Distinguished Service Registry

Distinguished Service Registry
New Mexico Chess Organization’s
Distinguished Service Registry
“Thank you for your continued dedication to chess in our community!”

“The Distinguished Service Registry honors those individuals who have fostered chess activity in New Mexico. This includes sponsors, coaches, teachers, club & tournament directors and organizers as well as others whose philanthropic efforts have served our state’s chess community in significant ways. Those listed here have distinguished themselves in this manner. This is NMCO’s way of showing our gratitude and appreciation for their service..”

Requirements for inclusion:
1. All nominees will be informed of their nomination and must accept before they will be listed. No one will be placed on the Registry without their permission.
2. Nominees should have 10 years of chess service.
3. The NMCO Board will vote on each nominee based on their service to chess.
4. A brief biographical sketch will be included. The nominee will be given input in this process.
Nomination process:
Please click here to fill out the form

Dale Gibbs
After 36 years with the ATSF Railway, Dale retired in 1995 and decided to give back to the community by teaching chess at St. Mary’s School in Belen for 5 years. This chess involvement soon blossomed to include tournament directing (he is one of three Senior TD’s in NM), serving as an officer on the NMCO Board (in three different positions), and many other chess club and teaching activities including 11 years Summer chess program at the Albuquerque Academy. Dale has been a USCF certified chess Coach since February of 2002.

Inducted on: 07-07-12


Rod Avery
Currently Rod can be found, on the first Saturday of each month, conducting chess activities at the Cherry Hills Library. This marks his twelfth year. Also it is his 12th year as chess coach at the Dennis Chavez elementary school. Each year the DCE Panthers are in the top five in the APS Elementary chess league.

Inducted on: 06-30-13


Art Bayley
Mr. Bayley started playing tournament chess in Montana in the ’60’s (1960, not 1860). He retired in 1990 and moved to Fargo, ND. He was president of the Fargo-Moorhead Chess Ass’n. for several years, which started chess clubs in 2 or 3 dozen area schools. Fargo North High School was the ND state Co-Champion the first year Mr. Bayley coached there.

The F-M Chess Ass’n also conducted Scholastic tournaments in towns across the state and at one time was the most active chess Association in ND. Mr. Bayley was elected to the ND Chess Hall of Fame primarily for his chess activity, not for his playing ability.

He also coached chess in ABQ schools. Monte Vista elementary school won 3rd in the ABQ competition the year he coached there.

Inducted on: 06-30-13


Jeffrey Burch
Dr J learned to move chess pieces in 3rd grade, but he did not pick up on mating techniques, strategy, tactics, or other nuances of chess until the 10th grade when he bought Reinfeld’s The Complete Chess Player.

He became serious about chess at age 14 when helped form his high school’s chess club (North Olmsted, OH) and his school’s chess team which participated in the Cleveland High School Chess League. The NOHS team came in 2nd place for 3 straight years (losing to expert-rich Cleveland Heights each time). During his senior year, Dr J finished 15 ½- ½ in regular season CHSCL play to win the 2nd board prize, and went 2 ½- ½ during the playoffs. Also while a senior he won the Great Lakes Championship Tournament in 1972 in Cleveland, OH. In his initial blitz chess tournament in the German-American Club in Cleveland, he finished 17.5-1.5 to win. He defeated his first expert when he was a Class C player in the US High School Championships in Chicago in 1972.

In simultaneous play, Dr J played former world champion Tigran Petrosian (loss), former Cleveland city champion Ross Sprague (loss), GM Larry Christiansen (loss), and GM David Bronstein (win). He himself played 24, 28, and 23 students during a 5 week chess instructional period during the summer of 2006 at the Albuquerque Academy, winning all 75 games.

Dr J has won tournaments in Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey, Georgia, and New Mexico during his residence in those states. In Kentucky he helped the University of Kentucky win the Southeast Regional Games Tournament in 1976 and come in 2nd place in 1977. He represented the University of Chicago in team play during 1977-78, and Rutgers University in the New Jersey Industrial Chess League between 1979 and 1985.

His maximum rating of 2115 was reached on two occasions, during graduate school at Rutgers in mid-1980s and while working in Atlanta in the early 1990s. He served 4 terms as president of the New Mexico Chess Organization during the early 2000s, and contributed to the state chess magazine The Desert Knight. Dr J has taught chess classes for adults at the University of New Mexico’s Continuing Education department and at the Lockheed Martin Aerospace Company in Marietta, GA.

Inducted on: 06-30-13


Art Byers
Art Byers has held, in progression the offices of NMCO Secretary, Tournament Organizer and President. As a Certified USCF local Tournament Director from 2006 through 2012, Art was the chief Director in 59 Chess tournaments and a section director in several others. He served as Publisher of Desert Knight Magazine for 4 years with Jim Johnston as Editor; and for two more years as both Editor and publisher.

Inducted on: 06-30-13


Martin Cooper
Martin Cooper started as a scholastic player whose greatest success was winning the 1962 Herman Steiner Chess Club Junior Championship, i.e. the scholastic championship of Los Angeles.  College and married life brought a 25 year hiatus from chess until he started coaching his two children, Curtis and Jacqueline, and their teams as scholastic players; they won many New Mexico individual and team championships – Curtis was a member of USCF’s All-America team for two years.  His children convinced Martin to resume play, and his best achievement was winning the 1991 New Mexico championship.  Heavy work responsibilities at LANL caused Martin to stop playing and coaching once his children left school, but he has continued as a volunteer to organize and direct the scholastic state championships from about 1988 until the present.

Inducted on: 06-30-13


Galen Farrington
In 1997 Galen Farrington of Ruidoso developed an elective-credit high school curriculum which was approved by the Board of Education and set up a program of intermural Chess. As district coordinator, he offered students a chance to compete in interscholastic chess. Even though it meant considerable travel, Galen brought student chess teams to the Northern Schools Chess League and to the All-America Cup held in Arizona. He coached chess at the Ruidoso High School Chess students for many years until retiring. The school still maintains the impressive trophy display that highlights the team’s performances from 1993 through 2008.

Inducted on: 06-30-13


Lloyd Gustafson
Lloyd retired in 1993 and founded the Bear Canyon Chess club. Under Lloyd’s 20 years of leadership, the club grew from four players to a membership of twenty in 2013. Lloyd has consistently taught chess in public schools: Three years at the Gov. Bent School, Two years at the Cleveland Middle School and two years at the Desert Ridge School.

Inducted on: 06-30-13


Mike Hibner
Mike was working at McCurdy School when the Superintendent brought a letter from Andy Nowak that invited McCurdy to enter a Chess tournament. Since we didn’t have a team, the Super asked if anyone would take that on. Mike didn’t think he could do that. After several months, he still didn’t think he could do it, but stuck with it and found that he could teach kids Chess and enjoy it. Since he’s taught around 200 kids to play and has taken them to nearly every tournament available in New Mexico. He has taught kids from at least five different schools and is now working with the YMCA Teen Center in Espanola.

Inducted on: 06-30-13


Elliott Higgins
Elliott began chess with his father, who received a signed book for winning first place in a Chicago simul by Mikal Tal.

In Clevlend Ohio, he arranged a Telephone Tournament on a Saturday at a phone bank in a corporation to play Miami Florida.  Two grandmasters and two masters on each team.  All went well until Miami’s monitor decided there was a mistake on board one.  While trying to reconcile the game,  Florida hung up.  After calling back later, the Janitor answered so they forfited the match.

Elliott started Hummingbird Chess Camp in 1980 to supplement the music camp and now has 23 years. Many masters have taught including Alexi Root, Douglas Root,  John Donaldson,  Larry Evans, and Jack Peters.

It began as the National Chess Camp and was the only advertiser in Chess Life for a summer camp.  Sometime in 1985 the USCF said that title could not be used.  So Elliott asked for his advertising money back and never heard from them again. Soon, then name was changed Hummingbird Chess Camp to signify the location.

Elliott was also chess director of the Albuquerque Chess League for two years.

Inducted on: 06-30-13


Jim Johnston
Jim Johnston has been a positive force in Santa Fe Chess for many years. As a club TD, he founded the Santa Fe Rooks Chess Club and has regularly organized tournaments. Jim was the editor of the Desert Knight chess magazine for 4 years. Jim also has had a gift for finding free venues to play chess such as libraries and the El Dorado.

Inducted on: 06-30-13


Kevin Scott Kerns
Scott Kerns has been the chief tournament director for more than seventy USCF-rated chess tournaments in New Mexico, and he was a floor director at the 2006 National Elementary Championships in Denver. Scott has directed New Mexico Chess Fest, an annual scholastic event, since 2000. With his friend Chad Schneider, he helped create the Wired Kings Chess Club and the Southern Rocky FIDE tournaments in 2011 and 2012. He has coached chess at Hummingbird Chess Camp, Albuquerque Academy, and with private students. Scott is also the 2002 New Mexico state chess champion.

Inducted on: 06-30-13


Andy Nowak

Inducted on: 06-30-13


Oren Stevens
Oren has actively played chess since 1956. While living in San Diego in 1974, he joined USCF and began playing tournament chess. After returning to Albuquerque in 1976, Oren started a Junior chess club with approximately fifty students, affiliated it with USCF and began organizing local chess tournaments through 1980s and into the 1990s. He started The King’s Knights Chess Club while living in Los Lunas, organized local rated tournaments while coaching and instructing students. He has been the head chess coach for two Albuquerque High Schools, and home school chess teams. Currently the Head Chess Coach for two private schools, a public K-5 school, and home school chess teams. From 2005 to the present, he has served as President of the Foothills chess club and has frequently organized local rated chess tournaments. He served NMCO in the 80s as treasurer and is currently in his third term as NMCO’s president.

Inducted on: 06-30-13


Steve Perea
Steve Perea began playing chess at age 9 and started beating his father at 10. In his youth, he has worked with renowned New Mexico chess coaches, Kenneth Lopez and Master Robert Haines. As a regular captain of his high school chess team at Rio Grande, Steve led Rio Grande H.S. to its first city chess championship in 1983. Steve has coached chess for 18 years at Rio Grande H.S., West Mesa H.S., South Valley Academy, and, currently, at Albuquerque Institute of Math and Science. Steve led the charge to get chess as a class in the school curriculum at AIMS@UNM! Steve Perea is currently the New Mexico Activities Association Chess President and is pushing for State Team Championships for Middle Schools and Elementary Schools, his belief is this will help grow youth chess in New Mexico. Steve also owns a computer repair store and served six years in the Army.

Inducted on: 06-30-13


Annabelle Romero
As a student at Penasco High School, Annabelle started the first chess club and acted as the sponsor as well. While a student at the College of Santa Fe, she hosted Larry Christiansen in simultaneous exhibition. At about the same time, she coached an elementary team at St. Anne’s Elementary in Santa Fe.  From 1983 to 1985, Annabelle coached a Men’s and Women’s chess club at the State Penitentiary of New Mexico known as the “Captured Pawns.”  In approximately the early 90’s she coached Pinon Elementary Chess Team.  From 2001 to 2007, she coached the chess team at St. Michael’s High School, annually hosting several tournaments including the K-12. Recently she has coached at the Santa Fe Boys and Girls Club.

Inducted on: 06-30-13


Richard Sherman
For Twenty years, 1991 to 2011, Strong Chess player, Richard Sherman, was the heart and soul of the Coronado Chess club which met on Wednesday evenings at the Frontier Restaurant. He made player pairings for two rounds of chess each week. This literally was many thousands of games arranged by Richard during those 20 years. He had the ability to make every player, from beginners to masters and all in between, feel welcome. In addition, Richard was a frequent contributor of interesting articles to the Desert Knight magazine.

Inducted on: 06-30-13


6 + 4 =

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La Tienda Open The Results

This event has now been rated. Congrats to Tim Martin and Eric Johnston who finished 1st equal. The next SF Rooks tourney will be a quad at the Sabor Peruano restaurant in De Vargas Mall on 28th October

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