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Art Wang (1942-2011) Print E-mail
By Jim Eade   
December 14, 2011
Art Wang,  a chess master when chess masters were few and far between, died on Monday, December 12, 2011.  The cause of death was esophageal cancer.  

He was born in Chung-king, China in June of 1942.  He came to the United States in 1946 with his mother and older brother, Harvey. His father stayed behind as head of security for Chiang Kai-shek.  His father did not survive the year.  Things were difficult for Mrs. Wang, who had lost everything but a small inheritance.  They ended up in Berkeley, Ca., where Art grew up.

Art learned to play chess at a Koltanowski chess festival in Sonoma.   Koltanowski was an extremely active chess promoter, and there was always someplace to play chess in Northern California when Art was a kid.  He became a regular at the Berkeley YMCA, and later at the Mechanics' Institute of San Francisco.

Art participated in the 1957 US Junior, which was won by Bobby Fischer.  Art later won the California Junior Championship in 1960.  Art considered a 1960 Mechanics' tournament to be his best ever.  He tied for 1st with Bill Addison, who later became one of the leading players in the United States.

Art enlisted in the Army in 1962, got married and started a family.  He returned to chess as a member of the famous Castle Club in the late 1960s.  Members would take turns hosting events in their homes, and Art recalled those days fondly.  Those were good memories, in part, because he won or was co-champion of the club nine times.

Art's other main hobby was golf.  He was not very good at golf (one mutual friend said it was more like watching polo) but he was very good at betting.  Whenever he was behind, he would offer a new bet, and more often than not would figure out a way to break even, if not come out ahead.

The following game was played against another promising junior player at the time.  The two players remained friends to the very end.