. Bruce Pandolfini, the chess teacher,
> teacher Joshua to play positionally and to keep his queen back.
> Vincent Livermore, who plays Joshua two minute chess in Washington
> Square Park, teaches him to bring out the queen early.
>
> In one of his first tournaments, Joshua plays an early Qf3, in an
> obvious beginner's attempt at a Scholars Mate in which White plays the
> moves 1 e4 2 Bc4 3. Qf3 4. Qxf7 mate. An adult watching the game
> smirks at this move. You have to be a chess player to understand the
> reason for the smirk.
>
> The climatic showdown comes when Joshua is on stage battling for the
> championship. His rival Jonathan Poe arrives. It will be a fight to
> the finish.
>
> I have worked out the moves. I do not believe that anybody else has
> done this, so please pay attention. The game starts with a Queens
> Gambit Accepted as follows: 1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 c6
> 5. a4 Bf5 6. Ne5 e6 7. Bg5.
>
> This game is being watched on TV by the parents and coaches in another
> room. Laurence Fishburne says, "Bring her out". Bruce Pandolfini says
> "Don't even think about bringing her out." They both repeat themselves
> several times and exchange dirty glances.
>
> What they are talking about is Joshua's next move could be either Qa5,
> developing the queen perhaps prematurely, or Be7 or Nd7 which are both
> normal developing moves.
>
> This is a key point in the drama. Finally, Josh plays Qa5, disobeying
> his teacher.
>
> I tried to figure out which moves came next but it is apparent that
> the next bunch of moves are just random moves or more likely were
> edited in out of sequence. Eventually, they reach the following
> problem-like position: White has a king on e6, rook on e5, knight on
> e4, bishop on g5 and pawns on f6 and h4. Black has rook on c8, bishop
> on d8, knight on b6, king on c2 and pawns on a7 and g7.
>
> This looks like a problem created by Grandmaster Pal Benko, but
> Taghian Taghian told me that Bruce Pandolfini and another chess player
> worked it out. Pal Benko was a consultant to this movie, however. The
> last move by White was Kd5. It is now Black to play and win. It is a
> cute solution. I do not know how difficult it is, because I know the
> solution already, since I had to work backwards from the final
> position to get to this position. It is almost ridiculous to suggest
> that any seven year old child could find over the board the solution
> to this problem which was perhaps composed by Grandmaster Pal Benko.
>
> OK Ready? The solution is: 1. ... gxf6 2. Bxf6 Rc6+ 3. Kf5 Rxf6 4.
> Nxf6 Bxf6 5. Kxf6 Nd7+ 6. Kf5 Nxe5+ 7. Kxe5 a5 8. h5 a4 9. h6 a3 10.
> h7 a2 11. h8=Q a1=Q+ 12. Kf5 Qxh8 White resigns 0-1
>
> By the way, it took me about an hour of playing back and replaying
> this video before I got all the pieces in their correct positions and
> all the moves right too.
>
> The point is that White has queened his pawn first but Black queens
> with check on the long diagonal and wins White's queen. A cute and
> unusual solution to an endgame study.
>
> By the way, in real life the game ended in a draw.
>
> Sam Sloan
>