“It has been said that chess, like love and music, has the power to make men happy and unhappy.”

So wrote Larry Evans, who parlayed his record as one of AmericaÂ’s best professional chess players into a career as a writer whose syndicated chess column ran for more than two decades and reached millions of readers.

Evans, who wrote for insiders as well as for those whose passion for the game had yet to be discovered, died Nov. 15 of complications from gallbladder surgery at a hospital in Reno, Nev. He was 78.

A sparring partner of the American chess phenomenon Bobby Fischer, Evans was also a prodigy. He announced himself as a new chess talent when he was 15, winning the prestigious Marshall Chess Club championship in New York. Four years later, in 1951, he won the U.S. Chess Championship.

Evans became an international grandmaster in 1957 and to win four more U.S. Chess Championships, the last in 1980. In mid-life, however, he decided to build a career on writing about chess.

“He did what was practical,” said international master Anthony Saidy, who knew and played against Evans. “The trouble in this country, as compared with the Soviet Union, was there was no financial security for chess players. Even the very best could not make a living playing the game.”