The Chess Playing Poet

Dennis Fritzinger

is the poet who plays Chess, and he plays it well enough to have won the championship of the Great State of California. Dennis lives in Berkeley, a city near and dear to the hearts of those of us who came of age in the 1960’s. It is the home of one of the great learning institutions, or was until Ronald Raygun became governor and did all he could to decimate one of the best universities in the USA. Republicans do not like independent thinking. Good thing the grand old party was not around in the time of George Washington or We The People would still be bowing to the Queen!

Dennis has written poetry for years, with many of his poems published in the Mechanics Institute Newsletter ( He has graciously sent a game he annotated and a poem to go along with it. First the poem:

Bobby Fischer

came into the tournament

hall wearing

a red suit.

My friend Sharon

said she saw

a silvery aura

around him.

He left in disgust

she said, because

of all the hubbub

he was causing.

I guess John

was more distracted

than even I was;

I won my game.

Dennis Fritzinger

The Game

1972 American Open, Los Angeles

FritzingerJohn Grefe, American Open 1972


1 g3 g6 2 Bg2 Bg7 3 c4 e5 4 Nc3 d6 5 e3 Nc6 6 Nge2 h5 (A logical thrust) 7 h4 (The best reply) 7…Nh6 8 d4 (White must hurry to get this in or Black will play Nf5 and prevent it) 8…exd4 9 Nxd4 (White can also play exd4, but I wanted to exchange a knight) 9…Nxd4 10 exd4 Bg4 (The position is approximately equal) 11 Qd3 O-O 12 O-O Bf5 13 Qf3 c6 14 Qd1 (Now I could find no better move than this retreat) 14…Re8 (Black could play 14…Bg4 15 Qd3 Bf5 16 Qd1 and take a draw, but wants more) 15 Bg5 (What’s sauce for the goose…) 15…Qb6 16 Qd2 Ng4 17 Rad1 a5 18 b3 Nf6 19 Bf4 (Targeting the weak d-pawn) 19…Qb4 (Optimistic) 20 d5 Ng4 21 Ne2 cxd5 22 Bxd5 Qb6 23 Bxd6 Qxd6 (All goes as Black has foreseen…) 24 Bxf7+ Kxf7 25 Qxd6 Rxe2 (With three pieces for the queen, Black thought he had an advantage here) 26 Qd5+ Kf8 27 Rde1 (Not 27 Qxb7 Be4 when the Black pieces start to really coordinate) 27…Rae8 28 Rxe2 Rxe2 (In order to keep a rook on the 7th, Black decided to give up his a-pawn) 29 Qxa5 (White accepts) 29…Kg8 (Black wants to play Bd4 with unbearable pressure. Unfortunately he can’t do it yet because his king is exposed. If 29…Bd4 30 Qd8+ picks up the bishop) 30 Re1 Rxe1+ (If 30…Rxf2 31 Re8+ is nettlesome. But what the heck—surely 3 pieces are enough compensation considering White’s vulnerable f-pawn?) 31 Qxe1 Bd4 32 Qe8+ Kh7 33 Qe7+ Kh6 34 Qg5+ Kg7 35 Qe7+ Kh6 36 Kg2? (Better was Qxb7 since after 36…Nxf2 it’s harder for Black to coordinate his pieces) 36…Bxf2? (Returning the favor. Better was 36…Nxf2 and White can’t take the b-pawn due to Be4+) 37 Qxb7 (All’s well again for White) 37…Bd4 38 Qf3 (With a crude threat) 38…Be3 39 b4 (Giddy-up!) 39…Bd2 40 c5 (That check on f4 has been useful twice!) 40…Be3 41 c6 Bb6 42 Qf4+ Kg7 43 c7 (Another tiny little threat) 43…Ne3+ 44 Kh1 Bc8 (The bishops aren’t as effective at long distance) 45 Qe4 (Guarding the long diagonal and threatening Qa8 winning a piece. The c-pawn is indirectly defended due to the check on d7) 45…Nf5 46 Qc6 (Overlooking 46 Qa8! Nd6 47 Qc6 Bb7 48 Qxb7 Nxb7 49 c8(Q). Now the win becomes much harder) 46…Bf2 (Black is still breathing, but barely. Unfortunately he is powerless to stop the advance of the b-pawn) 47 b5 Ne7 48 Qe4 Nf5 49 Qe8 Bb7+ (49…Nd6 is met by 50 Qe5+ picking up the knight) 50 Kh2 Bxg3+ 51 Kh3 Nd6 52 Qd7+ (Finally winning a piece, since 52…Nf7 is met by 53 Kxg3, and after any other move first White checks (to avoid the knight fork) and then takes the bishop. 1-0

The following game proves my favorite move, Qe2, is not always a good move!

Bardjuzha, Vitaly (2148) vs Ajrapetjan, Yuriy (2384)
Event: UKR-chT
Site: Alushta Date: 04/20/2006
Round: 6 Score: 0-1
ECO: A25 English, closed system
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.e3 d6 6.Qe2 Nge7 7.Rb1 a5 8.d3 O-O 9.h4 Be6 10.Nh3 h6 11.h5 d5 12.a3 g5 13.Bd2 f5 14.f4 g4 15.Nf2 exf4 16.gxf4 Bf7 17.Nb5 dxc4 18.dxc4 Nc8 19.Nxg4 fxg4 20.Qxg4 Bxc4 21.Bc3 Rf7 22.Be4 Qd7 23.Qg6 N8e7 24.Qh7+ Kf8 25.Bxg7+ Rxg7 26.Qxh6 Qg4 27.Qf6+ Kg8 28.Rh2 Qg1+ 29.Kd2 Rd8+ 30.Nd4 Qxh2+ 31.Kc3 Nxd4 32.h6 Ndf5 33.hxg7 Rd3+ 0-1

The next game varies from the main game with 8…0-0

Pool, Wim vs Ikonnikov, Vyacheslav (2550)
Event: Haarlem AKN op
Site: Haarlem Date: 06/30/2000
Round: 2 Score: 0-1
ECO: A25 English, closed system
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.e3 d6 6.Nge2 h5 7.h4 Nh6 8.d4 O-O 9.O-O Bg4 10.d5 Ne7 11.f3 Bd7 12.e4 Kh7 13.Kh2 f5 14.Bg5 Nf7 15.exf5 Nxg5 16.fxg6+ Nxg6 17.hxg5 Qxg5 18.Ne4 Qe7 19.Rh1 Bh6 20.Qd3 h4 21.g4 Kg7 22.Bh3 Nf4 23.Nxf4 Bxf4+ 24.Kg2 Be8 25.Raf1 Bg6 26.Rhg1 Bg3 27.Qe3 Rf4 28.b3 Bxe4 29.fxe4 Qf6 30.Rxf4 exf4 31.Qe2 f3+ 32.Qxf3 Qb2+ 0-1

Dennis had a book published:

“Nuclear Family” by Dennis Fritzinger coming out soon!

By Haas School of Business
Posted on December 20, 2019

We are so excited to announce that our wonderful colleague and long-time mail room manager Dennis Fritzinger has a poetry-filled memoir coming out very soon. “Nuclear Family” is about growing up during the Cold War. Dennis tells us that we will get a poet’s-eye-view of those scary times when it seemed like a nuclear war could break out at any moment. “Since it’s a memoir, it’s circumference is my immediate family, with drop-ins by other relatives and bit players from time to time. Not to spoil the story, but the subject covers family matters even beyond the icy reach of the Cold War.

If you are interested in a copy of “Nuclear Family” please get in touch with Dennis.

Dennis Fritzinger receives the Haas Heart Award, Nov 6, 2013

Dennis Fritzinger receives the Haas Heart Award, Nov 6, 2013 on Vimeo

11.01.2006 – A ‘poet always on duty’ (

Poetry by Dennis Fritzinger (

Warrior Poets Society – Warrior Poets (

A Place At The Campfire – Warrior Poets (

Dennis Fritzinger on Collected Poems of Nanao Sakaki – Warrior Poet Prose Warrior Poet Prose (


Sly And The Family Stone

My only weapon is my pen
And the frame of mind I’m in

I’m a songwriter
A poet
I’m a songwriter
A poet

And the things I flash on everyday
They all reflect in what I say

I’m a songwriter
I’m a poet
I’m a songwriter
Oh yeah, a poet

3 thoughts on “The Chess Playing Poet

  1. […] reading the above I reached out to my friend Dennis ‘The Chess Poet’ Fritzinger ( asking him if he could produce a poem to go with this review. I am honored to share it with […]

  2. […] 20, tonight, I reached out to my friend Dennis Fritzinger, the poet who was profiled here earlier (, asking permission to use one of his […]

  3. […] copying my friend, former California State Chess Champion Dennis Fritzinger, ( and Paul, as I have a plan, prompted by his article, to write a post concerning Chess fiction. […]

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