United States – Inducted 1990
An International correspondence chess grandmaster and an International master of over-the-board chess, Hans Berliner was born in Germany but came to Washington, D.C. as a child fleeing Nazi persecution. After learning chess at age 13 and becoming a master in 1949, he went on to win a number of regional tournaments throughout the eastern United States. He participated in the 1952 Helsinki Olympiad and was a four-time participant at the U.S. Championships, though he is perhaps best known for his skill in correspondence chess. Berliner won the 5th World Correspondence Chess Championship in 1965 with a score of 12/14. At that tournament, he defeated Yakov Estrin using the Two Knights Defense in what remains one of the most famous and influential correspondence chess games in history.
Berliner also boasts an impressive academic resume. In 1974, he received a Ph.D. in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh. As professor emeritus at CMU, his research on computer chess has attracted worldwide attention. In 1988, his Hitech computer program was the first to attain a master-level standard of performance, earning numerous honors and awards in the process. Dr. Berliner makes his home in Florida and continues to develop chess computer programs in his spare time.