Remembering Emory Andrew Tate Jr : December 27, 1958 – October 17, 2015

By Davide Nastasio

When one dies, he leaves a lot of sadness in the hearts of those who knew him, and considered him a friend. This is surely the case for International Master Emory Tate. But at the same time, I cannot think of a better way to die than doing what one truly loves, and has done all his life. IM Emory Tate died while playing chess in a tournament near San Jose, California. Like a Viking, fighting and dying on the battle field, the Valkyries flew to lift his spirit, and now he is surely visiting other great chess players from history that we all keep in our hearts.

IM Tate had some impressive records. He won the Air Force championship five times. Below is the photo of him while receiving the trophy for winning in 1984, the second time he won that tournament.


In 2006, Tate achieved the third and final IM norm during the 34th edition of the World Open.  At this tournament he gave a glimpse of the great fighter he was; he had already secured the norm, so an average player would have relaxed and finished the tournament with a draw. Tate, however, went on to defeat GM Alonso Zapata.



IM Tate’s favorite book was The Art of Attack in Chess, by Vladimir Vukovic.

Frank Johnson, one of the best Atlanta coaches and tournament directors, remembering IM Tate said: “Emory Tate was the most gifted African-American chess player to ever live. He trained with many players from Georgia, and it was a pleasure to have him as a guest.”

Frank Johnson also proposed the following project to better remember Emory Tate: The Emory Tate Chess Game Collection. If you have any games played by the late Emory Tate Jr. and would like to help us document his legacy, please add them to this link: Emory Tate Chess Microbase Page

Thad Rogers, owner of the former Atlanta Chess Center and tournament organizer, also remembers Emory Tate playing at the Atlanta Chess center when he was a guest for a couple of weeks a few years ago. That was a good period for Georgia chess players, who could greatly benefit from such gifted player.

Let’s remember IM Tate through watching some of his most beautiful creations! Clearly IM Tate’s games present a pattern of queen sacrifices, which show his creativity and aggressiveness as player.




In the next game we can witness another queen sacrifice against another GM!





Even when he is not sacrificing his queen, his games are terribly strong and violent, such as the following example where Tate opens the kingside with the same ease one would open a can with the can opener.  IM Tate also gave a lecture about this game, and thanks to Youtube it is possible to hear his comments on the game: Emory Tate Chess Lecture




Here we have another example of IM Tate taking down another GM level player–in just 24 moves!



The following game is quite useful for learning tactics and combinations. Don’t use an engine to try to discover why the Black player didn’t take some of the hanging pieces at different times that were left en prise.
This game was also commented on by Sabina Foisor in her Youtube channel: In Memory of IM Emory Tate




I’d like to conclude this review of excellent games played by Tate with some games played in our state. The first two games are courtesy of Southeast Chess. They were played last year at the Southeast Chess Open in December.






The next game comes from the now-defunct Georgia Chess Magazine. In 2010, IM Tate played in the Castle Chess GP.




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