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In Passing

In Passing
Philip Jude Newman Print E-mail
By Phillip R Smith   
January 8, 2012

Philip Jude Newman, 1952-2011

“I met Bobby Fischer at the old McAlpine Hotel in 1969,” recalled Bayonne chess master Phil Newman. Phil and future International Master Robert Gruchacz “were invited to sit with Fischer as he analyzed a game.” Fischer had been absent from chess competition for about two years. Phil observed that “It was clear that for two years he had been studying chess. He was a chess machine.”

A major force in Bayonne chess, Newman was a three-time Hudson County champ and MVP of the North Jersey Chess League in 1972. He and the late Bob Gruchacz were members of the St. Peter’s Prep team that captured back-to-back New Jersey scholastic team championships.

Phil was also a master chess organizer. He directed tournaments at all academic levels and taught chess to grammar school and high school students. He organized teams for local, NJ State and US team tourneys.

Phil temporarily shelved competitive chess in the late 1970s when appointed a professional boxing judge by Jersey Joe Walcott. Having graduating from the University of Georgia in Journalism, he wrote sports pieces for local and state Newspapers. He judged scores of World Championship bouts in Europe, Asia and America Phil met and befriended many boxing greats including Joe Frazier, Chuck Wepner, Marvin Hagler, and Evander Holyfield. They overwhelmingly appreciated Phil’s honesty, integrity and skill as a boxing judge. He was perhaps the only judge who officiated fights in all four boxing leagues - IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO.

He learned Japanese and befriended many Japanese artists, sportspersons and Jazz and Classical musicians in New York City. Over the years, he kept in touch via letters and postcards and invited them to Hudson County to show them another side of the USA.

But Phil did not stray far from chess. His last tournament was this past April, when he scored a perfect 4-0 to win the annual Bayonne Chess Championship. The original tourney was initiated in 1968 by a buddy of Phil’s, science fiction author George R. R. Martin, and had been won by Phil several times over the past 40 years.

The following game was annotated in I.A. Horowitz’s New York Times column, after Phil had won the Eastern High Schools Chess Championship.

White: Phil Newman
Black: Eric Anderson
1970 Eastern High Schools Championship, Harrisburg, PA

1.e4 c5 2. Nc3 g6 3. d3 Bg7 4. f4 Nc6 5. Nf3 d6 6. g3 Nf6 7. Bg2 Bd7 8. Be3 Qc7 9. Qd2 a6 10. 0-0 e6 11. h3 h6 12. g4 b6 13. Ne2 d5 14. e5 Ng8 15. c3 Nge7 16. d4 c4 17. Ne1 b5 18. Ng3 a5 19. Nc2 Qb7 20. Qf2 b4 21. Bc1 a4 22. Ne3 Bf8 23. f5 gxf5 24. gxf5 Nd8 25. fxe6 Bxe6 26. Nxc4 Ng6 27. Nh5 Resigns

Obituary by Frank Nothaft

Philip Jude Newman may you rest in peace.