Robert Hess (chess player)

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Robert Hess
Robert hess commentary.jpg
Robert Hess commentating the 2019 U.S. Junior Championships
Full nameRobert Lee Hess
CountryUnited States
Born (1991-12-19) December 19, 1991 (age 29)
TitleGrandmaster (2009)
FIDE rating2591 (February 2021)
Peak rating2635 (March 2012)

Robert Lee Hess (born December 19, 1991) is an American chess Grandmaster. In May 2012, his FIDE rating was 2635, fifth in the United States.[1]


Hess achieved his final norm for the International Master title at the 2007 Cannes Open,[2] and was later awarded the title IM by FIDE.[1]

Hess achieved his first grandmaster norm at the 2008 Foxwoods Open, held on April 19 through April 23 at the Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Connecticut.[3] He scored 7–2, tying for first with grandmasters Alexander Shabalov, Yury Shulman, Julio Becerra, and Alexander Ivanov.[4] Hess won his first two games against masters, then played seven grandmasters, scoring four wins, two draws, and one loss.[5][6] His performance rating for the tournament was approximately 2770 USCF.[7] Chess journalist Jerry Hanken called Hess's achievement "one of the greatest performances by an American teenager since the heyday of Bobby Fischer!"[5]

In April 2009, he secured his third and final grandmaster norm in the Foxwoods Open, soon after winning the SPICE Spring Grandmaster Invitational (where he made his second GM norm) and the K-12 SuperNationals tournaments.[8][9][10]

In the 2009 US Chess Championship in May, Hess tied for second with Alexander Onischuk, with a score of +5 −1 =3, losing only to eventual winner Hikaru Nakamura.[11] He was on the silver-medal US team at the 2009 World Team Championships in Bursa, Turkey.[12] Hess was awarded the 2010 Samford Fellowship "based on his chess talent, work ethic, dedication and accomplishments".[13] He was also a member of the 2010 US Olympiad Team.[14] In December 2011 he tied for first–second with Alexander Kovchan in the Groningen Chess Festival.[15]

Hess is a graduate of Stuyvesant High School in New York[16] and attended Yale University[13] after deferring a year to play chess. He also attended the Browning School, a private all-boys preparatory school in Manhattan. In the 2007–08 school year, he was a sophomore and the co-captain of Stuyvesant's junior varsity football team, on which he was a starting linebacker.[17] He is the co-founder and chief operating officer of The Sports Quotient.

Notable games[edit]

Hess vs. Alexander Ivanov, 2008 Foxwoods Open
1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 c6 4.h4 d5 5.e5 f6 6.f4 h5 7.Bd3 Kf7 8.Qe2 Nh6 9.Be3 Bg4 10.Nf3 Nf5 11.Qf2 Nd7 12.Bd2 Bxf3 13.gxf3 Qb6 14.Na4 Qc7 15.Rg1 e6 16.0-0-0 Rag8 17.Rg2 Bf8 18.Rdg1 Be7 19.Nc3 Qd8 20.Ne4 dxe4 21.fxe4 Nh6 22.f5 Ng4 23.fxe6+ Kg7 24.Rxg4 hxg4 25.Rxg4 Nf8 26.exf6+ Bxf6 27.e5 Rh5 28.exf6+ Qxf6 29.Rf4 Qxe6 30.d5 Qxd5 31.Rf7+ 1–0[18]


  1. ^ a b FIDE rating card for Robert L. Hess
  2. ^ Jerry Hanken, "Shulman Wins, But Hess Wows", Chess Life, June 2008, at pp. 16, 20.
  3. ^ Hanken, pp. 22, 23.
  4. ^ Hanken, p. 23. Shulman (who handed Hess his only loss) and Ivanov (whom Hess defeated) had the best tiebreaks. Shulman was declared the Foxwoods Open Champion after winning an Armageddon playoff game against Ivanov. Id., pp. 17–18.
  5. ^ a b Hanken, p. 21.
  6. ^ Hess's results at 2008 Foxwoods Open
  7. ^ Hanken, p. 20. FIDE and the USCF maintain separate rating systems. Although both use the Elo rating system, a player's rating may be higher under one system than the other. Many players are rated by the USCF, but not by FIDE, or vice versa.
  8. ^ "Sadvakasov Sneaks Past Shulman" ( CCA Chess Tournaments (April 13, 2009).
  9. ^ "Foxwoods Open" ( CCA Chess Tournaments. Retrieved April 16, 2009.
  10. ^ McClain, Dylan Loeb (March 29, 2009). "New York Teenager Stakes His Place Among the Elite" ( New York Times
  11. ^ 2009 US championship crosstable
  12. ^ "Silver for the Team and Two Individual Golds: World Team Closing Gallery", U.S. Chess Federation press release (January 14, 2010),
  13. ^ a b "GM Robert Hess is the 2010 Samford Fellow", U.S. Chess Federation press release (April 6, 2010),
  14. ^ "US Olympiad Teams Finalized", U.S. Chess Federation press release (August 20, 2010),
  15. ^ Crowther, Mark (2011-12-30). "The Week in Chess: Groningen Chess Festival 2011". Archived from the original on 2012-08-02. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  16. ^ Hanken, p. 20.
  17. ^ Hanken, pp. 20, 22.
  18. ^ "Robert Lee Hess vs. Alexander Vladimirovich Ivanov, Foxwoods Open (2008)".

External links[edit]