Larry Evans – who died Nov. 15 in Reno, Nev., at the age of 76 – is known to many through his
books and chess columns.
But he was also a dominant player who won five U.S. championships. His performances in chess
Olympiads and other international forums were also notable.
Evans was a self-taught product of a time when there were few chess teachers and virtually no
He gained the U.S. title for the first time at age 19, exhibiting a tenacious, material-grabbing
bias. That reflected the opportunistic style of New York chess parlors, where games once were
played by amateurs and hustlers for as little as 10 cents a contest. Winning was everything.
Evans’ sophistication and charm in most circumstances belied his scrappy, mean-streets
psychology at the chessboard.
Evans’ paean to the game – written almost 40 years ago and republished recently in the
Mechanics’ Institute chess newsletter – is without parallel.
“Chess is a way of life. It slays boredom and exhilarates the spirit,” Evans wrote. “You’re
always thinking, always in present time. You know you’re alive. You are always being challenged and
threatened. There is no social purpose – only the joy of trying to create a pocket of beauty in a
It allows checkmate.
Solution to Beginner’s corner:
If 1. g5, 2. Qg6 mate.
How the masters play
Below is a win by Magnus Carlsen against Veselin Topalov from the Pearl Spring tournament in