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Wright-Patt Airman places in NATO chess tournament

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jack Gardner
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- An officer from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base played a key role on the U.S. national team’s showing at the recent NATO Chess Championship.

Maj. Gordon Randall, then-88th Comptroller Squadron director of operations, was part of the team that edged out Germany by half a point to take home the third-place medal, just behind champion Greece and runner-up Poland.

The 32nd annual NATO Chess Championship took place June 27 to July 1 in Tartu, Estonia.

This marks the third time the U.S team has medaled in the tournament.

“I am just really humbled and honored,” Randall said. “It took some serious focus and patience, but we are happy with the outcome and it’s special to be a part of something like that.”

The six-person squad consisted of four Airmen and two sailors. Other members included 1st Lt. Eigen Wang, Tech. Sgt. Andrew Duren, Airman 1st Class Charles Unruh, Petty Officer 1st Class Enrico Balmacedo and Petty Officer 2nd Class Andrew Peraino.

Team USA is comprised of the Defense Department’s top six players. A total of 15 teams from different nations competed at the NATO tournament in Estonia.

Randall points to his passion to compete and love for the game as reasons he has continued playing chess competitively since middle school.

“I find such enjoyment in competition,” he said. “Chess is a game that will test your patience, and I have a lot of pride in my game — that has driven me to continue to get better and play against some of the best chess players in the DOD.”

Retired Army Col. Kevin Hater, the U.S. team’s unofficial coach, praised Randall and the players for taking home the bronze medal.

“I am just really proud of him and all of the team,” Hater said. “Overall, this was one of our best years from both a team and individual perspective, and we hope to do it again at the 33rd NATO Championships in Slovenia in 2023.”

Randall is no stranger to high-level chess. He has competed in 10 U.S Armed Forces Championships and played competitively for over 20 years.

In October 2020, he competed at the 61st annual U.S. Armed Forces Chess Championship in Virginia Beach, Virginia. That year, Randall wound up fourth overall and finished second to Wang for the Air Force crown.

Shortly after returning from Estonia, he moved on from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to a new assignment at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.