|Robert E. Byrne (born April 20, 1928) is a leading American chess player, who won the U.S. Championship in 1972. He is the chess columnist for the New York Times.|
Byrne and his younger brother Donald grew up in New York City and were among the "Collins Kids," promising young players who benefited from the instruction and encouragement of John W. Collins.
Byrne became an International Master based on his results at the 1952 Chess Olympiad at Helsinki (silver medal on third board). In that same year he graduated from Yale University. He went on to become a professor of philosophy at the University of Indiana, and his academic career left him little time for chess.
In 1960, Byrne returned to serious play, winning the U.S. Open and taking a gold medal on third board at the Olympiad in Leipzig. In 1964, his third-place finish at the Buenos Aires tournament (behind Tigran Petrosian and Paul Keres) made him an International Grandmaster. By the late 1960s, he was playing chess professionally. He went on to other tournament successes, notably a third place at the Leningrad Interzonal in 1973, which made him only the third American (after Bobby Fischer and Pal Benko) to qualify for the Candidates tournament (part of the world chess championship process).
Since 1972, when he became the columnist for the Times, he has been less active as a player. He did, nevertheless, win tournaments at Torremolinos (1976 - 1977), Harare (1983), and Lagos (1993). He has also been a frequent contributor to Chess Life magazine, the publication of the United States Chess Federation. He has chaired USCF´s committee on masters´ affairs and been one of its vice presidents.
He was inducted into the Chess Hall of Fame in 1994.
- Beginning Chess (1972)
- Both Sides of the Chessboard (1974) (with Ivo Nei)
- New York Times Book of Great Chess Victories & Defeats (1990) (collection of Times columns)