Sunday, June 08, 2008

So Long, Coach—and Thanks

It was five years ago this summer that my son Michael and I ran into our friends Emil Sidky and his son Nikolaj Reiser in Nichols Park one afternoon and discovered that like us, they liked playing chess. Both kids were about to enter first grade at Ray, and almost instantly the thought of starting a chess club at the school struck all four of us as a brilliant idea.

That fall we founded the Ray School Chess Club, and since then I have been privileged to work in double harness with Emil to give the kids at our school a place to learn and play chess. He and I have had a division of labor, and there is no question whatsoever that Emil has done the most important work. It is he who has taught chess and run the meetings—sometimes with help, sometimes without it—probably 150 Monday afternoon sessions since that first one in 2003.

Emil has been the backbone of the Ray School Chess Club, the only person whom the club simply couldn’t have done without.

Of course, starting next fall we will have to do without him, since Nikolaj is leaving Ray and Emil will move on to other things. I would therefore like to take this occasion to thank him for all he has done these past five years to make Ray’s chess program one of the best in the city.

Thanks, Coach, and good luck always.


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Lamarr Wilson said...

That's sad to hear. I've met him and he is a geniunely nice guy.

If you need some help when the next school year starts, remember that I'm a washed up former chess coach. :)

Julie Vassilatos said...

Thanks Emil! What a long service to Ray and to the kids who love chess! We're going to try and limp along without you next year, because, in addition to all those kids still at Ray who are hooked on chess, there will always be new little groups of bright-eyed first graders who love to play or want to learn.
Speaking probably for all the chess mommies, we really appreciate all you've done.

Anonymous said...

rksistu's comment seems a tad suspicious.

This sounds like a significant loss, but hopefully others will fill the gap!

Hannah said...

Emil, you will be so missed! You and Tom should be incredibly proud of your achievements and the children who have gone to tournaments and flourished under your steady guidance. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Tom Panelas said...


rksistu's is a bit off topic, isn't it? But I'm so deperate for comments I let it slide. It may be the first piece of spam this blog has attracted. That's how forlorn I am: even the people peddling junk on the Internet don't bother with me. :o(