Illinois Chess History
Erik and Andrew Karklins: 143 Years of Chess and Counting
- Written by Ken Marshall Ken Marshall
Editor's Note: ICA thanks Editor Dan Lucas for giving us permission to publish this article, which originally appeared in the December 2010 of Chess Life.
Metropolitan Chicago has a history of significant chess activity dating back to the 1800s. Over the past half century alone the city and its suburbs have hosted six U.S. Opens and hundreds of other major events. Thousands of players have come and gone during that time, but two have played in virtually every Illinois tournament of consequence since 1962: National Master Erik Karklins and his son, FIDE Master, Original Life Master, and former Senior Master Andrew Karklins. Certainly the strongest father-son duo in Illinois chess history, the two of them combine for 143 years of chess experience.
Erik Karklins was born in Riga, Latvia, on March 25, 1915. At age 95 he is by far the most senior player on the U.S. Chess Federation’s August 2010 “Top  Age 65 and Over” list. (The next oldest is 82.) Erik learned chess from a school friend in Riga at the age of 10. “I saw a chess set at his home and was fascinated by the beauty of the pieces,” he said. “I asked him to teach me the moves, and discovered that the game itself was beautiful.” When Erik went home, he told his father he knew how to play chess. His father promptly mated him in four moves. Shortly thereafter, Erik was winning most games. According to Erik, his father was a relatively weak player. “My uncle was stronger”, he said. “It was several years before I could beat him.”
Chess was “reasonably popular” in Riga in the late 1920s, Erik stated. It was played in school and in clubs. The high school Erik attended was “one of the best in the city.” Erik played chess with his fellow students, but did not belong to a chess club. His first tournament opponents were his schoolmates. Erik played in simultaneous exhibitions against Hermanis Matisons, who would go on to defeat Alexander Alekhine and Akiba Rubinstein while playing first board for Latvia in the 1931 Chess Olympiad
Erik developed a passion for chess. No Latvian chess periodicals were available, so he learned German in order to read the Deutsche Schachzeitung. At age 12 or 13, Erik obtained a copy of José Raúl Capablanca’s Chess Fundamentals, also in German. “I had German in school, but was motivated to master the language so that I could understand Chess Fundamentals ,” said Erik.
In 1928 or 1930 Erik played in a 40 to 50 board simultaneous exhibition given by Emanuel Lasker in Riga. After 80 years, Erik is uncertain as to the date and as to the number of games, but he recalls the experience itself. “Lasker was about 60 years of age. He looked older, and rather worn out. After I lost he gave me an angry look, apparently because he thought I was making too much noise putting my pieces into their box.”
Erik’s parents gave him the book of the 1929 Carlsbad tournament, with the games annotated by Riga’s first great chess genius, the expatriate Latvian Aron Nimzowitsch. (Nimzowitsch, near the peak of his game, had won Carlsbad ahead of Capablanca, Rudolf Spielmann, and Rubinstein. He was considered a serious contender for the World Championship and was an inspiration to young Latvian players.) About that time Erik’s father by chance met Fricis Apšenieks, the 1926 Latvian champion and one of Latvia’s strongest players. “My father told Apšenieks I was crazy about chess,” Erik said. “The master said that he wanted to see me.” Apšenieks played a couple of games with Erik, and then pronounced him “Category 1 [expert level] in tactics, but Category 3 [Class B] overall.” Erik took 10 lessons from Apšenieks. He had no subsequent formal chess training, but continued to study chess periodicals and work by himself. Apšenieks occasionally came to visit and to play training games. “He told me that I could study and love chess, but that I should finish my education and get a degree, or I would end up like him,” said Erik. (Apšenieks, who played first or second board for Latvia at seven Olympiads, died of tuberculosis in 1941 at age 47.)
When Erik was 22, he was drafted into the Latvian army. He was stationed near Riga, and was able to see some of the rounds of the 1937 Kemeri tournament, at which Latvian champion Vladimirs Petrovs, Samuel Reshevsky, and Salo Flohr tied for first. (Alekhine and Paul Keres were equal fourth.) After leaving the army, Erik completed his studies. “I would have gone on in the Department of Architecture but for the Red Army invasion,” he said.
Soviet troops occupied Latvia in June of 1940. Thirteen months later the German army overran the country. By then Erik was married and had a son. In August of 1944, the Waffen SS forcibly conscripted Erik and thousands of other young men into the Latvian Legion, and sent them to fight the Russian army on Latvia’s eastern front. “I was told to forget about the university, my wife, and my [three-year-old] boy,” he said. (In late September of 1944 Erik’s family fled from Latvia to Germany by ship.)
While waiting for orders, Erik was studying a game on his pocket chess set. A Latvian officer saw this, and discovered that Erik spoke German. That officer knew a Baltic German officer who was looking for a chess partner. The Baltic German transferred Erik to his staff. Shortly thereafter, Erik’s original unit was annihilated. Erik was wounded by shrapnel (some of which is still in his chest). He is certain that he would not have survived the battle had he not been in a staff position. “In a very real way, chess saved my life,” he said.
Eric’s division retreated into Germany, where Erik was captured by the English army. He was soon transferred from a POW camp to a camp for displaced persons. In July of 1945, Erik found out that his wife and son were safe. In 1947, he and his family settled in the British Zone in West Germany. Four years later Erik moved the family to New York City. After a month they relocated to Chicago, where Erik has resided ever since.
Erik remained interested in chess: “I followed tournaments and analyzed on my pocket set.” But he did not return to serious tournament play until the 1960s, when his son Andrew took up the game.
Although he has spent most of his Illinois chess career as an Expert, Erik first attained the Master title in 1984, at age 68. (This may be a record age for a USCF member who was not previously a Master in his or her native country.) Later that year Erik tied for first in the Greater Chicago City Championship with future Senior Master Morris Giles. By 1986, at age 71, Erik’s rating was 2294; he maintained a master rating intermittently until April 1993, when he was 78 years old. In 1996 the Illinois Chess Association awarded Erik the Natalie Broughton Award for Life Achievement in Chess.
The beauty of chess still enchants Erik. “I would not have been attracted to chess but for its beauty,” he stated. “ I pay no attention to a game like bridge, which seems to be pure calculation. In chess, calculation is a secondary factor – very important, but not the main thing. I find chess similar to art and architecture, in that beauty is a vital element. That is what I enjoy.” Erik noted aspects of chess which are difficult to explain, such as how the strength of the pieces changes, depending upon their disposition. “Chess is inexhaustible,” he said. “Computers will never solve it. There will always be some aspect of the game – even if only 1% - which will defy discovery. That is part of the marvelous character of chess.” Erik credits the game for keeping him alert and cogent. “Chess is good for you,” he said. “I am still a student of it. Andrew says that I am making progress. Chess is inexhaustible. Learning something new keeps the brain from aging.”
Erik has played in more than 80 tournaments since 1990. Disdaining fast time controls, he does not have a “Quick Chess” rating. “Superficial chess hurts one’s game,” Erik opined. “Today’s shortened controls do not allow sufficient time to consider more than a few of the possibilities in many positions.”
Erik noted how chess has changed over time. “The strength of all players has risen, especially over the last fifty years,” he said. Asked his opinion regarding the greatest player of all time, Erik mentioned Alekhine, citing his “love of combinations” and his “inventiveness.” He also spoke of Garry Kasparov, “who seems to be able to play any position. His universality is amazing.” As to chess books, Erik stated that he “agrees with [Mikhail] Botvinnik that Chess Fundamentals is the best chess book. It covers all the basics a chess player needs to know.”
Erik remains a strong player. In October of 2008 (at age 93) he shared first through third places in the 26-player Expert section of the Midwest Class Championships. Erik came out of the May 2010 Chicago Open (where he scored 5-2 in the Under 2100 section, tying for 7th in the 103-player field) with a rating of 2057.
Here is a classic example of Erik’s attacking play. As he says, “I am living proof that age is not a barrier!”
Caro-Kann Defense, Modern Variation [B17]
NM Erik Karklins – Joe Damocles
2010 Chicago Open (Expert Section )
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Nf3 Ndf6 6.Ng3 e6 7.Bc4 Bd6 8.0–0 Ne7 9.Bg5 Ned5 10.Nh5 0–0 11.Bxd5 exd5 12.Bxf6 gxf6 13.Qd2 Bg4 14.Qh6 Bxh5 15.Qxh5 Qd7 16.Nh4 Kh8 17.Nf5 Rg8 18.f4 Rg6 19.Rf3 Rag8
One should be as tactically alert at age 25 as Erik is at 95!
Andrew Karklins, the youngest of Erik’s three sons, was born in 1947. He learned chess from his father at the age of five or six. At that time Andrew showed little indication of the talent which would make him one of America’s top players (and number 384 in the world) in 1973. “I had no real interest in the game at first,” he said. In 1961, his father gave him a copy of Chess Fundamentals. “He wanted me to progress, so I started to study,” Andrew stated. “My father could give me Rook odds for six months. Then it was Knight odds, but not for long.” Shortly thereafter Erik drew Mitchell Sweig, a master, in a match between a Latvian team and the University of Chicago. “I was proud of my father for that,” Andrew said.
Andrew’s first tournament was in Chicago over the Labor Day weekend in 1962. He finished 3½-3½, earning a rating “in the 1800s.” (Erik, a strong Expert then, ended up 5-2 at the event.) Andrew continued to study and to play. He received more books from his father, including Max Euwe’s Judgment and Planning in Chess, which made a great impression on him. In 1964, Andrew decided to make a serious effort to improve. “Real progress in chess depends upon how much effort you put in,” he said. “My father was ‘self-instructed’. Since 1962, there has been a deluge of chess information: magazines, books, Informants, computers.” Andrew read chess books, studied openings, and prepared his own lines. “It is critical to ‘make everything your own’ by breaking the various elements of chess down into smaller elements and understanding them for yourself,” he stated.
Taking to heart Botvinnik’s dictum that there is no better way to improve than by analyzing master games, Andrew decided to review and annotate every game of the 1964 USSR Zonal Tournament, a seven-player double round robin involving Boris Spassky, Leonid Stein, David Bronstein, Ratmir Kholmov, Victor Korchnoi, Alexei Suetin, and Yefim Geller. In the pre-computer era he worked on the project intermittently for nine years. The deeply annotated Modern Grandmaster Chess was published in 1974.
In the meantime, Andrew’s game was improving. He shared the 1965 Illinois State Championship with the late Senior Master Richard Verber. Andrew became a Master in 1967 and won the Western Open that year with a 6½-½ result, finishing ahead of future International Master and 1982 U.S. Open Co-Champion William Martz. He competed in the 1973 and 1974 U.S. Closed Championships and the Lone Pine events of 1973, 1974, and 1975. Andrew again was Illinois State Champion in 1990 and tied for that title in 1993.
Andrew earned a degree in English Literature from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He played virtually no chess between 1978 and 1983 because of his work. Andrew’s rating peaked at 2459 in early 1993, and is now (August 2010) 2256. At 63 years of age, Andrew is still a formidable chess presence not only in Illinois but also in the greater Midwest. In November 2009 he shared first place at Ohio’s Kings Island Open with GM Ben Finegold and two others, and ahead of GM Eugene Perelshteyn.
Like his father, Andrew refuses to play in “Quick Chess” events. Andrew also shares his father’s love of the beauty of chess. He is somewhat discouraged by the difficulty of “finding something new,” however. “So many openings are ‘analyzed out’ that searching for new ideas often is like scratching around the bottom of a barrel,” Andrew said. “There is real joy if you can come up with an original approach.”
Andrew does not work with a chess computer or program. “I am somewhat skeptical of computer analysis,” he stated. Andrew does not believe that computers will ever “solve” chess. “Chess is like music. In music you can know the principles and notes and feed them into a computer, but the computer won’t create even decent compositions. Computer-generated music won’t move anybody and won’t be worth anything. My hope is that the same applies to chess.”
Andrew’s quest for new ideas produced a move 14 Ruy Lopez novelty in a 1989 game which was published in Chess Informant (Volume 47, Game 412). His analysis of the 6.Qf3 line in the Najdorf Sicilian (done in the late 1980s) has been called the Karklins variation. “Against the Najdorf, the plan with 6.Bg5 and 7.f4 is positionally suspect,” Andrew argues. “My move is quite reasonable from a positional standpoint.” At the 1995 World Open, Andrew used his home preparation in this line to defeat the then Russian champion, GM Peter Svidler. (That game is set out below.)
Andrew mentions Alekhine as an example of “force” and “creativity” in chess, and Capablanca as a source of “Olympian principles” concerning the game. He believes that Lasker “might be the greatest player of all,” however. Andrew considers Lasker “the most modern player of his era – twenty years ahead of his time. He was a universal player and most inventive in a positional sense. I think that positionally he is without equal. In fact, he is the real creator of the Sveshnikov Variation, which should be called the Lasker Variation.” As to the best player in the modern era, Andrew said he “must put aside sentiment regarding [Bobby] Fischer” and cited Kasparov as the one who “remained so great for so long. His analytical skills are incredible.”
Competing in tournaments all over the United States, Andrew has taken part in over 200 events since 1990 alone. This has presented challenges at times. “One year I played in the Foxwoods Open in Connecticut and then drove 15 hours straight to make it back in time to start work the next day,” he said. Andrew’s career includes twenty wins against grandmasters. Among his GM victims are several times Russian champion Peter Svidler, former United States champions Larry Evans, Gregory Kaidanov, and Alexander Shabalov, and Jaan Ehlvest, once one of the top five players in the world. “Beating Ehlvest was my best win – he is the strongest player I’ve defeated,” said Andrew. “But my best game was against Senior Master James McCormick at the 1971 U.S. Open. I played the Keres Attack and won by sacrificing both Knights.” (That game is also given below.)
Andrew and Erik meet almost every Sunday to discuss and analyze chess. That routine saved Andrew’s life in mid 2005. Early one Sunday Erik telephoned Andrew to confirm his upcoming visit, but got no answer. When Andrew failed to answer a second call, Erik contacted the manager of Andrew’s apartment building. The manager found Andrew in a diabetic coma. He was in intensive care for four days and remained hospitalized for nearly a month. (“For once parental panic was warranted”, Andrew said.) Over the past several years, Andrew has developed other medical problems and is now legally blind. He continues to maintain an active tournament schedule, however, and played in 12 tournaments in 2009.
“My father and I have been analyzing together since I was a teenager”, Andrew stated. “He is a good tactician, a good kingside attacker. I tend to concentrate more on openings and on positional considerations. As long as our health allows, we will continue to play and to analyze.” Andrew offers chess lessons at extremely reasonable rates. “My lessons can be tailored for levels from beginner to Expert,” he said.
Here are a few of the best games from the ongoing chess careers of Erik and Andrew Karklins.
Sicilian Defense, Najdorf Variation, Browne System [B99]
Erik Karklins - Craig Chellstorp
Notes by Bill Brock
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Be7 8.Qf3 h6 9.Bh4 Qc7 10.0–0–0 Nbd7 11.Bd3 Rg8
GM Walter Browne popularized the thematic 11...g5. Chellstorp, one of the strongest young American masters of the Fischer boom years, is trying to have his cake (the e5 outpost) and eat it, too (hanging on to the g-pawn).
12.Bg3! b5 13.e5 Bb7 14.Qe2 dxe5
Memo to Najdorf players: ...h7-h6 invites sacrifices on e6! (Why? Because the squares on the h5-e8 diagonal are weakened.)
Perhaps Black should try 15...exf5.
16.Ne4 Bd5 17.fxe6! fxe6 18.Nxf6+ gxf6
18...Bxf6 is better, but White retains a pleasant attack after either the forcing 19.Bg6+ or the consolidating 19.Kb1.
20.Be4! Rxg3 21.Bxd5!
As NM Alan Watson noted in the May-June 1997 Illinois Chess Bulletin, White's attack has been predicated on exploiting Black's light-square weaknesses. Hello, e6!
21...exd4 22.Bxa8 b3 23.axb3 Rxb3 24.Rxd4 Ba3 25.Rxd7+ Qxd7 26.cxb3 Bxb2+ 27.Kxb2 Qd2+ 28.Ka3 Qd6+ 29.Ka4 1–0
Ruy Lopez, Marshall Attack [C89]
Erik Karklins (2155) – NM Albert Chow (2290)
1982 Midwest Masters, Chicago
[Notes based on Chow’s comments in the February-March 1983 Illinois Chess Bulletin]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0–0 8.c3 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Rxe5 c6 12.d4 Bd6 13.Re1 Qh4 14.g3 Qh3 15.Be3 Bg4 16.Qd3 Rae8 17.Nd2 Re6
A continuation popularized by Boris Spassky: for many years, it was a (if not the) main line of the Marshall.
18.a4 f5 19.Qf1 Qh5 20.f4 bxa4 21.Rxa4 g5?!
In the February-March 1983 Illinois Chess Bulletin, Albert Chow wrote: "Since this is still known book analysis, each player had used only about ten minutes on the clock, but after I played 21... g5?!, Karklins thought for over an hour! 'He can't figure out the complications,' I thought to myself. 'My opening surprise is a complete success!' But Karklins told me the next day he was simply recalling a refutation he worked out years ago! Since Karklins convincingly crushed 21.. .g5?!, in the future I will play 21...Rb8!?”
So wrote Chow in 1983: indeed, 21…Rb8!? later became a critical continuation.
“After 22.fxg5 f4 is strong.”
Chow: “I was expecting 23.Rxc6 Rh6 24.Bxd5+ Kh8 25.Qg2! fxe3 with complications, but Karklins avoids such nonsense.”
“A major improvement over a game between Tal and Geller! 24.Rxc6 Be3+ 25.Rxe3 Rxe3 26.Bxd5+ Kh8 27.Qf4 Re1+ 28.Nf1 Bh3 29.Bc4 Qd1 30.d5 Bxf1 31.Bxf1 Qxd5 1/2–1/2 Tal-Geller, USSR (ch), 1975.”
“This quiet move had to be foreseen on move 24. White stops ...f4 and threatens Rxc6. After this move, it was my turn to think for over an hour! If 25.Raxc6 then 25...f4 is very strong.”
“I didn't play 25...Kh8! because I didn't like such variations as 26.Bxd5 (or 26.Qf2 Bg5 27.Rxc6 Nf6 28.Bc2 when White has the three connected passed pawns.) 26...cxd5 27.Qf2 Bg5 28.Rxd5 Black's bishop pair gives him some counterchances, however, so 25...Kh8! is the only move.”
26.Rxc6! Rxb3 27.Qc4!
“White's heavy artillery dominates the board.”
27...Rb8 28.Qxd5+ Qf7 29.Rce6!
“The ending is good, too, but this wins quickly. Black must now face moves like Re8 or Qd6.”
“Hoping for 30.Re8+? Qxe8 31.Rxe8+ Rxe8; 30.Re2! Bxe2 (30...Rxb2 31.Qe5+ followed by 32.Re8+; 30...Rg8 31.Qe5+ Qg7 32.Rxd2; 30...Bf4 31.gxf4 Bxe2 32.Qe5+ Qg7+ 33.Qxg7+ Kxg7 34.Rxe2 is disgusting)
A super game by Karklins!”
Sicilian Defense, Najdorf Variation [B90}
FM Andrew Karklins (2312) – GM Peter Svidler (2588)
1995 World Open, Philadelphia
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Qf3 e6 7.b3 Qb6 8.Nde2 Qc7 9.Bb2 b5 10.a3 Bb7 11.g4 d5 12.exd5 Nxd5 13.Bg2 Nd7 14.0–0 Bd6 15.Qh3 Nxc3 16.Nxc3 Be5 17.Bxb7 Qxb7 18.Rad1 0–0 19.Qe3 Bb8 20.Ne4 Ne5 21.Bxe5 Bxe5 22.Nc5 Qc7 23.f4 Bf6 24.Rd7 Qb6 25.Rfd1 Rfd8 26.b4 a5 27.Qf3 axb4 28.axb4 Kf8?
29.Kg2! Rdc8 30.R1d6 Qb8 31.Qd3 1–0
Nimzoindian Defense, Romanishin Variation [E20]
GM Jaan Ehlvest,Jaan (2688) – FM Andrew Karklins (2217)
2009 Western States Open, Reno
Notes by FM Andrew Karklins
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d4 e6 3.c4 Bb4+ 4.Nc3 c5 5.g3 d6 6.Bg2 Nc6 7.0–0 0–0 8.Qd3
Black's setup (which to the best of my knowledge is "my line") is basically designed to keep White's king bishop inactive. GM Ehlvest decided on a positional pawn sacrifice to nonetheless activate this star piece.
8...cxd4 9.Nxd4 Ne5 10.Qc2 Nxc4 11.Qb3 Bxc3 12.Qxc3 Nb6 13.b3
White's compensation for the pawn looks quite impressive: two bishops, pressure on b7, and pressure along the central files. Yet sacrificing a center pawn is not easy.
Inadvisable is 13...d5 14.Ba3 Re8 15.Nb5 Bd7 16.Nd6 Rf8 17.Nxb7 Qc8 18.Qxc8 Rfxc8 19.Rfc1 when White has regained the pawn with some advantage.
14.Qd2 Qb6 15.Ba3 Rd8 16.Nc2
The key consolidating maneuver.
Not 17...d5 18.Be7 Rd7 19.Bxf6 gxf6 20.Ng4 Ne8 21.Nxf6+ Nxf6 22.Qg5+ with a poor position for Black.
No better appears 18.Rfd1 Bd7! , as 19.Nc4 Qa6 20.Bxd6 fails after 20...Bc6 and White is losing (but not 20...Bb5 21.Qb4! Bxc4 22.Bxb7!)
18...Bd7! 19.Nc4 Qa6
Black is now secure and threatens to win a piece with 21...Bc4.
21.Qxa6 Bxa6 22.Rc2 Rac8 23.Rfc1 b6
Parrying the threat of 24.Nd6 by protecting the back rank, as well as keeping White's knight out of a5. Everything has worked like a charm for Black, evidently casting doubt on White's pawn sacrifice. White's next move is a mystery to me, but it's clear that he's run out of effective-looking moves.
24.h3 Rc7 25.f4 Rdc8
A blunder, losing a piece. Also an error is 26.Kf1 Nh5! curiously winning a pawn, as 27.Kf2 again loses a piece as in the game. It seems that White has trouble meeting the veiled threat to his e-pawn: for example, 26.Bf3 e5!?; or 26.e4 b5 27.Ne3 Rxc2 28.Rxc2 Rxc2 29.Nxc2 Bb7 and White's ending looks lost, as he's a pawn down with a weak e-pawn to boot.
26...d5 27.Ne3 d4 0–1
Sicilian Defense, Scheveningen Variation, Keres Attack [B81]
FM Andrew Karklins,Andrew – NM James McCormick
US Open, Ventura, CA, 1971
Notes by FM Andrew Karklins
After a somewhat old-fashioned opening (Sicilian, Keres Variation, 6...h6 7.h3!?). Black played very sharply. Suddenly, after the 15th move (15....Nfd7), I was almost shocked at the prospect of being worse with White despite having played (apparently) well. Black threatened 16... g6 when White's imposing position was about to go flat. I desperately looked for a way to keep the initiative (a good quiz position: how to keep the initiative?) Finally I found 17.a4! g6 18.Nb5!: a rare two-knght sacrifice of whose soundness I was convinced (objectively) 38 years later upon letting the computer give its opinion. (My opinion had always been that it was sound.)
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.g4 h6 7.h3 a6 8.Bg2 Qc7 9.0–0 Nbd7 10.f4 e5 11.Nf5 exf4 12.Bxf4 Ne5 13.Be3 Be6 14.Qe1 0–0–0 15.Qf2 Nfd7
16.a4! g6 17.Nb5!
17…axb5 18.axb5 gxf5 19.Ra8+ Nb8 20.exf5 Bc4 21.Bb6 Qe7 22.Bxd8 Qxd8 23.Bxb7+ Kd7 24.Qa7 Qc7 25.Rxb8 Qc5+ 26.Qxc5 dxc5 27.Rd1+ Kc7 28.Rdd8 Bg7 29.b6+ Kxb6 30.Bg2+ 1–0
Bill Brock provided editorial assistance and advice in the preparation of this story.