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Friday, August 20, 2010

First US Rating List

The first US Chess Federation Rating List was published in Chess Life magazine on November 20, 1950. The first list had nine classifications and rated 2,306 players. The Classes were as follows:
Senior Master=2500-2699
Class A=1900-2099
Class B=1700-1899
Class C=1500-1699
Class D= under 1500

Reuben Fine (2817)
Samuel Reshevsky (2770)

Senior Masters:
Alex Kevitz (2610)
Arthur Dake (2598)
Arnold Denker (2575)
Isaac Kashdan (2574)
I.A. Horowitz (2558)
Albert Simonson (2596)
Fred Reinfeld (2593)
Abraham Kupchik (2538)
David Polland (2521)
George Treysman (2521)

Masters over 2400:
Larry Evans (2484)
Herbert Seidman (2451)
Dr. Max Pavey (2442)
George Shainswit (2442)
Albert Pinkus (2422)
Arthur Bisguier (2394)
George Kramer (2394)
Herman Steiner (2394)
Donald Byrne (2392)
Weaver Adams (2383)

By May of 1956 the list had changes as follows:
Now Grandmasters were anyone rated 2600 and up and Senior Masters were rated between 2400 and 2599.
Samuel Reshevsky (2663)

Senior Masters:
Arthur Bisguier (2529)
Donald Byrne (2557)
Robert Byrne (2590)
Arthur Dake (2412)
Arnold Denker (2407)
Larry Evans (2593)
I.A.Horowitz (2442)
Isaac Kashdan (2525)
Alex Kevitz (2405)
George Kramer (2404)
Max Pavey (2429)
Nicholas Rossolimo (2533)
Herbert Seidman (2426)
James T. Sherwin (2436)

Masters were now anyone rated 2200 to 2399. Experts were now 2000 to 2199. Class A was 1800 to 1999. Class B was 1600 to 1799. Class C was anyone below 1600.

The top women on the list were Gisela Gresser (2056), Sonja Graf (2040), Nancy Roos (2008), and Mona Kay Karff (2004). This was the first National Rating List that Bobby Fischer (age 13) appeared on and his rating was 1726.

By the end of 1960, which was shortly after I started playing serious chess, the top players were:

Bobby Fischer (2641)
Samuel Reshevsky (2632)
William Lombardy (2555)
Robert Byrne (2535)
Pal Benko (2501)
Arthur Bisguier (2501)
Larry Evans (2465)
Raymond Weinstein (2448)
Robert Steinmeyer (2426)
Dr. Anthony Saidy (2412)
James T. Sherwin (2411)
Robert Cross (2408)
Hans Berliner (2406)
Arthur Feuerstein (2406)

These were the players I grew up following in US chess. Of this group I played Reshevsky (draw), Rossolimo (lost) and Feuerstein (2 losses). In addition to those three, I met Fischer, Lombardy, Byrne, Benko, and Bisguier.

Some names won’t be very familiar. Arthur Feuerstein (cousin to GM Bisguier and the unfortunate IM Raymond Weinstein) was in a near-fatal car accident in 1972 that left him in a coma for 6 weeks. When he recovered, he didn’t know how to speak English that well or who his family wasbut two things were never forgotten: 1) who his wife was and 2) how to play chess. However it seems he never played chess at the same high level he did before the accident.

Robert H. Steinmeyer was a top US player in the 60-70’s as well as one of the best US postal players. Other than playing in some US Championships it seems he confined his play to mostly events in Missouri.

James Cross came to prominence as a 16-year-old and the December 1946 issue of Chess Review had an article on him as a promising junior. Not much is known about Cross, but I remember him as playing in a lot of local tournaments but can’t remember where he was from. Some of his games can be found here: James Cross Games

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