Saturday, 12 November 2022

Hilton Bennett (1955 - 2022)

 Absolutely tragic new from New Zealand. Hilton Bennett has passed away at the age of 67. He suffered a serious heart attack a few days ago, and despite the best efforts of medical staff, he never regained consciousness, and died today (12 November).

For those that knew Hilton, he was one of the genuinely good guys of chess. He was an avid player and organiser, a serious book collector, and someone with an absolute love of the game. I knew him for over 20 years, crossing paths at various tournaments (the last just 3 weeks ago), and working together on a number of chess projects. 

He was a frequent participant in Australian chess events (including a number of Doeberl Cups), a familiar face at chess Olympiads (as a NZ team captain, or team supporter), and a constant presence at the major New Zealand events. He was a strong player, earning his CM title in 2013, as well as being an International Organiser and FIDE Trainer. In his last major tournament, the 2022 Asian Seniors 65+ he finished equal 3rd, missing out on an FM title on countback. 

His passing will be greatly felt, not just in New Zealand, but in the world wide chess community.

Bennett,Hilton Petrie (2134) - Kanikevich,Alexander (2410) [B02]
Doeberl Cup 45th Canberra (2), 06.04.2007


Peter McK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter McK said...

Well said Shaun. You selected a nice game too.

David Lovejoy said...

Such very sad news. Whenever I was drawn to play Hilton, even though I knew I would likely lose, I always felt great pleasure in the prospect of his friendly company. His passing is a great loss to New Zealand and Australian chess alike.

MachoM said...

I have two - for me at least - great memories of Hilton. At my first ever Australian Open in Canberra 2001 after the first day with two rounds, we shared a few beers, as I said to him "you need a beer" after his sad loss to the junior Lugo. We got a few beers actually and later I always loved his compagny in Europe, in Queenstown or in Australia.

One of my best ever evenings in Australia was after one of the last rounds at an Australian Open. I was so lucky to share table with Bill Egan, Richard Lilly and Hilton. These guys told me so many excellent stories about chess and the life outside chess.


Scott Humphreys said...

So so very sad to hear this. I met Hilton through the Hamilton (NZ) chess club (HCC) and then regularly at either Ballarat, Canberra or Sydney chess events. Yes, totally agree, one of the good guys. A great supporter of junior chess and getting the HCC restarted after a hiatus. I didn't often win against Hilton OTB, but it was a pleasant learning experience.

Well said Shaun, and a little scary as he was only 1 year older than myself.