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Irving Chernev
Number of games in database: 20
Years covered: 1921 to 1944
Overall record: +7 -12 =1 (37.5%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.

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D05 Queen's Pawn Game (2 games)
E34 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Noa Variation (2 games)
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(born Jan-29-1900, died Sep-29-1981, 81 years old) Ukraine (citizen of United States of America)

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Irving Chernev was born in Priluki in the Ukraine. He was a noted chess author, with books aimed for the beginner to below master level. He passed away in San Francisco, California, USA in 1981.

Wikipedia article: Irving Chernev

 page 1 of 1; 20 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Reshevsky vs Chernev  1-050 1921 Simultaneious ExhibitionC53 Giuoco Piano
2. A Miller vs Chernev 0-19 1928 New YorkC45 Scotch Game
3. J Balint vs Chernev 1-010 1938 USA-ch prel AC57 Two Knights
4. J Balint vs Chernev 1-034 1938 USA-ch prel AA18 English, Mikenas-Carls
5. Chernev vs M L Hanauer 0-115 1938 USA-ch prel AD24 Queen's Gambit Accepted
6. J Platz vs Chernev 1-029 1939 New York chE34 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Noa Variation
7. Chernev vs E S Jackson 1-022 1940 New YorkD05 Queen's Pawn Game
8. Chernev vs W Cruz 1-022 1940 New YorkA47 Queen's Indian
9. H Baker vs Chernev 0-132 1942 USA-chE17 Queen's Indian
10. Chernev vs H H Hahlbohm 1-024 1942 New YorkD05 Queen's Pawn Game
11. Denker vs Chernev 1-022 1942 USA-chA46 Queen's Pawn Game
12. Chernev vs Kashdan 0-133 1942 USA-chD93 Grunfeld, with Bf4 & e3
13. Chernev vs Seidman  0-150 1942 USA-chD41 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch
14. Reshevsky vs Chernev 1-030 1942 USA-chE34 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Noa Variation
15. Darby vs Chernev 0-141 1943 Grand National corrA07 King's Indian Attack
16. Chernev vs Denker  0-138 1944 USA chE10 Queen's Pawn Game
17. I A Horowitz vs Chernev 1-035 1944 New York ch-USAB83 Sicilian
18. Chernev vs D Gladstone  1-035 1944 USA chA04 Reti Opening
19. Chernev vs H Steiner  0-127 1944 USA chA46 Queen's Pawn Game
20. Shainswit vs Chernev ½-½32 1944 New York ch-USAE47 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Bd3
 page 1 of 1; 20 games  PGN Download 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Chernev wins | Chernev loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Mar-03-14  capafischer1: FSR, I guarantee that you are in the absolute minority if you think Lasker was a greater player than capablanca. Lasker defended his title against the likes of janowski, marshall, tarrasch and drew against schelchter. Lets see he also dodged rubinstein. Capablanca lost to the great Alekhine but lifetime beat him by a score of 9 to 7. Compare laskers win loss record to capablanca. I mean they are not even close.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <capafischer1> Lasker had a better tournament record than Capablanca, a better match record than Capablanca, and much better longevity as a player than Capablanca. (Compare their 10 and 15-year peaks on Chessmetrics. Capablanca isn't even on the 20-year list. Lasker, despite being 20 years Capablanca's junior, finished ahead of Capablanca in every single tournament (St. Petersburg 1914, New York 1924, Moscow 1925, and Moscow 1935) until 1936, when Lasker was 67.
Mar-03-14  capafischer1: When you make a claim as who is the greater player you have to look at the overall record. Capa had 372 wins vs only 46 losses. Lasker had 361 wins vs 90 losses. you already know about capa winning 6 to 2 against lasker. Also Lasker did not defend his title from 1910 to 1921. He avoided rubinstein and made capa wait till 1921.

And finally, remember the chessbase report with the best computers that said that capa was the most accurate of all world champions and the hardest to beat. Even lasker himself said that I have known many chess players but only one genius and that was Capablanca.

Mar-03-14  Olavi: Lasker did not avoid Rubinstein, they signed a contract for a match in autumn 1914.
Premium Chessgames Member

<capafischer1> I cite evidence; you cite anecdotes. Not impressive. Since you like quotes, here's one from Tal: "The greatest of the champions was, of course, Emanuel Lasker." You can believe whatever you want. Based on the evidence, I will continue to believe otherwise.

As for Lasker supposedly avoiding a world championship match with Rubinstein, you ignore World War I, which put a stop to most chess activity. Also, AFAIK Rubinstein never found backers for a match against Lasker.

And you want to talk about avoiding match challenges? Capablanca's financial demands for a match challenge were very difficult for challengers to meet. It took six years for someone (Alekhine) to find backers for the required purse. After winning the title, Alekhine refused to play a rematch against him unless Capablanca could meet the same financial conditions Alekhine had met. The Great Depression having intervened, Capablanca was never able to do so.

You are also much impressed by Capablanca's record against Alekhine: <Capablanca lost to the great Alekhine but lifetime beat him by a score of 9 to 7.> Wow, that <is> impressive! Let's see, how did Lasker fare against Alekhine? Three wins, one loss and four draws. The one loss occurred when Lasker was 65 years old and was playing in his first tournament in <nine years>. And he was 24 years Alekhine's senior.

How about Euwe? As I've often mentioned, he and Lasker played three games and Lasker won them all. How did your beloved Capablanca fare against Euwe? Four wins, one loss, and thirteen draws. That's 58.3% - not exactly overwhelming. The reason Capablanca lost as few games as he did is that he was not willing to take risks; he relied instead on his vaunted technique to try to outplay his opponents. If they didn't cooperate, and first-class players like Euwe weren't likely to, the result was a draw. As Lasker said, "Pit two players against each other who both have perfect technique, who both avoid weaknesses, and what is left? – a sorry caricature of chess."

Premium Chessgames Member

Have you even bothered looking at their tournament records? Lasker's is just staggering. From 1892 to 1925, he finished clear 1st 12 times, =1st with Rubinstein at St. Petersburg 1909, 2nd at Moscow 1925 (Bogolyubow's great victory; Lasker was 56 years old, and as always finished ahead of Capablanca), and =2nd at Cambridge Springs 1904 (Marshall's great triumph). His <worst> result in this period was third at the great Hastings 1895 tournament, shortly after he had almost died of typhus. From 1892 to 1925 is 33 years, a third of a century. That is four years longer than Capablanca's <entire tournament career.> Lasker was an absolutely dominant tournament player - as Sonas says, arguably <the most dominant player ever> - into his mid-50s. And even at Moscow 1935, at age 66, he finished just half a point behind the joint winners Botvinnik and Flohr, undefeated, and of course ahead of Capablanca, whom he crushed in their individual game. Reuben Fine rightly hailed Lasker's result as "a biological miracle."

How did the great Capablanca do in his 50s and 60s? He died at age 53. But even in his 40s he performed at a level well below Lasker in his 50s. Look at Capablanca's tournament performance in the 1930s (age 42-50). He finished clear 1st just twice, equal 1st twice, 2nd thrice, =2nd once, =3rd once, 4th twice, and 7th at AVRO 1938. Recall that Lasker's <worst> tournament performance <through age 56> was clear third at Hastings 1895. Capablanca <in his 40s> finished lower than that four times.

Mar-03-14  capafischer1: Lasker was a great player. no doubt. But, it is my opinion and the best chess playing programs in the world that capa was the most accurate world champion ever and was the hardest to beat. you never mention their head to head record. I find that puzzling. I mean 6 wins to 2 is pretty convincing.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Time for me to join in the 'minority' which ascribes a greater career to Lasker than that enjoyed by Capablanca, despite the heads-up mark between them.

Evidence or, as noted by <FSR>, anecdotes? You decide.

Mar-03-14  Olavi: <Capablanca lost to the great Alekhine but lifetime beat him by a score of 9 to 7.> 7 to 7, plus two wins in exhibition games.
Premium Chessgames Member
  SteinitzLives: Lasker and Capablanca may not seem like an apples to oranges comparison, but so many "who was greater" debates are.

Consider different eras each peaked in, and different competitors faced. C'mon, they were both awesome.

Mar-03-14  devere: <capafischer1: Lasker was a great player. no doubt. But, it is my opinion and the best chess playing programs in the world that capa was the most accurate world champion ever and was the hardest to beat. you never mention their head to head record. I find that puzzling. I mean 6 wins to 2 is pretty convincing.>

Outside of Havana their lifetime record was +2 -2 =6. Capablanca beat Kostic 5 straight in Havana, but in temperate climates they drew 5 times. Capablanca was impossible to play in Cuba without aircon. Off his native island he was merely very difficult. I guess Capa's big mistake was not playing Alekhine in Cuba!

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <capafischer1: Lasker was a great player. no doubt. But, it is my opinion and the best chess playing programs in the world that capa was the most accurate world champion ever and was the hardest to beat.>

What chess playing programs say that? Citations, please. The best chess engines in the world AFAIK are Komodo, Houdini, and Rybka. I am not aware of any assessment of your claim that any of them has ever done.

<you never mention their head to head record. I find that puzzling. I mean 6 wins to 2 is pretty convincing.>

The hell I don't. As I said here on March 1: <<capafischer1> I already responded to you, on this exact point, exactly one week ago at Capablanca vs Euwe, 1931>.

Since you are apparently unable or unwilling to do the slightest amount of work on your own, here it is again - for the third time:

Feb-22-14 FSR: <capafischer1> Capablanca had a +6 =16 -2 score against Lasker. That's 58.3%. Good, but not overwhelming. If Lasker and Capablanca were contemporaries, it would be decent evidence for the proposition that Capablanca was the stronger player. But they were not; Lasker was 20 years older. All but their first three games (at St. Petersburg 1914, where Lasker scored +1 =2) were played when Lasker was 52 or older. A 52-year-old playing a 32-year old is at a huge disadvantage. (Compare how Anand, almost 44 at the time, just got mauled by Carlsen, then almost 23, +0 =7 -3.)* And the disadvantage only increases as time goes on, for example when you have a 67-year-old playing a 47-year-old. That would normally be a rout. I'm not a statistician, but I strongly suspect that if you factor in their respective ages, Lasker's result was considerably <better> than would be expected.

*Fun fact: Carlsen's 65% score in this match was very similar to Capablanca's 64.3% score in Lasker-Capablanca World Championship Match (1921).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: In the December, 1933 issue of "Chess Review", Chernev produced a page of "purely personal opinions. One I found particularly interesting was his choice for <Most Overrated Player>. It was one of the following

Adolf Anderssen
Paul Morphy
Wilhelm Steinitz
Emanuel Lasker
Jose Raul Capablanca
Alexander Alekhine

Care to take a guess? Remember, this is 1933.

Sep-05-14  zanzibar: I would guess Alekhine, from the hint.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: I know Chernev fawned over Capa, so that leads me to believe he'd say Alekhine as overrated as a pox for beating his hero.

Per the ongoing discussion, it is interesting to me how rarely Lasker is cited as the greatest ever, or even mentioned among a group of 5 or so contenders. His longevity is absolutely staggering.

Sep-05-14  zanzibar: <OCF> Maybe he did put the knock on Lasker?

Apparently Chernev thought this the best chess game ever:

Bogoljubov vs Alekhine, 1922

(according to some kibitzing over there)

Which makes the choice of Alekhine seem less likely.

Lasker, I think, was to return to competitive chess in 1934 and show the world how amazingly capable he still was at a rather mature age.

Sep-05-14  zanzibar: OK, I cheated. Winter actually summarizes Chernev in a CN.

Can't say I agree with Chernev on this, but times were different. I'd be interested to hear what others think on it.

Sep-05-14  Petrosianic: I don't have to guess, I know. Chernev's pick for most overrated player was Morphy.
Sep-05-14  Petrosianic: <that leads me to believe he'd say Alekhine as overrated as a pox for beating his hero.>

Not quite. In the same article, he named Alekhine as the most brilliant player ever.

Sep-05-14  Sally Simpson: The Chernev article of the Nov/Dec 1933 Chess Review.

‘The perfect game is Réti-Kostić, Teplitz, 1922.

The most important game. Pillsbury-Tarrasch, Hastings, 1895.

The most exhaustive – and exhausting – annotator is Tartakower.

The laziest. Lasker and Teichmann.

The most interesting matches were Alekhine-Bogoljubow, 1929, Tarrasch-Schlechter, 1911, and Capablanca-Euwe, 1931.

The most interesting combinative game was Alekhine-Cohn, Stockholm, 1912.

The coolest player under fire is Kashdan.

The perfect annotators are Alekhine, Marco and Grünfeld.

The game most interestingly annotated is Bernstein-Nimzowitsch, St Petersburg, 1914, by Marco in the Wiener Schachzeitung.

The most brilliant move was move no. 36 R-Q5, in the game between Alekhine and Tartakower, Vienna, 1922.

Perhaps the most overrated player was Morphy.

The most underrated player was Teichmann.

The greatest “natural” player was Zukertort.’

As Phoney Benoni says this is 1933 so don't start weeping because Fischer, Tal, Karpov, Kasparov and Carlsen are not given a mention.

I think I can disagree with every one of Chernev's 1933 choices and everyone will disagree with mine.

Morphy must come out top at the greatest 'natural' player, I'd have John Cochrane or David Janowski as the most underrated players.

The most overrated....don't have a clue....if pushed.....Henry Bird.

But surely...

The most important game. was not Pillsbury-Tarrasch, Hastings, 1895. It was the first game played with the 'new' pieces in the Spanish Court around about 1500. Just a little tweaking was required regarding pawn promotion and that was it. Perfection.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: When I mentioned 1933, it was not to suggest Alekhine as the answer but to emphasize that these were relatively early opinions of Cnernev, and would not necessarily be those he evolved over the remaining 50 years of his life. Naming Reti vs B Kostic, 1922 "The Perfect Game" seems silly to us now, especially knowing his later choice of Bogoljubov vs Alekhine, 1922 as the "Greatest Ever".

But his choice of Morphy as most overrated is interesting. I think it's not so much a knock on Morphy as on the prevailing attitude about him. There are many competent critics and strong players who suggest that in a set match Morphy would beat any man living. Chernev apparently disagreed.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <OhioChessFan:... Per the ongoing discussion... >

What does per mean?

Sep-06-14  ljfyffe: <offramp>Excuse the intrusion. "As per", most likely.
Sep-06-14  zanzibar: This usage is similar to apropos:

apropos [...]

prep. With regard to; concerning:

<Apropos our date for lunch, I can't go.>

* * * * *

per [...]

prep. 2. According to; by:

<Changes were made to the manuscript per the author's instructions.>

Usage has blended the two usages, and I think per is often used in place of apropos here is the US.

Sep-09-14  ljfyffe: Most over-rated personal opinions: Chernev.
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