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  1. #1
    CC Candidate Master
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    RIP Hilton Petrie Bennett 1955-2022

    New Zealand, and in fact, world chess, has lost one of its gentlemen, fan, supporter, contributor, player, and a great friend to all.

    RIP Hilton
    Michael F

  2. #2
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    A lovely guy, very sorry to hear it. Condolences to the NZ chess community and all his friends and family.
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  3. #3
    CC Grandmaster Adamski's Avatar
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    This is very sad. Hilton was one of chess's gentlemen. He captained many New Zealand chess teams, including at Olympiads. So friendly and a good chessplayer too. RIP Hilton.
    God exists. Short and to the point.
    President of, and sometimes arbiter at, Rooty Hill RSL Chess Club. See www.rootyhillchessclub.org.

    Psephological insight. "Controversial will only lose you votes. Courageous will lose you the election." Sir Humphrey Appleby on Yes Minister.

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  4. #4
    CC Grandmaster Tony Dowden's Avatar
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    Here's an extract from NZCF's webpage:

    R.I.P. Hilton Bennett (1955-2022)
    We mourn the loss of our dear chess friend and colleague Hilton Bennett who very sadly passed away on November 12th after suffering a serious heart attack on Wednesday afternoon, November 9th.
    Hilton was a colossus on the New Zealand Chess scene for many decades giving dedicated service as a councillor for the central North Island region and taking on many responsibilities in chess administration with an emphasis on junior coaching and facilitator for many training workshops. He was invaluable in his role in representing NZ at Chess Olympiads dating back to the early 2000s as the Head of Delegation. It was during these events that his organizational and people skills came to the fore as many past team members can testify.
    Hilton was a passionate chess player and always gave 100% in his effort to play the best he could. He continually worked to improve his game. Recently he placed 3rd= in the 2022 Asian Seniors 65+ division and prior to that gained 3rd place in the 65+ section at the 2022 Malaysian Chess Festival in September. Hilton was part of the 1998 Auckland team that competed in the Asian Cities Championships in the Genting Highlands in Malaysia and the following year represented NZ at the 1999 World Cities and Asian Teams Championships in Shenyang, China. Hilton's international tournament successes included 1st= place at the 1st Fiji International tournament in Suva in 2003 and 1st place in the Palau International tournament in Koror in 2006.
    Hilton held the titles of FIDE Candidate Master, FIDE Trainer, and FIDE International Organiser, as well as the national arbiter title, and was a life member of the New Zealand Chess Federation.
    Hilton was also a passionate chess historian and was continually on the lookout for historical NZ Chess literature. He had impressive knowledge in this field.
    He will be sadly missed by all who had the good fortune to know him as a wonderful colleague and friend.
    -- Paul Spiller, NZCF Vice President
    Last edited by Tony Dowden; 13-11-2022 at 03:17 PM.
    Fischer visiting Tal in hospital - Curaçao 1962

    "You must take your opponent into a deep dark forest where 2+2=5, and the path leading out is only wide enough for one." - Mikhail Tal
    "My favourite piece is the one that wins" - Bobby Fischer

  5. #5
    CC Grandmaster Tony Dowden's Avatar
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    My occasional interactions with Hilton were spread sporadically over four-and-a-half decades but were always welcome and quickly became much anticipated occasions. Indeed, yesterday my adult children told me that they always remember me mentioning Hilton and that he must have been a very special person. Hilton Petrie Bennett really was a wonderful person. He was universally appreciated and admired. As I write (with some difficulty) I am reminded of the first time I met him in the NZ Premier Reserve Championship at Upper Hutt in 1975/76, being managed by him in his role as Team Captain at the Bled Olympiad in 2002, and the last time I met him at the Asian Seniors at Auckland just three weeks ago in October, 2022.

    Hilton was five years older than me and from a different part of NZ so when I was paired against him in our first game in the mid 1970s, I didn't know him at all. As it turned out I managed to beat him in a long ending. He was wonderfully magnanimous in defeat and his love for chess and desire to seek the truth in our post-mortem made an immediate impact on me. I didn't realise it at the time but this was the start of a decades long friendship.

    Fast-forward many years on to 2002 and I'm at my second Olympiad at Bled in Slovenia. Hilton is the Head of Delegation and Men's Team Captain. Hilton had great people skills. At the Olympiad he somehow had the knack of welding a diverse team of chess players together and the whole experience was very enjoyable. One anonymous team member seemed bent on seeing me rested in as many rounds as possible so he could play more games (which might be an exaggeration but that is how I remember it!) but Hilton diffused this with great aplomb and his selection decisions seemed completely fair and reasonable. We went on an excursion on a free day. Hilton consulted a map and decided it was possible to hike cross country to a gorge with a spectacular walk-way built into the cliff walls. I mainly remember it being very cold and damp but a great adventure which included coming across a brightly coloured salamander (a type of amphibian).

    Onto the Asian Seniors at Auckland in October. During the event I had many conversations with Hilton. Characteristically, he was excited for me that I had become a FIDE Trainer earlier in the year (via an online FIDE seminar which was his brain child) and he was keen to discuss various ideas he was hatching to encourage and support coaches in NZ and help them feel less isolated. That was Hilton. He was inclusive and always saw the big picture and, I guess coming from a provincial area, knew that individuals could easily feel left out. In our last act together we lamented that Covid had struck the Seniors event and that we were therefore unable to go out to dinner as planned. Just as we finished talking, he gave me a brand new book from his stall "to read on the plane" entitled 'The Grandmaster's Mind'. That was Hilton. He loved chess (and chess books - I'm told he had an incredible collection) and was generous and kind to a tee. It's hard to believe that he has left us. RIP.
    Last edited by Tony Dowden; 13-11-2022 at 08:31 PM.
    Fischer visiting Tal in hospital - Curaçao 1962

    "You must take your opponent into a deep dark forest where 2+2=5, and the path leading out is only wide enough for one." - Mikhail Tal
    "My favourite piece is the one that wins" - Bobby Fischer

  6. #6
    CC Grandmaster Capablanca-Fan's Avatar
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    Very sorry to hear this. Hilton and I don't go as far back as with Tony above, but we do go back to the Centennial 1979/80 Congress in Upper Hutt where we shared 3rd in the Premier Reserve.

    Always sharp and dangerous if not always sound.

    He was exceptionally good at Correspondence Chess, winning 3 NZ Championship titles and giving NZ's only correspondence GM, Mark Noble, a run for his money
    “The history of the 20th century is full of examples of countries that set out to redistribute wealth and ended up redistributing poverty.”
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  7. #7
    CC International Master
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    Yes, a very sad loss, one of the nicest people in chess for sure. Last time I met Hilton was in 2016 during the 42d chess olympiad in Baku and he shared with me the following funny story.

    Hilton was trying to register into a hotel which had the same name as him. The conversation between him and the receptionist was something like this. "What is your name?" "Hilton." "Yes, I know, Hilton is the name of the hotel but what is your name?" "Hilton."... etc. After the third round, the receptionist finally realized what was happening and offered Hilton a free complementary drink.

  8. #8
    CC Candidate Master
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    A really lovely bloke. Sadly missed.
    cheers - paulb

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