Joe Casey, Chess Player

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This past Thursday my friend and long-time student, Joe Casey of Delaware, passed away. He had been ill for a long time, but his passing was still a shock. Like my college coach, IM Donald Byrne, Joe only lived into his 40's, but will be long remembered as a wonderful person.

Joe was my 6 PM Wednesday internet lesson. Because Joe lived in nearby Delaware and was able to attend local "live" chess events, I was able to get to know him personally as well. Like the best of my students, our lessons were informal. We might review a recent game Joe played or, if he was not feeling well, I would play a game "out loud" against an intermediate level computer and, after the game, we would post-mortem what I was thinking. Joe also liked to do puzzles.

Joe's goal was "long-term improvement" and his enthusiasm shined through; every lesson was enjoyable for both of us. If I ever slipped up and said something that could be misinterpreted, Joe always cheerfully and immediately gave me the benefit of the doubt, knowing I would never purposely want to make him feel bad. He took all constructive criticism as exactly that. Any instructor could not ask for more.

I would like to take the honor of presenting his last full internet win (he had another later when his opponent disconnected), an exemplary game that featured the well-known Sicilian exchange "real" sacrifice 11...Rxc3. When Black plays that sacrifice after White castles queenside such as in the Yugoslav Dragon, everyone understands the compensation of the exposed white king. But here Joe is able to pull it off with White castled kingside, which makes his play sophisticated and special. It deserves to be preserved:

Joe was a member of and had recently joined our Dan Heisman Learning Center Group. His handle was aust4711. We will miss you, Joe! Cry