Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sad news

Updated 2:46 p.m.  it's confirmed that our friend Ron Washington drowned in Lake Michigan on Friday.
At 2 p.m., [North Avenue Beach] lifeguards attempted to rescue 61-year-old Ronald Washington, a former collegiate hoopster and self-described chess “hustler” who for years had been a fixture near the beach.
Washington, of the 100 block of West Maple Street, was fully clothed when a lifeguard pulled him from the water near 1400 N. Lake Shore Drive, according to police and park district spokespeople.
Washington was pronounced dead at 4:30 p.m. at Northwestern Hospital.
Earlier report (without Ron's name) on the WGNTV website.

Much more later: enjoy your summer day, but please enjoy it safely.


Frederick Rhine said...

Terribly sorry to hear this. Ron was a great guy. A suicide?

Vince Hart said...

That's awful. I spent a very pleasant afternoon losing a couple bucks to him just a week or so ago.

Ch1cag0Rob said...

Bummer indeed. I had a minus record against him as well.

Bill Brock said...

Accidental, per the coroner.

Anonymous said...

Ron was definitely a sweet guy. Every time I saw him he would ask about my children. I will miss him.

Bill - please e-mail me when you have more information about the funeral, memroial, etc. Thanks.

- David Rubin

Anonymous said...

We had a memorial for Ron setting his board to his favorite defense and say a few words about what Ron meant to us. William (Willy Man) Grandberry held back tears as he talked about something Ron had said to him. "You only go around once. You won't be coming back so use your life, enjoy your life. I have. I like what I do."

I have some pictures of the memorial if there's a way to send them in.



Bill Brock said...

Whatever materials you send, Mitch, I'll make sure they get posted (either here or on the ICA website).

My email is

Dan Leroy is at

Because I'm not a native Chicagoan (moved here in 1977, not really plugged into local chess scene until 1979), I don't know the full story of Ron's club--I stuck my head in there once. If someone could share that story with Dan, it'd be appreciated!

Bill Brock said...


Ron went from squeezing me in endgames to hugging me when he saw me...a nice progression!

chessdrummer said...

I used to see Ron Washington around Chicago and one day in between rounds at a Palmer House tournament, I challenged him to blitz. I was a junior player, but very fast in blitz... and tactical. He seemed surprised at the competition, but I think he was up a game or so. Don't remember. I would see him occasionally when I visited the Chicago Open, but hadn't shared a conversation for more than 20 years. I only chatted with him back in June when my sister and I walked over to the Pavilion. I had to remind him who I was and then we reminisced on many things.

Daaim Shabazz, The Chess Drum

Bruce said...

Agree, he was a great guy.

He was one of the first players I met at North Ave Pavillion when I lived in Chicago for a year in 2009-2010, since he didn't know I was a NM I actually hustled him the first time we played.

But every time I came back, he was friendly and kiddingly warned others about me...

Caissa has lost a good soul, may your endgame go well -- RIP Ron