SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
Ruth Haring is an American master-level player from my generation. I remember her from tournaments in the 70’s in the US and Canada; Ruth played on a number of US teams at the Olympiad. She hitched up with Canadian Champion Peter Biyiasis and soon settled down and raised 3 children, with a full time job in Silicon Valley.
I thought that she had completely withdrawn fr0m the chess world for good, but fortunately she has returned! Both as a player and a member of the USCF board of directors.
‘In the zone’: InnerView, Ruth Haring loves the people, competition, challenge of chess
By MARY NUGENT – Staff Writer
CHICO — Ruth Haring has been reading a book detailing a state of consciousness described as “in the zone.”
She knows that particular condition of increased focus and attention.
“It happens with artists, athletes. It’s a mental state. It’s when you’re very involved with something, concentrating. It’s good, psychologically. You don’t notice anything else going on around you. It means you want to be there and you are learning something,”
When Haring is playing chess, she is in the zone.
This year —the same year she moved to Chico — she was elected vice president of the United State Chess Federation, of which she is a life member. She is an International Woman Master, and was recently named head of the U.S. delegation to the International Chess Federation.
Ruth is now part of the USCF board of directors
Earlier this month, she went to Greece for a federation meeting. Every country in the world is part of it, she said.
Ruth attending the recent FIDE Congress.Ruth is sitting beside Kosteniuk in the centre
Haring’s love for chess started with her childhood in Fairbanks, Alaska. The cold, snowy winters with limited daylight made an indoor atmosphere of playing games a given for most children.
“It was the ’60s and ’70s. We had no TV, there were no video games. We had a university pool, sledding and skating. But everybody spent a lot of time with indoor games,”
she said. “I liked chess right away. When I played in a tournament, I was hooked.”
At 14, she joined the United States Chess Federation, and remembers first playing competitive chess in Fayetteville, Ark.
Since then, she has traveled the world playing chess.
“It’s fun to travel and talk to people. People can be any race, sex or religion, and they can still sit across from each other and play chess.”
Haring is good — really good. She is ranked among the top 1 percent of tournament players in the country.
Through the years, she has taught thousands of people to play chess, including children. “Chess is good for kids — they’re learning to learn. Chess is great for study skills. “There are rules in chess. There is a winner and a loser. If you study, you’ll get better.
“Some people do have a natural talent for chess, but if they also apply themselves, they could become masters. In that way, it’s like music and math prodigies.”
So what does it take to be a good chess player? “Patience and discipline. It’s fun. You want to capture your opponent’s men, outsmart him — and win.”
The only time in her life when she wasn’t seriously playing chess was when her three children were growing up. “They all play, but my son teaches chess in the Bay Area and plays in tournaments. It’s nice to have this in common with him.”
She and her son have traveled in the U.S. and Europe together for chess tournaments and events.
Only recently has she played in a senior tournament. “I could have played in U.S. Women or U.S. Senior. I chose the senior. It was for people over 50 in Tulsa, Okla. It was so much fun — I met a lot of people I knew 30 years ago.”
She has spent years studying books and other players. She hopes to write a book and teach children in Chico. She plays chess with people who gather Wednesdays and Saturdays at Augie’s Fine Coffee & Tea.
After living in Silicon Valley for years, Haring decided to move to Chico a year ago. “Chico and Davis remind me of other small college towns where I’ve lived. I lived in Los Gatos and it felt similar. I like the atmosphere, that feel of a university town.”
In a nutshell
Name: Ruth Haring
Hometown: Fairbanks, Alaska
Education: bachelor’s degree in psychology from Univeristy of Central Arkansas, studied computer science at San Jose State University, project manager course through George Washington Universtiy at IBM.
Work experience: Management background, experience at eBay, IBM and other companies in Silicon Valley since 1983; moved to Chico a year ago and is vice president of the United States Chess Federation, a full-time job, she said.
Years ago: “I met Bobby Fischer. I had to set limits — I told him I would not talk about any conspiracy theories. I told him I had a degree in psychology and we talked about the psychology of chess … He gave me advice. He said I am a good player and should try to be more optimistic.
“I used what he said at other times in my life. I was working as a progam manager in the Silicon Valley, and I tried to think about how to make something a win-win. I adopted a can-do/go-getter attitude in management.”
Ruth with husband ex-Canadian Champion grandmaster Peter Biyiasis (circa 1983)
In The New Yorker , June 1984, in an article called ”Waiting for Bobby” by Fred Waitzkin, Peter Biyiasis had this to say of Fischer:
”Chess enthusiasts everywhere speculate about whether Bobby Fischer still plays chess and how he would do against the great Russian players.Californian Peter Biyiasis claims to be the only grandmaster to have played with Fischer in recent years.
In August 1981 Fischer lived with Biyiasis and his wife Ruth Haring in their home in San Francisco, and the two grandmasters played well over 100 speed games. ”If anything Bobby has gotten better.” says Biyiasis. ”He is like a machine. There was a feeling of inevitability about these games. Fischer saw too much and too fast. While he played he made comments and joked, as if he were playing an amateur. We played more than 100 games and I never won one.”
Even more impressive to Biyiasis was Fischer’s ability to analyze positions. ”We looked at Karpov and Kasparov games , and he would say ”But look at these blunders. Karpov could have drawn this game, but he lost it.”
They did not look like blunders to me, but when Fischer took the time to explain, I saw that he was right every time. There’s no doubt in my mind that Fischer is the best in the world.”
Haring R. – Martin A.
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d3 Nc6 4. g3 d5 5. Nbd2 Nf6 6. Bg2 Be7 7. O-O O-O 8. Re1 b6 9. e5 Nd7 10. Nf1 Qc7 11. Bf4 Rd8 12. h4 Bb7 13. N1h2 d4 14. a4 b5 15. Qe2 Nb6 16. Ng5 h6 17. Nh3 Bf8 18. Qg4 Kh8 19. Qh5 Kg8 20. Ng4 Ne7 21. Bxb7 Qxb7
22. Bxh6! gxh6 23. Nf6 Kg7 24. Nf4 Nbd5 25. Qg4 Kh8 26. N4xd5 exd5 27. e6 Bg7 28. Nh5 Ng6 29. Nxg7 Kxg7 30. h5 [1:0]
FROM RUTH’S WEBSITE:
‘My goal is to promote chess and give back to the chess community that supported me as a young woman.”
Welcome to my website!
As a newly elected USCF Executive Board member, I want to make it easy for chess players to communicate with me.
I can be reached by email at [email protected]
and also have a Facebook account and my user name is “Ruth Haring”. Send me your suggestions and comments !
About the United States Chess Federation:
USCF is a not-for-profit membership organization devoted to extending the role of chess in American society.
USCF promotes the study and knowledge of the game of chess, for its own sake as an art and enjoyment, but also as a means for the improvement of society. It informs, educates, and fosters the development of players (professional and amateur) and potential players. It encourages the development of a network of institutions devoted to enhancing the growth of chess, from local clubs to state and regional associations, and it promotes chess in American schools.
Interview with EB Candidate Ruth Haring
Those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile know that there are certain topics I stay away from. Religion and politics (chess or US) are topics that I tend to shy away from, and will continue to do so.
However I’m bending the ban on USCF politics to post this interview that I did with Ruth Haring at the National Open.
I saw Ruth last year at the US Open in Dallas, but I think the last time I had seen her before that was when I gave her a ride to Burlington, Vermont back in 1977. Ruth was one of the top US women players back then. She stopped playing chess for about 30 years, and just started up again last summer.
So I was very intrigued when I heard she was running for a seat on the US Chess Federation’s Executive Board. These elections tend to be contentious affairs, and I often why anyone in their right mind would want to run. I got to spend time with her between rounds five and six, and had the following interview with her. This is my first attempt at doing an interview on my blog. I apologize if I don’t have pithy questions and comments to add flavor to this post.
Polly: I saw you last year in Dallas, and I can’t remember when I saw you before that. When did you start playing again?
Ruth: One year ago at the National Open. That was my first tournament after a little over 30 years of not playing tournament chess. I now have three grown children and decided to start playing again. Then at the US Open last year I actually got my son to start playing. So we’re sort of going around as a team now.
P: How old is your son who is playing?
R: He’s 19. He’s my youngest. I have two daughters, 22 and 21.
P: And they’re not following mom’s footsteps, trying to be an outstanding woman chess player?
R: They both can play chess. And they’re probably decent because they sometimes can beat my dad who used to be a C player. But they’re not interested in playing tournament chess.
P: How is your son doing so far?
R: He’s disappointed with his result. (National Open) He just got a 1700 rating and he’s improved a lot. He started in class D. He was sort of hoping to win, and win the class prize. (Under 1800 section) But you know you have to go through the school of knocks a little bit before you do that. But it’s good for him to be optimistic at this age.
P: I started out the tournament 0-3 in the same section. It’s been pretty brutal competition. So what have you been doing all this time that you haven’t been playing chess? Obviously raising three kids, but what else?
R: I’ve been working for the majority of the time. I started out as a programmer, and then went into project management. Consultant in the high tech industry in the Silicon Valley. The last 15 years I’ve been in program management for companies like IBM and eBay. A pretty intense and hard working field.
P: When did you decide that you wanted to run for the Executive Board?
R: Shortly after started playing again. In my career in Silicon Valley I met a lot of the movers and shakers type of people, and some of them are very good chess players, or chess enthusiasts. My initial idea was I wanted to volunteer my time and do some fundraising.
I went and talked to a bunch of people I knew from the old days and said “Hey I’d like to help out the USCF and I think I can do some fundraising because I have all these contacts.” Everybody I talked to told me “Don’t do that. The money would be wasted.
The USCF is embroiled in lawsuits.”Then we got talking about what I’ve been doing and catching up. When they saw my resume, and learned what I had been doing, they said, “The thing you should do is run for the executive board.” After about 5 or 6 people told me that I started seriously considering that, and here I am.
P: If you’re elected what do feel that you have to offer the board? What are some of your goals?
R: My initial goal was fundraising, but that will have to wait until some of the legal problems are solved. I do have a management background, and I have great interpersonal skills. I feel I would be a calming and maybe mediating influence on the board.
As a program manager it was always my objective to make things happen and get things done. There are probably a lot of little projects in different areas of the USCF that have been around a long time, and haven’t gotten done. I would really like to help mentor people and get some of these projects done so we can move on to other things.
Make sure there are plans and place and help move the organization forward, and that’s how I think I can help.
P: Are there any sort of pet projects that you’re interested in doing in terms of helping the USCF move forward?
R: I was interested in the fund raising as a pet project. I’ve always thought there should be better media coverage and better programs to promote players. I would really like to figure out how that could happen because all the various formats that have been tried over the years don’t really seem to do what they’re intended to do.(We spent some time talking about how expensive it is to play in the big tournaments and we kicked around a few ideas about that. That I will discuss in another post.)
P: Thanks for your time. I think you have some very good ideas and positive energy.
R: I’m trying to keep it all positive though I know there are a lot negative things going on. I really don’t see the value in name-calling and infighting. So I’ve been trying to keep my campaign totally positive. Hopefully it will be effective.
P: Good luck, and we have just over a month left before the ballots need to be in.
R: I would just like to encourage everyone reading this to read all the candidates’ statements.
My friend Tony Boron informed me that he had written of seeing Ruth last year in Las Vegas…