- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 23, 2006

BALTIMORE (AP) — Aleksander Wojtkiewicz, an internationally ranked chess player, died July 14 of an intestinal hemorrhage at St. Agnes Hospital, his fiancee said. He was 43.

Mr. Wojtkiewicz was a grand master who won or tied for first in the five tournaments he played in the final month of his life.

Born in Riga, Latvia, he moved to Brooklyn, N.Y., about 10 years ago and to Maryland in 2002 after being recruited by University of Maryland, Baltimore County, for its chess team. He left UMBC in 2003.

“He was quite a figure in the chess community throughout the United States,” said Peter Gunst, a lawyer and part-owner of Fells Point Chess, where Mr. Wojtkiewicz gave lessons. “He was a world-class grand master and a brilliant teacher.”

Mr. Wojtkiewicz rose in Russian chess circles until the late 1980s, when Soviet authorities imprisoned him for 18 months for resisting military service. He later moved to Poland, where he became a grand master and twice won the national championship.

In the two weeks before he died, he tied for first place with eight other grand masters in the World Open, the biggest tournament of the year, and he tied for first with an international master in the Columbus Open in Ohio.

Survivors include his fiancee, Amber Berglund; his mother, Tamara Wojtkiewicz, of Riga; and a 13-year-old son, Yosef Wojtkiewicz, of Lithuania.

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