RESHEVSKY, SAMUEL HERMAN


RESHEVSKY, SAMUEL HERMAN (1911–1992), U.S. chess master. Born in Poland, Reshevsky was a child prodigy. In 1919–20 he gave successful simultaneous displays against large numbers of strong opponents in Europe and America. During the same period he fared well in individual games, drawing against David Janowski. After settling in America he gave up chess during his adolescence in order to continue his education. He returned to the game in the 1930s and won the championship of the United States several times against opposition which included Reuben *Fine and Isaac Kashdan. He also won many of the famous tournaments in the United States, Latin America, and Britain. Against the very strongest opposition Reshevsky did well, but not as well as his great ability would suggest. Though a player of genius, in tournament play he would lose games "on the clock" because of the long spells of concentration demanded by his perfectionism. This explains his failure to win several candidates tournaments, including the world championship tourney in 1948 in which he was defeated by Mikhail Botvinnik.

Reshevsky's published collection of his own games, Reshevsky's Best Games of Chess (1960), is usefully annotated. He also wrote How Chess Games are Won (1962) and The Art of Positional Play (1978). An Orthodox Jew, Reshevsky always subordinated his chess life to his religious observances.

[Gerald Abrahams]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.