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Robert Hess - chess player

Robert Hess (foreground, right) in 2009
Full name Robert Lee Hess
Country United States
Born December 19, 1991
Title Grandmaster
Peak rating 2635 (March 2012)

Robert Lee Hess (born December 19, 1991) is an American chess Grandmaster. In May 2012, his FIDE rating was 2635, fifth in the United States (first among American-born players).


Hess achieved his final norm for the International Master title at the 2007 Cannes Open, and was later awarded the title by FIDE.


Hess achieved his first grandmaster norm at the 2008 Foxwoods Open, held on April 19 through April 23 at the Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Connecticut. He scored 7-2, tying for first with grandmasters Alexander Shabalov, Yury Shulman, Julio Becerra, and Alexander Ivanov. Hess won his first two games against masters, then played seven grandmasters, scoring four wins, two draws, and one loss. His performance rating for the tournament was approximately 2770 USCF. Chess journalist Jerry Hanken called Hess's achievement "one of the greatest performances by an American teenager since the heyday of Bobby Fischer!"

In April 2009, he secured his third and final grandmaster norm in the Foxwoods Open, soon after winning the SPICE Spring Grandmaster Invitational (where he made his second GM norm) and the K-12 SuperNationals tournaments.


In the 2009 US Chess Championship in May, Hess tied for second with Alexander Onischuk, with a score of +5 −1 =3, losing only to eventual winner Hikaru Nakamura. He was on the silver-medal US team at the 2009 World Team Championships in Bursa, Turkey. Hess was awarded the 2010 Samford Fellowship "based on his chess talent, work ethic, dedication and accomplishments". He is also a member of the 2010 US Olympiad Team. In December 2011 he tied for first-second with Alexander Kovchan in the Groningen Chess Festival.

Hess is a graduate of Stuyvesant High School in New York and now attends Yale University after deferring a year to play chess. In the 2007-08 school year, he was a sophomore and the co-captain of Stuyvesant's junior varsity football team, on which he was a starting linebacker. He is currently the Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of The Sports Quotient.

Notable games

Robert Hess-Alexander Ivanov, 2008 Foxwoods Open:
1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 c6 4. h4 d5 5. e5 f6 6. f4 h5 7. Bd3 Kf7 8. Qe2 Nh6 9. Be3 Bg4 10. Nf3 Nf5 11. Qf2 Nd7 12. Bd2 Bxf3 13. gxf3 Qb6 14. Na4 Qc7 15. Rg1 e6 16. 0-0-0 Rag8 17. Rg2 Bf8 18. Rdg1 Be7 19. Nc3 Qd8 20. Ne4 dxe4 21. fxe4 Nh6 22. f5 Ng4 23. fxe6+ Kg7 24. Rxg4 hxg4 25. Rxg4 Nf8 26. exf6+ Bxf6 27. e5 Rh5 28. exf6+ Qxf6 29. Rf4 Qxe6 30. d5 Qxd5 31. Rf7+ 1-0