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Abraham Kupchik
Number of games in database: 341
Years covered: 1912 to 1952

Overall record: +160 -89 =83 (60.7%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 9 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (24) 
    C68 C84 C91 C65 C88
 Queen's Gambit Declined (15) 
    D37 D39 D30 D38
 Orthodox Defense (11) 
    D63 D51 D66 D61 D64
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (11) 
    C84 C91 C88 C90 C87
 Queen's Pawn Game (10) 
    A46 D05 D02 A45 D00
 Slav (9) 
    D13 D15 D12 D11
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (29) 
    C84 C77 C87 C78 C88
 Sicilian (19) 
    B40 B84 B92 B20 B90
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (17) 
    C84 C87 C98 C88 C86
 Queen's Pawn Game (15) 
    A46 D02 A50 D00 A45
 Philidor's Defense (14) 
 Orthodox Defense (9) 
    D67 D51 D63 D60 D52
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Kupchik vs Kashdan, 1926 1-0
   Kupchik vs Janowski, 1923 1-0
   Kupchik vs Bogoljubov, 1924 1-0
   V Makogonov vs Kupchik, 1945 1/2-1/2
   F Beynon vs Kupchik, 1913 0-1

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   9th American Chess Congress (1923)
   Lake Hopatcong (1926)
   Bradley Beach (1929)
   47th US Open (1946)
   Havana (1913)
   Rice Memorial (1916)
   New York Masters (1915)
   Syracuse (1934)
   American National (1913)
   US Championship (1936)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   New York 1916 (Rice Memorial) by Phony Benoni
   1936 US Championship by crawfb5
   New York 1915 (Masters' Tournament) by Phony Benoni
   Chicago Masters Tournament, 1926 by Phony Benoni
   Second American National Tournament (NY 1913) by Phony Benoni
   New York International,1931 by Phony Benoni
   000 New York 1931 by crawfb5
   Lake Hopatcong 1923 (9th American Chess Congress by Phony Benoni
   Rice CC Summer Masters Tourn. (New York 1913) by Phony Benoni
   Bradley Beach 1929 by crawfb5

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Abraham Kupchik
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(born Mar-25-1892, died Nov-26-1970, 78 years old) Russia (federation/nationality United States of America)

[what is this?]
Abraham Kupchik was born in Brest-Litovsk, then Russian Empire (now Belarus) on March 25, 1892. His family emigrated to the USA in 1903. He was 1st= with Frank James Marshall at Lake Hopatcong in 1923. In 1925 he drew a match with Carlos Torre Repetto (+1, =4, -1). He also finished 2nd behind Jose Raul Capablanca at Lake Hopatcong in 1926. At Bradley Beach (1929), he tied for third behind world champion Alexander Alekhine and Lajos Steiner. Only Kupchik's draw with Alekhine stopped the world champion from getting a perfect score. He scored (+6, =8, -0) on third board for the US Olympiad team at Warsaw 1935. He won the Manhattan Chess Club Championship 10 times outright and once shared (with Isaac Kashdan in 1935). In the playoff for the championship, Kupchik won). Kupchik died on November 26, 1970.

Wikipedia article: Abraham Kupchik

 page 1 of 14; games 1-25 of 341  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. H Kline vs Kupchik 0-1421912MatchC98 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
2. Kupchik vs A Marder  1-0351912Match'C50 Giuoco Piano
3. A Marder vs Kupchik  ½-½441912MatchD46 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
4. A Marder vs Kupchik  0-1721912Match'C97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
5. Kupchik vs F Putzman ½-½671912MatchC16 French, Winawer
6. Kupchik vs A Marder  1-0381912MatchC49 Four Knights
7. Kupchik vs J Grommer  1-0451912Progressive Chess Club-chC91 Ruy Lopez, Closed
8. J L Clark vs Kupchik  ½-½361913Progressive Chess Club-chD46 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
9. Kupchik vs L B Zapoleon  1-0571913American NationalD33 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
10. Marshall vs Kupchik 1-0261913American NationalD43 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
11. Kupchik vs N Whitaker 1-0351913American NationalC22 Center Game
12. Janowski vs Kupchik  1-0291913American NationalC78 Ruy Lopez
13. Kupchik vs J S Morrison 1-0261913American NationalC22 Center Game
14. E Tennenwurzel vs Kupchik  ½-½461913American NationalC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
15. Kupchik vs Solomon Rubinstein  1-0421913American NationalD05 Queen's Pawn Game
16. Capablanca vs Kupchik 1-0371913American NationalC49 Four Knights
17. H Kline vs Kupchik  1-0431913American NationalB40 Sicilian
18. H Liebenstein vs Kupchik  0-1481913American NationalB40 Sicilian
19. C Jaffe vs Kupchik  1-0301913American NationalC49 Four Knights
20. Kupchik vs Janowski ½-½621913HavanaD26 Queen's Gambit Accepted
21. Kupchik vs J Corzo 1-0311913HavanaD44 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
22. R B Estera vs Kupchik 1-0301913HavanaC45 Scotch Game
23. Kupchik vs Marshall  ½-½621913HavanaC49 Four Knights
24. C Jaffe vs Kupchik  0-1611913HavanaC77 Ruy Lopez
25. Kupchik vs O Chajes 1-0481913HavanaC88 Ruy Lopez
 page 1 of 14; games 1-25 of 341  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Kupchik wins | Kupchik loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: R.I.P. master Kupchik.
Mar-25-09  WhiteRook48: why did he quit for 24 years?
Mar-25-10  BIDMONFA: Abraham Kupchik

KUPCHIK, Abraham

Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: Abraham Kupchik was barely five feet tall in his stocking feet and at most 115 pounds. Some wag once remarked that Kupchik and Sammy Reshevsky ought to be matched for the flyweight championship of the chess world.

Happy Birthday Kupchik!

Feb-01-11  Kupchikgrandchild: Abraham (Abie to me) was my grandfather. He was married to Fannie, and had two children - Philip in 1917 and Adele in 1921. He was a wonderful and gentle person with a quiet, unassuming personality.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gejewe: <Kupchikgrandchild> One of the forgotten names of the past, but undeservedly because he was one of the US best players in the early 20th century - and as Reuben Fine learned the hard way, was still able to bite in the US championship in 1940. Resignation Trap did a fine job in drawing up Kupchik's succesful chess career. In my opinion next two wins, scored against legendary players, should be included in your grandfather's gamecollection.

Marshall,F - Kupchik,A [A46]
Metropolitan league, New York 1921
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bg5 Nbd7 4.Nbd2 e5 5.e3 Be7 6.Bd3 c6 7.0-0 0-0 8.c4 Re8 9.Qc2 Qc7 10.Rae1 Nf8 11.Bh4 Nh5 12.Bxe7 Rxe7 13.c5 exd4 14.exd4 d5 15.Rxe7 Qxe7 16.Re1 Be6 17.Ne5 Re8 18.Re3 Nf4 19.Bf1 f6 20.Nd3 N4g6 21.Nf3 Qd7 22.Qe2 Rd8 23.h3 Bf5 24.b4 Ne6 25.Qb2 Be4 26.Nd2 Ng5 27.f3 Bf5 28.Nf2 Qc7 29.Bd3 Bxd3 30.Nxd3 Nh4 31.Nf1 Nf5 32.Re1 Qd7 33.Qf2? Ne6 34.f4 g6 35.g4 Nfxd4 36.Kh1 [36.f5 gxf5 37.gxf5 Ng5] 36...f5 37.Ng3 fxg4 38.hxg4 Qg7 39.f5 Ng5 40.Kg2 Ndf3 41.Qe3 Nxe1+ 42.Nxe1 Ne4 43.Nxe4 dxe4 44.Qxe4 gxf5 45.Qxf5 Rf8 46.Qe6+ Qf7 47.Qe2 Re8 48.Qd2 Qe6 49.Qg5+ Qg6 50.Qxg6+ hxg6 51.Nd3 Re3 0-1

Kupchik,A - Reshevsky,S [C44]
Metropolitan league, New York 1940
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.d3 d5 6.exd5 Nxd5 7.Bd2 Bxc3 8.bxc3 Bg4 9.h3 Bh5 10.Qe2 0-0 11.Qe4 Nb6 12.Bb3 Bg6 13.Qg4 e4 14.dxe4 Bxe4 15.Be3 Bg6 16.0-0 Re8 17.Rad1 Qf6 18.Bd4 Nxd4 19.cxd4 Re4 20.Qg3 Re7 21.Ne5 Bf5 22.Rfe1 Rae8 23.f4 Kf8 24.c4 Rd8 25.c5 Nd5 26.Bxd5 Rxd5 27.c6! bxc6 28.Qa3 Qd6 29.Qxa7 f6 30.Nc4 Qd7 31.Ne3 Qe8 32.Kf2 Rb5 33.Qa3 Be4 34.Re2 g6 35.Ng4 Kg7 36.Rde1 h5 37.Ne3 Re6 38.Nd1 Qd7 39.Rxe4 Rxe4 40.Rxe4 Qf5 41.Qe7+ 1-0

Feb-01-11  paladin at large: <Kupchikgrandchild> Thank you for that.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: <Kupchikgrandchild> Many thanks. That certainly explains why he played so little between 1916 and 1923.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: In hindsight, Kupchik was obviously the second strongest American player of the 1920s, but did not receive many tournament invitations which he in fact deserved. Arnold Denker attributes this in part to his personality, in particular with regard to his not being invited to New York 1924. He didn't want to make a fuss, even though he would have been justified in doing so.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: R.I.P. POTD .
Premium Chessgames Member
  optimal play: Here is one of Abraham Kupchik’s games from the 1928 Bradley Beach tournament not yet in the database (which I shall submit presently).

[Event "?"]
[Site "Bradley Beach"]
[Date "1928.??.??"]
[White "Isaacs,Lewis"]
[Black "Kupchik,Abraham"]
[Round "4"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B92"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 b5 7. Bf3 e5 8. Nb3 Bb7 9. O-O Nbd7 10. Bg5 Be7 11. Re1 O-O 12. Rc1 Nb6 13. Na5 Rb8 14. Nxb7 Rxb7 15. b3 Rc7 16. Qd3 Nbd7 17. Be3 Nc5 18. Qd1 Qa8 19. Bg5 Ncd7 20. Nb1 h6 21. Bd2 Rfc8 22. Ba5 Rc6 23. g3 Nc5 24. Nc3 Bd8 25. Bxd8 Rxd8 26. Nd5 Nxd5 27. Qxd5 Qc8 28. Red1 Ne6 29. Bg4 Rc5 30. Qd2 Rc3 31. Re1 Qc5 32. Re3 Rxe3 33. fxe3 Ng5 34. Qd3 d5 35. exd5 Rxd5 36. Qe2 Qc3 37. h4 Rd2 38. Qe1 Ne4 39. Bf5 Nf2 40. Bd3 Nxd3 41. cxd3 Qxd3 42. Rc8+ Kh7 43. Rc1 f5 44. a4 b4 45. g4 Re2 0-1

He won this tournament 5.0 / 7

btw I’ve noticed that there are numerous earlier games which begin with 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 which were won by White, but is this the earliest recorded win by Black? I haven’t come across any others. If so it’s a singular memorial to Kupchik to have been the first to actually win a recognised game playing Black using what have become the most common opening moves in Chess.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <optimal play: btw I’ve noticed that there are numerous earlier games which begin with 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 which were won by White, but is this the earliest recorded win by Black?>

Amazingly, that appears to be almost true. I was positive our database would have numerous prior games where Black won after <1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6>, but it looks like there are only two:

W Von Holzhausen vs Hilse, 1927

Loman vs J Van Den Bosch, 1927

The Holzhausen - Hilse game was from a tournament played in April, but I can't find the exact date for the Van Den Bosch v. Loman match at the moment. The latter game, by the way, is also the first using the Najdorf sequence (<1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6>).

There is also the game Chekhova vs T Kostina, 1867, but the information given is almost certainly in error; the game was probably played in the 1970s.

Premium Chessgames Member
  optimal play: Nice investigative work <Phony Benoni>!

Opening Explorer doesn't provide the <search database for this position> after 2...d6 understandably for so many games.

I knew <Chekhova vs T Kostina> was incorrectly dated but the other two from 1927 are obscure to say the least!

Anyway I guess the mantle of "First to win with Black playing 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6" is between Wilhelm Hilse and Johannes Hendrik Otto Van den Bosch depending upon whether Hilse's game date can ever be ascertained?

Perhaps Hilse & Van den Bosch should just share the honour?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <optimal play> We have a new clubhouse leader in the <1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6> sweepstakes, also involving Kupchik:

Abraham Kupchik - Anthony Santasiere
Metropolitan Chess League
New York. March 1926

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e6 7.0-0 Be7 8.f4 Nbd7 9.Bf3 Qc7 10.Kh1 Rb8 11.a4 b6 12.e5 dxe5 13.Nc6 exf4 14.Qe2 Bd6 15.Nxb8 Qxb8 16.Ne4 Nxe4 17.Bxe4 0-0 18.Bd3 Nc5 19.Bc4 e5 20.b4 Nd7 21.Bd2 Qa8 22.Bc3 Nf6 23.Rae1 Bb7 24.Bd3 Nd5 25.Qd2 Nxc3 26.Qxc3 Bxg2+ 27.Kg1 Bxf1 28.Bxf1 Qc8 29.Qb3 Qg4+ 30.Bg2 Re8 31.Kh1 f3 32.Bxf3 Qxb4 33.Qxb4 Bxb4 34.Rd1 g6 35.Rd7 Re7 36.Rd8+ Kg7 37.Bd5 f5 38.h4 e4 39.Rc8 Bc5 40.a5 Ra7 41.Rc6 Rd7 42.c4 Rd6 0-1

<Brooklyn Daily Eagle>, April 8, 1926

Premium Chessgames Member
  optimal play: Well done <Phony Benoni>! You're like a chess archaeologist digging up these previously hidden games. I presume you have submitted this to They uploaded my Isaacs-Kupchik game above in only about two days.

So the current standings are as follows:-
1926.03.?? Abraham Kupchik - Anthony Santasiere
1927.04.?? Walther Von Holzhausen - Wilhelm Hilse
1927.10.22 Rudolf Johannes Loman - Johannes Hendrik Otto Van den Bosch 1928.??.?? Lewis J Isaacs - Abraham Kupchik

I suspect there may yet be earlier wins for Black still to come to light.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <optimal play> You must have gotten lucky and submitted just before they processed a batch of games. It usually takes considerably more time than two days.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Kupchik wins the Brilliancy Prize!

<J L Foster - Abraham Kupchik> (Metropolitan Chess League, 1942)

<1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nc3 Nbd7 4.e4 e5 5.Nf3 g6 6.h3 Bg7 7.Be3 0-0 8.Bd3 exd4 9.Nxd4 Nc5 10.Bc2 Re8 11.Qf3 Qe7 12.Bg5 Qe5 13.Bxf6 Bxf6 14.0-0-0 c6 15.Rhe1 a5 16.Kb1 Ne6 17.Nde2 Rd8 18.Qe3 Bg5 19.Qd3 Qc5 20.Rf1 Nf4 21.Nxf4 Bxf4 22.g3 Be5 23.Na4 Qa7 24.f4 Bg7 25.g4 b5 26.cxb5 cxb5 27.Nc3 Ba6 28.Ne2 b4 29.Qf3 a4 30.b3 Rac8 31.Rf2>

click for larger view

<31...Rxc2! 32.Kxc2 axb3+ 33.Kxb3 Bc4+ 34.Kxc4 Qa6+ 35.Kb3 Rc8 36.a4 Qc4# 0-1>

Of course, White offered some substantial help. He keeps forcing Black's pieces to move where they want to go (e.g., 22.g3), and 30.b3 is the last move to consider in a situation like that. But don't blame 33.Kxb3; White was dead at that point, no matter what.

I do like the way Kupchik seemed to have absorbed the ideas of the Soviet Dynamic School (like that "weak" d-pawn)--and this from a man of fifty who was never a great openings expert.

There's more to Kupchik than meets the eye.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Kupchik giving a simul in 1943:

Jul-09-12  Resignation Trap: Photo from 1935 Olympiad in Warsaw, Czechoslovakia vs. USA. Kupchik and Marshall (with cigar, of course!) are clearly visible on the right:
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: The early Kupchik, just before his 22nd birthday:

Wish I could read the notes. There aren't many writings, by Kupchik around, another reason for his relative obscurity. If you want to take a crack at it, the game is here: G F Adair vs Kupchik, 1914

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Phony> Can't you just go to VIEW and Zoom In on your computer? Or just print out the page and enlarge it. I can read them.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: z<TheFocus> Enlarging doesn't help me much in this case; it's the faintness that is the problem. Thankfully, <FSR> already supplied the notes on the game page.

I've accumulated a lot of information on Kupchik and even started a biographicl collection, but got bogged down during one of his 1915 touranemtns and have let it slide.

Game Collection: Abraham Kupchik

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Oh, yeah, I forgot about your eyes. I am glad <FSR> put up the notes for you.

Get back to work! I bet Mcfarland would publish it!

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: From Mechanics Institute Newsletter #672

Abraham Kupchik – The Greatest Manhattan Chess Club Champion Some might have been surprised by the induction of Abraham (Abe) Kupchik (1892-1970) into the US Hall of Fame this past May, but those well-versed in US chess history were not. IM Walter Shipman, one of the most knowledgeable people in the United States on chess played in this country from 1900-1950, believes that following the death of Henry Nelson Pillsbury in 1906 until the emergence of Isaac Kashdan in the late 1920s, a strong argument could be made that Kupchik was number two in the United States, after Frank Marshall (roughly 1913-1928).

Kupchik did not play much overseas excepting an outstanding result on board three for the gold-medal-winning US Olympiad team in 1935, but he dominated the Manhattan Chess Club Championship for several decades at a time, when that was one of the strongest events held in the United States.

The records for the winners of this event are surprisingly poor and online information is not to be trusted, nor is that in The Bobby Fischer I Knew by Arnold Denker and Larry Parr, where on page 62 they write that “Kupchik won the Manhattan Chess Club Championship nine times outright and once jointly.” Also wrong is the May 1949 issue of Chess Review (page 133), which notes that Kupchik “won the Manhattan Club Championship at least ten times!”

This two references, while not identical, are at least close, but now read the following. Chess Review August-September 1945 (page 5) quotes Kupchik himself, who says he won the Manhattan CC Championship “fifteen or sixteen times.” This is quite a discrepancy.

The great chess archivist Jeremy Gaige and his successor Gino Di Felice provide some help, but many crosstables for Manhattan Chess Club Championships are missing. Using books by these gentlemen, supplemented by the American Chess Bulletin and Chess Review (from 1933 forward) I was able to piece together the following, although a few questions remain.

What emerges is that between 1913–14 and 1936–37 Kupchik won 13 times, finished second or equal second 4 times, and fifth once in 18 tries—a truly remarkable record. Note there are a few years (1922–23 and 1930–31) that I was unable to determine whether Kupchik participated, but other people are listed as the winner.

According to Arnold Denker in The Bobby Fischer I Knew, Kupchik was shorter than Reshevsky—just a few inches over five feet—but that didn’t stop him from being a great player.

Denker also writes that Kupchik had a passive style and played as if he was afraid, but IM Shipman (who knew both men well) tells me “solid” is much more accurate description. He adds that Kupchik beat Denker in a very nice game in the 1936 US Championship, and had a lifelong plus score against him.

Tarrasch D34
Abraham Kupchik–Arnold Denker
US Championship (11) 1936

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 c5 5.cxd5 exd5 6.g3 Nc6 7.Bg2 Be7 8.0–0 0–0 9.Bf4 Bf5 10.dxc5 d4 11.Na4 Ne4 12.Rc1 g5 13.Nd2 Nxf2 14.Rxf2 gxf4 15.Rxf4 Bg6 16.Bxc6 bxc6 17.Nf3 Bf6 18.b3 Bg7 19.Rc4 Qe7 20.Nb2 Rfe8 21.Kf1 Rad8 22.Nd3 Qe3 23.Nh4 Bh5 24.Rc2 Rd5 25.Nf5 Rxf5 26.Rxf5 Qe4 27.Rf3 Bxf3 28.exf3 Qf5 29.Nf2 Re3 30.Kg2 Rc3 31.Ne4 Rxc2+ 32.Qxc2 Qd5 33.Nf2 Bf8 34.b4 f5 35.Nd3 Bh6 36.a4 Kf7 37.b5 cxb5 38.axb5 Ke7 39.Qa4 1–0

Abraham Kupchik’s record in Manhattan Chess Club Championships:

1913–14 Abraham Kupchik (1)
1914–15 Kupchik (2)
1915–16 Kupchik (3)
1916–17 Kupchik (4)
1917–18 Oscar Chajes (Kupchik did not play)
1918–19 Kupchik (5)
1919–20 Chajes and Kupchik (no playoff) (6)
1920–21 David Janowski, Roy T. Black (Kupchik did not play)

1921–22 Morris A. Schapiro (Kupchik did not play)
1922–23 Schapiro (I could not determine if Kupchik played)

1923–24 1. Chajes 2. Kupchik (7)
1924–25 Kupchik (8)
1925–26 Kupchik (9)
1926–27 1. Maroczy =2-3. Kupchik and Kashdan
1927–28 1. Kupchik (10) in a 5 player double round robin with Horowitz, Pinkus, Steiner and Kashdan

1928–29 1. Kevitz 2. Kupchik
1929–30 1.Kashdan 2. Kupchik
1930–31 Kupchik (11)
1931–32 Kashdan (I could not determine if Kupchik played)

1932–33 Kupchik (12) and Willman tied (Kupchik won the playoff)

1933–34 Willman (Kupchik did not play)

1934–35 Kupchik (13) and Kashdan tied (Kupchik won the playoff) 1935–36 Kevitz (Kupchik did not play) 1936–37 1. Kashdan =5.Kupchik
1937–38 Kashdan (Kupchik did not play)
1938–39 Moskowitz (Kupchik did not play)
1939–40 Denker (Kupchik did not play)
1940–41 Albert Pinkus (Kupchik did not play)
1941–42 Sydney Bernstein and Fred Reinfeld (Kupchik did not play)

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Abe!
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