09 April 2021

More Early USCF Awards

Last week's post, The First USCF Awards (April 2021), covered the first two years of the awards, 1979-1980. I ended the post saying,

Are there other divergences between the announcements of the early awards and the official record? I'll continue to research this in another post.

If that were the only reason for researching the early USCF Awards, I wouldn't bother and I doubt that anyone else would either. More importantly, the awards provide a guide to the individuals, as well as the organizations behind them, who helped build U.S. chess. The announcements of the early awards were often accompanied by a short explanation for making a particular award.

Let's continue with the awards for 1981. From the February 1982 Chess Life:-

Four Win Koltanowski Medals • Fred Cramer was named the 1981 winner of the gold Koltanowski medal at the U.S. Open banquet in Palo Alto. The gold medal, given each year for significant contribution to national and international chess, is along with the Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor paid by the federation to an individual. Cramer, of Mequon, Wis., is a former USCF president (1960-1963) and a former U.S. representative to FIDE (1965-1975). He was cited for his outstanding chess philanthropy, gifts in excess of six figures during his long chess career.

Three silver medalists were named for outstanding contribution to chess on the local and regional level. These winners are Al Hansen of Hillsboro, California, treasurer of the Koltanowski Youth Foundation, cited for his contribution to youth chess; Fred Gruenberg of Chicago, cited for both his support of master chess, and for his "put the fun back into chess" tournaments; and Howard Gaba of Hazel Park, Mich., cited for his continuing sponsorship of the Motor City Open.

Nominations for next year's Koltanowski medals should be sent by June 1 to the Koltanowski Committee, care of the USCF office. The committee consists of George and Leah Koltanowski, Tim Redman, Gerry Dullea and previous winners.

From the December 1981 Chess Life:-

Distinguished Service Awards • At the awards luncheon midway through the U.S. Open, it was my pleasure to announce this year's winners of the Distinguished Service Award, one of USCF's highest honors. The three recipients were chosen by the Policy Board from among our dedicated and deserving members.

John W. Collins has been teacher and inspiration to generations of aspiring players. A former New York state champion, he gave up his playing career and dedicated himself to training youngsters. including Bobby Fischer and other grandmasters. He continues his work with "The Collins Kids." his regular students, strengthened with other young stars for annual matches with an Icelandic all-star team.

Marshall R. Rohland is one of the quiet men, a diplomat among the politicians. everyone's "dear confrere." He served USCF an unprecedented 11 years as national secretary (1956-1966) and three as president (1966-1969). A pillar of chess and chess organization in Milwaukee and nationally, he is always there, always reliable.

Frank Skoff founded the Gompers Park Chess Club, one of the most important in Chicago. and worked through various leadership roles to the presidency of USCF (1972-1975). He had the longest tenure of of any editor of the Illinois Chess Bulletin and is internationally regarded as a chess historian. Twice he captained the U.S. student team, and he led Fischer's support team in Iceland. [...]

The report was signed 'G.D.', aka Gerard J. [Gerry] Dullea. The award reports for 1982 were also signed by Dullea, who was the USCF Executive Director at the time. From the December 1982 Chess Life:-

Hayes, Leopoldi Receive Koltanowski Medals • Two USCF members were awarded Koltanowski medals this year. Rea Hayes of Cincinnati, Ohio, received a gold modal in recognition of the gift of his extraordinary chess library to USCF. This collection will be the nucleus of USCF's research library and will be of benefit to the whole membership in years to come. Hayes, winner of the first U.S. Senior Open in 1981. has already sent many magazines and important tournament books to New Windsor. He will send another portion of his library each year until it is entirely transferred. Any leftovers are to be willed to USCF for the good of the membership.

The silver medal, for significant contribution to regional chess, went to Nobert Leopoldi of Chicago. This award was principally in recognition of his company's sponsorship of this spring's Cloverline International, the strongest international tournament in this country an the past decade.

The Koltanowski medal and the Distinguished Service Award are the highest honors conferred by the Federation on individual members. The 1982 winners were announced by President Tim Redman at the awards luncheon at St. Paul.

Also from the December 1982 Chess Life:-

Three Receive Distinguished Service Awards • Three dedicated and deserving USCF members received the Distinguished Service Award at the special luncheon midway through the U.S. Open. These winners were chosen by the Policy Board from among many worthy nominees.

Fred Cramer of Mequon, Wisconsin - A former USCF president (1960-1963), Cramer has continued to serve USCF in a variety of roles, with particular emphasis on financial affairs and life memberships. He is chairman of the Finance Committee, and he was centrally instrumental in establishing proper reserves for life members. Winner of a gold Koltanowski medal in 1981, he is the first recipient of both of USCF's highest honors.

Lina Grumette of Los Angeles, California - Lina's concern for chess is so deep that she has made part of her home into the Chess Set, a second home for many Los Angeles players and one of the most active clubs in the country. Grandmaster tournaments, futurities, national women's and junior championships have all happened because of her. She has even turned chess into a rehabilitation tool for drug addicts.

Gary H. Sperling of Staten Island, New York - As USCF president (1978-1981) and immediate past president, Sperling faced the unexpected task of leading the USCF through a time of transition and crisis. To this task he gave countless hours of his time and talents in legal, financial, managerial and promotional areas, among others. He also represented the USCF to FIDE during this period.

The 1983 announcement, also by Executive Director Dullea, combined both award categories into a single report. From the December 1983 Chess Life:-

Those We Honor • Each year, U.S. Chess honors a select few of the many people who have made outstanding contributions of various kinds to the good of chess in this country. This year's awards luncheon during the U.S. Open was the best-attended ever.

The Silver Koltanowski Medal was awarded to the Western Chess Group -- Stephen Jones, Don Richardson, John Rykowski, and Ralph Slottow. They were the primary underwriters of the Kasparov - Korchnoi [1983 Pasadena] match we had all hoped to see.

Three outstanding people received the Distinguished Service Award:

Arnold Denker: grandmaster, former U.S. champion and Olympic standout, frequent FIDE counselor and now zonal president, former state president, longtime delegate, and supporter of countless worthy chess projects.

Bill Goichberg: master player and grandmaster organizer, national tournament director, founder of the World Open, the national scholastic championships, and hundreds of tournaments from the little league variety to international title events, former Policy Board member, and major contributor to contemporary tournament direction theory.

Van Vandenburg: keystone of chess organization in Michigan for nearly forty years, state president and editor.

The same issue of Chess Life mentioned a few new awards at the end of an article titled 'Secretary's Report from Pasadena' by Robert A. Karch:-

Hyman S. Rogosin of Los Angeles, California, was nominated for a special service award for his work in the promotion of chess in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II. John R. Barto of Great Falls, Montana, was commended for more than fifty years of dedicated service in the promotion of chess.

The most active committee award was jointly awarded to the Scholastic Chess and to the Club Development committees.

The source that I'm following for these awards, the 2013 USCF Yearbook, mentioned six winners of that year's Special Service Award, of which Rogosin was one:-

Special Service Award; 1983; Hal Bogner, Arnold Denker [NB: also listed under Distinguished Service Award for the same year], Thad Rogers, Hyman Rogosin, Eric Schiller, Don Schultz

The other person mentioned, John Barto, was never listed for any award. Also gone missing is the other award mentioned, 'the most active committee award'. The first two committee awards are listed in the yearbook as:-

Committee of the Year; 1982; Computer Committee
Committee of the Year; 1988; Hall of Fame Committee

I don't see the purpose of making USCF awards to USCF committees, especially since there are so few committees. Maybe I'll learn more about this as I continue to look into the early awards.

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