Profile: Emory Tate (1958-2015)

Emory Andrew Tate Jr. was an American International Master of chess. He was born in Chicago, Illinois.

Chess career

“I never saw him study chess books, ever. He also hated chess computers and never used them. He just sat down and played.” his older son, Andrew, said. Tate’s highest FIDE rating was 2413 on the October 2006 rating list, which made him the 72nd highest-rated player in the United States and among the top 2000 active players in the world. His peak USCF rating was 2499 on the April 1997 list.

Tate earned a reputation as a creative and dangerous tactician on the U.S. chess circuit, where he won about 80 tournament games against Grandmasters. Tate won the United States Armed Forces Chess championship five times. He was one of the highest-rated black chess players. Fellow Air Force veteran and 2003 United States Armed Forces Chess Champion Leroy Hill said: “All the players had street names. Emory’s was “Extraterrestrial” because we thought his play was out of this world.”


Tate was born in Chicago; his father Emory Andrew Tate Sr. was a prominent attorney. He learned to play chess as a child. He had a gift for languages, and was able to speak Russian and Spanish fluently. He served in the United States Air Force as a staff sergeant, where his language skills were invaluable. His son said, “The military taught him Russian. He picked up Spanish and German by accident.” He had three children by his British wife. His older son, Emory Andrew Tate III (known as Andrew) is a notable kickboxer. On October 17, 2015, Tate died after collapsing suddenly during a tournament near San Jose, California.

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