CHESS VOICE (No. 33) June-July 1973

Martin E. Morrison: A Tribute

by Elwin Meyers

With this issue, Chess Voice begins a new phase of its operation, one in which it will have to embark without its founder and 5 year Editor, Martin E. Morrison. Martin's obvious talents were not only apparent in Central California, where he has led one of the largest and most successful chess programs in the country. He was noticed more and more frequently on a national level, especially by USCF Executive Director Ed Edmondson. As a result, as almost all readers must know by now, Martin is now USCF's Technical Director, and is working from the Newburgh office.

I have known Martin since we were both 9th-graders at Frick Junior High in Oakland, when as we both graduated to Castlemont High School, and eventually the University of California. In those days Martin was not particularly involved in chess, although he has played the game as long as I can remember. Even in those days, however, he possessed a love and ability for organizational work. He almost single-handedly established a foreign language club his junior year in high school, writing the club Constitution. He was unanimously elected President, as I recall, and he ran the club on a brisk and businesslike basis - very unusual for a high school organization, at least any I ever saw.

In his sophomore year in college (1964) Martin began to develop an interest in the royal game, and soon joined the Oakland Chess Club, of which I had been a member for some time. The club at that time was reorganizing under the leadership of Theodore Anderson and Raymond Ng. Martin and myself were selected to publish a club newspaper, which we called En Passant. Our first effort was 4 pages typed and dittoed, not anything liable to win a Pulitzer prize, but acceptable. Over the next few months we experimented with a number of formats and ideas, learning the trade of chess journalism. In the meantime, Martin was at work seeking to improve and solidify the organizational structure of the Oakland club. Once again, Martin was to supervise the drafting of a Constitution for a club.

Soon, Martin began to work on regional activities. En Passant began to serve as a newsletter for a number of clubs, under a paper organization called the East Bay Chess Association, sort of a fore-runner to CCCA, but one which limited itself to inter-club communication and had no officers or program. For a while, Martin and I had a weekly chess column in the Oakland Tribune. By this time, Martin was already devoting much time to chess.

The chess world in California was somewhat chaotic in the period of 1967-68. There were many thoughts on what structure and goals were right for the area. It was at this time that Martin, along with many others, opted for more USCF activity, which had previously been somewhat rare. It was to this end, along with a desire for a democratic organization and further cooperation between clubs that the CCCA was founded in 1968. Martin was elected Editor and Secretary at the first general meeting. The next year, Jerome Long, the first CCCA Chairman resigned to move to Oregon, and Martin, extremely familiar with parliamentary procedure, was unanimously selected to replace him.

From this point, most of you readers are probably familiar with Martin's achievements, far too numerous to recount here. He has directed virtually all of the CCCA tournaments; he started the Berkeley Chess Club and ran it up to 400 members; he has served on many committees for the USCF and CSCF; he has played a major role in creating the new USCF Tournament Rules; he is President of the Association of US Chess Reporters; he has been Region VIII Vice-President of the USCF; and of course, was elected last year to be its National Secretary. By this time, Martin was spending upwards of 50 hours a week, unpaid, on chess work!

Now Martin has graduated again, to a vital post in our national office. We will miss him greatly in the area! That goes without saying. All of us must rejoice though, that USCF has acquired his hard work and technical expertise.

Martin's help has not ended in California. He has been in frequent touch with me, and other organizers by phone, and of course he will soon be back in the area to direct the PAUL MASSON'S AMERICAN OPEN on July 14-15 in Saratoga. That event, one of the greatest in California chess history was almost exclusively his work, and it is a fitting climax to his California organizational activity. His family and roots remain here, and I know we can always count on his help and support.

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