Earll Briggs, 1915-2003
On June 9, the chess world lost one of its greatest advocates and supporters in the passing of Earll Briggs. Earll, an avid d4-player, was a lifelong member of the USCF. He was about as solid a B player as there could ever be. But as a person and contributor to chess, Earll stood out as nothing short of a grandmaster.
As recently as last December, at 87 years young, he made his annual trip to play in the North American Open at Bally's Casino in Las Vegas. While there, he was sure to fit in a couple rounds of golf. Just prior to that, as was his custom, he drove all the way up to Reno to participate in the Western States Open. And, oh yeah, as always, he made a side trip to nearby Lake Tahoe and, believe it or not, went skiing. All this at age 87!
Earll walked upright like a soldier and looked a lot like James Coburn. The first of this year I visited Los Angeles and naturally looked up my good friend Earll. We had a gathering and no one could believe Earll's age. He didn't seem a day over 60. I guess that's what playing chess, golf and skiing will do for you if you keep it up.
Until his passing, Earll was the live-in companion of Lina Grumette, founder of the renowned Chess Set in Hollywood, California. He was a major factor in assisting Lina in formulating what became the Lina Grumette Memorial Tournament, held annually in Los Angeles.
The most famous guest to be quartered at the Chess Set was Bobby Fischer. It has been well documented how Lina assisted Bobby in his successful quest to become World Chess Champion. With the loss of Earll Briggs, many chess tournaments will have a glaringly empty seat from this day forward. Earll will be missed, but never forgotten. --Bill Ross,Boca Raton, Florida