Marvin Dandridge brings Chicago Fire!

Just posted an oldie, but goodie. The game is actually one-sided attack, but shows how to conduct an attack against the king. Chicago native National Master Marvin Dandridge is one of the most gifted tacticians I have ever seen. I had the opportunity to train with him and was on the wrong side of his stunning sacrifices. In analysis sessions, he was quick with tactical variations. When you played him you could sometimes feel that something bad was about to happen when the position got complicated. As I matured, I was able to do better against this style, but he certainly made a positive impression on me.

Marvin Dandridge and Daaim Shabazz at 1989 U.S. Open.

Marvin Dandridge and Daaim Shabazz at 1989 U.S. Open

Dandridge was also one of the funniest chess players around. His sense of humour was raucous and sometimes off-color, but he kept things enjoyable around Chicago’s Tuley Park chess club back in the 80s. He was also the best trash-talker and would perform any number of songs, foreign accents and chants during a blitz game and yell “MATE!” when he chalked up another victory. We all loved it! He is now affectionately known in the Chicago area as “Uncle Marv.”

Back in the glory days, Dandridge was a chess terrorizer… a muscular fit of a man and champion wrestler. We both attended the same Chicago Vocational High School (CVS) and played under Tom Fineberg. Dandridge was several years ahead of me, but by the time I met him, his fame had already preceded him. He has a twin brother Martin Dandridge, who was the captain of the football team. Marvin was also on the team, but not as accomplished as his brother. If you asked Marvin what position he played, he’d laugh, “I played the bench.”

Marvin Dandridge watching Sedrick Prude and Vincent Bazemore analyze.

Marvin Dandridge watching Sedrick Prude and Vincent Bazemore analyze
during the 2008 Chicago Open. Photo by Frank Johnson/

I have seen people get angry at Marvin’s barbs, but end up laughing at themselves. I remember Dandridge was in a blitz session with (now FM) Albert Chow at Jules Stein’s Chess Center on North Halsted. After Dandridge’s antics and a couple of losses, Chow got very, very angry. Chow later chuckled, “I don’t know why I got so mad at Marvin Dandridge.” He also got under the skin of (now FM) Larry Chachere after humiliating him in blitz games. Chachere, a rising star then, dismissively said to Dandridge, “You’re just a bowl of tactics.”

Marvin was never confrontational, but his raucous laughter was infectious. Nowadays, he doesn’t play in weekend tournaments, but had he put time into his game, he could have certainly been stronger than his 2350 maximum rating. Here is one of his bashings against Boris Kreiman, who was then a young star and now a Grandmaster.

See Fire on Board!


  1. I was there at the tournament and saw this game live and was
    in awe of Marvin. At that time I really didn’t know him and
    thought him to be somewhat standoffish, but Marvin is quite the
    gent. His comments can be rather sharp, but they are truthful and
    offer considerable constructive criticism.

  2. It’s hard for me to believe Marvin was only 2215 in 1993. I’ll check… that may be 2315.

    I have never known Marvin to be standoffish. However, I’m not sure what you saw. Despite his intimidating physical stature, he’s very much down-to-earth and with a good sense of humour. If you were in awe of him, then he would definitely be hard to approach. Just don’t be in awe of anybody! 🙂

    Marvin has some biting humour and his analysis tended to be subjective at times. He’d tell you what he thought of your chess and you had to have some pretty thick skin… especially in the Tuley Park days. We trash-talked a lot there. He told me after beating me some games over his place that I wasn’t challenging him enough. He was frustrated because he expected more. I went home and got into the books… the games got better.

    Another time he told Melvin Alsberry after beating him several blitz games, “You’re bringing my game down… rapidly!” We had a big laugh, including Melvin. Melvin was a scholastic star at Carver high school and it was he who used to tell other players they were bringing his game down (or making it worse) by playing them. Marvin was a big challenge to the rising young players because he always saw quicker and deeper.

    I analyzed with him many a day and he’d say he didn’t like a line, but wouldn’t show the lines. I remember we used to have these theoretical opening debates in lines like the Caro-Kann, French, Dragon and the Sveshnikov (Pelikan in those days). He would sometimes suggest lines that were busted, but then you are there analyzing with him, his speed and tactical wizardry would overwhelm you. He would swear (with some humour) that it was all sound.

    One time I snapped off his queen in a blitz game and he somehow complicated matters and I had to give the queen back. He looked at the position and said, “Ah yeaaaaaa!!!” He jokingly told his brother that he had sacrificed his queen and crushed me. I protested that he hung his queen. Marvin said, “No… I saw all that!!” We had a great laugh and it became a running joke.

  3. A interview with Tom Fineberg where he mentions Dandridge…

    He tells me how with the help of Marvin Dandridge, student chess player at CVS from 1972—75, the chess team had won their section for thirteen consecutive years, including city championships in 1975 and 1980. Since then, Dandridge has earned two masters and still comes out to give simultaneous exhibitions and play skittles chess. When Maurice Ashley, the first Black international grand master, was asked by Will Smith, who was then making the movie Malcolm X, who was the best person in Chicago to get a chess lesson from, Ashley told him it was Dandridge. Smith took a two-hour lesson from Dandridge, and then gave him some change—$300. (Story)

    The 1980 team had some good players! 😉

  4. Frank,

    Playing in the Chicago Open?? I’ll be in Chicago on Friday. Where do they play now? I heard there was a coffee shop. Hit me up! I’ll be glad to bash you a few games. :mrgreen:

  5. I played Marvin D way back in 1977 in the American College Union International Championship in Whitewater, Wisconsin. I was 20 and he must have been 18 or 19. What a long time it’s been since then. Also, I played Marvin D a few blitz games right around 1990 at the Oak Park Club where he visited one night. As I recall he beat me up pretty badly in those blitz games.

    All the best to Marvin D. 🙂

  6. They have been playing at the Borders bookstore in Hyde Park near Harpers Court. They also play at the University of Chicago in the library. The library seems to be the after Borders spot.

  7. It’s been interesting seeing some of the old faces again at Borders. Marvin seems to have his wit and seems to enjoy the challenge of being the king of the hill. He’s lost a bit of speed and sharpness, but still dangerous. Kayin Barclay has been down as well as the up-and-coming Daniel Jones. There have been about 20 playing milling about. My biggest complaint is that these guys don’t buy anything from the coffee shop!! There are going to kick us out of there if they can’t justify using that space for non-paying customers.

    Frank Johnson (left) battles Marvin Dandridge at Borders.

    Frank Johnson (left) battles NM Marvin Dandridge at Borders.
    Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

  8. I saw you playing, but never saw you away from the board. I hope my score (-2) isn’t indicative of the player you remember. 😐 I actually played well. My loss to Gopal Menon from Grayslake was disappointing given that he offered a quick draw and I was playing on a few hours sleep. I had a good position and was controlling play when I got the urge to storm his king instead of squeezing a bit him more. He broke in the center (of course) and rebuffed my attack and won nicely. I may post that game. Menon is a great supporter of this website and I consider him a chess friend. Nice guy!

    I went to the link and didn’t see the photo. There is one tagged, “Chow, Dandridge and Stein.” I have more stories about Albert Chow and also Pete Stein (who I lost to a few times). I see the pic now… Kurt Stein! I saw some of his old magazines in the book shop.

    Book is doing well. They are talking movies now. 😛 Paperback coming!

  9. I had the privilege of playing a few games against Marvin. Lost all of them. “I had a feeling you might to swing those rooks around” he said during one middle game as he made a game-deciding move I hadn’t anticipated. He smoked me at Scrabble, too. I think he’s a great guy. Once when he was playing blitz against Gene Scott he had a losing position, and moved his king out of check, leaving his queen exposed to capture. Gene triumphantly snatched the queen, and Marvin smilingly played king takes king. Gene hadn’t noticed that Marvin had placed his king diagonally next to his. That got a good coffehouse laugh — even from Gene eventually.

  10. I’ve seen Marvin do the same thing to Roger Hickman and it brought down the house. That was a common trick at Tuley Park and we all tried it.

    He used to host Scrabble, Uno and Spades parties over his place. He was good at Scrabble and had gotten good at learning esoteric words with odd letters from the Scrabble dictionary. I basically stuck to chess and Scrabble. There was a lot of raucous trash-talking in all the games.

    Here is something no one will know but a few, he made a special popcorn that was delicious. I won’t give out the ingredients, but it was unique. 🙂

  11. My earlier quote omitted the word “try” — it should’ve been ” … might try to swing those rooks …”, not “… might to swing …”. As Marvin says, “there are no takebacks in chess”, but on the net, we can at least try to correct our errors.

    I’m a systems programmer, and I worked with another systems programmer at the Merc who said he played chess regularly with Marv when they were young. He conceded that Marv had the edge between them. The guy was apparently a close enough friend of Marvin’s that he probably knows the popcorn ingredients. Was it cheesy (“it’s not easy being cheesy”) or, sweet or salt or both, or spicy, or something else?

  12. It was all of those things… not cheesy, but buttery. Marvin made it on occassion when he hosted a party. He was a great host. When someone else hosted a party he would call them “Hazel,” the name of the maid on the old TV show! He would order them around and demand refreshments! He’d bellow, “More chips Hazel!” 😆

  13. Good to see the article about Marvin.I remember back in the day when we went to New York. Pam AM College Games 1981-82. Me, Marvin, Hickman, Bolden,(shabazz) and i forget. We had a blast. Tuley Park will always be remembered. Miller, Mitchell, Tom, Marvin, Darren, Hickman, Keith(Bradley) myself, and the occasional buster that happened to come play. Backgammon! and of course Chess. Game 30, Game 15, and of course Speed!! Although I must say Carver ruled 78-81! First board yours truly. Yes, I remember Marvin and i playin speed! He was a bit faster, But i managed to win a few….

  14. Melvin,

    Good to hear from you! I’ve been trying to track you down for years. I knew you were downstate Illinois, but not much else. I checked the rating list and know you have kids playing… great!

    The Pan-Am was great! One of the best times I had with chess. Carver had our respect, but we got you all in 1980. I still have all those games. I also remember my most heartbreaking loss against you at Proviso when I missed mate in three. It was a great game. I still go over it sometimes.

    Take care man!

  15. Daaim,
    Good to hear from you. I’m in Peoria, ILL right now. Not active with USCF but play from time to time. Had a Chess Club for a time and gave lessons. Now jus BZ. Yeah your right, Pam AM was an experience. About 80, we had a young team. But remember we won City 3out of 4 yrs I played. Keep up the good work! Keep n touch. Melvin

  16. Remember this picture? I really liked Eugene Walker (seated across from you)… talented and very mild-mannered. Sometimes I wonder what happen to all of your teammates… past and present. I remember Stevie Thompson, Steve Jackson and all the guys pictured including Mario Harding (standing left).

    I also remember Raheem Muhammad Ali (Maurice Bryant), Keith Bradley. Bradley beat David Greenstein of New Trier West in a Proviso tournament and was so upset. I saw Jean Harrow consoling him. Keith was shaking folks up and was a serious trash-talker! Chris Slupik has sons that play and Marty Biskowski is a professor on the west coast. We had a good group of scholastic players who became Experts and Masters.

    One day I hope to coach a scholastic team to a championship. I remember the impact chess had on my life in those days. Growing up in Chicago definitely had its challenges. Chess kept us out of trouble in the inner city, but some still got lost. If we had Daniel Murrah in 1980, we would have won state. He played board #1 the previous year, but had terrible problems in his home and had to leave school.

  17. MARVIN DANDRIDGE has always, always been a remarkable Chess Player and I was amazed when he spent time teaching me the Basics of the Game! He’s a born Winner and I’m very Proud of his accomplishments! Growing UP MARVIN, always gave You a piece of his Mind, Humor and more! Ann Dandridge, Sister of Marvin Dandridge

  18. Ann,

    That was very touching. Marvin has a special place in my chess history and through him, I’m sure I met you. I was the young man who often visited him on 7756 S. Marshfield to study. 🙂

  19. I believe that I was the person who originated the term “bowl of tactics,” which I used to derisively refer to Dandridge after Chow told me of a game where Dandridge had played the gambit 1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 e4!? 4.Ng5 b5!??! He later became a well-rounded player, not just a bowl of tactics, but certainly that too. We played only one tournament game, where I played the Bronstein-Larsen Caro-Kann for the first and only time. It went badly and I ended up with my king on c7! I expected him to mate me into oblivion in characteristic Dandridge fashion, but I somehow survived to draw.

    When Dandridge was playing blitz and losing, he’d be very quiet, but then when he started winning he’d whoop it up and trash-talk. This could get infuriating. Dandridge liked to recount a time when he’d particularly gotten under Chow’s skin and Chow yelled, “I hate you, Marvin Dandridge! I hate you!” I sometimes did too on such occasions, but it was very transitory. I haven’t seen Dandridge for close to a decade, unfortunately. He’s a great guy, a very strong player, and a real character – not at all consistent with the popular stereotype of the nerdy chessplayer.

  20. Fred,

    It was hilarious. We had gone down to Jules’ to watch and Chow got into a blitz match with Dandridge after he beat me a couple games. They were going back and forth. I remember Chow saying to Dandridge, “I’m going to fix it so you can’t make any more moves” then planted a white rook on d6. Chow was amused at paralyzing Dandridge. Dandridge was quiet apart from his comical phrase, “Oh nooo!” He always said this when he was losing. It was from an old Kalgonite commercial. 🙂

    After that Dandridge got some momentum and started winning a few games in a row. Then he started the trash-talking. He started flustering Chow with the trash-talk/tactics combo. The harder Chow tried, the louder Dandridge would get. He would reel off a sacrifice and yell out some comical phrase. Everyone was laughing… side-splitting humour. Chow was obviously getting upset at being swindled with blistering tactics.

    The barbs took a more personal tone. Some off-color humor started with both taking potshots at the other… even calling each other gay. I don’t know how that started, but at one point Dandridge put his hand on Chow’s leg. Chow said, “Marvin Dandridge, will you stop that?!!” The usually calm and mannerable Chow started slamming the pieces in anger.

    In another game Dandridge launched another tactical missile and put his hand on Chow’s leg again. He swept the pieces, stormed out of the room saying, “Marvin Dandridge…I hate you!” In the other room (still fuming) he said, “I don’t care if he dies.” Chow was raging mad. He then came back toward the room and within Dandridge’s earshot, “I didn’t know he was gay.” People were chuckling.

    After Chow had calmed down to his normal self, I asked him, ‘You hate Dandridge?’ He responded, “I have nothing against Marvin Dandridge. It’s just that when we’re playing speed chess, he reaches under the table and then he puts his hand on my leg. I don’t like that.” Dandridge certainly wasn’t gay (and Chow knew it), but he did some obnoxious things during speed chess. I was on the losing side of those trash-talk/tactics combo many times at Tuley Park and when I trained with him. It was best just not allow him to get you. He was great fun!

    Ironically, after that incident, Dandridge got into the above blitz match with Larry Chachere. This occurred on a different day perhaps weeks later. THIS time Chow was laughing on the sidelines at the Dandridge spectacle. Dandridge dished out an array of blistering tactics and was talking trash. He was calling him “Drippy”. I don’t think Larry had changed his name from “Dripps” yet. Chachere then said, “Dandridge… you’re just bowl of tactics.” I didn’t know you’d come up with that. It’s classic.

    1. Marvin had a wonderful ability to muck up a chess game and make the game complicated. Once the position got complicated, you felt a knockout tactic coming. It was hard to control his play. He got more positional in later years (playing Caro-Kann and English), but still had that flair.

  21. Oh Fred… Marvin showed me that game when I went over his house to analyze. I didn’t know that was against Chow. At some point he chased the g5 knight to h3 and played Bc8xh3. It was a total demolition.

  22. I have a few other Chow stories. One was so sad… from a high school match. Albert Chow (Lane Tech) played Chris Slupik (Proviso West) in the High School State Championship and it was a tense game on board #1. Chow was winning, but got into time pressure. Slupik was trying to flag him. The game picked up and Slupik made a move and slammed the clock down upsetting the board. Chow tried adjusting the board and placing the pieces back. Meanwhile, his flag fell. Slupik said, “Chow’s flag fell.” It was a dirty trick by an arrogant Slupik and the incident upset Chow so much. He never played another high school tournament or match. Shame.

    I remember he had an apartment up north with Vince Berry and a third person. Was that you or Ken Mohr? Marvin, Roger Hickman and I stopped by. David Rubin was also there and was squirting people with a water gun. Chow got mad and told Rubin to grow up. It was so funny. Chow and I had mutual respect for each other. I was glad when he tied for first at the U.S. Open and was the first to congratulate him.

  23. I visited Chow’s apartment, too. As I recall, Tony Sillars and Eric Sindelar were his roommates. I wasn’t suggesting that Dandridge’s 1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 e4 4.Ng5 b5 game was against Chow. Chow just mentioned to me that Dandridge had played a game with that line. Actually, it works pretty well unless White finds 5.d3!, in which case Black is in serious trouble.

  24. And yes, the Slupik-Chow incident was a travesty, which won the state championship for Proviso West over Lane. The Illinois High School official who ruled that Slupik had won the game (and thus that Proviso West had won the championship) was Larry Stillwell, who was also the coach of the Proviso West team!! Teensy little conflict of interest there . . . .

  25. Yes… I remember Sindelar being in the apartment when we visited. I think at one point Vince Berry shared an apartment with Chow too.

    Yep… I was at that tournament. Chow was a sophomore I believe. I had played Chow in the City Finals and we beat Lane 4-1… I lost to Chow in an Accelerated Dragon. I remember Il Byun and Mickey Takeda playing for Lane and losing to our unknown players. After getting crushed at their own school, Takeda said, “We didn’t know they were that strong.” No CVS player had a high rating because we only played scholastic. Fineberg didn’t allow us to play in open tournaments.

    However, we didn’t get our respect despite beating Lane and Carver in head-to-head matches during the city playoffs. Il Byun said that we couldn’t beat Whitney Young with Chachere on board #1. CVS won City Championship, but both Carver and Lane placed ahead of us in State. Public League chess was something to speak of in those days. I remember Marvin telling me about your Lane Tech teams.

  26. Yes, as you doubtless know, the Illinois High School Association had an inane rule that high school chess team members couldn’t play with adults. The IHSA treated chess as just another “sport”: since football and baseball players weren’t allowed to play chess with adults, neither could chess players. Tom Fineberg must have been one of the few school coaches who actually made his players adhere to that. At one point I got kicked off Lane’s team for a while because someone from another team had reported me for violating that rule. Hell, they could have disqualified Lane’s whole team, and I suppose most other strong players (except CVS’s, evidently) for violating that rule. I’m told that the rule is no longer in force, thank goodness. A high school player who aspires to chess greatness certainly isn’t going to get there just playing other high school players. The competition was so weak that out of about 40 games I played in high school matches, I won all but one.

  27. Fineberg did adhere to the rule… for the most part. Two of my teammates played in the 1979 U.S. Open and won Class “D” and “C” prizes, but it was a small amount. There was also a stipulation about the amount of winnings.

    Honestly… I felt like it was good that I flew under the radar, but also bad because I lost time in gaining the experience that many of my first board counterparts had gained. Al Chow (Lane), Melvin Alsberry (Carver), Larry Chachere (Whitney Young), Mario Spinosa (Thornton), David Rubin (Homewood-Flossmoor), Chris Slupik (Proviso West), Marty Biskowski (Riverside-Brookfield), William Harris (Bradley-Bourbonnais) and the rest of the first boards were rated at 1900-2000 in high school. They were all playing in open tournaments, but primarily scholastic. Most made Master shortly after high school.

    I remember seeing Chow, Spinosa and Chachere analyzing games with Allen Kornfeld, Ken Walter and Ken Mohr at Palmer House tournaments. They were ahead of me because of this exposure. Here is another tidbit of history. The first time I saw the power of the Lane Tech network was after the City Championships in 1979 (Carver won). As we helped Fineberg gather his equipment, I believe I saw you, Chow and several players playing bughouse with about 6-8 boards. It was crazy, but the enthusiasm was impressive.

    Remember when the ratings froze one year and Chachere was stuck at 1461? I had heard of “Dripps”, but when I saw his rating I was wondering what the big deal was… that was until I learned he was about Expert strength. He won every “C” prize in sight for a year. Emory Tate was stuck at 1797 and was 2200 strength then. I remember playing Tate in some wild blitz games… sacrifices blazing the board. Tate was inflicting terror on opponents and it would become his trademark. Glad I can claim that he was born in Chicago!

    My first rating was 1311 (after winning 4th at Proviso West), but was probably 1800-1900 strength in my senior year… really booked up on the sharpest lines. At CVS, Fineberg had a club ladder rating list in which everyone started at 700. We had 100 players in the club. So when I got my first rating of 1311 (USCF), I thought it was good! My CVS rating in my senior year was over 1500 so I had improved 800 points. Then later I realized that our club rating was deflated. Perhaps it was good because the entire CVS team was woefully underrated… by 400-500 points in most cases. Dandridge suffered the same rating depression. Not sure about Roger Hickman’s era at CVS… he was ’71. Both Dandridge and Hickman would become my “big brothers” in chess.

    So… when we won city in 1980 (Dandridge won in 1975), I shot up after graduated… probably from 1400 USCF to 2000 in about a year and a half. I began to play at the Palmer House which is where I was exposed to other players. Later, I won the Illinois Junior Invitational (strongest juniors) which was run by Newton Berry. The year I won neither Chow nor Chachere played. Tim Esposito played and he would tragically die in a car accident shortly thereafter. Scott Zingheim played too.

    My main activity would be the Chicago Chess Center on North Halsted. I start winning a lot and enjoyed the atmosphere of Jules’ place… the art work was inspiring. I’ll always have fond memories of the place. It is interesting… I met Walter Sowa at the Chicago Open this year for the first time since tournaments at Jules’. We had a very interesting conversation. He knew of my name and my website. He proceeded to discuss how proud he was of the development of Blacks in chess and some socio-political issues in a very captivating way. Back in the day, he was not a strong player, but he really impressed me that day.

  28. Yes, as you doubtless know, the Illinois High School Association had an inane rule that high school chess team members couldn’t play with adults. The IHSA treated chess as just another “sport”: since football and baseball players weren’t allowed to play chess with adults, neither could chess players. Tom Fineberg must have been one of the few school coaches who actually made his players adhere to that. At one point I got kicked off Lane’s team for a while because someone from another team had reported me for violating that rule. Hell, they could have disqualified Lane’s whole team, and I suppose most other strong players (except CVS’s, evidently) for violating that rule. I’m told that the rule is no longer in force, thank goodness.

    I believe the rule still IS in force, except that there’s a summertime amnesty. (Everything done after Memorial Day is forgiven by Labor Day, and eligibility resets.) This was the rule circa 2005.

  29. When I look at some of the games I lost against strong players in high school (Melvin Alsberry, Al Chow, William Harris), I realize it was just a lack of experience from not playing in open tournaments.

    I missed a mate in three against Alsberry at Proviso West after a long struggle. He sacked a piece in the opening and chased my king around the board. I escaped. He gave another check and recaptured the piece giving me a mate in three. I missed it and his king escaped. He then came back with a 3rd place trophy! It was my devastating loss of my scholastic career. It didn’t help that we were trash-talking rivals. Alsberry was rated about 1800 at the time and was the reigning State Champion.

    It was lack of patience that came with my limited exposure and play in tense tournament conditions. Most of my games were crushing weaker opponents. I would have benefited from more tournament play with strong opposition. However Fineberg did so much for us in chess. Perhaps the rule was to protect students and reduce the distraction that the lure of money would cause.

  30. My Brother eugene passed away 1/13/10 in round rock texas he was only 44 years old he leaves behind a wife and two small kids
    and one adult son

  31. Roosevelt,

    I’m sorry to hear about your loss. Eugene always impressed me with his very calm demeanor. While Carver players were typically brash, here was a young man who was mild-mannered and humble despite his success. He and I had a very good rapport and I could tell he respected me… the respect was mutual.

    Thanks for relaying this information. I wish the best for his surviving family.

  32. Happy Belated Birthday Dr, Shabazz ( June 19th )
    You will be pleased to know that Chess is flourishing on the south
    side like the Tuley Park days in the 80s. Dandridge, Hickman and
    I are battling in 5-min. speed chess games along with Sam Ford
    and dozens of sometimes lucky opponents. Sites of daily combat
    include Burger King (95th Stony Island), U of C rec hall ( 57th
    University) and Outside in the park ( 53rd Hyde Park Blvd, when
    weather permits) by the way Hickman’s birthday was June 16th.
    Keep up the good work. Marvin ( Dr. X) Johnson

    1. Thank you sir!

      Good to hear from you. I was in Chicago during the Memorial Day and visit about 4-5 times a year. I last saw Marvin at the Border’s in Hyde Park. They also play in Soul Vegetarian on 75th near Michigan, but I always beat everyone there.

      It’s been awhile since I’ve seen you. We need a reunion. I’ll never forget the plaque you got me for being board one on the city championship team. That meant a great deal and I have never forgotten it.

      Fineberg is still holding on I hear. I hope I’m able to visit him next time.

  33. Marvin Dandridge lead CVS to city title in 1975 and a 3rd place finish in the Illinois High School Association chess tournament. I was board #1 in 1980 when we took the city championship and finished 9th in state. I will always share that history with Marvin as he was very instrumental in my development… basically by beating the crap out of me and making me tougher!

  34. Here is a comment that I missed in an e-mail from Tony Sillars back in November.

    Very nice chess site, Dr. Shabazz!

    When I read your “bowl of tactics” quote by Chachere I realized what your name used to be — because I was there too! As I recall, we drew a rather boring advanced French where you played for an early …Bb5. If you want to spice up your Marvin and Albert anecdote a little, here’s more of what was said: after beating Albert a few times in a row Marvin did one of his false sincerity things, saying,

    “Albert, don’t feel bad. You’re young and you’re gonna get better and better…(pauses for effect)… and I’ll STILL crack you off!”

    I’m glad there is a place where some Chicago chess lore has been saved for posterity. Those were great years.



    This was classic Marvin. I remember this like yesterday… Chow’s bewildered look and Marvin’s raucous laugh at the end. 😀

  35. I just received some regrettable news that Mr. Tom Fineberg, retired math teacher at CVS has passed away. His daughter contacted me and stated that he died peacefully on Sunday night, May 27th. He was the coach of the chess team on which I played board #1. We won the City Championship my senior year. He was a legendary figure in the Chicago chess scene having mentored a number of chess players in his lengthy career.

    I will have a tribute posted there soon.

  36. Does anyone remember Raheem muhammad who taught self defence at tuley park in the 70’s and 80’s. I am an old student of his and haven’t seen him since i went into the military. If there is someone in contact with him, I would really like to reconnect. please contact me.

  37. Daaim, good to hear about Marvin Dandridge. I hadn’t seen him in about 6 years.If you have an Email address, refer it to me.

  38. Remember playing basketball with Marvin
    between rounds at Proviso West tourney circa
    1976. I never had the pleasure of playing
    Marvin; however, I remember Coleman playing
    my teammate and 1st board Kurt Stein at 1975
    state tourney. (CVS-Proviso West)
    I also remember playing against Fineberg’s
    Tuley Pk while playing for Hillside CC.

    Allen Coffey

    1. That would be Gene Coleman playing board one for CVS. I played for CVS in the next generation of players.

      Those leagues were a lot of fun as were the scholastic tournaments at Proviso West. Fineberg will be missed but his energy and passion for chess is an inspiration.

  39. Yes, Mr Fineberg’s and Mr Stilwell
    changed many young lives with their
    passion and dedication to the game
    of chess.

  40. Proviso West was my first tournament and I remember Larry Stillwell of course. Those tournaments were so much fun. No trophy inflation in those days. You won a trophy, you earned it. You didn’t play well, you went home with nothing… not with a trophy or medal for going 0-5. Both he and Fineberg were of a dying breed.

    Unfortunately, Stillwell became part of a huge controversy in the 1980 IHSA State Finals in a game between Chris Slupik and Albert Chow of Lane Tech. Slupik and Chow were blitzing it out in a tense game and Slupik slammed his move down, hit the clock with pieces flying off the board.

    In trying to set up the pieces, Chow’s flag fell and Slupik claimed a forfeit. Mayhem erupted. It created a conflict because Stillwell was the Tournament Director and coach of Proviso West and Slupik was Proviso West’s top board. All appeals by Lane Tech were denied. Chow was so upset that he quit scholastic chess.

    I’m sure it was tough moment for Stillwell and it affected him for awhile, but nothing can negate his efforts in promoting scholastic chess. We played chess in good times and have benefited from these coaches and mentors like Marvin Dandridge and Kurt Stein.

  41. Were you there when Slupik played
    Chow? If so what was the team score
    of the match as a result of Slupik’s win?

    1. I don’t remember much other than the crowd around the board and Chow being very upset. It was not a good scene. Proviso won the state championship that year and Lane was tied for second.

      We now know that if something like that happens, you stop the clock and get the TD, but of course Chow didn’t think of this in time pressure. Once your flag falls you have very little recourse in most cases. Chow mentioned the incident in an Illinois Chess Bulletin interview.

      Last year when I did a story on E. St. Louis chess, I found this link. Valuable!

      IHSA chess records:

  42. Thanks Daaim,
    I like that there is an archive records
    which reflect my 2nd place on Board 1
    in 1978.
    Any good chess clubs in around Chicago?
    Days & times if you know them.
    Regards, Allen

    1. I think there are one or two clubs around the city, but nothing like when we were coming up. Everybody playing online now. I left Chicago in 1989 and have lived in the south, certainly not a hotbed for chess. I’ve been running this website for the past 12 years and it’s been my main activity although I still play in a few tournaments a year.

  43. Wow, It’s good to see people in touch from back in our power Carver Challengers Chess Team from 77-81 and all the other names I remember too well from Tuley park and chess tournaments from back in the day. remember this “Chess checkers backgammon or cards name you game :).” I have not been able to free my time up these days to play I only get a chance to play 2 or three times a year with worthy opponents but I still and will always love the game.

    1. Good to see you Steve. I went to CVS with your brother, Dwaine. You and I played in the City Playoffs in 1979 and you won when I was overzealous after having destroyed your pawn structure. The game went something like 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nxd5 6.Qf3!? You got doubled pawns on the c- and e-files, but ended up using the open files with devastating effect. That was a painful loss and you all won City that year. We came in 4th. That only fueled the rivalry more.

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