Monday, February 06, 2012

Irving Yaffe passed away on Wednesday night February 1, 2012

Photo: Steve Stepak

Irving Yaffe passed away on Wednesday night February 1, 2012 at the Fenno House in Quincy because of pneumonia. Age 91

Irving was captain of the Boylston Chess Team and Mass Chess Team in the 50’s and 60’s. Irving was most known in recent times for catering the Herb Healy tournament

[Irving Jaffee, long-time patron of the Boylston Chess Club, prepares the food for the 1990 New Year's Open House. Photo: Stepak]

and being President of the Quincy Chess Club.

Irving was born in Lithuania in 1920 and his family took their savings and rushed Irving to Boston, while the rest of Irving’s family disappeared in the Holocaust.

Seeking vengeance, Irving joined the army and participated in DDay. As a member of the Patton’s 3rd army Irving was involved in the 100 +, 30 miles a day, famous forced march in winter to rescue Bastogne in the Battle of the Bulge.

No other army in history has ever covered more territory in such little time.

Irving was wounded in the battle while sitting in a foxhole, having been hit on the head by a huge chunk of ice. For the next couple of years Irving spent time in hospitals randomly passing out. Slowly his condition improved.

Back home in Boston Irving resumed his chess playing and was a mainstay at the old Boylston Chess Club.

Irving was involved in organizing state scholastic tournaments.

During his life, Irving met Fidel Castro at a tournament at Harvard, where Castro was a student.

And Irving met Osama Bin Laden while working as a security guard at Forsythe Clinic.

Irving felt his greatest game was a draw against Master Bernard “Zuckerbook” Zuckerman.

I have a 45 minute interview with Irving that has many more stories. I will try and get it on the BCF web.

Chess gave Irving great joy in a life full of personal setbacks and Irving gave back to the game volunteering his time in many ways.

Do you have any Irving Yaffe stories?

Please comment.

Thank You.

Mike Griffin


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