Chess - The Scotsman 22/05/2013

CHESS has lost one of its most respected, trusted ambassadors. German grandmaster, three-time world championship chief arbiter and bibliophile Lothar Schmid died on Saturday in Bamberg, Germany. He was 85.

Lothar Maximilian Lorenz Schmid became one of the first grandmasters in chess when FIDE introduced the title in 1959. He went on to represent West Germany in 11 successive Chess Olympiads from 1950 to 1974, winning two individual silver medals. He also came second equal in the 2nd World Correspondence Chess Championship (1956-1962).

Despite never making it to the higher echelons of competitive play, he is best remembered for being the man-in-the-middle of the 1972 World Championship match between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky in Reykjavik. He was the only arbiter both players trusted, and is credited with keeping the Cold War match alive with his diplomatic interventions when both seemed ready to quit.

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Schmid initially trained as a lawyer but went on to run the family’s publishing firm, who made their fortune from the German translations of American Wild West novels and comics. This independent wealth allowed him to build the world’s largest private library’s on chess, which had an estimated 50,000 items and contained many extremely rare books on the game from the 15th and 16th century.

Today’s game, against the German former world championship challenger Efim Bogoljubov, is the one that Schmid said during an interview for his 80th birthday that he was the most proud of. After 16 ...Bf5! 17 Bxf5 fails to 17...Nxf5 18 Rf1 g6 19 Ng5 (or h6) Be3+.

E Bogoljubov - L Schmid

Bad Pyrmont, 1949

Four Knights Opening

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 d4 exd4 5 Nxd4 Nxe4 6 Nxc6 Nxc3 7 Nxd8 Nxd1 8 Nxf7 Nxf2 9 Nxh8 Nxh1 10 Bd3 Bc5 11 Bxh7 Nf2 12 Bf4 d6 13 Bg6+ Kf8 14 Bg3 Ng4 15 Nf7 Ne3 16 Kd2 Bf5! 17 Ng5 Bxg6 18 Ne6+ Ke7 19 Nxc5 Nxc2 20 Bh4+ Ke8 21 Ne6 Kd7 22 Nf4 Nxa1 23 Nxg6 Re8 24 Bf2 Nc2 25 Nf4 Nb4 0–1