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Craig van Tilbury
C Van Tilbury 
Photo courtesy of Craig Van Tilbury.  
Number of games in database: 85
Years covered: 1977 to 2008
Last FIDE rating: 2264
Highest rating achieved in database: 2350

Overall record: +45 -18 =22 (65.9%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database.

With the White pieces:
 King's Indian (8) 
    E73 E77
 Nimzo Indian (6) 
    E30 E41 E20 E43 E55
 Modern Benoni (5) 
    A56 A57 A67 A61
 Orthodox Defense (5) 
    D50 D51
 Queen's Pawn Game (4) 
    A41 A50 E00
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (6) 
    B30 B32 B53
 Albin Countergambit (4) 
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   C Van Tilbury vs D K Johansen, 2002 1-0
   C Van Tilbury vs Martin Guevara Cano, 1981 1-0
   C Van Tilbury vs A Zapata, 1980 1-0
   S Small vs C Van Tilbury, 1990 0-1
   C Van Tilbury vs J Ostos, 1978 1-0
   C Van Tilbury vs A Hoffmann, 1978 1-0
   V McCambridge vs C Van Tilbury, 1979 0-1
   C Van Tilbury vs W Kagambi, 1990 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   36th Olympiad (2004)
   37th Chess Olympiad (2006)
   Olympiad (2008)

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(born Jul-30-1957, died Aug-13-2010, 53 years old) United States of America

[what is this?]

Craig Van Tilbury was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, July 30, 1957. In 1978 he moved to the U.S. Virgin Islands, when he started to play in the Chess Olympiads. He held titles of FIDE Master and International Arbiter since 1986. He has played first board in ten Olympiads since 1978 for both the British and U.S. Virgin Islands, and is now a citizen of the USA. In Thessaloniki, Greece, 1984, Craig won the Individual Gold Medal for the best score on first board of any national team.

Mr. Van Tilbury divided his time almost equally between music and chess, earning his living from both. As a chess player, Mr. Van Tilbury is best remembered for playing in 10 Chess Olympiads, the biennial international competitions, always as the top board for his team. He played for the United States Virgin Islands for many years, winning the gold medal for best individual score on Board 1 at the Olympiad in Thessaloniki, Greece, in 1984. Recently, he had played top board for the British Virgin Islands. He won the Washington, D.C., Open in 1977 and the Jamaican Open in 1981.

He died of a heart attack at 53.

New York Times -

Wikipedia article: Craig Van Tilbury

Last updated: 2019-02-04 12:45:34

 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 85  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. C Van Tilbury vs W Hook  1-0441977D.C. OpenE73 King's Indian
2. C Van Tilbury vs P J Winston 1-0241977Continental OpenE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
3. C Van Tilbury vs L Shamkovich  0-1481978USAA67 Benoni, Taimanov Variation
4. Petursson vs C Van Tilbury 0-1471978GHI openA13 English
5. C Van Tilbury vs A Hoffmann 1-0551978GHI International OpenA56 Benoni Defense
6. C Van Tilbury vs J Ostos 1-0841978Zonal tournamentA56 Benoni Defense
7. Roman Hernandez vs C Van Tilbury  0-1311978Zonal tournamentA29 English, Four Knights, Kingside Fianchetto
8. M Sisniega vs C Van Tilbury  0-1481978Zonal tournamentB53 Sicilian
9. K Payne vs C Van Tilbury  ½-½401978OlympiadB13 Caro-Kann, Exchange
10. C Van Tilbury vs W Hook 0-1321978OlympiadE77 King's Indian
11. V McCambridge vs C Van Tilbury 0-1441979Philadelphia InternationalA71 Benoni, Classical, 8.Bg5
12. C Van Tilbury vs M Wilder  ½-½221979C.I.InternationalE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
13. C Van Tilbury vs J L Watson  1-0311979C.I. InternationalD07 Queen's Gambit Declined, Chigorin Defense
14. C Van Tilbury vs A Zapata 1-0341980Radio RebeldeE73 King's Indian
15. Kouatly vs C Van Tilbury  0-1401980Chess OlympiadE10 Queen's Pawn Game
16. W Hook vs C Van Tilbury 1-0271980Chess OlympiadD19 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch
17. C Van Tilbury vs G Garcia Gonzalez  ½-½201981Hermanos SaizB13 Caro-Kann, Exchange
18. C Van Tilbury vs Martin Guevara Cano 1-0181981Zonal tournamentA10 English
19. C Van Tilbury vs Soltis  ½-½321983Frank J. Marshall InternationalA53 Old Indian
20. C Van Tilbury vs Li Zunian  ½-½541984Chess OlympiadD50 Queen's Gambit Declined
21. S Chaivichit vs C Van Tilbury  ½-½621984Chess OlympiadE67 King's Indian, Fianchetto
22. C Van Tilbury vs A M Benhadi  1-0251984Chess OlympiadA57 Benko Gambit
23. C Van Tilbury vs M Said  1-0601984Chess OlympiadD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
24. H Chin Alein vs C Van Tilbury  0-1611984Chess OlympiadC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
25. C Van Tilbury vs David V Singh  1-0531984Chess OlympiadD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 85  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Van Tilbury wins | Van Tilbury loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-19-10  theodor: c'est toujours les meilleurs, qui s'en vont les premiers!
Premium Chessgames Member
  SteinitzLives: Back in the mid-1970s Craig used to hang out at the NOVA chess club in Annandale, VA. Kind and soft-spoken, he also had a delightful sense of humor, he lived an exciting life and seemingly on his own terms, a good model for those of us valuing independence. Farewell Craig.
Aug-19-10  Craigs student: Steinitz, sounds like Craig hadn't changed much since then. Still was exceedingly kind, generous, and brilliant. An unbearable loss, truly.
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: One on the most interesting people I never met...

Gotta love the shirt :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: I have often thought that a chess game is an allegory for life.

We are all born equal, just as the starting position is always the same. But what we do with that life is our choice. Exciting or dull, a masterpiece or a patzer's hack, sacrificial attack or positional squeeze - how we live our life, how we play the game, that is down to the personal decisions that we make.

The opening is our childhood, when we grow and develop. To some it may seem like a boring phase that they just want to race through. But it sets the pattern for the rest of the game.

And then the middlegame, our adult lives. Now we are in our prime, with a board full of pieces and anything is possible.

Finally comes the endgame and old age. We are slower now, and the reduced number of pieces on the board remind us of the friends we have lost, and the physical attributes that we are gradually losing.

All games end. Win, lose or draw, eventually comes the time to put the pieces back into the box, pack away the chess board, put the clocks and scoresheets back in the cupboard. Then it's time to leave the club and discover that in the three hours we have been here it has become late evening, cool and darkening as the light fades.

Just like the game we have been playing, and the lives that we lead, each day too presents us with a cycle from dawn to dusk.

Rest in peace Craig. 53 was way too soon to turn your king over. But what a life to have lived!

Aug-29-10  LIFE Master AJ: Wow. This fellow is deceased????

I am not being disrespectful, just terribly , horribly shocked!!!!!

I met him several times. (Once in D.C., once in New York, and again at one of the "islands" tournaments.)

I just cannot believe that he is already gone, he was only a year or so older than me ...

Aug-29-10  LIFE Master AJ: Rest in peace, man.

I enjoyed your chess game today.

Aug-29-10  LIFE Master AJ: C Van Tilbury vs A Zapata, 1980
Aug-29-10  TheChessGuy: Born in Cedar Rapids, IA, my hometown! Surprised that no one around here really mentions him...
Aug-29-10  kramputz: <Once: I have often thought that a chess game is an allegory for life.> These are some of the most beautiful words I've ever heard about chess. All your comments are great and worth reading. // /
Aug-29-10  jrlepage: RIP Mr. Tilbury

@<Once> Beautiful pen, as always. I hope you will some day write a novel, a biography, anything. I'll surely buy everything you will publish. A rare talent.

Sep-05-10  Craigokat: Hello. this is Craig's wife/partner, Annie.
SO wonderful to hear such kind words from everyone. I especially enjoyed Once's Chess eulogy. I miss him terribly and I am sad for our 1 yr old daughter, as she will never know him first hand. Thank you to everyone...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gejewe: Unbelievable bad news.. Craig visited the Netherlands back in january 1983 and - stuck in the same hotel in Wijk aan Zee - we had a lot of friendly conversations together with a Belgian chessfriend Daniel van Heirzele. About all kind of topics, like the origin of his name which sounds like having Dutch roots (Tilburg is a Dutch city and in former centuries there were several American cities or villages founded with Americanized Dutch names). Craig helped me unconditionally to contact his chessfriend Eugene Meyer when I asked him - and I was only one of the very many chessplayers he must have spoken through the years. A kind and social man, and it is a pity 1983 was the first, and last opportunity to meet him. My condolences to his family and friends.
Sep-07-10  LIFE Master AJ: Sep-05-10
<Craigokat: Hello. this is Craig's wife/partner, Annie. SO wonderful to hear such kind words from everyone. I especially enjoyed Once's Chess eulogy. I miss him terribly and I am sad for our 1 yr old daughter, as she will never know him first hand. Thank you to everyone... >

All my heartfelt thoughts for a good life ... Carry on, carry on. (I know its going to be hard, but you have to try. I don't think Craig was the kind of guy who would want you to quit.)

I knew him peripherally ... which is - to be honest - not very well.

I think I know some of your pain, my wife died of cancer January 13th, 2010.

God bless.

Aug-19-11  Everyone: On a long enough timeline the survival rate for <Everyone> drops to zero.
Jan-18-12  uragano: This is an online interview of Craig in the january 2010 on
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Nice obituary here:

Here is an example of his guitar playing:

Aug-09-14  technical draw: I hadn't heard about Craig van Tilbury's death until today. We had some misunderstandings while we were both in the Virgin Islands but I respected him both as a chess player and a musician. RIP
Aug-09-14  technical draw: I believe I was thrown out of a party where Van Tilbury was jamming with a friend of mine on piano. I got kicked out for being an obnoxious drunk!
Aug-12-14  technical draw: As more memories pop up I think Craig was a company man. And I think the piano player kicked me out of the party before Craig kicked my behind (and I don't mean in chess!).
Aug-12-14  Strongest Force: I remember back at least 30 years. Me Craig and GM Fed were drinking at a bar. It was the first time I talked with Craig. Actually, Fed was doing all the talking. He was telling us that we could make it just like him. Fed was/is a nice guy.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <SF> Remember meeting the Fed at the 1978 Hartford Open, while preparing to get waxed by my first titled opponent (Sal Matera). As you say, nice guy--it was a pleasure talking with him.
Aug-12-14  technical draw: I remember more of that great party. We were jamming. It was Eddie Gomez on keyboards, van Tilbury on guitar and TD on booze. I was kicked out (or shown the door) and I walked to my apartment a distance away. Then I realized I had gone to the party in a company car and had to walk back (uphill!) to retrieve the car. Great days!
Jun-02-15  AnnieLyon: I am happy to announce that the Pinellas Academy of Math and Science in Clearwater, FL will be dedicating their newly constructed Chess library (filled with most all of Craig's books from his very old and private collection) will be dedicated in his name tomorrow June 2, 2015. Bill Otten, the academy's chess instructor, who also happens to be musician, graciously took them off my hands so that they could be put to good use by young and hungry minds. Craig would have approved. In fact, I'm sure he would have said, "You chose wisely, Little One." I still have more books, old chess mags, some dating back from the early 70's and every catalog from every chess tourney he attended. The man NEVER threw anything away.
Jun-02-15  Granny O Doul: Nice guy. Gave the Marshall Chess Club the photo of Leslie Braun (which I suppose he took) they have on their wall.
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