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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Arthur D. Wang

     Arthur Wang (b. June, 1942), a master back in the days when masters were rare, passed away on Monday, December 12, 2011 after a prolonged 18 month battle with esophageal cancer
     Wang was born in Chung-king, China and came to the United States in 1946 with his mother and older brother, Harvey. His father stayed behind as head of security for Chiang Kai-shek but did not survive the year. Things were difficult for Wang's mother who had lost everything but a small inheritance. They ended up in Berkeley, California where he grew up. He graduated from Berkeley High School at 16 and earned his BS and MBA from UC Berkeley. Wang enlisted in the Army in 1962, got married and started a family with his first wife and mother of his three children. He returned to Vietnam in 1975 to evacuate 19 family members one day prior to the unmitigated disaster known as the Fall of Saigon.
     Wang took up residence in Palo Alto, California in 1978. After his time in the Army he worked at the Radiation Lab in Berkeley on the mapping of the bubble chamber trails of subatomic particles and his wife had started an import business from Vietnam and his chess activity took a back seat to earning a living and other interests.
     He learned to play chess at a Koltanowski chess festival in Sonoma, California and soon became a regular at the Berkeley YMCA, and later at the Mechanics' Institute of San Francisco. Wang played in the 1957 US Junior (won by Bobby Fischer) and later won the California Junior Championship in 1960. The 1960 Mechanics' Institute tournament was his best when he tied for 1st with William Addison, who later became an IM and one of the leading players in the US.
     Wang returned to chess after his stint in the Army as a member of the famous Castle Club in the late 1960s; he won or was co-champion of the club nine times.
     Besides chess his hobbies were golf, pool, archery, knife and ax throwing, and shooting.  Of all his hobbies golf was his favorite right behind chess, but unlike chess, in golf he was truly a duffer. He was also known for his willingness to bet on sporting events and just about anything else, including which elevator would arrive first.
     Wang was a financial executive and worked for Price, Waterhouse, Coopers and worked in banking and high tech companies like Vitelic and SanDisk. He met his wife Katherine in Singapore and they were married in February 1979 and enjoyed travelling throughout Asia, Europe, Argentina and the U.S. He also lived in various countries including the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.
     His style was positional and he leaned towards playing endings; he was a mini-Smyslov.

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