Edmar Mednis


U.S. Chess

Hall of Fame

Inducted 2000







Born in Riga, Latvia, Edmar Mednis spent his early years as a World War II refugee, living in postwar displacement camps before immigrating to the U.S. with his family in 1950. Soon afterward, he joined the Marshall Chess Club and quickly earned an expert rating. He finished second to Spassky at the 1955 World Junior Championship, tied for third at the 1961-62 U.S. Championship, and was a member of the 1962 Olympiad team. However, the most notable achievement of his early career was defeating Bobby Fischer at the 1962-63 U.S. Championship. Despite these successes, Mednis was educated as a chemical engineer and later worked as a stock market investor before becoming a professional chess player, earning the grandmaster title in 1980.

A famous teacher and a respected author with a worldwide audience, he published more than 20 popular chess books, including many bestsellers. Fischer’s 1972 world title prompted Mednis to write How to Beat Bobby Fischer, a dissection of the champion’s losses. He followed its success with several volumes on endgame strategy during the late 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. In addition to books, he authored hundreds of articles as a columnist for Chess Life and, with Robert Byrne, annotated many games for Chess Informant.

Notable Games

Photographer unknown
Edmar Mednis
Date unknown
Collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame, gift of John Donaldson
Photographer unknown
Edmar Mednis with the 1970 Chess Olympiad Team
Collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame. Courtesy of US Chess