Stuart Rachels

Chess Knight

In 1981, I became the youngest chess master in U.S. history at 11 years and 10 months (this record was broken in 1994). I didn't have a lot of great results, but I was 1989-1990 U.S. Co-Champion.   I've played three World Champions, losing to two (Garry Kasparov and Boris Spassky) and drawing one (Viswanathan Anand). I drew a World Champion Challenger, Nigel Short, in the Interzonal in Manila in 1990. The best player I've ever beaten was Michael Adams, ranked about 10th in the world, but he looked pretty jetlagged or perhaps hungover at the time. I'm an IM (International Master) with the equivalent of two GM (Grandmaster) norms, but since I retired in 1993, I'll never get the third.

1979 Birmingham City Championship
Bob Brodie, Jack Gwin, Steve Hudson, Stuart Rachels (age 9), Michael Thornton, Kyle Therrell

That year I scored 2 out of 5; the next year I won.

1985 U.S. Open in Hollywood, Florida
Stuart Rachels (age 15) and Boris Spassky, former Chess Champion of the World

I idolized my opponent, so I lost quickly.

James Rachels and Stuart Rachels, circa. 1980

Download my essay about chess: "The Reviled Art" (pdf. format), from Philosophy Looks at Chess, edited by Benjamin Hale (Open Court Press, 2008).