SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
Solving chess problems and studies is not just fun, but is an excellent training method for improving one’s analytic skills. I propose the reader try to solve today’s study below. Give yourself a half hour , without moving the pieces, and make an effort to work out the main-line. And don’t forget the side-lines! Good luck!
Left to right: K. Opočenský, H. Meyer, J. Louma, G.C. dal Verme, B.H. Wood, A. Rueb, M. Berman, E. Voellmy, M. Euwe, F. Peeters. 1946 FIDE congress in Switzerland
I don’t know much about Josef Louma,and a google search of english-language websites has not been very fruitful. Apparently Josef was born on December 3, 1898 in Prague, and was extremely active in Czech chess. A master level player, arbiter, composer and organizer, Louma had the misfortune to find himself on the receiving side when in 1948 there was a communist putsch. Here is what GM L.Pachman had to write about this (http://www.chess.com/) :
Using Ludek Pachman’s Memoar as my source, here is an outline of the man:
Josef Louma had two lives, one up to the Prague communist putsch of 1948, and one after, till his death in 1955. In the former life, Louma was a succesful technical profesional — executive technical dirrector of Walter Manufacturing in Prague — and also a chess master and the managing executive of the Czech Chess Players’ Asociation (UJCS). Right in the first round of revoluinary clensing immediately after the 1948 putsch, Louma was forever purged from his technical job with Walter Manufacturing. And he was to be be also purged from the UJCS. In seems that a sad part in all that was played by IM Opocensky. Fortunately for Louma, GM Pachman was the one who got asked to execute the clensing step. Here is what he writes:
<…The last sentence of the letter said: "It is necessary to remove Josef Louma from all public-service functions."
What now? I decided that in the prevailing disorganization, this probably could still fly under the radar. So I again put the letter into my drawer, to join all the previous directives, and I did not mention it to anyone. But, at the next meeting, as if in passing, Opocensky asked whether something had came from “above” regarding Louma. I replied that dealing with correspondence was my responsibility, and that he should not care. A week later I got called up to the Workers’ Union Directorate. They told me there that master Opocensky had allerted them to the cause of Josef Louma, and that this cause was important, and that it needed to be taken care of. This quickly led to a heated debate and I offered my resignation. They calmed me down and, at the end, they left to my authority what to do about it all, just that “something about all this must be done”.
At the end, we solved the Louma’s case quite well: We put a pro-forma apparatchik into Louma’s post, and we put Louma on the executive commitee as its paid secretary — well, he was without a job and had no chance at all to make livelihood in his civilian profession ever again. Later, we also made Louma the paid editor of our chess magazine ‘Ceskoslovensky Sach’, which effectively resolved his existencial problems. “Upward” I reported tersely that J. Louma was removed from his executive post, but that he can remain “in less important positions”!
We became close friends up to Louma’s death in 1955. We still argued politics a few more times, but never again in public. My friendship with Opo, however, was shot and shortly afterwards we had a terrible, public row at some tournament.>
The yeras under Louma were some of the best for Cs Sach. I’v see some old issues. Louma also edited a Duras monograph and was instrumental in relatively decent publication program of UJCS in those years.
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS