Thirty-five (35) years ago this month, I came out of chess retirement to play in the Maine state chess championship held in Sanford, Maine in April 1977. Three of my opponents were among the strongest players in the state for a long time.
By the fall of 1974 I had been playing tournament chess for two years. Then I stopped playing chess for two and half years to focus more on my school work. This time I would do much better. I went to university in 1972. I spent so much time on chess that I did not pass all my school studies. This time I went to Glen Cove Bible College located right on Atlantic coast north of Rockland, Maine. I finished there in December 1976.
One week before I got married in April 1977, my brother and I played in the Maine Chess Championship. I had not played any rated games since the US Junior Open in 1974.
In the first round I was paired down against Carl Hess who was rated 1548. We started with 1.Nf3 f5 and transposed eventually into the the Dutch Defence. I rarely played this opening. Fortunately my opponent found a faulty queenside plan that allowed my central pawns to win the day. Good start winning round one.
Hess-Sawyer, Maine Champ Maine (1), 16.04.1977 begins 1.Nf3 f5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 e6 In my early days of playing the Dutch Defence, I would almost always play the e6 Classical lines. Later I would add the g6 Leningrad lines. 4.c4 Be7 5.Nc3 0-0 6.b3 d6 7.Bb2 c6 8.d4 Finally d4 makes it an actual Dutch Defence. 8...Ne4 9.Qc2 d5 10.Nxe4?! [10.e3 Nd7 11.0-0+/= and White's position is freer.] 10...fxe4 11.Ne5 Nd7 12.f4 Nxe5 13.dxe5 Bd7 14.0-0 Qe8 15.a4! Qh5 16.Ba3 Bxa3 17.Rxa3 Rac8 My Bd7 looks pretty sick. 18.a5 g5 19.e3 gxf4 20.exf4! This builds up a pawn majority on the kingside where White could eventually mount an attack. 20...Qg4 21.Qd1 Qxd1 22.Rxd1 Be8 23.c5 a6 24.Ra2 Bg6 25.Rd4 Kf7 26.Bf1 Bh5 27.Rb4 Rc7 28.Rb6?! [Putting this rook completely out of play. Much better is 28.Kf2 Bg4 29.Ke3+/-] 28...d4! Black's central pawns break free and White is suddenly in trouble. He chooses to attack my e4 pawn, but then he is lost. 29.Bg2? e3 30.Bf1 Rd8 31.Bd3 Bg6 32.Bxa6? [Desperation. However, passive play cannot stop my d-pawn. 32.Be2 d3 33.Bg4 d2 34.Ra1 Bc2-+] 32...bxa6 33.Rxa6?-+ [Or 33.f5 Bxf5 34.Kg2 Be4+ 35.Kh3 d3-+] 33...d3 0-1
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