Sadly for American chess fans, many of our best players have given up the game and gone into other fields, and one such player is grandmaster James Tarjan. Tarjan gave up the game in his early 30s, in 1984, and became a librarian. This is some library's gain, but definitely our loss! He was a player with a very attractive style, and more than that was one of the nicest players I ever met or faced over the chess board. I played him once, in my early teens, and don't recall putting up much of a challenge. Nevertheless, he was very gracious and we looked at the game afterwards for what seemed like a long time in my youthful memory. There were no airs, no "I'm a GM, so listen up and take me at my word" sort of attitude, just a very gentle manner that I remember to this day. (This doesn't mean he wasn't a fighter at the board - he was! But there was no sense that he was trying to beat the person on the other side of the board.)
Personal qualities aside, he was also an exceptional player - he was (and is) a GM, after all. So in this week's show, we'll take a look at two very entertaining games of his, both played in the mid-1970s when he was an up-and-comer. Both games are short, but have very different characteristics. One is an ultra-sharp Dragon Sicilian, the second is a Modern, and both games will rivet your attention.
To watch, just join me on Wednesday night at 9 p.m. ET (or 3 a.m. Thursday morning CET) in the Broadcast room of the Playchess server. You'll find it under the Games tab - just look for "Tarjan-Games" and you're there. Hope to see you then!