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George Nelson Treysman
Number of games in database: 36
Years covered: 1928 to 1938
Overall record: +18 -12 =6 (58.3%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

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D51 Queen's Gambit Declined (3 games)
B60 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer (3 games)
A52 Budapest Gambit (2 games)
C71 Ruy Lopez (2 games)
C13 French (2 games)
C74 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense (2 games)

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(born 1881, died Feb-06-1959, 77 years old) United States of America

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Wikipedia article: George Treysman

 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 36  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Lasker vs G N Treysman 0-1441928Clock simul, 10bC13 French
2. W Goldwater vs G N Treysman 0-1151936USA-ch Preliminary Group CC33 King's Gambit Accepted
3. G N Treysman vs W Adams 1-0431936US ChampionshipD09 Queen's Gambit Declined, Albin Counter Gambit, 5.g3
4. Kevitz vs G N Treysman  0-1371936US ChampionshipD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
5. G N Treysman vs Kupchik  ½-½451936US ChampionshipD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
6. Harold Morton vs G N Treysman  0-1381936US ChampionshipA45 Queen's Pawn Game
7. G N Treysman vs A Simonson  0-1611936US ChampionshipA52 Budapest Gambit
8. S Bernstein vs G N Treysman  ½-½401936US ChampionshipD52 Queen's Gambit Declined
9. G N Treysman vs I A Horowitz  ½-½311936US ChampionshipC74 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense
10. G N Treysman vs M L Hanauer  1-0441936US ChampionshipD23 Queen's Gambit Accepted
11. Factor vs G N Treysman 0-1241936US ChampionshipD04 Queen's Pawn Game
12. G N Treysman vs Kashdan 1-0811936US ChampionshipE43 Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation
13. Reshevsky vs G N Treysman 1-0381936US ChampionshipD35 Queen's Gambit Declined
14. G N Treysman vs Dake  1-0481936US ChampionshipC71 Ruy Lopez
15. H Steiner vs G N Treysman  0-1411936US ChampionshipC50 Giuoco Piano
16. G N Treysman vs Fine 0-1491936US ChampionshipC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
17. B F Winkelman vs G N Treysman 0-1221936ACF CongressA52 Budapest Gambit
18. M L Hanauer vs G N Treysman  1-029193637th ACF Congress. Prelim 3D05 Queen's Pawn Game
19. G N Treysman vs D H Mugridge  ½-½43193637tn ACF Congress. Preliminary 3D30 Queen's Gambit Declined
20. G N Treysman vs W Grigorieff  1-028193738th ACF Congress. Preliminary 2B60 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer
21. D S Polland vs G N Treysman 1-0541937ACF CongressD64 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox, Rubinstein Attack
22. Harold Morton vs G N Treysman 0-1401937ACF CongressD06 Queen's Gambit Declined
23. G N Treysman vs W Grigorieff  0-1411937ACF CongressB60 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer
24. H Steiner vs G N Treysman  0-1601937ACF CongressD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
25. G N Treysman vs D MacMurray  0-1351937ACF CongressC71 Ruy Lopez
 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 36  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Treysman wins | Treysman loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
May-07-05  redlance: Anybody know anything about this
natural player?
I know he was a very strong coffee
house player.
May-08-05  Resignation Trap: According to urban legend, George Nelson Treysman (who died in early 1959) never opened a chess book in his life!

Treysman's result in the 1936 US Championship was stupendous! He tied for third with Fine, behind Reshevsky and Simonson: .

He didn't fare so well in the same event two years later: .

Premium Chessgames Member
  dorsnikov: When the first official chess rating system was published in 1950 Treysman had a higher rating than Larry Evans, 2521 vs. 2484. Treysman also had a victory over Emmanuel Lasker who was anything but easy to beat>

Apr-27-07  Caissanist: If you want to know about strong American players from the thirties, then I would recommend Arnold Denker's entertaining memoir "The Bobby Fischer I Knew and Other Stories", which has entertaining anecdotes about Treysmann and many other leading players of the time (Fine, Reshevsky, Horowitz, Dake, Whitaker, etc.).

According to Denker, Treysmann didn't really take tournament chess seriously--he was already 55 years old when he placed third in the 1936 US Championship, and only played in a half-dozen or so tournaments in his entire life. He was above all a hustler, making his living playing for quarters in what sounds like some of the seediest chess clubs in the history of the universe. He was, according to Denker, the best odds-giver around at the time, even better than Al Horowitz. Here is how Denker portrays a typical session:

<Then the game would begin. George was a master of pyschological warfare. With the saddest expression in the world, he would look out into the ever-present audience and wail, "You see, this is the kind of low-life that I have to put up with in order to live." Other times, he would belittle an opponent's move by pointing out its threat to the kibitzers. "Look how crude and low his plan is," he would say. Then he would make a move and extoll the beauty and artistry of his own play. Of course, he always neglected to point out the real threat behind his move, which was far different from what he revealed to onlookers. And when an opponent finally grabbed the bait, he would finish him off and ask, "How can you be such an idiot to believe everything that people tell you?" >

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Treysman is also entertainingly described in Lessing and Saidy's <The World of Chess>. Lessing wrote something like <Treysman never opened a chess book or, I suspect, many books of whatever description>. Lessing also described his own sense of pride when Treysman declined his challenge to play a game, saying it would be <like the horses betting with the horses>. Lessing said he felt that meant he had really arrived as a player.
Jul-23-07  MorphysMojo: Treysman was a classic "coffehouse hustler" sort of like what you see in Washington Square, NY. He would survive by not playing in rated tournaments very often so no one would know how strong he really was. He would aggressively challenge someone to chess, and then when they declined, he would challenge them to other games, at odds (even games he knew not how to play). Then the hustled would agree to play chess and that was the end of it. He would play for quarters making the typical vagabond chessplayers living at it. That he lived until 1959 is a miracle, considering how he had to live. About 25 years ago, an old player named Hesse told me that Treysman died of throat cancer.
Jul-23-07  Petrosianic: Isn't Treysman the one who would capture salt shakers from passing waiters, and use them as rooks?
Jul-23-07  Resignation Trap: <Petrosianic> Treysman was also known for taking an unmoved Rook from an adjacent board, and castling with it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: from Chess Review 1937..

<1937 Paul Morphy Centennial Tournament:

Let these few lines be a testimonial to D.H. Mugridge. If there had been a prize for keeping the neatest score, he would have won it. For contrast, G. Treysman's score looked like a scribble from the Ming dynasty.>


Feb-01-16  redlance: The King of Coffeehouse chess!!!
Dec-20-17  zanzibar: Lombardy/Daniel tell this tale in <Chess Panorama> on p101-2:

<One such story [about cheating in chess] concerns George Nelson Treysman, probably the greatest coffeehouse player of all time (and strong enough outside his natural habitat to have finished third in the 1936 United States championship). Treysman earned his livelihood in the dingy cafes on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, where he would take on all comers for small stakes. One day, or so this curious piece of folklore goes, he was playing one of his regular “customers” and was, as it sometimes happens with even the most succcessful of hustlers, losing. There was a huge crowd of kibbitzers around the board, and the levels of smoke, noise, and general confusion were at their usual befuddling heights. At the critical moment of the game a waiter elbowed his way through the crowd bearing a tray on which rested, among other things, a salt shaker. Treysman captured the salt shaker en passant, slammed it down on the appropriate square, and shouted “Mate!.” Before his startled opponent could protest, Treysman had pocketed the stakes and begun to set up the pieces for the next game. Legend has it that this unusual maneuver was successful: after considerable wrangling the game was held to be a win for Treysman, and all side bets were paid off.>

Chalk this one up as folkloric.

Dec-20-17  zanzibar: So, <petrosianic>, I believe the answer is "yes", modulo your (reasonable(?)) interpretation of a salt shaker as a rook.
Dec-20-17  zanzibar: According to Bill Hook, Sam Richman became NYC's leading hustler after Treysman's death. Which is just as well, given the apparent impetus Treysman provided to Richman's career:

< "During my first year at 42nd Street, a man named Sam Richman made a singular impression upon me. He was perhaps 35 at the time, tall, had a thick head of black hair, and one eye had an ominous black spot in the corner, which belied his essentially gentle nature. I later learned that Sam had been married and owned a delicatessen in Brooklyn in the 1930's. A strong player, he plunged into a series of increasingly high stakes games with George Treysman, lost his delicatessen, and then his wife left him. His life in ruins because of chess miscalculations, he then chose to become a hustler for the rest of his life!>

Dec-20-17  zanzibar: It seems rather unacceptable that <CG> seems to not have any Sam Richman games.

Can this oversight be corrected?


Dec-20-17  zanzibar: Slight aside:

<Sam Richman, who hangs out at Chess and Checker, started in Austria in 1909. He is a tall, gaunt man with a head of hair that Paderewski would have admired. He is 64 years old, they call him the champion of Seventh Avenue and the southern part of 42d Street, and he will take any­body on at odds. In a few moves he knows exactly the caliber of his opposition. “What book?” he says. “I never opened a chess book in my life.”

Generally he ends the eve­ning with a profit, but even he can be fooled. Some years

To Richman, chess is not just a way of life. It is his life. To others, it is almost as important.>

From a NYT's Nov. 29, 1964 article about coffeehouse players:

<The Chess Nut Is a Helpless Pawn>

Dec-20-17  zanzibar: Does anybody have a good copy of <Chess Review (1937)>?

On p226 (upper left) is a photo of <Treysmen // Pollack> playing at Chicago.

It would be nice to get a photographic quality scan with good contrast of it for here.

<Phony> maybe?


Premium Chessgames Member
  Gejewe: <Zanzibar> I have checked this in the PDF version and there is a photo of Treysman playing Polland. However it is part of a series of smaller photo's (this one is in the upper left corner of the page as you wrote). It makes no sense to extract it from that PDF source, maybe the paper version of Chess Review gives a better chance of reasonable photographic quality ?!
Dec-20-17  zanzibar: <<Gejewe> It makes no sense to extract it from that PDF source, maybe the paper version of Chess Review gives a better chance of reasonable photographic quality ?!>

Yes, exactly - I was hoping we could get a much better scan as I'm sure it would be possible (provided someone had access to the original).

BTW- the PDF version I've seen is really crumby, and off the net. Is the official USCF PDF version equally as bad?


Dec-20-17  zanzibar: There's this image of him floating about:

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gejewe: <Zanzibar> Yes, I checked the official USCF PDF version (TobyChess) which it itself is a great source of historical chess material, and I am grateful it exists, but in general the photographic quality is not great (and in this case bad..)
Dec-21-17  zanzibar: Thanks <Gejewe> for checking. I was afraid we both already knew what the result would be, but there's always some hope...

(Maybe a miraculous benefactor is still out there?)

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