US Chess Discussion

Welcome! This blog has no connection with the USCF. It's a blog where I provide chess fans with general information about US Chess as well as the USCF. It's also a site where everyone can productively discuss or ask questions about various USCF issues! Your contributions and comments are welcome! PLEASE KEEP IT CIVIL & RESPECT OTHERS! Enjoy! All posts that do not meet this guideline will be deleted -- WIN WITH GRACE, LOSE WITH DIGNITY!(TM) --- 2006 Susan Polgar©

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The GM Denker I knew

That's me presenting the Polgar medal to GM Arnold Denker at the first annual Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls

GM Denker was one of the kindest individuals that I have ever met. He was one of the few people who made his voice loudly known in support of the 2004 US Women's Olympiad Training program that I started. When I discussed with him about following his and Dewain Barber's idea to sponsor the Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls, he was in full support. He said it was about time things are done to help the girls.

When I faced a lot of political road blocks just to even get the Polgar event off the ground with my own personal money, he once again made his voice loudly known in support of the USCF sanctioning this event the same way as the Denker event. He did not back down to anyone who attacked the idea of giving opportunities to girls.

He was honest, thoughtful and the best interests of the children were always his #1 priority. He was amazed to see so many girls showing up for the Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls in the first year while doubters said that no more than 10 girls will show up. We more than triple that number and we were on equal pace with the Denker in only our second year.

GM Denker did complain to me and Mr. Dewain Barber two things about the Denker and Polgar event. He complained about the scheduling of the events at the same time as the US Open. The US Open usually begins too late in August and many kids had to miss the beginning of school or they could not to attend. The other thing he complained about was there was no discount or free entry for the Denker and Polgar players who want to play in the US Open as well.

On behalf of the Susan Polgar Foundation and all the Polgar players to date, I would like to thank GM Denker and his family for supporting these events, two that changed the lives of so many young chess players.

Without his kindness, vision and actions, many of the young players would not be able to attend college today. He will always have a special place in my heart and I am eternally grateful for him being my friend and mentor.
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  • At Wednesday, May 30, 2007 4:05:00 PM, Anonymous Florida Marlins said…

    Mr. Schultz accused you of not allowing to post an article about GM Denker. Can you confirm if it's true?

  • At Wednesday, May 30, 2007 4:08:00 PM, Blogger SusanPolgar said…

    Florida, I would be happy if Don posts his story. I have not seen or read the story.

    Best wishes,
    Susan Polgar

  • At Wednesday, May 30, 2007 5:19:00 PM, Blogger Don Schultz said…

    Arnold Denker or The Andrew I Knew
    by Don Schultz

    The Andrew I knew went by the name of Arnold. His real name was Andrew, but an Uncle kept calling him Arnold and it stuck. Family, the chess world and everyone always called him Arnold and few knew that was not his name.
    “Hello Don, this is Arnold” - Over the last quarter century, Arnold would call me at every few days and these were the words I first heard. I’ll never hear them again and, each time my telephone rings, I will think of Arnold. 

    Yes, I will miss him, but I will also look back with pleasure at the fun time of the past, how fortunate I was to have as my friend: “The Man Chess Loved” 

    When I think of Arnold, I think of the press rooms of the great world championships of the eighties. Typically you would see, surrounded by journalists, Arnold and a few of his friends such as Tal and Najdorf holding court. There were no computers to help the press, only the candid discussion among these giants of the chess world. 

    At chess meetings, Arnold had a little trick that few ever realized. It was always pre-planned and always worked though used sparingly for just the right debates. Here is how it worked. During the debate, Arnold would remain quiet. Then suddenly he would jump up, rush to the mike, pay no addition to those waiting to be recognized and bypassed them in line. He would shout in the microphone: “This is a disgrace, I can’t believe you are even thinking of doing this; I’m getting out of here.” He would then turn and head for the door. Always, before he reached the door someone from the opposition would say” “Wait Arnold, don’t leave, we will work this out, how about . . .” 

    When I think of Arnold, I think of Gabriel Schartzman whom we both met at the chess Olymiad in Thessalonika, Greece in 1988. Gabriel, then 12 years old, came to us and said: “Hello, my name is Gabriel Schwartzman and I am a chessplayer, Would you like to see some of my games.” “Sure,” we said. Well we were so impressed that we arranged for a match between Gabriel and Arnold in Florida. Gabriel and his family later became lifelong friends of ours. Gabriel also became the youngest grandmaster in the world, He went to the U of Florida, studied business administration and has achieved great success as an American businessman. He and his parents are now enjoying a life in Florida they would never have realized had they stayed in Romania.

    Both Arnold and I take great satisfaction in having had something to do with that. 

    Another time, Rhona Petroysan, widow of former world champion Tigran Petroysan asked Arnold if he could help her move to the states. Arnold and I discussed this and decided the easiest way was to find an American chessplayer for Rhona to marry. We decided our friend Donald Stone was the perfect person. “What are you nuts?” were Stone’s immediate reply to our request. We were a bit taken back by this since Donald , who was in his late seventies, always responded to a call for help when it involved the game he loved. Nevertheless, we weren’t about to be put off so easily. Stone continued: “I’m only a B player. I’ve been married before and vowed I’d never do it again. I’m too old.” We listened to all these attempts by Stone to avoid his responsibility but remained undeterred. Finally our persistence succeeded: “Okay” he said, “Is she pretty?” We gave Rhona and Donald the information they needed in order to get in touch with each other.
    But, the marriage never took place as Rhona found a way to enter the U.S. through more conventional means.  

    Arnold’s second passion was going to the race track. He and I would sit indoors watching the odds change, suddenly he would jump up and rush away to place his bet. He’d return and say in a loud voice to me: “I bet ten big ones on number five,” heads would turn to see who the big bettor was. What they didn’t realize was ten big ones meant ten bucks which is what Arnold and I generally would bet on any race. 
    Upon leaving the track, I’d generally drop Arnold off at his apartment and head home. Arnold would call Teresa to let her know I’m on my way. When Teresa answered, she would immediately say: “Okay Arnold, how much money did you almost win today?” You see Arnold would never lose; he would win or almost win. 

    Another time as I was about to leave my seat, Arnold said to me: “Don, I was up all night handicapping this race and number six can’t lose, take my word for it.” Now Arnold was an excellent handicapper, so I left and bet on six. I returned to my seat and looked over at Arnold still studying the race. He turned and said: “Gosh, how did I miss this look at that four horse, I’m betting big bucks on him.” Arnold jumped up, left and bet on the four horse. Of course the four horse won and the six horse came in last.
    In many ways, Arnold was the most impatient man I ever knew. He would never wait for a red light. Whether in Buenos Aires, New York or Paris, Arnold would rush across the street weaving left and right dodging cars like any football star rushing downfield on a hundred yard run.
    Arnold and I didn’t always agree. One time we had a serious argument. Finally Arnold got up, left my hotel room and slammed the door. I rushed to the door opened it up and called to Arnold; “Okay, we will do it your way.” He turned, smiled and said: “See it always works!”

    Don Schultz


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