William Addison, 1933-2008
November 11, 2008
IM John Donaldson with William Addison in 2007
International Master William G. Addison passed away on October 29, 2008. The following remembrances show that he will be sorely missed.

According to Chess Personalia, which I so kindly received from Walter Shipman many years ago, William Grady Addison was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on November 28th 1933. He always seemed in my mind so young in spirit that I always assumed he was younger than I. I was sad that a Chess Master of such remarkable skills had so abruptly ceased playing the game. But being a man of high integrity, he surely did much good in the life he chose. I am most sad at the announcement of his death. Everyone who knew the gentleman needed to see him if but one more time. He was born in the Depression at the start of the Roosevelt Era and lived to see the start of the Second Great Depression. He died on the Anniversary of that Great Depression. His life was decorated with Book Ends. He must have known the squeeze of suffering. Yet, he demonstrated a medicinal wit that assisted those he met to travel over the bumps of life's rocky road. I cannot imagine who more deserves to be in a better place. To say more would be superfluous- GM William Lombardy

  William Addison came to San Francisco in the early 1950s after growing up in Baton Rouge and serving in the US military. He was a low expert when he arrived but in the next 15 years he developed into one of the strongest players in the United States. William Adddison served as the Mechanics Chess Director in the late 1960s and was the first international player to develop at the Mechanics. He played in about a half dozen US Championships in the 1960s finishing as high as second which qualified him for the 1970 Interzonal in Palma. Bill played on two US Oympiad teams including the one with Fischer that won the silver medal at Havana 1966. (Ed. Note- See Addison's results  including 7.5/9 in the 1964 Tel Aviv Olympiad  on olimpbase.com. )   He retired from tournament play in the early 1970s to go into the banking business just as he was on the verge of becoming a GM (his last FIDE rating was his peak at 2490). I only met him once but we corresponded frequently last year. He was a very nice man – IM John Donaldson

Bill Addison was a model of what a chess master should be. Yes, I well remember when he came to the Koenig Memorial last year. He regaled us with stories of the old days...His description of Kurt Bendit was a priceless tribute. And he was clearly following the international scene. But he was so vigorous, so animated that day that I can't believe he can be gone. I can say quite honestly that there is no person I have ever played -- and I played against him often in 1953-1969 -- that made such an impression on me and brought so much enjoyment, win or lose, from the experience- Bob Burger

Addison Game selection

The following selection includes two of Addison's games against Fischer, and wins against some of the top American players of his day such as Lombardy and Reshevsky. When going over Addison's games this morning, I was taken by the excitement of many of his contests, and I urge readers to seek out more- Jennifer Shahade