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Monday, September 19, 2016

Adolph J. Fink

     One neglected "minor master" in the history of U.S. chess is Adolph J. Fink of San Francisco, California. Fink was an internationally-known chess problem composer and a prominent figure in California chess for many years. During his lifetime he had more than one thousand chess problems published and won approximately one hundred prizes. He was also one of San Francisco's top players for many years. During World War One, Fink served as a corporal in the U.S. Army in France and upon his return was Vice-President of the Good Companion Chess Problem Club. 
     Like most problemists Fink excelled in the ending and for many years he performed adjudications for California tournament and team matches, never asking for a fee. He won the California State Championship in 1922, 1928, and 1929, tied for first in 1945, and finished in second place in 1923, 1925, 1926 and tied in 1948. In 1932, in the Pasadena international tournament Fink finished last, scoring 3-8, but that was a creditable score against players like Alekhine, Kasdan, Dake, Reshevsky and Fine. 
     Fink was born July 19, 1890 in San Francisco and became interested in checkers and chess a few months before the earthquake and fire of 1906.
     After the earthquake Fink, along with his family and thousands of others, sought refuge and camped out in the hills surrounding the city. It was during that time that he began studying both games, but chess proved to be the more interesting. During the rebuilding process Fink learned the openings and improved his play by joining the Mechanics' Institute. He was strong enough to have drawn Capablanca, Marshall and Kostic in simultaneous games. 
      It was in about 1908 that he also began delving into problem composing though he had no technical knowledge of that aspect of the game. Even though he had many published and won many prizes Fink never kept a complete record of the problems he composed, but only recorded the ones he considered to be the best. 
     Fink died on December 15, 1956 in San Francisco.

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