Sunday, August 5, 2012

Remembering Nikolajs Kampars

Today is the 40th anniversary of Nikolajs Kampars' death on 5 August 1972. Blackmar-Diemer Gambit fans of a certain age know (or certainly should know) that he did more than any other player to popularize the gambit in the United States.

This year also marked the 50th anniversary of another significant event for Kampars and the BDG. In February 1962 Kampars began his magazine Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. It originally appeared as a four page insert in the Latvian magazine, Chess World, and concentrated on the BDG (and closely related openings) almost exclusively. With the January 1964 issue, Kampars began to publish independently of Chess World. At the same time he expanded his magazine to include openings other than the BDG, and renamed it Opening Adventures. From then until failing health forced him to discontinue publication with the May 1967 issue, Kampars insured that this modest little magazine was true to its name. There were indeed delightful adventures in its pages: gambits of all sorts and sizes, and still plenty of BDGs, of course.

Four years ago I reprinted a short article on Kampars' life. You can see it here, and also play through a few of his games.

And lest you think Kampars was not a "serious" chess player, here is his draw with a young Bobby Fischer.