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Arnold Denker
Photograph copyright © 2004,
Number of games in database: 334
Years covered: 1929 to 2001
Highest rating achieved in database: 2293
Overall record: +124 -115 =92 (51.4%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      3 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Queen's Pawn Game (24) 
    A46 D05 D02 D04 D00
 King's Indian (16) 
    E94 E60 E62 E67 E97
 Nimzo Indian (16) 
    E22 E33 E43 E24 E23
 English (13) 
    A15 A13 A10
 Orthodox Defense (12) 
    D52 D64 D53 D56 D63
 Queen's Gambit Declined (12) 
    D37 D31 D06 D38
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (40) 
    B74 B92 B73 B40 B56
 Nimzo Indian (17) 
    E47 E25 E33 E46 E30
 Queen's Indian (9) 
    E19 E16 E14 E17
 Sicilian Dragon (8) 
    B73 B74 B70 B76
 Orthodox Defense (8) 
    D52 D51 D54 D50 D55
 Tarrasch Defense (7) 
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Denker vs A R Shayne, 1945 1-0
   Denker vs H Feit, 1929 1-0
   Denker vs Gonzalez, 1945 1-0
   Denker vs Chiera, 1936 1-0
   Denker vs Robbins, 1934 1-0
   Denker vs I A Horowitz, 1933 1-0
   Denker vs H Avram, 1940 1-0
   Denker vs Fine, 1944 1-0
   Denker vs Chernev, 1942 1-0
   Denker vs W Adams, 1940 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   London B (1946)
   Syracuse (1934)
   Hastings 1945/46 (1945)
   US Championship 1957/58 (1957)
   Groningen (1946)
   Lone Pine (1974)
   US Championship (1936)
   Lone Pine (1972)
   Lone Pine (1975)
   Lone Pine (1976)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   US Championship 1957/58 by suenteus po 147
   London B 1946 by Tabanus
   Hastings 1945/46 by Tabanus
   Hastings 1945/46 by suenteus po 147
   1946 Denker-Steiner match by crawfb5
   1944 US championship by crawfb5
   US Open 1934, Chicago = 35th ACF Tournament by Phony Benoni

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Arnold Denker
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(born Feb-21-1914, died Jan-02-2005, 90 years old) United States of America

[what is this?]
Arnold Sheldon Denker was born in New York in 1914. In his youth he took to boxing, but his true love was chess. He won the Manhattan Chess Club championship 6 times (1940, 1944, 1950, 1950-51, 1954, 1969-70). He was US Chess Champion in 1944 and retained it in 1946 after beating Herman Steiner in a match He tied for 3rd place at Hastings '46/47. He was awarded the IM title in 1950 and the Emeritus GM title in 1981. Later, he was an important chess organiser in the US and also continued to play. In 2004 he received the title of "Dean of American Chess".

Wikipedia article: Arnold Denker

 page 1 of 14; games 1-25 of 342  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Denker vs H Feit 1-023 1929 New YorkA80 Dutch
2. Denker vs Kashdan 1-035 1932 United States of AmericaE16 Queen's Indian
3. Denker vs D MacMurray 1-015 1933 Manhattan Chess Club ChampionshipA35 English, Symmetrical
4. Denker vs B Siff  1-030 1933 Empire City ChampionshipD53 Queen's Gambit Declined
5. Denker vs E Schwartz  1-036 1933 Young Masters TournamentD16 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
6. Denker vs I A Horowitz 1-048 1933 New York (USA)D52 Queen's Gambit Declined
7. Denker vs R Willman ½-½41 1933 New YorkD52 Queen's Gambit Declined
8. Denker vs Fine 0-128 1933 New York qualifierD90 Grunfeld
9. F Reinfeld vs Denker 0-127 1933 Olympic Selection TournamentD52 Queen's Gambit Declined
10. Denker vs R Levenstein  1-025 1933 New YorkA31 English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation
11. Kashdan vs Denker  1-035 1934 New York, NY USAD52 Queen's Gambit Declined
12. Denker vs Robbins 1-019 1934 Simul Rd--()-A80 Dutch
13. Denker vs F Rundell  1-023 1934 Western ChampionshipD05 Queen's Pawn Game
14. Fine vs Denker 1-017 1934 Western Championship (Final)B40 Sicilian
15. Denker vs Kashdan 1-042 1934 U.S. OpenD18 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch
16. Denker vs G Eastman  0-162 1934 35th Western Championship. FinalC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
17. N G Engholm vs Denker  0-131 1934 35th Western Championship. FinalA48 King's Indian
18. Dake vs Denker  ½-½35 1934 35th Western Championship. FinalD92 Grunfeld, 5.Bf4
19. Denker vs D MacMurray  1-031 1934 35th Western Championship. FinalD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
20. Reshevsky vs Denker ½-½55 1934 Western CongressE47 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Bd3
21. J Araiza Munoz vs Denker  ½-½20 1934 35th Western Championship. FinalC47 Four Knights
22. Denker vs Santasiere 0-136 1934 SyracuseA48 King's Indian
23. F Reinfeld vs Denker 1-032 1934 SyracuseA04 Reti Opening
24. Denker vs M Monticelli  1-028 1934 SyracuseA46 Queen's Pawn Game
25. Denker vs H Steiner 1-026 1934 SyracuseD05 Queen's Pawn Game
 page 1 of 14; games 1-25 of 342  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Denker wins | Denker loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  eternaloptimist: He was the former dean of American chess & truly a legend. I've only heard positive statements made about him. He has quite a legacy.
Jul-15-08  myschkin: Arnold Denker, Chess Champ and Benefactor
(Audio by Madeleine Brand)

Feb-06-09  jerseybob: I've heard of the 1946 Denker-Steiner match - though none of the games are in this database - but how could that have been for the title? There was an actual honest-to-goodness TOURNEY played in 1946 won by Reshevsky.
Feb-07-09  AnalyzeThis: Denker vs. Steiner apparently happenned first, with Denker defending his title, then for some reason they switched back to the tournament format, which Reshevsky won. Apparently, had Steiner won the match against Denker that year, he would have been US champion for about 15 minutes.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Well, more like five months; the match was played from May 18-June 1, the tournament from October 26-November 17. Denker, in his book <If You Must Play Chess>, definitely describes it as a championship match.

Apparently, the champion had the right to accept challenges in match play between the biennial tournaments. Reshevsky won a similar match against Horowitz in 1941.

I'm just guessing, but it's possible the tournaments were arranged just to be sure there would be championship competition after Marshall held the title for 27 years (1909-1936) and defended it only once (Edward Lasker, 1923).

Feb-21-09  WhiteRook48: I have not heard of this player before
Premium Chessgames Member
  Willem Wallekers: Mr. Denker deserves a place in the first section of "Happy birthday to".
Apr-12-11  waustad: The highest rating does no justice. According to chessmetrics he got into the top 10 in 1935. Whatever you think of their methods, that is a lot stronger than an ordinary master. They gave him a 2738 performance rating at Syracuse, 1935 in a tourney with the cream of US chess - Reshevsky, Fine, Kashdan, Dake, Steiner, Santastiere, ...
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Pity only two of Denker's games are in this DB from his triumphal march to the 1944 US title, but at least the best-known of the lot is one!
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: I met Denker once at some big tournament in Chicago. Unfortunately I didn't have his best games collection at the time, so I had him autograph his game against Fine in one of Fine's books - maybe "The World's Great Chess Games." A very strong player and classy guy who deserves to be better known. Do check out Denker-Feit, the first game of his in this database (and also in his book I believe). He played it in high school, and it is a frigging masterpiece. Even he wrote that he doesn't understand how he played the game so well as that age.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I used to own a copy of "The Bobby Fischer I Knew, And Other Stories", which is a nice book, recollection of chess in the 1930s-50s, and Denkers bit of interation with the very young BF at chess clubs. A nice complement to a chess book shelf, considering how much garbage is out there.

Does anyone have <"The KGB Plays Chess: The Soviet Secret Police and the Fight for the World Chess Crown"> by Boris Gulko? Is it any good?

Premium Chessgames Member
  jessicafischerqueen: Live film footage of the USA vs. RUSSIA match held in Moscow, 1946. Included are <Mikhail Botvinnik>, <Vassily Smslov>, <Samuel Reshevsky>, <Arnold Denker>, and <Arthur Dake>:

Jul-04-11  Rook e2: A nice name for a good chessplayer, 'Denker' means 'thinker' in Dutch.
Jul-04-11  karnak64: A true all American. Good pick for the day!
Premium Chessgames Member
  grasser: I got a draw with Denker when I was a teen back in 1976. He was a VERY nice man.
Sep-01-13  Karpova: His son Mitchell passed away on August 24:
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Found the following game in an old NZ Chess magazine. It apparently was played in a Manhattan - Marshall Team Match in 1963. I'm not sure if White was Harry Lyman or his nephew Shelby Lyman.

[Event "Manhatten Marshall Team Match"]
[Site "New York, USA"]
[Date "1963.??.??"]
[EventDate "?"]
[Round "?"]
[Result "0-1"]
[White "Lyman"]
[Black "Denker"]
[ECO "B82"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[PlyCount "68"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Nc3 b5 6. Bd3 Bb7 7. O-O d6 8. f4 Nf6 9. Be3 b4 10. e5 dxe5 11. fxe5 bxc3 12. exf6 Qd5 13. Qe2 gxf6 14. Bc4 Qe5 15. Nf3 Qh5 16. Bd4 Bc5 17. bxc3 O-O 18. Rab1 Bc6 19. Qf2 Nd7 20. Be2 Rfe8 21. Nd2 Bxd4 22. cxd4 Qg5 23. Bf3 Bxf3 24. Nxf3 Qd5 25. Nd2 Qxa2 26. Rb7 Red8 27. Nb3 f5 28. d5 Rac8 29. dxe6 fxe6 30. Rc1 Qb2 31. Qa7 Nf6 32. Qb6 Qe5 33. Re7 Rd6 34. Qf2 Rcd8 0-1

Premium Chessgames Member
  crawfb5: According to Horowitz's column in the <NY Times> of 30 Jun 1963, Denker's opponent was Shelbourne (Shelby) Lyman. The game was from a match in the final round of the Metropolitan Chess League.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <crawfb5> Thanks Larry. If anyone wants to upload this game feel free to do so.


Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: RE: Lyman-Denker, MCC-MCC tm (1963)

Opening Study:

Here's an unplayed variation where White deviates with 10.Na4 and Black injudiciously decides to grab the pawn:

10.Na4 <off to the side, but keeps center lines open, and x-ray owns b6/c5. Also good is 10.e5> Then if Bxe4 11.Bxe4 Nxe4

click for larger view

<Sharp - White has one move to gain a decisive advantage - utilizing development lead to capitalize on Black's king being stuck in the center, e.g.>

12.f5! e5 13.Ne6! <sac> fxe6 <what else? if 13...Qc8 or 13...Qd7 then 14.Nb6> 14.fxe6 d5 15.Qh5+ g6 16.Qxe5 Rg8 17.Qf4 Ra7? <better to return piece w 17...Nf6 or 17...Qf6> 18.Qf7+ Rxf7 19.exf7+ Kd7 20.fxg8=Q < Black is lost>

Look at how powerful the coordinated White knights are if the sac is declined. They almost single-handedly rip open Black's position.

Feb-21-15  NBAFan: I remember meeting Denker in the 90's. He was a true gentleman, who welcomed me as soon as I saw him. I deeply miss him, and wish that he had been listed as the POTD today. He deserves the respect.
May-16-15  Howard: He was almost certainly the last surviving player from the 1936 U.S. championship, at the time he died.
Oct-27-15  wrap99: Met Denker in 1977 at US Open in Columbus -- not so much older then than I am now (time flies as someone else observed above) -- very nice and approachable and amusing guy.

It seems to me as he was colorfully analyzing a game with a much younger opponent that somehow this was what chess was about: Bright people of various ages and backgrounds interacting socially (a huge part of chess -- the tournament is one thing, the skittles room is an incredible place: please try to play at a US Open at least once!).

Denker was a great man as far as I can tell.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy birthday, GM Arnold Denker.

Why would you have been left off the birthday list?

Premium Chessgames Member
  ketchuplover: may he continue to rest in peace
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