1987 National Open Saturday, Jan 16 2021 

For many years, my mother worked in the Lake Grove, Oregon Post Office. One of her regular customers was the mother of Carl Haessler, a graduate of Dartmouth College and avid chess player. In fact, he is a Chess Master and five-time Oregon Chess Champion (1991, 1995, 1996, 2009, 2016). When I played in the 1987 National Open (March 13-15, 1987), we were paired against one another in round four. Before the game started, he was conversing with an acquaintance sitting next to him about his dismay that he only had one win. After that conversation ended, I introduced myself and informed him that our mothers knew each other. He played a Reti Opening and we fought back and forth, both making mistakes. It was equal at move 24. I made a mistake on my 26th move that gave him the advantage. It was equal at move 31. He blundered on his 36th move and I found the mate in four to claim a Master scalp. Haessler quite understandably withdrew from the tournament after this game, his third loss in four rounds.

Haessler, Carl (2210) – Green, Thomas A (2046) [A06] National Open (4), 14.03.1987

1.b3 d5 2.Bb2 c5 3.e3 Nc6 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.h3 Bh5 6.Bb5 Rc8 7.g4 Bg6 8.Ne5 f6 9.Bxc6+ bxc6 10.Nxg6 hxg6 11.f4 d4 12.Na3 Qd5! 13.Rh2 Nh6 14.Qe2 Nf7 15.0-0-0 e5 16.Qd3 e4 17.Qa6 Rc7 18.d3 g5 19.exd4? e3! 20.fxg5 Qxg5? 21.Kb1 Qf4 22.Re2 23.Qc4 Ng5? 24.c3 Rxh3= 25.Nc2 c5 26.Rde1 Bd6? 27.cxd4 cxd4 28.Qg8+Bf8? 29.Bxd4 Rxc2 30.Rxe3+ Rxe3 31.Bxe3? Qe5!= 32.Kxc2 Qxe2+ 35.Kc3 Qe1+ 36.Kc4? Qb4+ 37.Kd5 Qb7+ 38.Kc4 Qc6+ 0-1

I lost in the first round against Master John Milton in a Sicilian Maroczy Bind in 23 moves. I won my second round against the lower rated Robert Sprague with a Dutch Defence after he erred on his 24th move.

Sprague, Robert Jr (1600) – Green, Thomas A (2046) [A80] National Open (2), 13.03.1987

1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 g6 3.e4 d6 4.e5 Bg7 5.f4 c6 6.Nf3 Qc7 7.Be3 Nh6 8.h3 0-0 9.Bc4+ d5 10.Be2 e6 11.Qd2 Re8 12.0-0 Bf8 13.Nd1 a5 14.a3 Nd7 15.c4 dxc4 16.Bxc4 Nb6 17.Ba2 Nd5 18.Bf2 Bd7 19.Bh4 Rac8 20.Nc3 Qb6 21.Na4 Qa7 22.Rac1 b6 23.Rc2 c5 24.dxc5? Bxa4 25.Bxd5 exd5 26.Qxd5+ Qf7 27.Qxf7+ Nxf7 0-1

In the third round, Candidate Master David Fletcher’s Caro-Kann claimed the full point in 43 moves. In my fifth-round game against Candidate Master Richard Glass, an opposite-colored Bishop ending, a draw resulted from a King’s Gambit Declined opening.

Green, Thomas A (2046) – Glass, Richard (2125) [C30] National Open (5), 15.03.1987

1.e4 e5 2.f4 Nf6 3.fxe5 Nxe4 4.Nf3 Ng5 5.d4 Nxf3+ 6.Qxf3 Qh4+ 7.Qf2 Qxf2+! 8.Kxf2 d6 9.Bf4 dxe5 10.Bxe5 c6 11.Bc4 Nd7 12.Re1 Nxe5 13.Rxe5+ Be7 14.Nd2 f6 15.Re3 Kd8 16.Rae1 Bd6 17.g3 Bf5 18.Ne4 Bxe4 19.Rxe4 f5 20.Re6 Kd7 21.d5 Rae8= 22.dxc6+ bxc6 23.Rxe8 Rxe8 24.Rxe8 Kxe8= 25.Kf3 Ke7 26.h4 g6 27.g4 h6 28.g5 h5 29.c3 a5 30.a3 c5 31.Bd5 Be5 32.Ba2 Bd6 33.Bd5 Be5 34.Bg8 Bd6  ½-½

In the final round my Sicilian Defence lost to then Candidate Master (by the end of the year Master) Leandro Moguel in 40 moves. Even though I finished 2.5-3.5, I only lost a couple of rating points.

1986 New York Open Monday, Jan 11 2021 

My claim to fame in the 1986 New York Open (April 3-6, 1986) centered on my fourth-round game against Patrick Wharton. We were paired after each of us won our first three games in Section IV for players rated Under 2000. He offered a draw in a Sicilian Najdorf and left me thinking at the board. Honestly, I didn’t know if I had chances to win. I thought long and hard before accepting his offer. Over the years I have wondered about this game. Now, with powerful chess software such as Houdini 5, I feel justified in having accepted the draw. At the end of the eight rounds of this chess tournament, Wharton won $6,000 for his undefeated 7½-½ record. I was the only player to nick him for a half-point. The ratings for my opponents are from the annual Chess Life posting.

Green, Thomas A (2045) – Wharton, Patrick (2190) [B99] New York Open (4), 04.04.1986

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Be7 8.Qf3 Qc7 9.0-0-0 Nbd7 10.Bd3 b5 11.a3 Bb7 12.Nb3 0-0 13.Rhe1 Rfe8 14.Qh3 e5 15.Re3 exf4 16.Bxf4 Ne5 17.Bxe5 dxe5 18.Rf1 Rac8 19.Qf5 Qb6 20.Rg3 Qe6 21.Qxe6 fxe6 22.Nd2 Nh5 23.Rgf3 Nf4 24.g3 Nxd3+ 25.Rxd3 Bc6 26.Nf3 b4 27.axb4 Rf8 28.Rfd1 Bxb4 29.Nxe5 Bxc3 30.Nxc6 Bxb2+! 31.Kxb2 Rxc6 32.R1d2 h6 33.Rd7 Kh7 34.Ra7 Rb8+ 35.Kc1 Kg6 36.Rdd7 Rbc8 37.Rxg7+ Kf6 38.Rgf7+ Ke5 39.Rf2  ½-½

How did I get to that critical fourth round game? My first-round opponent, Peter Hollo, chose to decline my King’s Gambit. I survived my premature attack because my opponent didn’t reply with the best moves. In round two against Ronald Barksdale, my Sicilian Najdorf included removing a defender and securing an advantage following a discovered attack.

Barksdale, Ronald (1875) – Green, Thomas A (2045) [B99] New York (2), 03.04.1986

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Be7 8.Qf3 Qc7 9.0-0-0 Nbd7 10.g4 b5 11.Bxf6 Nxf6 12.g5 Nd7 13.a3 Rb8 14.h4 b4 15.axb4 Rxb4 16.f5 Nc5 17.fxe6 fxe6 18.Bh3 Rf8 19.Qh5+? g6-+ 20.Qe2 Qb6! 21.b3 Rxd4! 22.Rxd4 Nxb3+! 23.cxb3 Qxd4 24.Qc4 25.bxc4 Rf2 26.Rf1 Rxf1+ 27.Bxf1 Bf8 28.Kc2 Bg7 29.Nd1 Be5 30.Ne3 Bg3 31.Ng2me5 32.Kb3 Bh3 33.c5 Kd7 34.cxd6 Kxd6 35.h5 gxh5 36.Ka4 Kc5 37.Ka5 Kd4 38.Nh4 Be1+ 39.Kxa6 Bxf1+ 0-1

My third-round opponent, John Morse, declined my King’s Gambit and blundered at move 22.

Green, Thomas A (2045) – Morse, John W (2000) [C30] New York Open (3), 04.04.1986

1.e4 e5 2.f4 d6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.Bb5 Bd7 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.0-0 a6 7.Ba4 b5 8.Bb3 Bg4 Bxf3 10.Rxf3 Nd4 11.Rf1 Be7 12.d3 c6 Nxb3 Nxe3 16.Qxe3 exf4 17.Qxf4 Qb6+ 18.Kh1 0-0 19.Rf3 20.Raf1 Bf6 21.Nd1 Rae8 22.Qg4 Re6? 23.c3! h5 24.Qxe6! 1-0

So, after four rounds I had 3.5 points with four more rounds to be played. I succeeded in defeating Acho Uzoma Nwano’s King’s Indian Attack in our fifth-round match by making moves characteristic of the Dutch Defence. Interestingly, I had a better position in an ending with Bishops of opposite color. We both missed moves, but I ended up with the full point, 4.5 points with three games remaining.

 Nwano, Acho Uzoma (1940) – Green, Thomas A (2045) [A04] New York Open (5), 05.04.1986

1.Nf3 f5 2.b3 Nf6 3.Bb2 e6 4.g3 Be7 5.Bg2 0-0 6.d3 d6 7.Nbd2 e5 8.e4 c6 9.Nh4 fxe4 10.dxe4 Ne8 11.Qh5 Bxh4 12.gxh4 Nf6 13.Qg5 h6 14.Qg6? Be6? 15.0-0-0 Bf7 16.Qg3 Nh5 17.Qe3! Nf4 18.Bf1 Bh5 19.Bc4+ 20.Rdg1 Qf6] 21.Qg3 b5 22.Bd3 Na6 23.Kb1 Nc7 24.h3 a6 25.Nf1 Nce6 26.Ne3 Nxd3 27.cxd3 Qxf2 28.Nf5 Qxg3 29.Rxg3 Rad8 30.Rhg1 d7 31.d4 g6 32.d5 cxd5 33.exd5 Nf4  34.dxe6 Re7 35.Rc3 Rxe6 36.Rc7+ Kg8 37.Bc1 Rf7 38.Rxf7 Kxf7-+ 39.Bxh6 Rf6 40.Rc1 Bf3 41.Rc7+ Ke6 42.Ra7 Be4+ 43.Kb2 Rf2+ 44.Ka1 b4 45.a4 bxa3 46.Rxa6 a2! 47.Rxa2? Rxa2+ 48.Kxa2 d5 49.Kb2 d4 50.Kc1 Bd3 51.Bg7 Kd5 52.Kd2 e4 53.Bf8 Bb5 54.h5 e3+ 55.Kd1 gxh5 56.Bb4 Ke4 57.Ba5 d3 58.Bc3 Bd7 59.h4 d2 60.Bxd2 exd2 61.Kxd2 Kf4 62.b4 Kg4 63.Ke3 Bb5 64.Ke4 Kxh4  KB-KP 65.Kf4 Kh3 66.Kf3 Bc6+ 67.Kf2 Kg4 68.Kg1 Kg3 69.Kf1 h4 70.Kg1 h3 71.b5 h2+ 0-1

In round six, Salvador Rosario outplayed me in a Sicilian Scheveningen. My first loss lasted 36 moves. In round seven, Mark Fisher, who played a Bird’s Opening, missed a mate in seven at move 37. I also missed some stronger moves but was lucky to get a draw after 57 moves. That gave me 5 points with one more round. Unfortunately, against Ricardo De Jesus, my second Black in a row was a poorly played Sicilian Najdorf. I resigned at move 57. This tournament offered $130,000 in prize money for the seven sections. In addition to the prize money for top finishers in each section, a consolation prize fund of $30,000 with $10,000 for each point group was divided equally among players with 5, 5.5, and 6 points. I received $72.42 for my 5-3 record in the 1986 New York Open.

Northeastern Wisconsin 1985 Champion Saturday, Jan 2 2021 

In 1984, I accepted a position as director of the Waupun Public Library. Shortly thereafter I started playing chess at the Fond du Lac Chess Club led by Mike Nietman. At the Northeastern (March 23-24, 1985) with a 4-1 record, I won the Class A prize money of $75 and added my name on a traveling trophy. Not knowing my opponents and them not knowing me helped me beat two Class A players and two Candidate Masters (or Experts) with my only loss to a Candidate Master who was only 5 points shy of being a Master.

My first-round Class A opponent, Ken Larson, mishandled a Pelikan Sicilian that led to exposing the Black king to an early attack. I missed some better moves but garnered the point with checkmate in 35 moves.

My second-round Candidate Master opponent, Ethan Allen, responded to my Sicilian Defense with an inaccuracy at move 10 that gave me active play. Both of us made inaccurate moves but White, down a Rook, resigned at move 42.

My third-round Candidate Master opponent, Jon Breider, fiercely battled with an opening advantage in a King’s Gambit Accepted before giving me the advantage on move 20. I blundered on move 29 and resigned after 40 moves.

My fourth-round Candidate Master opponent, Randy Schmidt, misplayed his King’s Indian Attack which allowed me to take the point.

Schmidt, Randy (2120) – Green, Thomas A (1945) [A00] Northeastern (4), 24.03.1985

1.g3 f5 2.Bg2 Nf6 3.Nf3 g6 4.0-0 Bg7 5.d4 d5 6.c4 c6 7.b3 0-0 8.Bb2 Nbd7 9.Ng5 Nb8! 10.Nd2 e6 11.Ndf3 h6 12.Nh3 g5 13.Ne5 Ng4 14.Nd3 dxc4 15.bxc4 Bxd4 16.Bxd4 Qxd4 17.Qb3 Ne5 18.Rfd1 Nxd3 19.Qxd3 Qf6 20.Rab1 e5 21.Qa3? g4 22.Rd6 Qg7 23.Qe3 gxh3 24.Bxh3 Nd7 25.c5 f4 26.Be6+ Kh8 27.Qd2? Nxc5 28.Bc4 Ne4 29.Qd3 Nxd6 30.Qxd6 Bh3 31.Rd1 Qf6 32.Qc7 fxg3 33.f3 Qg5 34.Bd3 Qe3+ 0-1

My fifth-round game, a King’s Indian Samisch, confirms that I have played a Queen’s pawn opening. Although I could have made better moves, I liked my attack featuring deflection and a skewer.

Green, Thomas A (1945) – Powers, Bruce (1815) [E81] Northeastern (5), 24.03.1985

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nc3 g6 4.e4 Bg7 5.Be3 0-0 6.f3 c6 7.Qd2 e6 8.Bd3 d5 9.e5 Ne8 10.h4 f5? 11.h5 gxh5   12.Rxh5 Rf7 13.Nge2 Nd7 14.0-0-0 Nxe5 15.dxe5 Bxe5 16.cxd5 cxd5 17.Bc2 Nf6 18.Rg5+ Kh8 19.Rh1 Bd7 20.Bd4 Qc7 21.Qe3 Bd6? 22.f4 Raf8 23.Qg3 Be8 24.Rxh7+! Rxh7 25.Bxf6+! Rg7 26.Bxg7+ Kg8 27.Bf6+ Kf7 28.Rg7+ Kxf6 29.Qg5# 1-0

As I recall, there was some question about whether I qualified as a Northeast Wisconsin resident. Mike Nietman, who recently stepped down after ten years on the U. S. Chess policy board, vouched for me from my play in the Fond du Lac Chess Club. While a student at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, I had won the Class C prize in the University of Wisconsin Holiday Open (November 22-23, 1975) with a 3-2 record consisting of 2 wins, 2 draws, and only 1 loss. I was pleased with this re-introduction to Wisconsin chess at the Northeastern ten years later.

Minnesota Open Miniatures Saturday, Dec 26 2020 

While tying for the Class A prize with a 3.5-2.5 record in the 1982 Minnesota Open (February 20-21), I won two miniatures. A miniature may be defined as a game played in 20 or fewer moves. In the first round my Najdorf Sicilian fell to the better play of Expert Dave Sherman. In the second round D. Beihoffer’s Falkbeer Counter Gambit held me to a draw.

My third-round encounter Saturday night was against a higher rated player, Tom Burke, who had recently done well in a national high school chess tournament. The Minnesota Open was held in a large ballroom on the campus of the University of Minnesota. We had started our game while players were still arriving from the cold, snowy weather outside. During our game Burke suddenly made a loud exclamation that got the attention of other players. Our short, 13-move game was over before some players had started playing,

Burke,Tom (1983) – Green,Thomas A (1906) [B22] Minnesota Open (3), 20.02.1982

1.e4 c5 2.c3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.cxd4 g6 5.f4 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nc3 Ng4 8.Bc1! Qb6 9.h3 Bxd4 10.hxg4  Bf2+   11 Ke2? 12.Nd5? Bxg4+ 13.Kd3 Qd4+ 0-1

On Sunday morning I was paired against an older gentleman, Frank Kempe. He rejected the standard tournament pieces and green and ivory vinyl board I had set up while waiting for him. Black customarily chooses the set and board. So, we used his red and black squared checkerboard with small, lightweight plastic chess pieces. The following 14-move game was included in Bill Wall’s 500 King’s Gambit Miniatures (Corapolis, PA: Chess Enterprises, 1986).

Green,Thomas A (1906) – Kempe,Frank [C39] Minnesota Open (4), 21.02.1982

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.h4 f6? 5.Nxg5 fxg5 6.Qh5+ Ke7 7.Qxg5+ Ke8? 8.Qh5+ Ke7 9.Qe5+ Kf7 10.Bc4+ Kg6 11.h5+ Kh6 12.Qxf4+ Qg5 13.Qxf8+ Qg7 14.d4# 1-0

In the final round, I was paired against my Austin compatriot Expert Roger Buland. We agreed to a draw after 32 moves. All in all, one of my better showings at a Minnesota Open.

Heraldica Imports Under-1600 Class Tournament Thursday, Dec 17 2020 

On Easter weekend (April 13-15, 1979), Jeff Higgins, Phil Kortz, and I traveled to New York City for the Heraldica Imports Under-1600 Class Tournament. The tournament offered $21,500 in cash prizes for three sections: Class C, Under 1400, and Unrated. Fellow Austin Chess Club member Phil Kortz (Albert Lea, Minnesota) wanted to play, but didn’t want to go to New York City alone. He generously offered to pay air fare and hotel room costs from his recent Las Vegas poker earnings for Higgins and me. We agreed to reimburse him from any cash prize money we might earn in this six-round event. I don’t remember where we stayed, but the tournament announcement suggested the George Washington Hotel with a $42 charge for a triple.

This chess tournament was sponsored by Jose Cuchi who faced criticism from Master level players who felt class players shouldn’t be playing for such high stakes ($4,000 for 1st place). This was during a time when the U. S. Chess Federation was struggling with their computer system; ratings had not been updated for several months. The tournament was to be held at Casa de Espana (House of Spain), a cultural organization devoted to furthering Hispano-American friendship.

When we arrived for the first round, we discovered that there were so many entrants (509) that the Under 1400 and Unrated sections needed to be held at a different location. Thus, I would be playing at the House of Spain while Higgins and Kortz, both Class D players, would be playing at the other location. Conditions at the House of Spain were crowded with tables and chairs so close that once someone negotiated sitting, it was disruptive to try to move.

With around 250 Class C chess players, it was possible to have multiple undefeated players after six rounds. Thus, I did not want to draw my first game. Paired as black, I played a Queen’s Indian Defense, gained a pawn advantage, but was unable to convert, finishing with a repetition of position.

Donovan, Peter M (1490) – Green, Thomas A (1585) [E16] Heraldica Imports (1), 13.04.1979

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d4 b6 3.g3 Bb7 4.Bg2 e6 5.c4 d5 6.cxd5 Nxd5 7.0-0 c5 8.dxc5 Bxc5 9.a3 0-0 10.Qc2 Nd7 11.Ng5 g6 12.Nc3 Rc8 13.Nge4 Nxc3 14.Nxc5?? Nxe2+? [Bxg2] 15.Qxe2 Nxc5 16.Bh6 Re8 17.Bxb7 Nxb7 18.Qa6 Nc5 19.Qe2 Qd5 20.b4? Na4 [Nb3] 21.h4 Rc4 22.Rad1 Nc3! 23.Qb2 Qe5 24.Rfe1 Qh5 25.Rd3 Qxh6 26.Rxc3 Rxc3 27.Qxc3 Qf8 28.Qc7 Qe7 29.Qc6 Rd8 30.Rc1 Qd7 31.Qf3 Qd2 32.Rc7 Qe1+? [Qd1+] 33.Kg2! f5 34.Rxa7 Qd1 35.Qe3 Qd5+ 36.Kh2! Qd6 37.Qh6? Rd7 38.Ra8+ Rd8 39.Ra7 Rd7 ½- ½

My second-round straightforward win with white against a Pirc Defense put me on a winning track.

Green, Thomas A (1585) – Waterhouse, Michael (1495) [B07] Heraldica Imports (2), 13.04.1979

1.e4 d6 2.d4 e5 3.dxe5 Nc6 4.Bb5 Bd7 5.exd6 Bxd6 6.Nf3 Qe7 7.0-0 0-0-0 8.Re1 Bg4 9.Bd3 Ne5 10.Nbd2! g5 11.Be2 Nxf3+ 12.Bxf3 Qe5? 13.Bxg4+ Kb8 14.Nf3 Qg7 15.Qe2 h5 16.Bf5 g4 17.Nh4 Ne7 18.c3 Bxh2 19.Kxh2 g3+ 20.fxg3 Rhg8 21.Bf4 Nc6 22.e5 Rde8 23.Bd7 Re7 24.Bxc6 bxc6 25.Qa6 Qg4 26.Re4 c5 27.e6! fxe6 28.Bxc7 Rxc7 29.Rxg4 Rxg4 30.Rf1  1-0

In the third round, after I gained the exchange in a Scandinavian Defense, the way to victory followed.

Berchi, Samuel E (1486) – Green, Thomas A (1585) [B01] Heraldica Imports (3), 14.04.1979

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.Bc4 Bg4 5.f3 Bc8 6.d4 Nxd5 7.Ne2 e6 8.0-0 Bd6 9.Qe1 0-0 10.Nd2 Ne3! 11.Bd3 Nxf1 12.Nxf1 Nc6 13.c3 e5! 14.d5 Bc5+ 15.Be3 Qxd5 16.Rd1 Bxe3+ 17.Nxe3 18.Ng3 f5 19.Bc4+ Kh8 20.Rd5? Qe7! 21.Bd3 Qh4 22.Qb1 f4 23.Ngf5 Qh5 24.g4 fxg3 25.hxg3 Qxf3 26.Be4 Qh5 27.g4 Qg5 28.Qe1 g6 29.Nd4 Qf4 30.Bxg6 exd4 31.cxd4 hxg6 32.Qh4+ Kg8 33.Ng2 Qxg4 0-1

While playing Roman Yangarber in the fourth round, play was stopped because a player had an epileptic fit. This is my only experience with a tournament director asking all players to stop their clocks. Because chairs were stacked next to one another with chairs immediately behind them, his seizure was disruptive. A call went out for anyone who spoke Russian and my opponent left our board to translate. Unfortunately, any additional thinking time did not help me recover from the unusual Sicilian Defense that my opponent employed against me. My only loss in the tournament. Later, back in our hotel Higgins and Kortz informed me that two prostitutes desperate for money had accosted them on their return.

In round five I played a 66 move Scandinavian Defense against Thomas Daniels where each of us missed winning moves. In round six I was lucky to survive an attack emanating from a Sicilian Najdorf by Andrew Lerner and forced a draw after 51 moves. My tournament record was 2 wins, 3 draws, and 1 loss against equally matched opponents. No prize money for me. Interestingly, two Class C players finished with perfect 6-0 records. Sandeep Joshi, a thirteen-year-old of Indian descent, collected his $3,000 prize. Someone else playing under the name Rudolph Jang was unable to show proper identification to claim his prize. I felt sorry for all those who played against this fake persona.

Mankato Chess Tourney Win Sunday, Dec 13 2020 

In 1978, I tied for first place in a Mankato chess tournament making only 81 moves. Not 81 moves in one game. 81 moves in four games! My first-round game was against a new player, Phillip Klacan. As white, I played my favorite opening, the King’s Gambit, and my opponent missed my mate threat losing in only 7 moves.

Green, Thomas A (1501) – Klacan, Phillip G (906)[C30] Mankato (1), 14.01.1978

1.e4 e5 2.f4 Nc6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.fxe5 Nxe5 5.Nxe5 Nxe4 6.Qf3 d5? 7.Qxf7# 1-0

In the second round, I was paired as Black against Steven Larson who also won his first game. My opponent resigned in a King’s Indian Defense after 25 moves.

In the third round, I faced Paul Shannon, the tournament director, and a Class A player. When I moved to Minnesota in 1976 to take a job in the Austin Public Library, I immediately started playing monthly rated chess tournaments in Rochester, Minnesota organized and directed by Shannon. This was my first and only venture to Mankato. With the white pieces, I once again had the opportunity to play my favorite opening, the King’s Gambit. This is a classic miniature.

Green, Thomas A (1501) – Shannon, Paul D (1927) [C30] Mankato (3), 14.01.1978

1.e4 e5 2.f4 Bc5 3.Nf3 d6 4.c3 Bg4 5.Bc4 Nf6 6.d4 exd4 7.cxd4 Bxf3 8.gxf3 Bb4+ 9.Nd2 Nbd7 10.Bxf7+! Ke7? 11.Qb3 Bxd2+ 12.Bxd2 Nb6 13.Rg1 g6? 14.Qe6+ Kf8 15.f5 Nh5 16.Bh6+ Ng7 17.f6 1-0

In the final fourth round, I faced the only other undefeated player, Robert (Bob) Luck. He was rated slightly higher than I was, 1586 to 1501, and I had the black pieces. I chose my favorite opening as black at the time, the Scandinavian Defense. We both had winning chances in the contest but agreed to a draw after 32 moves. We split the 1st place and Class C prize money of $60. A memorable chess tournament.

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