Herman Steiner[ edit ]

Herman Steiner (April 15 1905 – November 25 1955) was a U.S. chess player, organizer, and columnist.
He won the U.S. Chess Championship in 1948 and became Internation Master in 1950.
Even more important than his playing career were his efforts promoting chess in the U.S., particularly on the West Coast.
An exemplar of the Romantic School of chess, Steiner was a successor to the American chess tradition of Morphy, Pillsbury, and Marshall.

Born in Duajaska Freda, Czechoslovakia (then part of Hungary), Steiner came to New York City at a young age.
For a time, he was active as a boxer.
At age 16 he was a member of the Hungarian Chess Club and the Stuyvesant Chess Club.
With the experience he gained in the active New York City chess scene, Steiner rapidly developed his chess skill and in 1929 he tied for first place (with J. Bernstein) in the New York State championship tournament at Buffalo.
The same year he was first in the Premier Reserves at Hastings, England.

Steiner left New York for the West, settling in Los Angeles in 1932.
He became chess editor of the Los Angeles Times that year, writing a chess column until his death.
He formed the Steiner Chess Club, later called the Hollywood Chess Group, headquartered in a clubhouse next to the Steiner residence.
The Hollywood Chess Group was visited by many movie stars including Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Charles Boyer, and José Ferrer.
Steiner and the Hollywood Chess Group organized the Pan-American International Tournament in 1945 and the Second Pan-American Chess Congress in 1954.

In 1948 Steiner won the United States championship at South Fallsburg, N.Y., ahead of Isaac Kashdan.

Steiner was a member of chess olympiad teams sent abroad by the United States Chess Federation to The Hague 1928, Hamburg 1930, and Prague 1931.
As reigning U.S. champion, he captained the victorious American team at the 1950 Olympiad in Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia (now in Croatia).

In the historic 1945 New York–Moscow radio match between teams from the USA and the USSR, Steiner was the only U.S. player to achieve a plus score.
Although the American team including Fine, Reshevsky, Denker, and Kashdan, was badly beaten, Steiner scored 1.5–0.5 against Salo Flohr.

Steiner was very active as a player in West Coast tournaments, winning the only two California Open tournaments he entered in 1954 and 1955, and winning the California State Championship in 1953 and 1954.
He was defending his State Championship in Los Angeles in 1955, when after finishing his fifth round game (a 62-move draw against William Addison) he felt unwell and his afternoon game was postponed.
About 2 hours later around 9:30 pm, Steiner died practically instantaneously of a massive coronary occlusion while being attended by a physician.
By agreement of the players, the 1955 California State Championship tournament was cancelled.

Tournament Record
Tournament Date Score Result
N.Y. State Championship 1929  1st–2nd (tied with J. Bernstein)
Hastings Premier Reserves 1929  1st
Berlin 1931  1st (ahead of Sämisch and L. Steiner)
Brun 1931  2nd (behind Flohr)
Pasadena International Tournament 1932 6–5 4th–6th (tied with Dake and Reshevsky, behind Alekhine and Kashdan)
Mexico City 1935  1st–3nd (tied with Fine and Dake)
U.S. Open 1942  1st–2nd (tied with Yanofsky)
California State Championship 1945 8–1 1st–2nd (tied with A.J. Fink)
U.S. Open 1946  1st
London 1946  1st (ahead of Tartakover and O.S. Bernstein)
U.S. Championship 1948  1st
Hollywood International Tournament 1952  3rd (behind Gligoric and Pomar)
California State Championship 1953 7.5–1.5 1st
California State Championship 1954 7.5–1.5 1st
California Open 1954  1st
California Open 1955  1st
California State Championship 1955 4–1 tournament cancelled

  • Hooper, David and Kenneth Whyld (1996). The Oxford Companion To Chess. Oxford University. ISBN 0-19-280049-3.
  • "Herman Steiner." THE CALIFORNIA CHESS REPORTER (Vol. 5 No. 4) December, 1955. Accessed on May 24, 2005.

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article No 759 / last change on 2005-06-30, 02:35pm

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