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Ursula Foster Memorial Chess Gifts Awarded at 2006 Denker Tournament of High School Champions & 2006 Print E-mail
By Joan DuBois   
August 17, 2006
August 17, 2006(931) 787-1234 #123
Press Release #47 of 2006[email protected]

 (Crossville, TN) Ursula Lowenbach Foster, Holocaust survivor and former classmate of the now famous Anne Frank (author of ‘Diary of Anne Frank’), died in Modesto, CA, in August of 2004.  She was 77 years old.


Mrs. Foster’s sons, Rick and Cliff Lester, have announced an annual chess gift of $1,000 to be shared and awarded through the U.S. Chess Federation to the Top 13 and under winner from the Denker High School Tournament of Champions and the Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls (currently held in conjunction with the U.S. Open), to commemorate their mother’s life and her dedication to young chess players. 


Kevin Guo and Tony X. Chen tied for the Top 13 and under for the 2006 Denker Tournament of High School Champions to share the $500.00 chess gift and Jordana Williams won the $500.00 gift from the 2006 Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls.


Mrs. Foster, a long time member of the USCF, was active in over-the-board and correspondence chess for many years.  With a career-high rating of 1753, Mrs. Foster was equally skilled in quick time chess and correspondence chess which included being among the top 50 U.S. Women players.


In 1938, at 11 years old, Mrs. Foster fled Germany with her family to Amsterdam to escape Nazi persecution.  Two years later, Germany conquered the Netherlands, and brought the same persecution to the Foster’s new home.  The last time she saw her older brother, Ernst, was July 14, 1942, when at age 18 he was arrested by the Nazis, and sent to Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland, where he died in the gas chambers.


Mrs. Foster is mentioned by name in the book written by Anne Frank.  Her time of hiding was fraught with danger, fear, and deprivation.  It was during this time that her father taught her how to play chess.  On her 16th birthday, she was confronted by two Nazi officers, and narrowly escaped imprisonment when one of the men realized she looked remarkably like his own daughter, and chose instead to walk away.  Throughout her life, she kept the yellow star, inscribed with “Jood” (Jew) that she’d been forced to wear as a child. 


Though a shy woman, she lent her time and experience to school children at Modesto area schools, giving talks about the Holocaust and its horrific impact on her life and those of her family and friends.  She was a civic volunteer, working with the Memorial Medical Center, driving cancer patients to and from medical appointments, and promoting literacy by delivering books to shut-ins and reading to underprivileged children.


Her sons are establishing the scholarship to continue their mother’s work and sense of civic duty, and keep alive her love of the game and devotion to young people. 

The Modesto Bee newspaper also provides a fascinating look into Ursula's life. http://www.modbee.com/local/story/8982645p-9876591c.html




The United States Chess Federation (USCF), founded in 1939, serves as the governing body for chess in the United States and is now headquartered in Crossville, Tennessee. USCF is devoted to extending the role of chess in American society. It promotes the study and knowledge of the game of chess, for its own sake as an art and enjoyment, and as a means for the improvement of society. The USCF is a not-for-profit membership organization with over 80,000 members.

For additional information on the USCF see: http://www.uschess.org.