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Joel Benjamin
Joel Benjamin 
Number of games in database: 1,366
Years covered: 1975 to 2017
Last FIDE rating: 2544 (2561 blitz)
Highest rating achieved in database: 2620

Overall record: +535 -260 =520 (60.5%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 51 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (154) 
    B50 B90 B23 B30 B40
 Ruy Lopez (81) 
    C69 C67 C78 C77 C65
 French Defense (48) 
    C02 C05 C11 C03 C18
 Caro-Kann (36) 
    B12 B17 B10 B13 B14
 King's Indian (35) 
    E73 E97 E80 E94 E67
 Queen's Pawn Game (32) 
    A45 A46 D00 A41 A40
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (143) 
    B40 B46 B47 B22 B32
 Queen's Pawn Game (72) 
    A46 A45 A41 E00 A50
 King's Indian (50) 
    E62 E92 E60 E67 E61
 Nimzo Indian (44) 
    E32 E33 E20 E30 E46
 Queen's Indian (39) 
    E15 E12 E17 E13 E14
 Sicilian Taimanov (36) 
    B46 B47 B48 B49 B45
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Joel Benjamin vs N Gamboa, 1995 1-0
   Joel Benjamin vs Gufeld, 1998 1-0
   Kamsky vs Joel Benjamin, 1991 0-1
   Igor Ivanov vs Joel Benjamin, 1990 0-1
   Socrates vs Joel Benjamin, 1995 0-1
   Miles vs Joel Benjamin, 1989 0-1
   Junior vs Joel Benjamin, 1995 0-1
   Joel Benjamin vs J I M Grant, 2005 1-0
   Joel Benjamin vs Stripunsky, 2006 1-0
   Joel Benjamin vs I D Dorfman, 1989 1-0

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2001)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   US Championship (1991)
   US Championships 2003 (2003)
   Chessmaster US Championships 2005 (2004)
   34th World Open (2006)
   E.U. Championship and Cork Chess Congress (2005)
   32nd World Open (2004)
   HB Global Chess Challenge (2005)
   US Chess Championships (2013)
   US Championship (2009)
   US Championships (2010)
   World Open (2009)
   Lone Pine (1980)
   Lone Pine (1979)
   Bled Olympiad (2002)
   United States Chess League (2008)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Joel Benjamin - Selected Games by Resignation Trap
   US Championship 1991 by Phony Benoni
   US Championship 1991 by suenteus po 147
   New York 1996 (Chess-in-the-Schools Festival) by Phony Benoni
   Pan-Pacific GM Tournament, San Francisco 1991 by wanabe2000
   US Open 1988, Boston by Phony Benoni

   Joel Benjamin vs Korchnoi, 1986

   🏆 PRO League Group Stage
   R Gonzalez vs Joel Benjamin (Feb-22-17) 0-1
   L Dominguez vs Joel Benjamin (Feb-22-17) 1/2-1/2
   Joel Benjamin vs B Amin (Feb-22-17) 1-0
   Joel Benjamin vs S Abrahams (Feb-22-17) 1-0
   O Barbosa vs Joel Benjamin (Feb-15-17) 1-0

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Joel Benjamin
Search Google for Joel Benjamin
FIDE player card for Joel Benjamin

(born Mar-11-1964, 53 years old) United States of America

[what is this?]
Joel Lawrence Benjamin was born in New York. He was awarded the IM title in 1980 and the GM title in 1986. At the World Junior Championship 1982 he finished 3rd=. In December 1983 in a match against Nigel Short he won decisively (+4, =3, -0) and finished 2nd= at Hastings 1984-85. In 2011, he tied for 1st-3rd with Walter Arencibia & Dejan Bojkov in the Canadian open. In the US Championships he was 2nd in 1985, 2nd= in 1986, 1st= in 1987, 1st outright in 1997 and 1st= in 2000

Wikipedia article: Joel Benjamin

References: (1)

 page 1 of 55; games 1-25 of 1,366  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Joel Benjamin vs G Klinglesmith ½-½501975US OpenD87 Grunfeld, Exchange
2. Joel Benjamin vs Rohde  ½-½271976New YorkB06 Robatsch
3. B M Amos vs Joel Benjamin 0-1401976Manhattan International TournamentC91 Ruy Lopez, Closed
4. Joel Benjamin vs A Lein 0-1611976New YorkE54 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Gligoric System
5. Joel Benjamin vs Feuerstein 1-0251976New YorkA04 Reti Opening
6. Short vs Joel Benjamin 1-0441976London txB41 Sicilian, Kan
7. L Shamkovich vs Joel Benjamin 1-0421976USA 22/328C96 Ruy Lopez, Closed
8. Joel Benjamin vs S Bernstein ½-½671976New York OpenC50 Giuoco Piano
9. Joel Benjamin vs T Throop 1-026197677th US OpenE11 Bogo-Indian Defense
10. Fedorowicz vs Joel Benjamin 1-042197677th US OpenA00 Uncommon Opening
11. Joel Benjamin vs Chandler 0-1321977London, EnglandB47 Sicilian, Taimanov (Bastrikov) Variation
12. R Buchanan vs Joel Benjamin  ½-½521977U.S opE16 Queen's Indian
13. T C Fox vs Joel Benjamin  ½-½36197778th US OpenB23 Sicilian, Closed
14. Joel Benjamin vs W M Buehl  1-049197778th US OpenB02 Alekhine's Defense
15. Joel Benjamin vs M Acosta  0-150197778th US OpenA17 English
16. G Terry vs Joel Benjamin  1-047197778th US OpenB43 Sicilian, Kan, 5.Nc3
17. A L Smith vs Joel Benjamin 0-126197778th US OpenC44 King's Pawn Game
18. D Haas vs Joel Benjamin  1-050197778th US OpenB87 Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin with ...a6 and ...b5
19. Joel Benjamin vs C Blocker  1-044197804, v New York CityB40 Sicilian
20. R C Balinas vs Joel Benjamin 1-01301978Lloyds BankE00 Queen's Pawn Game
21. Joel Benjamin vs M Yeo  1-0341978Lloyds BankC73 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense
22. S Bouaziz vs Joel Benjamin  ½-½181978Lloyds BankB10 Caro-Kann
23. Joel Benjamin vs G Forintos  ½-½631978Lloyds BankB06 Robatsch
24. A Haik vs Joel Benjamin  1-0531978Lloyds BankA10 English
25. Joel Benjamin vs M Basman  1-0431978Lloyds BankB15 Caro-Kann
 page 1 of 55; games 1-25 of 1,366  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Joel Benjamin wins | Joel Benjamin loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 7 OF 7 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: When He won the USA championship around the age of 18 or 19 I remember the New York Post ran a story about him with a headline that read something like:

"Another Bobby Fischer From Brooklyn!"

chess players knew that at age 18 or 19 it was already too late for Benjamin to become the next Fischer, but it was a nice story and chunk of recognition.

Mar-13-14  Howard: Joel first won the title of U.S. champion in 1987, when he tied for first with Nick Defirmian. He was 23 at the time.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: First time I ever laid eyes on Joel was at the 1976 US Junior in Storrs, Conn. He was then ~2050.

A few other recollections from that event:

J Donaldson vs R Sulman, 2001

<Late in the tourney, Eric Moskow (who was built like a light tank) et al lifted a vehicle from the road to one of the greens, and one of the university suits gave us all a stern lecture before the last round that Friday morning.>

Joel and I next met-at the board this time-in the third round of the 1986 Massachusetts Open. Nimzo-Indian and he outplayed me efficiently in the middlegame, same as our last meeting at Saratoga 1993.

Premium Chessgames Member
  technical draw: I met him at a chess club I believe it was in San Diego. I can't remember the year but he had hair then.
Premium Chessgames Member
  technical draw: Or maybe it was Nick de Firmian?
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <norami: I remember well him breaking Fischer's "youngest master" record and being hyped as "the next Fischer". He was the first in a long line of American kids who broke that record, were hyped as the next Fischer, and never came close.>

I can count on one partially amputated hand the number of young masters who came close to being the next Fischer.

They are Karpov, Kasparov, and Carlsen.

None of them are American kids, clearly.

Premium Chessgames Member
  norami: <thegoodanarchist> Nakamura held that record for awhile and at least he became a top 10 player. Most of the others quit chess.
Mar-19-14  RookFile: I think that what the goodanarchist just wrote is correct.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <...Chess is not like a school subject where you accumulate knowledge until you are an expert. Improvement comes mainly from the ability to process and interpret the information that comes your way, and put it to work in practice. Knowing how to translate your knowledge into good decisions over the board is where talent comes in, and if you seriously believe you don't have it, you will have a very difficult road ahead of you> - Joel Benjamin.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <We live in good times for chess professionals, with many opportunities for steady income through teaching, writing, and Internet work, but bad times for chess players. The competition is extremely intense with too many players for the market to bear. Conditions for players in the U.S. have not improved over the years. Anyone who wants to devote their career to playing chess has to be prepared to put their work above everything else. I think that to compete with players overseas you have to move to Europe for a more professional environment> - Joel Benjamin.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <The Focus> Are those quotes from "American Grandmaster"? I read the book, and I remember GM Benjamin's thinking, just as you put it.

I think his take on the state of chess in the US for players is a bit too negative, although he does have a point when he says in his book that chess is becoming a game for kids, and even more so for little kids. In Nashville, where I live, the Nashville Chess Center is a very successful institution, but what makes it so is scholastic chess. The NCC has contracts with dozens of local schools and 90+% of the tournaments it organizes are for kids. Not surprising, since that's where the money is and the NCC has to focus on the bottom line. And, by the way, about half of USCF members are scholastic members.

From my reading of the book, I felt that GM Benjamin resented the massive immigration of players from Eastern Europe after the collapse of the Soviet Union. That surely brought stiff competition to him and the rest of US-born and raised GMs, but arguably it gave a good boost to the quality of American chess.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Fusilli> The quotes may be from there, but I am getting them from a site with quotes.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Fusilli> Chess in Hawaii seems to be geared towards the scholastic arena too. There are no good tournaments scheduled here and relatively very few masters and experts.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <The Focus> There are enough masters and experts in Nashville to have a nice small round-robin. I have suggested to the NCC to organize a low-key tournament... say, playing once a week only, since most of us are busy adults. But there was no interest... So, when I have time and decide I want to play a tournament, I hit the road for one of those grueling weekend Swiss opens. I hate playing twice in the same day, but I have no other options.
Aug-08-15  pazzed paun: Benjamin has a lopsided score against yasser
Even when Yasser would have been the higher rated player Why?
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Fusilli....From my reading of (<American Grandmaster>), I felt that GM Benjamin resented the massive immigration of players from Eastern Europe after the collapse of the Soviet Union. That surely brought stiff competition to him and the rest of US-born and raised GMs, but arguably it gave a good boost to the quality of American chess.>

My own view of this in those days:

<<The US is a nation of immigrants. There is nothing wrong with a bulk of foreign born players.>

Indeed not, though as far back as the 1990s, I recall Patrick Wolff and Joel Benjamin objecting to the numerous foreign-born players who competed in US championships even then.>

US Championship (2014)

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Joel Benjamin.
Mar-11-16  Howard: Ditto ! I still remember the first time he was pictured in Chess Life & Review, back in 1975. He was 11 at the time.

Coincidentally, I'm playing over one of his games right now from the recent New Jersey Open.

Mar-11-16  Shams: <Fusilli> <I think his take on the state of chess in the US for players is a bit too negative, although he does have a point when he says in his book that chess is becoming a game for kids, and even more so for little kids.>

What a strange criticism. He knows those little kids are going to grow up, right?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <Shams> <What a strange criticism. He knows those little kids are going to grow up, right?>

Yes, and the large majority will have quit chess by then, or keep playing but stop being the focus of attention. I think the point is that the lion's share of tournament organizing and chess activity targets kids. Scholastic members are 50% of USCF members, and most people who make some money from chess do it from coaching kids.

Apr-15-16  JimNorCal: Yeah the kids play, their ratings are way lower than their abilities. They suck rating points out of the system, then they move on to other interests before giving back. For adults it means rating deflation and no tournaments to play in. US chess will survive, of course, but for now it's an awkward dynamic.
Premium Chessgames Member
  eternaloptimist: Happy birthday to the 3-time US Chess Champ Joel Benjamin!
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: In his excellent book "American Grandmaster" Benjamin notes that the only chess trophy or memorabilia he has on display in his home is a framed draw against Kasparov at Corus in Holland, one year. This was the year that Kasparov went nutts and won every single game he had with white except--the one against Joel!

Benjamin beat Short 3 1/2 -- 1/2 in a four game match, too, although Short had zero preparation time for that match.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: If Benjamin wrote that the game with Kasparov was played in the Netherlands, his recollection was incorrect--the draw was contested in Horgen, Switzerland.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: probably my mistake. I thought it was a reference to Corus, a more prestigious event. To go near all wins with white at Corus would be quite the achievement!
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