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Israel Albert Horowitz

Born November 15, 1907
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Nationality Jewish-American
Other names Al Horowitz, I. A. Horowitz

Israel Albert Horowitz (often known as Al Horowitz or I. A. Horowitz) (November 15, 1907 in Brooklyn, New York - January 18, 1973) was a Jewish-American International Master of chess. He is most remembered today for the books he wrote about chess, many of which are still highly recommended for students of the game.

Chess career

Horowitz was the chess columnist for the New York Times, writing three columns a week for ten years. He was the owner and editor of Chess Review magazine from 1933 until it was bought out and taken over by the United States Chess Federation in 1969 and merged into Chess Life. Chess Review magazine was founded in 1933 as a partnership between Horowitz and Isaac Kashdan. However, Kashdan dropped out after just a few issues and Horowitz became sole owner. Before that, Horowitz had been a securities trader on Wall Street. He had been partners with other chess masters, Maurice Shapiro, Mickey Pauley, Albert Pinkus and Maurice Wertheim. Horowitz dropped out and devoted himself to chess, while the others stayed on Wall Street.

Horowitz was a leading player in the U.S. during the 1930s and 1940s. He was U.S. Open Champion in 1936, 1938, and 1943. In 1941, he lost a match (+0 =13 −3) with Samuel Reshevsky for the U.S. Chess Championship. He played on the U.S. Team in four Chess Olympiads, in 1931, 1935, 1937, and 1950; the first three of which were won by the U.S. In a famous USA vs. USSR radio chess match 1945, Horowitz scored one of the only two wins for the USA by defeating Grandmaster Salo Flohr. He split his "mini-match" of two games against Flohr and in the 1946 edition of same event split his mini-match against Isaac Boleslavsky.

Horowitz Defense

In his book Modern Ideas In The Chess Openings, Horowitz proposed a defense against the Danish Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 cxb2 5.Bxb2). Rather than play the usual 5...d5 as Black, Horowitz suggested keeping both pawns and playing 5...c6. This would be followed up with the moves d6, Nd7, Nc5, and Be6. Although this defense is not commonly played, it has not been refuted. I. A. Horowitz receives credit as the inventor of this defense, and it is called the Horowitz Defense by Grandmaster Nigel Davies in the Foxy Openings DVD entitled Dashing Danish.

Illustrative games

a b c d e f g h
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Position after 25...e4

Horowitz versus Flohr, from the USA vs. USSR radio chess match 1945:
1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Nxf6+ gxf6 6. Ne2 Bf5 7. Ng3 Bg6 8. h4 h6 9. h5 Bh7 10. c3 Qb6 11. Bc4 Nd7 12. a4 a5 13. Qf3 e6 14. 0-0 Bc2 15. Bf4 Bb3 16. Bd3 e5 17. Be3 Bd5 18. Be4 Qb3 19. dxe5 fxe5 20. Rad1 Bxe4 21. Qxe4 Qe6 22. Rd2 Nf6 23. Qf3 Rg8 24. Rfd1 Rg4 25. Nf5 e4 (see diagram)

Black appears to be winning material, since White's attacked queen has no move that continues to defend the knight on f5.

26. Bb6!

A powerful shot, leaving Black with no effective way to stop the threatened mate on d8, e.g. 26...Nd5 27.Qxg4; 26...Be7 27.Qxg4! Nxg4 28.Ng7+ Kf8 29.Nxe6+; or 26...Qc8 27.Nd6+ Bxd6 28.Qxf6 Be7 29.Qh8+ Bf8 30.Rd8+ Qxd8 31.Rxd8+ Rxd8 32.Bxd8 Kxd8 33.Qxf8+.

26... Rxg2+ 27. Qxg2 Qxf5 28. Rd8+ Rxd8 29. Rxd8+ Ke7 30. Qg3 Nd7 31. Bc7 Qd5 32. c4 Qg5 33. Qxg5+ hxg5 34. Ra8 Ke6 35. Bxa5 f5 36. Bc3 f4 37. a5 g4 38. b4 f3 39. Bd2 Kf7 40. Ra7 g3 41. Rxb7 1-0


Books by Horowitz: