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Abe Turner
Number of games in database: 64
Years covered: 1942 to 1962
Overall record: +23 -25 =16 (48.4%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

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A15 English (3 games)
C54 Giuoco Piano (2 games)
D11 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav (2 games)
D97 Grunfeld, Russian (2 games)
B10 Caro-Kann (2 games)
C77 Ruy Lopez (2 games)
E39 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Pirc Variation (2 games)
A34 English, Symmetrical (2 games)

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(born 1924, died Oct-25-1962, 38 years old) United States of America

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Abe Turner won the 1956-57 Manhattan Chess Club championship. He was stabbed to death by a fellow employee at Chess Review magazine.

Wikipedia article: Abe Turner

Last updated: 2018-09-07 12:03:50

 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 64  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. I A Horowitz vs A Turner 1-0361942BFX New YorkC29 Vienna Gambit
2. A Turner vs H Steiner  0-167195354th US OpenA46 Queen's Pawn Game
3. A Turner vs B Rozsa  1-057195354th US OpenE39 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Pirc Variation
4. F R Anderson vs A Turner  1-046195354th US OpenC77 Ruy Lopez
5. A Kaufman vs A Turner  1-035195354th US OpenA16 English
6. V Berzzarins vs A Turner  0-159195455th US OpenE46 Nimzo-Indian
7. A Turner vs Larry Evans  ½-½44195455th US OpenA95 Dutch, Stonewall
8. Rossolimo vs A Turner  ½-½24195455th US OpenC54 Giuoco Piano
9. Bisguier vs A Turner 1-051195455th US OpenE14 Queen's Indian
10. A Turner vs E McCormick 1-025195455th US OpenA29 English, Four Knights, Kingside Fianchetto
11. E W Marchand vs A Turner  0-161195455th US OpenA15 English
12. A Turner vs Saidy  1-050195455th US OpenE45 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Bronstein (Byrne) Variation
13. Pomar Salamanca vs A Turner  1-026195455th US OpenB95 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6...e6
14. A Turner vs R H Steinmeyer  0-165195455th US OpenD96 Grunfeld, Russian Variation
15. A Turner vs M Hailparn  1-047195556th US OpenA60 Benoni Defense
16. I Romanenko vs A Turner  1-038195556th US OpenC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
17. A Turner vs E Godbold  1-028195556th US OpenD97 Grunfeld, Russian
18. R Martin vs A Turner  0-130195556th US OpenC54 Giuoco Piano
19. A Turner vs Saidy  0-136195556th US OpenA62 Benoni, Fianchetto Variation
20. D Fischheimer vs A Turner  0-145195556th US OpenB92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
21. A Turner vs Remlinger  1-040195556th US OpenE95 King's Indian, Orthodox, 7...Nbd7, 8.Re1
22. G Schain vs A Turner  0-134195556th US OpenA22 English
23. A Turner vs L Levy  ½-½47195556th US OpenD38 Queen's Gambit Declined, Ragozin Variation
24. Dake vs A Turner  ½-½30195556th US OpenE26 Nimzo-Indian, Samisch
25. E Levin vs A Turner 0-131195556th US OpenB50 Sicilian
 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 64  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Turner wins | Turner loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-17-06  Appaz: <<Tigran Petrosian> He created some weird quotes like this; "chess is mental masturbation". Now that's weired.> That is not weird, although I would say that chess is <intellectual> masturbation. The pleasure of winning can surley compete
Mar-17-06  RookFile: Tony Santasiere is another example. He's interesting because his victory came in 1957, and as we all know, Fischer was getting good that year.
Apr-25-08  Petrosianic: <FischerFan124> <did you know that Abe Turner is the only American to have a winning record against Bobby Fischer?>

Well, sort of. He's the only one <of any consequence>. There are several others that you probably never heard of, like Lt. Cmdr. Herbert Avram, Charles Henin, Ken Warner, and maybe one or two more.

Here's a cute stat. Turner is the only player that Fischer ever faced in US Championship play without defeating (but since their entire US Championship experience consists of one 18 move GM draw, that's not saying a whole lot).

Another cute stat. Based on that one game, Turner is one of two people that Fischer faced in the US Championship without achieving a winning record against. (The other was Robert Byrne, whose championship record against Fischer was somewhat better than Turner's: +1-1=4).

Turner played in the 1961/2 US Championship just before he died, but none of those games seem to be in the database yet.

Apr-25-08  Petrosianic: <Shah Mat> <Maybe the Secret Service DID tell him to kill him. It wouldnt be the dirtiest trick US govt had pulled.>

Oh yeah, the Secret Service assasinates pudgy middle-aged chessplayers all the time.

But don't they usually do it themselves, rather than ask freelance clerk/typists to do it for them? Even as conspiracy theories go, this one's pretty nutty.

Apr-25-08  Petrosianic: Evans had a column a few years back about Turner having appeared on a game show (<You Bet Your Life>, maybe?), and someone having sent him the tape. Does anyone remember this?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Bishoprick: I think I remember Abe telling me he had come to chess quite late, as an adult. I don't know how accurate the story is, or how faulty my memory is, but I believe he said that he had been wounded in the early days of the war (WWII) and had to spend considerable time in the hospital. Although he didn't know how to play chess, someone brought him a chess book which he read very carefully. When he came out of the hospital he began playing chess and found that he was quite strong, particularly when playing rapids and/or for money, usually up at Fischer's NY Chess and Checkers Club. Anyone know whether this is true? Even if it isn't, its a nice story. I wonder what the book was. I sure could use it :-)
May-29-08  wrap99: in evans' chess catechism, the story of his learning the game as a wounded veteran is told.
Premium Chessgames Member
  IMlday: According to Duncan and Dobrila Suttles (who only talked about it after Fischer's death) young Bobby considered Abe Turner as his major mentor and father figure. Turner's mysterious death was influential in Bobby's switch from atheistic Nitscheism to Herbert Armstrong's popular radio cult 'Worldwide Church of God'.
May-30-08  MichAdams: So what was the name of the killer? Or is it some sort of secret?
May-30-08  MichAdams: <Nitscheism [sic]>
Premium Chessgames Member
  IMlday: (Toronto Star May 3 2008):
"...Trusting that they wouldn't
blab to the "creepy" media, Fischer opened up about some mysteries in his life. One was the split with his mother at age 16. According to Fischer this was when he was introduced to conspiracy theory. The Communist plot to take over the world was elaborated to him, and that he had a role to play in combatting it. The problem: his mother, Regina, was herself a Communist. That motivated the family break which lasted until the 1980s. Of his mentors, Fischer considered Abe Turner was his main influence as "father figure". It spooked Bobby greatly in 1962 when Turner was stabbed to death by ex-mental patient Theodore Smith. The murderer claimed the Secret Service had ordered it because Turner was a Communist spy. That mysterious death was the catalyst in Fischer switching his religious views from atheistic Nietzscheism to Herbert Armstrong's radio ministry..."
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Thanks, <IMlday>, very interesting stuff.
May-30-08  MichAdams: Was Horowitz aware that Smith was a former mental patient?
Premium Chessgames Member
  IMlday: One could also wonder if Turner knew the guys trailing Regina Fischer were F.B.I.?

The Turner story I knew was that during the Reshevsky-Najdorf match Sammy's friends hired Turner to keep the Argentine wizard up all night playing five-minute blitz.

May-30-08  RookFile: Well, if that happenned, Najdorf deserved to lose. That's just plain silly.
Sep-07-15  wrap99: <Tigran Petrosian> If he created the quote about chess being mental masturbation, that is indeed remarkable. Because I have heard the term "mental masturbation" or variant used not about chess but about other non-productive mental activities, like an argument about some topic that maybe neither participant cared about the outcome as much as the argument. Anyhow, imagine he is the first person to have used the term "mental masturbation." Should contact Oxford English Dictionary or someplace that keeps track of this kind of thing.
Premium Chessgames Member
  norami: Masturbation is physical chess.
Sep-07-15  wrap99: Interesting link:

Looks like our fellow chess player came up with an alternative interpretation. I think he improved very much upon the original.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Very occasionally now, <Chess Notes> still turns up something interesting.

C.N. 10941: <Steve Wrinn (Homer, NY, USA) notes that the brief scene featuring Abe Turner in the film A Bowl of Cherries...>

Re, C.N. 10932 (not yet indexed but see, it's the discrepancies that catch the eye. The <NYT> report from <CN 1311> identified the killer as <Theodore Weldon Smith>, a 35 year-old handyman, whereas in other reports he was also <Ross Smith>, 38 years-old, and was employed as a clerk-typist. A couple of papers helpfully inform that he was a <Negro>.

Unfortunately, as with the <Raymond Weinstein> case, there's no sign of a subsequent trial, and Smith, presumably, was confined to a mental institution, and the trail goes entirely cold.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: In that clip, Turner bears more than a passing resemblance to <Harvey Weinstein>.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Wondering how Turner may have got this extra gig, I looked at the cast/crew list ( and <George Edgar> as producer struck me as the most likely possibility. So far, so dead end, but then I just happened upon: Fischer - Reshevsky (1961) (kibitz #2)

<George Paul Edgar> was married to the actress But was he the producer of <A Bowl of Cherries>?

Aug-16-18  Granny O Doul: <Airlock: I read this story about Turner. Apparently Turner used to win games by getting ahead material, exchanging all the pieces, and winning in the endgame. Someone made the comment that the only time Turner was happy was when he was a rook up and it was his move. So some people started composing problems in which one side was a rook up, it was their turn to move, and the game was lost.>

That's almost right, but substitute Hans Berliner for Abe Turner.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Re. C.N. 10932 (not yet indexed but see, it's the discrepancies that catch the eye. The <NYT> report from <CN 1311> identified the killer as <Theodore Weldon Smith>, a 35 year-old handyman, whereas in other reports he was also <Ross Smith>, 38 years-old, and was employed as a clerk-typist. A couple of papers helpfully inform that he was a <Negro>.>

The report in the <Daily News> (New York), October 26th 1962, reproduced in <CN 10932> that spoke of <Ross Smith>, 38 years-old, employed as a clerk-typist, was contradicted in the following day's edition, agreeing with the <NYT> of the same day (i.e., the 27th), as cited in <CN 1311>, that the killer was <Theodore Weldon Smith>, a 35 year-old handyman. It also carried a picture of <Smith>...

It's hard to conceive why a chess publication would require a full-time handyman, so perhaps he was only employed on a part-time or ad hoc basis, or that <handyman> was a euphemism for <dogsbody>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: <The audience cracked up when Abe explained why he didn't like to play a certain woman. "This lady, she's young and beautiful. She has an enormous chest and knocked over a piece every time she bent to make a move. Between a low-cut dress and exotic perfume, how can you concentrate on a game of chess? I'm only human. Sometimes I didn't notice when she knocked off one of my pieces with her whatchamacallit.">

Source: Chess Life 2005 October - GM Larry Evans

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: In defence of Turner's difficulties, I too would be hard put to play well in the face of such awesome manifestations of weaponry.
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