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Thursday, October 20, 2011

R.I.P. Anthony Koppany - Chess master who drew with Fischer in a wild game

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hi everyone,

Anthony Koppany, 93, of Lansdale, an accomplished chess player who once played Bobby Fischer to a draw, died Monday, Oct. 17, at home. A native of Hungary, Mr. Koppany learned to play chess when he was 10 from a relative who became a chess master. After emigrating to the United States in 1949, he played with the North City Chess Club and was later director of the Franklin Mercantile Chess Club in Center City.

In 1964, Mr. Koppany played Fischer at the Cheltenham Township Art Center.

According to an Inquirer account, it was a wild game in which Fischer, playing white, wound up with two rooks and two bishops against Koppany's queen and two knights. After the bishops and knights were gone and Mr. Koppany's queen seemed positioned to check Fischer's exposed king repeatedly, Fischer offered a draw. The two men then shook hands. When he moved from Olney to Lansdale in 1997, Mr. Koppany played chess at St. John's United Church of Christ. He continued to win tournaments there until he stopped playing at 90. He was having some memory loss and said he wanted to go out on top, said his daughter, Edith Verna.

Mr. Koppany taught school in Hungary. During World War II, while serving in the Hungarian Army, he met and married Maria Bedice in Yugoslavia in 1944. He later fought on the Russian front. Mr. Koppany worked for a meat-processing company in Philadelphia for several years before going to work for Schmidt's brewery in 1953. He was a computer systems operator at the brewery when he retired at 62.

Mr. Koppany enjoyed reading, the outdoors, and swimming at the YMCA in Lansdale. In addition to his wife and daughter, he is survived by sons Stephen and George; six grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren. A son, Anthony Jr., died in 2009.

A Funeral Mass will be said at 11 a.m., Friday, Oct. 21, at St. Stanislaus Church, 51 Lansdale Ave., Lansdale. Friends may call from 10 a.m. Donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, 480 Norristown Rd., Suite 150, Blue Bell, Pa. 19422. The full story is at this link.

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