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George Leighton
G Leighton 
Photo courtesy of The Creola Genealogist.  
Number of games in database: 16
Years covered: 1968 to 1994
Overall record: +4 -11 =1 (28.1%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

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(born Oct-22-1912, died Jun-06-2018, 105 years old) United States of America

[what is this?]

George Neves Leitão was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts on October 22, 1912 to Ana Silva Garcia and António Neves Leitão, both originally immigrants from Brava, Cape Verde. His surname was anglicised to "Leighton" by a teacher who claimed she could not pronounce his last name "Leitão". His parents agreed.(1)

Through his own studying and attending night school, Leighton was able to make his way to Howard University. Marcelino Charles “Big Daddy” Grace helped fund his first year at the university. After graduating with honors, he attended Harvard Law School. During his studies, he entered the U.S. Army in World War II and achieved the rank of Captain.(2)

Leighton served as a Master in Chancery for the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois from 1960–64. He was elected as a judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, serving from 1964–69. He was appointed as a judge with the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, serving from 1969-76. He was the first African-American to hold this position in Illinois.(1) President Gerald Ford nominated him the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. He was confirmed by the Senate in 1976, making him the first Cape Verdean-American in the federal judiciary.

As a young boy in New Bedford, he took up chess at a informal boy's club run by Mary Hayden. "She had a 'burden' to help underprivileged kids," he recalled in a 1987, local cable TV interview with host Jack Custodio. Over the years, Mr. Leighton has made a number of gifts in her memory to the United States Chess Federation. "No one has ever given me a greater gift than she did," he said.(3)

He had a lifelong passion for chess. At his peak, Judge Leighton was a strong expert.(4) Leighton died on June 6, 2018 in Brockton, Massachusetts.(1)

(1) Wikipedia article: George N. Leighton

Last updated: 2018-06-11 18:15:22

 page 1 of 1; 16 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. H Stern vs G Leighton  ½-½211968Greater Chicago opB72 Sicilian, Dragon
2. G Leighton vs E Karklins 0-1241968Greater Chicago OpenA45 Queen's Pawn Game
3. Mark Peilen vs G Leighton 1-0201982US opA80 Dutch
4. G Leighton vs L Kaushansky 1-0291982Greater Chicago OpenD00 Queen's Pawn Game
5. Daniel Fraats vs G Leighton  1-0541988National OpenC05 French, Tarrasch
6. G Leighton vs K Czuhai  0-1201991East Lansing ch-MI opE70 King's Indian
7. G Leighton vs M Bagherabadi  0-1591991East Lansing ch-MI opE32 Nimzo-Indian, Classical
8. F Kung vs G Leighton  0-1511991East Lansing ch-MI opC17 French, Winawer, Advance
9. R Williams vs G Leighton  1-0491991East Lansing ch-MI opC00 French Defense
10. Kyle Johnson vs G Leighton  1-0831991East Lansing ch-MI opA22 English
11. G Leighton vs P Tobias  1-0601991East Lansing ch-MI opD00 Queen's Pawn Game
12. V Rajlich vs G Leighton  1-0531994Detroit-ch MI opC14 French, Classical
13. G Leighton vs E Smith  1-0491994Detroit-ch MI opA83 Dutch, Staunton Gambit
14. G Bailey vs G Leighton  1-0431994Detroit-ch MI opE67 King's Indian, Fianchetto
15. G Leighton vs M Everett  0-1391994Detroit-ch MI opA61 Benoni
16. G Leighton vs A Groeger  0-146199495th US OpenE88 King's Indian, Samisch, Orthodox, 7.d5 c6
 page 1 of 1; 16 games  PGN Download 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Leighton wins | Leighton loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Two great lines from that story:

< A voracious reader who picked up chess at age 12, Leighton never graduated from high school, but won a scholarship competition and was admitted in 1936, at age 24, to Howard University. >

<When Neal walked over to say good morning, he saw the judge, then in his late 70s or early 80s, face down on his office floor.

"I froze for a second," said Neal, who then rushed to see if Leighton was still breathing.

"Before I could get over to him, he ripped off another 10 pushups," said Neal, laughing. "He'd only been resting." >

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: October 22, 2017, he needs to be Player of the Day.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: He died yesterday.
Jun-08-18  ASchultz: A fitting player of the day. I remember seeing him at the Illinois Open. People called him Judge Leighton and I thought, wow, he must be someone.

I found out later why people were so respectful once I heard of the Leighton criminal court building and looked up his accomplishments on Wikipedia.

Very impressive, and in the smaller picture, it's always nice to see someone put the lie to "but chess will never help you get anywhere in life!"

It looks like he lived his life very well. RIP.

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