Mr. Shaibel was a horrible chess teacher, whose first lessons for Elizabeth Harmon used all 32 units. We don’t begin with 2x2x2x2x2, we begin with 2 + 2.
      Despite Mr. Shaibel’s teachings, Harmon beat Burgov at the end, and they all lived happily ever after. Except for real-life chess teachers meeting parents who think their kids are the next Beth Harmon, and that Mr. Shaibel must’ve known what he was talking about.
      Novelist Walter Tevis was neither a chess teacher nor a chessplayer capable of rising above the fashionable 1…c5. Almost every game in that TV show was a Sozin-Fischer Najdorf — how did Tevis fall into that hole? Like every American chessplayer in the ’70s, he was a fan of Fischer, who was motivated by IM Isaac Lipnitsky.
      Lipnitsky won the Ukrainian champion in 1949 and 1956, and finished 2nd to Keres in the 1950 USSR championship. He was a highly-regarded talent, but he recognized illness would prevent him from continued tournament success — he died in 1959 at 35 — and turned to writing.
      Lipnitsky’s Questions of Modern Chess Theory so influenced Botvinnik and Fischer that both world champions cited it in their books. One story goes that young grandmaster Lombardy recommended the book as a must to teenaged Fischer, and Fischer learned Russian so he could read it.
      In Chapter 12 — Modern Gambits — it’s plain to see that a Lipnitsky novelty in the 6. Bc4 Najdorf (an unusual pawn sacrifice at move 8) was Fischer’s (and in turn, Tevis’) inspiration.
      “[T]he advantages that come from posessing the initiative are obvious,” said Lipnitsky, and “can be acquired in the opening stage. … Of the ways to fight for an opening initiative, gambits (from the Italian dare il gambetto: “to trip someone up”) are among the oldest.