John Fedorowicz was born on September 27th 1958 in The Bronx, New York. His early interests included baseball and basketball, chess didn't arrive on the scene till later. A lot of his contemporaries were child prodigies, young masters and the like. He first played chess in grammar school with his friends but they didn't know most of the rules. Castling? What's that and don't even think about en passant.
Real chess occurred in September of 1972 like a lot of players in his generation. The big event was the Fischer vs Spassky World Championship match in Reyjavik Iceland. He lived with his parents and his younger sister Angela in Piscataway, New Jersey back then. He remember flipping the channels on the T.V. ( No remote controls back then or cable.) when He came to channel 13, the educational network. There was this guy ( Master Shelby Lyman) doing commentary on the match with several strong guests discussing the various positions. He found the names of the openings amusing but tuned in for every game. He never realized it, but that was a significant moment in his life.
Several months after the match with some help from his mom he found the Piscataway Chess Club run by Glenn Petersen who later became a good friend and adviser. Like any kid he thought he was good, of course that was a ridiculous notion.
After taking many beatings from players of all strengths he decided to hit the big time. There was a stronger club about 10 miles away from where he lived. The Westfield Chess Club had many strong players so he saved his lunch money and joined up. It was November 1973 that he played his first USCF rated game. The tournament was the club championship and there were different categories. He of course continued to believe he was strong but was still put into the lowest section. Some how he unbelievably went 11-0! which gave him his first rating of 1430. He became a master about a year and a half after and was off and running.
His first trip abroad was to Sweden and Norway with a high school group. That group included future G.M.'s Michael Rohde, Jon Tisdall, and Ron Henley along with a future World Junior Champion Mark Diesen. The trip was alot of fun and the team did very well.
Other trips followed, the National Open in Las Vegas and the famous Lone Pine tournament in California. The Hastings Challengers and the Islington Open rapped up 1976.
In 1977 he got his first FIDE rating, 2480, even he had to say he was very overrated. That rating though got him into the 1977/78 Hastings Premier. There he almost defeated former World Champion Tigran Petrosian with a Jon Tisdall novelty in a Keres Attack. He made a respectable score and this gave him good confidence.
He wrapped up the I.M. title in 1978. The hunt for the G.M. title was long and brutal. Many near misses norms nearly expiring but in the end he made it by the skin of his teeth. The final norm was made at the DubaHe Olympiad where he had a team beat score of 8-2 on board 4. Making the title was a great experience but was tempered by the United States failing to win the Olympiad after leading most of the way.
He is known as "The Fed" or the Rocky Balboa of chess in the chess circuit.
His chess career has had it's ups and downs but what doesn't. He has been been a second numerous times to G.M.'s such as James Tarjan, Tatiana Lematchko, Joel Benjamin, Walter Browne, Nick de firmian and Gata Kamsky. He has gotten 2 Olympic bronze metals, one as a captain, one as a player and one olympic silver medal as a player. Recently he has coached kids teams and was the women's team captain at the 1998 Elista Olympics.
He has won every major U.S. tournament except the U.S. Championship (he is still working on that! or maybe not)
Some people think his win at the 1989 New York Open was his best result. He was ranked 41st and won with a 7-2 score. He has written a book called "The Complete Benko Gambit" and has contributed to every major chess publication.
Nowdays he still plays chess and he is a chessteacher / chesscoach, attending chess camps and writes articles for magazines and gives simuls (monthly) on chessclub.com (ICC) and he is a NY Giants fan!