SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
Grandmaster, author and award winning film director
July 28,1959 – January 19, 2013.
Sad news from Mexico this past Saturday. Marcel Sisniega’s death has not been reported very much in Europe (yet), but all of the major South American newspapers have given his passing extensive coverage. Sisniega died unexpectedly of a heart attack. He leaves behind 4 children (two girls, Vera (a prominent political activist) and Sofia (a successful actress); and two boys, David and Julian).
Born in Mexico, his mother American and father Mexican, Marcel learned chess at age 6 and at 16 became –for the first of 8 times–champion of Mexico. He represented his country at not less than 5 Olympiads. I first learned of this talented mexican youth from Toronto’s Bryon Nickoloff when he spent a year in Mexico soon after the 1978 Olympiad.
This was the Mexico of few tournaments and even fewer stars, very different from the Mexico of today. When I first met (and played) Marcel in the summer of 1985 (Taxco Interzonal) he was already of grandmaster strength. (The title would only be given officially to him in 1992)
Sisniega was a GM of about 2550-plus strength and managed to defeat many notable grandmasters, including Anand and Illescas. He had the good fortune to meet and spend a lot of time with Bobby Fischer in the mid-1980’s when this latter spent several months in Mexico. This helped shape his vision of the chess world. Later Marcel spent a year (1990) in Barcelona.
But he gradually became disenchanted with the chess world and soon found the alternative world of film. Sisniega took a course in the mid-1990’s and by 1996 Sisniega had produced his first film ”Libre de Culpas‘, which won him considerable recognition.
It was this world that would become his passion for the rest of his life. Marcel directed not less than 11 films (some short films), a number of them winning awards, and firmly establishing a leading place in South American cinematography.
If your spanish is good, then here are some LINKS for you:
La Nacion ; El Economista ; ABC.es
SOFIA SISNIEGA, ACTRESS!
Marcel’s daughter Sofia has chosen a career as an actress. She plays a leading role in Gossip Girl (Mexico) and has played a part in El Gringo. LINK
VERA SISNIEGA, POLITICAL ACTIVIST!
Vera has chosen a career very different from her sister, that of a political activist fighting against corruption and other problems in Mexico.