James Tarjan


James Tarjan was born in Pomona, California in 1952 and as a child was taught to play chess by his father. He began successfully competing in tournaments as a teenager, winning the California State Junior Championship in 1966, the Pacific Southwest Open in 1967, and the American Open in 1968. He became an International Master in 1974 and a Grandmaster in 1976. During the 1970s and early 1980s he was one of the leading US players. He represented the US in the Chess Olympiad five times, from 1974 to 1982, twice winning the gold medal for best individual performance on his board. His best result in a US Championship was second place in Pasadena in 1978. In 1984, he stopped playing tournament chess, going back to school and becoming a librarian. From 1986 until 2013 he worked full time in California public libraries. After retiring, he again became active in tournament chess. At the 2017 chess.com Isle of Man Open he defeated Vladimir Kramnik in their individual game and had a tournament performance rating of FIDE 2671. He currently resides in Portland, Oregon.