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Reshevsky, Samuel

  • Last updated on 8/10/07, 6:14 AM.

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Born Schmul Rzeszewski in Ozerkov, Poland, Sammy Reshevsky (1911-1992) came to the United States in 1920.  He learned chess at 4 and was giving exhibitions at 8.  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. He abandoned chess for 10 years to pursue a vocation as an accountant, receiving an accounting degree from the University of Chicago in 1933.  He won the US Open in 1944.  He won the U.S. Championship seven times.  His first U.S. Championship win was in 1936.  His last U.S. Championship win was 1971.  Between 1936 and 1942, he had a streak of 75 games without a loss in U.S. Championship competition.  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 a grandmaster tournament in Reykjavik, Iceland.  When he died in 1992 of a heart attack he had played 11of the 13 world champions.  He played in 21 U.S. Championships, from 1936 to 1981.

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