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Walter Harris

True First Series / Walter Harris

Walter Harris

Walter Harris

In the world of competitive chess, Walter Harris is a true legend. He was a contemporary of Bobby Fischer and played the young prodigy as a teenager. In 1959, Harris competed in the US Open becoming the first player of African descent to earn the title of National Master. He was only 18 years old. Despite being one of the foremost players of his generation, the Harlem native was unable to stay in the hotel where the tournament was held because of racial segregation. Harris was the only black player at the elite levels of chess and often felt isolated and alone. Harris abandoned playing competitively shortly after his ground-breaking achievement, studied at UCLA, and went on to a successful career in physics.

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Season:Season Six
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