Marty Leutschaft (May 20,1957-June 1,2015)

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It is with considerable sadness that I report on the premature death of Marty Leutschaft (May 20,1957-June 1,2015). Of a brain tumor. Any of my Montreal readers who can send me a recent photo of Marty…I would appreciate it.

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Marty was one of the original gang of teenagers who inhabited Artur Langlois’ Alekhine Chess Club in the early 1970’s when my brothers and I first got into tournament chess in Montreal in the pre-Fischer boom years.  Along with Neil Sullivan, and soon afterwards George Levtchouk, Ilan Vardi and others, we formed a strong bond of friendship that lasted a lifetime, and even though the years seem to go by with increasing rapidity and we haven’t seen each other very often, chess keeps us together.

I often played Marty in weekend tournaments, as well as in hundreds of blitz tournaments. I remember a tough and uncompromising adversary.  Marty’s favourite Philidor Defence almost taking my scalp on one occasion!  We developed a friendship that went far beyond the chess board. When I decided to get rid of my prize collection of chess sets, Marty was the one who bought them. (I remember years later buying back one of them!)

Marty was a bit wild at times, and many amusing stories exist of his not taking shit from anyone. One of my favourites is when Marty was playing in a correspondence tournament in the 1980’s and one of his opponents did something to annoy him.  Marty got his revenge by sending a dead mouse enclosed in a box along with his next move! (The player in question protested to the arbiter, naturally, though I don’t think much came of it)

I will miss Marty.  Montreal chess will never be the same. RIP.

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Serge Archambault (thankyou, Serge!) sent me this recent photo of Marty, taken by his sister Marilyn while in the hospital shortly before his death. Serge also provided a number of chess-videos of Montreal tournaments where Marty appears. I remind my Montreal readers to send me some photos of Marty if you can find the time…you can read more HERE.

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