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Dr.Ira Lee Riddle, 1946-2009 Print E-mail
July 10, 2009
Dr. Ira Lee Riddle accepting an award
Dr. Ira Lee Riddle, International Arbiter, PA Chess Federation President and Chess Journalists of America Vice-President, died on July, 6, 2009.  Ira and his wife Polly were on their cruise around England and were at their last port of call before disembarking and going to Stonehenge, Havre de Grace, France. He was taking air on the deck when he had a heart attack and could not be revived. 

Ira was born on October 2, 1946 in Oakland, California, the son of Charles Lee Riddle, a career U.S. Navy man. As a young boy Dr. Riddle lived in Hawaii, where a neighbor of his, who was an avid chess player, realized that this 4-year-old lad was able to quickly grasp the strategy involved in chess. He worked with Riddle and helped him develop a deeper love for the game.  After moving back to the continental United States at age 5, Dr. Riddle graduated in 1964 from Christiana High School in Newark, Delaware.

With an interest in mathematics that started while he was living in Hawaii, he went on to further his education and received a bachelor of arts degree in 1968 from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, with a dual major in math and speech drama. In 1969 he received a master of science degree in speech education from the State University of New York at Geneseo. He also received a master of science degree in mathematics education from Penn State University. He was awarded a doctor of education degree in math education from Temple University in 1990. Prior to being awarded his doctorate, Dr. Riddle taught math at various schools on the East coast, starting with a junior high school in Orange Park, Florida and later at schools in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He retired in 1998 after 29 years of teaching junior high and high school math. But within six weeks after his retirement, he found himself teaching again - this time being recruited as a lecturer at the Penn State University campus at Abington.

In addition to his math credentials, Dr. Riddle was prominent in U.S. chess. He was not only a USCF national tournament director but he also earned the title of international arbiter, awarded to him 1986 by the World Chess Federation (FIDE). He directed many hundreds of tournaments, including the 1987 U.S. Open in Portland, Oregon, and the 1990 U.S. Open in Jacksonville, Florida. He also assisted at numerous other U.S. Opens, including the 1988 U.S. Open at the Hotel Lafayette in Boston. He also directed U.S. Junior Opens, Pan-American Intercollegiate Team championships, the 2003 U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Amateur Team South championships, Pennsylvania State championships, Delaware State championships, the Denker Tournament of High School Champions, and innumerable scholastic and adult team tournaments, among others. He was also employed for many years as a TD for the Continental Chess Association-sponsored tournaments, including the World Open.

He was co-editor of the U.S. Chess Federation's Official Rules of Chess, 4th edition. He served as president of the Pennsylvania State Chess Federation from 1978 to 2002 and continued as a PSCF vice president for the East region of the state. He was editor of The Pennswoodpusher from 1980 to 2001 and also had edited the Delaware Chess Newsletter, starting in 2004. He was president of the Chess Journalists of America from 1989 to 1995 and editor of The Chess Journalist from 1991 to 1993. At the time of his death, he was the CJA's vice president. He was chief judge of the CJA awards program from 1992 to 1995 and continued as a judge right up to the present. He wrote more than a hundred articles for various chess publications, including those for Chess Life and for the TDCC Corner in the former USCF rating supplements. In addition to chess, Dr. Riddle directed plays and musicals, officiated wrestling and softball games, and coached soccer and track. He had a myriad of interests. He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Polly J. Riddle.

The Memorial service will be at the Ann's Choice Chapel, 30000 Ann's Choice Way, Warminster, PA 18974, on July 17 at 11:00. 

An obituary by Jerry Hanken will appear in Chess Life Magazine. Please feel free to share memories of Ira as a comment to this article.

July - Chess Life Online 2009

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