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Spokane Chess History -- where did all this get started?


The modern Spokane Chess Club was formed under the leadership of Dr. Griffith H. Parker on November 18, 1950. Thirty players responded to a newspaper story about Dr. Parker’s interest in forming a club. News stories indicate that chess had flourished in town during the early days of the twentieth century, but the 1950 meeting marked the rebirth of club chess in the city.

The club currently sponsors three major weekend tournaments, two of which date back to the 1950s. The Eastern Washington Open, usually held in mid-September, and the Inland Empire Open, now held in the late spring, have both been around for nearly 50 years. The premiere event sponsored by the club is the Dave Collyer Open held in late February. That event was played for the first time in 1993. The club also participates in the recently revived Spokane Championship match. Other past tournaments have included the Lilac City Open and the Spokane County Open.

* * * * * 

        Long time Spokane chess figure Steve Fabian put together this lengthy (32 page) history of chess in Spokane in early 2012.  Steve's contact information is at the end of the article.  If you have information to fill in some of the gaps, please contact Steve.

   

A Brief History of Chess in Spokane, 1899 to Present

 

by Steve Fabian

 

Spokane Chess and Checkers Club formed Jan. 3, 1899, meeting for election of bylaws Jan. 10, 1899.  Twenty charter members signed up by Jan. 9. Located at 325 Riverside.

 

Oct 1899. Club “revives” after flagging over summer: Initiation fee is 50 cents, monthly dues 25 cents.

Interesting fact: in the first Spokane Championship in Dec 1899, it was a 12-man round robin in one day, 9am to 9pm! R.L. Thompson wins, is first Spokane Chess Champ.

 

1900. There was a Spokane Chess and Checkers Club at 325 Riverside, Frank Middaugh vice-pres, Charles Dixon secretary.

Nov 24, 1900. Newly elected officers were EH Hutchinson, president, E.C. Murphy VP, F.W. Middaugh sec/treas.

Feb 1901. Club moves to 313 and 314 Mohawk Block due to more space and better lighting.

 

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A very early notice for the new Chess and Checker Club in Spokane, January, 1899.  Note the ad next to it for Dr. Norton Davis, who would be the second Spokane chess champion less than a year later.  He forfeited his defending title match, to finish a match he had started for the checkers championship of Spokane.

 

In 1901, and 1902 the Chess and Checkers Club played a club match against the Spokane Amateur Athletics Club (formed in 1896) chess club.  The first match was a tie. R.L. Thomson was first board for SAAC, A.M. Craven for SCC. GW Williams and JF Bolster on SCC team. H.C. Belt. A.D. Campbell, and H.A. Ammann on SAAC’s.

 

May 15, 1902. EH Hutchinson Pres, FW Middaugh Sec

Sept. 8, 1902. At 214 Mohawk block—H.A. Sreva (sp?) secretary

 

Nicholas M. MacLeod, two time former Canadian champ in 1886 and 88, moved to Spokane in 1903. He dies in Spokane, 1965.

 

1910. Spokane-Nelson, BC matches, one in March, one in May.  Both draws. Match via Western Union wire.  MacLeod on board one for Spokane. He won both his games. Other players are J.C. Bird SR., A. Coolidge, John Odson, John Orr, A.M. Craven, A.D. Campbell.  In Dec., the S.A.A.C. chess club, made up of a mixture of the same guys, plus F.W. Palmer, plays Nelson.  James R. Hunnex, formerly of Victoria, is Nelson’s board one—he was involved in an 1895 match victory (via telegraph) for Victoria over San Francisco.

 

1911. Spokane-British Columbia telegraph match, with N.M. Macleod on board one for Spokane.

 

March 9, 1912. Chess and Checkers Club has leased new club rooms at the Carlisle Hotel. 25 members.

 

Oct. 1913. Spokane Amateur Athletic Chess Club challenges Nelson, B.C. to a tournament.

 

Chess clubs disbanded????? When??  Unknown.

 

Fall 1949.  In the Washington Chess Letter a Spokane Chess Club is listed as meeting at the YMCA, R.W. Kromer as club contact.  There is also a Gonzaga team, which plays and beats a Washington State College team.

 

Early 1950.  Dick Greenwood, Spokane; Len Bogart, Spokane; Larry Adams, Spokane; Dick Murphy, Cheney; Lester Greenwood, Spokane, play a match against British Columbia in Colville.

 

A newspaper announcement by Dr. Griffith Parker about interest in forming a chess club is printed Nov. 1950.  A meeting takes place. 25-30 players show up. Logistics discussed. A four man leadership group including Griffith Parker and F.R. Salter is set up.  Salter, about 80, played at the Spokane Chess and Checkers Club fifty years earlier.

 

Jan. 17, 1951, officers elected for the new Spokane Chess Club.  Dr. Griffith Parker is the first president, and served through September of 1959.  Club meetings or “seasons’ were approximate to the school year, starting in Sept., with summers off.

 

Early 1951. The first club championship held, with high-schooler Richard Greenwood a surprise winner.

 

1952-53 “season” (roughly the school year) the club plays at the Spokane Hotel. The club moves around quite a bit, never having the same venue more than a few years in a row, until 1983 to present at Gonzaga.  Even within Gonzaga, the club has had half a dozen locations.

 

In late ‘52, Richard “Dick” Totusek (pronounced Toe-ta-sec) and Griff Parker were the first from Spokane to subscribe to the “Washington Chess Letter”, a monthly newsletter of chess events, results, happenings, started in 1947 in the greater Seattle area. Eventually this would turn into “Northwest Chess” magazine, the longest continuously published state chess publication in existence.  Totusek would go off to Georgetown for doctoral studies, but eventually return.  He made a living for a while in the early sixties as a classical pianist in a Spokane nightclub. Besides being a chess player for years, he served for several years as club secretary, then president, in the 1970s Inland Empire Chess Club. He also would donate his business site (H&R Block franchise) for club use, both as a temporary club site, and for tournaments.

 

1953.  First of at least six Gordon Cornelius club/city championships.  We say “at least” because there are a couple years in the early sixties we don’t have records for.

 

1955. With preregistration of about 16, unexpectedly 42 show up on a Jan. 13 for the Spokane city championship.  Newspaper articles were the supposed culprit at bringing in such a large crowd.  Leon Svensson and Gordon Cornelius tied for first.  Svensson won a playoff match for the title. Format was two games a night for three weeks, so 6 games total. Registration was $1.50 each.

 

The April Inland Empire Open had forty players, establishing a new record for a Washington state major tournament.

 

Dr. Parker writes of the Inland, “The new Coons System of pairing was used for the first time in the state and worked fairly well.  The entries were divided into 4 separate groups, according to known or estimated playing strength.  Players in the same group were paired in the first round.  This assured the stronger players they would not meet a very weak player and lose out on tie-breaking points as a result.

In the second round, players in groups one and two were paired by equal scores.  The same was done for the other two.  The third round brought one and three together and two and four.  After the third round the groupings were ignored. 

 

From the social angle, the banquet Saturday night was a welcome respite form the rigors of chess.

The final two rounds on Sunday were played in the luxurious quarters of the University Club atop the Ridpath Hotel.”

 

Dan Wade adds:  “In the last round, Warner offered a draw to Wade in a complex position mistakenly believing he would win the tourney on tie-breaking points.  Wade also believed this was the case so refused the offer.  If he had accepted, both he and Warner would have finished with 5-1 scores and Wade, not Warner, would have won the tournament on tie-breaking points!!! You can well imagine the soaking a large towel would have received after the facts were made known! Wade got into serious time trouble in his search for a winning line and missed making his 40th move just a tick after his flag fell.  Ironically, it was the only game where clocks were used.”

 

Arturo Pomar, IM (now GM), former champ of Spain simul Dec. 55.

 

Griff Parker, about Jan. of 56, elected Permanent Club Director with the power to appoint club board members. The 58-59 will be his last season as president, though. Technically he was still president until Sept. 59.

 

1956, April.   Viktors Pupols wins his first Inland Empire tourney. Also that month, Spokane’s Dr. Parker elected Washington Chess Federation president.  Besides reportedly being a pleasant guy, he seems to be organizing chess well in Spokane—so how about the state? The club is meeting every Thursday evening at the Desert Hotel in downtown Spokane.

 

Oct. 1956 Washington Open in Spokane.  Russell Vellieas wins.

 

Sammy Reshevsky simul May 5th 1957. He wins all thirty-six games.

 

1957. Dave Groenig, an obstetrician and amateur singer and clarinet player, arrives from Boise.  He is a strong and active chess player.

 

In ‘57 Spokane club membership was $5 which included a membership/subscription to the Washington Chess Letter.

 

Late Sept. or early Oct. 59. Robert (Bob) Kittredge, a railway mail clerk, elected club president. He had played in all the Inland Empire tourneys up until then, and was previously club VP and treasurer, and directed a tourney or two. He serves as president for seven years.

 

1959. Dave Groenig wins the first of at least seven club championships.

 

1959. Inland Empire tournament TD Groenig using “Harkness” (USCF) pairings instead of lottery pairing as in previous events.  No time control, but must finish within 2 ½ hours or face adjudication. Olaf Ulvestad is winner.

 

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January, 1960 picture of club members.  The balding gentleman playing is Dr. Griffith Parker, first president of the Spokane Chess Club in 1951, and president until September, 1959. You can’t see it well, but he is smoking a pipe. Standing second from left, in the striped shirt, is Bob Kittredge, current president of the club when the picture was taken, and president for seven years.  Sitting on the far right is Tom Meade, who played occasionally for several decades.

 

 

 

 

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Gordon Cornelius, six time Spokane Champion from the fifties and sixties, in April of 1960.

1960. The first Lilac tournament flopped.  Advertised as a 4th of July three day with guaranteed prizes, only 16 showed up.  They changed it at site to a two day, and lost money paying out the prizes.

 

Description: Untitled:DCIM:100OLYMP:ashley.jpg

April 1960 photo of Frank Ashley of Spokane, and James McCormick of Seattle at the Inland Empire Open. The two standing on the right are Bob Kittredge, club president, and N.M. MacLeod, about age 90.

 

 

December 1960. First club speed tourney won by Gordon Cornelius with 10 of 11.  Used “ten second” rule.  This is an early speed chess rule, before the widespread use of chess clocks.  One person is the timekeeper for all the games.  Every ten seconds a chime is rung (or the timekeeper yells “time”) and all players have to move immediately.

 

Summer ‘61.  The club manages to stay open all summer.  First time for that? The club was closed summers all through the fifties.

 

Feb 1962.  County Championship tourney begins.

 

March 1962.  37 paid up members.  Club meetings Thursday evenings at the YMCA, W. 921 Main.

 

1964.  James McCormick wins his first Inland Empire tourney.

 

1966. November.  Meeting at YMCA W. 829 Broadway.

 

1967.  Pat Herbers of Spokane wins State Jr. Championship

 

An Inland Empire Chess Club is started in Spring of 1968 by Dale Puryear of Spokane. How long this first IECC lasted is unknown, but for a while in 1968 it met at the Puryear home and even had a match against the Spokane Chess Club.  Puryear reportedly got divorced and moved, and the club name went with him.

 

No Spokane reports in NW Chess from 67 to 9/69, when a Jim Hanlen report shows up, mentioning speed tourneys in July with M. Leonard, Jim and Rich Hanlen, Stu Pearson, J.B. White, Pat McEvoy.  At least part of the time in the late sixties the club is meeting in homes, including Chuck Adams’, Mel Leonard’s, Dave Groenig’s, and others. It also met at the YMCA and YWCA.

 

Herbers simul at Gonzaga Oct. 27, 69.  He attempts to break the Guinness world record for chess playing, thinks he does, but finds out later someone else had beaten him to it.  Club meetings are at the Gonzaga Ad building, room 132, Friday evenings.

 

Peter Torkar from Yugoslavia plays in first US tourney, the Nov. 69 Spokane County held by the Spokane Chess Club.

 

March 1970.  Lilac tourney reestablished.  Advertised as “First Annual”.

 

1970.  Inland Empire Open draws 62, helped by money put up by John Torkar.  His brother Peter, Victors Pupols, Dennis Waterman, and George Krauss of Tacoma tie for first.

 

Jan. 71. Melvin Leonard is Spokane Chess Club president. The Spokane Chess Club, which had been meeting at Gonzaga Univ. since 1969, moves into new site at Coeur d’Alene Hotel. The club is no more within four months, due to competition from a new club.

 

March 13, 1971. Organizational meeting for a new chess club separate from the Spokane Chess Club, called the Inland Empire Chess Club, occurs at 119 Bernard, the Suki Yaki restaurant.  Richard Crane, Wayne Kelly, Mel Leonard, and Dick Totusek are among those present—there are five or six in total. It isn’t known who, exactly, called the meeting, or exactly why it was thought a new club would succeed or was needed, but Richard Totusek and Peter Torkar had been talking of the possibility of starting a new club for awhile, and it appears to be their idea--Dave Groenig may have been part of the early discussions. Peter got his brother John enthused about the idea, and John became the first treasurer.  Certain individuals wished, in light of the “Fischer boom” that was increasing chess interest in the country, to start their own club with more meeting days, longer hours, and more ambitious tournaments, an idea that had been somewhat successful in other cities.

 

The planning sheet brought to that first meeting, which still exists, and is in Totusek’s handwriting, suggests an initiation fee of $25 for the first 100 charter members.  One hundred was a lot, very optimistic, and $25 was fairly hefty for 1971. The planning sheet is added to during the night, and juniors are given a break to $15. The next month the initiation fee is clarified to $5, memberships to adults $25. There is a note on the sheet that all five (present?) start accumulating membership pledges.

 

Although the first planning sheet doesn’t mention how many times a week to meet, the first announcement of the I.E.C.C. in Northwest Chess in April mentions a playing schedule of six days a week, which didn’t last very long. On Sprague Ave. at the end of the year the club met evenings twice a week, Sunday afternoons, plus Monday once a month for a speed tourney.

 

March 17. Another meeting of I.E.C.C. is held. Officers are elected, although it’s not clear if at this meeting or the previous. Peter Torkar is the first president, his brother John is treasurer, Crane is tournament director, Kelly VP, and Melvin Leonard the first secretary. Within the next month Leonard divorces and moves out of town, and Dick Totusek takes his place.  A location is soon obtained at 1818 and ½ E. Sprague.

 

April 23-24-25—Jude Acers simul, and Inland Empire Open held under the new Inland Empire Chess Club associations at the new club site, which has borrowed furniture from Totusek.  Pat Herbers (1932) wins 5-0, beating George Krauss (2242) from Tacoma in the last round.  Peter Torkar (2085), Dave Groenig (2054) and Doug Adams (1945) tied for third.  VP Kelly stops showing for club meetings and resigns his post after this weekend.

 

May 5 I.E.C.C. meeting. Spokane Chess Club called “former club”.  I.E.C.C. membership at thirteen, all adults. Chuck Adams, former treasurer of S.C.C., is not releasing the former SCC’s funds; he insists the funds be used for junior players’ membership initiation fees in the club. Doug Adams fills a VP vacancy. Newspaper publicity for the club was suppressed regarding the Inland Empire tournament results, due to the upset winner, Pat Herbers, not being a member of the IECC; the correctness of this decision was discussed with no conclusion finalized. The club lost .75 on the Acers simul, and made $11.00 on the tournament. Acers would make one more appearance in Spokane in the seventies, in ‘77.

 

December. The 1818 Sprague club room had little to no heat from Oct. 22 to Dec. 21 1971, due to a broken oil furnace. Paid club members during winter of 71/72 number twenty-seven. Peter Torkar resigned as president before September, and his brother soon will resign as treasurer.  The club didn’t turn out as successful as the Torkars thought it might.  However,

old hands of the Spokane Chess Club are integrating

themselves into the I.E.C.C.  Doug Adams, active in the

SCC, has a stint as president after Torkar, and James White, former officer of the SCC, will follow after Adams resigns in early 1972.  Totusek continues on with the club and will be president after White.

 

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Dr. Dave Groenig, standing at left, also sang lead tenor for the Spokane Choral Society while winning five straight Spokane chess championships 1966-1970. This picture is from December 1971.

 

Jan 72.  Spokane County Closed determines city championship.  Gordon Cornelius, David Groenig, Richard Hanlen, Patrick Herbers, Allen Sackett, Peter Torkar, James White compete.  Torkar and 19-year-old Hanlen tie; Torkar wins a playoff 3 and ½ to ½.

 

Sept 1972. Club moves into Press Club. This will be the first of two stints there.

 

Description: :torkar

 

 

Although not a high quality picture, this shows Peter Torkar on the left, and Dick Totusek in July of 1972.  They and several others started the Inland Empire Chess Club in 1971.

 

1973. First club/city championship via match play tried, but ends in a forfeit win for Richland Hanlen when Peter Torkar doesn’t finish the match.  There are several forfeits in the six years of this try.  58 paid members in April.  Chess is doing well across the country, and many tourneys are put on in Washington in 1973.

 

December.  Chess Club president Totusek is also the president of the Spokane Opera.

 

1974.  An active, yet hectic year.  There were 58 paid members in June. Torkar beats Rich Hanlen in city championship 5 ½ to 2 ½.  Jim Hanlen and Pat Herbers tie at H&R Block Open in April, with Torker third, and Ray Fasano 9th.   But Fasano of Republic is on fire with wins at the Inland Empire (tie with Francis Kirkpatrick), Lilac (5-0), Caissa Open in August (5-0).  The Lilac had the strongest field of the three. Ron Deike won 5-0 at Spokane Summer Open, Fasano 5th. There is also a nice chess tourney held in concurrence with the ‘74 world’s fair, which the club had been planning for all year.

 

George Priebe, who was club secretary for a bit in the late 50s, directed most of these tourneys, including the world fair effort, with Ed Rodriquez doing one. George got a bit overwhelmed getting the tournament reports in on time (a couple months late) and switched to club treasurer part way through the year, and began directing less.

 

Uneven usage of the two rating systems continues. Some years have been USCF only, others NW ratings only, some both. NW ratings used in the April 74 tourney, while both NW and USCF used in May.  This will not stabilize until about 1984, when only USCF are used from then on in Spokane.

 

President Richard Totusek suddenly quits in July, citing personal difficulties, and Eric Berman, VP, takes over, voted in as president in August.

 

Despite its tournament activity level, the club moves several times during the year, starting at the Press Club downtown, then moving to H&R Block on Division, then the Pine Shed restaurant on Division, then the East Side Youth Center, then in November to a different floor in the same East Side Center.

 

1975. End of the “Fischer boom”.  End of the Fischer bubble, a lack of tournament directors, and low nonguaranteed prize funds contribute to an abysmal year for tournament chess in Spokane. The Lilac Open in May attracted only seven players, the Monarch in Sept., nine.  Eastern Washington Open Oct. tourney attracted only eight players, plus the tourney director, Duane Polich, a college student in Spokane at the time; it was changed to a one day and Allen Thompson won. Club articles of incorporation are filed.

 

1976.  Ferris high school team wins state championship for 75-76 school year.  Allen Thompson, Steve Rowles, Dave Rowles on boards one, two and three scored 4 ½, 5, and 5  (of five).  These three young men were regulars at the Inland Empire Chess Club in their high school days. Bill Pernsteiner and Steve McLachlen were also on the team, each playing occasionally at the club. 

 

1978. The club is in financial straits in January, only able to pay its bills after a last minute membership drive increases coffers. Steve Wilson over Jon Hayenga in last match for club/city championship until 2001. From 1979 to 2000 a club championship tourney would determine the club championship/city champion. 

 

Rod Stackelberg moves to Spokane from Vermont.

 

December 1979.  Club checking account below ten dollars, although it had been at zero at least once in the previous two years. Club is meeting for second stint at the Press Club downtown. About 22 members.

 

Early 1980.  “Revitalization” of club.  Angel Cory produces a well-written and professional looking newsletter that helps bring in new members. Club coffers increase.

 

Dave Collyer moves to Spokane, Aug 80.

 

September 1980.  44 members, many of who signed up in February, March, and April.

 

January ‘83.  Begin playing at Gonzaga faculty lounge, Rod Stackelberg, a history professor, as club faculty liaison.  Begins 30 year association of club with Gonzaga.

 

Fall 1984.  Name of the I.E.C.C. is changed to Spokane Chess Club, mostly for marketing purposes—Spokane is shorter than Inland Empire and more to the point. Steve Fabian, club president, Rod Stackelberg, treasurer.

 

July ‘85. 23 paid members. Club continues to stay in the black in the mid-eighties, although budget is a bit tight. Sufficient new members are showing up and staying to make up for those who leave, but the limited number of tables (seven including a coffee table) at the faculty lounge makes positive growth difficult. The number of tourneys in the mid-eighties increases significantly from the early eighties, although most are one day affairs attended by a small group of rabid enthusiasts.

 

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Phil Heikinen on left, club champion in early eighties, as well as club president for a year.  Steve Rowles played at the club in the midseventies as a high schooler and was on the Ferris high school championship team in early 1976. He played again after college for several years in the eighties. Photo from winter 84/85.

 

 

 

 

1986, May 9, 10, 11.  Jr. High Nationals in Spokane. Art Glaser was the moving force getting it to Spokane.  His son Vern was a junior high player who often played in club tournaments.

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Chess awareness events were occasionally held throughout the history of Spokane chess.  This was from an October 1986 “simul” in Riverfront Park to promote chess.  Bill Phillip is on the left in the reddish plaid.  Bill played in the mid to late eighties, served on the club board, and for over a year lent his business building in Cheney for a series of once a month tournaments.  The tourneys were run by Steve Fabian, with the blue plaid shirt.  Fabian was club president for three years in the mid-eighties.  He is playing Art Glaser (far right), who came up with the idea and was the main mover/shaker of the 1986 Junior High Nationals in Spokane.

 

 

May 14, ’86.  John Donaldson lecture and simul.

 

Curt Collyer played 7/30/88, in two tournaments run by his dad. The future master was still three, although his fourth birthday was in a couple weeks.

 

Dec. 90.  Kevin Korsmo moves to Spokane, begins playing at the club a month later.

 

4/8/92.  Georgi Orlov simuls, camp, and private lessons over several days.  Orlov’s rating was just below 2600 at the time.

 

Summer 92? Move from faculty lounge. After a couple of temporary rooms in the summer, while the west wing of the Ad building is remodeled, club moves into Gonzaga Ad 101, which has room for about twenty chess boards.

 

May 1993.  Gary Younker puts on a weekend tourney he names for Dave Collyer, who died the previous December.  Younker is the main “mover and shaker” of club through the rest of the nineties, and unofficial czar, appointing (and cajoling) others to serve terms as club officers, including presidential stints. No one seems to complain about the Younker efforts.  “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.”

 

Nov 93. Larry Evans lecture and simul.

 

2000. Gary Younker convinces IM John Donaldson (an old friend of Dave Collyer’s) to come for the Collyer Memorial tourney.  The following year, the IM's visit includes a lecture and simul; this attracts some stronger players to the tournament.   

 

2001. Another strong showing for the Collyer Memorial tournament.  Donaldson, Corey Russell, Carl Haessler, Viktors Pupols, Greg Nowak, Luis Rodriguez, Curt Collyer, Steve Merwin, are all at least expert, while the first four are strong masters. Nowak upset Russell to tie Donaldson for the title, while John drew with Curt. Sixty players total.

 

 

 

 

Description: :younker.jpg

 

 

Gary Younker making announcements at the 2000 Dave Collyer Memorial Tournament at Gonzaga Ad 101, just before the last round.  Dave’s son Curt is on stage at far left with the ponytail.  To the right are Mike Franett, Seattle master (and winner of the Inland Empire Open forty years earlier), and, with head in hand, Carl Haessler, several times Oregon state champ, who won the tourney.  Long time Spokane player and former club champion Dave Rowles (with full head of brown hair) is sitting in front of Younker, partially obscured.

 

2001. Playoff for city championship begins again.  Dave Rowles and Dawn Fields, initiators. Curt Collyer beats Pat Herbers 4-0.  Gary Younker passes away from cancer on May 12, 2001.  There were three dozen chess players present for his memorial service, which overflowed the site.

 

2002.  With Gary Younker deceased, Kevin Korsmo runs a successful Collyer Memorial.  Korsmo (president) and Steve Merwin (Treasurer) form the Gary Younker Foundation to promote chess in the Inland Empire.  Jeremy Younker serves as vice president.

 

May 2002. New constitution voted in, necessitated by the Gonzaga club administrator. Officers to be voted on yearly in May by members present.

 

Dave Sprenkle, a master, moves to Spokane in 2003. Wins seven city championships before he moves to Michigan.

 

2009.  Washington Elementary Championship played in Spokane for first time April 25.  There are 1061 players.

Washington Open in Spokane for second time May 23-25. Donaldson wins it.

 

2012.  John Donaldson gives talk, simul, and plays in Collyer tournament for thirteenth time in row. 64 players at tournament, one for each square on the board.

 

Description: :korsmo2.jpg

 

Kevin Korsmo at the 2000 Dave Collyer Memorial tourney.  Since 2001 Korsmo has served several stints as president, and has organized and directed the club’s biggest tournament, the Collyer, since 2002. He also has been the Spokane Chess Club webmaster. Bill Morkill is on Korsmo’s left.  At the other table, from left, are Stephen Buck, Dan McCourt, and a fuzzy and obscured Luis Rodriguez.

 

Known club/city champions:

 

Dec. 1899 Dr. RL Thomson

Dec. 1899 Dr. Norton Davis wins a challenge match, “outlawed” after this

May 1900 Charles Dixon over Davis

 

1951 Richard Greenwood

1952 no contest

1953 Gordon Cornelius

1954 Gordon Cornelius

1955 Leon Svensson won playoff over Corn.

1956 Gordon Cornelius

1957 Robert Higginson

1958 Gordon Cornelius

1959 David Groenig 

1960 Gordon Cornelius

1961 David Groenig

1962 Gary Rader on tiebreaks over Groenig  

1963 ?

1964 ?

1965 Gordon Cornelius

1966 David Groenig

1967 David Groenig

1968 David Groenig

1969 David Groenig

1970 David Groenig

1971 Peter Torkar

1972 Peter Torkar (tied for first in  the Spokane County Closed with R. Hanlen, won playoff 3 ½ to 1/2 over Rich Hanlen)

 

Prior to 1973, the club/city championship is won either by winning the “City championship”, an open tourney; or, later, the City Championship or County Closed closed tourneys, only open to invited players. Starting in ‘73, the defending champion is to play the winner of the County Closed in a match to decide the championship.

 

 

1973 Rich Hanlen by forfeit over Peter Torkar

1974 Peter Torkar with win over R. Hanlen

1975 Allen Thompson wins by forfeit over P. Torkar The 200 dollar prize was returned to the sponsor, HR Block (i.e. Totusek)

1976 Allen Thompson

1977 Steve Wilson forfeit win over Allen Thompson

1978 Steve Wilson match win over Jon Hayenga

 

In 1979, a six round club championship tourney, held on successive club dates, chose the “club champion” in lieu of other championships. Dates and names 1979 to 1991 are not all known.

1979 Pat McEvoy?

1980 Rod Stackelberg?

Phil Heikkinen—year(s)?

Mark Campbell—year?

Steve Hall—year?

1983 Rod Stackelberg?

1984 Rod Stackelberg

1985 Dave Collyer

1986 Rod Stackelberg

1987 Ben Fitch

1988 Dave Collyer

1989?

1990 Tie Dave Collyer, Dave Rowles

1991?

1992 Bill Morkill

1993 Adolf Rottman

1994 Charles Steinhauer

 

1995-99 2 championships a year

 

1995 Winter  Dave Rowles

1995 Fall        Nathan Fewel

1996 Winter  Levon Varosyan

1996 Fall        Levon Varosyan

1997 Winter  Deon Goodwin

1997 Spring   Nathan Fewel

1998 Winter   Brad Bodie

1998 Spring   Martin Oganov/Brian Comer

1999 Winter  Brad Bodie/Gary Younker

1999 Fall         Curt Collyer

2000 Curt Collyer/Brian Comer

 

City championship (match play)

 

2001 Curt Collyer

2002 Curt Collyer

2003 Curt Collyer

2004 David Sprenkle

2004 Sprenkle

2005 Sprenkle

2006 John Julian

2007 Sprenkle

2008 Sprenkle

2009 Sprenkle

2010 Sprenkle

2011 Julian over Michael Cambareri (vacated title, Sprenkle moved)

 

History compiled by Steve Fabian, c 2012. For additions to the list of club/city champions, or chess clubs in Spokane 1913-1949, contact Steve at fabes59 @yahoo.com.