IA Ken Ballou (1961-2021)

US Chess has learned that IA Ken Ballou has died.

Ballou, a life member of US Chess, directed 291 tournaments according to his records, with a total of nearly 1400 sections under his oversight.

He was a delegate to US Chess from his home state of Massachusetts, serving on six committees, and chairing two of them  — Elections and Rules.

Ballou also served as the Parliamentarian at Delegates Meetings after the retirement of Mike Nolan.

More information to come as we receive it.


Very sorry to hear. I went to same high school as Ken. He was a senior when I was a freshman. He was number one in his class. A very nice guy. Rest In Peace friend.

I remember Ken being exhausted after working one of the nationals scholastics and saying that he would never work another one. When the Federation needed him later he supported it by working another one.

I've had the privilege of working with Ken the last few years at the United States Amateur Team East. He has been absolute gentleman. This is a great loss for American Chess and for those who knew him well. Honored to call him a friend. RIP Ken!

The loss of Ken will be incalculable to the Federation, and yet I feel that my personal loss will be far more strongly felt.

I am speechless, stunned, and heartbroken. Ken did more for US Chess than I can possibly put into words. His presence will be sorely missed.

Ken was great human being and an all around " nice guy". My first memories of Ken are from the old Rhode Island Chess League days held on Friday evenings at Brown U. So sad, thoughts and prayers to his family.

Ken always made me laugh. I will miss him deeply. He played an outsized role in US Chess and the Federation is poorer for his passing.

While Ken did much for USCF overall, he was instrumental in making the Metrowest Chess Club run well, selflessly devoting much time and effort behind the scenes. Especially once one got to know him, it was easy to see his dry wit and the softer side under the gruffer hide. Rest in peace, Ken.

When I was president of MACA, Ken was my VP--as well as sounding board, voice of reason and the friend who could always make me laugh. What he did for chess is indisputable. What he did by being the person he was--so full of heart and integrity--was inspiring, and won't fade anytime soon.

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