Hermann Helms (1870-1963)

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Hermann Helms, “the dean of American chess”, was an accomplished chess columnist and an attacking chess player of national master caliber.  His chess career included wins over American legends Harry Nelson Pillsbury and Frank James Marshall.  He also won the New York state championship on two separate occasions (1906, 1925) and represented the United States in five cable matches against Great Britain (1897, 1902, 1903, 1908, 1909), compiling a record of 2 wins, 2 losses, and 1 draw.

Helms is probably most famous for publishing and editing the American Chess Bulletin (along with Hartwig Cassel) from 1904 to 1963.  His other notable contributions to chess included writing a chess column for the New York Times (for over 50 years) and for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle (for 62 years).  He also assisted in organizing the great New York chess tournaments of 1924 and 1927.

In 1951, a woman by the name of Regina Fischer wrote a letter that was received by Helms, asking for chess opponents for her 8-year old son.  Helms answered the letter and was promptly responsible for getting him into organized chess.  The boy’s name was Bobby Fischer.

Here is one of his games that shows his aggressive attacking style against James F. Smyth in 1915:





For a photo of Hermann Helms and notes on this game by Helms himself, visit:

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