William Lombardy (Leipzig, 1960)
|Full name||William James Joseph Lombardy|
December 4, 1937 |
New York City
|Peak rating||2540 (1978)|
William James Lombardy (born December 4, 1937) is an American chess grandmaster, chess writer, teacher, and a former Catholic priest. He was one of the leading American chess players during the 1950s and 1960s, and a contemporary of Bobby Fischer, whom he coached from the time Fischer was aged 11½ through the World Chess Championship 1972. Lombardy led the U.S. Student Team to Gold in the 1960 World Student Team Championship in Leningrad. He was the only World Junior Champion to win with a perfect score.
Lombardy received his B.A. in Philosophy, an M.A. in Ethics, and an M.Div., all from Saint Joseph's Seminary (Dunwoodie). He attended CUNY, and studied Educational Psychology at Saint Louis University.
Lombardy grew up at 838 Beck Street, Bronx, New York City, in an apartment with his parents and two other families. "Bill recalls that his family had financial problems where he was young. His parents both worked and they all shared an apartment with his grandmother, an aunt and a cousin, until his second year in grammar school, where they moved to their own apartment." Shortly after World War II, Lombardy and his family moved to 961 Fraile Street, Lombardy recalled of his new apartment:
I remember the winters were very tough in that apartment. My room used to sweat from the cold. The moisture used to seep through one wall. I used to have to get extra blankets to cover me at night so I wouldn't wake up with pneumonia in the morning.
It was at his new home that Lombardy became friends with an Orthodox Jewish boy, named Eddie Garlerter, who taught Lombardy how to play chess. When Lombardy was about 10 he went to Lion's Square Den Park to play stronger chess players. It was there that a kind, old, Jewish man gave Lombardy a booklet "that would change [his] life." Lombardy elaborated on this:
He took out a marble design notebook from a brown paper bag. "Here," he said, "I'm finished with it." I thanked him for the book, put it in the bag and played chess with the man. When I got home, I looked at my book... Back in those days, there were five or six newspapers that carried a chess column. Over many, many years the old man had studiously pasted some two thousand of those chess clippings into his book. I had never asked him whether he had actually played over the games in those clippings. I was about to do what he himself may not entirely have done.
According to Jack Collins, "Bill's chess ability developed rapidly." Lombardy won the 1954 New York State Championship with a score of 7/11 (+7-0=4), and tied for first with Larry Evans at the 1956 Canadian Open Chess Championship. He then played and lost a match versus grandmaster Samuel Reshevsky by the score of 3½-2½, and, in the same year, played second board for the World Student Team Championship in Uppsala, Sweden, going undefeated, and scoring 7/9.
In 1957, Lombardy became the first American to win the World Junior Chess Championship. He won the tournament in Toronto with a perfect score of 11-0, a record that "still stands today". His performance at Toronto was "the first time an individual world title had been won by an American since the distant days (1837-84) of Paul Morphy". Based on his performance, he was automatically awarded the International Master title.
Semi-retirement from chess
He finished second in the 1960-61 U.S. Championship behind Bobby Fischer but ahead of Raymond Weinstein in a star-studded field. With this result, Lombardy qualified to compete in the Interzonal tournament to be held in Stockholm for the right to advance to a match for the world championship. However, Lombardy decided to retire from tournament competition and become a Roman Catholic priest. Before retiring, he lost a match to Larry Evans by the score of 5½-4½. At the 1961 Zurich Chess Tournament, Lombardy tied for fourth place with Svetozar Gligorić, scoring 6.5/11 
In 1962, Lombardy tied for second at the U.S. Open, then won the New England Championship, and, shortly thereafter, gave a lecture at the Manhattan Chess Club  in which he analyzed the game: Lombardy-Lyman, New England Championship, Haverhill, September 1962 Ruy Lopez [C93](1-0).
He was ordained in June 1967.
In 1969, Lombardy tied for second with Vlastimil Hort, going undefeated at Monte Carlo, scoring 7/11. In the same year, Lombardy tied for second with Benko and Mato Damjanović at Netanya, Israel.
Lombardy played first board for the U.S. Team that won the 1960 World Student Team Championship in Leningrad, USSR. Lombardy defeated future world champion Boris Spassky in their individual game. Lombardy won a gold medal for best result on first board in that event with a score of 12-1.
In total, Lombardy won three individual Gold medals, between the Men's Chess Olympiads and the World Student Team Tournament (Under 26-Years-Old):
Men's Olympiad Board No. Individual result U.S. team result Munich 1958 2 11/17 (Seventh) Fourth Leipzig 1960 2 11½/17 (Fifth) Silver Lugano 1968 reserve 7½/11 (Silver) Fourth Siegen 1970 reserve 11/14 (Gold) Fourth Nice 1974 reserve 11/16 (Silver) Bronze Haifa 1976 reserve 7/9 (Silver) Gold Buenos Aires 1978 2nd res. 4/7 (Sixteenth) Bronze
Student Team U26 Board No. Individual result U.S. team result Uppsala 1956 2 7/9 (Gold) Eighth Reykjavik 1957 1 7/12 Silver Varna 1958 1 5½/10 Silver Leningrad 1960 1 12/13 (Gold) Gold Helsinki 1961 1 9/11 (Silver) Silver Budva 1963 1 7½/11 (Fifth) Fifth Kraków 1964 1 7½/13 (Eighth) Fourth
Relationship with Bobby Fischer
Starting in September 1954, Lombardy began coaching an 11½-year-old Bobby Fischer. Lombardy says: "We spent hours in our sessions, simply playing over quality games", and that he "tried to instill in Bobby the secret of [his] own speedy rise. Eidetic Imagery and Total Immersion." Lombardy states:
Since Bobby, when I first met him at age 11½...stated that he would be world chess champion, I believed it was my job as his friend and confidant to do everything legitimately in my power to ensure that the young player's dream would come true!...I voluntarily served as Bobby's coach and second at the 1958 Portoroz Interzonal, when Bobby, at age 15, qualified for the world championship candidates' tournament and thus became the youngest Grandmaster ever.
Lombardy would serve as a central figure in Fischer's ascension to the chess throne.
1972 Spassky-Fischer World Championship Match
Fischer was scheduled to play a match against Spassky for the World Chess Championship 1972. However, Fischer had a falling out with Larry Evans, who had been Fischer's second in his successful matches against Bent Larsen and Tigran Petrosian.
At the last minute, Fischer called upon Lombardy to help him with the match. Although Lombardy was still a priest, he was allowed to take time off from the priesthood to go to Reykjavík, Iceland to serve as the official second to Fischer during the World Chess Championship 1972, between Fischer and Spassky. Lombardy says of the event:
Suffice to say, I was the only person on the intimate inside during that Match of the Century...let me point out that there were 14 adjourned games. Bobby [Fischer] and I worked together on those adjourned positions without making a single technical error!... For little renumeration, I dedicated my services in the Icelandic capital to guarantee that Bobby followed through and finished the match victoriously.
The assertion that Lombardy was essential to keeping Fischer in the match seems to be confirmed by other chess writers and persons in attendance.
In 1978 and 1979, Lombardy served as the lead instructor at an "all day", week-long chess camp at Michigan State University. This was perhaps the first camp of its type in the United States and attracted juniors from all over the country.
In the early 1980s, Lombardy left the active ministry, subsequently married and had a son.
|This section uses algebraic notation to describe chess moves.|
In the first round of the 1957 World Junior Championship, Lombardy defeated the Soviet representative Vladimir Selimanov in a variation of the Ruy Lopez that he invented: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Na5 10.Bc2 c6. Lombardy essayed the move in at least nine official tournament games, scoring three wins, four draws and two losses:
- Selimanov-Lombardy, Toronto 1957 (0-1)
- Olafsson-Lombardy, Reykjavik 1957 (Draw)
- Gligoric-Lombardy, Munich 1958 (1-0)
- Unzicker-Lombardy, Munich 1958 (Draw)
- Ader-Lombardy, Bogota 1958 (0-1)
- Ostojic-Lombardy, Wijk aan Zee 1969 (0-1)
- Peters-Lombardy, Oberlin 1975 (1-0)
- Parma-Lombardy, Banja Luka 1976 (Draw)
- Hjartarson-Lombardy, Neskaupsstadur 1984 (Draw)
In November 2011 Lombardy self-published his autobiographical game collection: Understanding Chess: My System, My Games, My Life. The book is available through his website: http://gmlombardy.com.ar/contact.html.
- Lombardy, William (1972). Modern Chess Opening Traps (1st ed.). David McKay.
- Lombardy, William (1973). Snatched Opportunities on the Chessboard: Quick Victories in 200 Recent Master Games. Batsford. ISBN 0713403659.
- Daniels, David; Koltanowski, George; Lombardy, William (1975). US Championship Chess, with the Games of the 1973 Tournament. David McKay. ISBN 067913042X.
- Daniels, David; Lombardy, William (1975). Chess Panorama. Chilton. ISBN 0801960789.
- Lombardy, William (1977). Chess for Children, Step by Step: A New, Easy Way to Learn the Game. Little Brown & Co. ISBN 0316530905.
- Lombardy, William (1978). Modern Chess Opening Traps (2nd ed.). David McKay. ISBN 0679144005.
- Lombardy, William (1978). Guide to Tournament Chess. David McKay. ISBN 0679130497.
- Lombardy, William; Verhoeven, R.G.P. (1983). 6e Interpolis schaaktoernooi 1982 (6th Interpolis Chess Tournament). Interpolis.
- Lombardy, William (2011). Understanding Chess: My System, My Games, My Life. Russell Enterprises. ISBN 978-1-93649-022-6.
- Lombardy-Whitaker, Milwaukee 1953 (1-0) Lombardy proves the power of four connected passed pawns.
- Gerusel-Lombardy, Toronto 1957 (0-1) Lombardy sacrifices his queen to force mate with two knights, a bishop, and a rook.
- Reshevsky-Lombardy, New York 1958 (0-1) Lombardy's persistence pays off as he launches an all-out attack in a locked position.
- Larsen-Lombardy, Zurich 1961 (0-1) The power of doubled, passed pawns in the endgame prove decisive.
- Benko-Lombardy, New York 1969 (0-1) Lombardy smashes through the position with a tactical onslaught.
- Ostojic-Lombardy, Olot 1974 (0-1) The superiority of the bishop-pair is handled with great care by Lombardy.
- Miles-Lombardy, Reykjavik 1978 (0-1) Lombardy shows how pawn structure alone can prove to be decisive.
- Lombardy-Angantysson, Grindavik 1984 (1-0) Using a rook, knight, and two pawns, Lombardy demonstrates impeccable technique in overpowering his opponent's queen.
In addition to his victories over grandmasters Samuel Reshevsky, Bent Larsen, Pal Benko, Robert Byrne, and Tony Miles, Lombardy scored at least one win against such world-class players as Boris Spassky, Ulf Andersson, Walter Browne, Larry Christiansen, Larry Evans, Vlastimil Hort, Victor Korchnoi, Ljubomir Ljubojević, Lev Polugaevsky, Lajos Portisch, and Jan Timman.
- Elo 1978, p. 183.
- "World Student Team Chess Championship summary". OlimpBase. 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2013.
- Kažić 1974, p. pp. 273-74
- Lombardy 2011, p. 66.
- Lombardy 2011, p. 150
- "World Renowned Chess Grandmaster to Visit UConn". University of Connecticut. April 28, 2010. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
- Lombardy 2011, p. 149
- Chess Champion Bronxite, Enters Jesuit Novitiate, The Catholic News, August 20, 1960
- Lombardy 2011, p. 157.
- Lombardy 2011, p. 11.
- Collins 1974, p. 129.
- Collins 1974, pp. 129-130.
- Lombardy 2011, pp. 12-13.
- Lombardy 2011, p. 14.
- Collins 1974, p. 136.
- Collins 1974, p. 141.
- Di Felice 2010, p. 46.
- Lombardy 2011, p. 54
- Lombardy 2011, pp. 67
- Lombardy 2011, back cover.
- Richard McLellan (Summer 1961). "Cold War Chess". Prairie Schooner, Vol. 35, No. 2: 177-179. University of Nebraska Press. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
- Sunnucks 1970, p. 292.
- Sunnucks 1970, pp. 239, and 538.
- Lombardy 2011, p. 85
- Sunnucks 1970, p. 473.
- Collins 1974, p. 127.
- Di Felice 2010, p. 369.
- Sunnucks 1970, p. 512.
- Di Felice 2013a, p. 4.
- "In the early 1950s the Manhattan Chess Club was located on the southwest corner of Central Park South and Sixth Avenue, and all the best young American players would consistently be there... at any given time one could see the Byrne brothers, Robert and Donald, and Larry Evans, and Arthur Bisguier, James Sherwin, Walter Shipman, William Lombardy, Attilio Di Camillo, Eliot Hearst. Some of these went on to become grandmasters, United States champions, writers on chess. But few became chess professionals. One had to go to college, marry, raise a family, and that could not be done on the income of a chess player. There was no future in chess. These boys could have challenged the Russian supremacy; they had the talent. But they did not have the atmosphere or the financial backing to devote themselves full time to chess." Schonberg 1973, p. 258.
- "His decision to enter the priesthood in 1963 necessarily limited his chess ambition..." Hooper & Whyld 1992, pp. 232-233.
- "(one could hardly believe that the witty and vivacious Lombardy was preparig to be ordained a Catholic priest)." Plisetsky & Voronkov 2005, p. 26.
- Di Felice 2013a, p. 242.
- Di Felice 2013a, p. 124.
- Di Felice 2013a, p. 214.
- Di Felice 2013a, p. 200.
- Lombardy 2011, pp. 141-142
- Di Felice 2013a, p. 301.
- Di Felice 2013b, p. 178.
- Di Felice 2013b, p. 176.
- Di Felice 2013b, p. 229.
- Di Felice 2013b, p. 260.
- Di Felice 2013c, p. 178.
- "With three wins and 8 draws (out of 11 rounds) I shared third behind Smyslov and Portisch." Lombardy 2011, p. 197.
- Di Felice 2013c, p. 181.
- Lombardy 2011, p. 116
- Lombardy 2011, p. 240
- Di Felice 2010, p. 282.
- Di Felice 2010, p. 485
- Brady 1973, p. 172.
- Lombardy 2011, p. 54.
- Di Felice 2010, p. 490.
- Di Felice 2013a, p. 128.
- West, Jim (2011-11-22). ""Understanding Chess" by GM Lombardy, Chess Blog by National Master Jim West". jimwestonchess.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2013-07-03.
- Lombardy 2011, p. 23.
- Lombardy 2011, p. 220.
- "Bobby's aide or so-called second at [Portoroz] was his close friend... William Lombardy... Acting and looking older, and being highly intelligent, Lombardy treated Bobby in a parental and nurturing way." Brady 2011, p. 98.
- Donaldson & Tangborn 1999, p. 45.
- "...I met and spent time with Grandmaster William Lombardy, who of course figured so prominently in Bobby Fischer's rise to the World Chess title." Ponterotto 2012, p. xx.
- Hooper & Whyld 1992, p. 233.
- Schonberg 1973, p. 283.
- Brady 2011, p. 98.
- Lombardy 2011, pp. 219-220.
- "[Lombardy] was a loyal and competent analyst of adjourned positions for Fischer, and served him well as friend and companion." Brady 1973, p. 225.
- Edmonds & Eidinow 2004, pp. 160, 171, 175, and 223.
- "Fischer lodged a formal protest [over the second-game-forfeit] less than six hours after the forfeiture. It was overruled by the match committee.. Everyone knew that Fischer wouldn't accept it lightly. And he didn't. His instant reaction was to make a reservation to fly home immediately. He was dissuaded by Lombardy." Brady 2011, p. 193
- Lombardy, 2011, p. 152
- Lombardy, 2011, pp. 260-263
- Lombardy 2011, p. 86.
- "This is the stem position that should bear my name. i created it quite by accident. The thought was 'What would happen if Black decided to play the c-pawn only one square forward instead of to c5 as in the Chigorin Defense?' After all, on its first turn a pawn may moves two squares forward, but it is not obliged to do so! I had given credit to Rossolimo for the idea as together we worked briefly on the strategies. But basically I am the author and the only one who has been brave enough to play the 'thing!' I also did about 95% of the homrwork or analysis. Grandmaster Nicholas Rossolimo and I did enjoy working together. We both eventually got too busy with life's chores to give much detailed time to chess analysis. But we did spend much time together developing some novelties. How often did I play my Ruy idea? Not very often. But not because I did not trust the idea, rather because in general I had no time to play chess." Lombardy 2011, p. 67.
- Brady, Frank (1965). Profile of a Prodigy (1st ed.). David McKay. OCLC 2574422.
- Brady, Frank (1973). Profile of a Prodigy (2nd ed.). David McKay. OCLC 724113.
- Brady, Frank (2011). Endgame: Bobby Fischer's Remarkable Rise and Fall – from America's Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness (1st ed.). Crown. ISBN 0-307-46390-7.
- Collins, John W. (1974). My Seven Chess Prodigies. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-671-21941-3.
- Di Felice, Gino (2010). Chess Results, 1956-1960: A Comprehensive Record With 1,390 Tournament Crosstables and 142 Match Scores, With Sources. McFarland. ISBN 0-786-44803-2.
- Di Felice, Gino (2013a). Chess Results, 1961-1963: A Comprehensive Record with 938 Tournament Crosstables and 108 Match Scores, with Sources. McFarland. ISBN 0-786-47572-2.
- Di Felice, Gino (2013b). Chess Results, 1964-1967: A Comprehensive Record with 1,204 Tournament Crosstables and 158 Match Scores, with Sources. McFarland. ISBN 0-786-47573-0.
- Di Felice, Gino (2013c). Chess Results, 1968–1970: A Comprehensive Record with 854 Tournament Crosstables and 161 Match Scores, with Sources. McFarland. ISBN 0-786-47574-9.
- Donaldson, John; Tangborn, Eric (1999). The Unknown Bobby Fischer. International Chess Enterprises. ISBN 1-879479-85-0.
- Edmonds, David; Eidinow, John (2004). Bobby Fischer Goes to War: How the Soviets Lost the Most Extraordinary Chess Match of All Time. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-051025-1.
- Elo, Arpad (1978). The Rating of Chess Players, Past and Present. Batsford. ISBN 978-0-66-804721-0.
- Hooper, David; Whyld, Kenneth (1992) . The Oxford Companion to Chess (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-280049-3.
- Kažić, B.M. (1974). International Championship Chess: A Complete Record of FIDE Events. Pitman. ISBN 0-273-07078-9.
- Lombardy, William (2011). Understanding Chess: My System, My Games, My Life. Russell Enterprises. ISBN 978-1-936490-22-6.
- Plisetsky, Dmitry; Voronkov, Sergey (2005). Russians versus Fischer (2nd ed.). Everyman Chess. ISBN 1-85744-380-2.
- Ponterotto, Joseph G. (2012). A Psychobiography of Bobby Fischer. Charles C. Thomas. ISBN 978-0-398-08742-5.
- Schonberg, Harold C. (1973). Grandmasters of Chess. J.B. Lippincott. ISBN 0-397-01004-4.
- Sunnucks, Anne (1976) . The Encyclopaedia of Chess (2nd ed.). St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-7091-4697-1.
- William Lombardy rating card at FIDE
- William Lombardy player profile and games at Chessgames.com
- Olympiad http://www.olimpbase.org