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Denker, Arnold Sheldon


Arnold Sheldon Denker (1914-2005 was a onetime boxer and boxing manager (won three successive Golden Gloves bouts by knockouts).  He won the New York State championship in 1938 and 1939.  He won the Manhattan Chess Club Championship in 1939/40 and in 1943/44.  He won the 1944 U.S. Chess Championship with 14 wins, a record.  He also won it in 1946 when he defeated Herman Steiner in a match.  In 1942 he beat Reshevsky on time in the U.S. Championship.  While spectators watched, the tournament director (Walter Stephens) mistakenly declared  that Denker's time had expired.  He was looking at the clock backwards  and refused to change is decision, which ultimately gave Reshevsky the title. Denker once appeared in an advertisement for Camel cigarettes.  He set a world record of playing 100 opponents in 7.33 hours.  He won the Manhattan Chess Club Championship six times.  During World War II, he gave simultaneous chess exhibitions at military bases and on board aircraft carriers.  Like Reuben Fine, he was invited by the US government to help crack enemy codes.  He received an Honorary Grandmaster title in 1981 (he was awarded the International Master title in 1950).  He authored The Bobby Fischer I Knew and Other Stories.  He died of brain cancer at the age of 90.  He was inducted in the US Chess Hall of Fame in 1992.    In 2004 he was proclaimed Dean of American Chess, a title given earlier to Hermann Helms and George Koltanowski.  In 1984 he sponsored the national championship of high school state chess champions, known as the Arnold Denker Championship.

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