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Donald MacMurray
Number of games in database: 20
Years covered: 1930 to 1938
Overall record: +9 -10 =1 (47.5%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

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B12 Caro-Kann Defense (2 games)

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(born Nov-14-1914, died Dec-03-1938, 24 years old) United States of America

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 page 1 of 1; 20 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Kashdan vs D MacMurray  0-1291930Simul, 23bC67 Ruy Lopez
2. I A Horowitz vs D MacMurray  1-0101931Simul, 12bC41 Philidor Defense
3. Denker vs D MacMurray 1-0151933Manhattan Chess Club ChampionshipA35 English, Symmetrical
4. D MacMurray vs R Willman  0-1281933Manhattan CC chE76 King's Indian, Four Pawns Attack
5. J Araiza Munoz vs D MacMurray  0-148193435th Western Championship. FinalD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
6. Denker vs D MacMurray  1-031193435th Western Championship. FinalD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
7. D MacMurray vs N G Engholm  1-050193435th Western Championship. FinalC29 Vienna Gambit
8. Fine vs D MacMurray  1-0301934Western Championship (Final)D05 Queen's Pawn Game
9. D MacMurray vs Kashdan 0-1411934Western Championship (Final)B12 Caro-Kann Defense
10. D MacMurray vs Dake  0-138193435th Western Championship. FinalC00 French Defense
11. D MacMurray vs A S Kussman 0-1131937Rapid transit 10 sec/moveC57 Two Knights
12. H H Hahlbohm vs D MacMurray  ½-½54193738th ACF Congress. ChampionshipB01 Scandinavian
13. D MacMurray vs D S Polland  0-138193738th ACF Congress. ChampionshipB20 Sicilian
14. G N Treysman vs D MacMurray  0-1351937ACF CongressC71 Ruy Lopez
15. D MacMurray vs Harold Morton  1-0181937ChicagoC49 Four Knights
16. D MacMurray vs H Lyman 1-0351938BostonA45 Queen's Pawn Game
17. A Gring vs D MacMurray  0-1241938ACF CongressC24 Bishop's Opening
18. D MacMurray vs B Dahlstrom  0-1461938ACF CongressD00 Queen's Pawn Game
19. D MacMurray vs H Daly  1-033193839th ACF Congress. ConsolationB12 Caro-Kann Defense
20. D MacMurray vs W Adams 1-0241938U.S. OpenA21 English
 page 1 of 1; 20 games  PGN Download 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | MacMurray wins | MacMurray loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Donald MacMurray (1915-????) was a graduate from the University of Chicago who died at a relatively young age. He completed 4 years of study in just over 18 months, and then followed that with a Ph. D in psychology from Columbia University:

Does anyone know of MacMurray's date of death and how he died?

Feb-27-12  Caissanist: Arnold Denker includes a memorable chapter on MacMurray in his book <The Bobby Fischer I Knew and Other Stories>. Denker does not mention MacMurray having a PhD, but does say that he earned a law degree in a year after getting his B.A. in 8 1/2 months, and says that at the time of his death he was considering several job offers.

According to Denker, he, MacMurray, and Dr. Joseph Platz were all playing in the New York State championship, when MacMurray complained of stomach pain. Denker then asked Dr. Platz to examine him:

<I will never forget what he told me that evening: "he has a cancer in his stomach as large as a grapefruit, and in such a young man it is the same as tossing a match into a dry wheat field." A little more than three months later--on December 2, 1938, shortly following Mac's 24th birthday--Dr. Platz's sad prediction came true.>

Oct-07-15  StanAntonio: Donald MacMurray's short life is chronicled in the book Children Above 180 IQ.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Child F was a boy whose ability was identified as the result of a mental survey made with group tests in P.S. 14, Manhattan. [1] His score in these tests was unbelievable, and he was summoned for testing with the idea that he must have been coached. An individual Stanford-Binet test, however, showed a phenomenal record similar to all other tests given him, including an Army Alpha. He was referred to a Special Opportunity Class at that time being organized in P.S. 165, Manhattan.


F was born in upper New York State, November 14, 1914. The period of gestation was of normal length; at birth he weighed according to the father 9 pounds, according to the mother 11.5 pounds. No records of early infancy were kept, so that many such details are given from memory, either by the father or by the mother. The child was the mother's first-born. She reports that much of the infant's weight at birth was due to his enormous head, which necessitated instrument birth. Birth was difficult, the mother was severely injured, and the child's head "was so distorted from the instruments that it was weeks before it could be molded into normal shape."


As already recorded, F was transferred in 1924, at the age of 10 years, to the Special Opportunity Class in P.S. 165, Manhattan, then being organized for experimental purposes connected with the education of children of rare intelligence. He graduated from this class into senior high school. He and another boy (Child C, Chapter 6) led this highly selected group of children in achievement tests. As he was at this time, Leta S. Hollingworth wrote of him:

I have never met with a more interesting child than he was, and the same creativeness and inexorable logic which characterized him then have always continued.

He entered, after a brief experience in a progressive private school, a public high school in New York City, in 1925. His high school career was a checkered one, typical in some respects of his later educational history. For one thing, he was a constant truant, and he refused to do the required work in physical education. He had always been averse to physical activity and loathed manual work to the end of his career. He said that the gymnasium work always left him feeling "worse," gave him colds, and was of no use to him. Perhaps his subsequent medical history throws some light on the reasons for these observations.

His truant hours were spent partly in the public library, where he read continuously in technical volumes in a great variety of fields and accumulated an amazing fund of general information and esoteric lore. Law, theology, history, science, and literature were some of his favorite fields.

When not in the library, he would usually be at a chess club to which he had been granted access and where he had learned the game. He rapidly developed into an expert chess and bridge player, and in Eastern chess tournaments is said to have achieved the ranking of seventh in the national list. He always managed to appear at high school to take the necessary examinations, and passed all his subjects with good standing and even with phenomenal records. But his inexplicable truancy and his refusal to do the required work in physical education baffled the educational authorities. They finally refused to graduate him with his class— although his record was among the best—until he had redeemed himself by doing the gymnasium work in a fifth year. In 1930 he did this, and also carried some additional courses and thus was allowed to finish high school, requiring longer than the conventional period for this because of his refusal to accommodate his own interests and ideas to the regular routine.


Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <In 1934 he was asked to take the CAVD tests by the Institute of Educational Research at Teachers College, Columbia University, to help determine the highest scores to be expected on this scale. He and another boy, both selected because of their known phenomenal range of information and intellectual alertness, "went through the ceiling" on this scale, thus again confirming the earlier records of his mental level so far as intelligence was concerned. On the same occasion he was given the Coöperative General Culture Test, by Dr. Lorge. In this his score exceeded that of superior college graduates.

In September, 1934, F was again persuaded, through financial assistance practically forced upon him, and after much urging and long discussion, to try college. He enrolled in Columbia College, once more a freshman. He carried a heavy program, tried to do certain outside jobs as assistant provided for him, and probably overworked. He had declined one patron's offer to give him a stipulated sum of money for the year if he would abstain from chess for that period. In fact, only vigorous prodding led him to go to college at all at this time, even with the way opened for him.

The outcome appeared to be another fiasco. In January, as the examination period drew near, he became ill, developed pneumonia, and for the second time withdrew from college before completing a term of work. In this instance his illness appeared to justify the act.

In the autumn of 1935, having been nursed back to reasonable health through patrons interested in his case, he was urged by them to make a fresh start and to try the University of Chicago plan, under which students could progress as rapidly as they were able to satisfy the requirements through comprehensive examinations. He entered the University of Chicago that fall, for the third time a college freshman, agreeing to do this without any great enthusiasm of his own but as part of what was called an "educational experiment."

Of his record on entrance the following comment was made by the chief examiner:

The examiners have called my attention to a freak case in our records for the incoming students. . . . His performance seems almost unbelievable. On the freshman classification tests his performance was as follows: first in the vocabulary test; first in the reading test; second in the Intelligence Test of the American Council; third in the English placement test; third in the physical science placement test . . . in the freshman class of about 750 students.

In addition, he also took four Comprehensives with the following grades: Biological Science, A; Humanities, B; Social Sciences, A; Physical Sciences, D.

The year at Chicago was not without episode. F was held up by two gunmen, engineered the capture of one of these, and was advised to disappear for a time during the excitement. Impetuously, and without resources except the provisions made by his sponsor for his own subsistence, he married a young Jewish girl. But the "Chicago Plan" kept its word, and by the end of the year F had passed all the Comprehensives required to give him his B.A. degree. In doing this he acquired a good deal of newspaper and popular magazine notoriety, and his photograph, and that of his young wife, were often reproduced in the public prints.

Although he fancied he would like to be a lawyer, F finally decided to go in for graduate work. Some uncertainties prevailed in connection with his acceptance by some of the graduate schools because, although he had been three times a college freshman (a point never brought out in the newspaper accounts of his educational progress), he had completed but one year of college residence.

Eventually he was awarded a graduate fellowship in Teachers College, Columbia University, for study toward the Ph.D. degree in education, and he completed a year of work there, accomplishing, in addition to the class work, a minor experimental study, a report of which was subsequently published. For the following year he was appointed Assistant in Psychology at Barnard College. At the last moment, just before the beginning of the new term, he decided to shift to law, which was one of his boyish ambitions. He was enabled to return to Chicago for this purpose.

Chess, bridge, and racing continued to intrude themselves into his activities, although he was pledged to abstain from them. His marital affairs did not run smoothly; contrary to his promises he incurred additional indebtedness; but he continued to carry on his law studies with passable records. Then he suddenly became seriously ill and was discovered to have an inoperable abdominal cancer. Again his educational career was interrupted and he returned to New York for care and treatment. Before another year was over, in December, 1938, he died of this affliction, at the age of 24 years.>

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