Monday, May 24, 2010

"Old Man of Aussie Chess"

When Smyslov died a couple of months ago, one of my friends asked as to who is now the oldest living former World Chess Champion. Must admit, I had to think hard about that one.

I was reminded of that because in my hot little hands is a copy of Brian Jones' "Australian Chess" magazine. In the back pages of the current issue is a nice tribute to Garry Koshnitsky, written by Robert Jamieson and Glen Gibbs.

Their first line reads: "Garry Koshnitsky MBE, the 'Grand Old Man of Australian Chess' was born Garrick Semienovich Koshnitsky on 6 October 1907 in Vilnius, Lithuania (at the time part of the Russian Empire)."

There it is again, "Grand Old Man of Australian Chess". I called Lloyd that, taking my cue from Peter Parr. Which makes me wonder: is that some sort of monicker that's given to the oldest bloke on the Aussie chess scene? If so, who is today Australia's Grand Old Man of Chess?


Anonymous said...

Phil Viner? Fred Flatow?

Anonymous said...

I think the question is rather subjective. What do you define as a chess player? I know heaps of old club players who are in their 90's. But if you define a chess player to be as good as Fred Flatow or Phil Viner then these guys would have to be it. The oldest living former world chanpion is a very objective question and rather easily answered It is Boris Spassky

Denis Jessop said...

Don't forget Wolfgang Leonhardt who, at 81, has an ACF rating of 1917!!
(the marks are part of the rating showing he is still an active player)

He has lived in WA all the time so Eastern Australians have probably forgotten him.


Unknown said...

How about the grand old woman of Australian chess, Nell Van De Graaff? We hope she will be playing in the Gold Coast Open just a few weeks shy of her 95th birthday. She reckons she is playing better now than she was 10 years ago! GG