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CCLA Server Chess

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John Smail

2014 Server

North American

Class B Champion

Photograph of CCLA member John Smail, 2014 Server N.A. Class B Champion

Our featured article is based on the winner of the 2014 North American Class B Server Championship: John Smail. John competed with 6 other CCLA opponents and won the title with a 5-1 record (a winning margin of 1/2 point).

John was born and raised in Sheffield, England. He moved to California in his mid-twenties. He played postal chess to survive a Scottish boarding school in the 1950's where he found a chess club. During the 1960's to 1990's, he played sporadic forays into OTB chess.

His employment consisted of computer programming, managing an ornithological research station, teaching, and driving a cab in San Francisco. Asked if he could do it again, would John take a different path or was he satisfied with the route he followed? John's answer was that he would have pursued a scientific career.

Since retirement in 2004, John plays erratic but occasionally amusing server chess with CCLA and some OTB with Berkeley chess school/club, and a few postal games with incarcerated opponents. John has been a CCLA member for about 10 years.

John is married and has two daughters. Besides chess, John's other hobbies include birding and watching Cal women's basketball. I asked John that when people look back at your life, how do you want to be remembered? His response was: "a decent, silly guy" !

Congratulations, John on your impressive victory in the 2014 North American Class B Server Championship! His favorite game was the one against Duane Catania where in his words: "astonished by how quickly the roof fell in after one soft move".

I'm sure we will see your name mentioned other times in future championships!

PGN Viewer courtesy of ChessTempo.
White: Duane Catania
Black: John Smail


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