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ER
20-01-2009, 11:53 AM
Jono,I was just wondering if you were able to tell us a few words about (sorry I do not know his first name) Sarapu!
Did you ever have the chance to meet him? play against him? what was he like as a parson? I believe, your response could provide some additional colour paralel to the already popular Queenstown thread and attract other players, New Zealanders as well as Australians to add their own experiences of the great man.
Cheers

Adamski
20-01-2009, 12:09 PM
Jono,I was just wondering if you were able to tell us a few words about (sorry I do not know his first name) Sarapu!
Did you ever have the chance to meet him? play against him? what was he like as a parson? I believe, your response could provide some additional colour paralel to the already popular Queenstown thread and attract other players, New Zealanders as well as Australians to add their own experiences of the great man.
CheersJono played IM Ortvin Sarapu MBE (RIP) many times in various NZ tournaments including NZ championships. He can no doubt give you details. I met Sarapu many times at NZ chess tournaments. A great man of NZ Chess, he won the NZ champs 20 times and holds the record for number of such wins by a long way. He also wrote a very good autobiographical book, which I have at home. That is "Mr Chess: the Ortvin Sarapu Story". His other chess book that I don't own was "25 Years in the New Zealand Chess Championship (1952-1977)".

Capablanca-Fan
20-01-2009, 01:46 PM
JaK, I was a friend of Sarapu's right from when I was a kid, up to his death (he lived 1924–1999). He wasn't much of a parson though, because he was an atheist or agnostic;) I had a narrow plus score of 2–1 with many draws, but he was over 50 when I first met him as a kid, way past his peak. Yet he won his 20th NZ championship just before he turned 66, so he was a very powerful veteran. I learned much from him, and NZ chess in general received a huge boost from his influence.

He wrote 25 Years in the New Zealand Chess Championship (1952–1977), 1978; and "Mr. Chess". The Ortvin Sarapu Story, 1993, and I have autographed copies of both. Both were very good, but didn't have enough diagrams; it's a shame that the latter didn't take advantage of the new computer graphics readily available even back then to make diagrams easily (I had used the available programs to write articles for New Zealand Chess at the time).

His wife Barbara was very nice too.

Here are some comments on him just after Ortvin died, showing the high esteem in which he was held by many.

From Dr David L, Wellington:


He was a very kind and pleasant man. Some years ago I found myself talking to an elderly man at a chess party or gathering somewhere (I think it was a lead-up to the PLAZA tourney [1988]). He was interested in who I was and introduced me to several well-known players who were close by (I did not yet know who he was and he certainly didn’t know me from Adam). Yet, he treated me as an equal (though hardly on the chessboard!) and I was immediately drawn to him as a person. Later, I discovered it was Ortvin Sarapu. In fact, only last weekend I looked through his book at the Wellington library and scanned his games against Bobby Fischer and Gary Kasparov. He gave each of them a run for their money!

Ortvin will be sadly missed, and not only by New Zealand’s best chessplayers.

From Todd S., Wellington:


That is terrible news indeed.

I only met him a couple of times and he was always friendly towards me, with a smile on his face. Very nice chap. I also remember him talking to me when you were playing Ian Rogers [actually Gufeld, 1986 — they both stayed with my family —JS], I think in the BNZ underground in Wellington. I believe you played a Marshall because Ortwin seemed very happy to be watching the game. It was obvious he loved the game of chess.

From my mother, since my parents also liked him:


I didn’t read about Sarapu in last night’s paper, but there is a large photo and article in tonight’s paper which I will cut out and send to you. … He will be missed won’t he … quite a guy! I imagine you will be feeling upset. … His wife looked very nice too, very attractive.

ER
20-01-2009, 04:01 PM
That's a great report Jono and thanks! I was expecting something of this depth from you. That is, by no means, to undervalue Jonathan's and other chatters' eagerness in willing to share their experiences about the man and his contribution to Chess with their postings in this thread.
Admitting my ignorance, I have to confess that I knew nothing about Sarapu, before the late Peter Daly whom I first met in Sydney in the early '80s and later in Melbourne, told me stories about him and the times they met eachother in OTB chess back in New Zealand.
Thanks again!

Davidflude
20-01-2009, 10:35 PM
who is The Garbage? By the way David, did you ever have the chance to play Sarapu?

I don't think so. I lost to lots of good kiwis but never got the chance to play Sarapu.

In the days I was playing the kiwi championship was a round robin and I was nowhere near strong enough to qualify. Sapapu lived in Auckland which was a long way away from Wellington.

Tony Dowden
21-01-2009, 07:53 AM
I don't think so. I lost to lots of good kiwis but never got the chance to play Sarapu.

In the days I was playing the kiwi championship was a round robin and I was nowhere near strong enough to qualify. Sapapu lived in Auckland which was a long way away from Wellington.

I played IM Ortvin 'The Great Ort' Sarapu a few times - maybe three? I remember gaining two (short) draws in (round-robin) NZ Championships but also getting competely outplayed in a rapid (30/30) tournament. This taught me not to provoke him - and is the only loss I can recall (I 'forget' losses easily so there may be more!)

Jono must have played him several times though.

Ortvin played in the 1966 Sousse Interzonal - drawing with Korchnoi and, perhaps most notably, only narrowly losing to Fischer. And in Rd 1 of the 1982 Olympiad in Lucerne he also played gamely against Kasparov (then aged 18 or 19) only finally resigning during the adjournment break. The rest of the Kiwi team got pounded into the dust ;)

ER
21-01-2009, 08:38 AM
... I played IM Ortvin 'The Great Ort' Sarapu a few times - maybe three? ...

I would like to ask the Mods, with Tony's permission of course, to transfer this and other related postings to the SARAPU thread pls
Thanks

Capablanca-Fan
21-01-2009, 09:13 AM
I don't think so. I lost to lots of good kiwis but never got the chance to play Sarapu.

In the days I was playing the kiwi championship was a round robin
They should never have abandoned this format


Sapapu lived in Auckland which was a long way away from Wellington.
Did you play Feneridis or Frankel much?

Capablanca-Fan
21-01-2009, 09:17 AM
I played IM Ortvin 'The Great Ort' Sarapu a few times — maybe three? I remember gaining two (short) draws in (round-robin) NZ Championships but also getting competely outplayed in a rapid (30/30) tournament. This taught me not to provoke him — and is the only loss I can recall (I 'forget' losses easily so there may be more!)
Indeed, in his 20th NZ Championship win in 1989/90, just before he turned 66, he won a couple of games against youngish players who declined his draw offer.


Jono must have played him several times though.
Heaps, as per the Sarapu thread (http://www.chesschat.org/showthread.php?t=9459).


Ortvin played in the 1966 Sousse Interzonal - drawing with Korchnoi and, perhaps most notably, only narrowly losing to Fischer.
He drew with Spassky as black in the Plaza International, 1988, as well.


And in Rd 1 of the 1982 Olympiad in Lucerne he also played gamely against Kasparov (then aged 18 or 19) only finally resigning during the adjournment break. The rest of the Kiwi team got pounded into the dust ;)
I thought that Small held off Karpov's squeeze for a long time, and could easily have adjourned as well.

ER
21-01-2009, 02:05 PM
thanks Mods for the transfer :clap:

Denis_Jessop
21-01-2009, 05:24 PM
I did not know Sarapu but knew a lot of him via Cecil Purdy's "Chess World". It contains quite a bit of information about him as well as an account of the one and only (as far as I know) match for the Championship of Australasia - a 10-game match between Purdy and Sarapu played in Auckland in 1952. It was tied 5 - 5 with only 2 draws and many of the games are in CW, annotated by Purdy.

I also had some theoretical articles written by Sarapu for "The New Zealand Chessplayer" about then but I'm not sure if I still have them.

Apparently, Sarapu became a professional chess player in Denmark when only about 20 and played a 20-player simultaneous blindfold exhibition (score: 15,3,2) aged 21. He migrated to NZ in 1951.

DJ

ER
21-01-2009, 06:22 PM
Thanks for the information Denis.
With this report you have introduced another chapter in my general interest for chess personalities and events of the past.
That is your reference to the Championship of Australasia, which I presume took place for a number of years.
I wonder if the traditional rivalry that exists between Australia and New Zealand in various sporting events, has its parallels in Chess competitions.
I believe that this topic is not unrelated to the thread's heading so please if you (and other chatters) have any information / memories / records of

statistics
results
funny incidents and stories
characters

connected to the history of the Aussie vs Kiwi OTB or CC, are more than welcome to share it with the rest of us!

Capablanca-Fan
21-01-2009, 07:41 PM
I did not know Sarapu but knew a lot of him via Cecil Purdy's "Chess World". It contains quite a bit of information about him as well as an account of the one and only (as far as I know) match for the Championship of Australasia - a 10-game match between Purdy and Sarapu played in Auckland in 1952. It was tied 5 - 5 with only 2 draws and many of the games are in CW, annotated by Purdy.
That was a great match. Sarapu talks about it in his book. They had great respect for each other, and Sarapu talks about the wise advice Purdy gave him (Purdy was about 17 years older). According to Sarapu, he was better at tactics, while Purdy was better at strategy. From looking at the games, that seems like an oversimplification, and reminds me of a similar claim by Yermolinsky on Botvinnik v Tal, that they just bashed each other by whatever means were available. Sarapu said his best game was the first, and Purdy's best was the last, and I agree.


Apparently, Sarapu became a professional chess player in Denmark when only about 20 and played a 20-player simultaneous blindfold exhibition (score: 15,3,2) aged 21. He migrated to NZ in 1951.
Yes, he would probably have reached GM strength if he had stayed, given that Chessmetrics puts him in the world's top 60 at the time (http://db.chessmetrics.com/CM2/PlayerProfile.asp?Params=199510SSSSS3S115116000000 111000000000026510100).

Denis_Jessop
21-01-2009, 07:49 PM
Thanks for the information Denis.
With this report you have introduced another chapter in my general interest for chess personalities and events of the past.
That is your reference to the Championship of Australasia, which I presume took place for a number of years.
I wonder if the traditional rivalry that exists between Australia and New Zealand in various sporting events, has its parallels in Chess competitions.
I believe that this topic is not unrelated to the thread's heading so please if you (and other chatters) have any information / memories / records of

statistics
results
funny incidents and stories
characters

connected to the history of the Aussie vs Kiwi OTB or CC, are more than welcome to share it with the rest of us!

As far as I kow, the Championship of Australasia only ever occurred once and that was no doubt because Sarapu was recognised as a very strong player. The Purdy - Sarapu match was described as the Inaugural match for the Championship (conducted by the Auckland Chess League for the NZCA and the ACF) and I don't recall ever having heard of another. Perhaps that's something that could be revived. As was common in those days, the ACF ran an appeal for funds to pay for Purdy's fare to NZ. It was oversuscbribed but I'm not sure what the final figure was. The last published figure I've found was 62 pounds 6 shillings, Australian, but the final figure was higher. Admission of 2 shillings (sterling) was charged and Purdy estimated that about 100 pounds stg was raised which went towards the prize money and rent. I see on further delving into CW that Purdy annotated all 10 games of the match. Some of them were reprinted in "CJS Purdy - His Life, His games and His Writings" by Hammond and Jamieson (1982) and may also have been reprinted in the more recent Purdy series published by Thinkers Press but I don't know for sure.

There has been very little liaison between Australian and NZ chess administrators over recent years though I got a motion though the ACF National Conference a year or two ago encouraging greater consultation and our current President has spoken to Paul Spiller and others a few times. Clearly there is scope for coordination of events and for players of both countries to play in each others tournaments - it already happens in big events like Queenstown but fewer NZers seem to come here. Hilton Bennett is an obvious exception as he usually plays in the Aus Open and some other events I think.

DJ

ER
22-01-2009, 09:09 AM
... the Championship of Australasia ... ... Perhaps that's something that could be revived.../]

What a great idea! :clap:


[... reprinted in "CJS Purdy - His Life, His games and His Writings" by Hammond and Jamieson (1982)... DJ

I have a copy, an aesthetically pleasing white cover with the great man's picture up front!
I presume (and silly me I had never paid attention to it - thanks Denis for enlightening me) co - author Jemieson is our very own IM Robert Jamieson undoubtly one of the greatest players this country has ever produced!
By the way, doing some research about Mr Jamieson after your information I found that he is involved with chess activities again ... :clap:
Since his involvement is published in his own personal blog on a commercial website, I refrain from using the link here unless I have the admins permission.
However, all I can say is that the Box Hill Chess Club and Canterbury Juniors Chess Club kids who had the chance to meet Mr Jamieson at a recent coaching project are enthusiastic about him - his personality, humour and productive approach!:clap:
Accidentally, in one of his articles in the above mentioned blog Mr Jamieson is referring to Purdy with invaluable advice for young chess players.
Now back to our theme!
What would be the result in an imaginary Chess Match of the Five best ever Australian Chess Players vs their New Zealander counter parts?

Capablanca-Fan
22-01-2009, 12:57 PM
What would be the result in an imaginary Chess Match of the Five best ever Australian Chess Players vs their New Zealander counter parts?

If you mean at their peaks, it would be something like the following, according to ChessMetrics (which doesn't include the last year or so), and would favour the Aussies:

Aussies

1. Ian Rogers

Best World Rank: #62 (on the February 1999 rating list)
Highest Rating: 2648 on the January 1992 rating list, #76 in world, age 31y7m
Best Individual Performance: 2683 in Groningen, 1989, scoring 6.5/9 (72%) vs 2588-rated opposition

2. Zhao Z-Y is inaccurate since it doesn't include his GM norms.

Best World Rank: #878 (on the January 2005 rating list)
Highest Rating: 2449 on the November 2004 rating list, #879 in world
Best Individual Performance: 2480 in Istanbul ol (Men), 2000, scoring 5/9 (56%) vs 2436-rated opposition

3. Robert Jamieson

Best World Rank: #79 (on the July 1983 rating list)
Highest Rating: 2622 on the October 1983 rating list, #85 in world, age 31y3m
Best Individual Performance: 2660 in Luzern ol (Men), 1982, scoring 8.5/11 (77%) vs 2510-rated opposition

4. Darryl Johansen

Best World Rank: #178 (on the October 1984 rating list)
Highest Rating: 2579 on the October 1984 rating list, #178 in world, age 25y8m
Best Individual Performance: 2596 in Gibraltar Masters op Catalan Bay, 2003, scoring 5.5/9 (61%) vs 2546-rated opposition

5. David Smerdon (inaccurate since it doesn't include his GM norms)

Best World Rank: #546 (on the March 2003 rating list)
Highest Rating: 2503 on the March 2003 rating list, #546 in world, age 18y6m
Best Individual Performance: 2591 in Calvia ol (Men) Mallorca, 2004, scoring 5.5/8 (69%) vs 2504-rated opposition

Purdy doesn't seem accurate given that he drew a match with Sarapu shortly after the latter's peak:

Best World Rank: #801 (on the April 1980 rating list)
Highest Rating: 2346 on the June 1980 rating list, #804 in world
Best Individual Performance: 2337 in Sydney IM, 1979, scoring 1.5/7 (21%) vs 2446-rated opposition


Kiwis

1. Murray Chandler

Best World Rank: #29 (4 different months between the January 1987 rating list and the May 1988 rating list )
Highest Rating: 2690 on the July 1988 rating list, #30 in world, age 28y3m
Best Individual Performance: 2750 in London, 1984, scoring 8/13 (62%) vs 2704-rated opposition

Career performances of 2800-2899: (none)
Career performances of 2700-2799: (7)

2. Ortvin Sarapu

Best World Rank: #55 (2 different months between the December 1949 rating list and the January 1950 rating list )
Highest Rating: 2577 on the September 1950 rating list, #60 in world, age 26y8m
Best Individual Performance: 2606 in Oldenburg, 1949, scoring 7.5/11 (68%) vs 2503-rated opposition

3. Vernon Small

Best World Rank: #158 (on the May 1978 rating list)
Highest Rating: 2558 on the May 1978 rating list, #158 in world, age 23y10m
Best Individual Performance: 2578 in Thessaloniki ol (Men), 1988, scoring 4.5/8 (56%) vs 2559-rated opposition

4. Wang Puchen is not listed and he could be #3.

5. Ben Martin

Best World Rank: #848 (on the May 1992 rating list)
Highest Rating: 2460 on the May 1992 rating list, #848 in world
Best Individual Performance: 2452 in Yerevan ol (Men), 1996, scoring 2.5/6 (42%) vs 2485-rated opposition

FWIW my own is too favorable:

Best World Rank: #650 (on the August 1988 rating list)
Highest Rating: 2467 on the September 1988 rating list, #664 in world, age 23y11m
Best Individual Performance: 2470 in Wellington, 1988, scoring 1/6 (17%) vs 2635-rated opposition

So are you talking about a single 5-board match or a Scheveningen match-tournament?

ER
22-01-2009, 03:06 PM
My God what a line up and thanks Jono!!!
I was thinking of a match where one plays against everyone in the opposition, with White and Black, so each player would have to play 10 games, making it 100 games in all. Duration two weeks with one opening ceremonial funcgion, two rest days and a closing - presentation ceremony.
The team that would gather more points would be declared the winner. Time control and other conditions of the match would be decided by a team of referees under the direction of one independent DOP.
The match would be held every 4 or 5 years.
Prize money would be decided by the number of sponsors and other revenue, such as having general admission as it happened in the match Purdy vs Sarapu, as well as a series of concerts, software and book sales, simultaneous exhibitions, blindfold exhibitions etc.
Now, to boost individual performances, there would also be 10 different prizes for each individual performance.
That is all an initial thought of course. We can improve on the initial idea which was based upon Denis's suggestion!

Denis_Jessop
22-01-2009, 04:34 PM
Purdy doesn't seem accurate given that he drew a match with Sarapu shortly after the latter's peak:

Best World Rank: #801 (on the April 1980 rating list)
Highest Rating: 2346 on the June 1980 rating list, #804 in world
Best Individual Performance: 2337 in Sydney IM, 1979, scoring 1.5/7 (21%) vs 2446-rated opposition

This can hardly be right for Purdy as he died in November 1979. If Sarapu was past his peak when he played the match with Purdy, Purdy was even further past his peak. But the Sarapu match was played in 1952 when Sarapu was only 28 (Purdy was 46) and only 2 years after OS moved to NZ.

I'd put Lajos Steiner in the Australian team based on his pre-WWII form in Europe before he came to Australia when he was regarded as one of the best young players in Europe and possible World Champion material.

DJ

Capablanca-Fan
22-01-2009, 05:03 PM
This can hardly be right for Purdy as he died in November 1979.
Even more of a problem then. There was an obit in New Zealand Chess, where Sarapu and William Fairhurst wrote tributes, and gave the final "must win" game of their match.


If Sarapu was past his peak when he played the match with Purdy,
I was trying to say that it was very close to Sarapu's peak when Purdy drew, so Purdy's best world ranking must have been in the top 60 as well at the time.


Purdy was even further past his peak. But the Sarapu match was played in 1952 when Sarapu was only 28 (Purdy was 46) and only 2 years after OS moved to NZ.
Evidently the Chessmetrics site has ignored the games Purdy played, maybe because they were in Australia.


I'd put Lajos Steiner in the Australian team based on his pre-WWII form in Europe before he came to Australia when he was regarded as one of the best young players in Europe and possible World Champion material.
Good point. Probably board 1 then, given that ChessMetrics says:

Best World Rank: #11 (2 different months between the July 1937 rating list and the August 1937 rating list )
Highest Rating: 2654 on the January 1938 rating list, #12 in world, age 34y7m
Best Individual Performance: 2728 in Kecskemet, 1927, scoring 6/7 (86%) vs 2597-rated opposition

Career performances of 2800-2899: (none)
Career performances of 2700-2799 (2)

Capablanca-Fan
22-01-2009, 05:56 PM
Moderators: I request that this thread title be changed to something like:

Sarapu: Jono (and others) please tell us about him!

That way, the key word appears in the post list on the front page, rather than being cut off.

ER
22-01-2009, 06:08 PM
I second this, thanks! [changed - mod]
and thanks again for actually doing it!