Sunday, September 9, 2012

Farwell Erwin Kett

On Saturday, my friend and chess buddy, will be leaving the Wood River valley for good, but this is farewell, not goodbye.  I am positive that, though the distance is great, our friendship will remain as close.   Erwin and Marlis live half of the year in Germany and the other half in the Wood River valley, and at aged 73, the 24 hour travel twice a year, and keeping two households up can be a bit much.  Erwin and Marlis are a great addition to our valley and they contributed their time and love to everyone that knew them.  And that included everyone!

Erwin visits our Chess Party at the Bowling Alley for his "Thank You, Award."
I visit his home often on summer afternoons for a chess game.  He always insisted that the whole family come too.  Marlis would always greet us with fresh "Kuchen" and a German cup of coffee.  While playing our chess game, Marlis, Lynnet, and the kids would talk or play Parcheesi.  Invariably, their open doors would attract neighbors and other friends that would happen by to say hello.

Coffee and Kuchen

Erwin loves the United States.  He is a social butterfly and truly embraces American culture.  He donned a cowboy hat to go shooting with ranchers, he was our 4th of July Parades Uncle Sam, and on Christmas, Marlis and he were Mr. and Mrs. Claus.  They cruised Hailey and would surprise homes that had children at Christmas time.  Erwin and Marlis were also great supporters of events and community happenings.  They were virtually every place a crowd was celebrating something.  For my family, Erwin would come to soccer games and visit Dylan's ballet recitals, as well.

Chess Club is where we usually battled.

For chess kids, they will miss his jokes, humor, and tough chess games.  Erwin and I met in 2007 when he visited my chess club to play with me and students.  He was hooked and began sharing his joy of chess with students of all ages that came to play.  We always reserved our games for later when all the kids went home.  He helped me run tournaments and I even encouraged him to play in a couple, just so he could say he did.  In 2009, he hosted "The Erwin Kett Invitational" and nearly 20 Idaho players, including a state champion, came to enjoy the Kett's hospitality.

I really enjoyed playing Erwin because he is very competitive and would play out a lost game to the bitter end.  On the other hand, if I wasn't careful in my play, Erwin would find a brutal move (as in the above game) and make you pay dearly for inattentive play.

I am sure that we will continue to play via Skype, or maybe in person when I visit Germany.  And, Erwin only has the rest of the week to beat me!

Erwin tolerates shananigans from Kitt.
"Santa" visited our Winter Tournaments
Dylan plays Erwin. 
Dennis the Menace is Erwin's Favorite Cartoon to share.

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