Irving Chernev


U.S. Chess

Hall of Fame

Inducted 2007







Irving Chernev is best remembered as one of the greatest chess writers of all time. Born in Pryluky, Ukraine, at the dawn of the 20th century, he and his family immigrated to the United States in 1920. His father taught him chess at the age of 12, and a lifelong love affair with the game followed.  He would eventually reach National Master status and compete in the 1942 and 1944 U.S. Championships. However, his true passion lay in teaching chess through the written word. His 20 books, published between 1933 and 1989, were responsible for attracting many Americans to the game.  An Invitation to Chess, co-authored with Kenneth Harkness, sold more than 100,000 copies. Even more popular was Logical Chess: Move by Move, which analyzes 33 famous games from 1889-1952 and is still used to explain master thought to aspiring players.

His deep love for the game was obvious and infectious, and this passion shines in his writing, which attracts generation after generation of readers. He passed away at his home in San Francisco in 1981, but his words and wisdom live on in his writing. Along with Fred Reinfeld and Al Horowitz, also honored in the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame, he completes the triumvirate of America’s most influential chess writers.

Notable Games

Photographer unknown
Irving Chernev in the September 1979 issue of Chess Life
Collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame, gift of John Donaldson
Photographer unknown
Irving Chernev at the 1942 U.S. Chess Championship
Collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame, gift of John Donaldson