Many members know that Norm Greenwood rarely resigns a game, and rue losing or drawing what they thought was a safe win.
After long service to our club Norm has stepped down from his role on the committee. We thank Norm for his hard work over many years.
He has written the following letter to members.
It is now time to call it a day as a committee member of Norths Chess Club. I want to avoid hearing the old saying ‘there’s no fool like an old fool’ applied to me.
It was my mother who taught me to play chess. She had played with her invalid father during the First World War and I still have the over 100-year-old set that they used.
I joined Chatswood Chess Club (now our Norths Chess Club) in the late 1980s. It was at a low ebb compared to St George; a win in the Big Board was a rarity. However it was on a sound financial footing through fees from juniors, generated by activities run by Steve Garner. Only a few members acted on the committee.
It was not long after I joined that I was asked to take over as Treasurer from Ian Trott. Computers were primitive compared to today’s. In fact I was operating a ‘twin floppy’ in those days (younger members can Google that) and am grateful to the late Dennis Day’s assistance in upgrading my computer and skills.
We were all surprised that Dennis did not appear at the AGM in 1999 when he was Vice President, particularly his close friend Peter Lay. It was only later we learnt that Dennis had died suddenly when playing tennis at the young age of 62. His name has been commemorated in the perpetual trophy issued to the winner of the Club Candidates tournament.
Over the years we have lost members who were survivors of the Holocaust including George Kepper, Bob Maas and Les Kovacs as well as Horst Bleicher who emigrated to Australia shortly after World War Two. I have it on good authority that Horst and Paul Glissan shared many a bottle of red after a good night’s chess.
During the 1990s I was also took over as Treasurer of the Manly Leagues Chess Club (now Harbord Diggers) as well as the New South Wales Chess Association from Jeremy Hirchhorn (then a Chatswood member and now number two in the ATO administration). Later I took over as Treasurer of the Australian Chess Federation; records arrived from Melbourne in a shoebox containing one year's unbanked cheques! It was necessary to reconstruct the records for two years to get things back in order.
My efforts in acting for these four entities were recognised in the early 2000s when I received Honorary Life Membership of each of them followed shortly afterwards being awarded the ACF Koshnitsky Medal for chess administration. This was followed few years later by receiving the Norths President’s Shield as the chess club nominee. (Nick Cooper and David Stern have also won this award; no other intra-club nominee has received this award three times which is evidence of our good standing with our host club.)
With the accession of Paul Glissan in 2008 as President and with a fully effective committee of members dedicated to specific tasks there was a substantial improvement of the chess club’s position. So much so that in a short time we successfully hosted three Australian Championships as well as a number of FIDE Zonal events. This improvement during Paul’s term as President has carried on under his successor Peter Abbott with active members now exceeding 150.
Chesswise I have had some success catching higher rated opponents off-guard including, in the one tournament, Lloyd Fell, Johnny Bolens and Laura Moylan. One year in the Ford/Greenwood Seniors Tournament I also beat Gareth Charles in andthe winner Paul Glissan. I have also managed to beat our budding GMs Max Illingworth and Anton Smirnov, although at a time when their feet did not touch the ground and a kick in the shins was added hazard in the games. After Max and Anton attained the status of Grandmaster the club recognised their achievements with the granting of Emeritus Membership, together with WIM Biljana Dekic who has represented Australia at the Women’s Olympiad a record number of times.
Highlights of my years with the Club include Paul Glissan organising an 80th birthday party for me at Norths followed 10 years later with a surprise 90th birthday celebration at my home organised by my son Geoff and daughter Angela with many of my chess friends in attendance at both events. Truly memorable occasions that I cherish.
2023 has been a difficult year for me healthwise with my medical team keeping me going but at the expense of my mobility. I no longer drive after 52 years and am grateful for receiving lifts from various people including Bruce Murray, Peter Abbott, Ian Wechsler and Geoff, with Angela attending to my needs. This enables me to play in club tournaments where hopefully I will remain competitive.
I have introduced my granddaughter Jewel to chess and we play one game each week. If she continues to show an improvement in her chess skills and maintains an interest she may start looking for a chess club to join.
I am confident Norths Chess Club will continue to maintain its prominent position as the premier chess club in Sydney in the forthcoming years and I am proud to have made a contribution.