Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Cost of Alcohol

I suppose we've all now heard about what happened to US grandmaster Aleksander Wojtkiewicz - dead at just 43 years of age. There were some chatter on the net that his death was due to alcohol. That's a real pity.

I hope that we can learn a lesson from this. Alcohol is quite deadly. It's a tired lesson but one certainly worth repeating.

Funny, for within a day of the grandmaster's death, this news item came out in the Australian media.

In closing, we would like to quote Australian international master Leonid Sandler. He served as the Aussie women's team skipper at the recent Turin Olympiad. He was also a friend of Aleksander Wojtkiewicz.

I have just learned terrible news of sudden death of my dear friend for some 36 years Alexander(Alex,Sasha) Wojtkiewicz.

We have started to attend chess section of Pioneer Palace in Riga (Latvia) in 1970.Very soon he showed his exceptional talent quickly becoming one of the best junior in the country which he always represented with great pleasure and distinction.These days in Latvia were an exciting times Mikhail Tal,Vladimir Bagirov,Aivars Gipslis,Alvis Vitolinsh,Alexander Koblenc (all deciased) and many others were always happy to help us when juniors playing friendly games ,analising different positions or just talking about game of chess.

Wojtkiewicz always played a lot of games often beating the best representatives of our generation,many of them are top world grandmasters.Unfortunatelly his chess carier come to a stand still because of historical curcumstances.Ethnic pole,Sasha had been always person with free spirit and independent views.In eighties of the last century he become involved with Polish trade union movement Solidarnost and Soviet military authority put him to jail for refusing to serve in army.Only years later when he emigre to his native Poland and later on to USA he was able to continue his chess carier.,and he played,played,played...He won a lot of tournament s,the last one World Open only a few weeks ago.Only about a month ago he rung me telling about his desire to see Chess Olympiad of 2010 in our native Riga,Alex mum still lives there.He was full of plans,ideas and desire to play...And now these terrible news.

Please rest in piece my dear friend Sasha,you will be remembered in chess community around the world.My condolencies goes to Alexanders mum Tamara and his young son and his mother.

IM Sandler made the above announcement in Australia's liveliest chess forum, Chess Chat.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I fully agree with what malejewicz says. Most of the stuff posted on Chess Chat is putrid - seems to be no end of people taking cheap shots at each other.