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Arnold Denker
Photograph copyright © 2004,
Number of games in database: 373
Years covered: 1929 to 2001
Highest rating achieved in database: 2340

Overall record: +140 -125 =103 (52.0%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 5 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Queen's Pawn Game (28) 
    A46 D05 D02 A40 A45
 King's Indian (18) 
    E94 E60 E62 E73 E81
 Nimzo Indian (18) 
    E33 E22 E43 E24 E53
 English (14) 
    A15 A13 A10
 Queen's Gambit Declined (12) 
    D37 D31 D38 D06
 Orthodox Defense (12) 
    D64 D52 D62 D56 D60
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (47) 
    B74 B32 B92 B73 B45
 Nimzo Indian (17) 
    E47 E25 E39 E27 E38
 Sicilian Dragon (10) 
    B74 B73 B76 B70
 Queen's Indian (10) 
    E19 E16 E14 E12 E17
 Orthodox Defense (8) 
    D52 D51 D54 D55 D50
 King's Indian (8) 
    E62 E80 E85 E91 E75
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Denker vs A R Shayne, 1945 1-0
   Denker vs H Feit, 1929 1-0
   Denker vs Gonzalez, 1945 1-0
   Denker vs Chiera, 1936 1-0
   Denker vs Robbins, 1934 1-0
   Denker vs I A Horowitz, 1933 1-0
   Szabo vs Denker, 1946 0-1
   I A Horowitz vs Denker, 1936 0-1
   Denker vs H Avram, 1940 1-0
   Denker vs Fine, 1944 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   London-B (1946)
   Syracuse (1934)
   United States Championship (1942)
   Hastings 1945/46 (1945)
   United States Championship (1940)
   United States Championship (1946)
   US Championship 1957/58 (1957)
   72nd US Open (1971)
   Groningen (1946)
   93rd US Open (1992)
   US Championship (1936)
   Lone Pine (1972)
   Lone Pine (1975)
   Lone Pine (1976)
   102nd US Open (2001)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   American Chess Bulletin 1946 by Phony Benoni
   US Championship 1957/58 by suenteus po 147
   US Championship 1957/58 by shankartr2018
   London B 1946 by Tabanus
   Hastings 1945/46 by suenteus po 147
   Hastings 1945/46 by Tabanus
   1944 US championship by crawfb5
   1946 Denker-Steiner match by crawfb5

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Arnold Denker
Search Google for Arnold Denker

(born Feb-21-1914, died Jan-02-2005, 90 years old) United States of America

[what is this?]

Arnold Sheldon Denker was born in New York in 1914. In his youth he took to boxing, but his true love was chess. Denker won the Manhattan Chess Club championship six times (1940, 1944, 1950, 1950-51, 1954, 1969-70). He was US Chess Champion in 1944 and retained it in 1946 after beating Herman Steiner in a match Denker tied for third place at Hastings (1945/46). He was awarded the IM title at its inception in 1950 and the Emeritus GM title in 1981. Later, Denker was an important chess organiser in the US and also continued to play. In 2004 he received the title of "Dean of American Chess".

Wikipedia article: Arnold Denker

Last updated: 2020-10-21 05:41:41

 page 1 of 16; games 1-25 of 380  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Denker vs H Feit 1-0231929Interborough High school Chess LeagueA80 Dutch
2. Denker vs Kashdan 1-0351932Manhattan CC-chE16 Queen's Indian
3. Denker vs D MacMurray 1-0151932Manhattan CC-chA35 English, Symmetrical
4. Denker vs E Schwartz 1-0361933Young Masters TournamentD16 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
5. Denker vs B Siff 1-0301933Empire City ChampionshipD53 Queen's Gambit Declined
6. Denker vs I A Horowitz 1-0481933Olympic Selection TournamentD52 Queen's Gambit Declined
7. Denker vs R Willman ½-½411933Olympic Selection TournamentD52 Queen's Gambit Declined
8. Denker vs Fine 0-1281933Olympic Selection TournamentD15 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
9. F Reinfeld vs Denker 0-1271933Olympic Selection TournamentD52 Queen's Gambit Declined
10. Denker vs R Levenstein  1-0251933Olympic Selection TournamentA31 English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation
11. E S Jackson vs Denker 0-1261934Manhattan CC-chB02 Alekhine's Defense
12. Denker vs R Willman 1-0201934Manhattan CC-chD47 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
13. Denker vs Robbins 1-0191934SimulA80 Dutch
14. Denker vs F Rundell 1-023193435th Western Championship. PreliminaryD05 Queen's Pawn Game
15. Denker vs Kashdan 1-042193435th Western Championship. FinalD18 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch
16. Fine vs Denker 1-017193435th Western Championship. FinalB40 Sicilian
17. N G Engholm vs Denker  0-131193435th Western Championship. FinalA48 King's Indian
18. Denker vs D MacMurray  1-031193435th Western Championship. FinalD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
19. Dake vs Denker ½-½35193435th Western Championship. FinalD92 Grunfeld, 5.Bf4
20. Reshevsky vs Denker ½-½55193435th Western Championship. FinalE47 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Bd3
21. J Araiza Munoz vs Denker  ½-½20193435th Western Championship. FinalC47 Four Knights
22. Denker vs Santasiere 0-1361934SyracuseA48 King's Indian
23. F Reinfeld vs Denker 1-0321934SyracuseA04 Reti Opening
24. Denker vs M Monticelli  1-0281934SyracuseA46 Queen's Pawn Game
25. Denker vs H Steiner 1-0261934SyracuseD05 Queen's Pawn Game
 page 1 of 16; games 1-25 of 380  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Denker wins | Denker loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-12-11  waustad: The highest rating does no justice. According to chessmetrics he got into the top 10 in 1935. Whatever you think of their methods, that is a lot stronger than an ordinary master. They gave him a 2738 performance rating at Syracuse, 1935 in a tourney with the cream of US chess - Reshevsky, Fine, Kashdan, Dake, Steiner, Santastiere, ...
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Pity only two of Denker's games are in this DB from his triumphal march to the 1944 US title, but at least the best-known of the lot is one!
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: I met Denker once at some big tournament in Chicago. Unfortunately I didn't have his best games collection at the time, so I had him autograph his game against Fine in one of Fine's books - maybe "The World's Great Chess Games." A very strong player and classy guy who deserves to be better known. Do check out Denker-Feit, the first game of his in this database (and also in his book I believe). He played it in high school, and it is a frigging masterpiece. Even he wrote that he doesn't understand how he played the game so well as that age.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I used to own a copy of "The Bobby Fischer I Knew, And Other Stories", which is a nice book, recollection of chess in the 1930s-50s, and Denkers bit of interation with the very young BF at chess clubs. A nice complement to a chess book shelf, considering how much garbage is out there.

Does anyone have <"The KGB Plays Chess: The Soviet Secret Police and the Fight for the World Chess Crown"> by Boris Gulko? Is it any good?

Premium Chessgames Member
  jessicafischerqueen: Live film footage of the USA vs. RUSSIA match held in Moscow, 1946. Included are <Mikhail Botvinnik>, <Vassily Smslov>, <Samuel Reshevsky>, <Arnold Denker>, and <Arthur Dake>:

Jul-04-11  Rook e2: A nice name for a good chessplayer, 'Denker' means 'thinker' in Dutch.
Jul-04-11  karnak64: A true all American. Good pick for the day!
Feb-21-13  grasser: I got a draw with Denker when I was a teen back in 1976. He was a VERY nice man.
Sep-01-13  Karpova: His son Mitchell passed away on August 24:
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Found the following game in an old NZ Chess magazine. It apparently was played in a Manhattan - Marshall Team Match in 1963. I'm not sure if White was Harry Lyman or his nephew Shelby Lyman.

[Event "Manhatten Marshall Team Match"]
[Site "New York, USA"]
[Date "1963.??.??"]
[EventDate "?"]
[Round "?"]
[Result "0-1"]
[White "Lyman"]
[Black "Denker"]
[ECO "B82"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[PlyCount "68"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Nc3 b5 6. Bd3 Bb7 7. O-O d6 8. f4 Nf6 9. Be3 b4 10. e5 dxe5 11. fxe5 bxc3 12. exf6 Qd5 13. Qe2 gxf6 14. Bc4 Qe5 15. Nf3 Qh5 16. Bd4 Bc5 17. bxc3 O-O 18. Rab1 Bc6 19. Qf2 Nd7 20. Be2 Rfe8 21. Nd2 Bxd4 22. cxd4 Qg5 23. Bf3 Bxf3 24. Nxf3 Qd5 25. Nd2 Qxa2 26. Rb7 Red8 27. Nb3 f5 28. d5 Rac8 29. dxe6 fxe6 30. Rc1 Qb2 31. Qa7 Nf6 32. Qb6 Qe5 33. Re7 Rd6 34. Qf2 Rcd8 0-1

Apr-13-14  crawfb5: According to Horowitz's column in the <NY Times> of 30 Jun 1963, Denker's opponent was Shelbourne (Shelby) Lyman. The game was from a match in the final round of the Metropolitan Chess League.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <crawfb5> Thanks Larry. If anyone wants to upload this game feel free to do so.


Apr-13-14  zanzibar: RE: Lyman-Denker, MCC-MCC tm (1963)

Opening Study:

Here's an unplayed variation where White deviates with 10.Na4 and Black injudiciously decides to grab the pawn:

10.Na4 <off to the side, but keeps center lines open, and x-ray owns b6/c5. Also good is 10.e5> Then if Bxe4 11.Bxe4 Nxe4

click for larger view

<Sharp - White has one move to gain a decisive advantage - utilizing development lead to capitalize on Black's king being stuck in the center, e.g.>

12.f5! e5 13.Ne6! <sac> fxe6 <what else? if 13...Qc8 or 13...Qd7 then 14.Nb6> 14.fxe6 d5 15.Qh5+ g6 16.Qxe5 Rg8 17.Qf4 Ra7? <better to return piece w 17...Nf6 or 17...Qf6> 18.Qf7+ Rxf7 19.exf7+ Kd7 20.fxg8=Q < Black is lost>

Look at how powerful the coordinated White knights are if the sac is declined. They almost single-handedly rip open Black's position.

Feb-21-15  NBAFan: I remember meeting Denker in the 90's. He was a true gentleman, who welcomed me as soon as I saw him. I deeply miss him, and wish that he had been listed as the POTD today. He deserves the respect.
May-16-15  Howard: He was almost certainly the last surviving player from the 1936 U.S. championship, at the time he died.
Oct-27-15  wrap99: Met Denker in 1977 at US Open in Columbus -- not so much older then than I am now (time flies as someone else observed above) -- very nice and approachable and amusing guy.

It seems to me as he was colorfully analyzing a game with a much younger opponent that somehow this was what chess was about: Bright people of various ages and backgrounds interacting socially (a huge part of chess -- the tournament is one thing, the skittles room is an incredible place: please try to play at a US Open at least once!).

Denker was a great man as far as I can tell.

Feb-21-16  TheFocus: Happy birthday, GM Arnold Denker.

Why would you have been left off the birthday list?

Jul-04-16  ketchuplover: may he continue to rest in peace
Oct-26-17  zanzibar: Denker wins again!

White to move

click for larger view

Does <CG> have this game? Can we do a search on the position?


Jul-20-18  Sally Simpson: Hi Zanzibar,

I too used this advert.


Found some RHP games with the same idea but not the exact position from the advert. It's almost certainly a composed position.

click for larger view

The Black pawns on h7,g6,g5 and f6 are close to being illegal and I come across about 20+ games from 10 million with that Black pawn set up and nothing before 1960.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: I don't know if friends called him "Denker the Thinker"

But they could have...

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: And also, look at his photo! This in NO WAY looks like an 89 year old man.

He looks maybe 15 years younger than that! Yet he died less than a year after the photo was taken.

January seems to be a bad month for old people dying. My grandparents died in January (but 4 decades apart).

I think it's the lack of vitamin D in Winter time. Old folks stay inside to huddle by the fireplace.

Get out and hike in Winter! Save yourselves.

Jul-04-20  jith1207: <January seems to be a bad month for old people dying>:

RIP, DomDaniel.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: When Denker lost a game on time, was it due to overthinking?
Oct-20-20  Nosnibor: <Phony Benoni> <When Denker lost a game on time, was it due to overthinking ?> No I think it was when he got boxed in!
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