In Memoriam IM-ICCF Valer Vasile Demian
December 15, 1934 – November 16, 2018
My father was a chess player. He took an amateur level family passion for the game to a correspondence chess National Championship title (1968), three ICCF Coppa Latina Europe titles (1st, 2nd and 3rd editions) with team Romania (he was team captain during the 3rd edition), a 3rd place with team Romania in the OTB 3rd Blind Chess Olympiad Weymouth 1968 (a tournament where he finished 1st on board 1), plus an IM-ICCF title (1972). There are many more milestones of various importance I am overlooking now; apologies dad!
Of course it is hard to choose from a chess career spanning roughly 70 years and two centuries. The title of this article is the translation of his hand written selection of games and thoughts he left me in a notebook. The samples below are a modest attempt to share them with the World. First I have a sample my father has saved from many played versus his dad (my grandpa). It shows his early affinity for the move Nb1-c3 and his ambitious nature by playing the King’s gambit.
Winning the national title in 1968 engraved his name in Romania’s chess Parthenon. An interesting detail is that the decisive game, securing him the title, was against one of my junior coaches from the same city (Arad). Marian Stere (ROU) has saved and uploaded online a slew of Romanian chess magazines in pdf format and the one from December 1968 (pages 186-187) contains an article about it. Those wishing to see it and possibly read it in Romanian, can do so here.
Below is that game:
His OTB chess was as impressive as his correspondence chess. He played a lot while I was young and had to give it up slowly because of the travel bans during the communism years, as well as his fragile physical condition. Over the years he played a number of top Romanian OTB players such as GM Gheorghiu, GM Ghitescu, IM Pavlov, IM Ungureanu, IM Mozes, etc including in his only participation in the Romanian OTB Final 1967. His participation in the 3rd Blind Chess Olympiad 1968 as board 1 for Romania and his final result are a solid testament in that regard. Details here
He has annotated a number of games from that tournament and my choice below is for sure sentimental. The annotations are by my dad.
For many years he was well known in Romania and Europe for playing 1. Nc3 … in both OTB and correspondence chess at all levels. Here I am proud to share with him a number of games in the same opening, many published in several printed magazines. His participation in the “Sleipner International” 1. Nc3 … thematic correspondence chess tournament organized by Anker Aasum (Norway) between 1990 and 1994 is a culmination of his love for the opening. He called it the “Romanian opening” and we hope those promoting the “Veresov opening” name will not mind this too much. There are too many games listing the “Demian” name on the White side!…
In his latter years he continued playing correspondence chess without a chess computer(!), managing to win a surprising number of games. He experimented a lot playing in various national correspondence chess tournaments, using for example 1. g3, 1… g6 (same first move as White and Black) in all his games or such. He also started to explore lesser known areas of chess such as studies. Here he connected chess with mathematics (he used to be a high school math teacher) and composed a number of studies in the mirror, any first move aided checkmates, as well as studies with solution valid on an infinite chess board. Below are two samples. Hope you find them interesting. Thank you for reading my eulogy!
Valer Eugen Demian