William James Joseph Lombardy was born in the Bronx, New York on December 4, 1937. He became a National Master at age 14. In 1954, at age 16, he won the New York State Championship, becoming the youngest champion up until that time.
Lombardy tied for first at the Canadian Open Chess Championship in 1956. That same year, at age 18, he narrowly lost a match to Samuel Reshevsky (3.5-2.5), the best match result that anyone had achieved against Reshevsky up to that time. He became the first American to win the World Junior Championship (1957). He remains the only player in the 55 times the event has been held to win it with a perfect score (11-0). FIDE awarded him the International Master title for this victory.
1960 was an eventful year for Lombardy. He led the U.S. team to an upset victory over the Soviet Union in the 1960 Student Team Championship in Leningrad. He scored 12/13, winning as Black against future World Champion Boris Spassky in their individual game, and winning the gold medal for the best result on first board. He played second board for the United States team at the Leipzig Olympiad, drawing as Black in his game against the recently dethroned World Champion Mikhail Botvinnik. In the same year, FIDE awarded Lombardy the Grandmaster title.
Lombardy tied for second in the 1960-61 U.S. Championship, behind Fischer. That result qualified him to play in the Stockholm Interzonal (1962). However, he declined the invitation and entered a Jesuit seminary. He convocated as a priest from CCNY (previous studies included biochemistry, in hopes of entering medicine) and was ordained in 1967.
Lombardy won the U.S. Open in 1963, and tied for first with Pal Benko in both 1965 and 1975. He also represented the United States in seven Olympiads (1958, 1960, 1968, 1970, 1974, 1976, and 1980) and served as Fischer's second during the Fischer - Spassky World Championship Match (1972).
In 1974, Lombardy left the priesthood, having lost faith in the Catholic church, which he felt was too concerned with amassing wealth. Soon after, while competing in the Amsterdam IBM tournament, he met and married a Dutch woman, Louise van Valen, who moved to Manhattan to live with him. Their son, Raymond, was born in 1984. The couple divorced in 1992 after Lombardy’s wife returned to the Netherlands with their son.
Lombardy had been a lifelong New Yorker, but in 2016 moved to the Chicago area after being evicted from his Manhattan apartment. He died on October 13, 2017 while visiting a friend in Martinez, California.
Wikipedia article: William Lombardy