IM Dr Ricardo Calvo was born on October 22, 1943, became
a medical doctor, a historian and a journalist, and spoke many languages
Ricardo Calvo died on September 26 2002. He was He was
suffering from terminal cancer.
We first met Ricardo twenty years ago, when he was playing in the German Bundesliga
and staying with his colleague Dr Helmut Pfleger in Munich. His German was fluent
and eloquent, as was his English, spoken with a pleasantly mild Spanish accent.
Since 1998 we met him every year at the Super-GM in Linares, where he worked
as a correspondent to Spanish newspapers, and in León, where he was the
chief press officer at the Advanced
Chess events held there.
Calvo with Vishy Anand at a post-game press conference in June 21, 2002
and with Anand's opponent Vladimir Kramnik
As a chess historian, author and reporter, as well as a strong chess player,
Dr. Calvo set forth evidence and arguments that Spain was the incubator and
situs of the monumental changes that occurred in chess in the late fifteenth
century, that resulted in the game we know as chess today. While many trace
the introduction of the increased powers of the Queen and the Bishop to Renaissance
Italy, Dr. Calvo presents a compelling case for his native homeland.
Dr Calvo was also deeply involved in chess politics. This culminated in his
being declared persona non grata in 1987 after he had written a critical
article on the world chess federation. In an article entitled On
the Nature of FIDE Legitimacy he described his activities:
My name is Ricardo Calvo, and I love chess. I know several American chess
players who may testify to it better than I. To begin with the greatest of
all, I know that Fisher knows me. He made some compliments on me in Havana
1966 when I defeated Korchnoi. By the way, a day before I had won a much more
fateful game against a Filipino chess player named Florencio Campomanes. A
few days later, I watched how Fisher smashed Pomar, while I was losing a somehow
crazy game against Addison in the match USA-Spain. Years later, in Siegen
1970, Fisher allowed me to interfere in the post-mortem analysis of his drawish
game against Portisch. I appreciated this as an unusual honor. Generally speaking,
the deafening silence which covers the figure and the image of Robert J. Fisher
is a shame for any chess columnist, and I will try therefore to bear Fisher
not only in my mind but also in my keyboard, for instance, in future articles
under the title "Who is the World Champion?".
I have met other American chess players, and my experiences may be interesting
to some. My best score is against the brothers Byrne (3-0). I won an endgame
of bishops of opposite colors against Donald, and two attacking games against
Robert in Spanish tournaments during the 70's. In Buenos Aires 1978, Robert
Byrne came to me with a smile saying: "I wanted to shake hands with you
when I am not resigning". I was a friend of Olaf Ulvestad, whom I defeated
always, in tournaments as well as at my home when he was drunk. I drew against
Larry Evans in Portugal. I lost once against William Lombardy in Germany,
and my most horrible loss was in 1980 against Christiansen in Spain, because
a had a clear rook plus in the opening. Christiansen seemed to interpret my
stupidity as a sign of honesty, because he send me to pick up his money prize
in Linares 1985 when he was too busy in a love affair with a local girl. Well,
I didn't imitate the robbing. I recall kaleidoscopic chess experiences with
Americans. Once I have been singing together with Seirawan "I am a poor
wayfaring stranger". Other times, in other tournaments, I have discussed
chess politics with Kavalek, philosophical chess issues with Saidy, computer
chess with Schiller, or chess methodology with Weinstein. My memory is shaky
and probably I am forgetting others.
Anyway, my chess career is irrelevant, because my name is for the records
a well known one since FIDE declared me "persona non grata" in 1987.
The committee endorsing this decision was headed by USCF representative Arnold
Denker. Bearing Fisher in mind, I shall offer in this article some reflections
centered on the historical nature of FIDE legitimacy.
You can read the rest of this article at Ishipress.
Other articles by Ricardo Calvo