Reggie Boone Tribute Page

This page was created in January 2006 for the occasion of the "Reginald Boone Octogenarian Swiss" so named in honor of Reggie's 80th birthday.

Feature Article

Games Section

June 16, 2001"Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise" article by Margaret Smith (currently editor of the "Billerica Minuteman"):

A Checkered Past

Competition and sportsmanship have marked a great deal of Reggie Boone's life.

As a high schooler, Boone, a 1944 Gardner High School graduate, scored five touchdowns against Leominster High School. That feat earned him a place in the Gardner High School Football Hall of Fame, into which he was inducted in 1993.

In 1958, he beat world checkers champion Tom Wiswell when Wiswell visited Fitchburg, an accomplishment documented by area newspapers.

"It the excitement and the unexpected that intrigues me the most," said Boone, 75, a retired press operator. "The mental combat is beautiful."

These days, Boone has turned his attention to chess. He joins his fellow chess enthusiasts each Wednesday for the Wachusett Chess Club's games at the First Church Unitarian Universalist in Leominster.

"I'm not the best chess player," said Boone, who said he's more attracted to the game's sense of strategy than the prospect of winning.

He takes his life's motto from Ralph Waldo Emerson, who once said, "Give me health and a day and I will make the pomp of emperors ridiculous."

To that end, Boone, who walks three miles a day, six days a week, has spent a lifetime pursuing physical fitness. He believes that the mind, like the body, must be kept finely tuned in order to remain healthy.

While memory loss is commonly associated with Alzheimer's disease or senile dementia, even healthy elders can suffer diminished recall.

But several studies, including a memory exercise program at Michigan State University, suggests a link between keeping the mind sharp and maintaining alertness. The program uses story-telling and verbal exercises to help elders combat memory decline, which can be linked not only to age, but to depression.

Much depends on an individual person's own health history, no small factor in aging.

Boone, who also plays piano, knows what has helped him. "I recommend hobbies to anyone. For me, music, chess, and walking go hand in hand. They are games for the mind, and they keep you healthy."

Boone's love of checkers and other games of skill began when he was about 12 years old. "They had a club in my hometown in Gardner. I'd stop by once in a while," he said.

Graduating from high school as World War II raged, Boone was drafted and fought in the European theater, spending two years overseas. He returned a decorated veteran, feted with the Bronze Star for bravery behind enemy lines.

But the war cost him a chance to further his education; prior to his conscription, he had planned to attend Georgia Technical School with two football scholarships he had earned.

When he returned to the United States, Boone decided to pursue a career in gymnastics.

With a 1942 Massachusetts State Championship award for prowess on the horizontal bar and flying rings, Boone and his three-man troupe headed for California.

There, he roomed for two years with Steve Reeves, who died last year at age 74, won the Mr. Universe title in 1950, but gained a passionate film audience when he battled wrathful gods and animated creatures as "Hercules."

To this day, Boone carries a tiny, black-and-white photo of himself and Reeves from their days together at Muscle Beach in Santa Monica, Calif. "We were very good friends," he said. Pointing to the photo, he noted with a chuckle, "He's the tall one."

One of Boone's partners in his three-man gymnastics team fell off a roof, suffering disabling injuries and forcing the end of the act.

But while out in California, Boone rediscovered his love of checkers. '"I played with a guy who beat me. He told me 'You don't know how to play. You've got to study' "

He moved back East in 1948, took a job at Collier-Keyworth as a press operator, and in 1952, got married. He and his wife, Shirley Boone, raised two daughters, Jackie Lefond of Ashburnham, and Debra Balms, who lives in Mississippi.

In 1960, his doctor told him that his health had deteriorated and that he needed to exercise. "Today, I walk three miles a day, six days a week. And I'm 75," Boone said. "I love to go to the Wachusett Chess Club. There are a lot of good chess players there, much better than I."

He has not played checkers regularly in several years, adding that the game seems to have lapsed in popularity. What's more, he said, "Chess is a nice game. But checkers is misunderstood."

He added, "If you play a musical instrument and games like chess or checkers at my age, it helps you a lot. In other words, use it, or lose it."

Games Section:

The following is from Martin Laine:

Happy Birthday, Reggie!

What a great idea to offer this tribute to one of our clubís most stalwart members on the occasion of his 80th birthday! Modest in victory, gracious in defeat, Iíve never heard Reggie say a mean word about anyone. Itís been a privilege to make his acquaintance.

Reggie and I have faced each other over the board several times over the past few years. I canít say exactly what the record is between us; Iím just not that organized. Itís been said that the universe tends toward disorganization, in which case Iím way ahead of the curve. Suffice it to say, each game has been hard-fought, and a true delight.

Iíve chosen our most recent encounter, which ended in a draw, though Reggie clearly had the upper hand.


Nov. 2, 2005

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Ö

"Not necessarily phlegmatic, but thoughtful," wrote the late Soviet grandmaster David Bronstein in his book 200 Open Games. This is the typical move of the Vienna Game, which first gained popularity among Austrian coffeehouse players about 150 years ago. "By comparison with other quick-firing openings, it appears to be some sort of quiet backwater Ö I ask you to believe me, that this opinion is a deeply mistaken one," (Bronstein again).

2. Ö Nf6 3. Bc4 Nxe4!

Reggie plunges in where most mortals fear to tread. Unlike the placid charms of Straussí Vienna Woods, these woods are scary and dangerous, earning the name Frankenstein-Dracula Variation.

4. Qh5 Nd6 5. Bb3 Be7

In an earlier encounter (April 20, 1997), Reggie discovers what happens when you step off the trail: 5Öb6 6. Nb5 g6 7. Qf3 e4 8. Nxd6+ Bxd6 9. Qxf7 mate.


(Laine-Boone, Sept. 8, 1999): 7. h4 Bf6 8. Nxe4 Be7 9. Nxd6+ cd 10. Ng5 Bxg5 11. hg g6.

6. Ö Nc6 7. Nxe5 g6

(Alekhine-Euwe, Match 1935): 7ÖNxe5 8. Qxe5 0-0 9. Nd5

8. Nxc6 dc 9. Qe5

So where should the queen go? 9. Qf3, Qd1, Qa5,Qe2 have all been tried, resulting in more or less drawish positions.

Öf6 10. Qe2 (I suppose I could have put it here in the first place. Maybe Qf4 was better) Bf5 11. d3 Qd7 12. Be3 Be6 13. 0-0 Bxb3 14. ab 0-0 15. Rfe1 Rfe8

It feels pretty even here. White may be marginally better. Over the next 30 moves, there are plenty of minor improvements for both sides, but I havenít found anything that would really clinch it for either player.

16. Qf3 Qf5 17. Qd1 Qd7 18. Ra4 Nb5 19. Qa1 a6 20. Ne4 Kg7 21. Nc5 Bxc5

22. Bxc5 Rxe1+ 23. Qxe1 Re8 24. Re4 Rxe4 25.Qe4 Nd6 26. Qd4 Qe6

27. Qe3 Qxe3 28. Bxe3 Kf7 29. Kf1 Ke6 30. c3 b5 31. Ke2 f5 32. Kd2 Kd5

33. f3 Nf7 34. h4 h5 35. Bf4 Nd6 36. Ke3 c5 37. Bg5 c6 38. Kf5 c4

39. bc bc 40. d4 Nf7 41. Be7 Ke6 42. Bc5 Kd5 43. Ke3 a5

44. Kd2 a4 45. Kc2 Nd8! (My king has been wasting time waltzing around)

46. Kb1 Ne6 47. Be7 Nf4 48. g3 Ne2! (After this, my king might as well quit dancing and switch to his swan song. After the g3 pawn goes, his k-side pawns should be able to push through for a win. Offering Reggie a draw was a desperation move, but he graciously accepted, letting me off the hook)

draw agreed.

The following is from Dave Couture:

This was the first time I played Reggie.  Hmmm, I'm playing a 74 year old guy rated 250 points lower than me.  Piece of cake, right?!  Wrong!

[Event "Wachusett Chess Club Winter Swiss 2000"]

[Site "Leominster, MA"]

[Date "2000.01.19"]

[Round "1"]

[White "Dave Couture"]

[Black "Reggie Boone"]

[Result "0-1"]

[ECO "C32"]

[WhiteElo "1579"]

[BlackElo "1326"]

[PlyCount "76"]


1. e4 e5 2. f4 d5 3. exd5 e4 4. d3 Nf6 5. dxe4 Nxe4 6. Nf3 Bc5 7. Qe2 Qxd5 8. Nbd2?


8. Nfd2 is much better because it leaves c3 open for the other knight to kick the Black queen.


8... Bf5 9. Nxe4 Bxe4 10. Ng5 f5 11. Nxe4 Qxe4 12. Qxe4+ fxe4 13. Ke2 Nc6 14. c3 O-O 15. g3 Rfe8 16. Be3 Bxe3 17. Kxe3 Re7 18. Bc4+ Kf8 19. Rhe1 Rd8 20. f5 Ne5 21. Be6 Ng4+ 22. Kxe4 Nxh2 23. Re2 Ng4 24. Kf4 Nf6 25. Rh1 h6 26. g4 Nd5+ 27. Ke5 Nf6 28. g5 Ng8 29. f6 gxf6+


30. gxf6?? Rxe6+!


31. Kxe6 Re8+ 32. Kd7 Rxe2 33. Kxc7 Nxf6 34. Rxh6 Kg7 35. Rh4 Rxb2 36. Rb4 Nd5+ 37. Kxb7 Nxb4 38. cxb4 Rxb4+ 0-1


Here is part of a letter I received from Larry Gladding, 2-time club champion:

Hi Dave, 

     I have a couple of games that I lost to Reggie.  They are blunders on my part but they also show Reggie is an opponent not to be taken lightly.  Although I have a plus score against Reggie, his opening knowledge against classical openings is as good as anyoneís at the club and realized after many encounters not to play certain openings against him.  I started to lean towards playing more Unorthodox Openings against Reggie.  My first encounter with Reggie was in Round 1 of the Prelims in 1997.  Here are my two defeats.

George Koltanowski Memorial 2/16/2000

Round 1


White:  R. Boone

Black:  L. Gladding


1.  e4   c5

2.  c3   d5

3.  exd5 Qxd5

4   d4   cxd4

5.  cxd4 Nc6

6.  Nf3  Bg4

7.  Nc3  Qd8

8.  Be3  a6

9.  Be2  e6

10. O-O  Bd6

11. h3   Bf5

12. Bd3  Bxd3

13. Qxd5 Nf6

14. Bg5  h6

15. Be3  O-O

16. a3   Rac8

17. Qd2  Kh7

18. Rfc1 Qe7

19. Rcd1 Rfd8

20. Qc2+ Kg8

21. Qc1  Kf8??

22. Re1  Na5

23. Qc2  Nd5

24. Bd2  Nc4

25. Nxd5 Ne3

26. Nxe7 Nxc2

27. Nxc8 Nxe1

28. Nxd6 Nxf3+

29. gxf3 Rxd6

30. Bb4  Resigns

Dr. Max Euwe Centennial    June 6, 2001


Round 4


White: L. Gladding

Black:  R. Boone


1.  e4     e5

2.  Nf3    Nf6

3.  Bc4    Nxe4

4.  O-O    d6

5.  Re1    Nf6

6.  h3     Be7

7.  d4?    e4

8.  Ng5??  d5

9.  Bb3    h6

10. Resigns






The following is from Dave Couture:

Even when I beat Reggie, he really makes me work for it!


[Event "WCC 2004 'B' Group Championship"]

[Site "Leominster, MA"]

[Date "2004.06.23"]

[Round "4"]

[White "Dave Couture"]

[Black "Reggie Boone"]

[Result "1-0"]

[ECO "A03"]

[WhiteElo "1537"]

[BlackElo "1241"]

[PlyCount "109"]


1. f4 d5 2. b3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. Bb2 Bg4 5. e3 e5 6. fxe5 Nxe5 7. Bxe5 Bd6 8. Be2 Bxf3 9. Bxd6 Bxe2 10. Bxc7 Bxd1 11. Bxd8 Rxd8 12. Kxd1 Ne4 13. Ke2 O-O 14. d3 Nf6 15. Nd2 Rfe8 16. Raf1 Rc8 17. c4 dxc4 18. bxc4 Rc5 19. Nb3 Rc6 20. Rc1 Ng4 21. e4 f5 22. Nd4 Ra6 23. Kf3 Ne5+ 24. Ke3 Rxa2 25. Nxf5 Rxg2 26. Nd6 Rd8 27. c5 Nd7 28. Nxb7 Rc8 29. c6 Nb8 30. c7 Na6 31. Ra1 Rxc7 32. Rxa6 Rxb7 33. h4 Rg3+ 34. Kd2 Rg2+ 35. Kc3 Rg3 36. Rha1 Rd7 37. Rxa7 Rdxd3+ 38. Kc4 Rc3+ 39. Kd5 h6 40. e5 Rcd3+ 41. Ke6 Rg6+ 42. Kf5 Kh7 43. e6 Rf6+ 44. Ke4 Rd8 45. Ke5 Re8 46. e7 Rf7??


Here Reggie misses the chance for a draw with 46...Kg6! followed by 47... Kf7!


47. Ke6 Rf6+ 48. Kd7 Rg8 49. e8=Q Rxe8 50. Kxe8 Kg6 51. Rg1+ Kh5 52. Raxg7 Rf4 53. Rf7 Re4+ 54. Kf8 Rxh4 55. Rf5# 1-0