Sunday, 1 September 2013

R.I.P Maxwell Leonard Fuller

When Max did not appear at Peter Parr's funeral we all suspected something bad had happened. Transport had been arranged but Max could not be reached. During the course of the day our worst suspicions were realised. Max had suffered a stroke and was in the emergency room in hospital. A few days later, on Tuesday the 27th of August the news came through that Max had passed away, at approximately 6.30 pm.

Max was my first chess hero. When I started playing Max was already a living legend. Luckily he lived in Sydney, frequented Peter Parr's chess centre and was happy to share his knowledge. Many evenings a group of us would go to chinatown for a meal and/or to the pub for a drink or two. Max liked the odd schooner or five and would often entertain us with stories from around the world. The more beers, the better the stories and many cannot be repeated, here or elsewhere.

I spent Tuesday evening looking through some of Max's games.  Many I had forgotten, especially a few between us. Between the mid eighties and mid nineties Max and I played quite a few times. I was just becoming one of Australia's better players and Max still was. Most ended up decisively and the one below still is my quickest loss ever. I hope this record will remain :-)

I had been having a terrible tournament and missing mate on e3 topped it off. I forgot the bishop was no longer on g5. I remember that Max took me to the nearest bar, bought me several beers and entertained me with stories of his own and other peoples incredible blunders. It did make me feel a lot better.

A year later Max helped me win the Australian Championship in 1991/92. I was racing for the line with Tony Miles and Max was in Tony's way. He didn't get past him and didn't even manage to draw. Technique was Max's middle name :-)

I have not looked at the games of Maxwell Leonard Fuller for decades. Only when looking at them now do I realise what a huge influence he had on my chess. Double fianchetto openings, Kings Indian formations, love of unbalanced positions and complications and....the occasional oversight. His scalps include Eugene Torre, Tony Miles Mikhael Tal and many others.

Max was a true gentleman, well spoken, well attired and kind and thoughtful. The last time we spoke was at the Australian Championship at Norths. I was able to have several beers with him and catch up. He had not changed.

You are immortal Max and you will continue to teach those who study your games forever.


  1. Sorry to hear that. I met him only once, at my first Olympiad in Dubai, 1986. I was playing for NZ and Max was captaining the Au team. My impression was that he was a very experienced and gentlemanly man.

  2. I wish I had known him.Alas it was not to be ...even though I was at Radisson-President.