U.S. Chess Hall of Fame

In 2012 Alex “Yermo” Yermolinksy was inducted into the US Chess Hall of Fame

Alex “Yermo” Yermolinsky was officially inducted into the US Chess Hall of Fame on October 23, 2012. Yermolinksy becomes only the 48th person named to the Hall of Fame, joining luminaries such as Bobby Fischer and Benjamin Franklin.

“We are thrilled to honor Yermo as he takes his place among the top players in US history. Besides his obvious personal gift for the game, he should also be recognized for his generosity helping others learn to play and improve their skills,” said Harold Winston, chairman of the U.S. Chess Federation Hall of Fame Committee.

From the Press Release:

“Born in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg, Russia), Yermolinsky immigrated to the United States in 1989 and became a grandmaster in 1992. He went on to share the title of U.S. Chess Champion with Alexander Shabalov in 1993 and was the sole champion in 1996. He has won countless other titles and was the Grandmaster-in-Residence at the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club in San Francisco from 1999-2007.

Yemolinsky is a noted chess writer and instructor. He has authored two books: The Road to Chess Improvement (winner of the Cramer Award for best instructional chess book and the British Chess Federation’s Book of the Year award) and Chess Explained: The Classical Sicilian. He broadcasts on the Internet Chess Club website and was instrumental in the development of the website ChessKid.com, which teaches the game to children in a fun, safe, and secure online environment.

Alex and his wife, Women’s Grandmaster Camilla Baginskaite, live with their two children in South Dakota, where he works with the South Dakota Chess Association as an instructor, lecturer, and tournament director.

“Hosting this induction ceremony is a highlight of our year. It is a reminder of the broad-reaching significance of chess, the impact that chess has had on our city, and the importance of the Hall of Fame’s mission to shine a light on the game’s greater meaning,” said Susan Barrett, director of the World Chess Hall of Fame.”

2011 U.S. Chess Hall of Fame Inductees

GM Andrew (Andy Soltis), 2011 U.S. Chess Hall of Fame Inductee

United States – Inducted 2011

Though a skilled chess player, Andy Soltis made his true mark on the chess world as an author. Born in Hazleton, Penn., he became an international master in 1974 and achieved grandmaster status in 1980. A win at Reggio Emilia in 1971-72 and an equal first finish at New York 1977 are among his notable tournament results; however, he stopped playing competitive chess in the 2002.

Where he left off as a player, however, he resumed as a writer, becoming of one of the late 20th century’s most prolific chess authors. His writing career began in the mid-1970s with the publication of books like The Great Chess Tournaments and Their Stories in 1975 and Pawn Structure Chess in 1976. Since that time, he was written or contributed to more than 100 books on subjects that range from history to strategy to game collections and analysis. In addition to his books, Soltis is also an active journalist, penning “Chess to Enjoy,” one of the longest-running columns in Chess Life, as well as a weekly column in the New York Post. He was named Chess Journalist of the Year by the U.S. Chess Federation in 1988.

GM Boris Gulko, 2011 U.S. Chess Hall of Fame Inductee

Boris Gulko
United States – Inducted 2011

The son of a Red Army soldier, Boris Gulko was born in East Germany in the years after World War II. He returned to the USSR as a young child and lived there until the mid-1980s, when he immigrated to the United States. While in the Soviet Union, he won the USSR Chess Championship in 1977, a year after attaining GM status. Shortly afterward, Gulko—a staunch anti-communist—and his wife, Anna, were denied permission to leave the country. Gulko himself was once arrested and beaten by KGB agents, and following their failed petition, both he and Anna, who held the title of woman grandmaster, were banned from chess competition until 1986, when they arrived in the United States following glasnost, a period of greater transparency within the Soviet government.

While he called his years away from the game “a serious blow” to his career, he found success in his new country, winning the U.S. Championship in 1994 and 1999. After qualifying for the 2004 World Championship, which was held in Libya, the country’s organizing committee stated that they would not extend invitations to Jewish players. As a result, several Jewish competitors from Israel and the United States, including Gulko, withdrew from the tournament. Gulko also sent a scornful letter to FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, for the organization’s alleged capitulation to the Libyan policy. Though he rarely competes in tournaments, Gulko remains an active chess player, making his home in Fair Lawn, N.J.

Robert (Bobby) Fischer (Mar. 9, 1943 – Jan. 17, 2008)
Country: United States, Iceland
World Chess Champion: 1972 – 1975

Inducted Into U.S. Chess Hall of Fame – 1986

Reuben Fine (Oct. 11, 1914 – Mar. 26, 1993)
Country: United States
U.S. Open Champion: 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1939, 1940, 1941

Isaac Kashdan (Nov. 19, 1905 – Feb. 20, 1985)
Country: United States
U.S. Open Champion: 1938, 1947

George Koltanowski (Sept. 17, 1903 – Feb. 5, 2000)
Country: Belgium, United States

Frank James Marshall (Aug. 10, 1877 – Nov. 9, 1944)
Country: United States
U.S. Chess Champion: 1909–1936
In 1915, Marshall opened the Marshall Chess Club in New York.

Paul Morphy (Jun. 22, 1837 – Jul. 10, 1884)
Country: United States
Unofficial World Chess Champion

Harry Nelson Pillsbury (Dec. 5, 1872 – Jun. 17, 1906)
Country: United States
U.S. Chess Champion: 1897 – 1906

Samuel Herman Reshevsky (Nov. 26, 1911 – Apr. 4, 1992)
Country: Poland, United States
U.S. Chess Champion: 1936, 1938, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1946, 1969

Inducted Into U.S. Chess Hall of Fame – 1987

Sam Loyd (Jan. 30, 1841 – Apr. 10, 1911)
Country: United States
Chess Composer

Wilhelm (William) Steinitz (May 17, 1836 – Aug. 12, 1900)
Country: Prague, Czech Republic, United States
World Chess Champion: 1886 – 1894

Inducted Into U.S. Chess Hall of Fame – 1988

Arpad Emrick Elo (Aug. 25, 1903 – Nov. 5, 1992
Country: Hungary, United States
Creator of the Elo Rating System. The new rating system was approved by the United States Chess Federation in 1960. In 1970, FIDE, the World Chess Federation, adopted the Elo Rating System. Currently the U.S. Chess Federation does not use Dr. Elo’s rating system, although, the World Chess Federation (FIDE) still uses it and his rating system is the most popular in the world.

Hermann Helms 1870 – 1963
Country: United States
Herman Helms was a Chess Journalist. He was the chess reporter for the New York Times for over fifty years, until 1962. He founded the American Chess Bulletin in 1904, and published and edited this journal until his death in 1963. Helms wrote chess columns for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper from 1893 until 1955. Helms was called “the most important journalist in American chess history” by Arnold Denker and Larry Parr.

Inducted Into U.S. Chess Hall of Fame – 1989

Israel Albert Horowitz (Nov. 15, 1907 – Jan. 18, 1973
Country: United States
U.S. Open Champion: 1936, 1938, 1943
New York Times Chess columnist for ten years. Owner and Editor of Chess Review magazine from 1933 until it was bought by the United States Chess Federation in 1969.

Inducted Into U.S. Chess Hall of Fame – 1990

Hans Berliner (Jan. 27, 1929)
Country: Germany, United States
5th World Correspondence Chess Champion: 1965

Inducted Into U.S. Chess Hall of Fame – 1991

Arthur William Dake (Apr. 8, 1910 – Apr. 28, 2000
Country: United States
Arthur learned chess at age seventeen, and within 3 years was one of the best players in the world. He defeated the World Chess Champion, Alexander Alekhine, at a tournament in Pasadena, California in 1932. Dake played at the master level into the last decade of his life. In 1992, he played in his last tournament at the U.S. Senior Open, where he took 2nd place in an event for those 50 years of age and older.

Inducted Into U.S. Chess Hall of Fame – 1992

Arnold Sheldon Denker (Feb. 20, 1914 – Jan. 2, 2005)
Country: United States
U.S. Chess Champion: 1944 – 1946
Arnold Denker was an important chess organizer, serving on the Board of the American Chess Foundation, the United States Chess Federation, and the U.S. Chess Trust, the driving force behind the prestigious Denker Tournament of High School Champions (which was named in honor of Denker).

Gisela K. Gresser (Feb. 8, 1906 – Dec. 4, 2000)
Country: United States
U.S. Women’s Chess Champion: 1944, 1948, 1955, 1957, 1962, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1969 (at age 63)
U.S. Women’s Open Champion: 1954
One of the first two female chess players in the United States. She is the first American woman to be inducted into the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame. She was the first woman in the United States to gain a master title.

George Henry Mackenzie (Mar. 24, 1837 – Apr. 14, 1891)
Country: Scotland, United States
U.S. Chess Champion by acclamation: 1871 – 1889
Mackenzie won the 2nd, 3rd and 5th American Chess Congress

Inducted Into U.S. Chess Hall of Fame – 1993

Pal Benko (Born Jul. 14, 1928)
Country: Hungary, United States
U.S. Open Chess Champion: 1961, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1974, 1975
Canadian Open Chess Champion: 1964
He was awarded the title of International Master of Chess Composition by FIDE

Victor Palciauskas (Vytas Palciauskas) (Born Oct. 3, 1941)
Country: Republic of Lithuania, United States
Victor is the tenth ICCF World Champion in correspondence chess between 1978 and 1984

Inducted Into U.S. Chess Hall of Fame – 1994

Arthur Bernard Bisguier (Born Oct. 8, 1929)
Country: United States
U.S. Junior Champion: 1948, 1949
U.S. Open Chess Champion: 1950, 1956, 1959
U.S. Chess Champion: 1954

Robert E. Byrne (Born Apr. 20, 1928)
Country: United States
U.S. Champion: 1972
Robert was a chess columnist for the New York Times from 1972 to 2006.

Larry Melvyn Evans (Mar. 22, 1932 – Nov. 15, 2010)
Country: United States
U.S. Chess Champion: 1951, 1952, 1961–62, 1967–68, 1980
U.S. Open Chess Champion: 1951, 1952, 1954
In 1956 the U.S. State Department appointed him a “chess ambassador”

Inducted Into U.S. Chess Hall of Fame – 1995

Edmond Broadley Edmondson Jr. (Aug. 13, 1920 – Oct. 21, 1982)
Country: United States
U.S. Chess Federation President (1963-1966)
U.S. Chess Federation Executive Director (1966-1977)
He negotiated on behalf of Bobby Fischer his participation in the World Championship cycles.
In 1969, he arranged the merger of Chess Life and Chess Review magazines to form Chess Life & Review.

Inducted Into U.S. Chess Hall of Fame – 1996

Fred Reinfeld (Jan. 27, 1910 – May 29, 1964)
Country: United States
New York State Champion: 1933
Fred Reinfeld is remembered today as one of the most prolific authors in history. He wrote or co-wrote over 100 books, most about chess. He was also one of the strongest players in the United States. He was ranked 6th in the country on the first rating list issued by the United States Chess Federation in 1950.

Inducted Into U.S. Chess Hall of Fame – 1997

Kenneth Harkness (Nov. 12, 1896-Oct. 4, 1972)
Country: Scotland, United States
Kenneth Harkness is the creator of the Harkness rating system, which was a precursor to the Elo rating system. He was Business Manager of the United States Chess Federation from 1952 to 1959. The Harkness rating system was used by the US Chess Federation from 1950 to 1960, they then adapted the ELO rating system, only to return to the Harkness rating system, which is currently used by the U.S. Chess Federation. For his services, Harkness is in the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame.

Inducted Into U.S. Chess Hall of Fame – 1998

Milan Vukcevich (Mar. 11, 1937 – May 10, 2003)
Country: Belgrade, Serbia, United States
U.S. Open Chess Champion: 1969
Vukcevich is better known as an author of chess problems. He was awarded the title of International Composition Grandmaster by FIDE. Milan Vukcevich decided on a career in science rather than chess. In the year he moved to the United States he entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was considered for a Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Inducted Into U.S. Chess Hall of Fame – 1999

Benjamin Franklin (Jan. 17, 1706 – Apr. 17, 1790)
Country: United States
Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. Franklin was an avid chess player. He was playing chess since about 1733, which made him the first chess player known by name in the American colonies. His essay on the “Morals of Chess” in Columbian magazine, published in December 1786 is the second known writing on chess in America.

Inducted Into U.S. Chess Hall of Fame – 2000

Edmar Mednis (Mar. 22, 1937 – Feb. 13, 2002)
Country: Latvia, United States
Edmar Mednis is best known as a chess author. He was the first player to beat Bobby Fischer in a US Championship. Mednis wrote 26 chess books

Inducted Into U.S. Chess Hall of Fame – 2001

Lubomir Kavalek (Born Aug. 9, 1943)
Country: Czech Republic, United States
U.S. Chess Champion: 1973, 1978
Kavalek is a chess coach, organizer, teacher, commentator, author and award-winning columnist. He was the chess columnist for the Washington Post from 1986 to 2010. In May 2010 he became the chess columnist for The Huffington Post.

Inducted Into U.S. Chess Hall of Fame – 2003

Lev Alburt (Born Aug. 21, 1945)
Country: Russia, United States
U.S. Chess Champion: 1984, 1985, 1990
Ukrainian Chess Champion: 1972 – 1974
Alburt served three years, 1985–1988, on the Board of Directors of the United States Chess Federation (USCF).

Walter Shawn Browne (Born Jan. 10, 1949)
Country: Australia, United States
U.S. Junior Champion: 1966
Australian Chess Champion: 1969
U.S. Chess Champion: 1974, 1975, 1977, 1980, 1981, 1983

Donald Byrne (Jun. 12, 1930 – Apr. 8, 1976) (Wiki shows induction 2002)
Country: United States
U.S. Open Chess Champion: 1953

Inducted Into U.S. Chess Hall of Fame – 2004

Anatoly Lein (Born Mar. 28, 1931)
Country: Russia, United States
U.S. Open Champion: 1976
World Open Champion: 1976

Leonid Shamkovich (Jun. 1, 1923 – Apr. 22, 2005)
Country: Russia, United States
Canadian Chess Champion: 1975
Leonid became a Grandmaster in 1965 and was a chess writer.

Inducted Into U.S. Chess Hall of Fame – 2006

Yasser Seirawan (Born Mar. 24, 1960)
Country: Syria, USA
World Junior Chess Champion: 1979
U.S. Chess Champion: 1981, 1986, 1989, 2000
Seirawan is also a respected chess author and commentator.

Inducted Into U.S. Chess Hall of Fame – 2007

Irving Chernev (Jan. 29, 1900 – Sept. 29, 1981)
Country: Russia, United States
Irving was a prolific Russian-American chess author.

Jeremy Gaige (Oct. 9, 1927 – Feb. 19, 2011)
Country: United States
Jeremy Gaige was an American chess archivist and journalist.

Inducted Into U.S. Chess Hall of Fame – 2008

Joel Benjamin (Born Mar. 11, 1964)
Country: United States
U.S. Junior Champion: 1980, 1982
U.S. Open Chess Champion: 1985
U.S. Chess Champion: 1987, 1997, 2000
Joel Benjamin is the youngest person to be inducted into the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame

Larry M. Christiansen (Born Jun. 27, 1956)
Country: United States
U.S. Junior Champion: 1973, 1974, 1975
U.S. Chess Champion: 1980, 1983, 2002

Nick E. de Firmian (Born Jul. 26, 1957)
Country: United States
U.S. Chess Champion: 1987, 1995, 1998

Inducted Into U.S. Chess Hall of Fame – 2009

John Fedorowicz (Born 1958)
Country: United States
American International Grandmaster and chess writer. Fedorowicz has captained the U.S. Olympiad team on two occasions. He has written or co-written a number of chess books and many articles.

Bert Hochberg (1933-2006)
United States Hall of Fame – Inducted 2009

Burt Hochberg (1933 – May 13, 2006)
Country: United States

In 1966, Burt was named Editor of Chess Life by Ed Edmondson and remained there until 1979 at which time he submitted his resignation. In 1972 Burt wrote his first book ever, a chess book for the USCF entitled, “Title Chess.” It covered the 1972 United States Chess Championship and Zonal Qualifier. His Technical Consultant was Jeffrey Kastner. The book was copyrighted in 1972 with the Second edition out in January, 1974. All pictures of the players were taken by Burt.

In the early 70’s, Burt was asked by Sidney Fried to create a Chess Publishing House called RHM Press. Burt was named Editor-in-Chief. One of the first books under Burt’s editorship was, “How to Open a Chess Game” with the following Grandmasters, each writing a different chapter. Larry Evans, United States, Svetozar Gligoric, Yugoslavia, Vastimil Hort, Czechoslovakia, Lajos Portisch, Hungary, Tigran Petrosian, U.S.S.R., Bent Larsen, Denmark, and Paul Keres, U.S.S.R. The Introduction was written by Larry Evans and the Glossary, by Larry Evans and Burt Hochberg. In the Ackowledgments, Burt expressed his gratitude to those who assisted in the preparation of the book. They were: Frank Krcmar, who translated the Hort chapter; Endre Boer, who translated the Portisch chapter; Hanon Russell, who translated the Petrosian chapter; George Mirijanian, who translated the Keres chapter, as well as Chris Reid, whose editing and proofreading skills were invaluable; and Scott Knoke, who contributed long and unusual hours of his time to solve many difficult technical problems.

Burt was hired by David McKay/Random House to bring in chess authors. He did so by introducing among many, Bruce Pandolfini, Susan Polgar and Pal Benko. In 1991, Pal Benko, International Grandmaster and Burt co-authored a book entitled, “Winning with Chess Psychology” for David McKay. While with McKay he edited an exceptionally fine book under, Time Books, a division of Random House entitled, “The 64-Square Looking Glass” the great game of chess in world literature. The anthology consisting of about 40 writers was reviewed to great acclaim. Among a few of the writers included were Nabokov, Ezra Pound, Stefan Zweig, Woody Allen, Kurt Vonnegut, Anne Bronte.

Burt wrote a few books for Sterling Publication. Among them, “Mensa Guide to Chess” and “Sit & Solve Chess Problems.” His expertise went beyond the game of chess, however, to other strategy games and puzzles. After leaving Chess Life, a few years later he went to work at Games Magazine. He started as a fill-in, part time editor working himself up to Editor, Emeritus, until his death in 2006. He loved the challenge of creating puzzles and riddles which were as new to him then as editing a chess magazine back in 1966. It was Ed Edmondson who gave him a start as an editor of Chess Life, and Wayne Schmittberger who recognized the name, Burt Hochberg, who told Ronnie Shushan interviewing Burt at Games Magazine, who the man was whom she was interviewing. Burt loved all the work he did throughout his career, but Chess Life and Edmondson as well as Games Magazine and Wayne Schmittberger, always held a special place in his heart.

Burt is remembered as a tireless chess promoter, who throughout his career, devoted time and energy to encouraging new authors and young editors in the field of chess and games. In 2009, his contributions to the field of chess earned him induction into the World Chess Hall of Fame, located in St. Louis, Missouri.

Inducted Into U.S. Chess Hall of Fame – 2010

Diane Savereide (Born 1954)
Country: United States
U.S. Women’s Chess Champion: 1975, 1976, 1978, 1981, 1984

Jackson W. Showalter (Feb. 5 1860 – Feb. 5, 1935)
Country: United States
U.S. Chess Champion: 1890, 1892, 1892–1894, 1895-1896, 1906–1909

Herman Steiner (Apr. 15, 1905 – Nov. 25, 1955)
Country: Austria-Hungary, United States
U.S. Chess Champion: 1948