Larry Evans, a five-time U.S. chess champion and prolific writer who helped Bobby Fischer win the world championship in 1972, died Monday in Reno, Nev. He was 78.
Evans, who lived in Reno, died of complications of gall bladder surgery, according to the website of the U.S. Chess Federation, the governing body for the game.
Though Evans was a grandmaster, he was best known for his writing; he had a syndicated chess column for decades and wrote more than 20 books, among them New Ideas in Chess, Modern Chess Brilliancies and The 10 Most Common Chess Mistakes.
Evans was an editor of the 10th edition of Modern Chess Openings, long a mainstay for tournament players. The book that Evans was probably most famous for was one on which he assisted: Fischer’s My 60 Memorable Games. He cajoled and exhorted Fischer to finish the book, edited and helped him with the prose and wrote introductions to all the games.
Larry Melvyn Evans was born March 22, 1932, in New York. Growing up, he hustled games for dimes on 42nd Street. He won the championship of the prestigious Marshall Chess Club on West 10th Street at 15 and was New York state champion by 18. In 1950, he played for the U.S. team in the biennial Chess Olympiad in Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia, and took an individual gold medal. He went on to play on seven more Olympiad teams, including the one that won the gold medal in Haifa, Israel, in 1976.
In 1951, at 19, he won his first U.S. championship. He defended the title a year later in a match against Herman Steiner. He won the title again in 1961, 1968 and 1980, when he tied for first with Walter Browne and Larry Christiansen. He also won four U.S. Open championships. The World Chess Federation awarded him the title of grandmaster in 1957.