Tributes (chronological order)

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The Robinson family has set up a memorial page and are accepting donations.

Angel Lopez


As I’m getting ready to play my final round of states cup last night my phone starts ringing off the hook. I was getting calls from all types of people in the chess community And I knew something just wasn’t right so I answered one and they asked me if you passed away. I said what kind of question is that and quickly hung up to play my game. Sad to say that call was followed by another call from a close friend telling me you’re gone. I couldn’t believe it we have been chatting almost every day about the NYC vs Chi match, Sports talk or just to check in see what’s going on. It’s crazy you can be here one minute and bam you’re gone.

Charu Robinson was competitive, he hated to lose (like me). There’s nothing like receiving a text from him of his keyboard, mouse and whatever was around on the floor cause he slammed it out of frustration after losing a game to me. We would just laugh at it #keeppushing. He worked on his chess game but took online ratings way too serious haha id always have to tell him to stop worrying about that . He stopped his chess playing journey to teach chess to the next generation just as I did but he always told me I should be a master. He was a great coach and mentor to many kids over the years and will be missed by everyone. I woke up today and still couldn’t believe this....
Sleep in Peace Bro 😇

Greg Keener


I cannot believe we lost Charu so suddenly. The chess community will miss him dearly.

He and I would sometimes text puzzles to one another that we found exceptionally hard or interesting, and he was one of the few people I knew who enjoyed solving retrograde puzzles. We would try to stump each other with these, though I have to admit he solved them much faster than I ever did.

He would text me out of the blue about a tournament ruling. This was never academic or theoretical, but only when he clearly felt that another TD had ruled incorrectly and was asking for my opinion on the ruling. More often than not, Charu's interpretation of the rules were spot on.

I will miss the puzzles, and the texts about rulings, but what I will miss most about Charu is his sense of humor. We shared a particular kind of humor, and could hardly be in each other's presence without cracking up. One of my favorite memories of Charu was the year at nationals when there was also a body-building convention happening in the other ballroom area. Those who knew Charu will remember that he was a super strong, buff dude. Every time he would walk into our team room I would say "oh sir... sorry sir no this is chess... the bodybuilding convention is right this way let me show you." This joke made him laugh so hard we were in tears - and years later he would say "remember when that body building convention was at nationals..." and we would start cracking up again.

He had my number in blitz, but our only slow rated game was miraculously a draw. He repeated in a position where I think he was clearly better, and it was almost like he gave me the draw because we were cool and he didn't want to squash me. I cannot believe that UptownExpress won't be playing blitz on lichess tonight. I will miss watching his games live while eating dinner, and the advice on fast chess he would sometimes give me. In our last text exchange, I asked how to get better at blitz. This is what he said:

The way to get better at blitz is by getting better at slow chess.

Intense study doesn’t improve your blitz much, because chess at its core is about deep thinking.

You don’t get to think deep playing blitz. It’s mostly reactionary. But your reactions are better if you are a seasoned strong slow player.

Thanks for the advice, man. I hit my all time peak blitz rating not long after this exchange.

Anthony Levin


Heartbroken with the loss of Charu Robinson, age 43. I woke up this morning and, opening facebook while brushing my teeth, discovered of his passing not five minutes from waking. I literally called his phone and texted him to check because I did not believe it. It's still there, "You're not dead, are you?"

This is the second person I've lost this year, and third if you include my dear cat. 2020 has been *exhausting,* man. I'm tired of posting eulogies on facebook over and over again.

Others can attest to his leading role in the Raging Rooks, decades of experience teaching chess to kids in NYC, and service to many as a mentor, role model, and friend. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people know him from NY to Chicago and beyond. I work with people who have known him for one, two, three decades. I didn't know him like that.

I met Charu at a chess tournament after I recognized him as the guy who posted all over Chess Connections and other facebook groups. He was engrossed in a position and, when he stood up to get some water, I actually stopped him and said I enjoyed his posts and videos. I didn't really know him deeply then, nor did I understand his deep entrenchment in the history of NYC chess.

After I started teaching chess for SA, he and I were coworkers. We were neighbors, really -- I worked in the Bronx, he in Harlem. We interacted on a weekly basis. We met at PDs, had lunch together, talked a lot of chess. I'd play blitz with him in front of our students in between rounds at their tournaments. I'd watch him play bullet at 1am, 2am, online. I'd ask him how to do this or that on lichess? How would he teach this or that to his students? Charu always had an answer.

It's a shame, but I have to admit that I didn't really appreciate his impact on the entire NYC scene. To me, he was just a friend and formidable opponent, especially in blitz or bullet. I am now seeing the entire chess community blow up over this. It's a deep shame how sometimes I learn these things about someone only after they pass away.

I can still hear his voice, his unforgettable accent -- anyone who knew him will. It's a shame we won't ever see him again, will never play another game of blitz again, will never crack another joke. Rest in Peace, Charu, I played blitz all day thinking about you, thinking, "This is what he would've wanted." You probably would have lol.

Much Love,
Anthony Levin

Evan Rabin


Charu Robinson was a kind friend, colleague and competitor. I was shocked to find out about his unfortunate passing last week. I will always miss hanging out, playing chess and chatting, online and in-person.

Michael Propper


Charu was one of the good guys!

Coaching for Chess NYC for 12 years...more than a colleague, we became true friends.
He is the only Coach that we have ever permitted to work with additional Organizations @ the same time, we shared a trust.
Charu rarely missed a chance to play Chess and he rarely missed joining me in attending my 2 sons' basketball games.
I don't think anyone enjoyed our Company Basketball Championship more than Charu, he was the ultimate teammate.
Patient (unless it was w/regard to Eli Manning's play), thoughtful, smart, funny, and considerate, Charu left us far too soon. The days are just a little bit dimmer these days.
I will miss him.

Todd Kaloudis


I am deeply saddened to hear about Charu’s passing. I am also happy to have had the opportunity to get to know him.

I have three children who either play or used to play chess regularly, and Charu was a familiar face at local and national chess events as well as after-school lessons. We had great conversations- not just about my daughter or son, but about life and our shared interest in the power of motivating children to create opportunities. He told me how he worked hard as a kid, and how he earned opportunities.

As we all know, he accomplished some impressive things. But more important than any superficial awards and honors, he had a positive spirit with sense of obligation to "give back” to the world.

He genuinely enjoyed teaching and the magic of chess. He wanted to make a difference. He cared about his colleagues and students, and became animated when telling stories. He wasn’t just out to sell his services to parents, he came across as incredibly sincere, kind, and peaceful. I would usually seek him out to say hello.

It’s fascinating to read about what a fierce competitor he was - of course I intellectually understood about that side of him, but I never saw it myself since I didn’t play with him myself. He was always so composed and confident in whatever he was doing when I saw him.

I hope he’s in a better place now and that we can all learn something positive from his life. I’ll miss seeing him at chess events.

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