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John A Curdo
Number of games in database: 259
Years covered: 1948 to 2011
Last FIDE rating: 2239
Highest rating achieved in database: 2345

Overall record: +181 -59 =17 (73.7%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 2 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (60) 
    B51 B31 B52 B30 B44
 Four Knights (20) 
    C48 C49 C47
 French Defense (18) 
    C17 C16 C11 C01 C18
 French Winawer (12) 
    C17 C16 C18
 Bird's Opening (8) 
    A02 A03
 Pirc (8) 
    B09 B07
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (27) 
    C72 C73 C74 C71 C69
 Dutch Defense (18) 
    A88 A81 A86 A85 A90
 Vienna Opening (8) 
    C28 C25 C26
 Uncommon Opening (7) 
    B00 A00
 Reti System (6) 
 King's Gambit Declined (6) 
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   D Edelman vs J A Curdo, 1983 0-1
   J A Curdo vs Robert E Byrne, 1994 1-0
   J A Curdo vs S Rabinowitz, 1996 1-0
   W D Collins vs J A Curdo, 2001 0-1
   J A Curdo vs D Kopec, 1969 1-0
   J A Curdo vs P Kostrzewa, 1976 1-0
   J A Curdo vs W P M Mitchell, 1948 1-0
   J A Curdo vs J Fried, 1993 1-0
   P Salathe vs J A Curdo, 1994 0-1
   S Lyman vs J A Curdo, 1961 0-1

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   US Open 1994, Chicago by Phony Benoni
   2003 Bermuda open by gauer

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FIDE player card for John A Curdo

(born Nov-14-1931, 88 years old) United States of America

[what is this?]
FIDE master John Anthony Curdo was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, and has been among the leading players in New England for over 60 years. After learning chess by reading library books, he won the first of 17 Massachusetts Championships in 1948. In 1971, he was the first master to play a computer in a rated tournament (Greater Boston Open). More recently, he has won the U.S. Senior Championship.

After working as an administrator for Honeywell in the 1960s and 1970s, Curdo became a full-time chess professional in the early 1980s. He is known for his aggressive style, and for playing in and winning a very large number of tournaments. As of 2009, he continues to play in 30 or 40 tournaments a year. As of December 2011, he had won a world-record 865 tournaments. His book "Forty Years at the Top" covers the highlights of his chess career.

Wikipedia article: John Curdo

 page 1 of 11; games 1-25 of 259  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. J A Curdo vs W P M Mitchell 1-0171948BostonC47 Four Knights
2. W Adams vs J A Curdo ½-½511948New England ChampionshipB12 Caro-Kann Defense
3. J A Curdo vs H Daly 1-0271948Boston Metro leagueC11 French
4. J A Curdo vs S Wachs  1-0401949Interstate Team MatchC18 French, Winawer
5. J A Curdo vs H Lyman  1-0301955WorcesterC48 Four Knights
6. J A Curdo vs H Lyman 0-1211955WestfieldC47 Four Knights
7. J A Curdo vs P Daly  1-0631956New England OpenB30 Sicilian
8. J A Curdo vs J D Thornton  1-0171957cr.; correspondenceB52 Sicilian, Canal-Sokolsky (Rossolimo) Attack
9. J A Curdo vs AW Martin  1-0301957Providence opC49 Four Knights
10. J A Curdo vs A Freeman  1-0201957Boston Metro leagueB02 Alekhine's Defense
11. J A Curdo vs Berliner 0-1301960cr., corrC41 Philidor Defense
12. S Lyman vs J A Curdo 0-1201961Rhode Island opC30 King's Gambit Declined
13. R Ault vs J A Curdo 0-1131963Mass opC30 King's Gambit Declined
14. Vukcevich vs J A Curdo  1-0381964Massachusetts OpenC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
15. W Goichberg vs J A Curdo  0-1451964Christmas TourneyC26 Vienna
16. Mednis vs J A Curdo 0-1321964Hartford opC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
17. J A Curdo vs Robert Iapinni  1-011196465th US OpenC24 Bishop's Opening
18. R Eberlein vs J A Curdo  0-1461965Boston opC63 Ruy Lopez, Schliemann Defense
19. Kaufman vs J A Curdo  0-1301965Boston OpenD24 Queen's Gambit Accepted
20. Kaufman vs J A Curdo  0-1451966Boston OpenA43 Old Benoni
21. J A Curdo vs C Coudari  1-0191966Vermont OpenB22 Sicilian, Alapin
22. J A Curdo vs J Peters 1-0121968Boston tnB22 Sicilian, Alapin
23. Benko vs J A Curdo 1-0411969Salem,NHA10 English
24. J A Curdo vs D Kopec 1-0291969Salem OpenB53 Sicilian
25. E Friedman vs J A Curdo  0-1271969Salem OpenC81 Ruy Lopez, Open, Howell Attack
 page 1 of 11; games 1-25 of 259  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Curdo wins | Curdo loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-07-14  zanzibar: I think he's intending to keep at it till he gets his 900th...

<How close is John Curdo of Auburn in winning (or tying for first) in 900 chess events since 1948? Remarkably close: John has to win just four more events to set this awesome mark in his long career. Asked about his plans for another book, Curdo revealed that some of his fans from the Metrowest area will at some point offer them as a collection online or via an e-book to mark that 900th win, including 16 Massachusetts Open titles, mostly between 1948 and the 1970s.>

Stephen Dann
Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Sunday, June 22, 2014

John is also still engaged in some of his usual "off-board antics", e.g. judging games at the 2103 82th Mass Open and others:

I think he's out Worcester way the most.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Note at the bottom of one link provided by <zanzibar>:

< David Couture of Westminster continues collecting his losses due to a tactical finesse into a growing e-book called "Don't Play Like Me".>

Wish he had contacted me--I could provide scads of material for that book!

Aug-07-14  zanzibar: <perfidious> Ha! It's not published yet... perhaps it's not too late.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: Didn't know he holds the record for tourney wins!!!! still the USCF will not instill the IM title to him, what a crying shame!!! Met him in a simul and he was one of my "first impressions' of the gentlemen chess player, I'll never forget.
Apr-13-15  RookFile: He could have gotten it back in the day pretty easily, but it just wasn't important to him. I remember seeing his rating north of 2500 on the wall charts.
Oct-26-15  zanzibar: Has anybody read Joel Johnson's <Formation Attack Strategies>?

In particular, his comments about Curdo (p56)?

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <zed> Have not seen it; all I know is that Curdo gave Joel (aka <FearNoEvil> hereabouts) a rough go of it.

While Joel was always a superb tactician, that sort of game was Curdo's meat as well.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: You can read page 56 here:

Oct-27-15  zanzibar: Anybody ever play on Curdo's set?

Or see what's inside the little black book?

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <zed: Anybody ever play on Curdo's set?>

Many times.

<Or see what's inside the little black book?>


Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: What's inside Curdo's "black book?"

Here, have a look:

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: 'Lively', eh?
Oct-27-15  zanzibar: <chancho> good one!

<perf> I take it you didn't have any qualms using John's set then?

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <zed> Never bothered me to use John's stuff; there were some who clearly preferred their gear--a strong player in numerous Montreal blitz events I played in the nineties always invoked the rule of using his clock when Black.
Oct-27-15  zanzibar: There's the rule about sharing a pie, one guy cuts it, and the other guy gets first pick of the slice.

So Black gets to decide what equipment is used as well as which side the clock goes on?


Some of the various rules that apply for USCF are referenced here, where the case of Black being late to the game is discussed:

Apr-18-16  RookFile: I played Curdo 5 or 6 times, don't remember a black book. Maybe he didn't need it against me.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: A link with a 1949 graduation article from the Daily Evening Item.

(Lynn, MA)

Check the list of graduates under <awards diplomas>

Dec-10-16  Caissanist: Still playing in, and winning, local tournaments in Massachusetts: . His rating seems to be bouncing along in the low 2200s, although mostly staying above the 2200 floor.

Curdo certainly seems to be the strongest active player over 80 in this country, I wonder if there are stronger players that old in other countries.

Dec-10-16  RookFile: Spassky is going to be 80 next month.
Dec-10-16  zanzibar: Curdo is 85 and still grinding out weekend Swiss tournaments.

Of course, it represents his spending money, but still...

Spassky's last active games on <CG> are from his match with Korchnoi:

has some quotes from Spassky about it.

<CG> has a tournament page, with no intro. Thank goodness <CB> keeps its pages active (at least for now):

The "sleepy bear" did pretty good.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: <Shelby Lyman: I recall with almost a kind of dread a scene from the late ’60s: an early confrontation between man and machine. The human was John Curdo, a gifted and dominant New England chess master. His opponent, MacHack VI, one of the first computer chess-playing programs.

It was scary because <<<Curdo seemed frightened>>>> <and isolated in the company of his unusual opponent, apparently a new experience for him.>

<I don’t remember who won the game, but I do know that Bobby Fischer later beat MacHack with ease.

Fischer, always the supreme realist when evaluating chess play, was one of the first to predict that chess machines would outstrip humans.

He seemed to accept the notion matter-of-factly, although he was later to decry their influence on the game, concluding incorrectly that they had destroyed “classical” chess.

Garry Kasparov, who was terrified as a young world champion at the possibility of computer supremacy, sounded the death knell for his species when he was defeated by IBM’s Deep Blue in 1997, claiming afterward – a thesis taken seriously by few – that IBM had cheated during the match.

Today, their dramatic confrontation is no more than a moment in the modern prehistory of the game.

In a recent interview, Magnus Carlsen explains that computers are no longer adversaries but a useful adjunct to the modern game.

Would he play one?

Of course not, he admits. He would lose easily.>

Jan-19-17  Caissanist: Methinks that Lyman is dramatizing things a bit here. If he was indeed working as a sysadmin at the time, Curdo would presumably have known a few things about not only chess but computers as well. The first computer tournament win against a human didn't come until 1967, when MacHack (aka Greenblatt (Computer)) beat a 1500 player. The first win over a master was in 1980.
Jan-19-17  Granny O Doul: I played Curdo just once, on his set, though I never had the honor of playing Pal Benko on his drug store set, the type with a backgammon board on the reverse side.
Premium Chessgames Member
  mjmorri: During the mid 80's my college friends and I played in a few local tournaments in Massachusetts. When John showed up, my friends and I remarked how John, wearing jeans and a flannel shirt, looked like a farmer who had just come in from plowing his fields. By the end of the weekend, he had usually won the tournament, quietly leaving presumably to finish his plowing.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: That about says it all: John was unpretentious in appearance and mild in temperament while always correct in his behaviour at the board.

For all that, John was one tough, aggressive opponent who would easily have made IM level at his zenith, had he played much outside the weekend swiss circuit.

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