California Chess History
HALL OF FAME
by Kerry Lawless
These inductees into the California Chess Hall of Fame have been honored because (in my opinion) they have contributed enormously to California chess during their lifetime. Corrections to posted material are gladly accepted.
ELIZABETH SHAUGHNESSY (1937 - present): This former Irish Women's Chess Champion and Women's Olympic Chess Team member started the Berkeley 'Chess in the Schools' project in 1982. Her concept was to hire strong local players, who were also good teachers, and have them teach chess in the schools; the non-profit program was funded by the parents, as well as by donations. She invented this program model. Since then her program has grown to hundreds of schools and tens of thousands of alumni; which include several GMs and IMs. She has the largest such school in Northern California. Such was her success (and her political acumen), that she was elected to the Berkeley School Board and served very successfully as its President. She was also the president of Cal Chess for several years. In 2010 her Berkeley Chess School received the educator of the year award; and another in 2011. Among the Berkeley Chess School alumni are a world champion under 18, GMs, IMs, FMs and many State and National Champions.
Dr. ALAN KIRSHNER (1938 - present): A professor at Ohlone College and a USCF Local TD, Dr. Kirshner started teaching chess at Weibel Elementary School in 1989, when his son was a student there. In 1991 when he helped form the famous award winning Blue Knights elementary school chess team (taught by Richard Shorman), he was instrumental in its initial location... the Fremont Public Library. He ran the California Grade Level Championships in 1993 and 1995; and the California State Elementary\HS Championships in 1995 and 2000. The USCF awarded him the Volunteer of the Month in 1997. In 1993 he became a CalChess board member. A few years later he became the CalChess Scholastic Chair, which he sat upon from 1995 through 2004. He also contributed many articles and photographs to the CalChess Journal and in 2002 received the Chess Journalist of America award for Best Chess Photograph. Most importantly, however, in 2000 he created the non-profit Success Chess School which since its inception has taught thousands of Fremont elementary school children - chess. In 2005, he ran the California Northern Regionals in San Jose. He stepped down from running the Success Chess School after the 2005 California Northern Regionals ended. Recently in 2006 and 2007, he ran the Scholastic State Championships for CalChess and the profits from the events brought CalChess back to financial solvency. He still continues to teach chess at the Weibel Elementary School.
RICHARD SHORMAN: A chess columnist for the Hayward Daily Review for over 13 years (1967 – 1981), the Fremont-Newark Argus and the Dublin-Livermore-Pleasanton Herald & News (both 1968-1974), he also occasionally ghostwrote a couple of other SF Bay Area chess columns; George Koltanowski's column (early 1960's) and Jude Acers' Berkeley Barb (1972-75). He also proofread and corrected the Jude Acers' column. Co-instigator of that famous SF East Bay legend, the Cherryland Café (1962-1977), Harold James (proprietor and cook) provided the place and a sarcastic wit, Richard provided the chess and a dry wit. In 1972 Richard discussed the Spassky-Fischer Match at Cal State Hayward and did behind the scenes Russian translations of Soviet chess publications for KQED's Friday and Saturday programs on the match. His amazing chess classes at Chabot Junior College in 1974 were very well attended, despite the dense curriculum; Pawn Endings by Maizelis, Masters of the Chessboard by Reti, Chess the Easy Way by Fine were among his required textbooks. He also was at various times, editor of the Oakland YMCA Chess Bulletin (1959-60), Central California Chess Association Publicity Director and League Director, Director/Instructor of the Lera late night chess group for three decades, Hayward Chess Club Instructor/Lecturer, Hayward Chess Club President, Chess in Action Games Editor, Scacchic/Chess Voice Games Editor, Lera Brilliancy Prize Judge for 30 years, Tournament Director-Junior Divisions for Chess Friends of Northern California, and teacher to thousands of SF East Bay adults and kids for over 45 years. Also, was the major photo contributor for most of the Northern California chess magazines since 1968. He has added more games to ChessDryad's CalBase than anybody else. Awarded the title, "Official CalChess Photographer", he is also the official photographer for ChessDryad.com..
RICHARD 'S' LEE (1941 - present): Richard became a chess book and magazine collector during the 1950's and generously donated a large number of rare California chess magazines and ephemera to ChessDryad. He held numerous elected and volunteer positions; including Oakland Chess Club Treasurer (1966-70), Central California Chess Association East Bay Publicity Director (1968) and East Bay Assistant Publicity Director (1969-70), 'En Passant' Chess Problems Columnist (1966-1968), and 'Scacchic Voice' Chess Problems Columnist (1968-1970). Along with R. Ng, he started the 'Chess Press' initially to publish the Oakland CC magazine 'En Passant'; and ended up publishing Richard Shorman's "The Magic Way to Mate with Knight and Bishop, Simplified Through Pictures" in 1970. He also organized and directed the Oakland Chess Club's entry into the Oakland Hobby Show from 1967 through 1971. The Oakland CC's exhibit had Oakland CC's stronger members playing all comers, as well as exhibits of rare chess sets and memorabilia. The yearly event drew hundreds of players and their families from all over the San Francisco Bay Area.
ALAN GLASSCOE (1943-present): Director of the Berkeley Chess Club since 1979, he became an ANTD in 1988. Highlights of his tournament directing include Assistant Director of the 1984 Berkeley US Closed & Women's Championships; Assistant Director of the 1987 American Open in LA; Chief TD/Assistant TD of the Berkeley People's Tournaments for 1985 through 1991, and 1999; and many dozens of other tournaments. He was USCF Regional VP for 1987-1989, President of Cal Chess in 1989, and has been on the Board of Directors of the Berkeley Chess School since 1995. Besides being co-author of the Budapest Defense, Thinkers' Press 1980, he was also associate Editor of the California Chess Journal in 1991. He wrote a famous satirical article comparing himself to Bobby Fischer, because they have the same birthdates (which will someday be reprinted in our article section).
JUDE ACERS (1944-present): A Senior Master who won the World's record, twice, for playing the most opponents in a simultaneous exhibition, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. He was second only to Kolty in the number of simultaneous exhibitions he gave in California; and like Kolty, was a great showman who gave electrifying performances. Over the years, he has received some criticism over how he achieved his senior master rating, but recent results in several senior opens have silenced his critics. From 1972-1975 he wrote his chess column, Chess Barbs, in the Berkeley Barb; occasionally throwing in a juicy chapter of his as-yet unpublished book, On The Road. Without a doubt, the most interesting, non-technical, chess book ever written. In 1975 and 1976, he wrote a chess column for the City Magazine (Published in San Francisco by Francis Ford Coppola.) He also has a website devoted to him, http://judeacers.com/.
MARTIN MORRISON (1947 - present): Became co-Editor (along with Elwin C. Meyers) of the Oakland Chess Club's newsletter En Passant in 1964. Later that same year, he resurrected the Berkeley YMCA Chess Club and was its co-director from 1964 through 1973 (during his tenure, the club roster rose to over 400 members). He was co-Editor of a weekly chess column in the Oakland Tribune. In 1968 he created SCACCHIC VOICE (later renamed CHESS VOICE - official magazine of the CCCA) and was its co-Editor until 1973. In 1968, in was also instrumental in helping create the Central California Chess Association and was elected Secretary at its first meeting. In 1969, he was elected to the post of CCCA Chairman, which he held through 1973. Besides directing most of the official CCCA tournaments from 1968 through 1973; he helped rewrite the USCF Tournament Rules; he was the President of the Association of US Chess Reporters; he was Region VIII Vice-President of the USCF; and in 1972 (through 1975) was elected to the post of USCF National Secretary. In 1976 he was elected Chairman of the World Chess Federation's Permanent Commission for the Rules of Play. In 1977 he was elected as USCF Executive Director. He also found the time to come back to California and was one of the guiding lights behind the Paul Masson tournament and its first Director.
JOSEPH LONSDALE (1947-present): Joe Lonsdale started the MSJE (Mission San Jose Elementary School, Fremont) chess team in 1990 when his oldest son was a third grader at MSJE. From 1991 to 1994, Joe along with Alan Kirshner, ran the North-South scholastic chess matches. In addition to his three sons (Joe, Jeffrey, and Jonathan), there were Micah and Tov Kirshner, Vinay and Harish Bhat, Adam Laschinsky, Jennie Frenklakh, Jordy Mont-Reynaud, and many other scholastic players played on the north team. When the South team travelled to the north, they would stay at Joe's home. MSJE has won more Northern, CA scholastic chess championships than any other school. MSJE won two grade level National Championships, grade five in 1992 and grade six in 1993. The MSJE Chess team has been the most successful elementary school chess team west of the island of New York City. They won the overall National Elementary School Championship in both 2009 and in 2013. At the 2012 Elementary School Nationals MSJE was the only team in the country to finish in the top four in every Elementary school championship section (K-1, K-3, K-5, & K-6). Recently, Joe was instrumental in having a group of his players and coaches meet with IGM Gary Kasparov, former world chess champion. Joe has served several terms on the board of CalChess.
IM JACK (JOHN) PETERS (1951-present): Born John Peters, he changed his name to Jack Peters in 1979. In 1978 and 1979, he was the President of the Professional Chess Association and wrote articles for the PCA Newsletter. The premier California chess column has always been the Los Angeles Times Chess Column; and Jack was the longest running Editor in history...28 years; from September 19, 1982 through November 28, 2010. He was also a co-Editor (1990) and frequent contributor to the Southern California Rank & File magazine.
RAY ORWIG (1954-present): A teacher at Saint Mark's School in San Rafael since 1980, he started Saint Mark's Chess Club and Team in that same year. Over the years the familiar gold-shirted Knights have won nearly 40 State Team Championships and placed in the top 10 at the Nationals a dozen times, including first in junior high in 1990. Saint Mark's has had three individual National Champions, and 11 individual State Champions. Ray was named CalChess chess teacher of the year in 1990. He is a senior tournament director, was CalChess Scholastic Coordinator from 1985 to 1995, and director of the CalChess Scholastic Championships from 1985 to 1994. Ray was a founding board member of the Greater Richmond Chess Association in 1983. He also directed a series of summer scholastic tournaments at East Bay Public Libraries (including the Hayward Library) starting in 1986. Ray has taught chess at the Chabot College's College for Kids summer program, and the UC Berkeley Summer Program for gifted students. He also helped design the chess software program Chess Mates. Ray continues to teach and coach chess at Saint Mark's School.
FM JAMES V. EADE (1957-present): A FIDE Master, original USCF Life Master and Correspondence Master, he moved to California in 1979. He was the chief organizer of the 1995 Pan-Pacific International Grandmaster Invitational tournament; as well as several FIDE Futurities and FIDE norm tournaments. He was the Editor of the Golden Gate Chess News from 1991-1992 and the California Chess Journal from 1995-1996. As the owner, founder and publisher of the California-based Hypermodern Chess Press, he wrote and published Chess for Dummies (1996); one of the best selling chess books of all time. A USCF delegate from Northern California on several occasions from 1994 to 2010, he was also a member of the USCF Executive board from 1996-1999 and a FIDE Zonal President from 2000-2002. Beside being the Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Director from 1997-1998, he also gave weekly chess lectures in the chess room. A chess patron, he donated to many worthy California chess activities; including Berkeley Chess in the Schools and the Mechanics' Institute Chess Room.
IM JOHN DONALDSON (1958-present): Besides being a FIDE International Master, he is a FIDE Arbiter, the FIDE USA Zone President, a USCF Life Senior Master, a USCF Senior Tournament Director, many time Captain of the US Olympic Chess Team, a very prolific chess writer with numerous books and articles to his credit, and the senior chess historian on the Pacific Coast. Originally born in Los Angeles, he moved back to Berkeley in 1998 to assume the role of Director of the Mechanics' Institute Chess Room. He writes a regular online Newsletter for the MICC which includes current California events and California chess history. He also posts many of the games played in the chess club in PGN format. Some of his many California chess history writings are: Alekhine in the Americas (1992), A Legend on the Road (1994, 2005), The Unknown Bobby Fischer (1999), E. Lasker in San Francisco (published in Quarterly for Chess History 6/2000), A History of Mechanics' Institute Chess Club (published in Quarterly for Chess History 7/2001), the book A History of the Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Volume 2 1954-2002 (2003), Philip R. Geffe (published in Quarterly for Chess History 9/2004), Imre Konig (2005), Chess in California (published in Quarterly for Chess History 13/2007), The Life and Games of Frank Ross Anderson 1928-1980 (2009). He regularly runs MICC chess tournaments honoring past California players. Recently he reorganized the CalBase chess game database for ChessDryad and has always been one of the main contributors to the site. He is the premier California chess historian.
TOM LANGLAND (1960-present): President of CalChess from 2007 to present, Tom committed to the completion the non-profit (501c3) status for the organization. Tom also took on the duties of being the Tournament Clearinghouse for Northern California as well as a complete redesign the CalChess website in 2009. The new CalChess website has won the best USCF affiliate website in 2010, 2011 and 2012. By helping to bring several national championships to Northern California, he has earned the USCF National TD certification as well as FA, IA and IO titles with FIDE. Tom has been a director for literally hundreds of tournaments in California, including numerous State Championships. In California, he has been a director at the 2010 US Open, 2011-2013 US G/60, 2011-2013 US G/30, 2011-2013 US Junior Congress, 2010-2013 US Amateur Team Championships, 2011 US Youth Action, including several US Elementary, Junior High and High School championships and two SuperNationals for 2009 and 2013. He mentors several kids and has coached a team to a top 10 result at the US Junior High Nationals. Awarded the Volunteer of the Year 2010 at his children’s School for his efforts, he has also received the county Golden Apple award and was recognized as the USCF Volunteer of the Month for July 2010. Tom keeps his skills fresh by playing correspondence chess, maintaining a top 100 rating in the US, has achieved the Expert Problem Solver title, and is a member of the USCF Tournament Director Certification Committee.
JOHN McCUMISKEY (1961-Present): President or treasurer for the Sacramento Chess Club from 1997 to present. John has been the primary tournament organizer in the Sacramento area since 1998. In the 1990's, John started focusing primarily on directing chess tournaments and becoming a USCF National Tournament Director with an eye toward allowing Northern California organizers to bring national events to the area without the need for an "outside" director. In 2008, John was awarded the title of USCF National Tournament Director. John has been a director or chief tournament director in numerous tournaments in Northern California since moving to California from Alaska in 1985, including both adult and scholastic State Championships. In addition, John has been a director or chief tournament director at several national championships held in California, including the US Junior High Championship in 2007, US G/60 and G/30 Championships from 2011 to 2013, US Junior Chess Congress 2011-2013, US Amateur Team West 2011 to 2014. Even when not directing tournaments, John helps mediate directing issues over the phone. John was a contributor to the editing of the U.S. Chess Federation’s Rules of Chess 5th Edition. John has been a member of the CalChess board several times and is currently a member of the USCF Tournament Director Certification Committee.
FRISCO DEL ROSARIO (1963-present): Chess Expert and popular San Francisco Bay Area chess teacher, lecturer, writer and USCF Director was the only chess teacher, ever, to win the San Jose Mercury News award as teacher of the week. He was Editor of the chess column for the Redwood City Weekly News from May 3, 1989 to June 19, 1991, Editor of the newsletter, 'Burlingame Chess Club Game of the Week', published from January 31 to May 30, 1991 Editor of the official magazine of CalChess, 'California Chess Journal', from January 2001 to December 2003 and the Spring 2010, and Editor of 'SCS Dragon' from Fall 2004 to Spring 2005 (published by the Success Chess School in Fremont.) His 'A First Book of Morphy', published in 2004, was the first and only expository of Richard Shorman's School of Chess. Won the National Chess Journalist of the Year for 2005. In 2010, he published his second book, 'Capablanca: A Primer of Checkmate'. Recently he was Editor of the online San Francisco Examiner chess column from March 3, 2010 to July 31, 2012.
Dr. SALMAN AZHAR (1967- present): A USCF Senior TD, he started a parent volunteer chess teaching program at Granada Islamic School in 2005. It became so popular that he formed the non-profit organization, Bay Area Chess, in 2006. Being a Professor at the University of San Francisco at the time, he decided to organize and direct his first tournament there. Currently Bay Area Chess (www.BayAreaChess.com) has programs in over 50 schools. Since March 2006, he has been one of the most prolific organizers in CalChess history with about 400 tournaments to his credit; with 7% topping 200 players. Among the many scholastic and adult tournaments he has organized, 9 have been national tournaments; 2 U.S. Amateur Team West, 3 U.S. Junior Congresses, 2 Game/60 and 2 Game/30. Bay Area Chess is the only USCF Gold Affiliate on the West Coast!
ERIC HICKS (1969-present): A chess player, award winning writer and highly innovative scholastic chess teacher since his high school days, he first began his official career under the tutelage of Elizabeth Shaughnessy and her 'Chess in the Schools' program. Later, in 1994, he hooked up with IM Marc Leski, moved to Southern California and started his 'Academic Chess' program. His project, the largest scholastic chess organization in the history of California chess, spans 4 states, 1000 schools, and has created over 100,000 successful beginning chess players. Starting in 1994, he found time to serve on the board of CalChess for several years, and was the "calchess.org" site webmaster. His own site, "academicchess.com", is one of the most popular scholastic sites on the web. But, that's not all. He, together with his wife Liina, is also involved in coaching several super-talented children and has produce more than a couple of young USCF top ten champions.
TED CASTRO (1973-present): A USCF Expert, USCF Director, former professor of Philosophy at the De Lasalle University and nationally acclaimed Coach, Ted founded the Fremont based NorCal House of Chess in 2006. He has coached numerous State Champions, National Champions and Medalists (Gold/Silver/Bronze) in various international competitions: North American Youth Chass Championships, Pan American Youth Championship and World Youth Chess Championship. He was the Team Captain of the NorCal House of Chess Team that won the US Amateur Team West Championship in 2013 and 2014. His NorCal House of Chess holds monthly youth tournaments, periodic adult tournaments and has held several International Tournaments; including the 2012 Northern California International. Over the years, he has taught thousands of kids. Former Women's World Champion, GM Susan Polgar, calls him the 'Superstar coach'.
MICHAEL AIGNER (1974-present): A National Master and USCF Life Master, has been a California chess player since 1992. During his tournament career he has won the club championships at Davis, Sacramento, Burlingame and the Mechanics' Institute. He was a member of the Stanford University chess team from 1997-2001, won the Stamer Memorial chess tournament in 2002 and 2006, and the CalChess Masters in 2007. He also found the time to become one of the best coaches and teachers in Northern California; with dozens of top 20 USA students to his credit. Besides coaching multiple CalChess K-6, K-8 and K-12 champions; his kids have won several Nationals, including US Junior, US Cadet and the Denker. The Saratoga High School team, which he coached, won the K-12 States for six consecutive years. His students have, also, won two gold medals at the World Youth, in U12 and U18. Eight of his students broke the USCF 2200 barrier before turning 18, and 4 went on to break USCF 2400. Not being content with these achievements, he shares his teaching methods on his website fpawn.com and local news on his blog fpawn.blogspt.com.
Return to Index