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Samuel Reshevsky
Number of games in database: 1,541
Years covered: 1917 to 1991

Overall record: +565 -213 =671 (62.1%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 92 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Nimzo Indian (120) 
    E46 E54 E56 E43 E47
 King's Indian (91) 
    E92 E60 E97 E66 E95
 Grunfeld (52) 
    D81 D97 D92 D83 D82
 Orthodox Defense (43) 
    D51 D50 D55 D60 D62
 Queen's Gambit Declined (39) 
    D37 D35 D31 D30 D36
 English (37) 
    A15 A10 A16 A14 A17
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (141) 
    C96 C95 C86 C93 C69
 Sicilian (117) 
    B32 B71 B70 B83 B93
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (97) 
    C96 C95 C93 C86 C97
 Nimzo Indian (76) 
    E33 E54 E46 E56 E52
 King's Indian (68) 
    E60 E69 E95 E94 E79
 Queen's Indian (48) 
    E12 E19 E17 E16 E15
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Reshevsky vs Petrosian, 1953 1/2-1/2
   Larry Evans vs Reshevsky, 1963 1/2-1/2
   Reshevsky vs A Vasconcellos, 1944 1-0
   Botvinnik vs Reshevsky, 1948 0-1
   Reshevsky vs Capablanca, 1935 1-0
   Reshevsky vs Najdorf, 1957 1-0
   J Mieses vs Reshevsky, 1935 0-1
   Reshevsky vs G N Treysman, 1938 1-0
   Lasker vs Reshevsky, 1936 0-1
   Reshevsky vs Fischer, 1961 1/2-1/2

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   FIDE World Championship Tournament (1948)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Syracuse (1934)
   Kemeri (1937)
   US Championship (1936)
   Reshevsky - Najdorf (1952)
   Third Rosenwald Trophy (1956)
   Wertheim Memorial (1951)
   56th US Open (1955)
   Amsterdam (1950)
   Buenos Aires (1960)
   US Championship 1957/58 (1957)
   Zurich Candidates (1953)
   US Championship (1972)
   Nottingham (1936)
   Sousse Interzonal (1967)
   Amsterdam Interzonal (1964)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Match Reshevsky! by amadeus
   Challenger of 48 Reshevsky_125 by Gottschalk
   Best Games of Chess (Reshevsky) by Qindarka
   Reshevsky's Best Games of Chess, Vol. I by suenteus po 147
   Veliki majstori saha 23 RESHEVSKY (Marovic) by Chessdreamer
   Rgrrgrr at Fredthebear by fredthebear
   How Chess Games are Won (Reshevsky) by Qindarka
   American Chess Bulletin 1921 by Phony Benoni
   The Art of Positional Play by isfsam
   Art of Positional Play (Reshevsky) by Parmenides1963
   Art of Positional Play (Reshevsky) by Qindarka
   Art of Positional Play (Reshevsky) by psherman31
   The Art of Positional Play by Del ToRo
   The Art of Positional Play by SamAtoms1980

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Samuel Reshevsky
Search Google for Samuel Reshevsky

(born Nov-26-1911, died Apr-04-1992, 80 years old) Poland (federation/nationality United States of America)

[what is this?]
Samuel Herman Reshevsky (Szmul Rzeszewski) was born in Ozorkow, Poland. He learned to play chess at the age of four. At eight years old he was giving simultaneous exhibitions and defeating some of the country's most prominent players.

Following the events of World War 1, Reshevsky immigrated to the United States (1920). As a 9-year old, his first American simultaneous exhibition was with 20 officers and cadets at the Military Academy at West Point. He won 19 games and drew one. He toured the country and played over 1,500 games as a 9-year old in simultaneous exhibitions and only lost 8 games. In his early years he did not go to school and his parents ended up in Manhattan Children's Court on charges of improper guardianship. His benefactor was Julius Rosenwald, founder of Sears & Roebuck, who agreed to provide for Reshevsky's future if he devoted himself to completing his education. Reshevsky then largely abandoned chess for 10 years to pursue a vocation as an accountant, receiving an accounting degree from the University of Chicago in 1933 which he put to use in New York City.

After obtaining his college degree, he devoted himself to tournament chess. Several subsequent successes in international events led to his invitations to both AVRO 1938 and the World Championship Tournament ten years later. Between 1936 and 1942, he had a streak of 75 games without a loss in U.S. Championship competition. He won the US Open in 1944. Pan-American Champion at Hollywood 1945. He played in 21 U.S. Championships, from 1936 to 1981. Over the course of a long international career that continued until he was almost 80, he qualified for the Candidates five times, won the U.S. Championship on six occasions (first time in 1936, last time in 1971) and played 11 World Champions, ranging from Emanuel Lasker to Anatoly Karpov.

He won matches against several notable Western players, including Svetozar Gligoric, Miguel Najdorf and Robert James Fischer (after Fischer was forfeited while the match was tied). However, he was never able to secure the right to a World Championship match. In 1981, at the age of 70, he tied for 3rd place in the U.S. Championship. In 1984, at the age of 72, he took first place in the powerful Reykjavik Open, which featured many grandmasters. (1)

Wikipedia article: Samuel Reshevsky; (1)

 page 1 of 62; games 1-25 of 1,541  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Reshevsky vs Factor 0-1261917LodzC22 Center Game
2. Reshevsky vs Rubinstein 0-1241917WarsawC50 Giuoco Piano
3. C Jaffe vs Reshevsky 0-1171920New York blindfoldC30 King's Gambit Declined
4. Reshevsky vs R C Griffith 1-0301920Blindfold gameC67 Ruy Lopez
5. Reshevsky vs Traube 1-0171920HanoverA02 Bird's Opening
6. Reshevsky vs Zabludovsky 1-0291920Simul, 20bC62 Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense
7. Reshevsky vs L Von Dory 1-0161920SimulC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
8. Reshevsky vs Saemisch 0-1381920BerlinE50 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Nf3, without ...d5
9. P Krueger vs Reshevsky ½-½391920Blindfold gameC48 Four Knights
10. Reshevsky vs M Gency 1-0371920SimulC30 King's Gambit Declined
11. Reshevsky vs M Herzfeld 1-0521920Simul, 20bC66 Ruy Lopez
12. Reshevsky vs L Schwarz 1-0651920Simul, 20bC00 French Defense
13. Reshevsky vs G W Beaumont  1-0301920SimulC34 King's Gambit Accepted
14. Reshevsky vs A Simchow  0-1341920Simul, 20bD05 Queen's Pawn Game
15. Reshevsky vs M J Clurman ½-½231920Simul, 20bB15 Caro-Kann
16. Reshevsky vs S Katz ½-½291920Simul, 20bB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
17. Reshevsky vs F Knoller 1-0401920Simul, 20bC79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred
18. Reshevsky vs L S Stillman 1-0201920Simul, 20bB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
19. M A Schapiro vs Reshevsky 0-1401920Exhibition gameC14 French, Classical
20. Reshevsky vs E B Hilliard 1-0271920Blindfold gameC30 King's Gambit Declined
21. Reshevsky vs J H Longacre  ½-½251921Simul, 20bC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
22. Reshevsky vs A H Beckman 1-0201921Simul, 20bD46 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
23. Reshevsky vs C More  ½-½211921Simul, 20bD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
24. Reshevsky vs S T Sharp ½-½271921Simul, 20bC31 King's Gambit Declined, Falkbeer Counter Gambit
25. Reshevsky vs E Michelsen  1-0341921Simul, 5bB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
 page 1 of 62; games 1-25 of 1,541  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Reshevsky wins | Reshevsky loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 62 OF 62 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Zanzibar,

It is not Najdorf v Reshevsky 1953.

The game in the video is Najdorf vs H Huguet, 1951

This is the position in the vid.

click for larger view

It looks like analysis because Najdorf played Qe2. in the video he plays (looks at) Nxe6.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I wonder if child prodigies make blunders less often than normal chess players?
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Writers sometimes err by putting a question mark after an indirect question, especially one beginning with I wonder. If you are asking a question, then yes. If you are simply telling people what you're wondering about, then it isn't a question and it should not have a question mark.>

Your New Year's resolution. <NoMatesHe>, also take note.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Well spotted, MissScarlett. I know that you are right. Sometimes I go by the voice in my head. If it sounds like a question I put a question mark.

For "I wonder" and "Perhaps" this is wrong, as you say.

I normally forgive myself when I do it, though?

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Are you wondering if prodigies make less blunders as children or adults or both?
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <MissScarlet> as adults.

Botvinnik said that he often made childish errors because he had NOT been a child prodigy. But is that true? Did Blackburne blunder more often than Capablanca? Well, yes.

But overall I'd say there was no real difference.

Jan-05-18  Dr Winston OBoogie:

An 8 year old Reshevsky playing a simul in 1920.

Apr-03-18  RookFile: Keres helped out by dying relatively young. Bronstein kept his mouth shut for a while, but as he got older, he saw no reason not to unload a few thoughts.
Feb-08-19  Caissanist: A man named Howard Langer, whose grandfather was Reshevsky's (and Horowitz's) dentist, shares some of his grandfather's stories here: . His grandfather was a friend to Reshevsky for nearly 50 years, but the end was less than pleasant:

<My grandfather’s friendship with Reshevsky extended from Reshevsky’s childhood until the 1970s, when it ended abruptly. One day, Reshevsky was in his office and my grandfather showed him a game he was playing. (Between patients, my grandfather would play postal chess and when you would come into his office, you were likely to find him studying his chess games. He had spiral bound books with tabbed cardboard chess boards in which he recorded the moves, which were exchanged on post cards. Games took months, often years.) Reshevsky suggested a move, but it didn’t sit well with my grandfather and he lost sleep over it. The next time Reshevsky was in the office, my grandfather questioned him about the consequences of the move they had discussed. Reshevsky, apparently offended at my grandfather’s presumption in questioning the move he’d suggested, exploded at him, stormed out of the office, and never spoke to my grandfather again.

My grandfather, an Orthodox Jew like Reshevsky, had rabbis mediate to no avail. An almost 50-year relationship ended over a chess move.>

Feb-08-19  RookFile: The moral of the story is: when you're going to cheat, just accept the GM's help, and don't question it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: The nerve of Dr Greenberg, using his skills in critical thought.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: Without wanting to do a biographer's job, I wish they wouldn't say "immigrated to the United States" for example, because that is only grammatically correct if the reader is in the US at the time. "Emigrated to the United States" would be right, because it was from Poland, but may be hard to swallow from a US pov.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: <Dion> it's not that clear cut. I looked at the matter once, and gave up in despair. It seems that whether the country leaving from or arriving at is the point of emphasis also impacts the immigrated/emigrated issue.
Apr-21-19  ChessHigherCat: <Dionysius1: Without wanting to do a biographer's job, I wish they wouldn't say "immigrated to the United States" for example, because that is only grammatically correct if the reader is in the US at the time. "Emigrated to the United States" would be right, because it was from Poland, but may be hard to swallow from a US pov.>

Maybe that's why here in Costa Rica they talk about "migración" and "policía migratória" instead of immigration. Being a Murkan, I still tend to say "inmigración" by mistake instead of "migracíon", which reminds me of reindeer anyway.

<Migration Offices in Costa Rica Crowded With Nicaraguans - Costa ... Jun 26, 2018 - The morning Monday June 25th, the offices of the General Directorate of Migration in Costa Rica were abnormally crowded by Nicaraguans>

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <OCF>

Thank you very much...

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Obviously, Sammy is one of the greatest prodigies in human history, at <anything>.

Part of his secret is in the intro:

<He learned to play chess at the age of four. At eight years old he was ...defeating some of the country's most prominent players.>

So he learnt chess at 4, and then had 4 years of solid study. Even if he only studied 2hrs a day that's about 3,000 hours of study. It's no wonder that by 8 he could beat most Polish players.

Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Now Dear <offramp> lets not let our guard down regarding ethnic jokes
Sep-23-20  ARubinstein: In "The Great Reshevsky: Chess Prodigy & Old Warrior," Marek Soszynski reveals an unflattering and downright despicable side to Reshevsky's personality. He was apparently one of the most unsportsmanlike Grandmasters I've ever read about. From the "Gamesmanship & Worse" section, here is an appalling list of his "ringside tactics":

• Exaggeratedly fiddling with items on the table top, such as cigarette or sweet/gum/candy wrappers.

• Coughing, humming or whistling when, and only when, it was the opponent’s turn to move.

• Deliberately causing a nuisance with cigarette (or pipe) smoke by chain-smoking.

• Repeatedly holding down his own clock button so that the opponent couldn’t press their button (Hamilton-Reshevsky, Lugano Olympiad 1968).

• Pressing his own clock button, without making a move, when the opponent was away from the board — or even when present.

• Pestering the opponent with multiple draw offers, in the opponent’s time, particularly if the opponent was in time trouble.

• After a loss on time, routinely but insistently complaining that the clock was faulty. • Involving bystanders for them to comment on the game.

• Refusing to shake hands after a game.

• Rather than resign, waiting outside/nearby while his own clock ran down (Fischer-Reshevsky, Sousse 1967).

• If losing to a weaker player in Round 1, abandoning the game and the tournament disputatiously (Marshall CC Championship 1934, and Rubinstein Memorial 1983).

• Apparently offering a draw then, when it was accepted by the opponent after a think, denying that he’d done so.

• Shaking hands as if to resign, but claiming a draw.

• Shaking hands as if to accept a draw, but claiming a win.

• In a simultaneous display, as the penultimate game ends, declaring—from a distance—that the one other game is a draw, and rapidly exiting the building without a further word.

• Falsifying his scoresheet in order to try to claim a draw by repetition (Reshevsky-Stahlberg, Helsinki 1952).

• Repeatedly restarting the clock violently when the opponent was stopping it only in order to summon the arbiter (Fedorowicz-Reshevsky, Lone Pine 1981).

• Complaining to the Tournament Director when a supposed pre-arranged draw agreement—itself unethical—wasn’t honoured (Benko-Reshevsky, US Championship, 1975).

I could expand this list with other questionable behaviour and wrongdoing. However, I will leave reports of Reshevsky confronting opponents in their hotel rooms, or physically fighting with them, for a later occasion perhaps—not here in this book.

So far I haven’t mentioned the infamous “Denker clock incident” of 1942 in which Reshevsky shamelessly benefited from an absurd but resolute decision of the Tournament Director that was criticised by witnesses. Basically, Reshevsky was wrongly awarded a win when it was he who had exceeded the time in a drawish position. Reshevsky acted indifferently to the morality of the situation, thereby exposing “the darker side of his personality”, as Gordon put it [Compendium, p72], not to mention his win-at-all-costs mentality. Reshevsky thus tied the tournament and even went on to win the playoff. All that was in a US Championship. >

Sep-23-20  ARubinstein: Also worth noting, it seems that Reshevsky was two years older than his official date of birth (November 26, 1911) suggests, somewhat dampering his storied feats as a child prodigy (still impressive, no doubt, but two years less impressive). As Soszynski reveals in "The Great Reshevsky":

the Lodz address (registration/resident’s) card below shows, or rather states, that Szajndel Rzeszewska (i.e. Reshevsky’s mother) was born in Kock in 1876. She moved to Lodz; (district) from Ozorków, 5 February 1919. (The card dates from not much later.) And now the crucial bit. Among her children are Szmul (i.e. Samuel), born 1909 in Leczyca (about 7½ miles or 12km from Ozorków). Her other listed children do seem to roughly match the brief mention of his siblings given by the young Reshevsky in the Evening Telegram of 1921 quoted earlier in this book.


Just to make clear and summarise... the chessplayer known as Samuel Reshevsky had an official birthdate of 26 November 1911. However, the evidence presented here points to his real birthdate being 2 years earlier in 1909. Nonetheless, because it is his official birthdate that has been in general use and widely quoted for a century, it is reasonable to persist with that. Except that now we can say with some confidence—and we should not forget to occasionally explain—that really he was all along 2 years older.

We should leave it to child psychologists to ponder over the effect of bringing up a child as if he was younger than he was. >

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <As mentioned on page 259 of Chess Explorations and in C.N. 1943 (see pages 202-203 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves), a claim emerged in the early 1990s that Samuel Reshevsky was born in 1909 and not, as commonly accepted, in 1911.

The matter is discussed by Bruce Monson in an article about Reshevsky on pages 46-55 of the 1/2019 New in Chess.


I'll see if I can dig up the Monson piece and report back.

Premium Chessgames Member
  paulalbert: On Reshevsky's reputation for cheating or at least unethical conduct, it was a comment frequently made by renowned U.S. GMs I knew in NY.

The Denker clock incident is well known. Although I served on the American Chess Foundation/ Chess in the Schools Trustee Board for many years with Arnold Denker, I never asked him about it. The incidents reported to me were from younger GMs.

I first met Reshevsky at a simultaneous exhibition he gave at Muhlenberg College in Allentown , PA , about 1956 or 1957 , later at the Karpov/ Kasparov WC Match in NY, and his wife. He was perfectly friendly, so personally I have no negative comments. Like all top level achievers, I am sure he was very competitive, and in his day chess prize funds were not lucrative, so perhaps not surprising that he took questionable advantage of certain situations, but not commendable.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: The 1942 incident involving Denker, and which had the direct impact of depriving Kashdan of that year's title, marked Reshevsky as a person of, at best, dubious ethics: someone possessing a basic sense of right or wrong would have protested Stephens' decision to award the game to him as being clearly incorrect.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Big Pawn: <perfy boy: someone possessing a basic sense of right or wrong...>

He did posses a basic sense of right and wrong. You just don't agree with it because you've invented a different moral system for yourself.

After all, morals are arbitrary inventions.


Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <heart attack giver....(Reshevsky) did posses [sic] a basic sense of right and wrong. You just don't agree with it because you've invented a different moral system for yourself.

After all, morals are arbitrary inventions....>

Sez the moralistic prig, himself utterly amoral.

Sep-23-20  Granny O Doul: Lombardy on Reshevsky--"He was just a man. Some people liked him, most people hated him."
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