Samuel Reshevsky[ edit ]

Samuel Herman (Sammy) Reshevsky (born November 26, 1911, Ozorkow, Poland - died April 4, 1992, New York, USA) was a leading American chess Grandmaster.

Born Szmul Rzeszewski, he learned to play at age four, and was soon acclaimed a child prodigy. At age eight he was beating accomplished players with ease and giving simultaneous exhibitions.

In the 1920s his parents moved to the US, where they made a living from the talent of their child. As an adult, however, Reshevsky was never a professional chess player. He graduated from the University of Chicago in 1933 with a degree in accounting, and worked as an accountant.

He won US championships in 1936, 1938, 1940, 1942, 1946, 1969 and 1970. His international career began in 1935 at the Margate tournament, which he won, beating, among others, former world champion José Raúl Capablanca. Here´s the game (moves given in Algebraic chess notation):

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Bg5 Nbd7 5. cxd5 exd5 6. e3 Be7 7. Bd3 O-O 8. Qc2 c5 9. Nf3 c4 10. Bf5 Re8 11. O-O g6 12. Bh3 Nf8 13. Bxc8 Rxc8 14. Bxf6 Bxf6 15. b3 Qa5 16. b4 Qd8 17. Qa4 a6 18. b5 Re6 19. Rab1 Rb8 20. Rb2 Be7 21. bxa6 Rxa6 22. Qc2 Ne6 23. Rfb1 Ra7 24. a4 Nc7 25. Ne5 Qe8 26. f4 f6 27. Ng4 Qd7 28. h3 Kg7 29. Nf2 Ba3 30. Ra2 Bd6 31. Nfd1 f5 32. Nb5 Ra5 33. Nxc7 Bxc7 34. Nc3 Qd6 35. Qf2 b6 36. Qf3 Rd8 37. Rab2 Qe7 38. Rb4 Rd7 39. Kh1 Bd8 40. g4 fxg4 41. hxg4 Qd6 42. Kg1 Bc7 43. Kf2 Rf7 44. g5 Bd8 45. Ke2 Bxg5 46. Rxb6 Qa3 47. Kd2 Be7 48. Rb7 Rxa4 49. Qxd5 Ra5 50. Qxc4 Rh5 51. Kd3 Qa8 52. Qe6 Qa3 53. Rd7 Rhf5 54. Rb3 Qa1 55. Rxe7 Qf1+ 56. Kd2 1-0

A year later he shared third place at Nottingham. In 1937 he shared first at Kemeri, Latvia, and in 1938 shared fourth in the AVRO tournament, which featured arguably the eight strongest players in the world.

Reshevsky was one of the best players in the world, and a serious contender for the world championship, from roughly the mid-1930´s to the mid-1960´s. He was one of five chess grandmasters to compete for the World Championship in 1948, and finished in joint third place with Paul Keres. He then reached second place in a candidates´ tournament in Zurich (1952). He also qualified from an interzonal tournament in Sousse, but lost in the quarterfinal to Viktor Korchnoi in 1968.

He was a regular top board for the USA at the Chess Olympiads. He won gold in 1937 and bronze in 1974 and an individual gold in 1950. Overall he played in eight Olympiads.

His books include Reshevsky on Chess (1948), How Chess Games Are Won (1962), and The Art of Positional Play (1978).

Reshevsky was a tough and forceful player who was superb at positional play, but could also play brilliant tactical chess when warranted. He used huge amounts of time in the opening, a dangerous tactic which sometimes caused him to play the rest of the game in a very short amount of time. That sometimes unsettled Reshevsky´s opponents, but other times resulted in blunders on his part. Reshevsky´s inadequate study of the opening and his related tendency to fall into time-pressure may have been the reasons that, despite his great talent, he was never able to become world champion.

  • "By playing slowly during the early phases of a game I am able to grasp the basic requirements of each position, Then, despite being in time pressure, I have no difficulty in finding the best continuation. Incidentally, it is an odd fact that more often than not it is my opponent who gets the jitters when I am compelled to make these hurried moves."

  • "My style is somewhere between that of Tal and Petrosian." (This was meant as a joke because Tal was a very ambious attacker and Petrosian was a extremely defensive player.)

categories: myChess-Wiki | Chess players | Samuel Reshevsky
article No 728 / last change on 2005-06-30, 01:58pm

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