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Walter Browne

by Bill Wall

Walter Shawn Browne was born on January 10, 1949 in Sydney, Australia to an American father (Walter
Francis Browne) and an Australian mother (Hilda).

In 1953, his family moved from Australia to London to Forest Hills, New York.

In 1957, at the age of 8, Walter Browne was taught chess by his father.

In 1959, Walter took up correspondence chess.

In 1961, Browne went to a summer camp where there was a chess course. It was here that he
discovered that there were books on chess, and he became an avid chess reader.

In 1962, Walter joined the Manhattan Chess Club at the age of 13. He said he played or studied chess
literally every day for a full year, which helped him become America’s youngest master at the time.

In 1962, Walter Browne’s postal rating was 792. By 1963, it was 1118.
In 1963, Walter Browne took 1st place in a Chess Review Prize tournament (63-P 11) with the score of
5.5-0.5. He also began to play in rated tournaments.

In early 1964, Browne’s postal rating was 1338. He took 1st place in a Chess Review Prize tournament
(63-P 39), winning 6-0. In late 1964, Browne’s postal rating was 1506.

In 1964, Walter Browne won the New York State Junior Championship with a perfect 5-0. It was played
at the Jamaica Chess Club in Queens, New York.

In 1964, at the age of 15, Walter became a master, rated over 2200.

In 1965, Browne took 11th-13th, in the Marshall Chess Club “Anniversary” Championship, won by
Herbert.

In 1966, Browne tied for 1st place in the Marshall Chess Club Championship, but lost the play-off to
Paul Robey.

Walter Browne attended Erasmus High School in Brooklyn, where Bobby Fischer and Barbara Streisand
had gone. He dropped out at the age of 16. Browne said, “If you have a strong mind, you don’t need
school. School is for the masses, not for geniuses. I don’t have time for chess, poker, and school.” To
him, teachers were stupid.

In June 1966, Browne (rated 2292) won the first annual US Junior Championship, scoring 5 wins and 2
losses. It was played at the Henry Hudson Hotel in New York City. He won a trip to the US Open in
Seattle.

In August 1966, Browne tied for the junior prize at the US Open in Seattle, but lost on tiebreak to Leroy
Jackson.

In 1967, Browne took 2nd in the New York State Junior Open, won by Paul Magriel.

In July 1967, Browne took 2nd in the US Junior Chess Championship, won by Salvatore Matera. Browne
won an all-expenses-paid trip to compete in the US Open at Atlanta. The event was held at the Henry
Hudson Hotel in New York City.

In July 1967, Browne moved from New York to Santa Monica, California and won the Ernest Shields
Open in Bakersfield.

In August 1967, he took 4th at the US Open in Atlanta.

In 1967, Browne won the South California championship.

In 1967, Browne won the Southwest Open in Texas.

In December 1967, Browne won the California State Championship.

By the end of 1967, at age 18, Browne was the highest rated Junior (under 21) in the USA, with a
rating od 2419. He was the 17th highest rated player in the USA. Bobby Fischer was 1st with a 2762
rating.

In 1968, Browne traveled to Europe to try to get some invitations to international chess
tournaments. However, it was a Catch 22. He needed a title to play, but with no title, no play.
In 1968, Browne tied for 2nd with Pal Benko at the US Open in Aspen. Bent Larsen won the event.

In October 1968, Browne won the Long Beach Classic.

In November 1968, he tied for 2nd with Larry Remliner at the American Open in Santa Monica. The event
was won by James Lazos.

In December 1968, Browne drew a 6-game match with James Tarjan in Los Angeles.

In December 1968, Browne won the California Closed Championship.

Browne applied for Australian citizenship and headed for Australia. If he won the Australian
Championship, he would be able to play in the Asian Zonal. If he won the Asian Zonal, he would become
an International Master and qualify for the Interzonal.

In March 1969, Walter won the Australian Chess Championship, scoring 13-2.

In August 1969, Walter tied for 1st place with Renato Naranja at the Zone 10 Asian zonal and was
awarded the International Master title.

In September 1969, Browne was awarded the GM title after success at an international tournament in
Puerto Rico. He tied for 2nd with Arthur Bisguier and Bruno Parma, behind the winner, Spassky. At age
20, he was the youngest GM in the world at the time and the 3rd youngest ever up to that time. Only
Fischer and Spassky were younger GMs. Browne became Australia’s first Grandmaster.

In 1969, Walter Browne went from master to International Master to Grandmaster in two months.

In November 1969, Browne played in the 5th American Open in Santa Monica and tied for 2nd with Kim
Commons and Ron Gross. The event was won by Ray Martin. This was my first rated tournament and I
watched as Browne lost one of his games. Browne was top seed.

In 1970, Browne won the National Chess Congress in Washington, DC.

In 1970, Walter Browne played Bobby Fischer in Zagreb and drew after 98 moves. Both sides missed
wins during the game.

In 1970 and 1972, Walter played first board for Australia in the Chess Olympiads.

In March 1971, Browne tied for 1st at the National Open in Sparks, Nevada. He then tied for 2nd at Lone
Pine, won by Larry Evans.

In August 1971, he tied for 1st with Larry Evans at the 72nd annual US Open in Ventura, California. There
were 402 players in the event.

In November 1971, he tied for 1st with 4 other players at the 7th American Open in Santa Monica. There
were 306 players in the event.

In 1971, Browne won an international tournament in Venice, Italy.

In a Canadian tournament in 1971, one of Walter Browne’s opponents tried to fluster him in a time-
pressure scramble by banging an extra Queen down on the side of the board. The opponent’s pawn was
about to make it to the 8th rank and get promoted to a Queen. Browne picked up the extra Queen and
hurled it across the tournament room.

In 1972, Browne won the National Open in Sparks, Nevada.

In 1972, he won the US Open in Atlantic City.

In December 1972, Browne gave up his Australian citizenship and played for the USA.

Browne’s wife is Dr. Raquel Browne, a clinical psychologist. They were married on March 9, 1973
(Fischer’s birthday).

In March 1973, Browne tied for 1st with Szabo and Tarjan at the National Open in Las Vegas.

In July 1973, Browne won the first World Open, held in New York City.

In the summer of 1973, Browne played in 8 Swisses and won every one of them, earning over $8,000 in
two and a half months.

In 1974, Browne won at Wijk aan Zee.

In 1974, Browne won the Carroll M. Capps Memorial in San Francisco.

In April 1974, he won at Lone Pine.

In June 1974, Walter played for the USA in the Chess Olympiad at Nice, France.

Browne has won the US chess championship 6 times (1974, 1975, 1977, 1980, 1981, and 1983).

In 1974, Browne’s USCF rating was 2562, behind Robert Byrne (2618) and Lubosh Kavalek (2570).

In 1975, Browne was the reigning US champion, Pan-American champion, and German Open champion.

In 1975, he played in the World Class Championship in Vancouver, BC. His final round game was with
Paul Keres, which Browne lost. It was Keres’s last chess game. He died in route back to Estonia. I did
the demo board for that game.

In 1975, Browne won the Paul Masson tournament in California.

In 1975, Browne’s USCF rating was 2594, the highest in the United States after Fischer’s retirement.

From October to December, Browne drove over 16,000 miles through 40 states and gave 50
simultaneous exhibitions. He played 1,417 games, winning 1,328, drawing 49, and losing 40 games. I
played him in one of the chess simuls in Henderson, NC (losing in 40 moves), but beat him the next day
6-0 (but in tennis). He made over $10,000 after expenses in two months.

In 1976, Browne was quoted as saying, “I can beat 4 out of 5 people in Ping-Pong and 9 out of 10 in
tennis. I can beat 97 out of 100 experts in Scrabble, 98 of 100 in backgammon, and 99.9 of 100 in
poker.”

In 1976, Browne won the Paul Masson tournament in California.

In November 1976, he tied for 1st at the 12th American Open in Santa Monica.
In 1976, Walter Browne had his highest Elo rating of 2585. He was ranked 27th in the world.

In 1977, he won the US chess championship at Mentor, Ohio.

In 1978, Browne played board 2 for the USA at the chess Olympiad in Buenos Aires. The USA team took
the bronze medal.

In 1978, Browne won an international tournament in Reykjavik.

In 1980, Browne tied for 1st with Yasser Seirawan at Wijk aan Zee.

In 1980, Browne tied for 1st at the Paul Masson tournament in California.

In November 1980, Browne tied for 1st at the American Open in Santa Monica.

In 1981, he won the US championship at South Bend, Indiana.

In 1981, he won an international tournament in Chile.

In 1982, Walter Browne and Ron Henley tied for 1st at the First Lady International in Indonesia.

In 1982, Browne won the US Open in Atlantic City.

In 1983, Browne tied for 1st at the New York Open.

In 1983, he won an international tournament in Gjovik

In 1984, Browne won the National Open.

In 1985, he won an international tournament in Naestved.

In 1985, Browne played in the Taxco Interzonal in Mexico, but scored only 6.5 out of 15 for a tied 9th-
13th place.

In November 1986, Browne tied for 1st at the American Open in Santa Monica.

In May 1988, Browne formed the World Blitz Chess Association and published Blitz Chess magazine. This
ended in 2003.

In 1990, Browne took 1st at the American Open in Los Angeles.

In 1991, Browne tied for 1st in the Carroll M. Capps Memorial tournament in San Francisco.

In 1991, Browne won the National Open in Chicago.

In 1991, he won the Canadian Open.

In 1991, Browne won the North American Open in Las Vegas.

In 1992, Browne tied for 1st in the Carroll M. Capps Memorial tournament in San Francisco.

In 1994, Browne won the National Open in Las Vegas.

In 1995, Browne tied for 1st in the National Open in Las Vegas.
In 2003, Browne was inducted in the US Chess Hall of Fame.

In 2005, Browne won the US Senior Open.

In 2005, Browne was the first inductee into the Cal (California) Chess Hall of Fame.

In 2012, he published his memoir, The Stress of Chess…and its Infinite Finesse, which includes 101 of his
best games of chess.

Walter Browne has won the National Open 11 times, the American Open 7 times, the World Open 3
times, and the US Open twice.

Walter Browne has won more Swiss system events than any other chess player.

Walter Browne is distantly related to Bertrand Russell on his mother’s side.

Browne’s motto is “When you win you earn, when you lose you learn.”

Walter Browne is also a professional poker player and has won over $300,000 in poker.

Walter Browne - Polstein, Atlantic City 1972


1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.N1e2 e5 7.dxe5 Qa5+ 8.Bd2 Qxe5 9.Bc3 Qc7 10.Qd2
f6 11.O-O-O Ne7 12.Nf4 Bf7 13.Qe3 Nd7 (13...Qb6) 14.Nf5 Ne5? 15.Bxe5 (15...fxe5 or 15...Qxd5
16.Nd6+; 15...Nxf5 16.Bxc7+ Nxe3 17.fxe3 Bxa2 18.b3) 1-0

Vinay Bhat – Walter Browne, San Francisco 2000


1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Nxd7 5.O-O Ngf6 6.Qe2 e6 7.b3 Be7 8.Bb2 O-O 9.c4 a6 10.d4 cxd4
11.Nxd4 Re8 12.Nc3 Qa5 13.Rad1 Rac8 14.Kh1 Bf8 15.f4 Qh5 16.Qe3 Qxh2+ 0-1