Sport: Back to the Tables

Looking like a morose but determined bantam rooster, small (5 ft. 2½ in.) Chess Grand Master Sam Reshevsky walked to the center of the crowded game room at Washington's Jewish Community Center. He acknowledged the applause with a faint smile, then turned to face the 42 opponents who were waiting for him. It was exactly 8 p.m. By midnight he had beaten 32 of his brooding opponents, fought the rest to a clucking draw.

Such mass chess fights were an old story to taciturn, 38-year-old, Polish-born Sammy Reshevsky. When he was nine, and a newcomer to the U.S., he had taken on...

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