Interview with FM James Eade By FM Paul Whitehead

From the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Room Newsletter #896

I don’t believe I had ever met James “Jim” Eade before quite recently – his tenure as Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Director from 1996 to 1998 coincided with the time of my leaving for Virginia for 15 years.  I missed a lot, chess-wise, in the San Francisco Bay Area during that time.

I originally planned this article as a straight interview, and I asked Jim a few softballs, like:

Q.  How old are you and where are you from?

A.  I was born in 1957.  New Haven, Connecticut.


Q.  What’s your favorite food?

A.  Candied ginger

I don’t know if Jim likes softball, but I do know he loves baseball.

The author of Remember the MacCutcheon, as well as bestsellers Chess for Dummies and Chess Openings for Dummies – books I certainly need to look at if I want to bring my game back up to speed – Jim is also the author of (the amazingly titled) Chess Player’s Bible.

On Jim’s resume –

Past editor of the California Chess Journal.  Served on the executive Board of the USCF.  Past President of Cal Chess.  Past President of the Chess Journalists of America.  American Zone President of FIDE, 2000 – 2002.  Past trustee of the U.S. Chess Trust.

Q.  Proudest achievement in chess?

A.  Organizing the 1995 Pan-Pacific GM Invitational in San Francisco.

(I’m not exactly sure if this was the question… or the answer to the question! But it’s close.  And it allows me to add the tournament book, won by GM Victor Korchnoi and with annotations by GM Nick de Firmian, to the list of books Jim has written.)

There’s more here on Jim’s Wikipedia page:

Besides being a World of Chess Knowledge unto himself and an accomplished FIDE Master, Jim is a friend and fellow traveler with many in the Chess World: the great and the unknown.

I’ve really enjoyed hanging out with Jim while doing commentary on the TNM –  it’s been 3 times now, and I’m looking forward to more.   He takes the pressure off me, and gently points out my mistakes.  We make plans for the future, and talk about the old times as though we’d known each other for years.

I asked Jim what he’s up to now:

Q.  What are you up to now?

A.  I am Chairman and CEO of

The Eade Foundation’s goals, as Jim explains, is “Building communities through chess for those who cannot otherwise easily access the chess community”.  I urge you to take a look at Jim’s work, as chess is being increasingly seen as a way to help empower people, to help bring community.

I think Jim likes hanging out at the Chess Club because he feels that kind of community here.  I know that I feel it all the more strongly when Jim’s in the room.

Finally, there’s Jim the chess player.  Here’s a few games that he’s found memorable.  I’ll try to remember what he said about them, and to give a smart preamble to each.

(1) Eade,Jim (2240) – De Firmian,Nick E (2560) [A47]
Labor Day Festival op California, 1993

It’s not every day you get to play a strong Grandmaster, let alone draw with one. Jim shows great fighting spirit, matching Nick move-for-move. In the final position Black might be better, but John Grefe’s declaration that “black is winning” seems far-fetched. Nick has the strong players uncanny sense of danger – there’s danger for black here too, despite the possibility of making a passed pawn on the kings-side. 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.Bf4 b6 4.e3 Bb7 5.Bd3 Be7

6.h3 c5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.c3 0-0 9.Nbd2 cxd4 10.exd4 a6
11.Qe2 b5 12.a4 b4 13.c4 d6 14.Rfe1 Re8 15.Bh2 Bf8
16.Rad1 g6 17.Nf1 Qa5 18.Qd2 Rad8 19.b3 e5 20.d5 Nb8
21.Bc2 Nbd7 22.g4 Nc5 23.Bg3 Bg7 24.Bh4 Rf8 25.Bg5 Rde8
26.Ng3 Kh8 27.Nh4 Bc8 28.Bh6 Bxh6 29.Qxh6 Ng8 30.Qd2 Qd8
31.Ng2 a5 32.f4 exf4 33.Qxf4 Qf6 34.Rf1 Qxf4 35.Rxf4 Kg7
36.Kf2 Nf6 37.Re1 Rxe1 38.Nxe1 Re8 39.Nf3 h6 40.Nd2 Bd7
41.Rd4 Re5 42.Nf3 Re7 43.Nd2 Bc8 44.Bd1 Re8 45.Bc2 Kf8
46.Rf4 Ke7 47.Nge4 Nfxe4+ 48.Bxe4 Rh8 49.Kg3 Rf8 50.Bc2 f5
51.Rf3 Kf6 52.Re3 Bd7 53.Nf3 fxg4

(2) Lobo,Richard (2270) – Eade,James V [E06]
Labor Day Festival op California, 1993

A really nice take-down of one of San Francisco’s top Senior Masters. Despite the early exchange of queens white comes under a crushing attack. 14…Ng4! signals the end, and 21…Be3! is just the showy icing on the proverbial cake. 1.c4 e6 2.Nc3 d5 3.d4 Be7 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.g3 0-0

6.Bg2 dxc4 7.Ne5 c5 8.dxc5 Qxd1+ 9.Kxd1 Bxc5 10.f4 Nbd7
11.Nxc4 Rb8 12.e4 b5 13.Na5 Ba6 14.a3 Ng4 15.Kc2 Nf2
16.Re1 b4 17.axb4 Nd3 18.Rd1 Nxb4+ 19.Kb1 Bd3+ 20.Rxd3 Nxd3
21.e5 Be3 22.Kc2 Ne1+

(3) Eade,Jim (2335) – Au,Leslie [E72]
Hawaii op Hawaii, 1994

This is from another tournament organized by Jim, a futurity in Hawaii. This is a nice, powerful positional win over one of Hawaii’s best. In the final position the bishop on c8 is lost. 1.d4 Nf6 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Ne2 c6

6.0-0 Nbd7 7.c4 0-0 8.Nbc3 Qc7 9.h3 e5 10.Be3 b5
11.dxe5 dxe5 12.cxb5 cxb5 13.Nxb5 Qb8 14.a4 a6 15.Nd6 Qxb2
16.Qd3 Qb4 17.Rfb1 Qa5 18.Qc4 Qd8 19.a5 Ne8 20.Rd1 Nxd6
21.Rxd6 Qe7 22.Rc6 Bb7 23.Rc7 Rac8 24.Rb1 Rxc7 25.Qxc7 Bc8
26.Nc3 Re8 27.Nd5 Qa3 28.Nb6 Qxa5 29.Qc6 Qa2 30.Rc1

(4) Eade,Jim (2320) – Frias Pablaza,Victor J (2485) [A47]
USA-chT Amateur East Parsippany (1), 13.02.1999

Jim includes this game, saying IM Frias was the strongest player he beat, even though he was worse at one point. It’s true: 17.cxd5?! was a positional mistake, and black was marginally better. However 20…Bxe5 gave up much: white straightened out his pawns, and black’s feints on the kingside were nothing. A tactical oversight: 25…Qf5?? was brutally refuted. In the final position if 27…Ne7 28.Rxf8+ Kxf8 29.Ba3 Qg5 is met by Qc8 mate! 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.e3 b6 4.Bd3 Bb7 5.Nbd2 e6

6.0-0 Be7 7.b3 0-0 8.Bb2 cxd4 9.exd4 d6 10.Re1 a6
11.c4 Nbd7 12.h3 Re8 13.Re3 Bf8 14.Ne4 Nxe4 15.Bxe4 Bxe4
16.Rxe4 d5 17.cxd5 Nf6 18.Re2 Nxd5 19.Rc1 Bd6 20.Ne5 Bxe5
21.dxe5 Qg5 22.Re4 Rac8 23.Rec4 Rxc4 24.Rxc4 b5 25.Qc1 Qf5??
26.Rc8 Rf8 27.Qc5