Chess legends to be inducted into the U.S. and World Chess Halls of Fame

by ChessBase
10/3/2022 – Chess history will be made this year at induction ceremonies recognizing several exceptional contributors to the iconic game as the newest members of the U.S. and World Chess Halls of Fame. The first ceremony will honor 2022 U.S. Chess Hall of Fame inductees Daniel Willard Fiske, James Tarjan and John Watson, as well as 2021 World Chess Hall of Fame inductees Miguel Najdorf and Eugene Torre.

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Extraordinary inductees

Chess history will be made this year at induction ceremonies recognizing several exceptional contributors to the iconic game as the newest members of the U.S. and World Chess Halls of Fame. The first ceremony will honor 2022 U.S. Chess Hall of Fame inductees Daniel Willard Fiske, James Tarjan and John Watson, as well as 2021 World Chess Hall of Fame inductees Miguel Najdorf and Eugene Torre. This ceremony will take place during the public opening ceremony of the 2022 U.S. Chess Championship and U.S. Women’s Chess Championship, featuring the strongest chess players in America—held at the St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station in Saint Louis, Missouri, on October 4, 2022, at 5:30 p.m. The tournament itself will be played at the Saint Louis Chess Club, which has hosted the U.S Chess Championships for the past 13 years. The second ceremony, which will honor 2021 World Chess Hall of Fame inductee Judit Polgar, will be announced at a future date.

In 2022, three candidates were selected for induction into the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame by the US Chess Recognitions Committee and confirmed by the U.S. Chess Trust: Daniel Willard Fiske, a major pioneer in chess organization, journalism and more, who originated the idea of a nationwide American Chess Congress and helped make it a reality in 1857, in addition to influencing the creation of the American Chess Association (a precursor to today’s US Chess) and playing an important role in standardizing the rules of chess; James Tarjan, who represented the United States in five Chess Olympiads, winning four team and three individual medals with a winning percentage that places him equal second to Bobby Fischer, and also achieved the best-ever rating performance by an American player aged 65 or older; and John Watson, one of the greatest writers in the history of American chess who authored many groundbreaking books during the past four decades including Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy (2002) and Chess Strategy in Action (2023), and was the first-ever US. National High School champion and a U.S. Chess Championship participant.

“All three of this year’s inductees have made an incredible impact on the game and sport of chess,” said US Chess Trust President E. Steven Doyle. “Fiske’s influence as an early U.S. chess journalist, Tarjan’s distinctive Chess Olympiad accomplishments and Watson’s lifetime of chess instruction and coaching are accolades deserving of recognition in the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame.”

Chess Hall of Fame

In 2021, the International Chess Federation (Fédération Internationale des Échecs or FIDE) nominated three new members for the World Chess Hall of Fame. Inductees include Judit Polgar, who is universally considered to be the strongest woman chess player of all time and broke Bobby Fischer’s record as the world’s youngest grandmaster; Miguel Najdorf, whose name is associated with one of the most famous openings in chess, the Najdorf Variation of the Sicilian Defense, in addition to being one of the most successful performers in Chess Olympiad history; and Eugene Torre, a trailblazer for Asian chess for half a century, achieving a number of continental milestones including the first grandmaster, first to defeat a reigning world champion, and first to reach the Candidates stage of the World Championship.

“The 2021 World Chess Hall of Fame inductees exemplify the global impact and inclusivity chess has to offer, and we’re honored to include their contributions to the game’s rich history,” said FIDE Special Project Director Willy Iclicki.

Inductees of both Halls of Fame are chosen for their impact on the sport and have included players, authors, journalists, scholars, organizers and supporters of the game. Each player will be commemorated at the World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF) in Saint Louis with a plaque bearing their image and biography. Notable games and highlights will also be featured in a digital interactive gallery.

“The World Chess Hall of Fame in Saint Louis commends all of the 2021 and 2022 inductees and we look forward to celebrating their unique achievements at their induction ceremonies,” said Shannon Bailey, WCHOF’s chief curator.

For more information about the Chess Halls of Fame, please visit the WCHOF’s website at worldchesshof.org. For more information about the U.S. Chess Championship and U.S. Women’s Chess Championship, please visit saintlouischessclub.org. To schedule interviews, please contact WCHOF Marketing Manager Brian Flowers at brian.flowers@worldchesshof.org or call (314) 243-1571. 


About the 2022 U.S. Hall of Fame Inductees

Daniel Willard Fiske
(1831-1904)

Daniel Willard FiskeDaniel Willard Fiske was a major pioneer in chess organization, journalism, literature and historical preservation whose influence is still felt today. He originated the idea of a nationwide American Chess Congress and helped to make it a reality in 1857. Without this tournament, it is doubtful whether American chess star Paul Morphy would have achieved more than local fame. Fiske’s massive book on the event not only gives the games of the Congress but also deals with the creation of the American Chess Association (a precursor to today’s US Chess) and the author’s important role in standardizing the rules of chess. He was also arguably the most influential early U.S. chess journalist, earning renown through his magazine The Chess Monthly and newspaper column in the New York Saturday Press.

James Tarjan 
(1952-     ) 

James TarjanFew have represented the United States in Chess Olympiads with greater distinction than James Tarjan. He played five times from 1974 to 1982, winning four team (one gold, three bronze) and three individual (two gold and one bronze) medals. His lifetime winning percentage of 75.5% places him equal second among Americans with Bobby Fischer and Arthur Dake. An active player from 1965 to his 1984 retirement, Tarjan returned to the game in 2014 with spectacular results. In 2017, he defeated former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik, then ranked number three in the world at 2803 FIDE, en route to a rating performance of 2671, to date the best ever result by an American player aged 65 or older.

John Watson
(1951-     )

John WatsonJohn Watson is one of the greatest writers in the history of American chess. Among the many important books he has authored during the past four decades are the groundbreaking Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy (2002) and Chess Strategy in Action (2003). He authored seminal works on the English Opening and French Defense. A frequent contributor to Chess Life since the 1970s, Watson is well-known for his insightful book reviews. He was a pioneer in early internet journalism, with weekly shows including “Chess Talk with John Watson” for the Internet Chess Club. An international master, Watson was the first U.S. National High School champion and a U.S. Chess Championship participant. He has a lifetime of experience in chess teaching and coaching.


About the 2021 World Chess Hall of Fame Inductees

Judit Polgar
(1976-     ) 

Judit PolgarJudit Polgar is universally recognized as the strongest female player of all time. She was first rated in the top 100 players in the world at age 12 when she won three gold medals at the 1988 Olympiad in Thessaloniki. This performance also catapulted Judit to the world's number 1 ranking for women, a position that she maintained for the next 26 years. Judit broke Bobby Fischer’s record as the youngest grandmaster in 1991. Polgar is the only woman to have ever reached the Candidates stage in the world, and to have been rated over 2700, reaching a peak of 2735 in 2005. During her career, she defeated 11 current or former world champions in rapid or classical chess. Polgar was a member of the 2014 silver medal-winning Hungarian Olympiad team and won seven other medals in Olympiads.

Miguel Najdorf
(1910-1997)

Miguel NajdorfMiguel Najdorf, whose name is associated with one of the most famous openings in chess, was one of the top players in the world in the 1940s and 1950s. Born in Poland, he settled in Argentina after playing in the 1939 Buenos Aires Chess Olympiad. He was also one of the most successful performers in Olympiad history, winning seven team (four silver and three bronze) and four individual medals (three gold and one silver) in 14 competitions over four decades. In 1947, he faced 45 opponents in blindfold chess, setting a record that stood until 2011.

Eugene Torre
(1951-     )

Eugene TorrePhilippine grandmaster Eugene Torre has been a trailblazer for Asian chess for half a century, achieving a number of continental milestones including first grandmaster (1974), first to defeat a reigning world champion (Anatoly Karpov in 1976) and first to reach the Candidates stage of the World Championship (1982-1983). A member of the Philippine Olympiad team a record 23 times, Torre won three individual medals on board one (silver at Nice 1974 and bronze at Malta 1980 and Dubai 1986). He also won a bronze medal on board three at Baku 2016 at the age of 64. Torre was the official second of Bobby Fischer in his 1992 rematch with Boris Spassky.


About the Chess Halls of Fame

The World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF) celebrates the accomplishments of the game's greatest players from the United States and across the globe. The institution houses both the U.S. and World Chess Halls of Fame. New inductees are honored in an annual ceremony, which has been held in Saint Louis, Missouri, since 2011. Since 2012, the inductions have been held during the opening ceremonies for the annual U.S. Chess Championship and U.S. Women’s Chess Championships.

About the Saint Louis Chess Club

The Saint Louis Chess Club (STLCC) is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization that is committed to making chess an important part of our community. In addition to providing a forum for the community to play tournaments and casual games, the Club also offers chess improvement classes, beginner lessons and special lectures.

Recognizing the cognitive and behavioral benefits of chess, the Saint Louis Chess Club is committed to supporting those chess programs that already exist in area schools while encouraging the development of new in-school and after-school programs. For more information, visit saintlouischessclub.org.


How Inductees Are Chosen

Each year, candidates for induction to the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame are nominated by the US Chess Recognitions Committee. which includes leading chess historians. The Committee’s selections are sent to the US Chess Executive Board for review, and the Board's recommendations are then forwarded to the US Chess Trust. whose Trustees have the official authority to determine inductees into the US Chess Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony takes place at the World Chess Hall of Fame or at the annual US Chess Awards luncheon. A representative of the US Chess Trust performs the official induction, using the official Hall of Fame gavel.

Representatives of the World Chess Federation (Fédération Internationale des Échecs, or FIDE) nominate and select new candidates for induction into the World Chess Hall of Fame. Members of the World Chess Hall of Fame are chosen for their total contribution to the sport. Players as well as others who have made an impact as authors, journalists, organizers and in other ways are eligible for induction.


About the US Chess Trust

The US Chess Trust is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization. Through the Trust, the Samford Fellowships have helped develop our nation’s top young chess players. Typically, nine of 12 players in the U.S. Championship are former or current Samford Fellows.

The Trust sponsors the senior, junior and girls’ national invitational events for state champions at the annual U.S. Open and provides numerous college scholarships. For more information, visit uschesstrust.org.

About US Chess

The US Chess Federation (US Chess) is the official governing body and nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization for chess players and chess supporters in the United States. Our mission is to empower people, enrich lives, and enhance communities through chess. Our vision is that chess is recognized as an essential tool that is inclusive, benefits education and rehabilitation, and promotes recreation and friendly competition.

US Chess represents the United States in the World Chess Federation (FIDE), connecting our members to chess players around the world. Founded in 1939 with the merger of the American Chess Federation and the National Chess Federation, US Chess has grown to serve over 93,000 members and 2,000 affiliated chess clubs and organizations today. For more information, visit uschess.org.

About the World Chess Hall of Fame

The World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to building awareness of the cultural and artistic significance of chess. It opened on September 9, 2011, in the Central West End after moving from previous locations in New York; Washington, D.C.; and Florida. The WCHOF is located at 4652 Maryland Avenue, housed in a historic 15,900 square-foot residence-turned-business, featuring World Chess Hall of Fame inductees, United States Chess Hall of Fame inductees selected by the U.S. Chess Trust, displays of artifacts from the permanent collection and exhibitions highlighting the great players, historic games and rich cultural history of chess. The WCHOF partners with the Saint Louis Chess Club to provide innovative programming and outreach to local, national and international audiences. For more information, visit worldchesshof.org


3.h4 against the King's Indian and Grünfeld

It's a great idea to take Grunfeld and King’s Indian players out of their comfort-zone right from the start! Let’s go 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 first and now play 3.h4!?



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