Neville Ledger Wins the Koshnitsky Medal


The Koshnitsky Medal is awarded annually to an individual who has made an outstanding lifetime contribution to the administration of chess in Australia. This year’s winner, as many already know, is Nevile Ledger from Tasmania. A presentation lunch will be held in Burnie on 25 February to formally present the medal and celebrate this momentous achievement with Neville.  Please contact the TCA if you would like to join us. In the meantime, here is the citation prepared by Kevin Bonham for the TCA as part of our enthusiastic nomination of Neville for the highest honour available for chess administration in Australia:

Neville Ledger has been involved in Tasmanian chess administration for over sixty years. He has successfully helped ensure the survival of organised chess in north-western Tasmania throughout this time, in spite of a low population base. As a result, and through his active involvement the small city of Burnie has staged at least thirty runnings of the state's major tournaments (Championship and Open) in the last 45 years. Neville served on the TCA Executive for sixteen consecutive years, for most of this time in the roles of both Secretary and Treasurer.

Neville has also contributed to Tasmanian chess administration through his publication of books of historical and annual records and a state magazine, as a tournament sponsor and as a friendly source of sage advice to other organisers.

Supporting information and comments:

* Neville served on the TCA Executive from 1963-1978. Combined Secretary-Treasurer 1963-1973, Secretary 1974, Vice-President 1975-6, President 1977-8.

* Neville joined the then very newly-formed Burnie Chess Club at age 15 in 1945. He was elected Secretary-Treasurer at the 1952 AGM and served on the Executive almost continually until retiring in 2012. For much of this time he was either Secretary-Treasurer or President.

* As a result of the BCC's continued survival, Burnie has been able to host state Championships and Opens starting in 1971. Neville has been actively involved in the running of at least 14 State Championships and 16 Opens in that time, frequently as event treasurer, publicist and organiser. Thanks to his efficient financial management of the Burnie club, the club has often returned 100% of entry money in prizes as well as providing food for players during evening breaks.

* The continued survival of an organised chess scene in Burnie with a population of only around 25,000 compares very favourably with other Tasmanian cities. While several people have been involved, the constant in this time has been the presence of Neville Ledger as an organiser. By comparison Devonport (pop 25,000) and Launceston (pop 105,000) have had serious competitive chess clubs only intermittently, and Hobart (pop 200,000) now has only one serious competitive club.

* Neville's "Chess: Tasmanian Records" series of publications are a very important resource for state organisers seeking to understand the past history of chess administration in the state. Neville also edited a print magazine "Tasmanian Chess Magazine" from 1978-1991, and Neville's chess book sales business has been much appreciated by Tasmanian players.

* In 2014 Neville personally organised and sponsored a tournament for Tasmanian residents only with a prize pool of $3000, a very large sum by state standards.

* Tasmanian chess has at times been through difficult periods when there has been very little organised activity. During one such lull in the early 1990s it was the Burnie Chess Club, through Neville's work, that was carrying the flame for the whole state chess scene, as only the BCC was committed to organising major events.

* Neville was made a Life Member of the TCA for his services to chess, and is one of just two TCA Life Members, the other being Peter Wagg.

Neville Ledger (seated) in a photo of present and former Tasmanian Champions taken in 2012. Ledger was Tasmanian Champion in 1965. (The others are (l to r) Nigel Frame, Neil Markovitz, Tony Dowden and Kevin Bonham).