I first met Herald-Leader columnist Don Edwards in 1996 while participating in the Scholastic State Chess Championship as a sixth grader.
I remember him walking down the aisles and stopping at various boards to observe. Each round, he stopped at my board, watched me play for several minutes, then moved to the next board.
At the end of the three-day event, he offered to teach me chess free of charge. Having been born with a total of five fingers and a deformed leg, I knew that sports would not be part of my repertoire. His offer allowed me to become part of a challenging, stimulating and mentally rewarding community.
For the next two years, we analyzed games from my chess tournaments or discussed chess theory. I learned much from him and won first place in the middle-school division at my last Scholastic State Chess Championship.
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The awards and recognition I received would not have been possible without Edwards’ coaching and support. Though I have not played competitive chess since middle school, I carry a love and admiration for the game that he instilled in me.
My memories of Edwards, who died Tuesday, will always be of a kind and caring man who loved people, teaching and chess.