The league tried and rejected some other ideas, like allowing two strikes instead of three, three balls instead of four; permitting the manager only one visit to the mound before removing his pitcher.
Commissioner Frick has heard some rumbles in his poll about the excruciating length of today's games. Now he has the voice of experience to listen to.
Nicholas Rossolimo, the new American chess champion who finished ahead of Samuel Reshevsky in the Open at Long Beach, Calif., began his drive for the American title in 1952. He arrived in New York from Paris, bringing with him his French motorcycle, on which he planned to travel inexpensively from chess tournament to chess tournament, and also Mme. Rossolimo, a plump, pretty Frenchwoman, fortunately gifted with humor.
"Right away," said Rossolimo last week, "I see professional chess does not exist in the United States. I should start looking for a job." First, however,, he had a match with Arthur Bisguier at the Manhattan Chess Club (winning two and drawing two) and entered the masters' tournament in Havana that year, where he lost to both Reshevsky and the subsequent U.S. champion, Larry Evans. A volatile Frenchman of Greek and Russian descent, Rossolimo gave up college to play chess, became champion of Paris, champion of France and, finally, insofar as there is such a title, champion of non-Communist Europe.
In the U.S., after trials that would have appalled Horatio Alger, Rossolimo got a job as a bus boy at the Waldorf-Astoria. Mrs. Rossolimo became a waitress at a bar and grill. The only use Rossolimo could find for the motorcycle was to ride around dark Manhattan when the night's work at the hotel was over.
Now comes the hard part of the story. It is particularly difficult for people who do not know (or like) chess and will hardly be believed except by those who do. Rossolimo is a romantic. He plays an intuitive, imaginative game, as opposed to the cold, almost mathematical modern game at which logicians like Reshevsky excel. In Europe, Rossolimo was famous for his variations and his renovations of the old openings that modernists say have been discredited. His admirers consider him the greatest artist among living chess masters. Well, as Rossolimo packed trays of dirty dishes downstairs at the Waldorf, he concluded that the time had come for him to change his style. He decided to work out a simple, direct game with none of the fireworks that had won him 20 prizes in Europe.
His game suffered. We will skip over the tournaments he lost and also his chess club in Great Neck, Long Island. A prominent mail-box manufacturer, Nathan Hammer, backed him in the club, but there wasn't much interest in chess in Great Neck. Using the experience of his nocturnal motorcycle rides, Rossolimo became a New York cab driver. By the time the Long Beach Open started, Rossolimo had his new style under control. He had also gained 20 pounds.
In winning the American Open championship, Rossolimo won a new Buick. He sold it at once. He keeps his hack license (No. 40789) on the mantel of his Greenwich Village apartment, beside one of his father's paintings. Rossolimo's father was a pretty good artist, and his mother was an author and war correspondent. Her last book, written shortly before her death in 1952, was an account (in Russian) of the Russo-Japanese War. Rossolimo himself last week was straightening out the record of his games. A European paper printed a garbled account of his showing against the members of the American chess team who played in Moscow (Rossolimo himself was passed over in picking the squad). Adding them up, he found he had played 23 games with the members of the American team. He won 11, drew nine and lost three.
He is thinking of giving up taxi driving and going back to France.