Bill Lombardy, c. 1957
William James Joseph Lombardy was born December 4, 1937. He was baptized Roman Catholic in the New York Foundling Hospital in Manhattan, but may not have been born there, since it was for infants abandoned or given up for adoption. His Italian father was Raymond Lombardi, later changed to Lombardy. He worked in the restaurant division of the Union New Company and at the Rainbow Room above Rockefeller Center as a restaurant manager. His Polish mother was Stella (Stasha Banek). She was a beautician. His grandfather on his mother's side was Polish. William Lombardy may have been adopted.
Lombardy had two younger sisters, Natalie and Vickie (born in 1950), and a younger brother, Michael (born in 1956).
Lombary grew up at 838 Beck Street, in the Longwood Section of the Bronx, in a 4-bedroom apartment with his parents and two other families (rent was $15 a month). Bill recalls that his family had financial problems when he was young. His parents both worked and they all shared an apartment with his grandmother, an aunt and a cousin, until his second year in grammar school, when they moved to their own apartment.
In 1941-42, Lombardy attended kindergarten at Public School (PS) 39, also known as Henry Bristow School, located on Longwood Avenue. Colin Powell (1937- ) also attended that school about the same time. It was a tough neighborhood. Burglaries were common, drug use was on the rise, and there were many street fights and knifings. The area was nicknamed "Fort Apache" the Bronx.
In 1942, Lombardy enrolled in the St. Athanasius Catholic Grammar School in the Bronx.
In 1943, Lombardy and his family moved to 961 Faile Street, in Hunt's Point in the South Bronx of New York City. The family lived on the 5th floor. William Lombardy lived there for 20 years.
Lombardy's first Communion was in 1943 in Hunt's Point.
In 1947, Lombardy became friends with an Orthodox Jewish boy named Eddie Galernter who taught Lombardy how to play chess.
In 1948, he went to Lion's Den Square Park to play stronger chess players. It was there that a kind, old, Jewish man gave Lombardy a notebook on chess. Lombardy never heard that there were chess books, let alone seen one. And now, he had a scrapbook of two thousand chess clippings from newspapers chess columns. Lombardy had to make a trip to the public library to learn about descriptive chess notation to read the chess clippings. From studying these chess clippings, Lombardy became a very strong chessplayer.
In 1952, Lombardy joined the Manhattan Chess Club and the Marshall Chess Club.
In 1952, Lombardy attended La Salle Academy in Lower Manhattan for two years before transferring to Morris High School in the Bronx.
In 1953, Lombardy started visiting the home of Jack Collins (1912-2001) at 91 Lenox Road in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn to play chess.
In 1953, Lombardy took 2nd place in the Marshall Chess Club Junior Championship. The winner was Anthony Saidy. (source: Chess Review, March 1953, p 68)
In August 1953, 15-year-old Lombardy played in the 54th US Open, held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His first USCF rating was 2250 (master was considered at 2300 in those days). Lombardy tied for 13th place. The event, with 182 players, was won by 23-year-old Donald Byrne, who won $1,500 (equivalent to over $13,500 in today's currency). In the lightning tournament, he tied for last place.
In December 1953, Lombardy won the rapid transit tournament at the Marshall Chess Club, scoring 17-2.
In 1953/54, Lombardy played in the 66th Manhattan Chess Club championship. He tied for 2nd place in the Class A consolation section, won by Marin Harrow.
In 1954, Lombardy took 2nd place in the Manhattan Chess Club championship, scoring 11-4. The event was won by Walter Shipman.
In February 1954, Lombardy of Morris High School won the individual championship of the Interboro High School Chess League. In the league, he won 7 and drew 1.
In 1954, Lombardy played on the Marshall Juniors chess team in the New York Metropolitan Chess League.
In June 1954, Lombardy was one of the wall boys at the USA vs USSR chess match, held at the Hotel Roosevelt in New York. The USSR team won 20 to 12.
In August 1954, Lombardy played in the 55th US Open in New Orleans. He tied for 18th place. Larry Evans (1932-2010) won the event on tiebreak over Arturo Pomar (1931-2016). Both scored 9.5-2.5. There were 110 players in the event.
In September 1954, William Lombardy won the 76th New York State Chess Championship at Binghamton, NY, with a score of 7-2 (5 wins, 4 draws, and no losses). At age 16, he equaled the feats of George Kramer (in 1945) and Larry Evans (in 1948), who also won the New York state title at age 16. He appeared on the front cover of the October 1954 issue of Chess Review, titled "Sweet Sixteen." There were 32 players in the event. (source: Chess Review, Oct 1954, p. 292)
American chess expert Carmine Nigro (1910-2001), President of the Brooklyn Chess Club, introduced Bobby Fischer (1943-2008) to Lombardy, and, starting in September 1954, Lombardy began coaching Fischer in private.
In November 1954, Lombardy played in the Eastern States Open at West Orange, New Jersey. The event was won by Arthur Bisguier (1929-2017).
In December 1954, Lombardy took 2nd in the interscholastic championship of New York City. His only loss was to Edmar Mednis (1937-2002). Mednis won the event, scoring 8-0. (source: Chess Review, Feb 1955, p. 37)
In 1954, Lombardy played Board 1 for the Marshall Chess Club, defeating a visiting team of cadets from West Point and traveling to West Point and winning again.
In January 1955, 17-year-old William Lombardy tied for 1st place with Frank Howard in the 38th Marshall Chess Club championship. Both scored 11.5-2.5 (source: Chess Review, March 1955, p. 67)
In 1955, Lombardy graduated from Morris High School in the Bronx (Hermann Helms wrote that he was a student from Stuyvesant HS — source: Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Jan 20, 1955). Colin Powell graduated from Morris HS in 1954.
In March 1955, Lombardy played in a 4-man qualifying tournament for a spot on the USA team that would play the Soviet team in the USSR in June, 1955. However, he did not qualify. (source: Chess Review, April 1955, p. 99)
In the spring of 1955, Lombardy was ranked #37 on the United States Chess Federation (USCF) rating list, with a rating of 2302. Edmar Mednis was rated 2350. The highest rated player was Samuel Reshevsky at 2766. Bobby Fischer did not appear on the master list yet.
In April 1955, Lombardy played for the Marshall Chess Club in the first division of the Metropolitan League.
In 1955, Edmar Mednis was invited to the World Junior Chess Championship, held in Antwerp, Belgium in June, because his rating was 12 points higher than Lombardy's. At the time Lombardy was New York State champion and Marshall Chess Club champion. Mednis trailed Lombardy on both occasions. Boris Spassky won the event and Mednis took 2nd place.
In August 1955, he played in the US Open in Long Beach,California. The event was won by Nicolas Rossolimo (1910-1975) on tiebreaks over Samuel Reshevsky. Both scored 10-2 and split the prize money, but Rossolimo also got a Buick automobile for first place. There were 156 players. Lombardy tied for 20th place.
In August 1955, Lombardy attended College of the City of New York (CCNY). He was a psychology major there for three years and played Board 1 on their chess team.
In September 1955, Lombardy tied for 4th-5th in the 77th New York State Chess Association championship, won by Edmar Mednis. Mednis defeated Lombardy in their encounter. The event was held in Cazenovia, New York.
In September 1955, William Lombardy, James Sherwin, and Abe Turner tied for 1st place in the San Diego Open. All scored 6.5-1.5.
In December 1955, Lombardy, played Board 1 for CCNY, helped his team beat the Columbia University chess team.
At the end of 1955, Lombardy was rated 2349 by the USCF. Edmar Mednis was rated 1 point higher, at 2350. Lombardy was ranked #24 in the nation.
In 1955-56, Lombardy played in the 2nd Lessing J. Rosenwald Trophy Tournament in New York, but tied for last place. He lost his first 2 games, and then drew the remaining 8 games, with no wins. Arthur Bisguier and Larry Evans tied for 1st place. By playing in the Rosenwald tournament, Lombardy missed the 1955 Intercollegiate Championship, won by Edmar Mednis.
On January 22, 1956, Lombardy won the Greater New York Open on tiebreaks over Dr. Ariel Mengarini (1919-1998), hosted by the Churchill Chess and Bridge Club in Manhattan. Both players scored 6-1. There were 52 players, including Bobby Fischer.
In January 1956, Lombardy tied for 2nd place with Albert Pinkus in the 68th Manhattan Chess Club championship, won by Max Pavey (1918-1957). Lombardy had to finish his schedule early to play in the Students' Team Tournament in Uppsala.
In April 1956, Lombardy played Board 2 (Mednis played Board 1) in the 3rd World Student Team Championship in Uppsala, Sweden. He tied for top 2nd board with an undefeated 7/9 score (won 5, drew 4). He was the best scorer on the USA team. A photo of him playing the Board 2 player of the USSR team, Lev Polugaevsky, appeared in the July 1956 issue of Chess Review, page 196.
In May 1956, Lombardy played for the Manhattan Chess Club in the Metropolitan League.
In July 1956, Lombardy took 3rd at the US Junior Blitz Championship, held in Philadelphia. The event was won by Arthur Feuerstein, followed by Bobby Fischer. Fischer also won the US Junior championship, scoring 8.5-1.5.
In August 1956, 18-year-old Lombardy lost a practice match against grandmaster Samuel Reshevsky (1911-1992) by the score of 3.5—2.5 (5 draws and 1 loss and the last round). The games were played at the Manhattan Chess Club. Reshevsky was in training for an upcoming match with Russian David Bronstein and an upcoming tournament in the USSR, the Alekhine Memorial in Moscow. The Reshevsky-Lombardy match was sponsored by the American Chess Foundation. A photo of Reshevsky playing Lombardy appeared in the September 1956 issue of Chess Review, page 259.
In September 1956, Lombardy tied for first with Larry Evans at the first Canadian Open Chess Championship, held in Montreal. Both scored 8-2 and each won $400. Evans won on tiebreaks, winning the John G. Prentice Trophy. There were 88 players.
In November 1956, Lombardy played in the Eastern States Open Chess Championship, held in Washington, D.C. He tied for 2nd place. The event was won by Hans Berliner (1929-2017). There were 56 players.
In December 1956, Lombardy, playing for CCNY, won the U.S. Intercollegiate Rapid Transit championship, scoring 5-0. Lombardy, playing on Board 1 for CCNY, helped the school take 2nd place in the US Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship, won by the University of Chicago. It was the first time since 1921 that a college outside New York City has won the US Intercollegiate Team Championship. (source: Chess Review, Feb 1957, p. 35)
In 1956-57, Lombardy played in the 69th Manhattan Chess Club championship. He tied for 1st in his semifinal section with Hugh Myers. He had enough point s to qualify in the finals, but did not play.
In January 1957, Lombardy played Board 5 for the Marshall Chess Club in a postal chess match with the National Chess Center of London. He lost both of his games to W. Veitch, but the Marshall CC defeated the National CC by the score of 26.5 to 17.5.
In February 1957, Lombardy played in the Log Cabin Independent Open in West Orange, New Jersey. He tied for 6th place. There were 61 players. The event was won by Saul Wanetick.
In March-April 1957, Lombardy played in his first international tournament, the Mar del Plata International, held in Mar del Plata and Buenos Aires, Argentina. He took 5th place, scoring 11.5-5.5. Paul Keres (1916-1975) won the event. A photo of Lombardy playing Oscar Panno at Mar del Plata appeared in the May 1957 issue of Chess Review, page 131.
In May 1957, Lombardy played Board 1 for the Manhattan CC in the Metropolitan Chess League.
In July 1957, Lombardy played Board 1 on the USA team in the 4th World Student Team Championship, held in Reykjavik, Iceland. He won 5, drew 4, and lost 3 games. The USA team took 5th place. The team consisted of William Lombardy, Edmar Mednis, Arthur Feuerstein, Anthony Saidy, and Robert Sobel. The USSR team won the event, with Tal and Spassky on the top boards.
In August 1957, Lombardy, age 19, became the first American to win the 4th World Junior Chess Championship. He won the tournament in Toronto, held at the YMCA, with a perfect score of 11—0, a record that still stands today. Following Lombardy was the German player Matthias Gerusel and the Dutch player Lex Jongsma. The USSR representative, Vladimir Selimanov, could only manage 4th place. The mayor of Toronto presented him with the first place trophy. His performance at Toronto was the first time an individual world title had been won by an American since the Paul Morphy (1837-1884). Based on his performance, he was automatically awarded the International Master title. Years later, FIDE awarded the clear winner of the world junior championship an automatic Grandmaster title. He held that title until August 1959, when he was too old to defend it. (source: Chess Review, Sep 1957, p. 259)
Lombardy was the first American to win the world junior title. Mark Diesen won it in 1976. Yasser Seirawan won it in 1979, Maxim Dlugy won it in 1985, Ilya Gurevich won it in 1990. Tal Shaked won it in 1997, and Jeffrey Xiong won it in 2016.
In December 1957-January 1958, Lombardy, who turned 20, played in his first US chess championship, held in New York. This was also the 4th Lessing J. Rosenwald tournament and a U.S. Zonal tournament. The event was won by Bobby Fischer, age 14 years and 9 months. Lombardy beat Reshevsky in the last round and won the brilliancy prize for his game. Lombardy took 4th place, scoring 7.5-5.5. There is a photo of Lombardy playing Reshevsky in the last round that appeared in the February 1958 issue of Chess Review, page 35. A photo of Bisguier playing Lombardy in the event appeared in the March 1958 issue of Chess Review, page 78.
In January-February 1958, Lombardy played in the Pan-American Championship in Bogota, Colombia. He tied for 2nd place with Miguel Cuellar, both scoring 14.5-4.5. Oscar Panno (1935- ) won the event.
In March 1958, Lombardy played in the annual Mar del Plata International in Argentina and took 2nd place, behind Bent Larsen (1935-2010). Lombardy scored 11/15 (no losses).
In July 1958, Lombardy played Board 1 for the USA team in the 5th World Student Team Chess Championship, held in Varna, Bulgaria. He won 2, drew 7, and lost 1. At the time, the United States had not diplomatic relations with Bulgaria and the USA team had to get special visas from the State Department for the trip. The USA team took 6th place. The USSR team won the event. A photo of Lombardy playing Bobotsov at the Students' Team Tournament appeared in the October 1958 issue of Chess Review, page 289.
In August-September 1958, Lombardy voluntarily assisted Bobby Fischer as coach and second in the Portoroz, Yugoslavia (now Slovenia) Interzonal. Fischer, age 15, tied for 5th-6th and qualified for the world championship candidates' tournament and thus became the youngest Grandmaster ever. Mikhail Tal won the event. Lombardy wrote an article called "the Happenings at Portoroz," which appeared in the October 1958 issues of Chess Review, page 314.
In September-October 1958, Lombardy played Board 2 (Reshevsky played Board 1) for the USA team at the 13th Chess Olympiad in Munich (played at the Deutsches Museum), with injuries. During the event, Lombardy was in an auto accident, sustained several injuries, suffered a concussion, and almost died. He played 17 games, scoring 11-6, and was forced to sit out two games due to his injuries. He also had to play Board 1 when Reshevsky sat out several games due to religious reasons. The USA team took 4th place. The USSR took 1st place. A photo of Lombardy playing at the Olympiad appeared in the December 1958 issue of Chess Review, page 361.
In December 1958, Lombardy traveled to Cuba with the Log Cabin Chess Club and played Board 1 against the Capablanca Chess Club, winning his games. He also won the Rapid Transit tournament in Havana. A photo of Lombardy in Cuba appeared the February 1959 issue of Chess Review, page 36.
In 1958-59, Lombardy played in the 11th US chess championship (and 5th Rosenwald Memorial Tournament), held in New York. He tied for 4th place with 3 wins, 6 draws, and 2 losse.. Bobby Fischer won the event again. A photo from the event showing Lombardy and Fischer appeared in the February 1959 issue of Chess Review, page 42. A photo of Lombardy playing Benko in the event appeared on page 44. A photo of Lombardy playing James Sherwin appeared in the March 1959 issue of Chess Review, page 75.
In May 1959, Lombardy played for the Manhattan Chess Club in the Metropolitan Chess League of New York City. A photo of him playing the Marshall Chess Club champion, N. Bakos, appeared in the July 1959 issue of Chess Review, page 198.
In August 1959, Lombardy took first place in the U.S. Log Cabin Silver Anniversary Invitational, scoring 7/10. His first place prize was $1,200. The tournament was held at the Log Cabin Chess Club in West Orange, NJ. There were 10 players.
In July-August 1960, Lombardy scored 93% on first board at the 7th World Student Team Championship in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). The team consisted of Lombardy, Ray Weinstein, Charles Kalme, Edmar Mednis, and Anthony Saidy. Lombardy beat Boris Spassky (1937- ) on Board 1. Lombardy won 11 games, drew 2, and lost none as he led the USA to victory over the USSR team by 1.5 points. It was the only time the United States ever finished ahead of the Soviet Union in any team competition. Lombardy won a gold medal for best result on first board in that event with a score of 12—1, and led the team to a Student Team winning percentage of 78.8, the highest winning percentage in the history of the World Student Team Championships. New York Mayor Robert Wagner sent him a congratulatory telegram.
Of interest was that Lombardy's hotel during his stay in Leningrad was near a Roman Catholic Church. Lombardy attended Mass every morning there, and the priest served his Mass.
After Spassky lost to Lombardy, he was left off the 1961 USSR team and was suspended from foreign travel.
In September 1960, Lombardy entered a Jesuit Novitiate, but did not stay for the full 30-day retreat.
In October-November 1960, Lombardy played on the USA team at the 14th Chess Olympiad in Leipzig, East Germany, as board 2. Bobby Fischer played board 1. The other US players were Robert Byrne, Arthur Bisguier, and Ray Weinstein. Lombardy was able to draw against Mikhail Botvinnik (1911-1995). Lombardy won 8, drew 7, and lost 2. After the event, Lombardy was awarded the Grandmaster title.
In October 1960, Lombardy was awarded the title of International Grandmaster. He was one of four players that year named an International Grandmaster. The others were Victor Kholmov of the USSR, Carlos Guimard, and Hector Rossetto, both from Argentina.
In January 1961, Lombardy, age 23, finished second in the 1960—61 U.S. Championship behind 17-year-old Bobby Fischer (who won it for the 4th consecutive time) and ahead of Raymond Weinstein (1941- ). 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, by then, Lombardy enrolled in a Catholic Seminary.
In 1961, Lombardy started seminary training at the New York Archdiocesan Seminary, Saint Joseph's at Dunwoodie in the Yonkers.
He also studied educational psychology at Saint Louis University.
In May-June 1961, at the Zurich International Chess Tournament, Lombardy tied for fourth place with Svetozar Gligoric (1923-2012), scoring 6 .5/11. The event was won by Paul Keres.
In July 1961, Lombardy played Board 1 at the 8th World Student Team Championship in Helsinki, Finland. The USA team finished second behind the USSR. Lombardy won 7, drew 4, and lost no games.
In 1961, Lombardy was ranked #19 in the world.
In 1961, Lombardy reentered a theological seminary and did not play in the 1961-62 US championship.
In June 1962, Lombardy lost a match to Larry Evans in New York by the score of 5 1/2—4 1/2 (3 wins, 3 draws, 4 losses). It was a non-title match for the George P. Edgar Trophy. It was played at the Marshall Chess Club.
In August 1962, Lombardy tied for second with Pal Benko at the 63rd U.S. Open, held in San Antonio. Antoio Medina Garcia won the event.
In September 1962, Lombardy won the New England Championship, scoring 6.5/7. However, he was not given the trophy, which went to the highest placed resident of New England.
In July 1963, Lombardy played Board 1 for the USA team at the 10th Student Olympiad in Budva, Yugoslavia. He won 5, drew 5, and lost 1.
In August 1963, Lombardy won the 64th U.S. Open Chess Championship on tiebreaks over Robert Byrne, both scoring 11/13. The event was held in Chicago. Lombardy also won the U.S. Speed championship. There were 265 players.
In 1963, Lombardy earned a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Philosophy at St. Joseph's Seminary and College in Yonkers.
In January 1964, Lombardy was ranked #3 in the United States, behind Fischer and Reshevsky.
In 1964, the U.S. Chess Federation announced a cross-country tour by Lombardy. Lombardy charged 40 boards for $100.
In 1964, Lombardy was studying educational psychology at St. Louis University.
In July 1964, Lombardy tied for 1st place with Robert Byrne (1928-2013) in the Western Open in St. Louis.
In July-August 1964, Lombardy played Board 1 in the 11th World Student Team Championship in Cracow, Poland. He won 5, lost 5, and drew 3. This was the 7th and last time he had played for the USA team in World Student Team Championships. He played in 1956, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1963, and 1964. During these events, he played 79 games, winning 40, drawing 31, and losing 8. Except for 1956 (when he played Board 2), he played Board 1 for the USA team. He won two individual gold medals 1956 and 1960. He led the USA team to one gold medal (1960) and one silver medal (1961).
In August 1964, Lombardy played in the 65th US Open, held in Boston. He tied for 5th place. Pal Benko won the event.
In July 1965, Lombardy tied with Robert Byrne for first at the Western Open in St. Louis.
In July-August 1965, Lombardy shared first place with Pal Benko (1928- ) at the 66th US Open in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. There were 160 players.
In July 1966, Lombardy took clear first at the Southern Open in Atlanta. He won 5 and drew 2.
In August 1966, Lombardy played in the US Open in Seattle. The event was won by Pal Benko and Robert Byrne.
In September 1966, he tied with Boris Ivkov (1933- ) for second at the 6th Canadian Open, held in Kingston. The event was won by Larry Evans.
In 1966, Lombardy earned a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in Moral Theology at St. Joseph's Seminary and College in Yonkers.
In March-April 1967, he played in Monte Carlo, Monaco. Bobby Fischer took 1st place in the event. Lombardy tied for 6th place.
In May 1967, Lombardy played in the New York Metropolitan League.
In 1967, Lombardy earned a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree in General Theology at St. Joseph's Seminary and College in Yonkers.
In May 1967, he gave his first mass at the St. Francis of Assisi Church in Manhattan.
On May 27, 1967, he was ordained a Roman Catholic priest by Cardinal Francis Joseph Spellman (1889-1967) of New York and remained in the priesthood until the late 1970s.
Other chess members of the clergy included Ruy Lopez, George MacDonnell, John Owen, Domenico Ponziani, Charles Ranken, Arthur Skipworth, and William Wayte. But Lombardy was the strongest chess-playing clergy member of them all.
In 1967, Lombardy was president of the Yonkers Professional Chess Club.
In June 1967, Lombardy was ranked #40 in the world with a FIDE (Elo) rating of 2530.
In 1967-68, he took 2nd place in the 80th Manhattan Chess Club championship, won by Arthur Bisguier (1929-2017).
In 1968, Reverend Lombardy was associated with the St. Martin of Tours Church in the Bronx.
In 1968, Lombardy began working in St. Mary's parish in the Bronx, in a rectory next to his parents' apartment. He also worked under Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1930- ), who went on to become a Cardinal and the Archbishop of Washington from 2001 to 2006.
In July 1968, he played in the 19th US championship, held in New York. The event was won by Larry Evans. Lombardy tied for 5th place.
In October-November 1968, he played 1st reserve for USA in the 18th Chess Olympiad, held in Lugano, Switzerland. He won 5, drew 5, and lost 1.
In November 1968, he played in the National Open in Lake Tahoe. He tied for 2nd. The event was won by Pal Benko. There were 113 players.
In 1968-69, he took 2nd place in the Manhattan Chess Club championship, win by Arthur Bisguier.
In January 1969, Lombardy played in the 31st Hoogoven International at Wijk aan Zee. He took 11th place. Mikhail Botvinnik and Efim Geller tied for 1st place.
In 1969, Lombardy's Elo rating was 2500 and ranked 66th in the world.
In April 1969, Lombardy tied for 3rd with Vlastimil Hort (1944- ), going undefeated at Monte Carlo, scoring 7/11. Smyslov and Portisch tied for 1st place.
In April-May 1969, he played in an international tournament in Zagreb, Yugoslavia. The event was won by Mato Damjanovic. Lombardy tied for 6th place.
In May-June 1969, Lombardy tied for second with Benko and Mato Damjanovic (1927-2011) at Netanya, Israel. The event was won by Samuel Reshevsky.
In December 1969, he played in the 20th US championship, held in New York. The event was won by Samuel Reshevsky. Lombardy took 4th place.
In 1970, Lombardy was ranked #49 in the world with a 2520 Elo rating.
In 1970, Lombardy taught English at Cardinal Hayes High School for Boys in the Bronx. He was a teacher there until 1977.
In November 1970, he played 1st Reserve in the 19th Chess Olympiad, held in Siegen, West Germany. He won 10, drew 2, and lost 2.
In January 1971, Lombardy was ranked #53 in the world with an Elo rating of 2520.
In August 1971, Lombardy (2520) played in the 72nd US Open in Ventura, California. He tied for 3rd place. The event was won by Walter Browne.
In 1971, Lombardy gave a simultaneous exhibition and lecture at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
In April-May 1972, Lombardy played in the US championship, held in New York. He tied for 6th place.
In 1971, Larry Evans was Bobby Fischer's second during the Candidates matches. Fischer wanted a second who would not write about the world championship match with Spassky. Since Evans said that he wanted to write about the match, Fischer "fired" Evans.
At the last minute, Fischer called upon Lombardy to help him with the match (and not write about the match). Although Lombardy was still a priest, he was allowed to take time off from the priesthood to go to Reykjavik, Iceland, to serve as the official second to Fischer. Lombardy says of the event: "Suffice to say, I was the only person on the intimate inside during that Match of the Century...let me point out that there were 14 adjourned games. Bobby [Fischer] and I worked together on those adjourned positions without making a single technical error!... For little remuneration, I dedicated my services in the Icelandic capital to guarantee that Bobby followed through and finished the match victoriously.
On July 5, 1972, another deadline passed for the drawing of lots for colors in the world championship match, scheduled for noon at the Hotel Esja. Spassky appeared, but Fischer did not. He was too tired and wanted to sleep, so he sent his second, Bill Lombardy, to draw lots in his place. When Spassky arrived, he was told that Fischer was sleeping, and that Lombardy was there to draw lots for Fischer. Spassky then refused to draw lots and left the hotel.
During Lombardy's stay in Iceland as Fischer's second, he found time to go and say mass at a Reykjavik church.
After the world championship match, Lombardy asked Fischer to sign Fischer's "My 60 Memorable Games" that Lombardy just happened to have. Fischer signed it, "To Bill. Thanks for your help and patience."
In 1972, Lombardy wrote "Modern Chess Opening Traps," published by David McKay Company. A paperback edition came out in 1978, published by Tartan Books. The book was dedicated to Al Horowitz. The British version of the book was called "Snatched Opportunities on the Chessboard," published by B. T. Batsford in London.
In 1973, Lombardy wrote a "Sports Illustrated" article about the events of the world chess championship match in Reykjavik. Fischer was so displeased with the article and Lombardy, that he did not talk to Lombardy for 35 years.
In 1973, Lombardy, who worked as a priest in the Bronx, left, complaining of unscrupulous pastors who objected to his playing chess. Cardinal Terence Cooke told Lombardy. "Chess is nothing but pushing meaningless wooden pieces across a wooden board."
In 1973, he played at the Internationale La Presse International Open in Montreal, won by Duncan Suttles (1945- ). Lombardy tied for2nd place.
In July 1973, he played in the Quebec Open.
In August 1973, he played in the 74th US Open, held in Chicago.
In October 1973, he competed in the Manila Interzonal and took 5th place. He won the brilliancy prize for his game against Argentine GM Miguel Quinteros )1947- ). His prize for the brilliancy was $1,000.
Lombardy — Quinteros, Manila Interzonal, 1973In March 1974, he played at Olot.
In 1974, he played in the IBM tournament in Amsterdam.
In 1974, Lombardy won the silver medal as first Reserve at the 1974 Nice Chess Olympiad, .5 point behind Mikhail Tal (1936-1992). Lombardy won 9 games, drew 4 games, and lost 3 games.
In August 1974, Lombardy tied for second in the US Open, with 9 .5/12, going undefeated. The event, held at the Statler Hilton hotel in New York City, was won by Pal Benko and Vlastimil Hort.
In February-March 1975, he played in an international tournament in Tallinn, USSR. The event was won by Paul Keres.
In 1975, Lombardy co-wrote "US Championship Chess, with the Games of the 1973 Tournament" with David Daniels and George Koltanowski.
In 1975, Lombardy co-wrote "Chess Panorama" with David Daniels. The paperback edition was published in 1977.
In 1975, Lombardy tied for first with Pal Benko in the Open in Lincoln, Nebraska.
In 1975, Jack Collins wrote "My Seven Chess Prodigies." William Lombardy was one of those prodigies.
In May 1975, he played in an international tournament in Oresne, Spain. The event was won by Bent Larsen.
In June 1975, he played in the 24th US championship, held in Oberlin, Ohio. Walter Browne won the event.
In August 1975, he took 2nd in the 76th US Open, held in Lincoln, Nebraska. The event was won by Pal Benko.
In September 1975, he played in the Alexander Memorial International Tournament in Teesside, England. The event was won by Efim Geller.
In October 1975, he won the Scottish Open in Glasgow, Scotland. His score was 5-1 with 2 draws.
In 1976, Lombardy was on the U.S. team that won a Gold medal at the 22nd Chess Olympiad in Haifa.
In 1976, Lombardy wrote "Chess for Children, Step by Step," co-authored by Better Marshall. The book was later translated into German and Danish. The German edition was a prize-winning book and was acclaimed as "The Best Children's Book."
In July 1976, he tied for 3rd place in the 4th World Open, held in New York.
In August 1976, he tied for 3rd place in the 77th US Open, held in Fairfax, Virginia. Anatoly Lein and Leonid Shamkovich tied for 1st place.
In October 1976, Lombardy played on the USA team in the Haifa Chess Olympiad, which won the gold medal. The other team members were Kim Commons, Larry Evans, James Tarjan, Robert Byrne, and Lubosh Kavalek. Lombardy scored 7 out of 9 and won the silver medal for 1st Reserve Board.The last time the USA team won the gold medal in a Chess Olympiad was 1937. It took another 40 years before the USA would win the gold medal (Baku 2016).
In November-December 1976, he played in an international tournament in Banja Luka, Yugoslavia. The event was won by Vlastimil Hort.
In January 1977, Lombardy was ranked #54 in the world with an Elo rating of 2530.
In the spring of 1977, Lombardy acted as Korchnoi's second while Korchnoi prepared for his match with Karpov in the Philippines. Lombardy assisted Korchnoi in England. Korchnoi offer too little compensation ($5,000) to Lombardy to be his second in the Philippines, so Lombardy declined the offer.
In April 1977, Lombardy tied for fifth—sixth place with 6/9 at Lone Pine Open.
In 1977, Lombardy played in the US Open in Columbus, Ohio. During one of my adjourned games, I asked Lombardy if he could assist me in my adjourned game. He told me that he thought it was unethical for a grandmaster to do that for a Class A player, which I respected. After my adjourned game (which I won) he had no trouble analyzing my games from the tournament.
In 1977, Lombardy moved to a two-bedroom apartment at the Stuyvesant Town complex (12 Stuyvesant Ova Apt 6-B in New York to help care for his friend and coach, Jack Collins.
In 1977, Lombardy left the priesthood and took a job in the insurance business for four years. He renounced his priesthood because he had lost faith in the Catholic Church, which he believed was too concerned with amassing wealth. He was also disenchanted with its leadership in New York and did not agree in the practice of celibacy in the priesthood.
In January 1978, Lombardy was ranked #46 in the world with an Elo rating of 2540. This was his peak Elo rating during his chess career.
In February 1978, he played at an international tournament in Reykjavik.
In April 1978, he played at Lone Pine.
In 1978, Lombardy was attacked near his home in New York by a mugger who had a knife. Tendons in two fingers were severed and he underwent a long operation to repair the severed tendons.
In 1978, Lombardy wrote "Guide to Tournament Chess."
In 1978, Lombardy played in the 23rd Chess Olympiad in Buenos Aires. This was his last Olympiad. He had played in 1958, 1960, 1968, 1970, 1974, 1976, and 1978. In all his Chess Olympiads, he had played 91 games, winning 46, drawing 34, and losing 11, for a 69.2% winning percentage. He won one individual gold medal in 1970 and a silver medal in 1976.
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 March 1979 Lombardy played at Lone Pine, tying for fifth, and winning an upset against tournament favorite (and then World Number 2 player) Victor Korchnoi (1931-2016).
In October 1979, he played in Buenos Aires.
In 1980, Lombardy played in the Mexico City International and tied for 3rd place.
In 1981, Lombardy played at Lone Pine.
In 1982, Lombardy took equal first in Caracas, Venezuela.
In 1982, Lombardy was invited to the Tilburg Interpolis tournament in The Netherlands. He was the Grandmaster of Honor and a commentator at this annual event. His manuscript on the event was written in English, but translated into Dutch as "6e Interpolis schaaktoernooi 1982" (6th Interpolis Chess Tournament).
Soon after, while competing in a tournament in the Netherlands, Lombardy met a Dutch woman, Louise van Valen, who moved to Manhattan to live with Mr. Lombardy in his two-bedroom apartment at the Stuyvesant Town complex. The got married in 1984.
In the early 1980s, Lombardy taught chess to talented youths. His first advice to his students was to "get rich first and later play chess, for then with the ability to pay the rent you will be able to play chess to your heart's content!" But upon deeper reflection he discarded this false teaching since wealth did not guarantee passion for chess and was guided by arrogance.
In 1984, Lombardy considered moving to Iceland, and later regretted that he didn't.
In 1984, Lombardy got married. Lombardy's son, Raymond, was born in 1984.
In March 1984, he played in Grindavik, Iceland.
In March 1984, Lombardy took second place in Neskaupstaour, Iceland, scoring 7/11.
In March 1985, he played in the New York Open.
In March 1985, he played in the Westman Islands near Iceland.
In July 1985, he played in the OHRA tournament in Amsterdam.
In June 1986, he played in the New York Open.
In the late 1980s, Lombardy was teaching a few students chess at $40 per lesson, with each lesson being a little over 2 hours. Other chess teaches not as strong as Lombardy were charging over $50 an hour for chess lessons in New York.
In 1990, Lombardy was technical advisor at the 1990 World Championship match's first half between Karpov and Kasparov, held at the Macklowe Hotel in New York. I met Lombardy again at that event as I was part of the chess press covering the match at the time.
In 1992, Lombardy did extensive work covering the Reshevsky Memorial, sponsored by Milbank Tweed. That work was published only in German by the "Deutsche Schachzeitung."
In 1992, Lombardy's marriage ended in divorce after Lombardy's wife had returned to the Netherlands with their son, who became a civil engineer. He son saw his father only twice after 1992 and they were not on speaking terms.
In April 1994, he played in the New York Open. The event was won by Lembit Oll and Jaan Ehlvest.
In July 1994, Lombardy's last Elo rating was 2455.
In August 1994, he won the Manhattan Chess Club "Game in 45" tournament.
In 1998, Lombardy showed up at the New York Open in New York City. He did not play in the Open, but he played blitz with a few friends. Lombardy was dedicating his time to teaching chess.
In the 2000s, Lombardy was chosen for induction in the US Chess Hall of Fame. He became the only person, before or since, to decline this honor. There was bad blood between him the USCF and the American Chess Foundation that offered little support to him in the early years of his chess career. In his autobiography he wrote, "...My title [US champion] was taken from me by cunning political maneuvers. On a final note, even after winning the Log Cabin U.S. Invitational, the USCF did not secure my Grandmaster title. What a sorry lot. No favoritism by the ACF or USCF there [US championships and grandmaster title]. Numerous other negative events were perpetuated against my person. Why? Who knows... Any wonder that I refused induction into the USCF Hall of Fame?"
In 2004, William Lombardy's brother, Michael, an NYPD sergeant, pleaded guilty to two counts of vehicular assault after hitting two pedestrians crossing an intersection, then drove off. Both victims were in comas and in critical condition after the hit-and-run. Michael was drunk at the time and driving with no headlights on at night. A month earlier, he was arrested on DWI charges. Michael served 4 years in prison.
In February 2006, Lombardy participated in the 23rd annual US Amateur Team West in San Pedro, California. He had 5 draws, 1 loss, and no wins.
In 2007, he traveled to Holland for a special chess celebration.
In February 2009, Lombardy played first board for his chess team in the U.S. Team East championship, held in Parsippany, NJ. He scored 4.5 out of 6. It was his last rated event. His last USCF rating was 2473.
In July 2009, took on Deep Shredder 11 at his home on Stuyvesant Town, which he won in 156 moves.
By 2010, Lombardy was retired from chess and lived in the East Village of New York City, where he focused on his writing and offered chess lessons by appointment.
On March 9, 2010, Lombardy was a guest at the Marshall Chess Club, commemorating what would have been Bobby Fischer's 67th birthday.
In April 2010, Lombardy was a guest speaker at the University of Connecticut.
In early 2011, HBO wanted to interview Lombardy for its documentary "Bobby Fischer Against the World." The HBO producers wanted to interview him gratis, but Lombardy refused the corporation that would make a big profit and had a million dollar budget.
In September 2011, Lombardy wrote and self-published his autobiographical game collection: "Understanding Chess: My System, My Games, My Life." It was published by Russell Enterprises. This was Lombardy's sixth chess book.
In 2013, Lombardy was giving chess lessons at his apartment for $80 per 90 minutes.
In May 2014, Lombardy was served with eviction papers because he was over $27,000 behind on his rent. Lombardy just had a double-hip replacement and had asthma. He also complained of broken appliances, a lack of heat, and forced entry into his apartment.
On September 16, 2015, the American biographical film "Pawn Sacrifice" was released, starring Tobey Maguire as Bobby Fischer, Liev Schreiber as Boris Spassky, Lily Rabe as Joan Fischer, and Peter Sarsgaard as Lombardy. William Lombardy did not like the way he was portrayed and questioned much of the accuracy of the movie. For example, the movie shows Lombardy first meeting and becoming involved with Fischer way later than when he first met Fischer in 1954.
In 2015, he was evicted from his 6th floor New York apartment in Stuyvesant Town after falling on financial hard times. Court records showed he owed $49,000 in rent.
For a brief time, he was homeless (living in a subway station), during which time he was assaulted and hospitalized.
In March 2016, The New York Times reported that Lombardy was embroiled in an eviction battle against his landlord, allegedly being several thousand dollars behind in rent.
In December 2016, Lombardy was the featured guest at the Youth Chess Foundation of Chicago at DeLaSalle Institute. He was also a guest at the Illinois Chess Vets meeting at the American Legion Post in Chicago.
In December 2016, Stephen Plotnick of Chicago offered to take Lombardy into his home in exchange for tutoring his son, Jacob, in chess.
In January 2017, Lombardy was a featured guest and lecturer at the Port of Burlington tournament in Iowa.
In 2017, he was a recipient of the Association of Chess Professionals (ACP) "Veteran Program" award.
In early 2017, Lombardy was hospitalized. He was released in June from a three month stay at Cardinal Cooke rehabilitation hospital on 5th Avenue in Manhattan.
On May 18, 2017, his younger brother, Michael, passed away. He was a former NYPD sergeant. He left no will or insurance and donations were asked towards his funeral expenses.
In August 2017, he visited and was honored at the US Open in Norfolk, Virginia.
On October 13, 2017, William Lombardy died of a suspected heart attack while staying at a friend's house, Ralph Palmieri, in Martinez, California, northeast of San Francisco.
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