Everything is Fine!

Everything is Fine!‎

GM Julio_Becerra
28 | Chess Players

Reuben Fine, born October 11, 1914, had a greater natural gift than Reshevsky; he is considered one of the most brilliant natural players in history. He is the only player who has an overall positive score in his games with world champions! But he retired early from chess, and remains one of the great might-have-beens in chess history. His greatest triumph, AVRO 1938, was also practically the end of Fine’s international chess career! During World War II he earned a doctorate and was too busy working in Washington to return to chess.

Fine was born in New York City to a poor Russian-Jewish family and learned to play chess at age eight. He began playing regularly at the famous Marshall and Manhattan chess clubs and at age ten he was a very powerful player. At this stage, Fine played a great deal of blitz, and he eventually became acknowledged as a great rapid player; becoming one of the best blitz players in the world. Early in the 1930’s one of his victims was Alexander Alekhine, although he was no match for Capablanca. Fine admitted that Capa beat him "mercilessly."

For some reason Fine could never beat Reshevsky for the United State Championship, though for some years he was his equal in strength and most likely his superior! Later one of Reshevsky's favorite jokes was that Fine never won there, because “Reshevsky” was playing every time! However Fine was very successful in the USA Open Championship, winning three in a row (1939-1941). In one of those tournaments Reshevsky who scored half a point less, wrote: ‘Sometimes drawing two games, even while winning nine, is one too many.’ According to chess statistics in the mid-thirties Rueben Fine was in the world's top three.

But his greatest masterpiece was off the board! It was his study of chess endings; as a consequence of which he wrote a magnificent and notable book “Basic Chess Endings” which became a bible for several generations of players. I just want to add that this book was an inseparable friend to Botvinnik in every tournament; he considered it the best chess ending book, a genuine scientific study in the field of the endgame. In his life Reuben Fine wrote about thirty books; also notable are “The Ideas Behind the Openings” and “The Psychology of Chessplayer.”

It is pity and a great loss to the chess world that Reuben Fine departed from international tournaments at the height of his career. I wonder what would have happened had he continued playing at the international level. That is the Fine mystery!

Rueben Fine died on March 26, 1993 at age 78.










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