Where do you start to tell about this lady? She was the backbone of much of what happened in chess in this area for so long. Wherever she was needed, she was there. If she wasn't directly involved in organizing and directing the tournament, she was available to give advice to the one who was (and who had probably learned how from her in the first place).
Let's start with the cold facts. She served on the boards of the Wisconsin Chess Association, and the Milwaukee Chess Foundation. She was on the Policy Board of the US Chess Federation. She was the first woman Nationally Certified Tournament Director. She was the first woman International FIDE Arbiter. Add to that she was FIDE Zone 5 President.
Here locally, from 1965 to 1985 she was the Chess Director for the Division of Municipal Recreation and Adult Education for the Milwaukee Public Schools. She hired instructors to teach chess on the city playgrounds, brought in masters and GMs for simuls, and organized more events in a year than many directors will in a lifetime. She picked up the work done by the pioneers that started the USCF, the Wisconsin Chess Association, the Milwaukee Municipal Chess Association, and she saw to it the work was continued, in grand style. She had a positive gift for administration, which she brought to bear on her chess organizational duties, and we all benefitted from it.
Tim Redman, editing the third edition of the USCF rulebook, wrote of her: “But my thanks to her go beyond [the help with this edition of the rulebook], for twenty years ago she taught me how to direct chess tournaments. One could not have asked for a better teacher, and certainly much of whatever success this book enjoys can be ascribed to her excellent example.” Checking the acknowledgements section of the fourth edition turns up not a few of her pupils, as well.
I first met Pearle at the state Junior Championship in 1972. Like so many other teenagers, I overslept and I ended up missing the fourth round. I wasn't aware of tournament protocol at that tender age, so I simply wandered off and showed up for the fifth round, only to find she'd dropped me from the tournament.. When I showed up ready to play, she explained to me patiently and in lengthy detail why what I had done was wrong, and when someone didn't show up for their last round game, she asked his opponent if he'd rather play me or take the point on forfeit. We played (he got the point, anyway, for you trivia buffs). Did her lecture take hold? I'll let you decide: in over 25 years since then, I've not missed a round without warning the TD well in advance, and I've only been late a half-dozen or so times. Never, when she was directing.
I never once saw her lose her temper, even in circumstances that would have tried the patience of a saint. But Pearle had Expectations. She never minded if you disagreed with her. But she expected those disagreements to be civil. She expected this courtesy not only between player and director, but between player and opponent. And you never liked disappointing her. I don't recall her ever tossing anyone out of a tournament she directed; I don't recall the need for such an action ever arising.
She enjoyed chess, she loved it. She was a rock you could lean on, and with her at the TD’s table you could count on a smooth tournament. Can you give a TD higher praise than that?Roman Levit George Koltanowski blog comments powered by Disqus