Unpublished Files: Acers v. Soltis (1978)

Acers v. Soltis, 1978 – a great game from the past

In our continuing series, The Unpublished Files, we have another first.  For your review, we present to you a game that has not seen light of day since 1978.

The Acers v. Soltis game was played in the National Telephone Chess League matches during its heyday in the late 1970s. Teams of four players, often very strong grandmasters, representing different cities, played matches by phone.


Photo credit: Chessblog.com

Here is how it worked: the moves were transmitted by telephone and a runner brought the move to the particular board, made the move and started the chess clock of the player. When the player completed his move, it was relayed by the runner back to the telephone operator who transmitted the move. That was cutting edge technology at the time.

Fast forward nearly 35 years later.  Nowadays, the US Chess League plays matches via Skype and other real time technologies. But the basic team match format hasn’t changed since those balmy days of telephone matches.

The game was annotated by Jude for a long defunct publication called “The New Chess Player.” Copies of The New Chess Player are rare and hard to find and none were ever converted electronically.

Regrettably, the Acers v. Soltis game has never been included in any of the contemporary databases or cited in standard opening works of the Modern Defense.  The game itself features dynamic play, is full of tension, with both sides going all out for a win. This classic battle is not at all known today. 

The telephone team match venue for New Orleans at that time was the Maple Leaf Bar, on Carrolton. Jude played first board for New Orleans versus then International Master Andy Soltis playing first board for New York (I believe the Marshall Chess Club). Jude’s friend, the late chess entrepreneur and all around good guy, David Compton operated the phone and transmitted the moves to his New York counterpart.

JudeAcers.com readers now have this exclusive game forever preserved online.  We hope this game will find its rightful place in chess databases. Join with me as we go back into time and enjoy this magnificent struggle between two great competitors.  The notes are exactly as Jude wrote them out for publication.

“Acers v. Soltis, New Orleans versus New York Telephone Match, 1978.

1.d4 g6 2.e4 Bg7 3.e5!? N d6 (3…c5 4.Nf3 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Nc6 6.Qe4 ~; 4.c3!?) 4.exd6 cxd6 5.Nf3 Nh6 6.Bc4 d5 (6…O-O) 7.Bb5+ Bd7 (7…Nc6 8.Ne5! +=) 8.Bxd7+ Nxd7 9.O-O O-O 10.Re1 Nf5 11.c3 e6 12.Bf4 Qb6 13.Qb3 Rfc8 14.Qxb6 (14.g4!)…Nxb6 15.Na3! Bf8 16.Nc2 (16.Nb5 a6 Black is better)…Na4 17.Rab1 Rc6 18.g4! Nd6 19.Ne5 Rc7 20.Ne3 (idea of g5)…f6 21.Nd3 g5 22.Bg3 Rc6?! (22…a5) 23.Bxd6 Bxd6 24.Re2 (+=)…Kf7 25.Rbe1 Rh8?! (25…a5; 25…b5) 26. Kg2! h5 27.gxh5 Rxh5 28.Ng4 Rh4?! (28…Rh8) 29.h3 Bf4?! 30.Rh1 Bb8 31.Rhe1 a5 32.Rc2? (32.Re3 with the idea of Rf3 and White +)…Rh8 33.Rec1?! (Time trouble – zeitnot) …Rhc8 34.Re1 b5 (with the idea of b4 Black +) 35.Rce2 Rb6? (35…Nb6!=) 36.Re3! += (idea of Rf3 + -)…Bf4! 37.Rf3 f5 38.Nge5+ (38.Nxf4?? fxg4 -+)…Bxe5 39.Nxe5+ Ke7 40.Rg3! (White is better)…Nxb2 41. Rxg5 Nc4! (41…Rxc3 42.Rxf5 exf5 43.Nc4+ Kd7 44.Nxb6+ Kc6 45.Rxe6+) 42.Rg7+ Kf8 (42…Kd6 43.Rd7 mate; 42…Kf6 43.Rf7+ Kg5 44.h4+!! + -)…Kg8 43. Rh7!! (43.Ra7? Nxe5 44.Rxe5 Rxc3 45.Rxa5 Rc4 Black has an advantage)…Kg8 44.Nxc4! Rxc4 45.Ra7 Rxc3 46.Rg1 (46.Re3 Rc4 =)…Kf8 47.Kh2 Rc2 48.Rgg7 Rxf2 ½ ½ Draw – Acers”


Leave a Reply