USCF Home Chess Life Online 2011 December A Foundation in Memory of Konrad Cunningham, Chessplayer & Soldier
|A Foundation in Memory of Konrad Cunningham, Chessplayer & Soldier|
|By Lurene Cunningham|
|December 15, 2011|
Konrad Cunningham, (July 28, 1987-May 12, 2011) started playing chess at the age of nine. He started playing chess as part of Chess in the Schools and then the Right Move chess program. Konrad was excited about the game even though he didn't win many games at first. He would sit up front as if he was going to get the "biggest" trophy. He applauded for each young person as they went upfront for their trophy.
Konrad played in middle school with the Royal Rooks - his team at PS 19 in the Bronx. This team of bright, energetic players became National team champions and many scored individual trophies as well. He went on to play at the High School level with the All Hallows chess team in the Bronx.
After High School, Konrad entered Iona College. He travelled to China, worked at NASA in their internship program for three summers and worked in Project READ before joining the US Air Force. He took pride in being in service to the US government.
Through it all, he never forgot his love of chess, teaching chess to children as a volunteer at the Woodlawn Library. He got married along the way to Tiffany and the two seemed to have a wonderful life ahead of them.
Konrad had been ill off and on for approximately a year. Last Christmas, I went to California where he was stationed at Vandenberg AFB and stayed for a month. This was a tough time for him. He spent most of it in the hospital. It is quite unfortunate that his illness got the best of him and on May 12, 2011 he lost his fight.
At his funeral there were 450 people. People of all ages, races, all occupations.This spoke well of the kind of person he was and how many he touched.
His spirit inspired The Konrad Cunningham Chess Foundation. It was amazing to hear Konrad's former students talk about his memories of Konrad after we informed them of the Foundation and Konrad's death. The foundation has since donated chess sets and bags to the school.
The goals of the Konrad Cunningham Chess Foundation is to help youngsters register in tournaments, acquire chess sets and books and to facilitate bringing chess to more schools. We want Konrad's love of the game to continue.
Find out more about the foundation at http://www.konradchess.webs.com/