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Samuel Reshevsky
Number of games in database: 1,549
Years covered: 1917 to 1991

Overall record: +566 -213 =672 (62.2%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 98 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Nimzo Indian (121) 
    E46 E56 E54 E43 E47
 King's Indian (92) 
    E92 E60 E97 E95 E66
 Grunfeld (52) 
    D81 D97 D92 D83 D82
 Orthodox Defense (43) 
    D51 D50 D55 D60 D62
 Queen's Gambit Declined (40) 
    D37 D35 D31 D30 D36
 English (37) 
    A15 A10 A16 A17 A14
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (141) 
    C96 C95 C86 C93 C69
 Sicilian (117) 
    B32 B42 B83 B40 B93
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (97) 
    C96 C95 C93 C86 C99
 Nimzo Indian (76) 
    E33 E54 E46 E56 E52
 King's Indian (68) 
    E60 E69 E95 E94 E81
 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
   Botvinnik vs Reshevsky, 1948 0-1
   Reshevsky vs A Vasconcellos, 1944 1-0
   J Mieses vs Reshevsky, 1935 0-1
   Reshevsky vs Najdorf, 1957 1-0
   Lasker vs Reshevsky, 1936 0-1
   Reshevsky vs Capablanca, 1935 1-0
   Reshevsky vs G N Treysman, 1938 1-0
   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)
   US Championship (1936)
   Kemeri (1937)
   US Championship (1946)
   Third Rosenwald Trophy (1956)
   Reshevsky - Najdorf (1952)
   56th US Open (1955)
   Netanya (1969)
   Amsterdam (1950)
   US Championship 1957/58 (1957)
   Buenos Aires (1960)
   Zurich Candidates (1953)
   US Championship (1972)
   Nottingham (1936)
   Amsterdam Interzonal (1964)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Match Reshevsky! by docjan
   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
   Art of Positional Play (Reshevsky) by kingofsevern
   Art of Positional Play (Reshevsky) by psherman31
   The Art of Positional Play by isfsam
   The Art of Positional Play by Del ToRo
   Art of Positional Play (Reshevsky) by Parmenides1963

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 1,550  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Reshevsky vs Rubinstein 0-1241917WarsawC50 Giuoco Piano
2. Reshevsky vs Factor 0-1261917LodzC22 Center Game
3. Reshevsky vs Traube 1-0171920HanoverA02 Bird's Opening
4. C Jaffe vs Reshevsky 0-1171920New York blindfoldC30 King's Gambit Declined
5. Reshevsky vs R C Griffith 1-0301920Blindfold gameC67 Ruy Lopez
6. Reshevsky vs J Zabludowski 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 1-0301920Simul, 15bC34 King's Gambit Accepted
14. Reshevsky vs S Katz ½-½291920Simul, 20bB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
15. Reshevsky vs F Knoller 1-0401920Simul, 20bC79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred
16. Reshevsky vs A Simchow  0-1341920Simul, 20bD05 Queen's Pawn Game
17. Reshevsky vs M J Clurman ½-½231920Simul, 20bB15 Caro-Kann
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 C More  ½-½211921Simul, 20bD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
22. Reshevsky vs J H Longacre  ½-½251921Simul, 20bC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
23. Reshevsky vs S T Sharp ½-½271921Simul, 20bC31 King's Gambit Declined, Falkbeer Counter Gambit
24. Reshevsky vs A H Beckman 1-0201921Simul, 20bD46 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
25. Reshevsky vs E Michelsen 1-0341921Simul, 5bB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
 page 1 of 62; games 1-25 of 1,550  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Reshevsky wins | Reshevsky loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  fabelhaft: <if we're talking about their actual achievements below the age of, say, 16, I'd go with:

Capablanca, Fischer, Reshevsky, Mecking, Leko>

Mecking that high? For example Radjabov was 15 when he finished 0.5 behind the reigning World Champion in Wijk, and when beating Kasparov in Linares.

Karjakin was 14 when he was undefeated in his classical games in Dortmund 2004, four of them against Leko and Kramnik, who played the title match that year, and after missing a win against Kramnik.

Mecking did well in an interzonal just before turning 16, but was a bit below the top ten there. Also in his second interzonal he finished outside the top ten. It was first in 1974 he reached higher on the Elo ranking than Carlsen had as #21 at 15, and by then Mecking was 22 years old. He did have some good results, but I’m not sure I would rank him top ten among prodigies achievement wise.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fabelhaft: Kasparov was also quite strong before 16. He was 15 when finishing with a plus score two points from first in the Soviet Championship 1978, and started Banja Luka 1979 as a 15-year-old, going on to win it with a big margin ahead of Petrosian, Andersson etc.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Personally I think 14 or younger is the magic age.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Following his victory in Iceland, Sammy received a letter from the Rebbe in which the Rebbe warmly praised him for his success in the tournament: "I was doubly gratified because it was good to know that you continue to participate in international tournaments, and especially that you shared the first prize in the tournament at Reykjavik. Needless to say, the most gratifying point is that you continue to display a Kiddush HaShem Barabim,1 insisting upon your right not to play on the holy Shabbat, and that your stance was recognized and accepted..."

At the end of the letter, the Rebbe wrote: "P.S. The following lines may appear strange, but I consider it my duty not to miss the opportunity to bring it to your attention. You surely are familiar with the life story of Bobby Fischer, of whom nothing has been heard in quite some time.

"Unfortunately, he did not have the proper Jewish education, which is probably the reason for his being so alienated from the Jewish way of life or the Jewish people. However, being a Jew, he should be helped by whomever possible. I am writing to you about this, since you are probably better informed about him than many other persons, and perhaps you may find some way in which he could be brought back to the Jewish fold, either through your personal efforts, or in some other way..."

Bobby Fischer was a famous chess genius who became the American Chess Champion at the age of fourteen. He was the World Champion from 1972 to 1975.

When Reshevsky received the Rebbe's letter, his first reaction was one of joy: the Rebbe had chosen him for a special task. However, he understood that this mission would not be easily fulfilled. Bobby had already been out of public life for a few years, and was known to be living reclusively in Los Angeles. Soon after Reshevsky received the Rebbe's letter, he traveled to Los Angeles to play at a tournament. As soon as he arrived, he phoned Bobby and related the Rebbe's request to him. Bobby immediately agreed to see him. This was very unusual, since he did not often receive visitors. Their meeting lasted three hours, during which Bobby asked many serious questions about Judaism>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <A short while later, in the year 1984, Reshevsky was proclaimed the joint winner of a major chess tournament which took place in Iceland...>

It was the Reykjavik Open, but let's not split hairs.

<Following his victory in Iceland, Sammy received a letter from the Rebbe in which the Rebbe warmly praised him for his success in the tournament:>

This tournament took place in February of 1984.

<Soon after Reshevsky received the Rebbe's letter, he traveled to Los Angeles to play at a tournament. As soon as he arrived, he phoned Bobby and related the Rebbe's request to him.>

The DB reveals no such tournament, but a match against Larry Christiansen in Hollywood, i.e., Los Angeles, in June of that year. Going with that, let's assume Reshevsky did indeed meet Fischer around the end of May, start of June, to discuss Judaism, with the aim of returning Fischer to the fold.

What comes next?

I'm suggesting things didn't quite go to plan.

Jan-09-21  DieHard: Reshevsky was a chess genius and a large body of his work is going to be lost if no action is taken. I am referring to his unrated correspondence play. He used to advertise in Chess Life that he would play you for $25 a game. I played three games against Reshevsky and have the postcards to back them up. These games, and others, should be preserved as part of his legacy. I am proposing The Reshevsky Project to advertise and reach out to see how many of these can be recovered.
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: Regarding child prodigies, you have to throw Morphy in that list too. The kid beat Loewenthal when he was only 12.
May-27-21  wrap99: This may have been asked before and either answered or is in fact unanswerable (pre-Elo ratings): There is a photo of young Sammy playing multiple grey beards and it says something like the prodigy is playing a simul vs masters but I don't think that is reliable. One early result is 19.5 out of twenty vs West Point when he was 9. That is a pretty good result even if every one of the players was a B player but we don't know how strong they were and I bet The Point emphasized athletics a lot in those days vs academics. So, was Reshevsky, perhaps based on computer game analysis, a master at 9? I think Morphy probably was, probably a GM by 12. Reshevsky beating Janowski in a not very good game probably does not indicate much one way or the other.
May-27-21  SChesshevsky: <...was Reshevsky a master at 9?...>

Interesting question. By his loss to Saemisch in 1920 and loss to Ed. Lasker in 1921, I'd guess he was a low to mid level master for those times. Maybe like an IM today. Possibly not age 9 though. Apparently there are questions as to Reshevsky's true birth year.

Seems his game improved tremendously around 1933 or so. When it appears he did turn into a world class master.

May-28-21  wrap99: the birth year which if wrong was wrong in his favor definitely makes the question somewhat meaningless. also, kind of so what, i guess. if he was a very young master, great; he was not, he was still world class as an adult. older people like me find it impressive when late bloomers like tchigorin do well. even morphy being a prodigy is not so amazing given his family in a time when that presented a very rare opportunity. reshevsky's dad could play but was no master, i believe, as morphy's dad and/or uncle was.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: I think we may safely state that Reshevsky did not succeed in converting Fischer to Judaism. From Wikipedia (I largely wrote this section):

<Fischer made numerous antisemitic statements and professed a general hatred for Jews since at least the early 1960s.[487][488] Jan Hein Donner wrote that at the time of Bled 1961, "He idolized Hitler and read everything about him that he could lay his hands on. He also championed a brand of anti-semitism that could only be thought up by a mind completely cut off from reality."[173] Donner took Fischer to a war museum, which "left a great impression, since [Fischer] is not an evil person, and afterwards he was more restrained in his remarks - to me, at least."[173]

From the 1980s on, Fischer's comments about Jews were a major theme in his public and private remarks.[489] He openly denied the Holocaust, and called the United States "a farce controlled by dirty, hook-nosed, circumcised Jew bastards".[490] Between 1999 and 2006, Fischer's primary means of communicating with the public was radio interviews. He participated in at least 34 such broadcasts, mostly with radio stations in the Philippines, but also in Hungary, Iceland, Colombia, and Russia. In 1999, he gave a radio call-in interview to a station in Budapest, Hungary, during which he described himself as the "victim of an international Jewish conspiracy". In another radio interview, Fischer said that it became clear to him in 1977, after reading The Secret World Government by Count Cherep-Spiridovich, that Jewish agencies were targeting him.[491] Fischer's sudden reemergence was apparently triggered when some of his belongings, which had been stored in a Pasadena, California, storage unit, were sold by the landlord, who claimed it was in response to nonpayment of rent.[492] Fischer was also upset that UBS had liquidated his assets and closed his account without his permission. When asked who he thought was responsible for the actions UBS had taken, Fischer replied: "There's no question that the Jew-controlled United States is behind this - that's obvious."[458][460]

Fischer's library contained antisemitic and racist literature such as Mein Kampf, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and The White Man's Bible and Nature's Eternal Religion by Ben Klassen, founder of the World Church of the Creator.[493][494][495] A notebook written by Fischer contains sentiments such as "12/13/99 It's time to start randomly killing Jews".[496] Despite his views, Fischer remained on good terms with Jewish chess players.[497]>

Jun-07-21  Granny O Doul: ...let alone to 1. d4.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Fischer had one flirtation with that dreadful move 1.d4 in his career. (laughs)
Jun-07-21  savagerules: Yeah, Fischer was so anti- Jews that he played a tournament in Netanya, Israel in 1968 and about all the players there were Jewish. Wikipedia is about as reliable as CNN and BBC. Sometime in the late 70s is when Fischer started going off the deep end with the anti Semitic thing. There's something called mental illness that may explain some things.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <perfidious> Fischer is known to have played 1.d4 thrice: in an offhand game played when he was 11, against Hort in the 1970 Herceg Novi blitz tournament, and in a simul.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <FSR>, only game I ever saw was the one from Herceg Novi--and that was enough of a shock!
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Fischer died a lonely old outcast. Only his past chess career kept him from dying like a bum on the street, a guy in a homeless shelter.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <perfidious> Fischer playing the White side of the Exchange Slav is not representative of Fischer's play at Herceg Novi (which he dominated as no one has ever dominated a tournament) or anyplace else!
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Has anyone read <The Art of Positional Play>? Was it helpful?
Oct-14-21  Helios727: Reshevsky did not play in the 1950 candidates tournament, nor the 1952 interzonal. So how did he get placed in the 1953 candidates tournament?
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: Lasker didn't play in a few tournaments either. Times were different then, but folks still knew how the strongest players in the world were and they got invitations.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Helios727: Reshevsky did not play in the 1950 candidates tournament, nor the 1952 interzonal. So how did he get placed in the 1953 candidates tournament?>

According to Najdorf's tournament book, Reshevsky and Euwe got special invitations on account of their inability to play in the Budapest tournament -- Reshevsky because he couldn't get a visa, Euwe "because his duties as a teacher of mathematics in Amsterdam made foreign travel difficult at that time of year." Maybe a little high-handed in Euwe's case, but hard to argue with the field -- per Chessmetrics, of the top 15-rated players in the world, only Botvinnik was absent, for obvious reasons. The "weakling" of the field was 25th-ranked Yuri Averbakh, who wound up doing pretty well.

Reshevsky had beaten Najdorf in a couple of matches in 1952 -- glad FIDE was able to do the sensible thing and invite him.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Reshevsky had beaten Najdorf in a couple of matches in 1952>

Well, almost. Should have said Reshevsky - Najdorf (1952) and Reshevsky - Najdorf (1953).

Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: On paper, you have to invite Euwe, the former world champion. Alas, he was past his prime at this point. Reshevsky certainly was at or near his prime, a tie for 2nd was very respectable.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <RookFile: On paper, you have to invite Euwe, the former world champion. Alas, he was past his prime at this point. Reshevsky certainly was at or near his prime, a tie for 2nd was very respectable.>

Euwe finished next to last but two of his wins made Burgess, Nunn, and Emms' <The World's Greatest Chess Games>.

Geller vs Euwe, 1953

Euwe vs Najdorf, 1953

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