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TOURNAMENT STANDINGS
US Championship 1961/62 Tournament

Larry Melvyn Evans7.5/11(+4 -0 =7)[games]
Robert Eugene Byrne7/11(+3 -0 =8)[games]
Pal Benko6.5/11(+4 -2 =5)[games]
Edmar J Mednis6.5/11(+4 -2 =5)[games]
James T Sherwin6.5/11(+4 -2 =5)[games]
Herbert Seidman6.5/11(+5 -3 =3)[games]
Eliot Sanford Hearst5.5/11(+2 -2 =7)[games]
Donald Byrne5/11(+2 -3 =6)[games]
Raymond Allen Weinstein4.5/11(+2 -4 =5)[games]
Abe Turner4/11(+1 -4 =6)[games]
George Mortimer Kramer3.5/11(+2 -6 =3)[games]
Sidney Norman Bernstein3/11(+2 -7 =2)[games]
*

Chessgames.com Chess Event Description
US Championship 1961/62

The 85 spectators who coughed up $2.00 to watch the first round of the Lessing J. Rosenwald tournament deciding the 1961/62 US Championship must have been disappointed at the sight. Four of the nation's six active Grandmasters were missing, including the country's two leading figures in Robert James Fischer and Samuel Reshevsky. The resulting field, considered one of the weakest in years, includes;

Pal Benko, Sidney Norman Bernstein, Donald Byrne, Robert Eugene Byrne, Larry Melvyn Evans, Eliot Sanford Hearst, George Mortimer Kramer, Edmar J Mednis, Herbert Seidman, James T Sherwin, Abe Turner, Raymond Allen Weinstein

The schedule of rounds was as follows:

Round 1: Sunday, December 17m 1961 (12:30 PM -5:30 PM) Round 2: Monday, December 18, 1961 (6:00 PM - 11:00 PM) Round 3: Tuesday, December 19, 1961 (6:00 PM - 11:00 PM) Round 4: Thursday, December 21, 1961 (6:00 PM - 11:00 PM) Round 5: Saturday, December 23, 1961 (12:30 PM -5:30 PM) Round 6: Tuesday, December 26, 1961 (6:00 PM - 11:00 PM) Round 7: Wednesday, December 27, 1961 (6:00 PM - 11:00 PM) Round 8: Thursday, December 28, 1961 (6:00 PM - 11:00 PM) Round 9: Saturday, December 30, 1961 (12:30 PM -5:30 PM) Round 10: Tuesday, January 2, 1962 (6:00 PM - 11:00 PM) Round 11: Thursday, January 4, 1962 (6:00 PM - 11:00 PM)

Due to adjournments, the tournament did not conclude until January 7.

The tournament site was the Prince George Hotel in New York City, with some adjournments played at the Manhattan Chess Club. Directors of play were Hans Kmoch and Frank Brady. The total prize fund was $3000, but outside of the $1000 first prize the allocation is not clear.

Evans and Benkö, the two participating grandmasters, were probably the favorites. Abe Turner, quoted in the New York Times for December 16, clearly had no doubts: "This fellow Evans ... will finish very high if he has a bad tournament. If he has a good tournament, he will run through the field like this," and Turner snuffed out a candle with a ginger ale-dampened forefinger.

But it was Sidney Bernstein who may have had the most accurate forecast: "It's the kind of field where most anyone could beat most anyone else. Maybe."

And that's pretty much what wound up happening. (1)

Round 1: Sunday, December 17, 1961

1 Hearst 1/2 Kramer
2 Evans 1 Turner
3 Mednis 1 Seidman
4 Byrne, R 1/2 Benkö
5 Bernstein 0 Weinstein
6 Byrne, D 1/2 Sherwin

Turner was the first to prove his laudatory pre-tournament comment about Evans. The New York Times reporter thought he had played well to only be a pawn down at adjournment. Bernstein - Weinstein was worth the price of admission.

1.0: Evans, Mednis, Weinstein
0.5: Benkö, D. Byrne, R. Byrne, Hearst, Kramer, Sherwin
0.0: Bernstein, Seidman, Turner

Game sources:

Chess Life, February 1962, p. 32 (all games)
Chess Review, March 1962, p. 87
Evans on Chess, in Chess Life, March 1962, p. 52 (Evans - Turner)
New York Times, December 20, 1961 (Bernstein - Weinstein, R. Byrne - Benkö)

Round 2 (Monday, December 18, 1961)

7 Kramer 0 Sherwin
8 Weinstein 0 Byrne, D
9 Benkö 0 Bernstein
10 Seidman 1/2 Byrne, R
11 Turner 1/2 Mednis
12 Hearst 0 Evans

2.0: Evans
1.5: D. Byrne, Mednis, Sherwin
1.0: Bernstein, R. Byrne, Weinstein
0.5: Benkö, Hearst, Kramer, Seidman, Turner

Bernstein's "anybody" comment came to pass, but the real winner of the game was Benkö's clock: the grandmaster lost on time with two moves to go while a solid pawn ahead. Evans went into the sole leader, while everybody had scored at least a half-point.

Game sources:

Chess Life, February 1962, p. 32
New York Times (where indicated)
Chess Review, February 1962, p. 58 (Hearst - Evans)

Round 3 (Tuesday, December 19, 1961)

13 Evans 1 Kramer
14 Mednis 1/2 Hearst
15 Byrne, R 1/2 Turner
16 Bernstein 1/2 Seidman
17 Byrne, D 0 Benkö
18 Sherwin 1/2 Weinstein

3.0: Evans
2.0: Mednis, Sherwin
1.5: Benkö, Bernstein, D. Byrne, R. Byrne, Weinstein
1.0: Hearst, Seidman, Turner
0.5: Kramer

After three straight wins, Evans had a point lead on the field. He would win only one game in the last eight rounds, but with nobody else able to make a serious charge he maintained that point lead until the last round.

Game sources:

Chess Life, February 1962, p. 33 (all games)
American Chess Bulletin, January / February 1962, p. 2 (Sherwin - Weinstein)
New York Times, December 21, 1961 (Evans - Kramer, Mednis - Hearst, Sherwin - Weinstein)

Round 4 (Thursday, December 21, 1961)

19 Kramer 1 Weinstein
20 Benkö 1 Sherwin
21 Seidman 1 Byrne, D
22 Turner 1/2 Bernstein
23 Hearst 1/2 Byrne, R
24 Evans 1/2 Mednis

3.5: Evans
2.5: Benkö, Mednis
2.0: Bernstein, R. Byrne, Seidman, Sherwin
1.5: D. Byrne, Hearst, Kramer, Turner, Weinstein

Evans was content to stay a full-point ahead of Mednis, while Sherwin lost his share of second to Benkö after a mutual time scramble that appears to have left the surviving score incomplete. Overall the race tightened, with only one point separating second and last places.

Game sources:

Chess Life, February 1962, p. 33 (all games)
Chess Review, February 1962, p. 59 (Kramer - Weinstein)
New York Times, December 27, 1961 (Evans - Mednis)

Round 5 (Saturday, December 23, 1961)

25 Mednis 0 Kramer
26 Byrne, R 1/2 Evans
27 Bernstein 0 Hearst
28 Byrne, D 1/2 Turner
29 Sherwin 1 Seidman
30 Weinstein 1/2 Benkö

4.0: Evans
3.0: Benkö, Sherwin
2.5: R. Byrne, Hearst, Kramer, Mednis
2.0: Bernstein, D. Byrne, Seidman, Turner, Weinstein

The round ended with the standings in the same relative, with Evans a point head and everybody else within one point separating everyone else. But getting there was half the fun. Robert Byrne, after outplaying Evans the entire game, made a mistake just before the time control that allowed the leader a hidden perpetual check combination.

Game sources:

Chess Life, February 1962, pp. 33- 34 (all games)
American Chess Bulletin, January / February 1962, p. 2 (Byrne - Evans); p. 3 (Bernstein - Hearst)
Chess Review, February 1962, p. 57 (Sherwin - Seidman); March 1962, p. 85 (R. Byrne - Evans); May 1962, p. 154 (Bernstein - Hearst)
New York Times, December 27, 1961 (Bernstein - Hearst)

Round 6 (Tuesday, December 26, 1961)

31 Kramer 0 Benkö
32 Seidman 1 Weinstein
33 Turner 0 Sherwin
34 Hearst 1/2 Byrne, D
35 Evans 1 Bernstein
36 Mednis 1/2 Byrne, R

5.0: Evans
4.0: Benkö, Sherwin
3.0: R. Byrne, Hearst, Mednis, Seidman
2.5: D. Byrne, Kramer
2.0: Bernstein, Turner, Weinstein

After near disaster, Evans apparently decided another win might provide a useful cushion. Besides, he was playing tail ender Bernstein, who needed to be punished for that "anybody" comment. The win did come in handy since both Benkö and Sherwin won to strengthen their hold on second place. Robert Byrne drew his sixth straight game to fall two points down with only five games to play, seemingly out of the running.

Game sources:

Chess Life, February 1962, p. 34 (all games)
American Chess Bulletin, January / February 1962, p. 3 (Seidman - Weinstein)
Chess Review, May 1962, p. 155 (Seidman - Weinstein)
New York Times, December 30, 1961 (Seidman - Weinstein)

Round 7 (Wednesday, December 27, 1961)

37 Byrne, R 1 Kramer
38 Bernstein 0 Mednis
39 Byrne, D 1/2 Evans
40 Sherwin 1/2 Hearst
41 Weinstein 1 Turner
42 Benkö 0 Seidman

5.5: Evans
4.5: Sherwin
4.0: Benkö, R. Byrne, Mednis, Seidman
3.5: Hearst
3.0: D. Byrne, Weinstein
2.5: Kramer
2.0: Bernstein, Turner

Game sources:

Chess Life, February 1962, pp. 34-35 (all available games)
American Chess Bulletin, January / February 1962, p. 4 (Weinstein - Turner)
Chess Review, June 1962, p. 188 (Weinstein - Turner)
New York Times, December 30, 1961 (Weinstein - Turner)

The game Benkö 0 Seidman did not appear in the Chess Life compilation, and has not yet been found.

Round 8 (Thursday, December 28, 1961)

43 Kramer 0 Seidman
44 Turner 1/2 Benkö
45 Hearst 1/2 Weinstein
46 Evans 1/2 Sherwin
47 Mednis 1 Byrne, D
48 Byrne, R 1 Bernstein

The Mednis - D. Byrne game was postponed due to Byrne's illness. Its actual date is unclear, but was possibly January 3, 1962.

6.0: Evans
5.0: R. Byrne, Mednis, Seidman, Sherwin
4.5: Benkö
4.0: Hearst
3.5: Weinstein
3.0: D. Byrne
2.5: Kramer, Turner
2.0: Bernstein

Game sources:

Chess Life, February 1962, p. 35 (all games)
New York Times, January 3, 1962 (Kramer - Seidman, Hearst - Weinstein)

Round 9 (Saturday, December 30, 1961)

49 Bernstein 1 Kramer
50 Byrne, D 1/2 Byrne, R
51 Sherwin 1/2 Mednis
52 Weinstein 1/2 Evans
53 Benkö 1/2 Hearst
54 Seidman 0 Turner

6.5: Evans
5.5: R. Byrne, Mednis, Sherwin
5.0: Benkö, Seidman
4.5: Hearst
4.0: Weinstein
3.5: D. Byrne, Turner
3.0: Bernstein
2.5: Kramer

Herbert Seidman was proving to be the Wild Man of the tournament. He won more games than anybody else with five, but was equally capable of losing to anybody. In this round, Abe Turner's only win of the tournament knocked him out of second.

Game source:

Chess Life, February 1962, pp. 37-38.

Round 10 (Tuesday, January 2, 1962)

55 Kramer 1/2 Turner
56 Hearst 0 Seidman
57 Evans 1/2 Benkö
58 Mednis 1 Weinstein
59 Byrne, R 1 Sherwin
60 Bernstein 0 Byrne, D

7.0: Evans
6.5: R. Byrne, Mednis
6.0: Seidman
5.5: Benkö, Sherwin
4.5: D. Byrne, Weinstein
4.0: Turner, Weinstein
3.0: Bernstein, Kramer

At long last, Evan's lead was sliced to a bare minimum. Mednis' score is a bit deceiving since he would not reach 6˝ points until finishing his adjourned game with Weinstein several days later.

In the last round, Evans would play the unpredictable Seidman, Robert Byrne a distinctly out-of-form Raymond Weinstein, while Mednis had a tough road with Black against Benkö.

Game sources:

Chess Life, February 1962, pp. 37-38
Chess Review, February 1962, p. 57 (Byrne - Sherwin)

Round 11 (Thursday, January 4)

61 Byrne, D 1/2 Kramer
62 Sherwin 1 Bernstein
63 Weinstein 1/2 Byrne, R
64 Benkö 1 Mednis
65 Seidman 1/2 Evans
66 Turner 0 Hearst

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 1 Larry Melvyn Evans * ˝ ˝ ˝ ˝ ˝ 1 ˝ ˝ 1 1 1 7.5 2 Robert Eugene Byrne ˝ * ˝ ˝ ˝ 1 ˝ ˝ ˝ ˝ 1 1 7.0 3 Pal Benkö ˝ ˝ * 1 0 1 ˝ 1 ˝ ˝ 1 0 6.5 4 Edmar J Mednis ˝ ˝ 0 * 1 ˝ ˝ 1 1 ˝ 0 1 6.5 5 Herbert Seidman ˝ ˝ 1 0 * 0 1 1 1 0 1 ˝ 6.5 6 James T Sherwin ˝ 0 0 ˝ 1 * ˝ ˝ ˝ 1 1 1 6.5 7 Eliot Sanford Hearst 0 ˝ ˝ ˝ 0 ˝ * ˝ ˝ 1 ˝ 1 5.5 8 Donald Byrne ˝ ˝ 0 0 0 ˝ ˝ * 1 ˝ ˝ 1 5.0 9 Raymond Allen Weinstein ˝ ˝ ˝ 0 0 ˝ ˝ 0 * 1 0 1 4.5 10 Abe Turner 0 ˝ ˝ ˝ 1 0 0 ˝ 0 * ˝ ˝ 4.0 11 George Mortimer Kramer 0 0 0 1 0 0 ˝ ˝ 1 ˝ * 0 3.5 12 Sidney Norman Bernstein 0 0 1 0 ˝ 0 0 0 0 ˝ 1 * 3.0

(ties broken by Sonneborn-Berger)

As it happens, both Evans and Robert Byrne experienced some difficulties in drawing, while Mednis fell into severe time pressure against Benkö (!) and fell victim to a short but attractive finish.

Game sources:

Chess Life, February 1962, pp. 38, 41
Chess Review, March 1962, p. 86 (Benkö - Mednis)

In an interview after the tournament, Evans commented on the differences in style and approach between himself and Fischer:

"Once I got the lead I tried to hold it and not gamble it and being the front-runner forces you to change your style. I was playing to the score, minimizing risk ... I defend myself against being absorbed by the game ... while Fischer uses the game to defend himself against the world." (2)

Notes

(1) New York Times, December 16, 1962.
(2) Chess Life, February 1962, p. 21.

Sources

American Chess Bulletin, January / February 1962, p. 1-4. Games annotated by Anthony Santasiere.
Chess Life, December 1961, p. 337; February 1962, pp. 21-22, 32-35, 37-38, 41; March 1962, pp. 53-55. Games not annotated.
Chess Review, February 1962, pp. 55-59; March 1962, pp. 85-88; May 1962, pp. 154-155; June 1962, p. 188. Games annotated by Hans Kmoch.
New York Times, December 16, 1961 - January 8, 1962. Games not annotated.

Original collection: Game Collection: US Championship 1961/62, by User: Phony Benoni.

 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 65  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Mednis vs Seidman  1-0421961US Championship 1961/62B01 Scandinavian
2. E Hearst vs G Kramer  ½-½461961US Championship 1961/62C03 French, Tarrasch
3. Larry Evans vs A Turner  1-0691961US Championship 1961/62C78 Ruy Lopez
4. D Byrne vs J Sherwin  ½-½281961US Championship 1961/62A38 English, Symmetrical
5. S Bernstein vs R Weinstein 0-1411961US Championship 1961/62E60 King's Indian Defense
6. Robert E Byrne vs Benko  ½-½191961US Championship 1961/62E60 King's Indian Defense
7. Benko vs S Bernstein 0-1381961US Championship 1961/62A00 Uncommon Opening
8. G Kramer vs J Sherwin  0-1401961US Championship 1961/62A31 English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation
9. Seidman vs Robert E Byrne  ½-½121961US Championship 1961/62C01 French, Exchange
10. A Turner vs Mednis  ½-½261961US Championship 1961/62E94 King's Indian, Orthodox
11. E Hearst vs Larry Evans 0-1291961US Championship 1961/62B48 Sicilian, Taimanov Variation
12. R Weinstein vs D Byrne 0-1251961US Championship 1961/62B77 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack
13. Larry Evans vs G Kramer  1-0381961US Championship 1961/62C00 French Defense
14. S Bernstein vs Seidman ½-½581961US Championship 1961/62C42 Petrov Defense
15. Mednis vs E Hearst  ½-½291961US Championship 1961/62B01 Scandinavian
16. J Sherwin vs R Weinstein  ½-½401961US Championship 1961/62A21 English
17. Robert E Byrne vs A Turner  ½-½201961US Championship 1961/62D28 Queen's Gambit Accepted, Classical
18. D Byrne vs Benko  0-1401961US Championship 1961/62E97 King's Indian
19. G Kramer vs R Weinstein 1-0411961US Championship 1961/62E61 King's Indian
20. Benko vs J Sherwin 1-0331961US Championship 1961/62E17 Queen's Indian
21. E Hearst vs Robert E Byrne  ½-½411961US Championship 1961/62C04 French, Tarrasch, Guimard Main line
22. Seidman vs D Byrne 1-0401961US Championship 1961/62B77 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack
23. A Turner vs S Bernstein  ½-½251961US Championship 1961/62D47 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
24. Larry Evans vs Mednis  ½-½371961US Championship 1961/62E81 King's Indian, Samisch
25. D Byrne vs A Turner  ½-½191961US Championship 1961/62E42 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 c5, 5.Ne2 (Rubinstein)
 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 65  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

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