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Evans, Larry

Larry Melvyn Evans (March 22, 1932 – November 15, 2010) was an  was an American Chess Grandmaster, author and journalist. He won or shared the U.S. Open Chess Championship five times and the U.S. Open Chess Championship four times.  He won or shared the  five times and the  four times. He wrote a long-running syndicated chess column and wrote or co-wrote more than 20 books on chess.

Chess career:

 Early years:  Evans was born in Manhattan on March 22, 1932, and learned much about the game by playing for ten cents an hour on 42nd Street in New York City, quickly becoming a rising star. At age 14, he tied for fourth-fifth place in the Marshall Chess Club championship. The next year he won it outright, becoming the youngest Marshall champion at that time. He also finished equal second in the U.S. Junior Championship, which led to an article in the September 1947 issue of Chess Review. At 16, he played in the 1948 U.S. Chess Championship, his first, tying for eighth place at 11½–7½.[1] Evans tied with Arthur Bisguier for first place in the U.S. Junior Chess Championship of 1949. By age 18, he had won a New York State championship as well as a gold medal in the Dubrovnik Chess Olympiad of 1950. In the latter, his 90% score (eight wins and two draws) on sixth board tied with Rabar of Yugoslavia for the best result of the entire Olympiad.[2]

US champion:  In 1951, he first won the U.S. Championship, ahead of Samuel Reshevsky, who had tied for third-fourth in the 1948 World Championship match-tournament.[3] Evans won his second championship the following year by winning a title match against Herman Steiner.[4] He won the national championship thrice more – in 1961–62, 1967–68[5] and 1980, the last in a tie with Walter Browne and Larry Christiansen.[6][7][8]

Grandmaster:  FIDE awarded Evans the titles of International Master (1952) and International Grandmaster (1957). In 1956 the U.S. State Department appointed him a "chess ambassador".

Evans performed well in many U.S. events during the 1960s and 1970s, but his trips abroad to international tournaments were infrequent and less successful. He won the U.S. Open Chess Championship in 1951, 1952, 1954 (he tied with Arturo Pomar but won the title on the tie-break) and tied with Walter Browne in 1971. He also won the first Lone Pine tournament in 1971.[9]

Olympiad successes:  He represented the U.S. in eight Chess Olympiads over a period of twenty-six years, winning gold (1950), silver (1958), and bronze (1976) medals for his play, and participating in team gold (1976) and silver (1966) medals.[10][11][12]

Best international results:  His best results on foreign soil included two wins at the Canadian Open Chess Championship, 1956 in Montreal, and 1966 in Kingston, Ontario. He tied for first-second in the 1975 Portimão, Portugal International[13] and for second-third with World Champion Tigran Petrosian, behind Jan Hein Donner, in Venice, 1967.[14] However, his first, and what ultimately proved to be his only, chance in the World Chess Championship cycle ended with a disappointing 14th place (10/23) in the 1964 Amsterdam Interzonal.[15]

Helped Fischer win world title:   He never entered the world championship cycle again, and concentrated his efforts on assisting his fellow American Bobby Fischer in his quest for the world title. He was Fischer's second for the Candidates matches leading up to the World Chess Championship 1972 against Boris Spassky, though not for the championship match itself, after a disagreement with Fischer.

Evans (right) helping Fischer prepare for his World Championship match.


Larry Evans Vs. Bobby Fischer, 1965

Highest rating:   At his peak in October 1968 he was rated 2631 by the United States Chess Federation.

Chess Journalism

Evans had always been interested in writing as well as playing. By the age of eighteen, he had already published David Bronstein's Best Games of Chess, 1944–1949 and the Vienna International Tournament, 1922. His book New Ideas in Chess was published in 1958, and was later reprinted. He wrote or co-wrote more than 20 books on chess.[16]


On November 15, 2010, Evans died in Reno, Nevada, from complications following gallbladder surgery.[20][21][22]


  1.  William Lombardy and David Daniels, U.S. Championship Chess, David McKay, 1975, pp. 33–36. ISBN 0-679-13042-X.
  2.  Árpád Főldeák, Chess Olympiads 1927–1968, Dover Publications, 1979, pp. 181, 183. ISBN 0-486-23733-8.
  3.  William Lombardy and David Daniels, U.S. Championship Chess, David McKay, 1975, pp. 37–39. ISBN 0-679-13042-X.
  4.  William Lombardy and David Daniels, U.S. Championship Chess, David McKay, 1975, p. 40. ISBN 0-679-13042-X.
  5.  Strawberry Open
  6.  William Lombardy and David Daniels, U.S. Championship Chess, David McKay, 1975, pp. 54–56, 69–71. ISBN 0-679-13042-X.
  7.  Chess Informant, Volume 30, Šahovski Informator, 1981, p. 290.
  8.  Larry Christiansen, 1980 U.S. Championship, Chess Enterprises, Inc., 1980, pp. 6, 108. ISBN 0-931462-09-6.
  9.  John Grefe and Dennis Waterman, The Best of Lone Pine: The Louis D. Statham Chess Tournaments 1971–1980, R.H.M. Press, 1981, pp. 38, 42. ISBN 0-89058-049-9.
  10.  Árpád Főldeák, Chess Olympiads 1927–1968, Dover Publications, 1979, pp. 181–83, 198–202, 264–69, 311–15, 358–64, 383–89. ISBN 0-486-23733-8.
  11.  R.D. Keene and D.N.L. Levy, Siegen Chess Olympiad, CHESS Ltd., 1970, p. 214.
  12.  R.D. Keene and D.N.L. Levy, Haifa Chess Olympiad 1976, The Chess Player, 1977, pp. 63–78.
  13.  Chess Informant, Šahovski Informator, Volume 20, 1976, p. 263.
  14.  Chess Informant, Šahovski Informator, Volume 4, 1968, p. 282.
  15.  B.M. Kazic, International Championship Chess: A Complete Record of FIDE Events, 1974, pp. 167–68. ISBN 0-273-07078-9.
  16.  Larry Evans, This Crazy World of Chess, Cardoza Publishing, 2007, back cover. ISBN 1-58042-218-7.
  17.  Larry Evans, This Crazy World of Chess, Cardoza Publishing, 2007, pp. 20, 29. ISBN 1-58042-218-7.
  18.  Edward Winter, The Facts About Larry Evans (2001). 
  19.  Larry Parr, Not Quicker Than the Mind's Eye
  20.  USCF: Eulogy
  21.  Chessbase: Eulogy
  22.  McLain, Dylan Loeb (November 17, 2010), "Larry Evans, Chess Champ, Dies at 78", The New York Times
Selected books

What's the Best Move? (1995). ISBN 0-671-51159-9.
The 10 Most Common Chess Mistakes (1998). ISBN 1-58042-009-5.
How Good Is Your Chess? (2004). ISBN 1-58042-126-1.
New Ideas in Chess (1958). Pitman. ISBN 0-486-28305-4 (1984 Dover edition).
Modern Chess Brilliancies (1970). Fireside Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-671-22420-4.
Modern Chess Openings (1965). 10th edition, revised by Larry Evans, edited by Walter Korn. Pitman Publishing.
Evans on Chess (1974). Cornerstone Library.
This Crazy World of Chess (2007). Cardoza Publishing. ISBN 1-58042-218-7.
Preceded by
Herman Steiner
United States Chess Champion
Succeeded by
Arthur Bisguier
Preceded by
Bobby Fischer
United States Chess Champion
Succeeded by
Bobby Fischer
Preceded by
Bobby Fischer
United States Chess Champion
Succeeded by
Samuel Reshevsky
Preceded by
Lubomir Kavalek
United States Chess Champion
1980 (with Walter Browne and Larry Christiansen)
Succeeded by
Walter Browne and Yasser Seirawan

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