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Monday, December 15, 2014

Curt Brasket, Legendary Minnesota Master

     Curt Justin Brasket (December 7, 1932 – January 24, 2014) was an American master and US National Junior Chess Champion. He was also a sixteen-time state champion for his home state of Minnesota, and a FIDE Master. In 2013 he was granted the Outstanding Career Achievement Award by the US Chess Federation.
     Brasket was born in Tracy, Minnesota in December 1932. The sixth of eight children, he became interested in chess at age 13 after finding a book on the game – though he had at the time been looking for a book on checkers. He attended the University of Minnesota and Saint John's University, graduating with degrees in French and mathematics. Upon graduation, Brasket enlisted in the US Army and was sent to Japan for a two-year tour. He returned and was given an honorable discharge, after which he started a career as computer programmer for Unisys. Brasket married in 1963 and moved to Bloomington, Minnesota. He had three daughters.
     In 1952 at age 20, Brasket entered and won the US Junior Chess Championship held in Omaha. During the 1970s he competed in a number of Lone Pine International tournaments, occasionally defeating grandmasters such as Walter Browne, Arnold Denker and Larry Evans. His peak FIDE rating was 2375 in January 1978, and in 1983 he was awarded the FIDE Master title. Between 1991 and his final tournament in 2011, Brasket competed in 583 tournaments. In 2013 he received the US Chess Federation Outstanding Career Achievement Award.
      In the late 70's he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. After three years in a VA Home in Minneapolis, Brasket died in his sleep on January 24, 2014 at the age of 81. Four of his siblings had previously died, and he was survived by his wife. He was described by Sean Nagle, the incumbent Minnesota State Champion at the time of his death, as "a truly towering figure in Minnesota chess".

Obituary: Curt Brasket, king of chess

Star Tribune Obituary

In the following game he trounces IM Dr. Anthony Saidy with a surprising R-sac on move 25.

1 comment:

  1. When I was learning chess in Chicago, many years ago, Brasket was a legend in Midwestern Chess. While Chicago was the epicenter of Midwest chess, there were many strong masters from the surrounding states: Brasket from Minnesota, Bill Martz from Wisconsin, and Ed Vano from Indiana. Their occasional forays into Chicago tournaments always created a little additional excitement. And Robert Byrne would sometimes put in an appearance, which made any tournament a special event