Very Sad Day

Posted: 13/11/2022 by Ian in Club News

With extreme sadness we note the passing of our chess colleague, club stalwart, and dear friend Hilton Bennett. Club nights will never be the same. A terrible blow to Waikato chess, and the broader chess community. The following is from the NZCF website

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 VP

  1. Scott says:

    So so very sad to hear this. I met Hilton through the Hamilton chess club (HCC) and then regularly at either Ballarat, Canberra or Sydney chess events. He was 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.

    It is also a little scary as he was only 1 year older than myself.