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.