WIM Ruth Haring, 1955-2018

Former US Chess President Ruth Haring

WIM Ruth Haring, 1955-2018

Former US Chess president and FIDE Zonal 2.1 (USA) president has died in California; once stated, “I love chess and want to see it grow.”

CROSSVILLE, TN: The US Chess Federation is sad to announce the death of former US Chess president Ruth Inez Haring of Chico, California. She served on the Executive Board from 2009-2016 and was the current FIDE Zonal 2.1 (USA) president, a post she entered in 2016. Haring was also on the FIDE Ethics Commission and the CalChess Board of Directors. A Women’s International Master (WIM), she began playing tournament chess in 1969 and represented the USA in five Women’s Olympiads (1974, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1982) and an Interzonal. She was only the second woman to serve as a US Chess president.

Current US Chess President W. Allen Priest says, “I have always looked up to Ruth as a mentor and treasured her as a friend. I was honored to serve with her on the board and was inspired by her efforts to change the culture of US Chess.  After her service on the board she continued to be a major influence within US Chess, our FIDE continental association, and FIDE at large. She brought a professionalism into all she did but was such a warm and encouraging person as well. My heart breaks for her family. My sense of personal loss is profound.  I will miss my friend.”

Executive Director Carol Meyer echoes, “US Chess has lost one of its most treasured members. Ruth was a thoughtful, principled leader who relentlessly promoted the mission of US Chess. She was a mentor to me in the short time I knew her, and I valued her guidance in navigating this community. Ruth’s passing is a terrible loss for US Chess and the world chess community. Her legacy is our enduring gift.”

FIDE Vice President and Delegate for US Chess Michael Khodarkovsky has also taken the loss personally. Michael says, “Ruth and I worked together for ten years, including shoulder-to-shoulder at FIDE congresses. She always placed the interests of US Chess first, never concerned about her own personal interests. She built good relationships throughout the chess world and had the respect of her colleagues for her strong voice. This is a huge loss not just for me but also for the chess world.”

In her professional managing and consulting life in the computer industry, Ruth stated that she “… successfully managed large complex projects for IBM, Lockheed, TRW, and eBay” for 23 years.  She credited chess with her business success, once writing in Chess Life magazine, “As a teenager, I lived in a small university town, Fayetteville, Arkansas.  To improve at chess, we had to travel to nearby states where there were stronger players we could learn from.  From about 1969 to 1973, most weekends, we drove to Kansas City, Tulsa, Stillwater, Oklahoma City, Little Rock, Memphis, St. Louis, Dallas, and anywhere there was a tournament within 700 miles.  Each summer, the U.S. Open was an exciting event.  My high school participated in the National High School Championship and my college in the Pan-Am Intercollegiate.  I was president of both my high school and college chess clubs.  These experiences helped to form who I was, provided valuable life lessons about teamwork and leadership, and were part of the essence of the computer professional I later became—and it was all due to chess.  I can’t imagine a better way to be educated and learn about people and the world.”

Haring was elected to the US Chess Executive Board in the summer of 2009, taking her seat as vice president, a position she held until becoming president in 2011. She remained president until 2015, completing her board term in 2016 as a Member-at-Large. As US Chess president she was committed to growing the game, stating, “I love chess and want to see it grow. I want to see more people play, more events, greater recognition of our sport amongst the general public, and better media coverage.” US Chess Membership increased from 75,876 to 85,867 during her tenure.

Contact: Daniel Lucas

Phone: 931.200.5509

Email: [email protected]


  1. This is very, very sad news.

    She was one of the best.

    It was a privilege to know her and I will miss her greatly.

    My thoughts and prayers go to her family.

  2. I am simply crushed. Ruth was my mentor and my friend. She was helping me with US Chess business within the last few weeks. And we spent a great deal of time together in Georgia at the Congress recently.

  3. Very sad. I didn’t know her personally though I was familiar with her name as the ex-President. I sat next to her a few times at last year’s National Open, and she was friendly and seemed to enjoy playing in the tournament.

  4. I had the pleasure of serving as Ruth’s VP for all four years of her presidency. She was a wonderful leader of this Federation. I can honestly say that I have never met anyone who loved our great game more than Ruth. The loss is incalculable.

  5. She was an avid booster of chess, including writing a letter of commendation, as the US Chess president, lauding my son for an Eagle Scout project that involved chess.

  6. I am greatly saddened by the passing of WIM Ruth Haring. Before she was elected to the US Chess Executive Board, she asked me if she should run. I said, “That is a great idea” After she was elected she had an opportunity to speak about her goals. This I remember crystal clear. She said, “One day I would love to see 50% of our membership girls and women.” I have never forgotten that message. We are now on her path to achieving that goal. RIP.

  7. Too soon. She was a great president of US Chess, she was a passionate advocate for our mission, and she was once kind enough to offer me a draw after she had totally outplayed me in a Midern Benoni. 🙂

    Many of the positive changes in the last decade of US Chess are attributable to her leadership.

    Deepest condolences to her family.

  8. This is a big loss for US Chess. Ruth served very well as USCF president. Her leadership was admirable. Little did I know when I met a 22-year-old female chess player who showed up with GM Peter Biyiasis to play in the 17th Central New England Open in June 1977 in Leominster, Massachusetts that she would go on years later to lead the USCF as its president. Her accomplishments were many. May she rest in peace.

  9. During that 69-73 period she mentions, Springfield, Missouri, was one of those towns she visited, though we didn’t have the concentration of top players in those other venues. I remember her as gracious, friendly … and a fierce competitor. It was clear even then that she was special. So sorry to hear of her passing, and condolences to family and friends.

  10. Very shocking and sad news. Ruth was a hard working and very effective Executive Board member during the four years that we served together on the Board. After the first two of those years, 2009-2011, Board sentiment was unanimous that she should become president, and she served as such for my remaining two years before being selected by the Board for two more years, until 2015. Federation finances improved dramatically during her tenure. She was an enthusiastic player who usually played in the top section of major events, even though eligible for the group below, and supporter of chess promotion for our top players and for women and girls. She also represented USCF at many FIDE meetings, continuing to do so after her presidency. Her passing is a great loss for American chess.

    Bill Goichberg

  11. THE GREAT CHESS SHADOW … she was stated simply..EVERYWHERE…. she had a front row seat to the Biyiasis/Suttles titanic Canadian era..plus Fischer walking around the Biyiasas household . Jude Acers/ New Orleans

  12. I am in complete shock and mourn her loss. She was a great mentor and inspirational friend.

    She was the person who recommended me to co chair the Women’s Chess Committee 4 yrs ago and was instrumental in helping mentor and grow Women and Girls chess. I will forever be grateful for her wisdom, guidance, understanding and love for people and the game. She was passionate and excited seeing the movement in female chess.

    I pray her legacy continues. My condolences to her family, to the chess community and the community she lived in. This is truly a sad loss.

  13. Ruth treated everyone she met with dignity and respect, whether or not she agreed with them on any particular issues. I enjoyed my brief but energetic conversations with her beacause I always felt like I had her undivided attention. She will be missed.

  14. Ruth was ruthless on the chessboard. One time at a U.S. Open in the ’70s she crushed me so bad the game was printed in the New York Times. 😉

    Many of us here in Oklahoma remember her fondly from the days when she and Orton were playing around this area, and after she got into chess politics she came back here to visit often. She was a very good listener — actually interested in what you had to say about this or that chess issue, not just pretending to listen like so many politicians do.

    It’s a cliche to say it, but really this is a very great loss for chess.

  15. Condolences to Theodore and family. You mom was really someone special to so many of us in the chess world. She has done so much for the game. It was really special to talk with her at tournaments. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Much love.

    • Fitchburg Access Television (FATV) in Fitchburg, Massachusetts will present a tribute to WIM Ruth Inez Haring (1955-2018) on Monday, Jan. 7, 2019. The program, produced by USCF affiliate Wachusett Chess Club at Fitchburg State University, will be seen on the popular TV show “Chess Chat,” which has been airing on FATV since October 2006. The show can be seen via LIVE STREAMING at 7 p.m. on Jan. 7 at http://www.fatv.org and will be also archived and seen on video ON DEMAND at that website. The program will be televised five times a week during the month of January on FATV.

  16. This is a great loss to American Chess. Ruth was devoted to increasing participation of
    women and girls in Chess. I first met her when she was active in college chess.

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