Chess Legends Inducted into the US and World Chess Halls of Fame in Saint Louis Print
Tuesday, 26 March 2019 15:30
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Annual ceremony for the induction to the World Chess Hall of Fame took place in St. Louis, USA in conjunction with the Opening ceremony of the 2019 U.S. Championship and U.S. Women's Championship.

This year FIDE's inductees are:

Grandmasters Akiba (Akiva) Rubinstein (1890 -1961), Mark Taimanov (1926 - 2016), and Xie Jun (1970 - ).

FIDE Vice President Michael Khodarkovsky conducted the induction on behalf of the FIDE Presidential Board. 

Grandmaster Maurice Ashley and Woman Grandmaster Jennifer Shahade followed the induction with remarks on the achievements of each of the inductees.

01Mark Taimanov’s World Chess Hall of Fame Induction, Michael Khodarkovsky Speaking
March 18, 2019
Photo by Crystal Fuller
Courtesy of the World Chess Hall of Fame

Mark Taimanov was ranked among the top 20 players in the world for over a quarter of a century and is one of the few players to have defeated six world chess champions (Botvinnik, Smyslov, Tal, Petrosian, Spassky, and Karpov). He played in 23 Soviet Chess Championships, a record equaled only by Efim Geller, tying for first in 1952 and 1956. Twice a candidate for the World Chess Championship (1953 and 1971), Taimanov was also a member of the gold medal-winning 1956 Soviet Olympiad team. A prolific and well-respected writer on the game, he was an excellent theoretician best known for the variation of the Sicilian which bears his name (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6).

02Akiba Rubinstein’s World Chess Hall of Fame Induction, Maurice Ashley Speaking
March 18, 2019
Photo by Austin Fuller
Courtesy of the World Chess Hall of Fame

Akiba (or Akiva) Rubinstein, along with Paul Keres and Viktor Korchnoi, is considered one of the strongest players never to become world champion, despite learning the game at the late age of 16. Born in what is today eastern Poland, he was one of the four strongest players in the world from 1907 to 1922, and for a short time in 1912, might have been number one. That year Rubinstein won four major events (San Sebastian, Vilnius, Breslau, and Piestany) and a match for the World Chess Championship with Emanuel Lasker seemed inevitable, but fate and World War I decided otherwise. Rubinstein is still remembered today for his contributions to opening theory and rook and pawn endgames.

03Xie Jun’s World Chess Hall of Fame Induction, Michael Khodarkovsky Speaking
March 18, 2019
Photo by Crystal Fuller
Courtesy of the World Chess Hall of Fame

A trailblazer and national hero in China, Xie Jun was the first player from Asia to become women’s world chess champion (1991-1996 and 1999-2001), ending a 41-year Soviet stranglehold on the title. As a four-time women’s world chess champion, she is the very first player to win the individual title under both the classical system and the knock-out system. Xie Jun represented China in eight Women’s Chess Olympiads, winning seven team medals (three gold, one silver, and three bronze) and five individual medals (two silver and three bronze). She is the author of Chess Champion from China: The Life and Games of Xie Jun(1998), one of the first game collections on a female player.

“The 2019 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 Chief Operating Officer Willy Iclicki.

This year, the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame committee and the U.S. Chess Trust have selected Max Judd, Saint Louis resident, immigrant and top player at the turn of the 20th century; William Lombardy, Chess Olympiad gold medalist who was an instrumental collaborator in bringing four world championship titles to the United States; and Susan Polgar, Olympiad gold medalist, former women’s world chess champion and Webster University collegiate chess coach, for induction into the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame.

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.


04Michael Khodarkovsky, Vice President, FIDE Presidential Board
March 18, 2019
Photo by Lennart Oates
Courtesy of the World Chess Hall of Fame

05
World Chess Hall of Fame GM Maurice Ashley (Left) and Michael Khodarkovsky, Vice President, FIDE Presidential Board (Right)
March 18, 2019
Photo by Crystal Fuller
Courtesy of the World Chess Hall of Fame

06
Jennifer Shahade, WGM
March 18, 2019
Photo by Lennart Ootes
Courtesy of the World Chess Hall of Fame

07
Akiba Rubinstein, Mark Taimanov, and Xie Jun’s World Chess Hall of Fame Plaques
March 18, 2019
Photo by Austin Fuller
Courtesy of the World Chess Hall of Fame


















 
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