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Lewis J Isaacs
Number of games in database: 72
Years covered: 1916 to 1961
Overall record: +19 -51 =2 (27.8%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

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C77 Ruy Lopez (5 games)
C41 Philidor Defense (5 games)
C84 Ruy Lopez, Closed (4 games)
C42 Petrov Defense (3 games)
D43 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav (3 games)
B73 Sicilian, Dragon, Classical (3 games)
C02 French, Advance (2 games)
A52 Budapest Gambit (2 games)
C50 Giuoco Piano (2 games)
C86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack (2 games)

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(born Dec-21-1878, died Mar-11-1967, 88 years old) Lithuania (federation/nationality United States of America)

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Lewis Jacob Isaacs was born in 1878 in Lithuania. He passed away in Chicago Illinois, USA in 1967.

Last updated: 2020-08-25 02:57:07

 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 72  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. N Whitaker vs L Isaacs  1-047191617th Western ChampionshipC58 Two Knights
2. L Isaacs vs J T Beckner  1-057191617th Western ChampionshipC13 French
3. L Isaacs vs Ed. Lasker  0-134191617th Western ChampionshipC77 Ruy Lopez
4. L Isaacs vs E F Schrader  1-024191617th Western ChampionshipC49 Four Knights
5. L Isaacs vs Showalter 1-042191819th Western ChampionshipC79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred
6. L Isaacs vs Ed. Lasker  0-149191819th Western ChampionshipC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
7. J S Morrison vs L Isaacs 1-016191819th Western ChampionshipC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
8. L Isaacs vs S Mlotkowski  0-140192425th Western ChampionshipC41 Philidor Defense
9. L Isaacs vs Showalter  1-0341926ChicagoC42 Petrov Defense
10. Marshall vs L Isaacs  1-0701926ChicagoD43 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
11. C Jaffe vs L Isaacs 1-0251926ChicagoC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
12. L Isaacs vs Ed. Lasker  0-1491926ChicagoC50 Giuoco Piano
13. L Isaacs vs Kashdan 0-1611926ChicagoC55 Two Knights Defense
14. Factor vs L Isaacs  1-0541926ChicagoD11 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
15. O Chajes vs L Isaacs  1-0721926ChicagoC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
16. L Isaacs vs N Banks 0-1421926ChicagoB13 Caro-Kann, Exchange
17. L Isaacs vs Torre  0-1691926ChicagoB03 Alekhine's Defense
18. Maroczy vs L Isaacs  ½-½451926ChicagoD43 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
19. L Isaacs vs N Whitaker  0-15119271st NCF CongressC41 Philidor Defense
20. S Mlotkowski vs L Isaacs  1-04619271st NCF CongressC51 Evans Gambit
21. L Isaacs vs O Tenner  1-05719282nd NCF CongressC42 Petrov Defense
22. L Isaacs vs Kupchik 0-14519282nd NCF CongressB92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
23. S Mlotkowski vs L Isaacs  1-03919282nd NCF CongressC30 King's Gambit Declined
24. L Isaacs vs E Michelsen  1-023193031st Western ChampionshipB56 Sicilian
25. M C Palmer vs L Isaacs  0-147193031st Western ChampionshipD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 72  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Isaacs wins | Isaacs loses  

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Jan-27-20  hemy: An article "Tautvaišas won again" in Lithuanian language newspaper "Draugas", September 18, 1953, p.2

During III North America Sports Games, August 5-7, in the Columbus park Hall, Chicago, was held Illinois State chess championship. Lithuanian Tautvaišas, who recently settled in Chicago, won the tournament. 60 players participated in this event.

... Results:
1. Tautvaišas 6/7
2. Turjansky 5.5/7
3. Tums 5.5/7
4. Cohen 5.5/7
5. Isaacs 5/7

Paul Tautvaisas

Apr-29-20  jerseybob: < of the 1st National Chess Federation Congress 1927 players that includes Lewis J Isaacs> Great picture! Reshevsky with hair, and the REAL Norman T. Whitaker in full gangster wannabe mode. And btw, many bios state that Sammy retired from playing chess in the 1920's, but this tourney, and the 1924 event in which he also participated, were not "playing chess"?
Jul-14-20  Jessicaisaacsausman: <hemy> Hello, my name is Jessica Ausman. I am the great great granddaughter of Lewis Isaacs. I would be very happy to give you more information on him. Please email me anytime at So looking forward to hearing from you!
Jul-14-20  hemy: <Jessicaisaacsausman> thanks for contacting me. I already sent you an email message.
Jul-14-20  jith1207: Only 2 draws in 64 games!

Draws are very rarely accepted on offer, never offered.

Draws are like Kings for him, there can be only 2 in a set of 64 squares.

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1910 census 1335 California Avenue, Chicago: Isaacs Louis J, 25 (!), birth place Russ Yiddish, Immigration year 1906, Dealer, Real (E)state, speaks English; Fannie, Wife, 22, birthplace Illinois, her father Russ. Yiddish; Judith, daughter, 7/12.

1911 US Naturalization Record index card: Isaacs (Isaakowitz), Lewis J. (Lazar Jacob), 1335 S. California Ave, Chgo., Country of birth Russia, date and port of arrival about Sept. 29 1905 - N. Y., date of naturalization Feb. 25, 1911.

1920 census: same family + Theodore, he is now 41 (!), Jewish, real estate agent, living in 6529 Ashland Avenue, Chicago.

Aug-24-20  hemy: <Tabanus>, many thanks. The information you found was missing.
<Immigration year 1906> and <arrival about Sept. 29 1905> are different dates. Probably the naturalization record is more reliable.

The other information we have:

U. S. Social Security Death Index (SSDI):
Name Lewis J Isaacs
Birth December 21 1878
Death March 15 1967
Last Residence Chicago, Illinois 60645, USA

Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index, 1871-1920 Name: Lewis J. Isaacs
Spouse name: Fanny E. Cohen

U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
Name: Lewis Jacob Isaacs
Birth date: 1979
Birth Place: Russia
Death Date: 11/03/1967
Death Place: Chicago Cook County Illinois
Cemetery: Rosehill Cemetery and Mausoleum
Spouse: Fanny R. Isaacs
Children: Theodore Joshua Isaacs; Judith Marion Fisher Obituary Index, 1800s-current:
Name: Lewis Jacob Isaacs
Gender: Male
Birth date: 1979
Obituary date 14/03/1967

The Death Date looks more like 11/03/1967

Aug-25-20  jith1207: Death dates seem to be in DD/MM/YYYY format, as corroborated in U.S. SSDI, March 15 1967.

Dates just seem to be unsure, three different days on records in the same week of March '67.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: Cook County, Illinois Death Index has 11 March 1967.

Washington Post, 20 October 1918, p. 6:

<New Title for Lasker. Edward Lasker, of Chicago, having lost one title through the victory of Boris Kostich in the Western tournament, has acquired another that of national correspondence champion, by finishing first in the final round of the fourth championship tournament of the National Correspondence Chess Association. He succeeds Lewis J. Isaacs, of Chicago, wnner of the third tournament, William N. Woodbury, of Roanoke, Va, having won both the first and second.>

So it seems he was the 3rd US CC champion.

Aug-25-20  hemy: Lewis J Isaacs was born in Rietavas, Lithuania.

"Darbininkas", March 20,1951, p.7:

"It turns out Chicago's old master Isaacs, was born in Rietavas, and he told to Tautvaišas: "I don't know Zemaitija language."

About Rietavas:


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  Tabanus: The American Jewish World, 1 February 1918:

<Jew Wins Chess Championship. Lewis J. Isaacs of Chicago, present Illinois state champion, distinguished himself by winning the final round of the third National Correspondence championship, conducted by the National Correspondence Chess Association, with a score of eight straight wins, with no losses or draws.>

The Oregonian, 10 April 1921, has a game between J Howard Longacre and Isaacs from the finals of the national CC championship.

Chicago Daily News, 28 August 1925 p. 22, mentions "Lewis J. Isaacs, three times champion of Illinois.>

Chicago Daily News, 2 July 1926 p. 23 has a photo of Isaacs + a CC game he won vs Charles S. Bell. The article says Isaacs <is rated as one of the best theoreticians in this country.>

There is a <lot> more to find. Incl. Boston Herald, 13 March 1967 p. 8:

<Other Deaths. Isaacs - in Chicago - Lewis J. Isaacs, 88, oldest living member of the American Jewish committee and a member of United States chess teams. Isaacs, a resident of South Africa until 1905, was a real estate broker here until his retirement in 1948.>

South Africa?! does mention "Lewis J. Isaacs a former champion of South Africa".

Aug-25-20  hemy: <South Africa?!> Before coming to USA he lived in Cape Town. In South Africa was big community of "Litvaks" (Lithuanian Jews).

Today I received from User: Alan McGowan many documents related to Lewis J. Isaacs.

One of them is a "List or manifest of alien passengers for the U. S. Immigration office"

S. S. "St Louis". Arrives from Southampton. Ship sailed September 30, 1905 and arrived NY on October 7, 1905.

He is a number 26 on this list - Lazarus Isekowitz. Document says he resided Cape Town, and was heading to the home of an uncle M. Stein in Chicago (address given).

I removed others from the list and left only line 26 in the following image:

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  Tabanus: Chicago Tribune, 3 April 1910, p. 4:

<Lewis J Isaacs will give a simultaneous at the West Side Chess club, 1018 South Halsted street, on Wednesday night. The three small rooms of the club have been altered into one large one — an excellent improvement. This will be Mr. Isaacs' first attempt, but he is a fine player and should do well.>

Chicago Tribune, 15 March 1921, p. 19:

<Samuel Rzeschewski, the 9 year old chess marvel of two continents, played sixteen picked Chicago experts simultaneously at Sinai Social center last night and passed one of his most difficult exhibition sessions since beginning his tour of America. The phenomenal Sammy won thirteen of his games, two were draws, and one is to be adjudicated by Western Champion Edward Lasker. Previous to last night Sammy had lost three games out of 300. The local players who attained the success of draws with the young wizard were E. B. Hardiman and E. A. Purity. The game to be adjudicated is that against L. J. Isaacs, former champion of South Africa.

Finds Isaacs Clever Foe.
In the opinion of Champion Lasker, this game, at the end of play, was a draw, and it was so claimed by Isaacs, but Sammy claimed it as a win, and debated his point in a lively manner. Following is the game, which is left over for adjudication:

White - Rzeschewski. Black - Isaacs.
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Nc3 Bc5 5. d3 d6 6. h3 Be6 7. Qe2 a6 8. Bg5 h6 9. Be3 Bxe3 10. fxe3 Bxc4 11. dxc4 Nh5 12. Qf2 Nf6 13. O-O-O Qe7 14. Nh4 O-O-O 15. Rhf1 Qe6 16. b3 Ne7 17. Nd5 Nexd5 18. exd5 Qd7 19. Nf5 Ne8

After a few more moves this game was left for adjudication. >

Aug-26-20  hemy: <The Death Date looks more like 11/03/1967>

Confirmations of this Death date:

"The News", Paterson, New Jersey, Monday, March 13, 1967, p.36
"Chicago (UPI) - Lewis J. Isaacs oldest living member of the American Jewish Committee a member of United State chess teams died on Saturday, he was 88 years old. He was resident of South Africa until 1905, was real estate broker until his retired in 1948."

"Dayton Daily News", Dayton, Ohio, Tuesday, March 14, 1967, p.40
"Lewis J. Isaacs, oldest living member of the American Jewish Committee died on Saturday at the age of 88."

"St. Louis Post-Dispatch", St. Louis, Missouri, Monday March 13, 1967, p.14
"Lewis J. Isaacs, oldest living member of the American Jewish Committee and a member of United State chess teams died on Saturday at the age of 88."

"Chicago Tribune", Sunday, March 12, 1967, p.40
"Lewis J. Isaacs, 88, real estate broker, long time member of American Jewish Committee died on Saturday."

Aug-26-20  hemy: One of many documents received from Alan McGowan: Isaacs WW1 registration card

After small restoration I placed it in my Dropbox:

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  Tabanus: Is it me or is he not in the newspapers 1905-1909?

The Washington Times 28 October 1906 p. 5 mentions a simul by Lasker in Hotel Duquesne (apparently in Pittsburgh) where one obtaining a draw is "Louis Isaacs".

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  MissScarlett: See Lasker vs B H Lutton, 1906
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: He's hard to find in city directories too. Perhaps irrelevant but there's this passenger list from 1908:

Louis Isaacs, Male, Dealer, nationality Russia, embarked at Cape Town (S. Africa), arrived in Southampton 14 February 1908 on board "Goorkha" (3rd class), holding ticket to London.

Aug-27-20  hemy: <So it seems he was the 3rd US CC champion.>

"The American Jewish world", February 1, 1918, p.363
Jew Wins Chess Championship.
Lewis J. Isaacs of Chicago, present Illinois state champion, distinguished himself by winning the final round of the third National Correspondence championship, conducted by the National Correspondence Chess Association, with a score of eight straight wins, with no losses or draws.

Aug-28-20  hemy: The game of Lewis J. Isaacs from the "National Correspondence Chess Association tournament" (most likely 3rd championship) was published in "The Washington Post" on July 21, 1918, p.3.

[Event "3rd National Correspondence championship"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "1918.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Bland, W."]
[Black "Isaacs, Lewis J."]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C49"]
[PlyCount "92"]
[Source: "'The Washington Post', July 21, 1918, p.3"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Bb5 Nf6 5. O-O O-O 6. d3 d6 7. Bg5 Be6 8. Ne2 Ne7 9. Bxf6 gxf6 10. c3 Bc5 11. d4 Bb6 12. Nh4 d5 13. Qd3 c6 14. Ba4 dxe4 15. Qxe4 Bd5 16. Qd3 Kh8 17. Bc2 Ng6 18. Rad1 exd4 19. Nxd4 f5 20. Nhxf5 Nf4 21. Qd2 Qg5 22. f3 Bc4 23. Rfe1 c5 24. h4 cxd4 25. hxg5 dxc3+ 26. Qd4+ Bxd4+ 27. Rxd4 Ne2+ 28. Rxe2 Bxe2 29. Rh4 Rad8 30. bxc3 Bd3 31. Bxd3 Rxd3 32. Rc4 Rd5 33. g4 Rd2 34. a4 a6 35. Kf1 b5 36. axb5 axb5 37. Re4 Rc2 38. Nd4 Rxc3 39. Nxb5 Rxf3+ 40. Ke2 Rb3 41. Nd4 Ra3 42. Nf5 Rg8 43. Nh6 Rb8 44. Kd2 Kg7 45. Rf4 Rb2+ 46. Kc1 Rg2 0-1

His opponent probably was Wilfred Bland

Aug-28-20  hemy: <most likely 3rd championship>
Indeed Lewis J. Isaacs and W. Bland both played in the final round of 3rd championship.

"The Sun" (New York), January 21, 1917, (Section 2, Sporting News), page 4:

"Nine players have qualified for the final round ot the third championship tournament of the National Correspondence Chess Association. The list includes the following:
Dr. H. M. Stevenson, Richmond Hill, N. Y.;
C. Williams, Nashua, N. H.;
A. H. Beckman, Pitman, N. J.;
D, P. Saller, Philadelphia;
L. J. Isaacs, Chicago;
W. Bland, Minneapolis;
N. Hernandez, Tampa, Fla;
J. H. Longacre, Philadelphia;
H. B. Daly, Boston."

Nov-25-20  cameosis: <hemy>, could you give me the lithuanian version of his full name and do you happen to know his patronymic (for the russian version) as well? thanks.
Nov-26-20  hemy: <cameosis> <could you give me the lithuanian version of his full name and do you happen to know his patronymic (for the russian version) as well?>

In his naturalization document from January 25, 1911, his name was spelled as Isaacs (Isaakowits), Lewis J. (Lazar Jacob).
It can be spelled in Lithuanian in different ways. I will check more about this name in Lithuanian sources.

His father's name was not mentioned in documents we found.

Nov-26-20  hemy: <cameosis>

Isakovičius, Lazaris Jakovas - in Lithuanian. Исакович, Лазарь Яков - in Russian.

Nov-26-20  cameosis: <hemy> wow, awesome! thanks again for your help -- i will probably get back to you on lithuanian and/or soviet players in the future as i keep adding players to the database.

not all are listed with their patronyms, and i am an o.c.d. completist, i like to keep all my entries uniform and standardized.


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