Joel Benjamin

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For the Broadway singer and dancer, see Joel Benjamin (singer).
Joel Benjamin
Country United States
Born (1964-03-11) March 11, 1964 (age 50)
Brooklyn, New York
Title Grandmaster
FIDE rating 2545 (December 2014)

Joel Benjamin (born March 11, 1964) is an American chess Grandmaster. In 1998, he was voted "Grandmaster of the Year" by the U.S. Chess Federation. As of October 2012, his Elo rating was 2530, making him the No. 37 player in the U.S. and the 620th-highest rated player in the world.

Life and career[edit]

Benjamin is a native of Brooklyn, New York City, and grew up in the Marine Park neighborhood, where he attended PS 207. He was in the class for "intellectually gifted children." He is now a New Jersey resident, married to Deborah, and they have 2 children, Aidan, born October 10, 2008, and Amy, born December 8, 2010.

He graduated from Yale University in 1985. At the age of 13, Benjamin broke Bobby Fischer's record by becoming the youngest-ever U.S. Master;[1] this record was broken by Stuart Rachels and is now held by Awonder Liang. As a junior player he won the National Elementary title in 1976, the National Junior High crown in 1978, and the National High School title 1980–81.

Other successes included the U.S. Junior Championship in 1980. In the same year he earned the International Master title.[2] He won the U.S. Junior Championship again in 1982, and the U.S. Open Chess Championship in 1985. He earned the Grandmaster title a year later.[2] Benjamin was the U.S. Chess Champion in 1987 (sharing the title with Nick De Firmian), in 1997, and in 2000.[2] He won the Saint John Open I in 1988, and the 2000 Canadian Open Chess Championship. In 1999, he placed first at the QVB Chess Festival in Sydney.[3] He was inducted into the World Chess Hall of Fame in Miami on May 2, 2008. He is the youngest inductee.

He is known for playing offbeat openings such as the Black Knights' Tango, and for converting very small advantages into a win.[1]

He co-authored Unorthodox Openings along with Eric Schiller, for Batsford publishers in 1987, is a frequent contributor to Chess Life magazine and other chess periodicals, and is a regular commentator on the Internet Chess Club, usually presenting its Game of the Week webcast. He was also the editor-in-chief and founder of the now defunct magazine Chess Chow from 1991–94.[1] His latest book is American Grandmaster: Four Decades of Chess Adventures. He is also a frequent contributor to Chess Life Online articles on the USCF website.[1]

Benjamin was hired as the official Grandmaster consultant by IBM to help with the Deep Blue chess computer that defeated World Champion Garry Kasparov in 1997.[1]

Benjamin appeared in the movies Searching for Bobby Fischer and Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine.[1]

Notable games[edit]

Benjamin beat Grandmaster Eduard Gufeld in the U.S. Open, Hawaii 1998:
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 a6 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 Nc6 7.Qd2 e6 8.Be2 Be7 9.0-0 0-0 10.b3 Qa5 11.Bb2 Rd8 12.Rfd1 b5 13.cxb5 axb5 14.a3 Bb7 15.b4 Qb6 16.Qe1 Ba6 17.Qf1 Rab8 18.Rac1 d5 19.exd5 exd5 20.Na4 bxa4 21.Bxa6 Ne4 22.Bd3 Bd6 23.Rc2 Bf4 24.g3 Bh6 25.Re2 f5 26.Qh3 Rf8 27.Bb1 Rbe8 28.Ba2 Ne7 29.Ne5 Qb5 30.Rxe4 fxe4 31.Qe6+ Kh8 32.Qxh6 Nf5 33.Ng6+ Kg8 34.Rxd5 1–0[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "USCF bio of Joel Benjamin". Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c "Chessgames.com player page for Joel Benjamin". Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  3. ^ Crowther, Mark (1999-02-08). "TWIC 222: QVB Chess Festival". London Chess Center. Retrieved 1 January 2010. 
  4. ^ Benjamin-Gufeld

External links[edit]

Achievements
Preceded by
Yasser Seirawan
United States Chess Champion
1987 (with Nick de Firmian)
Succeeded by
Michael Wilder
Preceded by
Alex Yermolinsky
United States Chess Champion
1997
Succeeded by
Nick de Firmian
Preceded by
Boris Gulko
United States Chess Champion
2000–2001 (with Alexander Shabalov and Yasser Seirawan)
Succeeded by
Larry Christiansen
Preceded by
Bobby Fischer
Youngest ever United States chessmaster
1977–1981
Succeeded by
Stuart Rachels