The most valuable commodity in the chess world is that rare, precious, and beautiful individual who possesses the ability to energize multitudes. Northern California is blessed by the presence of Alan M. Kirshner, who spends his daylight hours as a mild-mannered professor of political science at a local college, but by night becomes SuperOrganizer!

A relative newcomer to chess, Kirshner honed his skills organizing weightlifting competitions (he is a former senior world champion in the bench press). When his two sons became active in scholastic chess, he abandoned weightlifting to organize scholastic competitions. His Weibel Chess Club in Fremont, California, is among the largest and most successful scholastic affiliates in the country. his personality energizes his endeavors and generates a contagious enthusiasm -- all of his tournaments exceed expectations.

His two sons, Micah (now 14) and Tov (13) have by now participated in many state and national championships. Their trophy room is full of awards attesting to their success.

Among the many tournaments successfully organized by Dr. Kirshner is our state scholastic championship last year that attracted 500 entrants. This year he expects 600, making it a tournament of national proportions. He also organizes his Weibel Club, set up the Fremont Chess Club, established a new state-wide tournament (the California Grade Level Championships), and schleps his kids to tournaments every other weekend.

Chess in this country largely prospers on the shoulders of its volunteers. As long as we can attract dedicated and capable friends of chess like Alan Kirshner, the future of chess is secure.

by Dick Schaedle
© Chess Life, March 1997