Michael Valvo

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Michael Valvo [1]

Michael (Mike) Joseph Valvo, (April 19, 1942 – September 18, 2004)
was an American International Chess Master since the 70s dedicated to computer chess. He was Tournament Director of most ACM North American Computer Chess Championships, as well as ICGA World Computer Chess Championships and World Microcomputer Chess Championships until WCCC 1995, when he was later succeeded by Jaap van den Herik. He also acted as moderator and commentator at the tournament sites and wrote various tournament reports. From November 1988 until March 1989, he played a Correspondence match against Deep Thought, and won 2-0 [2]. Michael Joseph Valvo died of a heart attack at September 18, 2004, in Chanhassen, Minnesota at age 62 [3] .


ICGA Journal

Quote by Jaap van den Herik from The Battle of Games, from the same ICGA Journal issue, Valvo was eulogized by his long time friend Ken Thompson [4] :

For a while I would like to continue with other parts of the contents of this issue. With much regret I would like to have your attention for Ken Thompson’s contribution on the passing away of Mike Valvo. For many years, he was the Tournament Director of our tournaments: the North American Computer-Chess Championships (NACCCs), the World Computer-Chess Championships (WCCCs), the World Microcomputer-Chess Championships (WMCCs), and the Computer Olympiads (COs). He did a very good job and made a real community of our group. He shall be missed. Personally, I would like to thank him publicly for the many lessons learned and I would like to state that I feel privileged to have succeeded him in some of his tasks. Thank you Mike for our long-standing cooperation. 


From the Pennswoodpusher a Quarterly Publication of the Pennsylvania State Chess Federation: Crossing The Bar. February 2005 [5]:

Born in Albany, New York, Michael Valvo was a graduate of Columbia University and spent much of his life working with computers. He is perhaps best known to the public for his job as commentator for the Kasparov versus Deep Blue Matches in 1996 and 1997, but he accomplished many things in a chess career going back to the late 1950s.
Valvo learned the game from his father Frank, who was also a USCF master. Michael made quick progress and in 1964 was a member of the U.S. team that competed in the 11th Student Olympiad in Cracow, Poland, in 1964 along with Bill Lombardy, Raymond Weinstein, Charles Kalme, Bernard Zuckerman and Mitchell Sweig. The Americans finished in fourth place behind the USSR, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. He quit playing chess in 1969, but came back with a big bang by earning a FIDE rating of 2530 in the late 1970s after an excellent performance in a NY Futurity. FIDE awarded him the IM title in 1980.
A respected opening theoretician Valvo played 1.e4 for much of his career before adding the English to his repertoire. He was a life-long fan of the Dragon and a early pioneer (1963) of a Benko-gambit type approach - 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 a6 followed by ...c5 with ...b5 to follow d4-d5. He tested many of his lines in correspondence chess throughout his career. Valvo was a co-author of a book on the 1990 Kasparov-Karpov match and was the technical editor of Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess along with Raymond Weinstein. He did the game annotations for the 1966/67 US Championship bulletin. 

See also

Selected Publications


Forum Posts


1990 ...

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