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Joel Benjamin
Joel Benjamin 
Number of games in database: 1,392
Years covered: 1975 to 2020
Last FIDE rating: 2506 (2561 blitz)
Highest rating achieved in database: 2620

Overall record: +543 -265 =520 (60.5%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 64 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (153) 
    B50 B90 B22 B30 B40
 Ruy Lopez (83) 
    C69 C67 C78 C77 C65
 French Defense (50) 
    C02 C05 C11 C00 C03
 King's Indian (35) 
    E97 E80 E94 E73 E75
 Caro-Kann (34) 
    B12 B17 B13 B10 B18
 Queen's Pawn Game (33) 
    A45 A46 D00 A41 A40
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (140) 
    B46 B47 B58 B22 B62
 Queen's Pawn Game (73) 
    A46 A45 A41 E00 A50
 King's Indian (50) 
    E62 E60 E92 E67 E61
 Nimzo Indian (43) 
    E32 E20 E33 E46 E54
 Queen's Indian (39) 
    E15 E12 E17 E13 E14
 Sicilian Taimanov (38) 
    B46 B47 B49 B48 B45
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Joel Benjamin vs N Gamboa, 1995 1-0
   Joel Benjamin vs Gufeld, 1998 1-0
   Joel Benjamin vs Stripunsky, 2006 1-0
   Joel Benjamin vs E Tate, 2000 1-0
   Joel Benjamin vs J Bartholomew, 2003 1/2-1/2
   I Ivanov vs Joel Benjamin, 1990 0-1
   Kamsky vs Joel Benjamin, 1991 0-1
   E Brown vs Joel Benjamin, 1992 0-1
   Joel Benjamin vs Mephisto, 1987 1-0
   Socrates vs Joel Benjamin, 1995 0-1

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament 2001/02 (2001)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   US Senior Championship (2020)
   102nd US Open (1956)
   US Championship (1991)
   USA-ch / Zonal (1986)
   New York op (1990)
   E.U. Championship and Cork Chess Congress (2005)
   New York op (1987)
   34th World Open (2006)
   HB Global Chess Challenge (2005)
   Szirak Interzonal (1987)
   New York GHI (1977)
   US Championship (2010)
   Thessaloniki Olympiad (1988)
   Manila Olympiad (1992)
   Moscow Olympiad (1994)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Joel Benjamin - Selected Games by Resignation Trap
   USA Championship 1986 by Chessdreamer
   US Championship 1991 by Phony Benoni
   US Championsip 1987 by Phony Benoni
   US Championship 1991 by suenteus po 147
   New York 1996 (Chess-in-the-Schools Festival) by Phony Benoni
   Pan-Pacific GM Tournament, San Francisco 1991 by wanabe2000
   US Open 1988, Boston by Phony Benoni

   Joel Benjamin vs Korchnoi, 1986

   🏆 US Senior Championship
   I Novikov vs Joel Benjamin (Oct-19-20) 1/2-1/2
   Joel Benjamin vs L Christiansen (Oct-19-20) 1/2-1/2
   S Getz vs Joel Benjamin (Oct-19-20) 0-1
   D Gurevich vs Joel Benjamin (Oct-18-20) 1-0
   Joel Benjamin vs Wolff (Oct-18-20) 1-0

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Joel Benjamin
Search Google for Joel Benjamin
FIDE player card for Joel Benjamin

(born Mar-11-1964, 57 years old) United States of America

[what is this?]
Joel Lawrence Benjamin was born in New York. He was awarded the IM title in 1980 and the GM title in 1986. At the World Junior Championship 1982 he finished 3rd=. In December 1983 in a match against Nigel Short he won decisively (+4, =3, -0) and finished 2nd= at Hastings 1984-85. In 2011, he tied for 1st-3rd with Walter Arencibia & Dejan Bojkov in the Canadian open. In the US Championships he was 2nd in 1985, 2nd= in 1986, 1st= in 1987, 1st outright in 1997 and 1st= in 2000

Wikipedia article: Joel Benjamin

References: (1)

 page 1 of 56; games 1-25 of 1,392  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Joel Benjamin vs G Klinglesmith ½-½50197576th US OpenD87 Grunfeld, Exchange
2. C Carlson vs Joel Benjamin  1-036197576th US OpenC77 Ruy Lopez
3. Short vs Joel Benjamin 1-0441976London txB41 Sicilian, Kan
4. Shamkovich vs Joel Benjamin 1-0421976USAC96 Ruy Lopez, Closed
5. B M Amos vs Joel Benjamin 0-1401976Manhattan International TournamentC91 Ruy Lopez, Closed
6. Joel Benjamin vs S Bernstein ½-½671976New York OpenC50 Giuoco Piano
7. Joel Benjamin vs Rohde ½-½271976New YorkB06 Robatsch
8. Joel Benjamin vs A Lein 0-1611976New YorkE54 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Gligoric System
9. Joel Benjamin vs A Feuerstein 1-0251976New YorkA04 Reti Opening
10. Joel Benjamin vs T Throop 1-026197677th US OpenE11 Bogo-Indian Defense
11. Fedorowicz vs Joel Benjamin 1-042197677th US OpenA00 Uncommon Opening
12. R W Buchanan vs Joel Benjamin  ½-½521977U.S opE16 Queen's Indian
13. John Fox vs Joel Benjamin  ½-½36197778th US OpenB23 Sicilian, Closed
14. D Haas vs Joel Benjamin  1-050197778th US OpenB87 Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin with ...a6 and ...b5
15. Joel Benjamin vs W M Buehl  1-049197778th US OpenB02 Alekhine's Defense
16. G Terry vs Joel Benjamin  1-047197778th US OpenB43 Sicilian, Kan, 5.Nc3
17. A L Smith vs Joel Benjamin 0-126197778th US OpenC44 King's Pawn Game
18. Joel Benjamin vs M Acosta  0-150197778th US OpenA17 English
19. Soltis vs Joel Benjamin  0-1431977New York GHIB80 Sicilian, Scheveningen
20. C Brasket vs Joel Benjamin  1-0611977New York GHIB81 Sicilian, Scheveningen, Keres Attack
21. Joel Benjamin vs P Biyiasas  0-1821977New York GHIA45 Queen's Pawn Game
22. Joel Benjamin vs M Valvo  1-0471977New York GHIB02 Alekhine's Defense
23. R Kaimo vs Joel Benjamin  ½-½151977New York GHIB83 Sicilian
24. Joel Benjamin vs J L Watson  0-1501977New York GHIC00 French Defense
25. M Diesen vs Joel Benjamin  1-0271977New York GHIA30 English, Symmetrical
 page 1 of 56; games 1-25 of 1,392  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Joel Benjamin wins | Joel Benjamin loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 7 OF 7 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-23-15  TheFocus: <...Chess is not like a school subject where you accumulate knowledge until you are an expert. Improvement comes mainly from the ability to process and interpret the information that comes your way, and put it to work in practice. Knowing how to translate your knowledge into good decisions over the board is where talent comes in, and if you seriously believe you don't have it, you will have a very difficult road ahead of you> - Joel Benjamin.
May-25-15  TheFocus: <We live in good times for chess professionals, with many opportunities for steady income through teaching, writing, and Internet work, but bad times for chess players. The competition is extremely intense with too many players for the market to bear. Conditions for players in the U.S. have not improved over the years. Anyone who wants to devote their career to playing chess has to be prepared to put their work above everything else. I think that to compete with players overseas you have to move to Europe for a more professional environment> - Joel Benjamin.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <The Focus> Are those quotes from "American Grandmaster"? I read the book, and I remember GM Benjamin's thinking, just as you put it.

I think his take on the state of chess in the US for players is a bit too negative, although he does have a point when he says in his book that chess is becoming a game for kids, and even more so for little kids. In Nashville, where I live, the Nashville Chess Center is a very successful institution, but what makes it so is scholastic chess. The NCC has contracts with dozens of local schools and 90+% of the tournaments it organizes are for kids. Not surprising, since that's where the money is and the NCC has to focus on the bottom line. And, by the way, about half of USCF members are scholastic members.

From my reading of the book, I felt that GM Benjamin resented the massive immigration of players from Eastern Europe after the collapse of the Soviet Union. That surely brought stiff competition to him and the rest of US-born and raised GMs, but arguably it gave a good boost to the quality of American chess.

May-25-15  TheFocus: <Fusilli> The quotes may be from there, but I am getting them from a site with quotes.
May-25-15  TheFocus: <Fusilli> Chess in Hawaii seems to be geared towards the scholastic arena too. There are no good tournaments scheduled here and relatively very few masters and experts.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <The Focus> There are enough masters and experts in Nashville to have a nice small round-robin. I have suggested to the NCC to organize a low-key tournament... say, playing once a week only, since most of us are busy adults. But there was no interest... So, when I have time and decide I want to play a tournament, I hit the road for one of those grueling weekend Swiss opens. I hate playing twice in the same day, but I have no other options.
Aug-08-15  pazzed paun: Benjamin has a lopsided score against yasser
Even when Yasser would have been the higher rated player Why?
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Fusilli....From my reading of (<American Grandmaster>), I felt that GM Benjamin resented the massive immigration of players from Eastern Europe after the collapse of the Soviet Union. That surely brought stiff competition to him and the rest of US-born and raised GMs, but arguably it gave a good boost to the quality of American chess.>

My own view of this in those days:

<<The US is a nation of immigrants. There is nothing wrong with a bulk of foreign born players.>

Indeed not, though as far back as the 1990s, I recall Patrick Wolff and Joel Benjamin objecting to the numerous foreign-born players who competed in US championships even then.>

US Championship (2014)

Mar-11-16  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Joel Benjamin.
Mar-11-16  Howard: Ditto ! I still remember the first time he was pictured in Chess Life & Review, back in 1975. He was 11 at the time.

Coincidentally, I'm playing over one of his games right now from the recent New Jersey Open.

Mar-11-16  Shams: <Fusilli> <I think his take on the state of chess in the US for players is a bit too negative, although he does have a point when he says in his book that chess is becoming a game for kids, and even more so for little kids.>

What a strange criticism. He knows those little kids are going to grow up, right?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <Shams> <What a strange criticism. He knows those little kids are going to grow up, right?>

Yes, and the large majority will have quit chess by then, or keep playing but stop being the focus of attention. I think the point is that the lion's share of tournament organizing and chess activity targets kids. Scholastic members are 50% of USCF members, and most people who make some money from chess do it from coaching kids.

Apr-15-16  JimNorCal: Yeah the kids play, their ratings are way lower than their abilities. They suck rating points out of the system, then they move on to other interests before giving back. For adults it means rating deflation and no tournaments to play in. US chess will survive, of course, but for now it's an awkward dynamic.
Premium Chessgames Member
  eternaloptimist: Happy birthday to the 3-time US Chess Champ Joel Benjamin!
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: In his excellent book "American Grandmaster" Benjamin notes that the only chess trophy or memorabilia he has on display in his home is a framed draw against Kasparov at Corus in Holland, one year. This was the year that Kasparov went nutts and won every single game he had with white except--the one against Joel!

Benjamin beat Short 3 1/2 -- 1/2 in a four game match, too, although Short had zero preparation time for that match.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: If Benjamin wrote that the game with Kasparov was played in the Netherlands, his recollection was incorrect--the draw was contested in Horgen, Switzerland.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: probably my mistake. I thought it was a reference to Corus, a more prestigious event. To go near all wins with white at Corus would be quite the achievement!
Mar-10-18  zanzibar: A profile of him as a very young 11 year-old, written by his Dad (note - not from ICQ (1976), but ICQ (1975)): (item #3)

A game from an unknown round (help, <phony>!):


[Event "76th US Open"]
[Site "Lincoln, NE USA"]
[Date "1975.08.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Benjamin, Joel"]
[Black "Harkins, Jim "]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteUSCF "1655"]
[BlackUSCF "1906"]
[ECO "E61o"]
[EventDate "1975.08.10"]
[Source "Indiana Chess Quarterly (Oct-Dec 1975) p6"]

1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e3 d6 5.Be2 Nf6 6.O-O O-O 7.d4 cxd4 8. Nxd4 a6 9.b3 Nc6 10.Bb2 Nxd4 11.Qxd4 Bd7 12.Qd2 Bc6 13.Rad1 Re8 14. Rfe1 Rc8 15.Bf1 Qc7 16.e4 Qb8 17.Nd5 Nd7 18.Bxg7 Kxg7 19.g3 Bxd5 20. cxd5 Rc7 21.Bh3 b5 22.f4 Qb6+ 23.Kh1 Rec8 24.Re2 Rb8 25.e5 Rbb7 26. Qb2 Kg8 27.e6 Nf6 28.exf7+ Kxf7 29.Be6+ Ke8 30.g4 1-0


Now you now why USCF had to adjust the k-factor!

Mar-10-18  zanzibar: Another interesting game from his very early days:


[Event "National Jr. High School Chess Ch"]
[Site "Waltham, MA USA"]
[Date "1976.06.??"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Rizzitano, Jimmy"]
[Black "Benjamin, Joel"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B09j"]
[EventDate "1976.06.??"]
[Source "Boston Globe 1976-06-13 p A9 (Dondis)"]

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.f4 Bg7 5.Nf3 O-O 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.O-O Bg4 8. Be3 e5 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.f5 gxf5 11.exf5 e4 12.Nxe4 Nxe4 13.Bxe4 Qe7 14. Qd3 Rad8 15.Bg5 f6 16.Qc4+ Kh8 17.Bxc6 fxg5 18.Qxg4 Qc5+ 19.Kh1 Qxc6 20.Nxg5 Bxb2 21.Rab1 Bf6 22.Ne6 Rg8 23.Nxd8 Bxd8 24.Qf3 Qxc2 25.Rxb7 Qxa2 26.Rb8 Qf7 27.Rd1 Bf6 28.Rxg8+ Qxg8 29.Qb7 Be5 30.Qxa7 Qe8 31. Rb1 Kg7 32.Qe3 Qe7 33.Re1 Kf6 34.g4 Qd6 35.Qh6+ Ke7 36.Qxh7+ Kd8 37. Qg8+ Kd7 38.Qf7+ Kd8 39.Qe6 Qd4 40.Qg8+ Kd7 41.Qe6+ Kd8 42.Qxe5 {and White wins} 1-0


Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Zanzibar> I have the Harkins game in my working file. It's not from the bulletins, and the only source information I have is the same as yours, the ICQ.

Unfortunately, the crosstable in CL&R (December 1975, p.829-830) gives full results only for the first fifty players Neither Benjamin nor Harkins was in that group, so the round remains unknown. It was probably an odd-numbered round, but not (1) or (5).

Mar-11-18  Ironmanth: Happy birthday, GM Joel! Thanks for so many years of inspiration at the NY and World Opens! Keep on making contributions to our royal game, sir!
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: American grandmaster is a terrific book, Joel B's auto bio.
Mar-11-18  zanzibar: What is he up to these days? He was playing regularly over the summer, but seemed to have stopped in September.
Mar-12-18  Howard: I've always been a fan of Benjamin's, personally. We've even exchanged a couple email, plus I've met him a couple times, too.

He's not as active, as he used to be, but then he's not exactly young anymore.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: For a good number of years he has hosted a weekly video on ICC on the highlights of the week. Last one was a very nice tribute to GM Lein.
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