Peter Caissa Memorial

Over the history of the Hobsons Bay Chess Club, dating back to 1974, there are many
people whose contribution we cherish and all would agree that the person with the
greatest impact over these years was Peter Caissa. Peter was a long-standing
president and junior coach of the club and also a friend and mentor to its members.
Sadly, he lost his battle with cancer in 2012. Peter’s contribution to the club goes beyond that of the positions he held. His love of chess was strong, so much so, he changed his surname to Caissa by deed poll. To those that knew him, played with and against him, his passion for the game was infectious.

The legacy of Peter’s commitment to junior chess and coaching remain strong today.
Many now adult players at the club gained the love of the game through Peter’s
dedication and owe much to his hard work. Peter said some of his proudest moments
was seeing juniors at the club mature by playing chess. Peter was also the driving
force behind the annual Best in the West weekend tournament, bringing some of
Victoria’s best chess talent together, along with interstate and international players.
The Best in the West tournament had become the biggest chess event in Melbourne’s
west and is still going strong today.

Away from the Hobsons Bay Chess Club, Peter had terrific success in international
correspondence chess events, winning and captaining a number of International
Correspondence Federation events. In the 1990s, he helped bring chess to the
Melbourne airways through the weekly “Chess Chat” program. These involvements
elevated Peter as a much loved member of the Australian chess community.
In 2012, the Hobsons Bay Chess Club took the decision to honour Peter by awarding
the Peter Caissa Cup to the winner of the annual club championship.

To win the Peter Caissa Cup is no small achievement. Firstly, it requires players to qualify as one of the top eight players during regular season play. The winner is then required to outperform the other seven qualifiers in a round robin club championship event.

The words below are a tribute to Peter written by Dallas Gatti, a long time club
member and inaugural winner of the Peter Caissa cup.

Winning the inaugural Peter Caissa was for me, a huge honour. Peter had not been at
the club for quite a while due to his health, but he had planned on being there on
presentation night to hand over the cup that was named in his honour. I was looking
forward to receive the cup from him, my friend. But the news broke that night, that
was not going to happen. I didn’t make a speech that night, my emotions got the
better of me. 

I met Peter Caissa in around 1988, when the club had organised a simul at the Altona
Festival. Peter was my first point of contact with the club, and was the first point of
contact for many members who joined the club before and after myself.
Peter was a great character and stalwart of the club. He would be one of the first
people there to help start setting the club up, and one of the last to leave at the end
of the evening.  He wore many hats, from taking photos and submitting them to local
papers to try to increase the clubs recognition, club president, tournament director, arbiter, Winter Inter-club team organiser, and even help organise a chess radio
program on local radio. Everything he did, for the club, he did with passion and
selflessness.

He was a great ambassador for the club. But not only that, he was a great person in
life. He was a true friend to most people, and would help you out however he could. 
Simply, thank you Peter for all that you have done for myself personally during my
difficult times in life, and I hope wherever you are, you stop playing the French
Defence!!

Below are the list of winners of the Peter Caissa Cup and photographs of Peter’s involvement at the club.

Winners of the Peter Caissa Cup
2012 – Dallas Gatti
2013 – Dean Hogg
2014 – Dean Hogg
2015 – Vishal Bhat
2016 – Nathan Hibberd
2017 – Bruce Williams
2018 – Daniel Gusain
2019 – Nathan Hibberd

Dallas Gatti raising the Peter Caissa Cup in 2012

Dean Hogg accepting the trophy in 2013

Peter presenting junior awards

Peter competing hard for victory at the club