New Britain Chess Club, founded 1901
a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation

Voted Best Chess Club in Connecticut in 2022

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The New Britain Chess Club Historian

Robert "Bob" Cyr (formerly known as Robert Kozlowski) joined the New Britain Chess Club family on July 28, 1987, at the age of nine. His father, Reginald Cyr, taught him the game and brought him to the club for many years. As the club's youngest member, Bob literally grew up with his chess family, and he soon adopted a mentor, Arkadijs Strazdins, to emulate and learn from.

By the mid-1990s, Bob was so inspired and impressed by Mr. Strazdins' labor of love for the club that he decided to begin volunteering. Bob's early roles included setting up equipment and tables prior to meetings and providing support to the tournament directing staff. After learning from Mr. Strazdins about how to direct tournaments, Bob took on his first major role in the club as a USCF certified tournament director in 1998. To date, he has successfully directed over one hundred events. In 1999, Bob became club librarian. His responsibility was to maintain a huge collection of chess books that were donated by a former member. At the turn of the century, Bob created the clubís first e-mail distribution list and worked with Mr. Strazdins to convert all records to electronic format.

After many years of loyal service to the organization, Bob eagerly took on his next major role as vice president in 2003, working with President Joseph Mansigian on various projects for the club. While most people ask themselves what absolutely needs to be done to fulfill the roles that they have taken on, Bob asks how that role can be expanded to provide its maximum benefit. As club vice president, this meant taking on many of the tasks formerly assigned to the president. During this time, Bob also devoted his efforts to the preservation of the club archives, a job that Mr. Strazdins passionately performed since the early 1950s. In 2005, Bob started pursuing his own historic work for the club by writing the first newsletter, which he still publishes annually.

The years between 2007 and 2010 were a critical time for the club. Having to deal with both the loss of Mr. Strazdins, the club's strongest and longest leader, and the need for a new location, the clubís future was hardly guaranteed. Bobís experience working with Mr. Strazdins in the early years and with Joseph during his administration proved key to ushering in new leadership and re-establishing a solid foundation for the future.

In 2010, Bob left the club vice presidency and was elected to the position of club historian by incoming President Michael Pascetta and incoming Vice President Derek Meredith. In 2011, Bob received a lifetime membership achievement award from these gentlemen for his many years of service and loyalty to the club. In 2015, Bob created the book "NBCC Highlights and History: 1900-2004" and wrote the NBCC story, both of which were published, along with most of the club's history, on the internet in 2016.

In 2017, Bob submitted a story to the USCF for their contest on what chess means to people. Bobís story focused on how the people of NBCC have been his guiding forces on and off the chess board and how this warm and welcoming community has truly enriched his life. Later that year, Bob hosted a party and tournament for the membership to celebrate his thirty years as a member of the NBCC. In 2018, Bob was presented with an engraved crystal plaque in recognition for his many years of service as NBCC historian. In 2021, Bob received an engraved plaque from the Connecticut State Chess Association for his exemplary contributions to Connecticut chess. In 2022, Bob once again treated the membership to a party and a tournament, this time to celebrate his thirty-five years as a member of the NBCC. Even though Bob is not as active in club management today because of his massive responsibilities as a historian, he continues to be one of the clubís most staunch advocates and contributors.

Bob is also the historian and a lifetime member of the Connecticut State Chess Association, and he was the 1988 Connecticut Elementary School and 1989 Connecticut Middle School Chess Champion.

Bob is blessed to be part of the NBCC community, and he loves everyone in this tight-knit family. He is fortunate to have made so many friendships throughout his involvement in the club and Connecticut chess for so many years. Bob is a very personable, caring, and charming individual. When Andris Strazdins passed away in 2015, Bob learned how to play the keyboard. And, like Andris did with his harmonica at the club's social gatherings, Bob has entertained the members with songs of the season at the annual club Christmas party since 2017.

Bob graduated from Central Connecticut State University with an MBA and a BS in accounting.

Photo caption

1) 1987 - Robert Kozlowski and Hermann Zickfeld (left photo); Arkadijs Strazdins (right photo) - 1988 New Britain City Chess Championship Qualifier - Photo courtesy of the New Britain Herald
2) 1997 - Robert Kozlowski and his father, Reginald Cyr - 1997 Townsend Cup (at the Holiday Inn in Southington) - Photo courtesy of Rob Roy
3) 2015 - Andris Strazdins, Luis Delgado, Robert Cyr, and Richard Lee - 65th annual New Britain Chess Club Championship - Photo courtesy of Luis Delgado
4) 1988 - Robert Kozlowski wins annual Connecticut State Elementary Chess Championship - Photo source unknown