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Joel Benjamin 
Joel Benjamin
Number of games in database: 1,348
Years covered: 1975 to 2013
Last FIDE rating: 2544 (2561 blitz)
Highest rating achieved in database: 2662
Overall record: +528 -259 =522 (60.3%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      39 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (151) 
    B90 B50 B23 B30 B40
 Ruy Lopez (79) 
    C69 C67 C78 C65 C64
 French Defense (48) 
    C02 C05 C11 C18 C03
 King's Indian (35) 
    E97 E94 E80 E73 E92
 Caro-Kann (35) 
    B12 B17 B14 B13 B10
 Queen's Pawn Game (33) 
    A45 A46 A41 D00 A40
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (143) 
    B40 B47 B46 B22 B32
 Queen's Pawn Game (70) 
    A46 A41 A45 E00 A50
 King's Indian (50) 
    E62 E60 E92 E61 E67
 Nimzo Indian (42) 
    E32 E33 E20 E30 E54
 Queen's Indian (40) 
    E15 E12 E17 E13 E14
 Sicilian Taimanov (36) 
    B47 B46 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
   Socrates vs Joel Benjamin, 1995 0-1
   Junior vs Joel Benjamin, 1995 0-1
   Igor Ivanov vs Joel Benjamin, 1990 0-1
   Joel Benjamin vs Stripunsky, 2006 1-0
   Joel Benjamin vs Gulko, 1991 1-0
   K Shirazi vs Joel Benjamin, 1984 0-1
   Miles vs Joel Benjamin, 1989 0-1

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

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   US Championship (1991)
   Chessmaster US Championships 2005 (2004)
   US Championships 2003 (2003)
   32nd World Open (2004)
   34th World Open (2006)
   HB Global Chess Challenge (2005)
   E.U. Championship and Cork Chess Congress (2005)
   US Chess Championships (2013)
   US Championship (2009)
   US Championships (2010)
   World Open (2009)
   Lone Pine (1979)
   Lone Pine (1980)
   Lone Pine (1981)
   United States Chess League (2008)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Joel Benjamin - Selected Games by Resignation Trap
   Szirak Interzonal (1987) - Round II by zanzibar
   Szirak Interzonal 1987 by zanzibar
   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

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

(born Mar-11-1964, 51 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 54; games 1-25 of 1,348  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Joel Benjamin vs G Klinglesmith ½-½50 1975 US OpenD87 Grunfeld, Exchange
2. Joel Benjamin vs Feuerstein 1-025 1976 New YorkA04 Reti Opening
3. L Shamkovich vs Joel Benjamin 1-042 1976 USA 22/328C96 Ruy Lopez, Closed
4. Short vs Joel Benjamin 1-044 1976 London txB41 Sicilian, Kan
5. Joel Benjamin vs S Bernstein ½-½67 1976 New York opC50 Giuoco Piano
6. Fedorowicz vs Joel Benjamin 1-042 1976 Fairfax USA opA00 Uncommon Opening
7. Joel Benjamin vs Rohde  ½-½27 1976 New YorkB06 Robatsch
8. Joel Benjamin vs T Throop 1-026 1976 Fairfax USA opE11 Bogo-Indian Defense
9. B M Amos vs Joel Benjamin 0-140 1976 Manhattan International TournamentC91 Ruy Lopez, Closed
10. Joel Benjamin vs A Lein 0-161 1976 New YorkE54 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Gligoric System
11. A L Smith vs Joel Benjamin 0-126 1977 Columbus opC44 King's Pawn Game
12. D Haas vs Joel Benjamin  1-050 1977 Columbus opB87 Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin with ...a6 and ...b5
13. T C Fox vs Joel Benjamin  ½-½36 1977 Columbus opB23 Sicilian, Closed
14. R Buchanan vs Joel Benjamin  ½-½52 1977 U.S opE16 Queen's Indian
15. Joel Benjamin vs W M Buehl  1-049 1977 Columbus opB02 Alekhine's Defense
16. G Terry vs Joel Benjamin  1-047 1977 Columbus opB43 Sicilian, Kan, 5.Nc3
17. Joel Benjamin vs M Acosta  0-150 1977 Columbus opA17 English
18. Joel Benjamin vs Chandler 0-132 1977 London, EnglandB47 Sicilian, Taimanov (Bastrikov) Variation
19. Joel Benjamin vs G Forintos  ½-½63 1978 London (England)B06 Robatsch
20. R C Balinas vs Joel Benjamin 1-0130 1978 London (England)E00 Queen's Pawn Game
21. Joel Benjamin vs M Yeo  1-034 1978 London (England)C73 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense
22. Joel Benjamin vs C Blocker  1-044 1978 04, v New York CityB40 Sicilian
23. Joel Benjamin vs M Basman  1-043 1978 London (England)B15 Caro-Kann
24. S Bouaziz vs Joel Benjamin  ½-½18 1978 London (England)B10 Caro-Kann
25. A Haik vs Joel Benjamin  1-053 1978 London (England)A10 English
 page 1 of 54; games 1-25 of 1,348  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 6 OF 6 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-11-14  LivBlockade: Happy 50th to the Player of the Day!
Mar-11-14  HeMateMe: happy Birthday, Joel B. I have your excellent book American Grandmaster. Lots of good stories.

Do you still have old copies of your mail order magazine Chess Chow?

Only Kasparov could get emotional about losing to a software program. You and the other members of the Feng Hsu team are to be commended for not speaking out about his poor behavior. Such a bratty kid, at times, and with his mother Clara in attendance!

Premium Chessgames Member
  belgradegambit: Back in 1980 I was at a tournament in New Yorkwhere I was playing in a lower section but my opponents were very strong recent immigrants from Russia. (I drew a game with a very young Maxim Dlugy). In another round I was playing an older Russian when Joel Benjamin came over and started studying the position. He even came back a few times. I was up a whole rook but unfortutunately my opponent had 4 pawns as compensation. Afterwards he asked me about the outcome and when I said it was a draw he told me it would have been very difficult to win such a position. We graduated the same high school (James Madison in Brooklyn) although many years apart.
Mar-11-14  Castleinthesky: Happy Birthday! I had the honor of being beaten by Joel Benjamin in a simul at the Brighton Beach Chess Club (in Brooklyn-long since defunct) when I was 13 and Benjamin was 15. I am glad he has had such a successful career in chess.
Mar-11-14  thegoodanarchist: <rapidcitychess: <A few months after all the work I did on the Deep Blue project, at the US Championship, I thought "miserable Earthlings, you have no chance against me!">

--- Joel Benjamin

Don't the aliens usually end up losing?>

Only in the movies. Just ask any new world native tribe; that is, you can ask them if they are still around to hear it.

Mar-11-14  Howard: The first time that Joel Benjamin got his picture in Chess Life was back in 1975, when it was called Chess Life and Review (The name changed in 1980 I believe.). He was 11 at the time, and there was a nice shot of him at the 1975 U.S. Open, in Lincoln, NE.

Two years later.....he got his picture on the front cover (no less !) of CL & R (October, 1977) when he became a master at 13, beating Fischer's record by a couple of months. Great-looking photo, as I recall.

And now, the "kid" is 50 today ! How the years go by.

Mar-11-14  Petrosianic: It went BACK to being Chess Life in January 1980. When they bought Chess Review, the magazine had the combined titled for about 12 years. But when Burt Hochberg retired as editor, his successor (Fairfield W. Hoban?) decided to go back to the old title.

I guess he figured that it was long enough since Chess Review had existed as an independent publication that not many would remember it.

As I recall, it was a shame, because we had a dopey kid's joke to the effect that CL&R stood for "Cash Ledger & Register", that was totally ruined when the title changed.

Premium Chessgames Member
  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.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Happy 50th birthday to GM Joel Benjamin.
Mar-11-14  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?
Mar-18-14  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.
Premium Chessgames Member
  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)

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