Rank & File

(Volume VIII, #5 : September-October 1985)



Born in what was then Hungary, Herman Steiner moved to New York at an early age, and at 16 began his life-long love affair with chess. He had already begun to acquire an international reputation when he moved to southern California, following his participation in the great Pasadena international tournament of 1932.

Quickly assuming the post of Los Angeles Times chess columnist, which he held until his death, he showed himself a tireless promoter and organizer. He was largely responsible for the international tournaments in Hollywood in 1945, 1952 and 1954, and his chess club was frequented by many of the motion picture personalities of the day.

As a player, Steiner represented the U.S. in the Olympiads of 1928, 1930, 1931 and 1950. He won the U.S. Open in 1942 and the U.S. Championship in 1948. He dominated California chess for two decades, winning more tournaments than anyone can now remember, including the 1953 and 1954 California Championships.

Steiner died on November 25, 1955, between the fifth and sixth rounds of the California Championship. The tournament was cancelled - by unanimous consent - out of respect for his memory. His passing left a void in California chess, which took many years to fill.

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