Sunday, November 6, 2011

Idaho Chess Icon passes away

Glen W. Buckendorf
June 19, 1929 - September 12, 2011
Glen W. Buckendorf will be missed at chess tournaments and by his family and friends.  Glen passed away on September 12, 2011 at the age of 82 in his home.  Glen was a celebrity of sorts in the Idaho Chess community and was a tournament standard at the Idaho Closed for nearly 54 years!  In 2010, Glen was awarded lifelong supporter and Emeritus Trustee of the ICA (Idaho Chess Association).  He was 10 Idaho State Champion and was a contemporary of Dick Vandenberg, who recently passed away in 2010.  Without Glen's and Dick's avid support and efforts to enhance Idaho Chess, it would hardly be what it is today.  (Click here for the Times-News link).

Emeritus Trustee of the ICA
I remember first being paired against Glen at the MVCC.  Though he was a Twin Falls "regular", he actually lived in Buhl.  He was a quiet and a gentlemanly character that played very serious chess.  I was in awe by such experience and even hope to be playing in tournaments when I reach my eighties.  Glen was sharp as a knife when it came to chess.  He would slice through opponents and positions with the skill of a master chef.  I enjoyed watching his games as he would sit very quiet without moving or adjusting his pieces or body until he decided on the best move.  Then he would lean forward and then gracefully make his move.

I know I played him in tournaments a couple of times, but I could only find one of my games with him.  Here is a blitz game we played in the 2010 President's Cup:

Glen always arrived to a chess tournament escorted by his wife, Annette.  They would arrive arm-in-arm, Glen in his three piece suit carrying his Bible, and she dressed comfortably totting a scrabble board.  It always warmed my heart to see them arrive and I will miss that feeling.  For the past few years, Glen would donate chess books from his personal library as awards for players that did not win a trophy or placement for money.  I think that most would agree that winning a book donated by Glen was more desirable in most cases.  I, in fact, won two books on some occasion:  Sicilian:  Lasker-Pelikan by Speelman and Blackstock, and Spanish (RuyLopez):  Marshall by Harding.

Desmond with Glen

At the Winter Solstice Tournament (Annette in upper right background).

I appreciate the experience of the older players and try to respect them as a source of inspiration. Their dedication and mentoring of younger players is as important as grandparents are to their grandchildren.  Think of the changes the older generation has witnessed in the chess world.  There have been celebrities come-and-gone, the development of chess computers and software, more organizational influence from the USCF and other entities, introduction of algebraic notation, the use of digital chess equipment, and many new innovations in chess writing and publishing.  In Glen's time, what hasn't changed is the game of chess itself.

Glen plays Alexandr Veraschagin

Glen was not into all the fancy chess equipment or interested in dropping names of openings or discussing a new line.  Glen was a player, and that is what he did.  He came to tournaments and was interested in playing the best he could and I am very glad to have known him and played him.


Footnote:  this article was started on Sept. 15 but I wanted to find one of my games with Glen and some pictures to complete the article.

1 comment:

  1. Great Post on Glen. We had a player named V. E. Vandenberg that played into his 90s. He owned a printing Shop and was a former president of the MCA [Michigan Chess Association] so he printed the Michigan Chess Magazine in his shop. He died at age 104.


Blog Archive