Tate annotates game with Wojtkiewicz!

The chess world was shocked to hear of the death of Aleks Wojtkiewicz. "Wojo" as he was commonly called in chess circles, struggled with his health, but his insatiable appetite for competing at chess never wavered. He was one of the most active players on the chess circuit. The United States Chess Federation reported that on July 14th at around 6pm, Wojo had passed away. The official cause of death was massive internal bleeding from a ruptured intestine.  Wojo had struggled with his health for some time.

The shock was not only because of his death at 43 years, but the fact that his was in top form in the last days of his life.  He had won his last five tournaments including joint 1st at the National Open, joint 1st in the World Open and joint 1st at the Columbus Open. Some observers noticed that Wojo had begun to play with more intensity in his more recent tournaments. Such was the case at the World Open and he tied with eight others to grab a share of 1st place.

Emory Tate earned his 3rd IM norm at the 2006 World Open.

Tate waits for his opponent Aleks Wojtkiewicz at 2006 World Open. Despite failing health, the "Polish Magician" played an inspired game. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

In an interview shortly after World Open had ended, Emory Tate, Jr. described his encounter with Wojtkiewicz.

"I lost to Aleks Wojtkiewicz… he  played like a madman… possessed. He played in the style of Tal and I lost a tactical struggle… which is unusual for me… and it's unusual for Wojtkiewicz to lash our with such fury. As it turns out, he sacrificed several pawns and I was unable to defend. An analysis proved it was quite sound."

According to Latvian Alexei Shirov, Wojo was an official member of Mikhail Tal's training team… at age 16!! Wojo played blitz with the World Champion for hours at a time, but his development was interrupted when he had evaded Soviet authorities for four years.  Alexander Shabalov, also from Latvia, stated,

"In a memorial speech in Curacao, Jaan Ehlvest called Wojt the James Bond of chess. I don't know if I would go that far; maybe Don Quixote is a better comparison. Either way, he was of a generation that is slowly dying out: the devil-may-care, living-for-the-moment professional chess bum. He traveled from tournament to tournament, thinking little about money or a conventional lifestyle, only about playing chess and enjoying himself. He really lived his life as if there was no tomorrow." (read story)

Aleksander Wojtkiewicz at the 2005 World Open. Photo by Phillip R. Smith.

Aleksander Wojtkiewicz at the 2005 World Open. Photo by Phillip R. Smith.

In a special feature here at The Chess Drum, Tate graciously submitted this game score with annotations. Tate joked about being the 'sacrificial lamb' in this game and stated that Wojo played like  a man who felt that there was no tomorrow.

Aleksander Wojtkiewicz - Emory Tate

Posted by The Chess Drum: 25 September 2006