Thanks for the fine article by Tanya Matthews on Bobby Fischer (The Further Adventures of Terrible-tempered Bobby, Nov. 20). Your articles on chess, though few and far between, are always well written, and I hope you will have a report on the outcome of the Interzonal. Even if Bobby Fischer were the world champion, he could not expect to have other players and tournament officials give in to his demands. He may be the best, but he has to learn to play under the same conditions as everyone else. The tournament officials made changes in the schedule because of his religion, and he should have put up with them. No doubt he would have won the event with case.
RUSSELL W. MILLER
President, Washington State Chess
The article by Tanya Matthews showing how American champion Bobby Fischer forfeited his way out of the recent world international chess tournament in Sousse, Tunisia, in spite of the sincere efforts of the officials and players to meet his almost incessant demands and to placate his petulant faultfindings, was eminently fair and factual. A champion in any field has the responsibility of maintaining the dignity of the title. In an international contest a champion must also realize that he represents not just himself, but his country as well, and recognize the fact that he is therefore in a position to further or to hinder international relations. It is high time Bobby Fischer cast aside the foibles of a teen-age prodigy and started to live up to the responsibilities of a mature chess master.
New York City
Every time I look at the National Basketball Association standings I have to laugh at the people who decided that the league was ready for expansion. The Chicago, San Diego and Seattle teams have proved conclusively that they are not ready, and may never be ready.
As of November 14, for example, the three teams had won a total of five games and lost 40 for a .111 percentage. Chicago somehow managed to fall below even this level, with a 1-12 record for a dismal .077 percentage. The other two teams were camped at .124. In other words Seattle and San Diego were winning one game in eight, Chicago one in 13. At this rate the final record for all three will be about 26 wins, 214 losses. This is not NBA caliber basketball, needless to say.
Worse yet, against legitimate NBA competition the expansion teams were 0 for 35, and the expansion teams certainly will not be much better next year. In fact they should be playing poor basketball—if they are still playing—until about the middle of the 1970s.
What to do about it? My plan would be this: send all the players back to their original teams and hold the draft over again, this time letting the nine pro-caliber teams keep only six or seven players each on the protected list. Possibly, then, the new teams would develop into fair competition.
Monterey Park, Calif.
ORCHIDS AND ONIONS
Thank you for your article on Penn State football (Some Kool Kyoties Get Kicked Down by a Foot, Nov. 20), and let me take this opportunity to congratulate you on a consistently interesting and well-done publication. Now that I've taken care of the orchids let's give the onions an airing. It seems to be a consensus among the nation's pollsters that Penn State kind of "lucked out" against a highly regarded North Carolina State when they beat the Wolfpack 13-8. When you sit right down and think about it I guess Penn State was lucky. Lucky that young men like Jim Litterelle, Mike McBath, Dennis (The Darling) Onkotz, Ted Kwalick, Tom Sherman, Tim Montgomery and a host of other topflight football talent decided to make PSU the university of their choice. On November 11, from where I sat, it was a simple case of a good team losing to a better one. A big break didn't catch Sherman's touchdown pass, Kwalick did. Costly penalties didn't flag down Wolfpack aerials, Montgomery and Onkotz did. Misfortune didn't stop North Carolina State's drives, Penn State did.
All season long I have watched as Mervin Hyman consistently picked Penn State as the second- or third-best team in the East. Finally, after the Nittany Lions defeated then-third-ranked North Carolina State, Penn State was moved into its well-deserved spot of No. 1. I agree with this pick, but I don't agree with a statement made about Penn State by Dan Jenkins in the preview of the USC- UCLA game in the same issue. He referred to USC's schedule as tough, because the Trojans played teams like Texas, Michigan State and Notre Dame, while saying that the only tough team on UCLA's schedule was Tennessee. I would like you to add Penn State to that list.
University Park, Pa.
I was especially interested in Dave Kohnhorst's letter (19TH HOLE, NOV. 6) in which he claimed that pro football officials favored the home-town team. I recalled that a few years ago an NFL coach had made a statement similar to his and decided to check if I was correct. Out came the old SIs and, sure enough, the first item in the Nov. 15, 1965 SCORECARD told about Harland Svare receiving a $1,000 fine for his remark that NFL officials "are homers." Mr. Kohnhorst should consider himself lucky. It cost him only 5� to mail his letter.
In his letter Dave Kohnhorst gave various examples of games in which the visiting team was penalized more than the home team. Yet in 12 NFL and AFL contests played on Sunday, November 5 the home teams were penalized a total of 641 yards to a total of 626 for the visiting clubs. In the Viking-Giant game played in Minnesota the Vikings suffered 151 penalty yards, while the Giants lost only 97. Two pass-interference calls were made against the Vikings, one nullifying a Viking interception on a Giant drive that came close to defeating Minnesota.