Quinton Smith dies at K-12 Nationals

Quinton Smith
Photo by Lubbock ISD.

The U.S. Chess Federation has released a press release of the death of scholastic player Quinton Smith of Estacado High School. The 17-year old Lubbock, Texas resident was competing on the K-12 Nationals at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas which drew 1200 students. Smith had gone up to the top floor when he fell more than 20 stories from the hotel tower.

There were witnesses to the fall. Tish Lairmore, the mother of another competitor in the same tournament, heard Smith falling past her room window… apparently striking something on the way down. Lairmore was quoted as saying,

“I heard a noise, like a loud noise. I ran to the window and then looked out.”

Smith actually laid on the ground for several hours while being attended to by bystanders and later police. According to Estacado’s principal Sam Ayers, Smith apparently went up to the roof after watching some of the games in progress. He has lost his first four games (USCF has a forfeit for the fifth round) and was apparently preparing to break into the win column.

The Lubbock Avalanche Journal reports that the Dallas Police is investigating the matter and awaiting reports (including toxicology) to determine if it was accident or foul play. Smith was said to be a standout student and also participated on the mock trial team, tennis team, choir and theater guild.

Smith survived by his mother Brenda Zapata. Funeral plans are pending. A fund has been set up and those wishing to donate can contact any PlainsCapital Bank.

Link: https://lubbockonline.com/filed-online/2011-11-21/estacado-high-school-student-dies-during-trip-fund-set#.TsxiB1bVx94

Daaim Shabazz

Daaim Shabazz is the founder of The Chess Drum, while serving as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds a B.S. Computer Science from Chicago State University, an MBA in Marketing and a Ph.D. in International Affairs & Development, both from Clark Atlanta University. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

20 Comments

  1. Very sad. I too saw the police tape and official vehicles when I made a trip to my car during a break in the Koltanowski conference. Had no idea until yesterday what had happened. Quinton evidently was an active and well liked young man. Our thoughts are with his family and the school community in Lubbock.

  2. Deepest condolences to the family of Quinton Smith, and hopefully
    they gain the clearest picture of what happened.

  3. As of today, there has been no update or information released to Quintons mother regarding the investigation into his death. No cause of death released or a death certificate. If anyone knows anything, please come forward. Quinton deserves better.

      1. No news, no death certificate, no cause of death, the examiner has not released a report to the family and police will not give any information. If anyone knows anything please come forward, this family need to answers desperately.

  4. I would like to know more information about this case. This is not the first case of a chess player falling from a multi story building to their death.It happened to a young female master from UK just a few years ago. Please respond to my inquiry as soon as possible.

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