VAL ZEMITIS ( 1925 - present): Few individuals have had a longer involvement with Northern California chess than Val Zemitis. Shortly after moving to Berkeley in the early 1950s Zemitis started contributing to the California Chess Reporter. More than thirty years later, in 1986, he helped Hans Poschmann start the California Chess Journal and was a steady contributor for many years. A USCF master, Zemitis achieved his best result at the 1954 California Open in Santa Barbara where he drew with both Kashdan and Steiner while tying for second. Back in 1960 Mr.Zemitis wrote the first book on the new World Champion Mikhail Tal - The Unknown Tal, which was published by the California Chess Reporter. Master Zemitis has been invaluable in helping bring foreign stars to the Bay Area including several top female players. Zsuzsa Polgar made her American tournament debut in the 1986 San Francisco International at Mis Browns restaurant in the Mission thanks to his doing. Latvia's top women player, Dana Reizniece, also made her American debut in San Francisco in 2000 thanks to Mr. Zemitis. He is also a Latvian chess historian and is currently writing a book on the subject.

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