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Karl Forster
Number of games in database: 19
Years covered: 1946 to 1962
Overall record: +6 -5 =8 (52.6%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

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(born May-03-1909, died Jul-1977, 68 years old) Germany (federation/nationality United States of America)

[what is this?]
Karl Forster was born in Dummeldorf, Germany. He came to Montreal, Canada in 1928 with the Köln from Bremen, and to New York in June 1938 with the Deutschland from Hamburg. Both times single and with the name Karl Forstenaicher. His occupation in 1938 was ‘waiter’, and possibly he belonged to the ship’s crew. He was naturalized in New York on 16 Jan. 1950 (47 E 74th Street, Manhattan). In October 1951 he arrived again to New York with Neptunia from Bremerhaven – this time as a tourist.

In 1939 and 1940 we see him in the West Side Chess Club, Manhattan. He played in the preliminaries of the 1940 US Championship, finishing 4th/8 in his section with an even score. After World War II he played in the 47th US Open (1946) where he ended 19th in the preliminary swiss (+3 -2 =3) and then 8th in the Premier Reserves final (+2 -1 =5). He played in 1946 in the Marshall Chess Club (New York), and then switched allegiance to the Manhattan Chess Club, remaining active in club and team tournaments until ca. 1975. He died in 1977 in Lincoln Square, Manhattan, New York.

Main sources: US Social Security Death Index, New York and Canadian passenger lists, Petition for Naturalization (New York City 1950), online newspapers, West Virginia Chess Bulletin July-Aug. 1946.

 page 1 of 1; 19 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. K Forster vs P Dietz 1-025194647th US OpenB01 Scandinavian
2. K Forster vs Kupchik 0-131194647th US OpenB92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
3. F H Stoppel vs K Forster 0-17194647th US OpenD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
4. Santasiere vs K Forster  0-144194647th US OpenC32 King's Gambit Declined, Falkbeer Counter Gambit
5. K Forster vs Bisguier  ½-½31194647th US OpenD52 Queen's Gambit Declined
6. K Forster vs W Shipman  ½-½19194647th US OpenD55 Queen's Gambit Declined
7. D Byrne vs K Forster  ½-½41194647th US OpenE14 Queen's Indian
8. W Adams vs K Forster  1-039194647th US OpenC27 Vienna Game
9. M Aleman Dovo vs K Forster  1-035194647th US OpenC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
10. K Forster vs H Gordon  ½-½20194647th US OpenB60 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer
11. K Forster vs Larry Evans  1-052194647th US OpenD32 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
12. G Kramer vs K Forster  ½-½53194647th US OpenE56 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Main line with 7...Nc6
13. K Forster vs S E Almgren  0-148194647th US OpenE10 Queen's Pawn Game
14. K Forster vs W Adams  ½-½27194647th US OpenA28 English
15. K Forster vs Santasiere  ½-½26194647th US OpenD96 Grunfeld, Russian Variation
16. Eugene Levin vs K Forster  0-158194647th US OpenB72 Sicilian, Dragon
17. Robert E Byrne vs K Forster ½-½27194647th US OpenE58 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Main line with 8...Bxc3
18. A Blasi vs K Forster  1-0151956New YorkC29 Vienna Gambit
19. K Forster vs J Pamiljens 1-0271962Metropolitan Chess LeagueB90 Sicilian, Najdorf
 page 1 of 1; 19 games  PGN Download 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Forster wins | Forster loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: Hmm. I give up for now, to be on the safe side. There are too many Karl Forster's around. My only clue is that he is "of New York" (1946), played for Marshall chess club (1946), and played in the NY state championship (1948).

Prime suspect:

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Forster is Karl at <Phony Benoni>'s Game Collection: US Open 1946, Pittsburgh.
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  Tabanus: <The Focus> The Dr Karl Michael Forster in link above was born in Buffalo and went to Canisius College there. There is even a picture of him in the school yearbook (which is only in and I can't manage to copy it). A strong canditate :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Tabanus> In its report on the 1946 US Open in Pittsburgh, the <American Chess Bulletin> repinted a number of "personal sketches" from the <West Virginia Chess Bulletin>. These are short profiles of the players, often nothing more than age and address.

The entry for Karl Forster: "age 27, of 47 E. 74th St., New York City". That would put his birthdate at 1918/1919.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Forster first shows up in 1939 as a member of the West Side Chess Club. He played in the preliminaries of the 1940 US Championship, finishing 4th/8 in his section with an even score.

He then disappears until 1946, which given his age probably indicates military service. After that, he switched allegiance to the Manhattan Chess Club, remaining active in club and team tournaments until at least 1975.

I don't see his name in the ACB report on the 1948 New York State Championship. He was listed as an "inactive" Expert in the first official rating list (which would mean no tournaments after 1946), but does show up in later rating lists into the 1970s.

He is always called "Karl Forster", never "Dr."

Sources: newspapers from the Fulton web site, American Chess Bulletin, New York Times.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: <Phony Benoni: I don't see his name in the ACB report on the 1948 New York State Championship.>

I was too fast and misread 'New York State Champion' in BDE as 'New York State Championship'. It was only a speed tournament in Manhattan chess club.

New York Sun 10 June 1946 and BDE 13 June 1946: played in group B in Marshall CC. NY Sun 17 Aug. 1946: played in speed tourn. in Marshall CC. This may mean he played in the Marshall club, not for that club. In BDE 21 March 1940 he plays for West Side CC (1/2 in match vs M. Miller, Bronx).

Not to miss anything I post this from 'The Greece Press' (New York) 1937-38:

"The Eye-chess tournament got under way Monday at the home of Harry Daley. This tournament is for the championship of the southeast corner of Irondequoit. It was decided that two points would be alloted to any player scoring a victory, and one point each if a tie game is played. At the end of the tournament all ties for first place shall play a two out of three game series. Results of last Monday evening are as follows:

W. L. T. Pts.
C. Brunke 2 0 0 4
E. Gartz 2 0 0 4
D. Daley 2 0 0 4
0. Forster 1 1 0 2
H. Daley 1 1 0 2
W. Robertson 0 2 0 0
F. Rickard 0 2 0 0
H. Harris 0 2 0 0"

Whatever 'eye-chess' is. And O., not K.


Forster candidates:

1) Karl Michael, b. 1916 in Buffalo (NY), Fosdick-Masten High School in Buffalo, Canisius College in Buffalo, lives 1940 in Plainfield, Union, New Jersey and works 48h a week as ‘hlpr’, enlisted 5/12 1940 to the Infantry (as single, 0 children, has semi-skilled occupation in fabrication of textile products), released from Army 25 June 1945 (according to US Dept of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File 1850-2010), graduated 1950 from Creighton University (Omaha Nebraska), wrote “Sensitivity of Occult Blood Tests” (Omaha 1950), is “phys” in 1951 at St. Joseph Hospital in Omaha.

According to a family tree this Karl (until 1940) was married (date unknown) to a Mary Muzika (1918-1964) with several childen, and buried in Grand Island, Hall, Nebraska.

The 1916-1940 part (and died 1978) should be OK, but the 1950-1951 part looks strange and may be another Karl? It would explain the “Dr.” on his grave. Did he play in New York all the time after the war?

2) Karl H. Forster (1917-1981), lived in Bethlehem, PA, in 1937, 1939, 1941, 1943, 1945,1947, 1949, 1981 ---- i. e. his whole life in Bethlehem.

3) Carl W. Forster (1917-1944)

4) Carl M. Forster b. 1919 in Ohio, lived 1930 and 1940 in Indiana.

5) Carl F. Forster (1920-1992), lives in Wisconsin 1920, 1935, and 1992, but in Miami Beach, Florida in 1940.

6) Carl L. Forster (1917-2000), only seen in California/West coast.

7) Carl Forster born ca. 1915 in British West Indies. Black, immigrated 1922. Lives 1930 in Queens, New York (no more data).

I like no. 1 more and more. The only other one who has a World War II record is no. 3.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: In addition to these there is

8) Karl Forster, living in New York (1995) and in Commack, New York (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002). He could be our man, and one of no. 1-7 above.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Tabanus> I will check the USCF rating lists more thoroughly tonight, but everything I've seen so far indicates he is a strictly NYC player. The New York Times mentions him as playing in matches for Manhattan in 1952 and 1958, and he also pops up in club championships during the 1960s.

It's negative evidence, but he is never called "Dr." in any report. I can't see identifying him with Dr. Karl Michael Forster, or any of your other possibilities.

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  Tabanus: <PB> Hmmm. At least we can exclude the one living in Commack 1998-2002 if the following is correct:

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Tabanus> I'll also double check some of the ages in the ACB list I mentioned earlier. If those are accurate, it would at least confirm a 1918/1919 birth date, for what that would be worth.
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  Phony Benoni: <Tabanus> The West Virginia Chess Bulletin containing the biographical information for the players at the 1946 US Open is online:

See pages 7-8. Note that Forster's age is given as <37>, not <27>. That may well be a typo: notice that Abraham Kupchik is listed as "34" instead of the correct "54". Or maybe my eyes aren't what they used to be.

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  Tabanus: <PB> If 37 (= ca. 1909). I have him now:

Karl Forster (1909-1977), born in Germany as Karl Forstenacher, immigrated to NY 1938, naturalized in NY 1950 and lived 1950 in <47 E 74th St.>. Thanks PB!

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  Phony Benoni: <Tabanus> That looks good, and would explain why there are no mentions in the US sources before 1939 or after 1975.
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  Tabanus: He was also known as Karl Forstenaicher, and here is a piece in Italian (please translate, someone!):

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  Phony Benoni: <Tabanus> I couldn't attempt a real translation, but the Google translator gives the gist.

The pictures were orginally taken by Karl Forster's brother Franz, who gave them to their sister Paola, and were supplied to the author by her daughter and son-in-law, Wilma and Ferruccio Anghileri.

The pictures are from 1954. In the large picture Fischer, aged 11 and wearing the striped shirt, is analyzing a game. Karl Forster is standing at the far left, wearing the light-colored suit.

The smaller pictures show Forster teaching a group of young players, including Fischer who is wearing a jacket. To my eye, the teacher looks different than the man in the light suit, and I'm not sure which of the kids in the small pictures is Fischer. But I've always had poor facial recognitiion software.

The author wryly notes that the first picture shows Fischer had not yet developed his later allergy to spectators. But is also shows that even the pre-Master Fischer was getting people interested in his play.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Bobby said he joined the Manhattan Chess Club in the summer of 1955, so either the date is wrong or someone's recollection is.

<The smaller pictures show Forster teaching a group of young players, including Fischer who is wearing a jacket.>

The boy in the jacket is NOT Fischer. Bill Nigro said so and he knew Bobby then. He also does not resemble any of the photos of the 12 year old Fischer, photos of which are in <Bobby Fischer Uncensored> by DeLucia. Remember that Bobby was always in jeans and plaid shirts, not a suit.

<To my eye, the teacher looks different than the man in the light suit>

I agree. No way is that the same person. Build and face are different.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: At, the pictures are all dated 1955.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: I think the teacher and the man in light suit is the same person. Anyway,, google translated:

A nice pair of friends, Wilma and Ferruccio Anghileri, grandsons of the German chess master <Karl Forstenaicher>, they made me a gift of some exceptional photographs of half a century ago. Portray the eleven Bobby Fischer at the Manhattan Chess Club in New York in 1954, while playing chess during a lesson that Karl Forstenaicher is imparting to him and other young students.

In September of 1972, just ended the match of the century in Reykjavik, the brother of Karl Forstenaicher, Franz, also a chess player, wrote in German behind the photograph larger:

"Taken 18 years ago. Karl is on the left at the top with the light jacket. the guy on the right is playing Bobby Fischer, the current world champion at the age of eleven. indicates here with your hand, or are running an interesting move, as deduced by the attention of those present."

Franz Forstenaicher also donated these photographs to his sister Paola, Francoletti married, and I have received thirty years later by his daughter Wilma Francoletti in Anghileri.

In another photo, the teacher is explaining to the wall chessboard, and in another it still looks pleased the student Bobby among others.

In this situation we can then define Forstenaicher "master of Fischer", although it is generally known, as recalled by Monticelli (1972, p. 9), that "Fischer did not have teachers, a sample is essentially self-taught."


My interpretation is that the pictures are authentic, showing Karl Forster/Forstenaicher in the Manhattan or Marshall club sometime around 1945-1950-1955. But that the Fischer story is invented later, say in 1972.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <My interpretation is that the pictures are authentic, showing Karl Forster/Forstenaicher in the Manhattan or Marshall club sometime around 1945-1950-1955. But that the Fischer story is invented later, say in 1972.>

<Tabanus> That sounds very plausible.

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