IA Jorge Vega: 1935-2023

US Chess has learned that Jorge Fernandez Vega has died at the age of 87. He was the FIDE President of Confederation of Chess for Americas (CCA), and served in that position for almost 20 years, overseeing 34 member federations including US Chess. US Chess offers its condolences to Vega's family, friends, and colleagues.

It appears that Vega's last visit to the United States was for the 2017 Match of the Millennials at the Saint Louis Chess Club. (Photos courtesy of the Saint Louis Chess Club)

Vega at 2011 FIDE Congress Krakow

 The above photo is from the 2011 FIDE Congress in Krakow, Poland. L-R: Franc Guadalupe, current President of the Texas Chess Association and then FIDE Zonal President; Jorge Vega; Bill Hall, former US Chess Executive Director; Michael Khodarkovsky, current FIDE Council Vice President and then US Chess Delegate to FIDE; Ruth Haring, former US Chess President; Sofia Vega, Jorge Vega's spouse. Photo courtesy of Guadalupe.

Vega Profile Card

FIDE posted the following obituary at Fide.com:

FIDE is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Jorge Vega Fernandez. Honorary Member of FIDE, he was a key figure for chess in Americas, being the President of Confederation of Chess for Americas (CCA) for nearly 20 years.

Jorge Vega was born in Cuba in 1935 and lived a long and eventful life. He took part in the Cuban Revolution, which overthrew the Baptista regime in 1959. Legendary Che Guevara ordered him to carry a pocket chess set so that they could play chess between battles with government troops. The hero of Cuban revolution was the best man at Jorge’s wedding.

Jorge Vega was a Cuban delegate since 1977, Zonal President since 1974, Central committee member since 1974 and FIDE Bureau member since 1979.

Because of his international links through chess, he was imprisoned by the Cuban authorities and spent a long time in solitary confinement. After strong diplomatic pressure from the Canadian Government organized by John Prentice, Jorge was released and allowed to leave Cuba. He then moved to Mexico.

In 2002, he was elected President of Confederacion de Adjedres para America (CCA) and held this position for the next 20 years. He unified what had been a very divided body until then, and it became a very influential part of the FIDE family.

His friends in chess will never forget him and cherish plenty of sweet moments.

Nigel Freeman, President of the Bermuda Chess Federation and former FIDE Executive Director and FIDE Treasurer, shared one of them.

When Jorge was 80, he had a medical checkup, and the doctors asked him how he managed to have the constitution of someone more than 20 years younger, and he replied: “I drink a lot, I smoke a lot and never eat green vegetables.”

FIDE extends its sincere condolences to Jorge Vega Fernandez family, friends, and loved ones.

FIDEAmerica.net posted the following (translated via Google Translate; the original Spanish appears immediately after):

At the Chess Confederation of the Americas, we deeply regret the departure of Jorge Vega Fernández. To him, to whom we owe the CCA structure as we know it today, to our top leader, we say goodbye today. On behalf of the 42 countries that make up our FIDE America, we thank you infinitely.

The CCA Board of Directors, by unanimous decision, proposes to name, in eternum , our highest tournament in his honor, the Jorge Vega Fernández Continental Championship . We hope to have the support and ratification of all the brother countries at our next assembly in the Dominican Republic, in May 2023.

En la Confederación de Ajedrez de las Américas, lamentamos profundamente la partida de Jorge Vega Fernández. A ese, que le debemos la estructura de CCA como la conocemos hoy, a nuestro líder máximo, le decimos hoy adiós. De parte de los 42 países que componen nuestra FIDE América, te damos las infinitas gracias.

La Junta Directiva de CCA por decisión unánime, proponemos nombrar, in eternum, nuestro máximo torneo en su honor, Campeonato Continental Jorge Vega Fernández. Esperemos contar con el apoyo y la ratificación de todos los países hermanos en nuestra próxima asamblea en República Dominicana, en Mayo 2023.