In this same cavalier tradition comes now a horse named Blue Prince. He is a 4-year-old New Zealand pacer, and he is winning races all under the place. He is a good bet for the forthcoming Auckland Cup, among other big events.
Blue Prince's sin is beer. He swills beer every chance he gets, and when he is deprived he fusses and sulks and stamps his feet. Furthermore, he likes to follow his drink with a cigarette chaser. Filters, straights, shorts, longs, it matters not. Blue Prince gobbles them up, then nuzzles the stableboys' pockets for more. Things have gotten so bad that Owner Hal Barry has had to ration Blue Prince to keep him from becoming a nicotine-saturated, beer-besotted, ever-winning reproach to the decent community.
ADVICE FROM RUSSIA
The New York Times
quotes Gavriil Korobkov, coach of the Soviet track and field team that competed at the Rome Olympics last summer:
"All American track and field has this flavor of professionalism. The achievements of American athletes are not the natural result of a people's health, of mass sports. No, this is a product of professionalization which more and more covers American track and field, more and more narrows its realm. And in this also is the cause of the fact that it is beginning to suffer defeats.
"This explains the origin of one of the most surprising contrasts of the American way of life: world-record athletes and the continuously worsening physical preparation of the growing generation of Americans."
A stocky, thick-set, balding ex-diamond cutter named George Koltanowski sat on the stage of the Terrace Room in the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, shielding his eyes from the glare of overhead lights. He looked like the prime suspect in a mystery drama who is resisting interrogation by the secret police. He shifted in his chair, puffed nervously at cigarettes, ran his hand over his head, munched raisins and now and then called out hoarsely for more coffee. He was just playing chess. To make it harder, he was playing what is called blindfold chess, though he wasn't really blindfolded. He was alone behind a screen on one side of the stage where he couldn't see anything, and had to carry all his moves and those of his opponents in his head. He was also trying to break a world record by playing (and winning) more chess games "blindfolded" than anyone ever had. Back in 1951 he set the old record by winning 43 out of 50 games played in one stretch. This time he took on 56 opponents.
Koltanowski developed his ability to visualize chess games without seeing the men 40 years ago. He was a 17-year-old apprentice, learning the family diamond business in his native Antwerp, when he was beaten in a blindfold contest, and it so stung him that he trained his memory until at 18 he could beat 30 chess players simultaneously with his eyes closed.
There were from 500 to 900 spectators in the Fairmont when he started his exhibition at noon on Sunday, with some 2,000 coming and going during the day. Opponents ranged from beginners (who are dangerous in blindfold chess because they make moves that do not make sense) to tournament stars. Koltanowski's most worrisome opponent was an unknown named Karl Diller, who flew in from Pittsburgh for the contest, landed at 2 p.m. and reached the hotel to sit down at his board at 4:30. Koltanowski had already polished off more than half the contenders without a loss, but he was getting nervous.