This volume has important events related to California chess. By 1955, the states highways had been improved to the point where car travel became feasible between Northern and Southern California. So it’s no surprise that the 1955 56th U.S. Open, held in Long Beach, became the strongest and richest up to that time. GM Nicolas Rossolimo won the 1955 Buick over GM Sammy Reshevsky on tie-breaking points; Sammy had to be content with the $1,000 1st prize. The biggest shock in California chess history was IM Herman Steiner’s sudden and totally unexpected heart attack during the 1955 California State Championship. Herman was a handsome, energetic, larger than life presence, who attracted many the chess playing Hollywood elite. The passing of the former U.S. Champion and Editor of the Los Angeles Times chess column (since 1933) left a void in Southern California chess which has never been filled. Bobby Fischer’s first California appearance in 1957 was the San Francisco U.S. Junior. Bobby, the 14-year old defending champion, scored 8.5 points to beat out San Francisco’s own 17-year old Gilbert Ramirez, who was the California State Champion and California Open Champion. Of course, the Reporter covered Fischer’s first U.S. Championship win.
Kerry Lawless has been working for years and years, at least 25 years that I know of and probably a lot longer than that, on compiling every game he can, published and, where possible, unpublished that has ever been played in the State of California. The result of this great work is his website ChessDryad.com and his database calgames.pgn that contains at present 37,598 games, all played in the State of California from 1856 to the present. Kerry Lawless has also been making great efforts to compile all chess publications published in the State of California and, as much as possible, all articles about California chess. One result of these efforts is he has compiled every issue of the California Chess Reporter during its 25 year run from 1951 to 1976. At great personal expense to himself he has had all these volumes bound by a professional binding service which have been used to make these reprints.