William Lombardy bigraphy, stories - American chess player

William Lombardy : biography

December 4, 1937 -

William James Lombardy (born December 4, 1937) is an American chess grandmaster, writer, teacher, and Catholic priest.

Early career

He won the 1956 Canadian Open Chess Championship. In 1956, at the age of 18, he lost a match versus Samuel Reshevsky by the score of 3.5-2.5. In 1957, Lombardy became the first American to win the World Junior Chess Championship. He won the tournament in Toronto with a perfect score of 11-0, the only time such a result has been achieved.

Team competitions

Lombardy played first board for the U.S. Team that won the 1960 World Student Team Championship in Leningrad, USSR, the first time a U.S. team won that event (they would win again at Haifa 1970, where Lombardy was also present). Lombardy defeated future world champion Boris Spassky in their individual game. Lombardy won a gold medal for best result on first board in that event.

Lombardy represented his country in seven Chess Olympiads, won three U.S. Open titles and played in nine U.S. Chess Championships. He finished second in the 1960-61 U.S. Championship behind Bobby Fischer and ahead of Raymond Weinstein in a star-studded field. With this result, Lombardy qualified to compete in the Interzonal tournament to be held in Stockholm for the right to advance to a match for the world championship. However, Lombardy decided to retire from tournament competition and become a Roman Catholic priest. Before retiring, he lost a match to Larry Evans by the score of 5.5-4.5. Lombardy was ordained in 1967.

Later career

Lombardy won or tied for first in the U.S. Open Chess Championship three times. He took clear first at Chicago 1963 and twice tied with Pal Benko; first at Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico in 1965 and then at Lincoln, Nebraska in 1975.

In 1978 and 1979, Lombardy served as the lead instructor at an "all day", week-long chess camp at Michigan State University. This was perhaps the first camp of its type in the United States and attracted juniors from all over the country.

In addition to his victory against Spassky, Lombardy scored at least one win against such world-class players as Ulf Andersson, Pal Benko, Walter Browne, Robert Byrne, Larry Christiansen, Larry Evans, Vlastimil Hort, Victor Korchnoi, Bent Larsen, Ljubomir Ljubojević, Tony Miles, Lev Polugaevsky, Lajos Portisch, Samuel Reshevsky, and Jan Timman.

In the early 1980s, Lombardy left the active ministry and subsequently married. He has one son. He is now retired and lives in the East Village of New York City, where he focuses on his writing and offers chess lessons.

Opening contributions

In the first round of the World Junior Championship Lombardy defeated the Soviet representative Vladimir Selimanov in a variation of the Ruy Lopez that now carries his name. The Lombardy Variation takes place after the following moves: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Na5 10.Bc2 c6. This is Lombardy's most publicized opening contribution. He essayed the move in at least nine official tournament games, scoring three wins, four draws and two losses.

  • Selimanov-Lombardy, Toronto 1957 (0-1) http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1356980
  • Olafsson-Lombardy, Reykjavik 1957 (Draw) http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1356985
  • Gligoric-Lombardy, Munich 1958 (1-0) http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1092746
  • Unzicker-Lombardy, Munich 1958 (Draw) http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1092745
  • Ader-Lombardy, Bogota 1958 (0-1) http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1356992
  • Ostojic-Lombardy, Wijk aan Zee 1969 (0-1) http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1092790
  • Peters-Lombardy, Oberlin 1975 (1-0) http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1092846
  • Parma-Lombardy, Banja Luka 1976 (Draw) http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1092869
  • Hjartarson-Lombardy, Neskaupsstadur 1984 (Draw) http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1092966
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