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Friday, May 17, 2013

Alina Markowski

     Alina Markowski died on June 28, 2011 just one month short of her 101st birthday. She was the Ohio women’s champion in 1955, 1957, 1959, 1960 and 1961. Her victory in the 1955 championship came only two years after learning the moves.
      Mrs. Markowski was born in Krakow, Poland on July 18, 1910 and her family moved to Chicago in 1912, but returned to Poland in 1923 where she was taught chess by her sister. In 1925 she briefly returned to Chicago and then moved to Toledo, Ohio which is where I remember her from. While living in Toledo she was employed as a Registrar at the University of Toledo. Registrars have the responsibility of maintaining records of the academic progress and accomplishments of students and maintaining student records.
      In 1935, while performing a Polish folk dance at a festival at Walbridge Park in Toledo, she met and married Steve Markowski, an attorney who also served as president of the Ohio Chess Federation (1956 - 1961). Her husband was also born in Poland and moved Pittsburgh in 1915. They both played chess, but it was not until 1953 that they began tournament play. Both had ratings in the 1600-1700 range. Her last published rating was in 2006 and was 1507...not bad for a 96 year old!  Her 'Quick Rating" was 1524. Her husband died of cancer in 1971 at the age of 65.
      In 1975 when Mrs. Markowski retired she moved to Escondido, California and became active in the local chess scene. Both in Ohio and California Mrs. Markowski was an active organizer for women’s chess. She also served as a board member for the Southern California Chess Federation and wrote articles on women and chess for the organization's publication. She was also active as a member of the San Diego Chess Club, the North County/Escondito Chess Club and the Vista Chess Club.
      She was a member of the Correspondence Chess League of America and was active in postal chess for many years. She also served as a volunteer organizer for the U.S. Senior Open and was a certified Tournament Director. Beginning in the mid-1908s Mrs. Markowski was living in an assisted living center where she formed, what else…a chess club.


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