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Birmingham, a 35-year-old high school track coach, thought the directions were intended for him alone; he didn't realize that the route also was given to representatives of the news media. Later, a New York City cop suggested a different route, and Birmingham took him up on it. "I undershot the spot where I was supposed to turn," he said, "and zigzagged a bit to the Brooklyn Bridge."
HOW TO WIN AT CHESS
Viktor Korchnoi is again the talk of the chess world. You remember Viktor, the volatile Soviet defector who astounded experts by nearly upsetting Anatoly Karpov in the 1978 world championships in the Philippines. Well, last week, having whipped former world champion Tigran Petrosian in the quarters, Korchnoi was holding his own—3�-3� after seven games of a 12-game match—against highly regarded Lev Polugayevsky in the semifinal Candidates Match for the next world championships. "Korchnoi has lost none of his profound touch," wrote Robert Byrne in The New York Times.
That the 49-year-old Korchnoi could remain at the top of his game is testimony to a little-appreciated but critical aspect of chess—the physical side. Normally, even expert players begin to decline in their 40s because they lose the stamina required to concentrate throughout five-hour matches. Korchnoi stayed close to Karpov in part because he had followed a rigorous conditioning program. And according to reports from Buenos Aires, where he is playing Polugayevsky, Viktor the Terrible is exhausting his young aides with 14-hour days of chess, analysis, jogging and calisthenics.
The idea that "games" are purely mental is every bit as wrong as the notion that "sports" are entirely physical. "It's not a question of game or sport but degree of sport," said Shelby Lyman, the noted chess author and commentator. "Karpov has written that you must be in excellent physical condition to win at chess. It has been found that at peak moments, the heart and pulse rates are as high as in much more rigorous sports. That's because chess involves a tremendous expenditure of energy. It's a struggle par excellence: two organisms straining against each other, taxing the mind and body to the extreme. The physical side can't be overemphasized."
If chess players stay sharp by exercising, doesn't it follow that athletes could benefit from chess? Lyman finds this increasingly true. At a chess clinic last spring, Tom Marshall, an assistant football coach at C.W. Post, told Lyman that many of his players enjoyed chess. "After playing as tough a game as football, they found it relaxing," said Marshall, now a backfield coach at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. "It's also useful training, especially for players in the defensive secondary, who have to think ahead."
HE'S A HIT UP THE MIDDLE
BOYS WILL BE BOYS...
In the fifth inning of a baseball game in the predominantly male West Orange ( N.J.) summer recreation league, 11-year-old Claudia Minish singled to right and, thanks to a couple of misplays by the opposing team, made it all the way to third.