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Samuel Reshevsky

Number of games in database: 1,586
Years covered: 1917 to 1991
Overall record: +584 -216 =683 (62.4%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 103 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Nimzo Indian (124) 
    E46 E56 E43 E54 E47
 King's Indian (94) 
    E92 E97 E60 E95 E66
 Grunfeld (53) 
    D81 D97 D83 D92 D82
 Orthodox Defense (46) 
    D51 D50 D55 D60 D62
 Queen's Gambit Declined (40) 
    D37 D35 D31 D30 D36
 Modern Benoni (37) 
    A56 A57 A79 A65 A70
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (143) 
    C96 C95 C93 C86 C69
 Sicilian (122) 
    B32 B70 B40 B42 B93
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (99) 
    C96 C95 C86 C93 C84
 Nimzo Indian (76) 
    E33 E54 E46 E56 E40
 King's Indian (75) 
    E69 E60 E95 E94 E67
 Queen's Indian (48) 
    E12 E19 E17 E16 E15
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Reshevsky vs Petrosian, 1953 1/2-1/2
   Botvinnik vs Reshevsky, 1948 0-1
   Evans vs Reshevsky, 1963 1/2-1/2
   Reshevsky vs A Vasconcellos, 1944 1-0
   J Mieses vs Reshevsky, 1935 0-1
   Reshevsky vs Najdorf, 1957 1-0
   Lasker vs Reshevsky, 1936 0-1
   Reshevsky vs Capablanca, 1935 1-0
   Reshevsky vs Fischer, 1961 1/2-1/2
   Reshevsky vs G N Treysman, 1938 1-0

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   FIDE World Championship Tournament (1948)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Kemeri (1937)
   US Championship (1936)
   United States Championship (1938)
   Syracuse (1934)
   United States Championship (1942)
   United States Championship (1940)
   United States Championship (1946)
   56th US Open (1955)
   Reshevsky - Najdorf (1952)
   Havana (1952)
   Third Rosenwald Trophy (1956)
   Amsterdam (1950)
   United States Championship 1957/58 (1957)
   Buenos Aires (1960)
   Zuerich Candidates (1953)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Match Reshevsky! by amadeus
   Match Reshevsky! by docjan
   Challenger of 48 Reshevsky_125 by Gottschalk
   Best Games of Chess (Reshevsky) by Qindarka
   Best Games of Chess (Reshevsky) by passion4chess
   Reshevsky's Best Games of Chess, Vol. I by suenteus po 147
   Veliki majstori saha 23 RESHEVSKY (Marovic) by Chessdreamer
   0ZeR0's Favorite Games Volume 75 by 0ZeR0
   Rgrrgrr at Fredthebear by fredthebear
   How Chess Games are Won (Reshevsky) by igiene
   How Chess Games are Won (Reshevsky) by Qindarka
   Red Robin Riding Hood went around by fredthebear
   American Chess Bulletin 1921 by Phony Benoni
   Art of Positional Play (Reshevsky) by Parmenides1963

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Samuel Reshevsky
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(born Nov-26-1911, died Apr-04-1992, 80 years old) Poland (federation/nationality United States of America)

[what is this?]
Samuel Herman Reshevsky (Szmul Rzeszewski) was born in Ozorkow, Poland. He learned to play chess at the age of four. At eight years old he was giving simultaneous exhibitions and defeating some of the country's most prominent players.

Following the events of World War 1, Reshevsky immigrated to the United States (1920). As a 9-year old, his first American simultaneous exhibition was with 20 officers and cadets at the Military Academy at West Point. He won 19 games and drew one. He toured the country and played over 1,500 games as a 9-year old in simultaneous exhibitions and only lost 8 games. In his early years he did not go to school and his parents ended up in Manhattan Children's Court on charges of improper guardianship. His benefactor was Julius Rosenwald, founder of Sears & Roebuck, who agreed to provide for Reshevsky's future if he devoted himself to completing his education. Reshevsky then largely abandoned chess for 10 years to pursue a vocation as an accountant, receiving an accounting degree from the University of Chicago in 1933 which he put to use in New York City.

After obtaining his college degree, he devoted himself to tournament chess. Several subsequent successes in international events led to his invitations to both AVRO 1938 and the World Championship Tournament ten years later. Between 1936 and 1942, he had a streak of 75 games without a loss in U.S. Championship competition. He won the US Open in 1944. Pan-American Champion at Hollywood 1945. He played in 21 U.S. Championships, from 1936 to 1981. Over the course of a long international career that continued until he was almost 80, he qualified for the Candidates five times, won the U.S. Championship on six occasions (first time in 1936, last time in 1971) and played 11 World Champions, ranging from Emanuel Lasker to Anatoly Karpov.

He won matches against several notable Western players, including Svetozar Gligoric, Miguel Najdorf and Robert James Fischer (after Fischer was forfeited while the match was tied). However, he was never able to secure the right to a World Championship match. In 1981, at the age of 70, he tied for 3rd place in the U.S. Championship. In 1984, at the age of 72, he took first place in the powerful Reykjavik Open, which featured many grandmasters. (1)

Wikipedia article: Samuel Reshevsky; (1)

 page 1 of 64; games 1-25 of 1,586  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Reshevsky vs S Factor 0-1261917LodzC22 Center Game
2. Reshevsky vs Rubinstein 0-1241917Blindfold gameC50 Giuoco Piano
3. Reshevsky vs R C Griffith 1-0301920Blindfold gameC67 Ruy Lopez
4. C Jaffe vs Reshevsky 0-1171920New York blindfoldC30 King's Gambit Declined
5. Reshevsky vs Traube 1-0171920HanoverA02 Bird's Opening
6. Reshevsky vs J Zabludowski 1-0291920Simul, 20bC62 Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense
7. Reshevsky vs L von Dory 1-0161920SimulC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
8. Reshevsky vs Saemisch 0-1381920BerlinE50 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Nf3, without ...d5
9. P Krueger vs Reshevsky ½-½391920Blindfold gameC48 Four Knights
10. Reshevsky vs M Gency 1-0371920Simul, 20bC30 King's Gambit Declined
11. Reshevsky vs M Herzfeld 1-0521920Simul, 20bC66 Ruy Lopez
12. Reshevsky vs L Schwarz 1-0651920Simul, 20bC00 French Defense
13. Reshevsky vs G W Beaumont 1-0301920Simul, 15bC34 King's Gambit Accepted
14. Reshevsky vs A Simchow  0-1341920Simul, 20bD05 Queen's Pawn Game
15. Reshevsky vs M J Clurman ½-½231920Simul, 20bB15 Caro-Kann
16. Reshevsky vs S Katz ½-½291920Simul, 20bB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
17. Reshevsky vs F Knoller 1-0401920Simul, 20bC79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred
18. Reshevsky vs L S Stillman 1-0201920Simul, 20bB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
19. M A Schapiro vs Reshevsky 0-1401920Exhibition gameC14 French, Classical
20. Reshevsky vs E B Hilliard 1-0271920Blindfold gameC30 King's Gambit Declined
21. Reshevsky vs J H Longacre  ½-½251921Simul, 20bC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
22. Reshevsky vs A H Beckman 1-0201921Simul, 20bD46 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
23. Reshevsky vs C More  ½-½211921Simul, 20bD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
24. Reshevsky vs S T Sharp ½-½271921Simul, 20bC31 King's Gambit Declined, Falkbeer Counter Gambit
25. Reshevsky vs E Michelsen 1-0341921Simul, 5bB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
 page 1 of 64; games 1-25 of 1,586  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Reshevsky wins | Reshevsky loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: well, Larry Evans wrote Fischer's <Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess>. Fischer is the laziest, most selfish MoFo chess has ever produced, so I can't blame Reshevsky if he did something that others, like Fischer, have done.

BTW, are books like Golobek and Reshevsky on the Fischer/Spassky '72 match now free downloads? Don't copyrights expire after 50 years? Just curious. Maybe Ray Keene would know.

Premium Chessgames Member
  0ZeR0: <Fischer is the laziest, most selfish MoFo chess has ever produced>

Prepare for the wrath of Harry in three, two, one...

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: England hasn't had a world chess champion since Bismark was Chancellor of Germany.

Harry has decided to adopt Fischer as his own, a surrogate world champion, if you will.

Aug-08-22  belgradegambit: Actual film of his famous 1920 simul when he was a prodigy:

Oct-05-22  Helios727: So why was Reshevsky not in the 1958 Interzonal?
Oct-07-22  Petrosianic: <Helios727: So why was Reshevsky not in the 1958 Interzonal?>

"Word comes from Yugoslavia of the financial arrangements for the forthcoming Interzonal Tournament scheduled for that country in August of this year. The Yugoslavian Chess Federation will meet all the internal expenses for the two participants to which the U. S. is entitled, but will not pay traveling expenses incurred in crossing the Atlantic. This news is a sharp blow for the unsubsidized U. S. Chessmasters, Fischer and Sherwin (Reshevsky has vowed never to play in another Interzonal) now may be unable to take part in the event. It would be more than grotesque, as has been suggested, to allow two other players, more financially independent, to go in their stead .. . Place your bets on Botvinnik to recapture his World Championship crown - so advises Fischer anyway." -- <Chess Life, March 5, 1958, page 9>

Reshevsky did play several more interzonals later, and even qualified for the 1968 Candidates, but perhaps this situation had changed by then.


June 20, 1958. So I guess it wasn't official until later.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: "Almost every time I laid eyes on Reshevsky - at several large American Swisses - he was antagonizing someone. He seemed to enjoy it. At the U.S. Open one year, I saw him use every dirty trick to try to bother his opponent, who was in time pressure: Reshevsky rocked his body back and forth very distractingly; he adjusted pieces on his opponent's time; and he kept one hand perpetually over the clock, moving the pieces and hitting the clock with different hands. All this he did, and his opponent was only 14 or 15 years old. He should have been forfeited." Stuart Rachels, The Best I Saw in Chess, pp. 205-06.

In a footnote, Rachels relates that Reshevsky's opponent was probably Robby Adamson. He says that Adamson told him, "At one point, Reshevsky picked up the clock when it was my turn to move."

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <....(Reshevsky has vowed never to play in another Interzonal)....>

This bit, at least, lasted longer than many a New Year's resolution.

Oct-22-22  Z free or die: <The child prodigy as a global celebrity: the chess wonder Samuel Reshevsky -- Andrea Graus (2021)>

Get it while ya can.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I have a friend who had heard, second hand, that Bill Lombardy was a real dik at weekend swisses, very rude to TDs, some of the other players. This if after he was no longer a big star.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <HeMateMe> Lombardy was known to do things like sealing a "move" that, when the envelope was opened, turned out to be "F#$% you."
Oct-23-22  Chessius the Messius: The good old days :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Met Lombardy during the 1984 New York Open, then at the board two years later in the New England championship; found him quite reasonable actually.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I bumped into BL several times in the Village in NYC. He was often in chess clubs, trolling for students, to pay the bills. Watched him play backgammon at $1/point at the Chess Forum for half an hour. He quickly cleaned out some kid.

I didn't see anything mean, but he seemed agitated, difficult to have a conversation with. It was a certainly a sad business, how he got way behind on his rent in Stuyvesant city in Manhattan, the whole legal mess.

Dec-20-22  pazzed paun: The Fischer quote about Reshevsky
Is worded in a way too make Fischer look much better ,much sooner than he actually earned his place at the top

The best reshevsky quote is one made by. Botvinnik

Reshevsky the most talented player of my generation ,but in the end it did not matter I worked harder

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Didn't smyslov have a winning head to head record against reshevsky? Maybe that's why he was never world champion. Of course having to work a day job probably hurt Sammy's chances.
Mar-13-23  Mike75018: Smyslov beat Reshevsky 5-3, Botvinnik beat him 5-2, and Bronstein beat him 3-0. I love Reshevsky, but as a part-time player he just couldn't prevail against the top Soviets.
Mar-17-23  Baxer: Hi all, I have a question regarding Samuel Reshevsky that I hope some of the people on this site can further enlighten me on regarding the man himself.

I have heard that Samuel Reshevsky was not a nice person and was in some ways worse than Robert Fischer (an achievement) and would like some evidence/general information on the topic if available.


Mar-17-23  SChesshevsky: <Baxer> Well, when it comes to chess, Sammy was more in the "nice guys finish last" camp. The number of stories/controversies about him are very likely true.

Guessing there are at least a couple concrete reasons for this ultra strong desire to win. Main ones being money and ego. Built in from youth.

Reshevsky had a very unusual childhood. Seems he was basically supporting his family at a young age. Chess being the bread and butter. No school but playing exhibitions was his life. Also being this young chess prodigy generated some fame and made him a celebrity. Not hard to see how chess became a major part of his personality and winning at chess became vitally important.

But, outside the importance of chess victory, there's a big difference between Reshevsky and Fischer. Reshevsky abided to fairly strict religious belief, sacrificed somewhat for career and family and also had outside interests. Heard he was quite a music fan and a pretty good cook.

Hard to tell if he was a nice person without actually being around him for an extended period of time. But he certainly was a combative chess opponent with winning as the ultimate goal.

Mar-17-23  Baxer: <SChesshevsky> Nice username, but I definitely know what you mean - and I can't necessarily fault him for that. However, I have also heard he was nasty to kids as well.

The more of what you say I agree with, you must know reshevsky well. Being a child star but not in broadway but Chess.

From what I have read about reshevsky he was a bit of a god warrior, placing his faith above almost everything.

I have the Samuel Reshevsky book by McFarland, does any have that?

Mar-17-23  SChesshevsky: <...placing his faith above almost everything.>

This is true. In 1973 there was an interzonal in Brazil. A prelim on the path to face Fischer in the next WC match.

Reshevsky's faith mandated eating only certain kosher foods. Since it wasn't common in Brazil to have such foods available, he had the chore of driving a couple of hours to get his grocery or meals. Certainly a pain in any circumstance but probably more than an inconvenience for 60+ year old Reshevsky with unknown Brazilian roads. Plus, believe, the climate and/or altitude bothered him as well.

Think all together did have some effect on his play. If I remember correctly, dropped a very poor game v. Portisch and hung his Q v. Savon.

Premium Chessgames Member
  monopole2313: He found them at a yeshiva, if I remember correctly.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: <I have the Samuel Reshevsky book by McFarland> I have the green hardcover with gold lettering...

Mar-19-23  Baxer: <chancho> I have the green hardcover too. The hardcover of the Capablanca book by Edward Winter and the Hardcover Alekhine's Chess Games book by Skinner & Verhoeven.
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