It is becoming a sad "tradition" of US Opens... As in last year, where soon after the tournament was over, we have learned about tragic untimely death of young bright Haitian player Joël Blanchard, who perished with his family in Haitian earthquake of January 2010, similarly this year, while US Open is still a very fresh memory, we have learned that one of ICAONA first members and contributors, a good friend of Kolman Turiy, participant and prize winner of US and international championships, Grigory Solodukho has passed away on November 10, 2010. He was just 74 years old. Unfortunately we have not been notified of his death until very recently.
Our secretary, Yevgeniy was talking to Grigory just not too long ago, somewhere in beginning of November when he invited Grigory to come to US Open 2010. Grigory told him that unfortunately he cannot go as he is in the hospital, but he sounded strong and hopeful. We were checking on Grigory periodically and knew that he was sick for a while, and could not even come to US Open 2009 as well, but were hoping that his strength and optimism will help him to overcome the disease. He was taking his plight with dignity and courage, fighting for his life as bravely as he fought on the checkers board before.
We are going to remember Grigory as a quiet, kind, generous man who behaved and played like a real gentelman. When ICAONA was formed, Grigory was among the first people who came to sponsor a new organization and helped it to survive. In 2008 he took the 5th place in the first US Open. He then went to Brazil in April to participate in Pan-American games. For his success in 2008, he was awarded a newly created title of Master of International Checkers of USA. We have mailed him his Master's certificate last year with a "get well" card and other tournament memorabiia. Hope it gave him some pleasure to see the award.
Our deepest sympathy to Grigory's family and friends, we will miss him...