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RIP Martin Sterel

Posted By: Stick
Date: Wednesday, 8 March 2017, at 8:16 a.m.

A select few of you, Phil Simborg, John O'Hagan I think, and maybe another teacher or two knew Martin from him taking a lot of lessons over the years. Others may know him from having played him on Gridgammon under the nick Ryotaro. (which will live on) Lastly, perhaps you caught Martin posting here over the years as he did have over 100 posts.

Martin took lessons from me for years. When I say years, I mean years and years. 7 to be exact. He was already decent when we started and carried an intense love of the game. He loved playing. Over the years he got better and better ending up being the person whom I've given lessons to with the lowest PR. He often thanked me and other teaches of course but when it comes down to it, the player himself is the one who does the heavy lifting. His continued study and love of the game proved over time to be enough to elevate his game to this world class level.

Unfortunately, due to health reasons, Martin couldn't really make it out for live tournaments. This is beyond a shame and looking back (and forward) I wonder if tournaments (or at least a couple during the year) could offer the possibility of a player entering a major tournament and playing from home if their health kept them from traveling. I realize the major hurdles that would come along with this and I don't want to discuss the idea here but in a future thread perhaps.

Martin was much more than simply a student. He, like several of people who take lessons from me, became a friend and I actually looked forward to our lessons. We would often play on Gridgammon as a team and there would be times when Martin was clearly playing better than I was and in reviewing the match I wondered what he was paying me for as if we had followed his intuition we certainly would have played a better PR! He also presented me with interesting problems and variations and in giving lessons to him I'm sure he improved my own game in the process.

It was inspiring to see someone derive so much pleasure from this game. Thank you Martin and I hope you found what you were looking for.


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