Salute to Tom Fineberg

June 2, 2007

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On June 2, 2007 a well deserved salute to Tom Fineberg was held at the Tuley Park field house sponsored by the Renaissance Knights. There was food for all, and the regular Tuley Park tournament was to follow the salute. Over thirty people came to honor and recognize a man of pure selflessness, generosity, and unwavering loyalty to young minds and the chess community. Tom Fineberg has never had the intent of exploiting chess to benefit himself, rather he has spread his love to all he could infect. I have played in forty-eight Tuley Park tournaments, and I have always been greeted by Tom Fineberg, and his accompanying smile from the heart. Many others attested to the true character and heart of Mr. Fineberg that fine day.


The main speaker was myself, but many other chess players gave their testimonies or shared anecdotes about Mr. Fineberg. Kayin Barclay, a two-time high school state champion in 2005 and 2006 praised Mr. Fineberg for all his chess philanthropy particularly with his own career. Kayin expressed his gratitude, “Mr. Fineberg has donated so much time and money to my chess career. He has paid for food, hotels, entry fees, lessons and much more that I probably do not know about”.  Tom is a true hero to me and I am sure to many in this city. It is quite evident that Tom Fineberg generosity has not gone unnoticed.


Although the Salute was for Tom Fineberg, his wife Maxine was also recognized for supporting him throughout all of his chess endeavors. Tom and Maxine are always together at every chess event, and only are they complete by each others side. Larry Cohen went on to share an anecdote,

“ I remember once in 1999 at the US Open in Reno that Tom came into the room smiling and even beaming. We figured he must have beaten an A player or even an Expert. No, it seems that a number of wives of chess players were at the hotel pool earlier in the day. All of them were much younger than Maxine. And someone came up with the cute idea of having an impromptu beauty pageant. The wives all voted Maxine as the winner. Tom was some proud”.

At this time we all gave Maxine another round of applause. During the applause she was presented with a bouquet of 24 yellow roses. She was absolutely speechless. Next, an open letter from Daaim Shabazz, a former student of Tom Fineberg and the webmaster of , was read aloud. Daaim Shabazz went on to share in the letter, “ Fineberg was a tireless patron of chess and my coach at Chicago Vocational High School where he was a math teacher. During his tenure, the school won several city titles including one in 1980 when I played Board 1. What I remember most about chess at CVS was that Fineberg was there without fail and he created an environment of competition that was unmatched”. Mr. Shabazz also added that Mr. Fineberg likes to sing particular jingles such as “my knight is on king six song” or

Knights to the center!

Rooks on the seventh!

Queenside Majority!

Remote Passed Pawn!


Mr. Fineberg was asked to sing these jingles at the salute, and he did so without hesitation as he echoed with harmony. As Daaim summed up best, “It didn’t rhyme, but his spirit was priceless, and we got a good laugh out of it”. Daaim concluded, “He has brought joy to many of our lives and he is most deserving of this honor. Let us hope that he will continue to in his promotion of chess. The south side of Chicago is certainly indebted to his long-standing service”. Mr. Fineberg maintained his smile from the heart throughout the salute. Then, Tom Fineberg was presented with a plaque and awarded for his decades of service and dedication to the chess community and the city of Chicago and a certificate of honor from the United States Chess Federation. He was extremely thankful, and no words could describe the inner glow Mr. Fineberg unveiled.  Immediately after the ceremony had concluded, Tom Fineberg continued on with his normal routine to prepare for the Tuley Park tournament scheduled that afternoon.


Hundreds became thousands as he influenced young minds and the chess community in the city of Chicago…


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