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Reuben Fine
Number of games in database: 507
Years covered: 1930 to 1986
Overall record: +268 -64 =146 (71.3%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      29 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Nimzo Indian (32) 
    E33 E37 E43 E23 E40
 Orthodox Defense (28) 
    D55 D51 D63 D50 D52
 Queen's Gambit Declined (25) 
    D37 D30 D06 D35 D39
 Grunfeld (20) 
    D83 D81 D70 D82 D75
 Ruy Lopez (15) 
    C86 C83 C70 C84 C61
 Queen's Pawn Game (14) 
    D02 E10 E00 A40 D04
With the Black pieces:
 Nimzo Indian (29) 
    E33 E34 E43 E45 E23
 Sicilian (21) 
    B45 B29 B20 B72 B50
 French Defense (19) 
    C01 C14 C11 C02 C13
 Ruy Lopez (18) 
    C74 C83 C71 C73 C86
 Queen's Gambit Declined (18) 
    D38 D30 D37 D39
 Orthodox Defense (18) 
    D51 D68 D50 D65 D63
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Fine vs Botvinnik, 1938 1-0
   Capablanca vs Fine, 1931 0-1
   Fine vs Dake, 1933 1-0
   Fine vs W Winter, 1936 1-0
   Fine vs Alekhine, 1938 1-0
   Fine vs Lasker, 1936 1-0
   I A Horowitz vs Fine, 1934 0-1
   Fine vs Flohr, 1938 1-0
   Fine vs Gruenfeld, 1936 1-0
   Reshevsky vs Fine, 1941 1/2-1/2

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Zandvoort (1936)
   Margate (1937)
   AVRO (1938)
   Hastings 1936/37 (1936)
   Amsterdam (1936)
   Syracuse (1934)
   Semmering/Baden (1937)
   US Championship (1936)
   Hastings 1937/38 (1937)
   Nottingham (1936)
   Wertheim Memorial (1951)
   Kemeri (1937)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Lessons From My Games - Fine by TheFocus
   Finesse by Garre
   Match Fine! by amadeus
   Fines - Lessons From My Games by scheidt
   Fine by Morten
   US Open 1935, Milwaukee = 36th ACF Congress by Phony Benoni
   US Open 1934, Chicago = 35th ACF Congress by Phony Benoni
   1938 US Championship by crawfb5
   US Open 1940, Dallas by Phony Benoni
   US Open 1939, New York = 40th ACF Congress by Phony Benoni
   1936 US Championship by crawfb5
   AVRO 1938 by Benzol
   Semmering/Baden 1937 by suenteus po 147
   Nottingham 1936 by Hesam7

GAMES ANNOTATED BY FINE: [what is this?]
   Fine vs Botvinnik, 1938

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Reuben Fine
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(born Oct-11-1914, died Mar-26-1993, 78 years old) United States of America

[what is this?]
Reuben Fine was born in 1914. He grew up in New York City and first learned to play chess at the age of eight. After winning several strong American tournaments as a youth, Fine turned to international competition. In 1937 he tied with Paul Keres for first at Margate, and at the AVRO tournament the next year he again finished tied for first with Keres.

During World War II he was employed by the Navy to calculate where enemy submarines might surface.

After World War II, he was offered an invitation to the World Championship tournament in 1948, but declined to participate. He retired from chess a few years later in order to pursue a career in psychology. In his foreshortened career, Fine played tournament games against five world champions. He had overall plus scores against Emanuel Lasker, Alexander Alekhine, and Mikhail Botvinnik, and even records against Jose Raul Capablanca and Max Euwe.

He was an author of note, his most recognized works being Ideas Behind the Chess Openings and Basic Chess Endings.

Wikipedia article: Reuben Fine

 page 1 of 21; games 1-25 of 507  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. F Reinfeld vs Fine  0-134 1930 Marshall Chess Club-ch, PrelimC73 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense
2. F Reinfeld vs Fine 1-055 1930 Rice Club Junior MastersC14 French, Classical
3. Dake vs Fine 1-035 1930 young mastersB24 Sicilian, Closed
4. Fine vs J Rappaport 1-028 1931 USA Intercollegiate ch -32, USAA00 Uncommon Opening
5. Capablanca vs Fine 0-148 1931 New York SimultaneousD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
6. F Reinfeld vs Fine  1-024 1931 Marshall CC ChampionshipD65 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox, Rubinstein Attack, Main line
7. Fine vs Dake 0-117 1931 New York, USAE43 Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation
8. Fine vs F Reinfeld  ½-½18 1931 New York State ChampionshipD32 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
9. H Steiner vs Fine  ½-½75 1932 New York m, USAE11 Bogo-Indian Defense
10. Fine vs Kashdan  ½-½40 1932 PasadenaD35 Queen's Gambit Declined
11. Fine vs H Steiner  ½-½58 1932 New York m, USAA15 English
12. Fine vs A J Fink 1-030 1932 Pasadena (USA)A00 Uncommon Opening
13. A Hermann vs Fine 0-118 1932 Western ChampionshipD15 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
14. Fine vs H Steiner  1-038 1932 New York m, USAE34 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Noa Variation
15. H Steiner vs Fine  1-061 1932 New York, USAD90 Grunfeld
16. Fine vs C F Ellison  1-051 1932 Western ChampionshipD63 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense
17. Factor vs Fine  ½-½49 1932 PasadenaD11 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
18. Reshevsky vs Fine  ½-½35 1932 Western ChampionshipE11 Bogo-Indian Defense
19. Alekhine vs Fine ½-½57 1932 PasadenaB02 Alekhine's Defense
20. H Steiner vs Fine  0-165 1932 New York m, USAB03 Alekhine's Defense
21. Fine vs R Levenstein  1-063 1932 Ch Marshall Chess Club, New York (USA)A53 Old Indian
22. Fine vs F Hazard  1-041 1932 Western ChampionshipD52 Queen's Gambit Declined
23. H Steiner vs Fine 0-128 1932 New York m, USAD90 Grunfeld
24. Fine vs A Simonson 1-022 1932 New York Marshall CC ch -33, USAA00 Uncommon Opening
25. Fine vs M C Palmer  1-060 1932 Western ChampionshipD43 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
 page 1 of 21; games 1-25 of 507  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Fine wins | Fine loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 13 OF 13 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-19-13  RookFile: That's fine. I'm not aware of a time from 1914 onwards until his death that <anybody> could touch Capablanca in speed chess. This is where chess being Capa's "mother tongue" was such a huge advantage. It is to Fine's credit that he could even be mentioned as a possibility.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: If Capablanca didn't play any speed chess at all after 1934, I don't know how we can be so sure that he was still the best, especially after 1936 when his tournament results fell off. The best speed chess player in the USA, and probably the world, in the mid-to-late 1930s was Arthur Dake--does anyone know if Capablanca ever played him in a fast game?
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <1933> (December 6th), New York. In a 10-player rapid transit tournament at the Marshall Chess Club, <Capablanca> made a clean score of 9 wins. Results: 1st, Capablanca 9-0; 2nd-4th, <Fine>, Hanauer & Reshevsky 7-2; 5th, Chernev 4-5; 6th Hamermesh 4-5; 7th-9th, Dunst, Hammer & Simon 2-7; 10th, Sack 1-8. (<The New York Times>, December 7th, 1933, page 31.)

<The above tournament was the only report of Capablanca participating in a quick play event after 1930 that could be found. As mentioned above, it is not clear if this was because he played very little rapid chess after this date or if it was simply because his exploits in this sphere were under-reported during this period.>

<Reuben Fine>, in an interview in <Blitz Chess> magazine of July-September, 1992 (Vol. 4, Issue 2), states that <Capablanca> won a blitz tournament in 1931. Here is the portion of the interview that refers to this:

<BC: To your knowledge, when was the first international Blitz event with clocks?

RF: Capa won the first one, in 1931.

BC: How did Capa and Alekhine compare at Blitz?

RF: Capa was 50-100 points better at Blitz, and Alekhine was 50-100 points worse!

<Unfortunately, no reports could be found about this event which, from the description, appears to have been a five-minute tournament.>

In his autobiography <Lessons from My Games> (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1958), <Reuben Fine> recalls that there were weekly rapid transit tournaments at both the Manhattan and Marshall chess clubs during this time (page 18). Contemporary reports give the names of Arthur Dake, Reuben Fine, Milton Hanauer, Martin D. Hago and David Polland as frequent winners of these events. <Fine> himself, discussing the period 1930-2 writes in his book, "At that time arguments still raged about the surprising outcome of the Alekhine-Capablanca match of 1927. Particularly at the Manhattan Chess Club, where <Capablanca> had made his chess home from the earliest days of the century, the Cuban was regarded as a kind of god. I also reflected on the fact that I could already beat Alekhine at quick chess, while <Capablanca,>< the few times that I had played him, beat me mercilessly.>" (Lessons from My Games, page xii).

In Arnold Denker's book (written with Larry Parr) <The Bobby Fischer I Knew and Other Stories> (San Francisco: Hypermodern Press, 1995), he writes of himself and his contemporaries at the Manhattan Chess Club (Kashdan, Reshevsky, <Fine>, Steiner, Simonson, Dake, & Horowitz): "Unfortunately, <Capablanca> seldom deigned to play with us Young Turks and usually confined his activities to giving Knight odds to Al Link and Charlie Saxon, two of his old Columbia University cronies" (page 5). Another account suggests that, at least when money was at stake, the "Young Turks" were not all too enthusiastic about playing <Capablanca> at speed chess during the those hard economic times:

"By all accounts, <Capablanca> remained supreme in lightning chess to the end. <Reuben Fine>, regarded by many as the outstanding speed player of the 1940s, recalls that <Capablanca> treated his opponents like children in fast games.

The late Arthur Dake, a speed chess phenomenon of the 1930s who was easily besting Alekhine as early as the Prague Olympiad of 1931, recollected an evening when fresh from a 12-0 victory in a speed tournament that included the likes of <Fine>, Reshevsky, Al Horowitz, Arnold Denker and virtually every other top American master, he challenged <Capablanca>. <Capa> had just shown up, fresh from a diplomatic function, and faced down a cocky <Reuben Fine>, who had blurted out that fast chess was for "young men" but who would not play the Cuban for money even when offered odds. Dake wanted to play and expected Horowitz, his closest friend, to back him. Instead, Horowitz grabbed Dake’s sleeve and said, 'No one plays <Capa> at lightning chess. I won’t back you.' ” (Larry Parr, <"The Kings of Chess: José Raul Capablanca">, Chess Canada, 2007-1, page 29. This article had previously appeared on the old World Chess Network website.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: Thanks much, <Thefocus>, I was unfamiliar with that anecdote. Of course it is easy to say now that Dake should have gotten his chance, but it was not our money on the line.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: The above post of mine is NOT my research. A poster has a webite where he has found all of Capablanca's blitz tournaments.

I apologize to that poster. I am trying to find his handle and the link to his research.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: I believe you are referring to the inactive user User: WilhelmThe2nd . His website on Capablanca's speed chess performances is now defunct, but there is an archived copy at .
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <caissanist> Thanks. he's the one.

Luckily for me, I had copied off all his material.

At least now, I can credit him properly if I use his research again.

Jun-21-13  RookFile: It's all very good. Those guys knew. You didn't play Capa in blitz chess, unless you enjoyed getting slapped around.
Oct-11-13  Penguincw: R.I.P. Rueben, one of the finest players of his era.
Nov-28-13  Penguincw: K Quote of the Day K

< "Discovered check is the dive-bomber of the chessboard." >


I think I heard this quote before.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Poor Reuben Fine. Forgotten now.

His books, once studied, now turn to ash on the shelves.

His games, once held up a models of virtue, are now scorned, ridiculed, mocked.

He is mentioned only as something to avoid, remembered as a negative.

"How lonely lies the city
that once thronged with people!
Once great among the nations,
now she is like a widow!
Once princess among provinces,
she has become a vassal."

Dead and forgotten. O! Poor poor Reuben!

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: <penguin:

< "Discovered check is the dive-bomber of the chessboard." >


I think I heard this quote before.>

Well, yeah, you quoted it twice on this page in 2011.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <OhioChessFan: <penguin: < "Discovered check is the dive-bomber of the chessboard." >


I think I heard this quote before.>

Well, yeah, you quoted it twice on this page in 2011.>

Poor Reuben. Even his quotes are mocked mercilessly. Repeated ad nauseam like students quoting <The Eye of Argon> or dimwits shouting at the screen during <Plan 9 From Outer Space>!

Who now knows what are these "dive-bombers" about which he wrote. They have been obsolete, like Fine's ideas, for at least 50 years.

"Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, and it has become the habitation of devils, and a jail for every unclean spirit, and a store of every unclean and detestable animal."

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: In his desolate and neglected tomb Reuben Fine waits sleeping.

The lonely house by the graveyard is uninhabited. No soul will live there. The spider pitches her web in the solitude. The nocturnal rat peers from his hole. A curse is on it. It is haunted.

The books, books on openings, books on endings, huge books, all turn to dust on their shelves. No eyes now behold them. Their ideas are mocked.

His games lie strewn in the dust and filth, trampled on by laughing passers-by.

"Babylon has fallen! Babylon has fallen!
All her idols lay scattered on the floor."

The ruined city lies desolate.
The entrance to every house is barred shut.
People in the streets call for wine.
All joy passes away,
and the earth's happiness is banished.
The city is left in ruins.
Its gate is battered to pieces!

Poor, poor Reuben!

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: The House That Fine Built is not so... fine after all.
Jun-08-14  Penguincw: K Quote of the Day K

< "I never read a [chess] book until I was already a master." >


Jun-08-14  diceman: <Conrad93: What is a babe like that doing with a nerd? It shouldn't be possible.>

She thought he was "Fine."

Jun-08-14  diceman: <offramp: Poor Reuben Fine.

Forgotten now.>

...the sandwich is still going strong.

Jun-08-14  RedShield: In that picture, he looks a bit like an overweight Ray Milland.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Could someone with a copy of Woodger's collection of Fine's games take a look at Fine vs B Dahlstrom, 1935? A question has arisen about the concluding move of the game.


Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Phony Benoni,

Not at hand but I'll have a look tonight.

Just read some of the comments on here.

Fine's 'Ideas Behind the Openings' was one of the few chess books I've Bobby Fischer recommend to anyone.

Cannot give all the exact details 100% but in the 'Unknown Bobby Fischer' Fischer is round their house and sees their chess library. He picks up this one book and says it's a good book.

Of course it will be dated thoery wise but the ideas, the soul, the spirit of the opening will be there.

His book on the middle game is also good. (no idea about his endgame book - never even flicked through it.)

Jul-22-14  posoo: lol LOOK at da man!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Sally Simpson> There was a time (at least in the States) when Fine's <Basic Chess Endings> was considered the Bible. But it came out 75 years ago, and sheer time has changed much, even before the advent of computers.

For many years, Larry Evans had a cottage industry going by printing reader's corrections to BCE in his "Chess Life" column. I seem to recall one John Menke as being Leader of the Pack.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <PB> Remember a frequent poster to that column from Carolina--don't recall which state--called John Speights (I think) who debunked many a position from BCE in the seventies. Strangely enough, do not remember Menke at all.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <perfidious> Yes, John Speights. That was the guy.

At least I was half right. Better than usual.

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