GM Reuben Fine

Fine in 1961, after his retirement from competitive chess. Photo: Harry Pot/Dutch National Archives, CC.
Full name
Reuben Fine
Life
Oct 11, 1914 - Mar 26, 1993 (age 78)‎
Place of birth
New York City
Federation
United States

Bio

GM Reuben Fine was one of the strongest chess players ever born in the United States. In one of the greatest tournaments in chess history, AVRO 1938, Fine shared first place with GM Paul Keres. Half the players in the tournament were world champions of the past (Jose Raul Capablanca and Max Euwe), present (at the time, of course: Alexander Alekhine) and future (Mikhail Botvinnik), and Fine scored +4 -1 =3 against them, including a sweep of Alekhine.

Because of Fine's finish at AVRO, FIDE invited him to play in its world championship tournament after World War II in 1948. However, Fine was already pivoting to a different career and declined his opportunity to achieve the greatest accomplishment in chess. Fine earned a psychology degree from the University of Southern California and unlike contemporary American GM Samuel Reshevsky, an accountant, Fine stopped playing serious chess once his other career was underway.

The international 1948/49 New York tournament, which Fine won with an 8/9 score, was one of his last chess events. The brevity of his career was a less tragic story than those of other American greats Paul Morphy, Harry Pillsbury, and GM Bobby Fischer, but Fine still left us wanting more.

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