Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing

John L Watson
J L Watson 
Photograph courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.  
Number of games in database: 186
Years covered: 1966 to 2020
Last FIDE rating: 2178
Highest rating achieved in database: 2345

Overall record: +61 -82 =43 (44.4%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database.

With the White pieces:
 English (19) 
    A10 A19 A13 A14 A18
 King's Indian (10) 
    E71 E62 E76 E61 E66
 Sicilian (9) 
    B87 B90 B32 B75 B43
 English, 1 c4 e5 (9) 
    A22 A20 A26 A29 A25
 English, 1 c4 c5 (8) 
    A34 A36 A37
 Queen's Pawn Game (6) 
    A45 D00 D02 A41
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (29) 
    C05 C19 C00 C18 C02
 King's Indian (22) 
    E94 E75 E84 E69 E91
 French Tarrasch (11) 
    C05 C03
 Sicilian (10) 
    B40 B42 B46 B77 B76
 French Winawer (10) 
    C19 C18
 Queen's Pawn Game (6) 
    D02 A50 A45 A46
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   J L Watson vs Z Fayvinov, 1993 1-0
   F Frilling vs J L Watson, 1969 0-1
   Peter K Cook vs J L Watson, 1969 0-1
   J L Watson vs S Cronick, 1966 1-0
   P Tveten vs J L Watson, 2015 0-1
   Shaked vs J L Watson, 1995 0-1
   J L Watson vs Denker, 1979 1-0
   Fedorowicz vs J L Watson, 1995 0-1
   J Cardamone vs J L Watson, 1969 0-1
   W J Donaldson vs J L Watson, 1976 0-1

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Aaronson Masters (1979)
   3rd Lloyds Bank Masters Open (1979)
   70th US Open (1969)
   New York GHI (1977)
   2nd Lloyds Bank Masters Open (1978)
   Lone Pine (1976)
   Lone Pine (1979)
   Lone Pine Open (1981)
   London Chess Classic Open (2015)
   Gibraltar Masters (2015)
   Gibraltar Masters (2016)
   Isle of Man Masters (2017)

   🏆 Pacific Northwest Chess Center Masters
   E Bian vs J L Watson (May-23-20) 1-0
   J L Watson vs A Byron (Sep-30-17) 1/2-1/2
   Y Shvayger vs J L Watson (Sep-29-17) 1-0
   J L Watson vs Z Harari (Sep-28-17) 1-0
   V Bianco vs J L Watson (Sep-27-17) 0-1

Search Sacrifice Explorer for John L Watson
Search Google for John L Watson
FIDE player card for John L Watson

(born Sep-05-1951, 71 years old) United States of America

[what is this?]

John Leonard Watson was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. In 1969, he won the Nebraska State High School championship with a 5-0 score. A month later, he won the first National High School Championship, held in New York. FIDE awarded him the IM title in 1982.

Watson is also a noted author of chess books. He wrote a tetralogy on the English Opening: <Symmetrical English: 1...P-QB4>, <English: 1...P-K4>, <English: 1...N-KB3 Systems>, and <English: Franco, Slav and Flank Defences>. In 1999, Gambit published his book <Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy: Advances since Nimzowitsch>. In years?, his four-volume series <Mastering the Chess Openings> was published. In 2012, his book <A Strategic Chess Opening Repertoire for White: A Comprehensive Plan of Attack with 1.d4 and 2.c4> was published. Watson also wrote the "Chessman" series of comics.

(1) (2017 podcast interview with Ben Johnson of Perpetual Chess).

Wikipedia article: John L. Watson

Last updated: 2017-11-20 22:53:25

 page 1 of 9; games 1-25 of 203  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. J L Watson vs S Cronick 1-0191966BCF-ch U14C28 Vienna Game
2. J Cardamone vs J L Watson 0-1281969National High School ChampionshipB76 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack
3. F Frilling vs J L Watson 0-125196970th US OpenB77 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack
4. J L Watson vs E Sweetman  1-031196970th US OpenB32 Sicilian
5. W Martz vs J L Watson  1-035196970th US OpenE79 King's Indian, Four Pawns Attack, Main line
6. W Shipman vs J L Watson  ½-½100196970th US OpenA00 Uncommon Opening
7. J L Watson vs S Popel  0-142196970th US OpenC02 French, Advance
8. Peter K Cook vs J L Watson  0-130196970th US OpenA45 Queen's Pawn Game
9. J L Watson vs J Grefe 0-140196970th US OpenB06 Robatsch
10. J Curdo vs J L Watson 1-0271970Boston opB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
11. J L Watson vs C Carlson  1-0251972Denver OpenB90 Sicilian, Najdorf
12. J Hamblin vs J L Watson  1-0391972Denver OpenC19 French, Winawer, Advance
13. J L Watson vs C Carlson  0-1231972North American OpenB87 Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin with ...a6 and ...b5
14. J L Watson vs C Carlson  1-0311972Colorado OpenB87 Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin with ...a6 and ...b5
15. J Hardinge vs J L Watson  1-0491973Club ChampionshipA07 King's Indian Attack
16. S Macdonald-Ross vs J L Watson  0-1281973GRE Islington OpenA79 Benoni, Classical, 11.f3
17. J L Watson vs R Shean  1-0521974Al Wallace MemorialB87 Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin with ...a6 and ...b5
18. J L Watson vs A G Piper  1-0321974Al Wallace MemorialB87 Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin with ...a6 and ...b5
19. J L Watson vs D C Sutherland  ½-½481974Appreciation OpenB06 Robatsch
20. J L Watson vs C Carlson  ½-½6019757th Las Cruces OpenA04 Reti Opening
21. Keres vs J L Watson 1-0331975VancouverA46 Queen's Pawn Game
22. J L Watson vs Lombardy  0-135197576th US OpenB43 Sicilian, Kan, 5.Nc3
23. C Carlson vs J L Watson  0-1601975Colorado OpenC05 French, Tarrasch
24. C Carlson vs J L Watson  ½-½2119753rd Mile High OpenB46 Sicilian, Taimanov Variation
25. C Carlson vs J L Watson 0-1391975Showboat OpenB06 Robatsch
 page 1 of 9; games 1-25 of 203  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Watson wins | Watson loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Here is a Watson victory that I have just uploaded to the database:

[Event "Al Wallace Memorial"]
[Site "Denver, Colorado"]
[Date "1974.03.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "John L watson"]
[Black "Alan Piper"]
[Result "1-0"]

1. e4 c5 2. ♘f3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. ♘xd4 ♘f6 5. ♘c3 a6 6. ♗c4 e6 7. ♗b3 b5 8. O-O ♗b7 9. ♖e1 ♘bd7 10. ♗g5 h6 11. ♗h4 ♕b6 12. f4 ♘c5 13. ♗xf6 ♘xb3 14. axb3 gxf6 15. ♔h1 ♕c5 16. f5 ♔e7 17. fxe6 fxe6

click for larger view

18. ♘d5+ ♗xd5 19. exd5 e5 20. ♕g4 ♕c8 21. ♘c6+ ♔f7 22. ♕h5+ ♔g7 23. ♖e3 ♖h7 24. ♕h4 h5 25. ♖f1 f5 26. ♘e7 ♕xc2 27. ♕g5+ ♔f7 28. ♖xf5+ ♔e8 29. ♕g6+ ♔d7 30. ♕e6+ ♔d8 31. ♖xf8+ ♔c7 32. ♖c8+ 1-0

Source: Colorado State Chess Association Newsletter, Vol 1 No 2 May 1974

Jun-13-12  ketchuplover: The strategic opening book is now available via new in chess and possibly others.
Mar-10-14  offramp: ♔ A Good Quote ♔

<I'm always hearing (and reading) that "If the players of yesteryear could only catch up with opening theory, they'd be as good or better than today's players". The funny thing is that the many years (usually decades) of study that modern players put into opening theory should not only count towards their strength, but that study and practice contributes vastly to their understanding of the middlegame and even some endgames. The silly idea that you can just 'catch up' in opening theory ignores the vast undertaking that this would involve, especially to absorb the vast number of openings and opening variations necessary to a complete chess education.> -- John Watson

I first saw that at <acirce>'s page.

Jun-16-14  Conrad93: Has this guy ever written a bad book, because I can't think of s single one...?
Sep-03-14  BIDMONFA: John L Watson


Feb-12-15  zanzibar: A nice autobiography by Watson, which I copy verbatim:

<John Watson

Hi, I'm John Watson and I'm not a GM, unlike most of the others on this site. I started chess a bit late at age 13 and, true to my later experiences, I learned from books. They were in fact reasonably advanced books - I never read a beginner's book - and after one year I walked into the Omaha, Nebraska chess club and beat most everyone there!

After one tournament my first U.S.C.F. rating was over 2100 and it stayed about there or above from then on. The few dedicated chess players in Omaha had access to just a few regional tournaments a year, so we didn't improve much. But I got lucky and took first place at the initial U.S. National High School Championship. I knew absolutely nothing and relied upon totally unsound tactics to win. Maybe there's a lesson in that: Now I play soundly and lose.

I went to Harvard for a couple of years, traveled a lot in strange lands doing odd jobs (sometimes hustling chess), and returned to do some full time work in two factories.

I began to play more chess and had some successes. My greatest triumph in that time period was the release of Chessman Comics, co-produced by Chris Hendrickson and self-published at the local copy shop. We ran a business called the Chess House that attracted a number of nice people and a much larger number of mentally disturbed ones!

I spent a few years working to become an International Master and wrote my first books (on the English Opening!!) in 1979. As of this date I've written 22 wildly popular books, the majority of which went out of print in less than a year. I've saved a copy of each...I think.

In 1988 I managed to complete a degree with honours in Electrical Engineering at the University of California in San Diego and spent five mostly forgettable years working as a Design Engineer specializing in communications algorithms. Upon reviving, I ran away and wrote some more chess books, this time for firms that have fortunately stayed afloat. I've also written many articles and had a bundle of students over the past 30 years.

My real interests include my wife, politics, socioeconomic issues, music, eating, sleeping, literature, and my dog (sometimes).> (scroll down ~ 1/3 way)

Feb-12-15  zanzibar: You can see an example pages from Watson's <Chessman Comics> here:

Mar-28-15  James Demery: Anybody know why Jacob Aagard writes so negatively about Watson in his books? What is the source of his animosity?
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Nov-14-06 James Demery: This is Jacob Aagaard`s favorite player.>

<May-23-08 James Demery: I read a review that John Watson wrote about fellow author Bruce Pandolfini in which he said BP had never written anything original. It seemed rather mean. The same John Watson was shocked when Jacob Aagard slammed him in one of his books. Interesting.>

<Mar-28-15 James Demery: Anybody know why Jacob Aagard writes so negatively about Watson in his books? What is the source of his animosity?>

Anybody know why <James Demery> is so obsessed with this alleged vendetta?

May-15-15  TheFocus: <It is one of the insights of modern players, and especially of the best ones, that one has to play the position itself, not some abstract idea of the position> - John Watson.
May-27-15  James Demery: Because Miss Scarlett it wouldnt shock me if the person in question didnt look at his page from time to time. Maybe if being attacked verbally hurt his feelings he might realize it hurts other peoples feelings too. Why try to hurt someone that writes books for children and is doing the best they can?
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Now I know who you are: the founder and sole member of the <Bruce Pandolfini Appreciation Society>.
May-27-15  James Demery: Lol. Nah. l just thought it was hurtful. ln an article l read he just seemed unable to grasp how Aagaard could be critical of him, but he had been so critical of another author.
May-27-15  James Demery: lm curious. Where are #'s 1-16?
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: What are you going on about now?
May-27-15  Sally Simpson: Regarding the supposed Jacob Aagaard v Jeremy Silman & John Watson 'feud'.

It possibly stems from the poor review John gave to Jacob's publishing house for their 'My System'. (which BTW I think is good.).

Jacob and John actually shared a hotel room together in Berlin 1997 and got along just fine. By all account they fell out years later due to a misunderstanding over a review.

More here which throws some light on the matter plus Jacob and Jeremy crossing swords with each other.

It's long, grab yourself a cup of coffee.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Maybe something else went down in that hotel room.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Grandmasters do not know or understand everything and are not only assaulted by oversights and time trouble, as Silman said in his review. But it is easy to forgive Silman this mistake, as he has no first hand experience on this topic.>


May-28-15  Sally Simpson: Hi Miss Scarlett,

Maybe Jacob said he was thinking of writing a book called 'Chess Strategy in Action' and John said he was thinking of writing a book called 'The Attacking Manuel' and they nicked each other's idea!

Hi perfidious:,

I saw that too. Ouch!

I know Jacob very well, he is actually a very pleasant person with a keen sense of humour.

May-28-15  James Demery: It was something I saw on your profile page. Your list of players starts at #17. l was wondering who was your top 16 Miss Scarlett? That is all.
May-28-15  James Demery: Thank u Sally Simpson for posting the link. That was a long read. l didn't realize there were such bad feelings between Aagaard, Watson, and Silman. When Silman said something about how terrible it is being rude l thought back to The Amateurs Mind. I wonder if Silman ever read that book?
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Geoff> Have never met Aagaard in person; we played once on ICC in a blitz event. He squashed me in a Nimzo.
Jan-25-16  zanzibar: The wiki page has this link:

Times change, as do fashions, but the board always remains the same.

Nov-01-20  Helios727: In his book Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy (page 24), Watson says, "Euwe and Kramer call d4/e4 vs e6 or e7 a 'Neo-Classic Centre', which is far more frequent in modern chess than the 'Classic'."

Did he really mean d4/e4 vs e6 or d6, or what was he saying?

Oct-18-21  Brenin: <DanQuigley>: In fact, it would have been possible for someone born in late 1951 to have played in the 1966 Under-14 Championship, since the Under-n tournament was (and maybe still is) open to those whose age (in whole years) was at most n. For example, in 1967, aged 21, I played in the British Under-21 Championship.
Jump to page #    (enter # from 1 to 3)
search thread:   
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>

NOTE: Create an account today to post replies and access other powerful features which are available only to registered users. Becoming a member is free, anonymous, and takes less than 1 minute! If you already have a username, then simply login login under your username now to join the discussion.

Please observe our posting guidelines:

  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, duplicate, or gibberish posts.
  3. No vitriolic or systematic personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No cyberstalking or malicious posting of negative or private information (doxing/doxxing) of members.
  6. No trolling.
  7. The use of "sock puppet" accounts to circumvent disciplinary action taken by moderators, create a false impression of consensus or support, or stage conversations, is prohibited.
  8. Do not degrade Chessgames or any of it's staff/volunteers.

Please try to maintain a semblance of civility at all times.

Blow the Whistle

See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform a moderator.

NOTE: Please keep all discussion on-topic. This forum is for this specific player only. To discuss chess or this site in general, visit the Kibitzer's Café.

Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors.
All moderator actions taken are ultimately at the sole discretion of the administration.

Spot an error? Please suggest your correction and help us eliminate database mistakes!
Home | About | Login | Logout | F.A.Q. | Profile | Preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | New Kibitzing | Chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | Notable Games | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | Privacy Notice | Contact Us

Copyright 2001-2023, Chessgames Services LLC