THE BRITISH CHESS MAGAZINE
No. 1 Vol. LXXVI (January 1956)
His many friends in Europe, and particularly in this country, will grieve to learn of the unexpected and premature death of the U.S.A. master Herman Steiner, at the age of fifty. He came home from a round of the California State Championship in Los Angeles, complained of pains in his chest, went to bed early, and died of a heart attack on November 25th.
Thus the liveliest and most enthusiastic chess spirit has passed from the American chess scene.
Born on April 15th, 1905, at Dunaiskoi Stredi (which was then Hungary and later became Czechoslovakia), he went as a boy of sixteen to New York and eventually settled at Los Angeles in 1932. There he formed and ran a chess club that attracted many celebrated visitors from the nearby film world, notably Humphrey Bogart and Jose Ferrer. Indeed, I well remember Ferrer, that most intelligent of actors, remarking to me only a few months ago, what a genius of a chess-teacher Herman Steiner was.
As a chess-player Steiner had a successful but up-and-down career. For his outstanding combinative gifts and adventurous temperament always biased him in favor of the risky line so that he could follow up one fine tournament result with a correspondingly poor score in the next.
In the United States his chief tournament successes were equal fourth at New York, 1931; equal first with Yanofsky in the 1943 Open Championship; first in the 1946 Open Championship; and U.S.A. Champion in 1948.
In international events his best performance was his first place at London, 1946, ahead of Dr. Tartakower, Dr. Bernstein, Opocensky, myself, and others. He was also first at Wiesbaden, 1928, and Berlin, 1931. Other good results were: second at Gyor, 1930; second at Brno, 1931; and equal third with Dr. Euwe at Hastings, 1946.
He represented the U.S.A. with considerable success at three International Team Tournament; at Hamburg, 1930, where he scored 8 out of 15; Prague, 1931 (8.5 out of 12); and Dubrovnik, 1950 (3.5 out of 7). He also scored 1.5 out of 2 against Bondarevsky in a radio match v. the U.S.S.R. in 1945.
Our deepest sympathies go towards his widow and son on their premature loss. Indeed, it still seems hardly possible and I myself will miss more than I can express his warm and friendly presence at international events. - H. Golombek.
Return to Index