What is behind the curtains stays behind it forever because no one ever wonders to just move and see what gems and important things we have been missing out which can prove out to be of great knowledge in our day to day life and can inspire us as well.
Here we have got you a small list of grandmasters you have never heard of but are of great honor and do have a great name engraved in the field of chess.
I hope you will get to know them better because we have lifted that curtain for you.
Without further ado, here are five under-appreciated yet amazing players that most have never heard of:
1. Gyula Breyer
2. Henrique Mecking
3. Isaac Kashdan
4. Rudolf Charousek
5. Albin Planinc
Gyula "Julius" Breyer (30 April 1893 Budapest – 9 November 1921) was a Hungarian chess player and 1912 Hungarian national champion.
In 1912 Breyer won the Hungarian championship in Temesvar. In a 1920 tournament in Berlin he finished first (+6−2=1) ahead of Efim Bogoljubov, Savielly Tartakower, Richard Réti, Géza Maróczy, and Siegbert Tarrasch. Breyer had a plus record against Max Euwe (later world champion).
In 1921 Breyer set a new blindfold chess record by playing 25 games simultaneously. He also edited Szellemi Sport, a magazine devoted to chess puzzles, and composed at least one brilliant retrograde analysis study.
Heart disease cut short Breyer's promising chess career. He died in 1921 at the age of 28 in Bratislava. He was buried in Bratislava and after exhumation in 1987, was reburied in the Kerepesi Cemetery in Budapest.
Breyer was a leading pioneer of the hypermodern school of chess theory, which favoured controlling the centre with pressure from the flanks. He is noted for the maxim "after the first move 1.e4 White's game is in the last throes", although Breyer himself did not abandon that move. He was a friend of Richard Réti and an inspiration to other players.
He is most notably recognised for the Breyer Variation in the Ruy Lopez, which involves Black re-routing his queen's knight to d7 for increased flexibility (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 d6 9.h3 Nb8 10.d4 Nbd7;.This line became fashionable in the 1960s, and a favourite of ex-world champion Boris Spassky. He is also recognised for the Breyer Variation of the Vienna Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.f4 d5 4.fxe5 Nxe4 5.Nf3 Be7), as well as the Breyer Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Qf3), a variation of the King's Gambit. He was an early adopter of the Slav Defense (1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6) at a time when the Queen's Gambit Declined (2...e6) was Black's most common response to the Queen's Gambit, and is credited with the Breyer Variation of the Slav (1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nbd2).
Henrique Costa Mecking (born 23 January 1952), also known as Mequinho, is a Brazilian chess grandmaster who reached his zenith in the 1970s and is still one of the strongest players in Brazil. He was a chess prodigy, drawing comparisons to Bobby Fischer, although he did not achieve the International Grandmaster title until 1972. He won the Interzonals of Petropolis 1973 and Manila 1976. His highest FIDE rating is 2635, achieved in 1977, when he was ranked number four in the world. He is the first Brazilian to become a grandmaster. Despite winning his first national championship at the age of 13, he played in very few tournaments. He won at Vršac in 1971 and finished third with Robert Byrne (after the co-winners Anatoly Karpov and Viktor Korchnoi) at Hastings in 1971–72. In 1975, he twice shared second place behind Ljubomir Ljubojević, firstly at Las Palmas with Ulf Andersson and Mikhail Tal and then at Manila with Lev Polugaevsky, Bent Larsen and Helmut Pfleger.
He was considered a contender for the World Championship in the mid-1970s, however his chess career was interrupted by a serious illness (Myasthenia gravis).
Mecking played for Brazil in the Chess Olympiads of 1968, 1974, 2002 and 2004.
Mecking was a regular participant in FIDE events to choose a challenger for the World Chess Championship. After unsuccessful attempts to qualify from the Interzonals of Sousse 1967 and Palma de Mallorca 1970, he had his first major triumph in 1973, when he won at the Petrópolis Interzonal (ahead of a very strong field that included Paul Keres, David Bronstein et al.). He was subsequently eliminated from the Candidates Tournament in the quarterfinals, after losing his match against Korchnoi. Still, from this time until 1979, he was the strongest player born in the West after Bobby Fischer's effective retirement in 1972.
At his next attempt in 1976, Mecking won the Manila Interzonal (ahead of Vlastimil Hort, Lev Polugaevsky, Vitaly Tseshkovsky, Ljubomir Ljubojević, Zoltán Ribli et al.), thereby reaching a second successive Candidates matches stage, but again lost in the quarterfinals, this time to Polugaevsky. Illness (myasthenia gravis) forced his withdrawal from the Interzonal in Rio de Janeiro 1979 after a first round draw with Borislav Ivkov. His illness was so severe that it was widely believed he would soon die. He survived but did not play chess during the 1980s. While he was able to recover and to resume his chess career in 1991 with matches against Predrag Nikolić and (in 1992) Yasser Seirawan, followed by intermittent tournament appearances, his chance at the world title had passed and he has not reached the Candidates matches again.
3. Isaac Kashdan
Isaac Kashdan (19 November 1905 in New York City – 20 February 1985 in Los Angeles) was an American chess grandmaster and chess writer. He was twice U.S. Open champion (1938, 1947). He played five times for the United States in chess Olympiads, winning a total of nine medals, and his Olympiad record is the all-time best among American players.
Kashdan was often called 'der Kleine Capablanca' (German for "The little Capablanca") in Europe because of his ability to extract victories from seemingly even positions. Alexander Alekhine named him one of the most likely players to succeed him as World Champion. Kashdan could not, however, engage seriously in a chess career for financial reasons; his peak chess years coincided with the Great Depression. He resorted to earning a living as an insurance agent and administrator in order to support his family.
He played five times for U.S. team in the Chess Olympiads, with his detailed results below:
In 1928, he played at first board in 2nd Chess Olympiad in The Hague (+12 –1 =2).
In 1930, he played at first board in 3rd Chess Olympiad in Hamburg (+12 –1 =4).
In 1931, he played at first board in 4th Chess Olympiad in Prague (+8 –1 =8).
In 1933, he played at first board in 5th Chess Olympiad in Folkestone (+7 –1 =6).
In 1937, he played at third board in 7th Chess Olympiad in Stockholm (+13 –1 =2).
In Stockholm 1937, he scored 14/16, the best individual record of all the players. His all-time Olympic record stands at 79.7% (+52 -5 =22), the best all-time among American players. Kashdan won four team medals: three gold (1931, 1933, 1937), one silver (1928), and five individual medals: two gold (1928, 1937), one silver (1933), and two bronze (1930, 1931).
Among players who have played in the open section of four or more Olympiads, Kashdan's winning percentage is the fourth best in history, behind only World Champions Mikhail Tal, Anatoly Karpov, and Tigran Petrosian.
In Frankfurt in 1930, Kashdan took second place (behind Aron Nimzowitsch) and won in Stockholm. He won at Győr 1930 with 8.5/9. In 1930, he defeated Lajos Steiner in a match (+4 -3 =2) in Győr, and lost a match against Gösta Stoltz, (+2 -3 =1), in Stockholm. Kashdan defeated Charles Jaffe by 3-0 in a match at New York 1930.
At New York City 1931, Kashdan took second place with 8.5/11, behind José Raúl Capablanca. At Bled 1931, Kashdan scored 13.5/26 to tie for 4-7th places, as Alekhine scored an undefeated 20.5 points. In 1931/32, at Hastings, Kashdan took second place, behind Salo Flohr, with 7.5/9. In 1932 in Mexico City, he tied for first place with Alekhine with 8.5/9, and took second place behind Alekhine at Pasadena with 7.5/11. At London 1932, Kashdan tied 3rd-4th places with 7.5/11, with Alekhine winning. At Syracuse 1934, Kashdan finished 2nd with 10.5/14, as Samuel Reshevsky won.In the U.S. Open Chess Championship / Western Open, Chicago 1934, Kashdan scored 4.5/9 in the finals, to tie for 5th-6th places, with Reshevsky and Reuben Fine sharing the title.In the U.S. Open Chess Championship (then known as Western Open), Milwaukee 1935, Kashdan placed 3rd with 6.5/10, as Fine won.
Kashdan was U.S. Open Champion in 1938 (jointly with Al Horowitz) at Boston, and in 1947 at Corpus Christi. Kashdan also tied 2nd-4th places in the U.S. Open at Baltimore 1948 with 9/12, half a point behind Weaver Adams.
But Kashdan never won the U.S. (Closed) Championship. Arnold Denker and Larry Parr note this as the central failure of his chess life, since, had he been able to win it, this might have provided him with the financial resources to pursue chess full-time. Denker and Parr state that "from 1928 onwards, Kashdan was clearly the best player in the United States, but the aging Frank Marshall was attached to his title." Kashdan "bargained and haggled with Frank for years until Marshall voluntarily relinquished the crown. The result: the first modern U.S. Championship tournament in 1936. But by this time, (Reuben) Fine and Samuel Reshevsky had surpassed" Kashdan.
In U.S. Championships, Kashdan
1) placed 5th in 1936 at New York with 10/15, with Reshevsky winning
2) placed 3rd in 1938 at New York with Reshevsky repeating;
3) placed 3rd at New York 1940 with 10.5/16, with Reshevsky winning his third straight title;
4) tied for 1st-2nd with Reshevsky at New York 1942 with 12.5/15, but lost the subsequent play-off match (+2 −6 =3) 5) placed 2nd in 1946 at New York City with a strong 14.5/19, 1.5 points behind Reshevsky;
6) tied 1st-2nd in 1948 at South Fallsburg, with Herman Steiner,but again lost the playoff match.
Kashdan would have been U.S. champion in 1942, but lost out to Reshevsky when the Tournament Director, L. Walter Stephens, scored Reshevsky's time-forfeit loss to Denker as a win instead.
Very beautifully quoted by IGM Arnold Denker in If You Must Play Chess,1947
It has never been a disgrace to lose to Kashdan.
4. Rudolf Charousek
Rudolf Charousek (Hungarian: Charousek Rezső; 19 September 1873 in Klein Lometz, Bohemia – 18 April 1900 in Budapest) was a Czech born Hungarian chess player.One of the top ten players in the world during the 1890s,he had a short career, dying at the age of 26 from tuberculosis. Reuben Fine wrote of him "Playing over his early games is like reading Keats's poetry: you cannot help feeling a grievous, oppressive sense of loss, of promise unfulfilled".
Charousek was born in Klein Lometz (modern Lomeček) near Prague, Bohemia. At the age of five weeks, his family moved to Debrecen, Hungary, where he became a naturalized Hungarian. They later moved to Miskolc where, at the age of 16, he learned to play chess. Studying law in Kassa, he is said to have copied out the voluminous Handbuch des Schachspiels by hand, unable to afford his own copy. Despite the lack of competition in Kassa, he soon became a strong player, and also qualified as a lawyer. In 1893 he entered a correspondence tournament organised by the Budapest newspaper Pesti Hirlap, in which he eventually shared first place with another up and coming Hungarian master, Geza Maroczy. He joined the Budapest chess club, where he frequently played with Maroczy and Gyula Makovetz, and convincingly defeated Gyozo Exner in a match.
This is Charousek's last round win over the World Champion in his international tournament debut:
Charousek-Lasker, Nuremberg 1896
King's Gambit 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 d5 4.Bxd5 Qh4+ 5.Kf1 g5 6.Nf3 Qh5 7.h4 Bg7 8.Nc3 c6 9.Bc4 Bg4 10.d4 Nd7 11.Kf2 Bxf3 12.gxf3 O-O-O 13.hxg5 Qxg5 14.Ne2 Qe7 15.c3 Ne5 16.Qa4 Nxc4 17.Qxc4 Nf6 18.Bxf4 Nd7 19.Qa4 a6 20.Qa5 Nf8 21.Ng3 Ne6 22.Nf5 Qf8 23.Bg3 Rd7 24.Nxg7 Qxg7 25.Qe5 Qxe5 26.Bxe5 f6 27.Bxf6 Rf8 28.Rh6 Nf4 29.Ke3 Ng2+ 30.Kd2 Rdf7 31.e5 Nf4 32.Rah1 Rg8 33.c4 Ne6 34.Ke3 Nf8 35.d5 Rd7 36.e6 1-0
Another of Charousek's games, which Grandmaster Andrew Soltis described as "one of the prettiest ever", was the basis for the story Last Round by Kester Svendsen, which Soltis called "perhaps the finest chess short story".Here is the game with punctuation marks by Soltis:
Charousek—Wollner, Kaschau 1893
Danish Gambit 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bc5 6.Nxc3 d6 7.O-O O-O 8.Ng5 h6 9.Nxf7! Rxf7 10.e5 Ng4!? 11.e6 Qh4! 12.exf7+ Kf8 13.Bf4 Nxf2 14.Qe2 Ng4+ 15.Kh1 Bd7 16.Rae1 Nc6 (diagram) 17.Qe8+!! Rxe8 18.fxe8(Q)+ Bxe8 19.Bxd6 mate.
A variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined is named after him.
Albin Planinc (also spelled Planinec) (18 April 1944 – 20 December 2008) was a Slovenian chess Grandmaster.
He was born in a working-class family in Briše near Zagorje in the Central Sava Valley, in German-occupied Slovenia.
Planinc won the Slovenian youth championship in 1962. He also won the full Slovenian Chess Championship in 1968 and 1971.
His earliest international success occurred at the first Vidmar Memorial at Ljubljana 1969.However, his best result was achieved at the Amsterdam (IBM tournament) 1973, where he shared first place with Tigran Petrosian, ahead of Lubomir Kavalek, Boris Spassky and László Szabó. He also tied for 2nd–4th at Čačak 1969, won at Varna 1970, shared 1st at Čačak 1970, took 9th at Vršac (Kostić Memorial, Henrique Mecking won), tied for 2nd–3rd at Skopje 1971, tied for 3rd–5th at Wijk aan Zee 1974 (Corus chess tournament, Walter Browne won), took 6th at Hastings 1974/75 (Hastings International Chess Congress, Vlastimil Hort won), tied for 2nd–3rd at Štip 1978, and took 12th at Polanica Zdrój 1979 (17th Rubinstein Memorial).
Planinc played on fourth board (+9 –1 =5) for Yugoslavia in the 21st Chess Olympiad at Nice 1974, where he won a team silver medal.
He was awarded the GM title in 1972, then became a chess trainer when the strain of playing tournament chess was contributing to his poor mental health (in those days, medication was relatively ineffective). Planinc continued to suffer from severe depression for decades, spending the last years of his life at a mental institution in Ljubljana. In 1993, his last name was changed to Planinec by mistake.
In The Penguin Encyclopedia of Chess, Grandmaster Raymond Keene said of Planinc, "he specializes in apparently outdated openings into which his imaginative play infuses new life".
He died in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
So this was all about the 5 Grandmasters you have probably not heard much of them. Do let us know in the comment section down below what you think about this behind the curtain gems and in what way they inspire you!