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What a Child Prodigy!

  • GM Julio_Becerra
  • | Aug 18, 2010
  • | 10521 views
  • | 50 comments

Samuel "Sammy" Reshevsky was born November 26, 1911 in Poland. Following the events of World War 1, Reshevsky immigrated to the United States in 1920 where he came into prominence as the most remarkable of all child prodigies! He learned the moves at four by watching his father and at the age of eight he was already at master strength! His first American simultaneous exhibition, at the age of nine, 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 in simultaneous exhibitions and only lost 8 games. He was easily on the level of a Morphy or a Capablanca, but unlike them, he was constantly being exhibited to the public, like Mozart.


This is no way to develop into a well-adjusted human being and fortunately his career as a trained monkey was cut short. It is said that before the age of twelve the boy had never been to school! After 1921 he retired and he went through the normal educational courses, graduating from the University of Chicago in 1933.


After receiving his degree Reshevsky opted for Chess! He captured the United State championship with monotonous regularity between 1936 and 1942; there he had a streak of 75 games without a loss in U.S. Championship competition. In his way he was a killer! From 1936 to 1981 he competed in a record 21 U.S. Championships, and achieved a plus score every time. He also holds U.S. Championship records for most finishes in the top three places (15), most games played (269), and most games won (127). Also he won the U.S. Championship on six occasions the last time being in 1971. Over the course of a long international career he qualified for the Candidates five times and played a record eleven World Champions ranging from Emanuel Lasker to Anatoly Karpov and beating seven of them: Lasker, Jose Raul Capablanca, Alexander Alekhine, Max Euwe, Mikhail Botvinnik, Vasily Smyslov, and Bobby Fischer. Really extraordinary!


After his great victory at Margate 1935, when Reshevsky came in first ahead of Capablanca, whom in addition he defeated in their individual game, and several subsequent successes in international events, such as his shared third place at Nottingham 1936 and his shared first place at Kemeri 1937, Reshevsky received invitations to both AVRO 1938 and the World Championship Tournament ten years later. There he finished in joint third place with Paul Keres, behind Mikhail Botvinnik and Vasily Smyslov.


But the Candidates tournament in Zurich 1953 was probably his best chance to qualify for a World Championship match, where he finished tied for second place with David Bronstein and Keres, two points behind Smyslov. Bronstein, in his last book, “Secret Notes” confirmed that the nine Soviet grandmasters at Zurich were under orders from both their chess leadership and the KGB to not let Reshevsky win the tournament under any circumstances, with Smyslov being the preferred winner.


But Reshevsky never made it to the top, because he was better in matches than tournaments. 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. An inadequate study of the opening and a 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.


Reshevsky was a tough and forceful player who was superb at positional play, but could also play brilliant tactical chess, in many ways comparable to Victor Korchnoi's style.


Reshevsky died in April 4, 1992, in New York, United States.

His arch-rival Reuben Fine said: “Others get tired or excited, rattled, or lose interest, or lose hope; Reshevsky never.”


Gary Kasparov, in volume IV of “My Great Predecessor”, called him the lone warrior; that was Samuel Reshevsky's chess life!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments


  • 4 years ago

    MarkDanielOlmedo

    great article with different combinations...

  • 4 years ago

    RMM

    I have always respected Reshevsky, but now he is among my favorite players. Thankyou.

  • 4 years ago

    marinas

    Very interesting.Thank you!

  • 4 years ago

    arumugam7

    Very enjoyable article.  Defeating  the World Champion Emanuel Lasker   in such a funny yet brilliant fashion  was nice to see.Money mouth

  • 4 years ago

    67jedichessmaster

    That picture just shows how beautiful an art this game is and to think that he didnt even have what  some might call  proper  chess training! He even had to stop playing for a while for school?!  he would have  been the best of all i bet....WOW...TY...Awesome

  • 4 years ago

    flacerdaf

    Amazing article and chess player. Thanks for posting this. Reschevsky really had an extremely accurate sense of opportunity.

  • 4 years ago

    Velid

    I couldn't find that one, but this one is impresive as well...

  • 4 years ago

    ManoWar1934

    I just wish you could have included the immortal photo taken of Sammy in 1920, showing the nine-year old whiz kid standing on a chair in order to reach the chess board on the table!

  • 4 years ago

    Velid

     aa2faye said:

    nobody said why black resinned in 2nd game

    It's right there as well in my last post, before your. Black will loose a game in next couple of moves (forced play)

  • 4 years ago

    aa2faye

    nobody said why black resinned in 2nd game

  • 4 years ago

    Velid

    For those who are wondering about second game, just click 'move list' and check variation after white's 28th move  -  28. Rc6! Qd8 29. Qh8+ Kf7 30. Nxe5+ Ke8 31. Qh5+

  • 4 years ago

    restinpeace

    Nice article man, and a great tribute for Mr. Reshevsky. Just a quick question about the 2nd game, why did black resign?.

  • 4 years ago

    mulyono

    Very Good article Smile

  • 4 years ago

    10sfriend

     Nice tribute.

  • 4 years ago

    Fu_Ad

    i dont understand at the second game..why black resign..??

  • 4 years ago

    chessinitiate

    Insightful poistional play. Nice article.

  • 4 years ago

    truthteller908

    Got 3 the outta the 6 puzzles right...I'm pretty good exploiting the usual pins and forks and my delfection tactics are starting to come around but after seeing the power of an X-ray attack in puzzle 2 i'm definitely gonna try to look into incorporating that tactic and trying to spot or create more of those kinds of opportunities.

  • 4 years ago

    ty4playing

    Amazing finish in the game against Vasconcellos!

  • 4 years ago

    pwnsrppl2

    Please include the full game score in all diagrams.  Thank you.

  • 4 years ago

    drumdaddy

    Very enjoyable profile of the brilliant Reshevsky.

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