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Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Weaver Adams

Weaver Warren Adams was born in Dedham, Massachusetts on April 28, 1901. His parents were Frank H. Adams (salesman for Bellantine Breweries and Ceresota Flour) and Ethel Weaver Adams. His mother’s side has been traced back to the founding fathers of America (Henry Adams, who landed in Braintree in 1644).

Weaver Adams started playing chess around 1913 at the age of 12. He was taught by an older brother of a friend next door.

From 1919 through 1923, Weaver Adams attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology to be an engineer, but later dropped out to play chess. He was the top player on the MIT chess team. He played on board 1 for MIT when MIT won the intercollegiate championship in 1919.

Weaver Adams inherited a chicken farm and raised chickens (source: Chess Life, May 1954, p. 132). He was a beer salesman for a Massachusetts brewery. He was a professed gay chess master.

According to Arnold Denker, “Adams wrote a book, White to Play and Win, lived in a white house on White Street, chewed antacid pills that left the inside of his mouth perpetually white, and raised only white chickens that laid white eggs. Predictably, Adams’ business was soon no more than a shell.” Harry Golombek wrote in 1977 that Adams, whom he described as “author of White to Play and Win and a sodium bicarbonate addict”, was on Golombek’s “reserves” list for “the ten most interesting personages” from the past 100 years.

In 1922, Adams won the Boston Chess Club championship.

In 1924, Adams played a match with Harold Morton, who had won the championship of the Providence, Rhode Island Chess Club. The match was for the championship of New England. Weaver Adams won the match and the New England Championship, which he held from 1924 until 1929.

Weaver Adams, who lived in Boston, was one of the leading American masters during the 1930s and 1940s.

In 1931, he took 10th place in the 53rd New York State Chess championship, held in Rome, New York. The event was won by Fred Reinfeld.

In 1936, Adams was Boston City champion.

In 1936, Adams played in the first U.S. Championship tournament (not match), due to the retirement of U.S. champion Frank Marshall (1877-1944). The tournament was won by Samuel Reshevsky. Adams tied for last place (15th-16th place) with Harold Morton.

In 1937, he won the Massachusetts State Championship. He also won it in 1938, 1941, and 1945.

In 1939, Weaver Adams wrote White to Play and Win, published by McKay. In his book, he advocated 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4, the Bishop’s Opening. He later gave up on the Bishop’s Opening and advocated 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3, the Vienna opening.

In August 1940, he played in the U.S. Open Chess Championship, held in Dallas. Even though he advocated that White should win in his book, in the finals, he did not win a single game as White (3 losses and 1 draw), but won all 4 of his games as Black.

In July 1941, Adams played in the 42nd U.S. Open in St. Louis and took 3rd place, behind Reuben Fine, who won the event, and Herman Steiner. Adams lost to Fine but beat Steiner. Adams lost to former Canadian champion Boris Blumin and Fred Anderson to finish 3rd with a 6-3 score.

In 1944, Adams tied for 8th-9th place in the 5th US championship, held in New York. Denker won the event.

In 1944, he won a master tournament in Ventnor City, New Jersey.

In July-August 1945, Adams played in the Hollywood Pan-American Tournament in Los Angeles. He was called in as a last minute replacement when Edward Lasker (1885-1981) and Albert Pinkus (1903-1984) were unable to play. Adams showed up three days late due to transportation problems. Adams tied for 7th-8th place. The event was won by Reshevsky.

In July 1946, he took 4th-5th in the Premier Reserves of the U.S. Open, held in Pittsburgh.

In 1946, he wrote Simple Chess and How to Play Chess. He advertised that the game of chess was solved and tried to show over a hundred winning variations for White against all standard Black defenses.

In July 1948, Weaver Adams won the 49th U.S. Open Chess Championship, held in Baltimore, Maryland. He received $500 for 1st prize. There were 74 players in the event. He then appeared on the August 1948 issue of Chess Review magazine, which dubbed him the “apostle of aggression.”

In 1950, the United States Chess Federation published their first rating list. Weaver Adams was rated 2383.

In 1950-51, he took 9th place at the 26th Hastings Chess Congress. The event was won by Wolfgang Unzicker. Adams won two, drew one, and lost six games.

In August 1951, he took took 4th place in the Preliminary A round of the 8th US championship and did not qualify for the final round. The event was won by Larry Evans.

In 1951, his rating was 2390 (ranked number 15 in the USA).

In 1951, he took 1st place at a Log Cabin tournament in West Orange, New Jersey.

In 1959, he wrote Absolute Chess.

In the 1950s, Weaver Adams was a member of the Log Cabin Chess Club in West Orange, New Jersey.

Weaver Adams died on January 6, 1963 in Cedar Grove, New Jersey, age 61.

Adams authored:
White to Play and Win (1939)
Simple Chess (1946)
How to Play Chess (1959)
Absolute Chess (1959)

Weaver Adams played top board in the Boston Metropolitan chess league from 1919 to 1936 without losing a game.

Adams won the New England Open five times in a row (1925 through 1929).

He won the New England Championship four times.

Weaver Adams won the Massachusetts State Championship four times (1937, 1938, 1941 and 1945)

Weaver Adams played in the U.S. championship five times (1936, 1940, 1944, 1946 and 1948).

Weaver Adams is credited with the Adams Gambit in the Vienna Opening, 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Nxe4 4.Qh5 Nd6 5.Bb3 Nc6 6.d4. The idea was to sacrifice another pawn for open lines and quick development.

He is also credited with the Adams Attack in the Sicilian, Najdorf variation, 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.h3, which was played several time in the 2015 Tata Steel, Group A, tournament.

Weaver Adams – George Kramer, Pittsburgh (US Open) 1946
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Bd3 Bxd3 5.Qxd3 e6 6.Ne2 c5 7.c3 Ne7 8.Qb5+ Qd7 9.Qxc5?? (9. Qd3) 9…Nf5 0-1

Weaver Adams – NN, Des Moines 1950
1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.c4 Nb6 5.f4 dxe5 6.fxe5 g6 7.Be3 Bg7 8.Nc3 c5 9.d5 Qc7 10.d6 exd6 11.Nb5 Qe7? (11…Qc6) 12.Nxd6+ Kf8 13.Nxc8 Nxc8 14.Bxc5 1-0

Weaver Adams – Harry Lyman, Boston 1940
1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 Bc5 4.Nc3 c6 5.f4 exf4 6.Qf3 d5 7.exd5 Bg4 8.Qxf4 O-O 9.dxc6 Re8+ 10.Kf1 Nxc6 11.Bd2? (11.h3) 11…Re5 12.Nf3 Rf5 13.Qg3 Nd4 14.Bf4 Bxf3 15.gxf3 Nh5 0-1

Weinstock – W. Adams, New York 1944
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.d4 exd4 5.Nxd4 Bb4 6.Bg5 h6 7.Bh4 d6 8.e3 Qe7 9.Be2 g5 10.Nxc6 bxc6 11.Bg3 Ne4 12.Qd4 O-O 13.O-O Nxc3 14.bxc3 Bc5 15.Qd3 f5 16.Rae1 Kh8 17.Bd1 Ba6 18.Bb3 Rae8 19.Kh1? (19.Qxf5) 19…f4 (20.exf4 Qxe1) 0-1

W. Adams – Santasiere, Baltimore (49th US Open) 1948
1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bc4 c6 4.d4 Bb4 5.dxe5 Nxe4 6.Qd4 d5 7.exd6 O-O 8.Bf4 Re8 9.Ne2 Bc5 10.Bxf7+ Kf8 11.Qc4 b5 12.Qb3 Bxf2+ 13.Kf1 Nc5 14.Qa3 Nba6 15.b4 Kxf7 16.Kxf2 Ne4+ 17.Nxe4 Rxe4 18.Qf3 Qe8 19.Be5 1-0

– Bill Wall


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