Come join us to pay tribute to Shelby Lyman.
Scheduled speakers (listed alphabetically):
Sal Matera (incl stories from Eugene Meyer, Andy Soltis, and game analysis)
New York Times
Tribute by FM Asa Hoffman
Shelby Lyman recently passed away.
I first met Shelby Lyman in the early 60’s at the Chess and Checker Club of New York, aka the Flea House.
He was already a well-known master, having been taught by his uncle Harry Lyman from New England. We played
many spirited sessions of blitz chess and Scrabble. He was ferociously competitive and a worthy opponent.
I also played him a couple of games in the Marshall Chess Club Championship, which he won in 1964.
In 1972, Shelby began his famous show on PBS covering the games of the World Championship Match in Iceland
between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky. I well remember some of his regular guests on the show: GM Reshevsky,
IM Mednis, IM Sherwin, NM Bruce Pandolfini, WIM Rachel Crotto (and especially NM Steve Brandwein who was dragged
off the show for making inflammatory political statements). The show also featured guest appearance by many
others including talented junior players. The show caught the public’s eye and soon had over a million viewers!
Many famous players started playing chess as a result of watching Shelby’s show, including IM Jay Bonin. My wife,
Virginia D’Amico Hoffmann was also inspired by his show and rose to be one of the top female players. The show had a
mesmerizing effect on people and inspired thousands to start playing serious chess. Shelby’s show was a big part of the
“Fischer-boom” in the early 70’s. Alas, the video tapes of the shows appear to have been lost. And now the chess
world had lost Shelby Lyman as well. Rest in Peace