USCF Life Master Brian Douglas Wall turns 60

Colorado chess fixture USCF Life Master Brian Douglas Wall turns 60 on March 26, 2015.

He was Colorado Junior Champion 6-0 in 1972. He has been 7 times Colorado State Champion and 6 times Denver Champion. He won the Kansas Open in 2007 and the 2010 29th Annual FIDE North American Open in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Brian appears among the backgammon players in Washington Square (1994) towards the end of “Bobby Fischer vs. the World”. He watched games 4 & 6 of the Fischer-Taimanov Candidates’ Quarterfinal played in 1971 in Denver.

Brian is a chess clown. In 2012, he went 50 games in a row without a loss while opening every White with the Trompowsky/Levitsky (except after 1. d4 e6) and every Black with 1 … a6.  He opened every Black in 2014 with 1 … Na6 with much success. He once won the Colorado Closed Championship (2006?) opening both colors every game with Knight to Queen Bishop Three. He has also won the Colorado Closed while playing simultaneously in the Colorado Senior Open, an irregularity smiled upon by organizers and participants alike in tribute to the hometown hero.

During his 2012 no-loss streak, someone asked him how he did it, and in response he tilted his head back and howled, “I’m Brian ****ing Wall !!!”

Brian is an epigrammatist. Some of his sayings:

  • “Never study an opening until you have played it.”
  • “Chess is a contest between the pain of thinking versus the pain of losing.”
  • “90% of tactical problems can be solved by removing the obstacles between the White Queen and Black King.”
  • “Retreating an active piece is often the culprit in the post-mortem.”
  • “The only purpose to placing pieces on good squares is to sacrifice them.”
  • “Move your Rooks, not your Rook pawns.”
  • “I start every game thinking, if my opponent makes 200 perfect moves, I might give him a draw.”

Brian is at least IM strength, though he’ll probably never get the title, for lack of suitable FIDE tournaments within range in the vast American West. He’s had one coronary already, is chronically overweight and short of breath, yet still travels hundreds of miles to out-of-state tournaments every year. He has two children, Devon, a teenager, and Phyllis, a civil engineer. He lives at home with his mother. When he wins a considerable prize in a tournament, he stands around afterwards in order to be accessible to his many patient and friendly creditors, he himself having quickly forgotten who they are and how much they are owed.

Brian has done some splendid research on the Fraser Defense to the Ponziani, summarized on his Yahoo group.

Here are some more Brian Wall delights, including wins over FIDE master Jorge Renteria and then-IM John Donaldson.

Jacques Delaguerre