Thursday, 18 December 2008

Nikola Karaklajic - R.I.P.


International Master and International Arbiter Nikola Karaklajic of Yugoslavia and Serbia, a true chess great and someone I was privileged to have met and spent a great deal of time with, has passed away on December 16 at the age of 83.

Karaklajic was never a full time chess professional in the fullest sense even though his accomplishments were staggering as stated in the press release by the Belgrade Chess Union 

"He was one of the most important figures in Yugoslavian and Serbian chess. Player, writer, trainer, organizer, arbiter, journalist, chess ambassador - it is not easy to sum all his achievements." 

Outside of chess he held a fulltime job and was a multi talented individual with so many firsts including being a radio DJ who very early discovered the Beatles and brought their music to the young people of his country!

Personally I owe him a lot as he taught me what was important in chess and he was a very kind and good friend indeed.

When I was in Belgrade in the 80's trying to understand what was the system of training used by Yugoslavia (at that time the number 2 chess nation in the world after the Soviet Union) I stayed with him in his cosy little apartment and he not only facilitate my research at the federation's offices and with clubs and players but would also find time to personally show me many aspects of life in his truly beautiful country. 


Sir, you lived life as everyone should - and fought the good fight indeed - we who have had the honour of meeting you and perhaps the privilege of knowing you do congratulate you!  

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