Sunday, October 24, 2010

Lisa Lane Articles by Sarah a/k/a "Bat Girl"

Lisa Lane, 1962 Life Magazine, by
Alfred Eisentaedt
 I wanted to write about Lisa Lane a few days ago when Allen Becker of Southwest Chess Club sent me a link to an article about this former 2x U.S. Women's Chess Champion that had been posted at Lisa Lane - First Chess Beauty Queen.  While I appreciate that Chessbase does offer articles from time to time about female chessplayers and posts lots of pictures of them, particularly of the prettiest and youngest female players, Chessbase gears its articles toward its overwhelmingly male audience.  Thus, the otherwise well written article contains a cheesecake shot of Lisa Lane posed in a negligee with plenty of bare leg showing, looking at a chessboard, her bouffant hairdo perfectly lacquered in that 1960's way.  The photo was taken from a magazine article written about Lane at the time.  Well, that was the 1960's, this is the 21st century, although no doubt men ogled that 40 year old photo today the same way they did back then.  Sex sells, and Lane was a good looking young woman with a good figure. 

Lane was a remarkable chess talent. In a different world, she was probably good enough to become women's world chess champion, but she lacked support both training-wise and financially.  Other than Bobby Fisher, no one was able to prevail against the Soviet chess machine that ruled the world then, the remnants of which still do.  The prevailing attitude toward women in general and female chessplayers in particular seemed to be Fisher's - they were "fish" - although some male players were probably more discreet in hiding their contempt.  Fisher did conceed back then that Lane was the "best of the American fish."  Seems things haven't changed very much.

I discovered by accident that Sarah a/k/a Bat Girl's splendid blog/log about chess had been deleted or something - the webhost closed down?  In any event, after hunting around a bit I did find through Sarah's postings at that most of it had been saved and now exists as an archive at another person's website.  I updated the link to it in our Links section.  If you aren't familiar with Sarah's chess site, please check it out.  All I can say is that it contains great stuff. 

Last night I played through one of the Lisa Lane games that Sarah posted, and it totally blew me away.  While wishing to become a good player, I have no ambition to study and, at 59, wonder how much progress I'd be able to make in any event. But I continue to chug along at not-even-patzer-level anyway and now that I have an "official" USCF rating, wonder if I could push it up to 1000.  LOL!  A pipe dream if I ever heard one, but what the hell.  Anyway - back to the Lisa Lane game I went through.  I just couldn't wrap my brain around it.  It seemed she knew like 10 moves in advance where she would have to have a piece stashed in order to make a perfect move much later in the game.  And the other player was no slouch either.  Both of them made moves that astounded me.  Now, granted, my understanding of that level of chess is, to say the least, limited.  I feel boundless admiration for people who play, and who play well.  I am now even more depressed.  Like Lisa Lane, I HATE, PASSIONATELY HATE LIKE HATING SOMEONE'S GUTS AND HOPING THEY BURN IN HELL FOREVER WITH A PITCHFORK UP THEIR BUTT to lose.  Hate it.

Sarah/Bat Girl wrote about Lane:

February 28, 2004 Lisa Lane
April 23, 2004 Lisa Lane Revisited
April 24, 2004 Some Lisa Lane Games
May 28, 2004 Lisa Lane Final Entry  - Sarah Beth makes a Lisa Lane website which, unfortunately, no longer exists, but the information she used to create the website (at least at the beginning of its life) is contained in the blog entries listed here.

Currently Sarah Beth a/k/a Bat Girl is located at Chess . com where she has a blog, le blog de la Bat Girl.

October 12, 2010 Lisa Lane
This post contains the game (Lisa Lane vs. Fenny Heemskerk, Women's Candidate Vrnjacka Banja, 1961
1-0) that I played through last night.  It's at the very end of the entry and on a board where you can see the pieces move. 
More on Lisa Lane:
Chess games of Lisa Lane (only 25) from
August 7, 1961 Sports Illustrated Lisa Lane Cover
August 7, 1961 Sports Illustrated article: Queen of Knights and Pawns - I recommend this article.  It is extremely telling.

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