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Kenneth Smith
K Smith 
Number of games in database: 76
Years covered: 1947 to 1997
Last FIDE rating: 2370
Highest rating achieved in database: 2415

Overall record: +30 -36 =9 (46.0%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 1 exhibition game, blitz/rapid, odds game, etc. is excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (11) 
    B21 B22 B32 B84 B95
 French Defense (6) 
    C02 C18
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (11) 
    B81 B92 B22 B91 B80
 English (5) 
    A16 A12 A15
 Sicilian Scheveningen (4) 
    B81 B80 B83
 Nimzo Indian (4) 
    E59 E42 E26
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   E Formanek vs K Smith, 1965 0-1
   W A Bills vs K Smith, 1964 0-1
   K Smith vs P Haley, 1957 1-0
   K Smith vs K Lawless, 1972 1-0
   K Smith vs M Harrow, 1960 1-0
   K Smith vs Fischer, 1956 1/2-1/2
   C Hoey vs K Smith, 1965 0-1
   W L Waters vs K Smith, 1951 0-1

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   61st US Open (1960)
   52nd US Open (1951)
   58th US Open (1957)
   60th US Open (1959)
   57th US Open (1956)

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Kenneth Smith
Search Google for Kenneth Smith

(born Sep-13-1930, died Feb-04-1999, 68 years old) United States of America

[what is this?]

Kenneth Ray Smith, FIDE Master, wrote over nine books on the opening that bears his name, the Smith-Morra Gambit. He learned chess late, starting at age 19 while recuperating from a football injury. Smith published Chess Digest, and was an official assistant to Robert James Fischer during the 1972 world championship. He won more than 200 chess tournaments in his life, including nine Texas Championships, nine Southwest Open titles, four Southern Open championships, and was winner of the British Major Open, and Mexican chess champion in 1963.

Smith was also a world-class poker player, placing as high as fourth at the World Series of Poker main event.


Wikipedia article: Ken Smith (chess)

Last updated: 2023-02-20 01:38:32

 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 76  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Kashdan vs K Smith  1-029194748th US OpenC83 Ruy Lopez, Open
2. K Smith vs E Mednis 0-128195152nd US OpenA22 English
3. W L Waters vs K Smith 0-111195152nd US OpenC27 Vienna Game
4. K Smith vs J Sherwin  1-037195152nd US OpenC28 Vienna Game
5. Evans vs K Smith 1-030195152nd US OpenE42 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 c5, 5.Ne2 (Rubinstein)
6. K Smith vs N Whitaker 0-146195152nd US OpenD00 Queen's Pawn Game
7. L Isaacs vs K Smith 0-154195152nd US OpenC02 French, Advance
8. H Fajans vs K Smith  1-021195152nd US OpenA04 Reti Opening
9. K Smith vs K R Jones 0-131195152nd US OpenD82 Grunfeld, 4.Bf4
10. S Baron vs K Smith  0-129195152nd US OpenE19 Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 9.Qxc3
11. K Smith vs I Theodorovich  0-144195657th US OpenB32 Sicilian
12. P Brandts vs K Smith  0-140195657th US OpenE59 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Main line
13. K Smith vs D Fischheimer  0-145195657th US OpenC77 Ruy Lopez
14. K Smith vs Fischer ½-½51195657th US OpenB95 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6...e6
15. J Medina Zavalia vs K Smith  1-046195657th US OpenA04 Reti Opening
16. K Smith vs W G McClain  1-049195657th US OpenC02 French, Advance
17. R Martin vs K Smith  ½-½63195657th US OpenB91 Sicilian, Najdorf, Zagreb (Fianchetto) Variation
18. K Smith vs D Kerr  ½-½16195657th US OpenC02 French, Advance
19. K Smith vs P Haley  1-020195758th US OpenB07 Pirc
20. C Heising vs K Smith  0-135195758th US OpenE61 King's Indian
21. K Smith vs J W Collins  1-054195758th US OpenB75 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack
22. Bisguier vs K Smith 1-050195758th US OpenE59 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Main line
23. J T Westbrock vs K Smith 1-032195758th US OpenB22 Sicilian, Alapin
24. W A Scott vs K Smith  1-043195960th US OpenB90 Sicilian, Najdorf
25. K Smith vs L Gilden  1-026195960th US OpenC18 French, Winawer
 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 76  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Smith wins | Smith loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  DrNyet: That's a very good and extensive obituary/bio at the USCF site linked above.

A few additional recollections:

In the early seventies, Smith published a biweekly "Chess Newsletter". I'm not sure of the title; I still have them but they are in storage. This was a timely and eagerly awaited source of top chess news for its day. It may have only consisted of four pages but perhaps at times it was six or eight.

AFAIK the Chess Digest magazine always had the same cover -- a depiction of the same Knight (USCF's French Wood style or very similar) but the cover images varied in color from month to month.

At the Church's Fried Chicken Open (or similar name) held in conunction with the famous GM tournament in San Antonio in 1972, Ron Aplanap (Abplanalp?), who I was told was Smith's son-in-law and a chess player, manned an extensive book stall which blew the mind of this wide-eyed chess newbie from rural west Texas.

Smith's instructional writings (mentioned in the obit) seemed highly practical to me. One of the things he advocated was playing over a lot of master level games quickly but pausing briefly at each turn to think what move you would instinctively play.

And yes, he was quite a showman. At one Texas Open (chess, not poker; I think it was in November 1975 at Lake Brownwood in central Texas), I remember him in his top hat and it seems like he also had what struck me as a magicians tie and wore an entertainer style coat with glossy features. He was a very large man and it seems like he walked with a (straight?) cane that I thought was of a showbiz style.

Premium Chessgames Member
  DrNyet: The only photo of Smith that I could find is on this page:
Apr-21-15  zanzibar: It's quite the oversight for the bio not to mention his strong Texas connection. The USCF obit starts out labeling him a "Texas Legend".

I have this game for him from February 1964 Texas state championship <

[Event "Texas State Championship"]
[Site "Rice University, Houston TX, USA"]
[Date "1964.02.14"]
[Round "1"]
[White "William Bills"]
[Black "Kenneth R. Smith"]
[Result "0-1"]
[EventDate "1964.02.15"]
[Notes1a "Rice Thresher, V51 N17, ed1, Wed 1964-02-05"] [Notes1b "Tournament Feb 15-16, 1964 - director Robert Brieger"] [Notes2a "Rice Thresher v51 n19 ed1 Wed 1964-02-19"]
[Notes2b "Winner of 5-round tournament is Kenneth R. Smith"] [Notes2c "Houstonian William Bills tied for 2nd w Blake Stevens of San Antonio by defeating Eric Bone in last round"]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Nc6 6.Qa4 exd5 7.Nf3 d4 8.Nb5 Nf6 9.Bd2 Ne4 10.Nbxd4 Nxd2 11.Kxd2 Bc5 12.e3 O-O 13.Bd3 Bxd4 14.Nxd4 Nxd4 15.Qxd4 Qa5+ 16.Qc3 Qg5 17.h3 Bf5 18.Ke2 Rac8 19.Qb3 Bxd3+ 20.Qxd3 Rfd8 21.Qe4 Qb5+ 22.Kf3 Rc4 23.a4 Qa6 24.Qe5 Qc6+ 25. Kg3 Rc5 26.Qf4 g5 27.Qg4 h5 28.Qxh5 Qd6+ 29.Kf3 Rf5+ 30.Kg4 Rf4+ 31. exf4 Qxf4# 0-1


Actual location was basement of RMC (Rice Memorial Center).

The question I have is is this William Bills the same as this one, William A Bills?

Likely it is...

Apr-21-15  zanzibar: Oh, almost forgot to emphasize that Smith actually won the 1964 Texas State Championship where the game is found.

(It's in the notes to the PGN)

Jul-17-15  thegoodanarchist: <parisattack: <He always stood out in a crowd.>

! :)>

I know someone who frequently stands out in his field.

Jul-17-15  thegoodanarchist: These men are outstanding in their fields:

Jul-15-16  brimarern: Ken Smith's Famous Chess Improvement Course. A Classic!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Ken Smith played in England in the early 1950s while stationed with US forces in Britain.

He came joint 2nd in the British Lightning championship in 1953:

<In a triple tie for next place came K. R. Smith, a popular member of the U.S. forces in England, and two familiar contestants in recent British Championships, L. N. Barden and A. Y. Green.> -- B.H. Wood

Dec-20-16  zanzibar: Yes, finding photographs of him is a surprisingly difficult task.

I couldn't find any of him playing chess, but here he is at the poker table:

A fairly good shot. Perhaps <CG> could "steal" the pot?

Dec-21-16  zanzibar: A fair start at the Chess Digest catalog (is there a better list anywhere?):

Was Smith's first Chess Digest book really this one?

<Canadian centennial grand masters chess tournament 1967>

Or is this just a mix-up on WorldCat's part?

Dec-22-16  pazzed paun: some,lose a lot of games,win some,slowly improve, The ken smith method..
Not the magic pill most patters want to buy!
Dec-22-16  parisattack: <zanzibar: A fair start at the Chess Digest catalog (is there a better list anywhere?):>

I have several old CD lists as well as the complete CD inventory courtesy of <Ed Labate>. (Also posted this on <Pachman> forum.)

Dec-22-16  zanzibar: Should we make an effort to put a listing out on the web somewhere?

(I'd offer a blog page or perhaps someplace else?)

Dec-22-16  parisattack: Sure. Let me find the files. I printed them all out, archived the files.

Your blog page would be dandy!

I also have several hundred pages of Brandreth lists...somewhere.

Dec-22-16  zanzibar: <PA> great, I await!
Dec-22-16  parisattack: I also have a couple feet of hardcopy list from various vendors. Lost all the ones from Buschke and Uno Linde - but did find a scan of Buschke's #1/1962 (8pp) I can send over if you've not seen such.
Dec-22-16  parisattack: <zanzibar> I've lost the magic door to send files to you...Assume you received the Ault/300 pages awhile back?
Dec-22-16  zanzibar: <Paris> just sent you an email.
Dec-22-16  parisattack: <Zanzibar> Sent you the Buschke list. Prices interesting, 1962!
Dec-22-16  zanzibar: Thanks <paris>, I'll have a look and go when possible.

PS- Multiply by ~8 to get 1962 prices in today's currency.

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Here is the complete list of Smith's Texas victories:

State Championship:
1951, 1955, 1956, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1967

Southwest Open:
1955, 1956, 1959, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1969, 1970, 1972

Oct-09-18  thegoodanarchist: <He was Mexican chess champion in 1963.>

For me, this is the most interesting part of his biography.

I think I could turn this into a good screenplay. I would make the tourny schedule 1 round per day, so interesting shenanigans could occur before (or after) the games each day.

See, Smith is a professional chess player in America in the early 1960s. So the Fischer effect of increasing prize money is only just getting underway.

Thus, Smith ain't exactly doing well financially. He calls up his buddy, Mac, who has a car (A '58 Sunbeam Rapier, maybe).

"Hey Mack! Ken here."
"Hey Ken! What are you up to these days?"
KS: I'm solving chess puzzles. In fact, I won the annual Mexico City Tribune & Intelligencer puzzle solving contest. First prize is free entry in this years' Mexican Chess Championship!" Mac: lemme guess - you need a lift?
KS: You know it, my friend! It's in Mazatlan this year. Are you up for a road trip? Mac: Sure thing... only 1 condition.
KS: Somehow, Mac, I knew you would say that.... And I already know what it is. We need to leave Thursday.

To be continued.

Oct-09-18  thegoodanarchist: Here are some images of a Sunbeam Rapier:

Oct-09-18  thegoodanarchist: < DrNyet: The only photo of Smith that I could find is on this page:

<DrNyet> Thank you for that link to the Kenilworthian article.

Here is something notable:

The gambit is named for the two proponents. What is interesting is that they both entered and exited this world 30 years apart. Pierre Morra (1900-1969) and FM Ken "Top Hat" Smith (1930-1999).

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Bio: <He learned chess late, starting at age 19 while recuperating from a football injury.>

Then who played Kashdan vs K Smith, 1947?

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