|USCF Recognizes Leaders at Awards Luncheon|
|By Randy Hough|
|August 10, 2010|
The awards luncheon is always a highlight of the US Open, with individuals and institutions receiving (often overdue) recognition for their accomplishments and contributions to our royal game. Philadelphia scholastic coach, and former Executive Board member, Steve Shutt again ably served as emcee at the Hyatt Regency in Irvine, California on August 7.
Three US champions were inducted into the Hall of Fame. Two awards were posthumous: late 19th/early 20th century champion Jackson Showalter, and 1948 US Champion and Los Angeles Times columnist, IM Herman Steiner. Descendents of both were present to accept the honor. Showalter’s great-granddaughter Amy is a musician who has entertained our troops in Iraq. Eugene Steiner candidly discussed the difficulty of having a father who was frequently away from home. Alas, shortly after they finally became close during a trip to Europe when Eugene was 16, Herman Steiner died suddenly at 50 during the California State Championship.
Five-time U.S. Women’s Champion Diane Savereide, a successful computer analyst, accepted in person and discussed how chess contributed to her ability to meld abstract and analytical reasoning. Her remarks reinforced the argument about the value of chess in an educational curriculum.
Hikaru Nakamura, present as a spectator at various points during the Open, was named Grandmaster of the Year.
The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, host of the 2009 and 2010 US Championship, is the Chess Club of the Year. The US Chess Scoop captured the two-year anniversary of the club, which took place on July 16, the rest day of the 2010 US Women's and 2010 US Junior Closed Championships.
CCSCSL Executive Director Tony Rich, quoted at the end of the video, was named Organizer of the Year for the second year in a row.
Nashville, which has hosted so many scholastic championships, is Chess City of the Year. Chess College of the Year honors went to El Centro Community College of Dallas. Jon Shacter of Arizona was named Tournament Director of the Year. The Tournament Director Certification Committee, chaired by Tim Just, is Committee of the Year.
Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis founder Rex Sinquefield and the late Phil LeCornu of Chicago received the Koltanowski Medal for their contributions to the organization’s financial health. FM Michael “f-pawn” Aigner of Northern California earned the Frank J. Marshall Award. Steve Shutt himself and the distinguished journalist and organizer Frank Brady of New York won the Distinguished Service Award.
Meritorious Service honors went to Richard “Buck” Buchanan of Colorado, Alan Anderson and Danny Rensch of Arizona, Jim Stallings of University of Texas at Dallas and Dewain Barber of Southern California. The luncheon followed the Denker Tournament opening and closing ceremonies in recognizing Dewain’s longtime involvement as he phases out of the Denker.
The following were recognized for Outstanding Career Achievement: Val Zemitis of Northern California, Hal Terrie of New Hampshire, and Chuck Ensey and Mike Nagaran of Southern California. Jay Stallings of Southern California and John Blackstone of Nevada earned Special Services awards. Jay started Sean’s Fund, which provides financial assistance for families who cannot afford chess expenses; John has worked tirelessly to archive chess periodicals in pdf files.
Scholastic Services awards went to Greg Shahade for his work with the US Chess School and to Elizabeth Shaughnessy’s Berkeley Chess School.
And finally, two Honorary Chess Mates were recognized: in a reversal of usual gender roles, Phil Smith (husband of Director of National Events & Assistant Executive Director Pat Knight Smith, Phil was the behind the scenes computer guy at this tournament); and Joan Schlich of Virginia (wife of NTD Ernie, and also active in her own right).
The annual tribute to award winners always fosters a sense of camaraderie and reinforces the special nature of our royal game. If you know any of these folks, please be sure to congratulate them! See more photos from Zeljka Malobabic the luncheon on Monroi's gallery.