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Samy Rubinstein
Samy Rubinstein 
Number of games in database: 45
Years covered: 1946 to 2001
Overall record: +24 -13 =8 (62.2%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

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C24 Bishop's Opening (8 games)
D02 Queen's Pawn Game (4 games)
E76 King's Indian, Four Pawns Attack (2 games)
A40 Queen's Pawn Game (2 games)
D20 Queen's Gambit Accepted (2 games)

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(born Mar-19-1927, died Jun-2002, 75 years old) Belgium

[what is this?]
Salomon ("Samy") Rubinstein, the son of Akiva and Eugénie Rubinstein, was born in Antwerp, Belgium. He grew up in Brussels where his mother ran a restaurant. In a 1985 interview, Samy related that his brother Jonas taught him chess when he was ten years old. Jonas was nine years older than him. (1) His famous father, Akiba Rubinstein had retired from the game in 1931.

In 1943, deportations in Nazi-occupied Belgium began and he fled with his mother into the Wallonian countryside. While Akiva stayed hidden in a hospital in Brussels and Jonas went into hiding in Brussels, they found a shelter in a castle in the Ardennes with other Jewish refugees. In the fall of 1943 the castle was raided by the Nazis and all were arrested. His mother, however, managed to escape. Samy survived a year in the concentration camp of Mechelen/Malines doing forced labor.(2) Liberated in September 1944, the Rubinstein family reunited and Samy became more interested in chess. He joined a chess club and played Belgium tournaments from 1948 onwards. He also practiced with his father and became champion of Brussels in March 1949. Later that year Samy went to the United States where he played at the Marshall Chess Club in New York. He returned to Belgium in 1951 and studied art at the École des Beaux Arts. Later, Samy painted Bronstein’s portrait for Tom Fürstenberg’s book The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

In 1954 Samy's mother Eugénie died and he spent three years in a psychiatric institution. However, he started to play chess tournaments again in 1956 and became a loyal member of the CREB (Cercle Royale des Échecs de Bruxelles), winning the CREB championship many times. CREB magazine later reported him to be a very good rapid chess player. Samy also lived in the Netherlands at some point where he won the Amersfoort Championship. In his later years, he was a regular at chess tournaments in Brussels. In 1980 and 1985 he won the Championnat individuel de la Francophonie. He died in Brussels, aged 75.

(1) CREB magazine, Journal 36
Also: "Akiba Rubinstein: The Later Years" by J. Donaldson and N. Minev (Seattle, 1995), p. 291; Our thanks to Etienne Cornil of CREB for his help in the preparation of this page.

 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 45  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Rubinstein vs Samy Rubinstein  0-1271946Training GameC24 Bishop's Opening
2. Samy Rubinstein vs P Demoulin  1-0341946BelgiumC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
3. Samy Rubinstein vs Rubinstein  0-1231946Training GameD02 Queen's Pawn Game
4. Rubinstein vs Samy Rubinstein  1-0311946Training GameA15 English
5. Samy Rubinstein vs A Tackels  1-0411946BelgiumD46 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
6. Rubinstein vs Samy Rubinstein  1-0241947Training GameC24 Bishop's Opening
7. Rubinstein vs Samy Rubinstein  1-0371947Training GameC24 Bishop's Opening
8. Rubinstein vs Samy Rubinstein  0-1311947Training GameC24 Bishop's Opening
9. Samy Rubinstein vs Rubinstein  0-1451947Training GameD02 Queen's Pawn Game
10. Rubinstein vs Samy Rubinstein  1-0251947Training GameC24 Bishop's Opening
11. Rubinstein vs Samy Rubinstein  1-0261947Training GameC24 Bishop's Opening
12. L Ambuhl vs Samy Rubinstein  1-0411948BelgiumD02 Queen's Pawn Game
13. Samy Rubinstein vs Rubinstein 1-0371948Training GameD06 Queen's Gambit Declined
14. Rubinstein vs Samy Rubinstein  0-1491948Training GameC24 Bishop's Opening
15. Rubinstein vs Samy Rubinstein 1-0341948Training GameC24 Bishop's Opening
16. Samy Rubinstein vs Rubinstein  1-0521948Training GameB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
17. R Willaert vs Samy Rubinstein  0-1431948BelgiumD02 Queen's Pawn Game
18. Samy Rubinstein vs P Demoulin  1-0191952Championnat du cercle ColleC30 King's Gambit Declined
19. R Lemaire vs Samy Rubinstein  0-1311952BelgiumA46 Queen's Pawn Game
20. A Dunkelblum vs Samy Rubinstein  ½-½371953Championnat FBEE64 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Yugoslav System
21. G P Thibaut vs Samy Rubinstein  0-1501953Championnat FBED44 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
22. Samy Rubinstein vs F van Seters  0-1311954BelgiumC16 French, Winawer
23. P Limbos vs Samy Rubinstein  ½-½361956Championnat FBEC79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred
24. Samy Rubinstein vs F Fontigny  1-0271973Championnat de BruxellesE76 King's Indian, Four Pawns Attack
25. Samy Rubinstein vs J Tonoli  ½-½421973BelgiumA58 Benko Gambit
 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 45  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Samy Rubinstein wins | Samy Rubinstein loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-22-09  brankat: Certainly an interesting figure, Mr.S.Rubinstein. The photo suggests, he resembled in appearance his famous father very much.

I'll go through some of his games, but I don't really expect to find much of a resemblance there. Isn't it almost always the case with fathers and sons, not only chess-wise?

As if there is a certain "talent pool" specific to a given field of human endeavour, from which only so much can be "alloted" to members of an immediate family.

R.I.P. Samy Rubinstein.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Interesting stuff. I love that book "The Sorcerer's Apprentice." A classic by David Bronstein, I had no idea the cover was painted by a chessplayer.

Was THIS Rubinstein a grandmaster? It seems rare for chess champions to produce offspring with similar qualities. Are there any other examples of great players who produced kids who were GMs or IMs?

Jun-23-09  YoungEd: Hello, <HeMateMe>--I know that Milan Vidmar had a son, Milan Vidmar Jr., who earned the IM title. There may be other examples, but that's the first that comes to mind.
Jun-23-09  twinlark: John Spencer Purdy won the Australian Championship twice.

Purdy's father was the famous Cecil John Seddon Purdy, the first correspondence World Champion and four time Australian Champion.

His grandfather was Spencer Crakanthorp who had also won the Australian Championship four times.

Jun-23-09  Anyi: I guess Samy Rubinstein loved painting too much to become a chess player of grandmaster level. His rating was about 2200.
Btw, I plan to translate a CREB interview with him into English and to publish it on my website...
Jun-23-09  zoren: Please do! Looking forward to it. :)
Jun-25-09  Bridgeburner: Here's something more about Samy's life in the concentration camp:

<{Rubinstein's] youngest son was sent to a concentration camp, and survived due to his brilliant game, for the Nazi camp commander, who himself was a good chess player, did not want to forgo such a chess competitor.>:

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Reminds me of the movie "Triumph of the Spirit," starring William DeFoe. A true story of a Greek Jew imprisoned in Auchwitz, in Poland. The Greek was a champion boxer of the Balkans, undefeated. The german officers at this camp (there were as many as 1,000 camps) were boxing enthusiasts, and there was a portion of a building set up as an auditorim, with a boxing ring. They would bet on the contestants. The boxers fought till one was knocked out. This guy survived the camps. The one he was in was abandoned in 1945 as the Red Army advanced through Poland.
Premium Chessgames Member
  vonKrolock: quote, from <Bridgeburner>'s link:<Akiba Rubinstein became a well-known national chess personality. He was invited to competitions in other cities, and he continued progressing until he was invited to the Russian national chess championships in St. Petersburg in 1909, where the most experienced chess players in all of Russia participated, including the world chess grandmaster Dr. Emanuel Lasker. "> So Lasker was Russian!? <"Learn Something New Every Day"> ... But following is very interesting: <"the Rubinsztejn family moved to Bialystok after his mother married Rabbi Heller, who was known as “The Genius (Illuy) of Pinsk”."> Heller = Geller in Russian spelling - depending on law or will he could arrive to be known as <Akiba Geller>
Jun-25-09  Shams: <Bridgeburner> There was a Russian master, I forget the name, who was rounded up by the Bolsheviks and sentenced to summary execution-- his name had gotten on a list. But the commander recognized his name and allowed him to play for his life, which he did-- successfully. I imagine it was a positional game, no?
Jun-25-09  Bridgeburner: <Shams>

Shades of the classic Ingmar Bergman movie <The Seventh Seal> in which the knight plays a game of chess against Death:

Seems like life anticipated art!

Jun-25-09  Bridgeburner: <vonKrolock>

You mean <Akiba Heller>!

Jul-14-09  brankat: Overall, the article <Bridgeburner> provided is a fair one, I think, despite a lack of details, and some minor inaccuracies. ( Dr Euwe, the former chess grandmaster: Dr.Bronstein; Dr.Widmer...) The author, obviously is not a chess historian.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: I hope that the games he played against his father around 1946/47 eventually become available.
May-05-12  Karpova: Gerd Stein in 'From Beat Scene Poet to Psychedelic Multi-Media Artist in San Francisco and beyond: 1948-1978' (UC Berkeley 2001):

<We were living on 101st Street and Columbus Avenue in a railroad flat, and for a long time we had someone living with us whose name was Sami Rubinstein - no relation to that other Rubinstein. Sami was from Belgium, and he was the son of a world-famous chess player named Akiva Rubinstein. He also was a chess player. He didn't have any money, but he would go down to the Marshall Chess Club and play and come home with a few dollars all the time. He was not his father's equal, but he was tops.

He was an artist; he drew like Rembrandt - and I do not mean to put them on an equal level. By "like Rembrandt," I mean that he drew in that style. He knew all Rembrandt's work, particularly the drawings. He would draw portraits of you in that style, and they were fantastic...>

Source: Page 378 of J. Donaldson and N. Minev 'The Life and Games of Akiva Rubinstein - Volume 2: The Later Years', 2nd edition, Milford, USA, 2011.

Jun-26-13  JimNorCal: A note from the author's preface to Vienna 1922 (Larry Evans): "...I had indirect contact with Rubinstein through his youngest son Sammy who visited me in New York around 1950, and he never mentioned having spent time in a Nazi concentration camp. He asked to borrow my copy of Teplitz-Schonau 1922 where his father had finished fifth. It was a thick tournament book that I fully expected him to return before he went back to Belgium and I was miffed when he kept it....Over the years I learned that Sammy had won the championship of Brussels, and from time to time I vaguely wondered if I'd ever see my book again. Out of the blue, before Sammy died in 2002, I got a battered parcel in the mail from Belgium- the book I had lent him a half century earlier! In retrospect I'm glad he made good use of it and like to think he savored those dog-eared pages with his father."
Jul-26-20  W Westerlund: I know of an anecdote in which Rubinstein played a game in an insignificant tournament against a young, unpromising player. It was the main variation of a Pirc (Nf3, Be2, O-O ... like Karpov used to play against the Pirc). After 20 or so moves Rubinstein was not better and after 30 or so moves, his position had not improved, on the contrary, he had tried in vain to mount an attack on the King. Realising that things look bleak, he asked his opponent if and what he would like to drink. This is probably against the rules now, but in the old days it was common courtesy. His opponent said he would have a coke. Rubinstein disappeared to the bar and returned with two trappistes - heavy stuff made in a monastery brewery. At this point, something broke in the opponent. If Rubinstein thought that this was the way to beat him, he would show him! Fifteen or so moves later on Rubinstein finally resigned.

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