Frank Ross Anderson: The Master Tactician

You could be the king, you could be the queen, you could be a whole army and fight wars without moving an inch, such is the beauty of chess. Chess not only helps you build your focus and concentration, but it also teaches you a lot about life itself, and the value of grit. There are different styles of playing chess and each of these styles reveal much about ones personality, even if you just play chess in your leisure time and not professionally. The game can tell a lot about you, even without you knowing about it. Frank Ross Anderson, his style precise and positional focusing on the endgame, and would also create some clever tactics.

He was born on January 3, 1928 in San Diego, California. He was a Canadian International Master of Chess and a Chess writer. As a child he became very ill with rheumatoid arthritis in Toronto, and was bed ridden. He wasn’t able to exercise his body physically, so he decided to whet his mind and so he began playing chess. He became a strong player quickly after he first started to play correspondence chess. Despite his physical ability, he graduated from the University of Toronto in Mathematics and Physics. He was encouraged to play chess by Bernard Freeman, who became his first sponsor. He also received a strong support from his good friend Keith Kerns and John G. Prentice, who served as Canada’s representative to the FIDE, the world chess federation.

Anderson won the Toronto Championships six times (1947, 1948, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1958), but his first noteworthy victory was in the 1946 Championship in Toronto. Anderson scored 10/13 in the preliminaries, just missing the qualification for the top section finals, although he won section 2 of the finals.

In 1948, he tied for the first place in the US junior championship in Oakridge, Tennessee with the future Grand Master Arthur Bisguier. He won the Closed Canadian Chess Championships twice, in 1953, he tied with Daniel Yanofsky in Winnipeg in the first place.

He played in the Chess Olympiad for Canada thrice, and won the second board gold medal in Amsterdam in 1954 and repeated the feat at Munich in 1958. He came closer to the Grand Master title than any other player, but fell ill before the final round due to incorrect prescription; this was why he missed his Grand Master title. Had he played and lost the match, he would have still accomplished the final norm necessary to win the Grand Master title. His Olympiad totals were (+26 =8 -8), for 71 percent.

In 1954, he became the first Canadian born International Master and was awarded the IM title. He lost a transatlantic cable game, which lasted for over four days in February 1954, against Igor Bondarevsky. But he won a return game later that year against him when Bondarvesky visited Toronto in July 1954.

He wrote a weekly column for The Hamilton Spectator, 1955 – 1964 and was also the co-author of a book along with his good friend Kieth Kerns of the tournament book of the fourth biennial. In this book he came up with an innovative way in writing the descriptive notation. He was also a computer expert, and played with a computer chess program in 1958. He moved to California with his wife Sylvia after the 1964 Olympiad and operated a tax consulting business in San Diego.

He was inducted into the Canadian Chess Hall of Fame in 2001 and in 2009, his biography “The Life and Games of Frank Anderson.” was written by the American International Master John Donaldson.

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