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  • Writer's pictureJef Leifeste/TofuNightmare

Norman Friedman - Chess Philanthropist

I want to frame the NFM event in some meaningful context so I've been prowling thru the ICA "vault" and the web for information on Mr. Friedman's amazing life. Below are some snippets and photos that I've found.

  • Paratrooper during WWII

  • Vice President of Manhattan Chess club until they disbanded

  • Senior Master Representative from US to Russia during 90s

  • Co-founder of the Right Move

  • Taught and tutored chess in New York

  • Volunteered at a school for at risk students.

  • Supported Wood River Chess Club

Manhattan Chess Club Vice President, founder of the Right Move, supporter and donor to scholastic chess, ran Wood River Chess Club, represented US in Senior Tournament with Russia.

Norman Friedman was a master chess player and passionately supported chess events throughout his life. He was on the Board of Directors on the Manhattan Chess Club and was a Senior Representative for the United States attending events in Russia. A NYC native, he was Co-founder of The Right Move Chess Foundation with Fred Goldhirsch. The organization hosts free tournaments and education to youths and is currently in it’s 27th year. Another great passion of Norman’s was Marathoning and he ran them up until the last few years.


“People are afraid of it, they say, ‘I can’t learn chess.’ Anybody can learn chess, and it doesn’t take long to teach it,” said Norman Friedman, organizer of the Wood River Chess Club. He has taught community ed classes through the College of Southern Idaho, and said four 1 1/2- to two-hour sessions can turn a newbie into a respectable player.

Students who play have improved grades in both math and reading, said Friedman, who participated in conducting a study of 1,000 New York City students when he was part of the Manhattan Chess Club. Half were taught chess as part of their academics, and half weren’t, and then they were assessed by an independent firm.

The Norman Friedman Memorial Tournament is an annual event held during National Chess Day every year and is enthusiastically supported by Joyce Friedman and family/friends of Norman Friedman of the Manhattan Chess Club Board member and co-founder of The Right Move Foundation in New York. Joyce and Norman Friedman settled in Ketchum, Idaho and continued to support chess in the community, and continue to do so in spirit and financially.

On the right is Mr. Friedman's wife, Joyce. On the left is our Treasurer, Alise

I believe this plaque is mounted on a table in a book store in Ketchum where the club used to meet

That's Adam, our president, in the foreground

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