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Samuel Reshevsky
Number of games in database: 1,505
Years covered: 1917 to 1991
Overall record: +561 -212 =663 (62.2%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      69 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Nimzo Indian (118) 
    E46 E43 E57 E47 E34
 King's Indian (92) 
    E92 E97 E60 E95 E62
 Grunfeld (51) 
    D97 D81 D92 D83 D82
 Orthodox Defense (42) 
    D51 D50 D55 D62 D52
 English (37) 
    A15 A10 A16 A14 A17
 Queen's Gambit Declined (35) 
    D37 D35 D31 D30 D36
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (138) 
    C96 C95 C86 C93 C88
 Sicilian (117) 
    B32 B72 B40 B71 B42
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (95) 
    C96 C95 C86 C93 C88
 Nimzo Indian (76) 
    E33 E57 E54 E46 E21
 King's Indian (65) 
    E60 E95 E69 E94 E79
 Queen's Indian (48) 
    E12 E19 E17 E16 E15
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Larry Evans vs Reshevsky, 1963 1/2-1/2
   Reshevsky vs A Vasconcellos, 1944 1-0
   Botvinnik vs Reshevsky, 1948 0-1
   Reshevsky vs Petrosian, 1953 1/2-1/2
   Reshevsky vs G Treysman, 1938 1-0
   Reshevsky vs Capablanca, 1935 1-0
   Szabo vs Reshevsky, 1953 1/2-1/2
   Reshevsky vs Mecking, 1967 1-0
   Keres vs Reshevsky, 1953 1/2-1/2
   Reshevsky vs Najdorf, 1952 1-0

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   FIDE World Championship Tournament (1948)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   US Championship (1936)
   Syracuse (1934)
   Kemeri (1937)
   Reshevsky - Najdorf (1953)
   Reshevsky - Najdorf (1952)
   56th US Open (1955)
   Third Rosenwald Trophy (1956)
   Amsterdam (1950)
   US Championship 1957/58 (1957)
   Buenos Aires (1960)
   Zurich Candidates (1953)
   US Championship (1972)
   Nottingham (1936)
   Sousse Interzonal (1967)
   Amsterdam Interzonal (1964)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Match Reshevsky! by amadeus
   Challenger of 48 Reshevsky_125 by Gottschalk
   Reshevsky's Best Games of Chess, Vol. I by suenteus po 147
   Guess-the-Move Chess: 1940-1959 (Part 2) by Anatoly21
   The Art of Positional Play by SamAtoms1980
   WCC Index [Zurich 1953] by suenteus po 147
   Garry Kasparov's On My Great Predecessors (4) by AdrianP
   WCC Index [World Championship Tournament 1948] by Resignation Trap
   1948 World Chess Championship by Penguincw
   Art of War's favorite games 8 by Art of War
   Match for the Championship of the Free World by Resignation Trap
   Second Piatigorsky Cup 1966 by Benzol
   Rematch for Championship of the West 1953 by Resignation Trap

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Samuel Reshevsky
Search Google for Samuel Reshevsky

(born Nov-26-1911, died Apr-04-1992, 80 years old) Poland (federation/nationality United States of America)

[what is this?]
Samuel Herman Reshevsky (Szmul Rzeszewski) was born in Ozorkow, Poland. He learned to play chess at the age of four. At eight years old he was giving simultaneous exhibitions and defeating some of the country's most prominent players.

Following the events of World War 1, Reshevsky immigrated to the United States (1920). As a 9-year old, his first American simultaneous exhibition was with 20 officers and cadets at the Military Academy at West Point. He won 19 games and drew one. He toured the country and played over 1,500 games as a 9-year old in simultaneous exhibitions and only lost 8 games. In his early years he did not go to school and his parents ended up in Manhattan Children's Court on charges of improper guardianship. His benefactor was Julius Rosenwald, founder of Sears & Roebuck, who agreed to provide for Reshevsky's future if he devoted himself to completing his education. Reshevsky then largely abandoned chess for 10 years to pursue a vocation as an accountant, receiving an accounting degree from the University of Chicago in 1933 which he put to use in New York City.

After obtaining his college degree, he devoted himself to tournament chess. Several subsequent successes in international events led to his invitations to both AVRO 1938 and the World Championship Tournament ten years later. Between 1936 and 1942, he had a streak of 75 games without a loss in U.S. Championship competition. He won the US Open in 1944. Pan-American Champion at Hollywood 1945. He played in 21 U.S. Championships, from 1936 to 1981. Over the course of a long international career that continued until he was almost 80, he qualified for the Candidates five times, won the U.S. Championship on six occasions (first time in 1936, last time in 1971) and played 11 World Champions, ranging from Emanuel Lasker to Anatoly Karpov.

He won matches against several notable Western players, including Svetozar Gligoric, Miguel Najdorf and Robert James Fischer (after Fischer was forfeited while the match was tied). However, he was never able to secure the right to a World Championship match. In 1981, at the age of 70, he tied for 3rd place in the U.S. Championship. In 1984, at the age of 72, he took first place in the powerful Reykjavik Open, which featured many grandmasters. (1)

Wikipedia article: Samuel Reshevsky; (1)

 page 1 of 61; games 1-25 of 1,505  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Reshevsky vs Factor 0-126 1917 Lodz, PolandC22 Center Game
2. Reshevsky vs Rubinstein 0-124 1917 WarsawC50 Giuoco Piano
3. Reshevsky vs G W Beaumont  1-030 1920 Simultaneous exhibitionC34 King's Gambit Accepted
4. Reshevsky vs Gency  1-037 1920 Paris simulC30 King's Gambit Declined
5. Reshevsky vs A Simchow  0-134 1920 New York simD05 Queen's Pawn Game
6. M A Schapiro vs Reshevsky  0-140 1920 New YorkC14 French, Classical
7. P Krueger vs Reshevsky ½-½39 1920 Blindfold gameC48 Four Knights
8. Reshevsky vs L T Haller 1-039 1920 Paterson simD02 Queen's Pawn Game
9. Reshevsky vs M J Clurman ½-½23 1920 New York simB15 Caro-Kann
10. Reshevsky vs R C Griffith 1-030 1920 LondonC67 Ruy Lopez
11. Reshevsky vs L S Stillman 1-020 1920 New York simB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
12. Reshevsky vs Traube 1-017 1920 HanoverA02 Bird's Opening
13. C Jaffe vs Reshevsky 0-117 1920 New York blindfoldC30 King's Gambit Declined
14. Reshevsky vs S Katz ½-½29 1920 New York simB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
15. Reshevsky vs L Schwarz 1-065 1920 20 board simultaneous exhibitionC00 French Defense
16. Reshevsky vs Zabludovsky 1-029 1920 Berlin simulC62 Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense
17. Reshevsky vs E B Hilliard 1-027 1920 Blindfold gameC30 King's Gambit Declined
18. Reshevsky vs L Von Dory 1-016 1920 Berlin simulC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
19. Reshevsky vs M Herzfeld  1-052 1920 Paris simulC66 Ruy Lopez
20. Reshevsky vs Knoller 1-040 1920 New York simC79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred
21. Reshevsky vs R B Griffith  ½-½63 1921 Los AngelesC55 Two Knights Defense
22. Reshevsky vs E G Short  0-121 1921 Portland SimultaneousC87 Ruy Lopez
23. Reshevsky vs B W Dunn 1-051 1921 New York simC58 Two Knights
24. Reshevsky vs A B Stamer  ½-½60 1921 San Francisco simC79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred
25. Reshevsky vs J H Longacre  ½-½25 1921 Philadelphia simC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
 page 1 of 61; games 1-25 of 1,505  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Reshevsky wins | Reshevsky loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: < MissScarlett: <What a great shame it did not take place. :> Yep, two middle-aged, bald, four-eyed Jews going head-to-head - it's a marketing man's dream.>

Like Eisenhower vs. Stevenson over the chessboard (except for the Jewish part). The 1950s must have been a great time to be bald.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <<<MissScarlett>> You forgot to add 'short.'>

That wouldn't matter, as both players would be sitting.

I suspect the match was nixed when the <HUAC> made the connection between Trotsky and the name David Bronstein.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <MissScarlett: <<<MissScarlett>> You forgot to add 'short.'> That wouldn't matter, as both players would be sitting.

I suspect the match was nixed when the <HUAC> made the connection between Trotsky and the name David Bronstein.>

True friends of the fight against subversion know that the committee is properly referred to as <HUAC>, sans article.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Truer friends of the fight against subversion know that committee is properly referred to as <HUAC>, sans article.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Had not realised HUAC enjoyed such a lengthy existence in its various incarnations, both before and after its heyday.
Aug-14-15  zanzibar: <These Communists thumps their chests and call themselves liberals, but if you drop their rompers you'll find a hammer & sickle on their rear ends>


Aug-14-15  wrap99: <Eggman> I think Karpov also says that he learned chess from watching. Is it more amazing to be a world champ or simply learn the moves of chess just by watching? I think it is pretty plausible that a GM could learn the moves by observation and see no reason for a world champ or near-world champ to make up a fairly prosaic-sounding accomplishment as this.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Aug-14-15
Premium Chessgames Member MissScarlett: Truer friends of the fight against subversion know that committee is properly referred to as <HUAC>, sans article.>

...but only when the acronym is used.

Aug-14-15  thegoodanarchist: <wrapp99>

I don't think many folks who have deep knowledge of chess history would argue that Reshevsky was as great as Karpov.

Close, maybe, but no cigar (just a pipe) :)

Aug-15-15  wrap99: <thegoodanarchist> Where am I saying that SR is as great a player as Karpov? The post is suggesting that *any* kid who could eventually become a GM picking up rules by observation is not surprising.
Aug-15-15  RookFile: It's too bad they didn't have chess 960 in those days. Reshevsky didn't study openings, yet despite this handicap, was one of those "equals" Botvinnik talked about in the 1950's. In the chess 960 setting, Reshevsky would be right at home, while the more conventional chess players would have problems adusting.
Aug-15-15  wrap99: <Rookfile> It's interesting that you mention "those days:" Reshevsky was arguably the most famous American chess player or even the most famous chess player in the world prior to Fischer. I say this because his prodigy status was mentioned in my high school psychology test book along with Gauss and Mozart. This book was written in the 1960s probably with Fischer being known mainly to chess players -- what other player was widely known outside of chess circles besides SR?
Aug-15-15  RookFile: Hmm? I don't know, Humphrey Bogart? Not an expert in this area, thanks.
Aug-15-15  zanzibar: We're talking about during the 1960's right?

I would guess either Reinfeld or Horowitz, due to their prolific popular writing.

Aug-15-15  wrap99: I met famous primarily *as* a chess player.
Aug-15-15  zanzibar: American, or not?

If not, I would then guess Tal.

Aug-15-15  wrap99: <zanzibar> It could be that in some places, guys like Tal were known even among non-serious players or even non-chess players. But I was struck by reading Reshevsky's name before I had heard of anyone else in chess and at least in the USA, with SR playing Chaplin as a little kid (when Chaplin was incredibly famous) I would bet that SR was the most famous player. As mentioned in previous post, encountering SR in the flesh was a pretty profound thing for me as was meeting Judit Polgar in 1987 when she was just becoming famous -- in the prodigy sense, she may remain famous for a long time due to her parents' experiment.
Aug-16-15  Retireborn: I think in the 40s Capablanca was still the most famous player in the States; he was referred to by Raymond Chandler in "The High Window" (1942) for example.

It's possible he was replaced by Reshevsky in the 50s, although I'm not sure people would have necessarily made the connection with the prodigy from the 20s.

As for worldwide - impossible to say.

Aug-16-15  wrap99: <Retireborn> As I mentioned, I saw his name in a generic highschool psych textbook. Maybe it is no longer fashionable to discuss prodigies (in the same way that Guiness World Records no longer even has a highest IQ record)so perhaps Reshevsky would be a name that few would know outside of the chess world anymore; Fischer is hands-down still the most famous player in the USA due no doubt to the movies made about him.
Aug-16-15  zanzibar: <<wrap99> This book was written in the 1960s probably with Fischer being known mainly to chess players -- what other player was widely known outside of chess circles besides SR?>

Ah, I see, your question is strictly rhetorical, and isn't asking for a 2nd such person.

Yes, Reschevsky was well know as a child prodigy with his parent taking him around the world to give simuls.

There was even press coverage when a court order stopped the practice (in order for Sammy to gain a non-chess education).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: <wrap99: Fischer is hands-down still the most famous player in the USA due no doubt to the movies made about him.>

Movies? No, I think its because of the media attention he received because he won the world championship in 1972 against Spassky and the Soviet machine during a tense time between the USA and the USSR. The world was hanging on to every move and every shenanigan.

Fischer became a household name long before any movies were made about him.

Aug-16-15  wrap99: <Check It Out> But Fischer's fame has been sustained by recent films -- he was world champ almost a half century ago and I continue to be surprised by what young people do not know. (Ask someone born after 2000 about the world before the Internet -- they cannot conceive of it in many ways.)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: <<wrap99>> I think you are underestimating the difficulty of learning the rules of chess by simply watching others play. It is not a prosaic accomplishment at all.

I have no problem believing that someone could learn *most* of the rules of chess by watching. The difficult part, though, is to figure out what you *cannot* do, especially as it pertains to the pawns, e.g. that a pawn, unlike all the other chess men, *cannot* move backwards, that it *cannot* move sideways, that a pawn *cannot* move two squares forward *except* on its first move (and even then, can only move two squares forward vertically, i.e. when *not* capturing), that it *cannot* move diagonally *except* when capturing, and that it *cannot* move vertically *except* when *not* capturing. How many times to you need to observe a pawn *not* doing something before you can be sure that it *cannot* do it?

And how confusing would castling be? Can any two men perform a similar operation? Or just the king and rook? And don't even get me starting on en passant!

Heck, even the object of the game is confusing, i.e. the fact that, instead of simply capturing the king, we have these rules for check, checkmate, and stalemate (and why should stalemate, in which the player to move will lose his king no matter where he goes, be a draw?).

Like I said, learning *most* of the rules by just watching is not a great accomplishment, but learning all or even nearly all strikes me as highly implausible. This implausibility is evinced by the fact that listing a few of the more difficult rules has required such a lengthy post!

Aug-17-15  wrap99: <Eggman> I think it is reasonable to assume that both guys still had questions to ask about, as you suggest, castling (the rule that prevents castling through check although the rook can castle through attack seems like something that they would not have been able to derive by observation). But I think underestimating the abilities of a top chess player is very possible -- GMs are just extraordinarily able when it comes to things like memory. (I avoid the entire intelligence discussion.) I was struck by Karpov memorizing a list of twenty interview questions after brief study or Fischer's memory feats. Deriving the rules would largely be a function of memory, I think.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: I don't know if we're recalling different interviews, but my recollection is that Karpov read over a list of 50 questions, rejected 3, and answered the remaining 47 from memory. Impressive either way.

As implied by my post, I don't believe that Karpov, Kasparov, Reshevsky, etc, are "making it up" per se - just exaggerating. Though if you're familiar with Reshevsky's character, making stuff up is something you shouldn't put past him.

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