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Walter Browne

Walter Browne

  • Born:
    Jan 10, 1949 Sydney, Australia
  • Died:
    Jun 24, 2015 (Aged 66) Las Vegas, U.S.
  • FIDE Title:
    Grandmaster
  • FIDE ID:
    2000210
  • Federation:
    United States of America
  • Peak Rating:
    2590 (July 1982)
  • Rating:
    2433 (June 2015)
  • Rank:
    1525 (June 2015)

Grandmaster Walter S. Browne was a six-time U.S. Champion and a World Chess Hall of Famer. His many international successes include:

  • Venice, 1971 — 1st place, a point and a half ahead of a strong field including, Hort, Kavalek, and Gligoric
  • Skopje Olympiad, 1972 — scored 17½-4½, the most points of any player
  • Pan-American Champion, 1974
  • Reykjavik, 1978 — 1st place ahead of Larsen, Hort, Miles
  • Wijk aan Zee, 1980 — 1st place ahead of Korchnoi, Timman, Alburt
  • Næstved, Denmark, 1985 — 1st place ahead of Tal, Vaganian, Short, Hansen, Andersson, Nunn and Nikolic

A photo of Browne (center) has often adorned the entrance to the playing venue in Wijk aan Zee | photo: Macauley Peterson

Browne was born in Sydney, Australia to an American father and an Australian mother, giving him dual-citizenship, which he held until 1972 when he gave up his Australian citizenship. He grew up in New York, where his family moved in 1953, and learned to play chess at the age of seven.

Browne in 1974. Photo | Peters, Hans / Anefo (CC BY-SA 3.0 nl), via Wikimedia Commons.

He became the youngest National Master in the U.S. (at the time) just before his fifteenth birthday, and earned the GM title in 1969 by finishing in 2nd place at a strong GM tournament in San Juan, Puerto Rico, behind then-World Champion Boris Spassky.

In 2002, Browne won the National Open, in Las Vegas, for an unprecedented 11th time, and was known as the "king of Swisses" by virtue of winning many strong open tournaments in the USA multiple times, including the U.S. Open (3 times), the World Open (3 times), the North American Open (4 times) and the American Open (7 times).

In 1988 he formed the World Blitz Chess Association and published a quarterly magazine Blitz Chess until 2003.

Browne was a blitz chess aficionado and a time-trouble addict, regularly encountering severe time trouble in his tournament games.

He was also a professional poker player, and later in life earned a living as a poker professional in casinos. But chess was always his favourite.

Poker is appealing, but chess symbolizes everything that is artistic and beautiful.

Browne died suddenly on June 24th, 2015 at the age of 66, in Las Vegas, just days after participating in the 50th National Open.

December 2014, during a video interview for the World Chess Hall of Fame



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