The Fabulous 1990s – Photos

Some photos from the fabulous 1990s. You can click on the thumbnails to see enlargements.

At the very beginning of the decade, In late December 1989 (I have to move this photo!) I found myself in Brugges, Belgium tangling with fellow American Ben Finegold in the last round a late round of a FIDE round-robin (see Comments – thanks to Ben for the corrections).


Ben, on the left, is emulating David Bronstein who was famous for tanking before move 1. I seem to be fumbling with a scoresheet in my lap. Note the cute little USA flags the Belgians gave us. This game happened to end in a relatively quick draw due to some trickery I perpetrated in a Modern Defense. The tournament concluded MG 1st, 6.5/9, BF 2nd, 6/9. BF won his last game vs Danish IM Ole Jakobsen. I coasted to victory after some lucky wins, for example versus future GM Michele Godena (ITA). I will post that game score when I find it.

In 1991, I played in a round robin tournament in Trinidad (a small island near Venezuela) with Ilya Gurevich, John Fedorowicz, and a flock of four Cubans such as IM Armas, IM Sariego, and two others (will recover the crosstable and post), Barbadian FM Kevin Denny, Jamaicans, what have you.


That’s Ilya Gurevich on the left doing some kung-fu on the Trinidadian pier with the author. Venezuela is barely visible on the horizon. GM Fedorowicz wound up winning the event and inflicted my only defeat.

Jumping ahead to later in 1991, we have future GM Alex Sherzer studying a Chess Chow magazine. Chess Chow, (GM Joel Benjamin, Chief Editor; I was the Technical Editor) was an enjoyable project that lasted from 1991-4.


One more from May 1991: John Fedorowicz (left) expresses his appreciation for Ilya Gurevich’s enterprising chess style. Location and photographer unknown.


Going ahead a few more years, here’s an action photo just before the start of the Dos Hermanas 1993 round. GM Leonid Yudasin puts on an aggressive “game face” to prepare for strong GM Alexander Khalifman.


It worked, the Krazy Eye Killah expression helped Yudasin win the 80 move long titanic game! If you were wondering, in other action from that round, Magem lost to J Polgar in 45 moves in a classical Scheveningen and Izeta drew Adams in 45 moves in a King’s Indian Defense.

Time for the current World Champion. Here’s future-WC GM Vladimir Kramnik in a light-hearted celebratory mood, early 1990s, I believe New York City PCA.


Here is a picture from 1994, the US Amateur Team in Parsippany, NJ.


That’s my team in action. According to this history web page, our team was the “Jimi Hendrix Exp” (actually we were the Jimi Kendrex Experience, note the rip-roaring pun, ha ha ha).

We have first board on the left, playing the white pieces, GM Ilya Gurevich. I don’t know the name of Ilya’s opponent, maybe a reader can help me out here. Next we have board 2, the late, great, bearded IM Victor Frias. Next to Victor there I sit on board 3, and on board 4 we have one of the Kendrex (either Chris or Steven, somebody help me out here). I believe Sophia Rohde helped us locate this miracle set of lowly-rated brothers. As so often happens, in some round one of them “woke up” and scored a match-clinching point!

Our top heavy team: The Last of the Mohicans

After we won this event, a special motion was passed to ban all top-heavy teams (teams with 3 titled players and one 1000-player). These team types were deemed rather anti-competitive. Oh well.

The Sordid Tale of our Forfeit in the USATE playoff

In the inter-regional playoff that ensued, Frias was over an hour late to the match that took place at the Marshall CC. Despite John MacArthur’s best efforts to delay the frenzied efforts of the huge underdog lowly-rated Southern team paired against us to start the match, eventually the clocks did have to start. In bursts Frias and in a whirlwind, he bashes out a bunch of moves (note: he never explained why he was 75 minutes late). After about 10 moves, the Southern team claims a retroactive forfeit back to the point the game started! General chaos erupts, and we “choose” to discontinue the match on all four boards, earning an official reprimand from the USCF! Yes!

Let’s move ahead to some vague year in the 1990s and voila, GM Patrick Wolff pondering his opponent’s incredibly lame opening moves.


Nice T-shirt! It turns out this is Needham 1992 also; and the passive player with White was NM Larry Tapper who wound up making a draw in this game. Reader power!

Let’s move ahead 2 or 3 years. Here is Elizabeth Vicary (in the back) and her sister Rachel on a sofa at Opaline, a bar in the East Village. The photographer: Yours Truly. The Year: Approx 1996 or 1997.


Now we have a classic scene from a New England tournament, Needham 1992 (thank you, Granny, for the correction). I think it’s circa 1996 or 1997. In the foreground (left) we have GM Joel Benjamin vs GM Alex Yermolinsky. I believe Alex won that game. To Joel’s left we have IM Igor Foygel (I think) playing the inimitable, the one and only, Mr Donkey also known as FM Charlie Hertan! Mr. Donkey is a hallowed name in chess that will be mentioned repeatedly in these historical passages. The other players in this photograph are unknown to me. and I will need readers’ help to pin down the date, the location, and their names.


Jumping ahead to the end of the decade, here is the author with a verboten Cuban cigar during New Year’s Eve 1999 at Schroder’s German Restaurant in downtown San Francisco, California. This tie is one of my favorites, featuring little goblins and other oddities based on an


Escher woodcut.

As far as I know Schroders is still there. Photo by Paige Stockley.

If you liked these, try the 1980s photos or leap ahead to the 2000s photos.


8 Responses to “The Fabulous 1990s – Photos”

  1. The Fabulous 70s - Photos « Dr. Mark Ginsburg on Chess Says:

    […] Dr. Mark Ginsburg on Chess Chess History, Opening Theory, and Anecdotes « The Fabulous 1990s – Photos […]

  2. Elizabeth Vicary Says:

    truly awesome. i want to grow up to be like you, mark

  3. Ben Finegold Says:

    Hi Mark,

    Great site!

    The pic of us playing was not the last round. I won the last round versus Ole Jakobsen. I scored 3 wins and 6 draws, and you scored 4 wins and 5 draws.

    I love all the pics and games.

    Ben Finegold

  4. Ben Finegold Says:

    I forgot to mention…. the pic of us playing was Dec 1989, so not technically a 1990s photo! 🙂

    Ben Finegold

  5. Granny O'Doul Says:

    The Benjamin-Yermo photo is probably from Needham, Mass, 1992 or 3 (check the relevant Chess Chow for exactitude). The 1980’s Manhattan CC coke machine is from the E 55th street location.

  6. Tim Says:

    Great site dude.

    Looking at the scoresheet and old crosstables – I believe the Wolff picture is from the 1992 Eastern Class Championship (Needham, MA) back in March 1992.

    This is a last round game against NM Larry Tapper. 1/2-1/2

  7. Sweet Validation « IM Mark Ginsburg Presents A Personal Chess History Says:

    […] Jeremy Barth, Jon Jacobs, Bruce Leverett, Lonnie Kwartler, John Fedorowicz, Barry Popik, Joe Lux, Ben Finegold, Elizabeth Vicary, Gregory Kaidanov, and a few anonymous New […]

  8. Hanna Moishezon Says:

    Was very surprised to find myself on the internet, Thank you Mark Ginsburg

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