This morning I was thinking of Jimmy Quon. For those who don’t know was one of the nicest chess players you could ever meet and he achieved his Master title while he was in his late teens.
But I have to admit I didn’t like him when we first met. I thought him to be arrogant and more than slightly condescending.
It was when Jimmy found out that I was analyzing some sharp, tactically rich variations of the Two Knights Defence games that we became friends. He was impressed by some of the lines, and more importantly, how well I could come up with responses to some interesting problems of the variations.
You see, both Jimmy and I were interested in studying and playing tactical games. Which would greatly serve us in a tournament at Cal Tech.
Siamese chess is an extremely tactical variant of chess that be defined as “a variation with two boards, four players, and general mayhem”.
Jimmy and I studied for this tournament. And won it with a score of 19-1. The lone loss was due to one of the players telling my opponent a winning move in a complicated position.
He, the kibitzer, was immediately condemned by the organizer, the TD (amazing he even spoke up in front of them), the other players who were watching the game, and his own teammates.
He was not on good terms with most players before this event and was on bad terms after this event.
I remembered running into Jimmy on a Wednesday night, just before the American Open (held every Thanksgiving weekend). I had to smile when I saw him playing a TN in a Siamese game, a variation we had studied for the Cal Tech tournament.
I lost contact with him for a while. I found out he was teaching at San Diego and I was proud he did was doing something he liked. His subject, by the way, was teaching chess.
Jimmy suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm in 2010. It was one of those cases in which you had only hours to live. It happened so fast that a friend who wanted to see him, had to immediately drive from Orange County, CA to San Diego and didn’t know if he could do it in time. He made it.
You won’t find too many games from Jimmy Quon on the Internet as he played most of his in the pre-Internet era. And I know you won’t find this one.
Labate’s Chess Center
Anaheim CA, 1986
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Nxe4 5.Qxd4 Nf6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.Nc3 Nc6 8.Qh4 d6 9.O-O-O O-O 10.Bd3 h6 11.Rhe1!?
[Estrin analyzed 11.Bxh6 gxh6 12.Qxh6 Ne5 (12…Nb4 13.Ng5 Nxd3+ 14.Rxd3 Bf5 15.Rg3 Bg6 16.Ne6! +/-) 13.Nxe5 dxe5 14.Qg5+ Kh8 15.Bf5 (with the idea of Rd3) +/-. But Jimmy’s idea has it’s own merits.]
11…hxg5 12.Nxg5 Re8 13.Kb1 Bd7?! 14.Nd5! Be6 15.Bh7+ Kf8
16.Rxe6! +- Nxd5 17.Bg6 Nc3+ 18.bxc3 Kg8 19.Qh7+ Kf8 20.Qh8mate 1-0
In 2011 a Jimmy Quon Memorial was held in Los Angeles. Here are two games.
GM Mackenzie Molner (2458)-GM Mark Paragua (2521)
Jimmy Quon Memorial
California Market Center, Los Angeles, Jan. 19 2011
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 Nbd7 7.Bc4 Qb6 8.Bb3 e6 9.Qd2 Be7 10.O-O-O Nc5 11.Rhe1 O-O 12.f4 h6 13.h4 Qa5 14.Bxf6 Bxf6 15.g4 e5 16.fxe5 Bxe5 17.Rg1 Be6 18.Kb1 Rac8 19.g5 h5 20.g6 Nxb3 21.axb3 Bg4 22.Rxg4 hxg4 23.Nf5 Bf6 24.Nd5 Qxd2 25.Nxf6+ gxf6 26.Rxd2 fxg6 27.Ne7+ Kf7 28.Nxc8 Rxc8 29.Rxd6 f5 30.exf5 gxf5 31.Rd7+ Kf6 32.Kc1 g3 0-1
Alessandro Steinfl (2209)-GM Daniel Naroditsky (2419)
Jimmy Quon Memorial
California Market Center, Los Angeles, Jan. 23 2011
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f4 (The Four Pawns variation of the King’s Indian – a rarity.)5…O-O 6.Nf3 Na6 7.Bd3 e5 8.fxe5 dxe5 9.d5 Qe7 10.O-O Nc5 11.Bc2 a5 12.Qe1 Nh5 13.Be3 b6 14.Rd1 Bg4 15.Nb5 f5 16.exf5 e4 17.d6 cxd6 18.Bxc5 dxc5 19.Qxe4 Qxe4 20.Bxe4 Rae8 21.Bd5+ Kh8 22.Nd6 Re7 23.fxg6 hxg6 24.Nf7+ Rexf7 25.Bxf7 Nf4 26.Bd5 Bxb2 27.Rb1 Bd4+ 28.Nxd4 cxd4 29.g3 Ne2+ 30.Kg2 Rd8 31.Rxb6 Bf5 32.Rd1 d3 33.Rd2 Nc3 34.Bf3 a4 35.g4 Be4 36.c5 Rd4 37.c6 Bd5 38.c7 1-0