Saturday, 15 January 2011

Fun times with Greg Hjorth

Greg Hjorth and I first met at a Junior Chess camp a few Months after I had learned to play Chess. Thinking I was quite good by then I challenged some Kid to a game of blitz. He insisted on giving me a Queen start and five minutes to one. A bit arrogant I thought. He won every Game.
A few years later Greg came to visit me in Vienna. We played a couple of Opens together, Oberwart and Biel. I don't even remember the exact year but some memories have come back.
Greg showed his Class especially in Blitz. In Oberwart he came second behind Kuzmin ahead of many strong GM's. The previous evening we had watched Kuzmin being carried to Bed after indulging in vast quantaties of Vodka. Otherwise we were amusing ourselves by seeing how far the Car could jump.
  On the way to Biel with IM Georg Danner and another two Austrians, "Prayers on Fire" (Birthday party) blaring from the speakers, I lost control of my Car and sent us bouncing from guardrail to guardrail on a Bridge over a Valley. When we came to rest we all got out of the Car as quickly as possible. As I stood there in shock looking at the Wreck, Greg comes up to me with a smile on his face and says "Hey Alex, that was my first big Car accident!"
We got a lift to the nearest Railway station and continued on to Biel as if nothing had happened. Greg played a great game against Gutman I think but I don't have it on my database. After Biel we went back to Vienna and spent a few weeks exploring the counter-culture scene.
Greg was soon playing less Chess and focusing more on his Academic career. Every time I went to Melbourne I would stay at "Gall Bladder Manor" as the House that Greg was sharing with some Med students was called. In Sydney he would stay at my place. Soon he was off to America to become a famous Mathematics Professor and we lost Contact.
The next time I saw Greg in the Flesh was in 1999. I spent Xmas with him and Beth in Los Angeles. Greg didn't have time for Chess tournaments because he was doing a Martial Arts course. We had a great time laughing about the program. One of the exercises was how to disarm someone wielding a Machine Gun.
Since then we have kept in touch first through email and later through Facebook and chat. A few times we talked about meeting up but the opportunity never arose. There didn't seem to be much urgency.
I spent today reminiscing and playing through some of his old games. Two stood out for me.


There is a "In Loving memory of Greg 'Page' Hjorth" page on Facebook if you wish to convey your thoughts
Goodbye old Friend, we will miss you more than you could have imagined.

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