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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Raymond Weinstein

The story of International Master Raymond Weinstein (born April 25, 1941) is a tragic one.

Weinstein was born in Brooklyn, New York and attended Erasmus Hall High School where he was two grades ahead of Bobby Fischer. 
 Erasmus Hall High School
He won the 1958 U.S. Junior Chess Championship and played in the U.S. Championship five times, played for the American team that won the 1960 World Student Team Championship.  In the latter event he tied for the gold medal on board 3. Weinstein was awarded his IM title in 1962. 

His best tournament result was in the 1960-61 U.S. Championship when he finished third, behind Bobby Fischer and William Lombardy.  This result qualified him to play in the Interzonal held in Stockholm  in 1962, but he did not play.  His last event was the 1963-1964 U.S. Championship where had the unusual result of 5 wins, 6 loses and no draws.  He never played again.  In 1963, Weinstein graduated from Brooklyn College with a degree in psychology and went to Amsterdam to attend graduate school.
In describing his play the British Chess Magazine wrote that he had the “killer instinct.”  Unfortunately, the same could be said for his away from the board personality.

While in Amsterdam he was studying under the Dutch psychology professor and International Master Johan Barendregt whom he assaulted.  As a result of that incident Weinstein was deported to the U.S. where he was detained in a half-way house.  While staying in the half-way house, he slit his 83-year-old roommate’s throat with a razor when the old man made derogatory remarks about Weinstein’s mother who was also institutionalized.  Weinstein was deemed incapable to stand trial and was sent to the Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center on Manhattan’s Wards Island where he remains.
Author and chess activist Sam Sloan visited Weinstein in 1996 and described him as nothing like the person Sloan knew in their days as junior players. He described Weinstein as obese and having a habit of rubbing the side or underneath his nose.  During the 45 minutes Sloan spent with him, Weinstein did not utter a single word and stared blankly at Sloan the entire time.  When Sloan spoke of Kasparov, Karpov, Fischer, Anand and other top grandmasters Weinstein gave no recognition that he even knew what Sloan was talking about. The visit consisted mostly of long periods of silence and when visiting hours were over Weinstein got up and went to the attendant and told her rather heatedly that he wanted to go back to his ward.

Weinstein was an important historical figure in U.S. chess and his life was a tragedy, but he deserves to be recognized for his achievements during his all too brief career. In the following game he defeats British IM Robert Wade.

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