World Chess Hall of Fame and the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame
Each Induct Two New Members for 2014
April 23, 2014 (Saint Louis, MO) – Four exceptional chess players will take their places in history when two are inducted into the World Chess Hall of Fame and two into U.S. Chess Hall of Fame during a ceremony on March 7, 2014.
The World Chess Federation (FIDE) nominated and selected Maya Chiburdanidze and Paul Keres for the World Chess Hall of Fame. They join 19 other players who have received the honor since the World Chess Hall of Fame’s creation in 2001.
“These two remarkable players were luminaries in 20th century chess. Their legacies still impact the game today,” said Beatriz Marinello, FIDE Vice President.
The U.S. Chess Federation Hall of Fame Committee considers and sends candidates for the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame to the U.S. Chess Trust each year. The Trust votes on candidates, selecting Abraham Kupchik and Jacqueline Piatigorsky to join the 52 other players currently in the Hall of Fame.
“Kupchik and Piatigorsky both had immeasurable influence on the game of chess in the United States. We are thrilled to celebrate them as players and pioneers,” said Harold Winston, chairman of the U.S. Chess Federation Hall of Fame Committee.
Each player is permanently commemorated at the World Chess Hall of Fame with a plaque bearing their image and a biography of their notable contributions to the game.
“The 2014 induction ceremony will highlight these four fantastic chess players as well as the national and global cultural significance of the game. We look forward to welcoming the families and friends of the inductees, who will attend alongside some of today’s biggest names in chess,” said Susan Barrett, director of the World Chess Hall of Fame.
About the 2014 World Chess Hall of Fame Honorees
Maya Chiburdanidze (1961 – ): Maya Chiburdanidze’s introspective, exceptional play earned her U.S.S.R. Women’s Chess Championship at the young age of sixteen. The following year, she earned a place at the top of women’s chess, becoming the youngest woman at that time to win the Women’s World Championship when she defeated Nona Gaprindashvili. Chiburdanidze would defend her title four times, finally losing it in 1991 to Xie Jun.
A pioneer in women’s chess, Chiburdanidze was only the second woman to earn the title of Grandmaster in 1984. She was a member of the Soviet and later Georgian women’s teams that dominated the Women’s Chess Olympiads through the 1980s and 1990s, winning nine team gold medals and four gold medals on Board 1.
Paul Keres (1916 – 1975): A three-time Soviet chess champion, Keres was a Candidate for the World Chess Championship seven times and finished equal third in the 1948 World Chess Championship tournament. Keres’ near misses earned him the nickname the “crown prince of chess.”
Keres’ many tournament victories included ties for first in both AVRO 1938 (which he won on tiebreak) and the 1963 Piatigorsky Cup, two of the strongest tournaments ever held. He also played on gold medal winning teams representing the Soviet Union in the 1952 – 1964 Chess Olympiads. Additionally, Keres’ multi-volume series detailing his games ranks among the greatest best games collections ever written.
About the 2014 U.S. Chess Hall of Fame Honorees
Abraham Kupchik (1892 – 1970): Born in Brest (then a part of Russia), Abraham Kupchik immigrated to the U.S. in 1903 and was one of the strongest American players from 1914 to 1940. He shared first place with U.S. Champion Frank Marshall in 1923 at the 9th American Chess Congress and won the prestigious Manhattan Chess Club Championship thirteen times between 1913/14 and 1936/37. He earned second place at the Lake Hopatcong chess tournament behind José Raúl Capablanca and ahead of Géza Maróczy, Frank Marshall, and Edward Lasker.
In the 1935 Chess Olympiad, Kupchik earned team gold and individual bronze medals playing Board 3 for the U.S. His accomplishments also included playing Board 9 in the famed 1945 U.S.A.-U.S.S.R. radio match.
Jacqueline Piatigorsky (1911 – 2012): A woman of many talents, Jacqueline Piatigorsky transformed American chess through her efforts as an organizer, philanthropist, and player. She won an individual bronze medal on Board 2 when she represented the U.S. in the first Women’s Chess Olympiad in 1957. Piatigorsky is best remembered for organizing two of the greatest American chess tournaments: the 1963 and 1966 Piatigorsky Cups.
Committed to promoting youth chess, she created scholastic programs in Southern California in the early 1960s through the Piatigorsky Foundation. She also initiated the U.S. Junior Closed Chess Championship and provided support for the U.S. and U.S. Women’s Chess Championships.
With the greatest respect to Keres, it is hard to see how he would be ahead of several others for induction.
Perhaps the most notable would be Nimzovitch, who’s ideas have influenced the play of everyone from his contemporaries onwards.
I would also put the case for Philidor to be joint at the front of the queue. Had there been a world champion in his era, it would have been him for many years and his ideas (for their time) were as revolutionary as Nimzovitch’s in the early 20th century, still forming the basis of play almost 300 years on.