Saturday, December 23, 2006

Beers with a Champion

Last night, I had a few Christmas drinks with some chess folks in Criterion Hotel. Among us was one Serge Rubanraut. For those who need reminding, Serge was the 1976 Australian Chess Champion.

Serge is still pretty much in good health, thankfully. Even manages to put in a few paid hours of coaching - just for a couple of close friends for now I think. It keeps him busy. You'll also see him at Hyde Park, chatting to old friends and, maybe, play a few games of blitz. I have to say, he's still got some moves even after all these years. Beyond the national championship n '76, Serge also appeared for the Australian men's Olympiad squad in that same year. Here is a nice game against Italy's Andrea Grinza.

In 1980, Serge fronted up for another Australian Championships, this time in Adelaide, South Australia. The man had a very interesting motivation for playing in that event. He was there, he said, to meet "pretty females". (For an excellent round-by-round account of this tournament, see GM Ian Rogers' Australian Chess Into the Eighties).

It's been a while since Serge's last official competitive game. Over the years he's occupied himself with, for instance, writing a book. That one is entitled, Ugly Australian. So far it remains unpublished. He also writes essays and dabbles in poetry. He promised to let me publish one or two of them. That should be interesting.

No comments: