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Benjamin Finegold
B Finegold 
Photo courtesy of "WannaBe"  
Number of games in database: 390
Years covered: 1981 to 2017
Last FIDE rating: 2476 (2501 blitz)
Highest rating achieved in database: 2611

Overall record: +126 -70 =161 (57.8%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 33 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Nimzo Indian (40) 
    E32 E34 E33 E38 E39
 King's Indian (29) 
    E61 E97 E92 E90 E94
 Queen's Pawn Game (18) 
    D00 A45 A46 A40 A41
 Semi-Slav (12) 
    D47 D45 D44 D43
 Sicilian (11) 
    B22 B52 B30 B50 B53
 Grunfeld (11) 
    D80 D94 D86 D91 D85
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (50) 
    B30 B32 B62 B89 B58
 Slav (20) 
    D18 D11 D17 D16 D10
 Ruy Lopez (15) 
    C65 C64 C97 C96
 Sicilian Richter-Rauser (13) 
    B62 B67 B65 B63
 Caro-Kann (10) 
    B13 B18 B14 B12 B16
 King's Indian (10) 
    E70 E77 E91 E97 E69
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   R N Bauer vs B Finegold, 2001 0-1
   B Finegold vs J Gonzales, 2001 1-0
   Mamedyarov vs B Finegold, 2017 0-1
   B Finegold vs Joel Benjamin, 2010 1-0
   B Finegold vs D Moody, 1983 1-0
   B Finegold vs D Kuljasevic, 2009 1-0
   G Johnstone vs B Finegold, 1992 1/2-1/2
   J Kulbacki vs B Finegold, 1983 1/2-1/2
   M J Herman vs B Finegold, 2011 0-1
   B Finegold vs Anand, 1986 1/2-1/2

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   SPICE Cup (B Group) (2009)
   12th Chicago Open (2003)
   World Open: Open Section (2003)
   US Championship (2008)
   US Championship 2006 (2006)
   34th World Open (2006)
   US Championship (2010)
   National Open (2006)
   Spring North American FIDE Invitational (2006)
   US Chess Championship (2013)
   National Open (2007)
   US Championship 2003 (2003)
   Chessmaster US Championship 2005 (2004)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   2005 Chicago Spring invitational by gauer
   2011 Spice Cup (group C) by gauer

   🏆 PRO Chess League (Knock-Out)
   B Finegold vs K Lie (Mar-26-17) 1/2-1/2, rapid
   Carlsen vs B Finegold (Mar-26-17) 1-0, rapid
   B Finegold vs S Mihajlov (Mar-26-17) 1-0, rapid
   J Nilsen vs B Finegold (Mar-26-17) 1-0, rapid
   A Lesiege vs B Finegold (Mar-25-17) 1-0, rapid

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Benjamin Finegold
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FIDE player card for Benjamin Finegold

(born Sep-06-1969, 50 years old) United States of America

[what is this?]

Benjamin Finegold was born in Detroit, Michigan. He is part of a strong chess-playing family, as his father Ronald Finegold, older brother Mark Finegold, and son Spencer Finegold are all USCF masters. His ex-wife Gina L Finegold is a WIM.

Ben became a USCF Life Master at 15, USCF Senior Master at 16, an International Master in 1989, and achieved his final GM norm at the SPICE Cup B Section in September, 2009.

Finegold was co-champion of the 1989 U.S. Junior Championship, and was awarded the prestigious Samford Fellowship in 1993. He has tied for first place in two U.S. Opens (Chicago, 1994; Cherry Hill, 2007). Other major tournament victories include co-champion of the 2002 World Open and the National Opens of 2005 and 2008. He has played in six U.S. Chess Championships: 1994 (Key West, FL), 1999 (Salt Lake City, UT), 2002 (Seattle, WA), 2005 (La Jolla, CA), 2006 (San Diego, CA), and 2008 (Tulsa, OK).

Finegold maintains a blog at

(1), (audio podcasts with Ben Johnson from January and December, 2017), (2) Wikipedia article: Ben Finegold

Last updated: 2018-01-18 02:36:54

 page 1 of 16; games 1-25 of 390  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. B Finegold vs D Moody 0-1301981Michigan OpenA27 English, Three Knights System
2. B Finegold vs Sorenson  1-0221982St PaulB02 Alekhine's Defense
3. Dexter Thompson vs B Finegold 1-0771983Ann Arbor ch-MI opB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
4. J Kulbacki vs B Finegold ½-½771983Super Double TornadosC29 Vienna Gambit
5. B Finegold vs T Palmer ½-½541983Ann Arbor Victory TournamentA07 King's Indian Attack
6. B Finegold vs D Moody 1-0151983Motor City OpenC44 King's Pawn Game
7. J Tomas vs B Finegold  ½-½121984Midwest Masters IID50 Queen's Gambit Declined
8. B Finegold vs E Schiller  1-0641984Midwest Masters-BD52 Queen's Gambit Declined
9. B Finegold vs I Gurevich  ½-½111986USA-ch U18A46 Queen's Pawn Game
10. B Finegold vs Anand ½-½611986OakhamD20 Queen's Gambit Accepted
11. B Finegold vs E Schiller  ½-½21198614th World OpenD34 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
12. B Finegold vs Sherzer  ½-½381987USA-ch U18A46 Queen's Pawn Game
13. Gulko vs B Finegold  1-0661987Philadelphia opD97 Grunfeld, Russian
14. Suba vs B Finegold  0-1381987Hastings 1987/88A15 English
15. B Finegold vs J Waxman  1-019198788th US OpenE32 Nimzo-Indian, Classical
16. Browne vs B Finegold  ½-½27198788th US OpenE17 Queen's Indian
17. Kudrin vs B Finegold  1-0471988LondonC55 Two Knights Defense
18. B Finegold vs Gligoric  ½-½121988Saint John op-2E39 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Pirc Variation
19. Plaskett vs B Finegold  1-0571988Hastings op 8889C42 Petrov Defense
20. B Finegold vs Hebden  ½-½651988Hastings 1988/89A57 Benko Gambit
21. B Finegold vs Smyslov  ½-½17198812th Lloyds Bank Masters OpenE34 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Noa Variation
22. J Howell vs B Finegold 1-037198812th Lloyds Bank Masters OpenC55 Two Knights Defense
23. Judit Polgar vs B Finegold 1-0491989Amsterdam OHRA-BB14 Caro-Kann, Panov-Botvinnik Attack
24. B Finegold vs Sosonko  1-0621989Amsterdam OHRA-BE33 Nimzo-Indian, Classical
25. B Finegold vs Gelfand 1-0251989Amsterdam OHRA-BE38 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, 4...c5
 page 1 of 16; games 1-25 of 390  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Finegold wins | Finegold loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: know how hard it is to get spicy dumplings, in St. Louis...
Jul-16-11  Rook e2: An IM with a max rating of 2600+, is it very difficult to collect GM norms in the USA?
Jul-16-11  dx9293: <Rook e2> Finegold is a GM now, but the rating of 2604 in the picture must be a US Chess Federation rating.

For many years though, Finegold was one of the highest-rated IMs in the world, reaching a peak ELO of over 2560 I believe.

A couple of years ago, Alex Lenderman reached 2601 ELO while still an IM (his first GM title application was rejected because one of his norms was discounted due to a technicality). Soon after he got the GM title though...after going to Europe and having a total of like five norms.

You are right though: it is not so easy to get (GM) norms in the USA. It is not a hopeless task, and some have done so recently, like Molner and Shankland for example, but lots of USA players go to Europe to make norms. The biggest and most well-known problem in the USA is that it is often a crapshoot whether you will face enough foreign players in the event to have a norm counted (you need 4 foreigners in 9 rounds usually), but I think another problem is that in tournaments like, say, the World Open, there are a lot of relatively low Elo rated players, and then a lot of very strong GMs. There doesn't seem to be an abundance of 2400-2500 level players to face round after round, because of the nature of the swiss system, which I would think gives the best chance of making a norm.

IMs Bryan Smith, Daniel Naroditsky, and Marc Esserman...they're all playing in Europe right now, going for GM norms.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: OMG, Ben has a disco themed video on utube:


Oct-27-11  waustad: His highest FIDE rating since the year 2000, which is when the chart begins was 2563 during 2006.
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: "Playing Black in a Najdorf Sicilian."

- GM Benjamin Finegold (when asked by NIC for his greatest fear)

May-12-12  knightsacrifice: "When I am White I win because I am White. When I am Black I lose."

- GM Benjamin Finegold (on the famous Bogolyubov quote)

Funny guy! nice commentary.

May-18-12  Edeltalent: <on the famous Bogolyubov quote>

Just for the record, Bogoljubov's original quote is "When I am White I win because I am White. When I am Black I win because I am Bogoljubov."

Jun-03-12  waustad: Considering how he looked during the US champs, that may be the least flattering picture I can recall seeing here.
Premium Chessgames Member
  SteinitzLives: Finegold is a true marvel to watch at play, similar to a glacier in movement, but never in demeanor.
Dec-28-12  Jim Bartle: "...similar to a glacier in movement, but never in demeanor."

He's always receding and lakes are created at his feet?

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: < SteinitzLives: Finegold is....similar to a glacier in movement, but never in demeanor.>

Try playing bullet with Ben live sometime, as I have. His movements are as far from glacial as one may imagine.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: I remember Ben from a blitz tournament when he was six years old. Skinny little kid, blond and full of energy.

I suffered his only win late in the tournament when I left my king in check. He grabbed it, and solemnly showed it to the Tournament Director to prove he had actually won a game.

I don't think he's been solemn since.

Oct-18-13  PHILOCHESS: The last lecture by Ben Finegold!
Trying to Draw a Higher-Rated Opponent
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Looking at his blog:

<The 2012 National Open did not go well. I drew 3 games to start, and won in round 4 before calling it a tournament and withdrawing. I was winning in rounds 1 and 2 but was unable to convert easy wins against players under 2300.

Due to my bad play of late, and the fact that I can't seem to see tactics anymore, I have decided to retire from competitve chess. I will play events at the Chess Club when requested, and if members want to play ladder games, that is also fine, but I will not travel to tournaments anymore or play competitively.>

Feb-24-14  madlydeeply: finegold made a lovely salov vid. More salov!

May-30-14  Moszkowski012273: Anyone else find his "analysis" of Kamsky vs. Friedel kinda douchey?

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: <when I left my king in check. He grabbed it>

The kid was 6, maybe he thought it was a Mars bar?

I read somewhere, on some chess site, that he is no longer the GM in residence at the St. Louie Chess Club. I think Susan Polgar mentioned that he coaches one of the college teams, in the area, but not Webster.

A paid residence at a chess club? Free coffee and twinkies? I would have kept that job.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: I just found out who ate all the pies. He could singlehandedly blockade Gaza.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Happy 44th birthday to GM and chess24 commentator, Benjamin Finegold.
Sep-06-14  waustad: Happy 45th!
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Ben has announced his retirement from active chess play? Perhaps time to write an auto bio.
Sep-06-14  Everyone:

would love it,
the bio

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <iffy>

is <the word> I learned from his lectures, thank you very much.

Oct-06-17  dehanne: Finegold obliterated Simon Williams in a grudge match.

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