Although I am not really comfortable with “tooting my own horn,” two veteran chess organizers / directors have asked me to prepare a short chess autobiography. Specifically, I will try to explain how I managed to score 6-0 in the 2008 US Amateur / East — World Team Championship, after at least 20 years of trying (or hoping!) to do so. The short answer is “I have absolutely no idea!” Attempts at a rather longer answer now follow:

A Life Member of the US Chess Federation, and currently an Expert, I have been playing in USCF-rated events since February, 1972. My peak period of tournament activity was from 1983- 1986 (inclusive), when I played around 250- 300 rated games in each of those years. Possibly I learned something by “osmosis,” or more accurately just experience, as I then earned the USCF National Master title in September, 1987.

I have also played in USCF-rated tournaments or matches in 49 states —– missing only Alaska. Unfortunately, the chess organizers in the Far North have advised me that they have no imminent plans to hold a tournament that will be made public to those in in the “lower 48.” So one of my chess ambitions (to play in all 50 states) may simply have to remain unfulfilled.

Besides my USCF Master title and the 6-0 score in the recent Team Championship (as chess career highlights), I have also defeated GM Arthur Bisguier, at the 2002 US Open in Cherry Hill, NJ. Later, I read in the US Open Bulletin that year that Art, always a perfect gentleman, winked and called his loss to me a “Swiss gambit!” I commenced that US Open with a 3-0 score, also with a defeat of the late FM Boris Baczynskij. But it didn’t take too long before I “fell back to earth” — US Opens can be TOUGH!

Also, I have played over 4000 tournament and match games since early 1972, and I have been a USCF Local TD since late 1973. Currently, I am President and Treasurer of the Queens (NY) Chess Club, and the Treasurer of the Nassau Chess Club, in Mineola, NY. I still average around 125- 150 tournament games per annum, although I suspect that this number may decrease a little in the coming years.

I am now 55 years of age, and I work in the liability insurance claims business in the Greater New York Metro Area (Long Island, specifically). This is a field which I entered in October, 1975 and, although one will NEVER become wealthy working in insurance, that area of endeavor has provided me with a steady income over the years.

I have an almost- 35 year old adopted daughter (after having been married between 1978- 1983), and I am now the proud Grandpa of Alex, who was born on 06/08/2007.

From 2002- 2005 (inclusive), I tried to teach chess for a living, but I found that I was “digging into” savings and investments far too much in the process. So, I re-entered the insurance claims business in February 2006, when the opportunity arose.

My “long range” plan for living now is to at least enter semi-retirement at around age 62 —- when perhaps I will resume my chess teaching activities!

Joseph J. Felber
Amityville, NY
02/23/2008 (PM)


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