Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Tragedy struck chess community in Australia
Top chess player critical, 2 dead in crash
Melissa Jenkins, AAP
Updated April 2, 2013, 1:07 pm
One of Australia's top chess players is fighting for his life after a car smash that killed two of his friends.
Six members of the Melbourne Chess Club were returning from the Doeberl Cup in Canberra on Monday night when their Toyota Tarago rolled off the Hume Freeway near Winton in northeastern Victoria.
Passengers Andrew Saint and Hannibal Swartz, both aged in their 30s, died in the smash, while fellow players James Morris and Dimitri Partsi were seriously injured.
Two other chess players, Anthony Hain and Paul Cavezza, were treated in Wangaratta.
Mr Morris, an international chess master, is in a critical but stable condition at The Alfred hospital with head and chest injuries. Mr Partsi is in a serious condition at Royal Melbourne Hospital.
Melbourne Chess Club president Grant Szuveges said he was close friends with Mr Saint, who had moved to Melbourne from South Australia three years ago.
He was the club treasurer last year and was highly regarded in chess circles.
"It's a tight-knit scene, I think everyone will be feeling it," Mr Szuveges said.
Mr Saint won the second-category tournament during the Doeberl Cup.
"The amount of time he put into this club was phenomenal," Mr Szuveges said.
"When someone passes away everyone always goes on about how nice a bloke they were but with him he really was that sort of person.
"He genuinely was such a nice person."
Mr Szuveges said Mr Morris was the most talented chess player he had met and was known throughout Australia and internationally.
"He is ... easily in the top 10 players in Australia and probably the one who could go on to become absolutely better than anyone else in this country," he said.
"He is just one of those people; everybody loved him - still does love him."
The chess club, which has about 150 members, will organise a memorial event to honour Mr Saint and Mr Swartz.
The deaths took Victoria's Easter road toll to five.
Road policing Assistant Commissioner Bob Hill described the crash as a tragedy and said it appears a mechanical fault, possibly a tyre blowout, caused the accident.
Speed, drugs and alcohol have all been ruled out as contributing to the crash, he said.
The two chess players were among five people to die on Victorian roads over the Easter long weekend.
"It has been a sad time for Victoria," Mr Hill said.
"It has been a sad time for many families. Five people killed over a five-day period is five too many."
He said people speeding and drink driving continued to be problems on the road over the long weekend.
Mr Hill said he personally intercepted several motorists for speeding while he was driving on the Hume Freeway on Monday.