Ted Yudacufski
By Phillip R Smith   
January 9, 2012

Ted Yudacufski (1930-2011)

Ted Yudacufsksi, who older Bay Area players well remember from his Monterey Chess Center and assisting Isaac Kashdan at Lone Pine died on Christmas Eve. The following tribute was written by his family.

Ted Yudacufski, "Mr. Yu," 81, and a Monterey resident for over fifty years, passed away on Saturday, December 24, after suffering a heart attack while visiting his family for the holidays in Pasadena, CA.

Ted was born on October 5, 1930, in Frackville, PA, to Isadore and Estelle Yudacufski. He received his B.A. from Penn State University in Liberal Arts and served in the U.S. Army from 1952 to 1963. His military service took him around the world to Germany and eventually to Fort Ord and the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, where he remained for the rest of his life. He was an avid fan of the arts, culture and languages, and during his travels and army service, he learned to speak Russian, German, French, Portuguese and Korean.

While living in Monterey, Ted met the love of his life, Ruby, whom he married in 1961. Together, they followed Ted's other passion: games, particularly chess and darts, and opened the Monterey Chess Center in 1966. The center was a beloved Monterey institution and landmark for almost forty years until Ted had to close its doors in 2003. At the center, the community came together to enjoy social and intellectual conversation over chess, darts, backgammon, Go, table tennis, pool and other games. Ted himself was an expert at chess and darts, and he taught both to students of every age. In fact, he continued to teach chess privately and in the local schools up until his death, and was scheduled to teach two classes at Carmel River School in January. Through his work at the Chess Center, in schools and with organizations and local hang-outs from the American Legion to donut shops, Ted touched and impacted the lives of thousands of people in Monterey and beyond.

Ted was most proud of his family, including his two daughters, Naomi Estolas and Daria Yudacufski. After his wife Ruby passed away in 1978, he had to raise Daria, who was 7 years old at the time, on his own. He is survived by his daughters, their spouses, Elpidio Estolas and Mark Sogomian, and three grandchildren, Brendyn Estolas (15), Ruby Estolas (8) and Sophie Sogomian (2).

Though his death was sudden and unexpected, he spent his last day doing what he loved most. He was surrounded by his family for a beautiful Christmas Eve dinner and his final moments were spent playing chess with his grandson.

A visitation will be held on Thursday, January 5, from 10 to 11 a.m., followed by a funeral service at 11 a.m., at Mission Mortuary, 450 Camino El Estero, Monterey, CA 93940.

The website ChessDryad (www.chessdryad.com) has Ted Yudacufski in its California Chess Hall of Fame where the following appears:

TED YUDACUFSKI (1930-2011): Co-founder (with his first wife Ruby), director, and the in-house chess instructor for the Monterey Chess Club (1966 to 2003), which was one of only two Northern California chess clubs that were open every day. This National Director organized and directed most of the Annual Monterey Fort Ord Chess Championships, and the Monterey Chess Club tournaments (including the Monterey International Open). Outside of Monterey, he has directed the Annual Lera Class tournament in Sunnyvale (1973-2000, taking over from George Koltanowski), the San Mateo US Amateur, many of the Paul Masson tournaments, and was co-chief assistant (to Kashdan) for two or three of the Lone Pine Opens. As he was a Darts Master as well, he invented Darts Chess; in which a throw of the dart decides which chess piece is to move. The first U.S. Open Darts Chess Championship was played in San Mateo at the (chess) U.S. Open at Palo Alto in 1981, which Ted directed. He also taught chess classes at Monterey Peninsula College.

These obituaries were collected by Randall Hough of California.

Ted Yudacufski may you rest in peace.