Kenny Regan alerted me to the shocking news of the untimely demise of IM Mark Diesen (World Junior Champ 1976) in December 2008 – Conroe, TX.
Mark Diesen grew up in Potomac Maryland (the next town over from me in Bethesda). He was part of a strong group of players including Larry Kaufman, Larry Gilden, Eugene and John Meyer, Robert Eberlein, Richard Delaune, Robin Spital, and others.
I played him a couple of times OTB and knew him very well since the 1970s. He was only two years older than me.
Mark Diesen pictured along with the other victorious Washington Plumbers (National Chess League) May 1976. Mark is standing second from right; GM Lubosh Kavalek (Mark’s coach at the World Junior Champs that Mark won) is at right. If you’re wondering about the team name, Google it – it harkens to the fantastically evil Nixon era.
I used to have a great action photo (that I misplaced) of 16 year old Mark Diesen playing 16 year old Larry Christiansen in the US Junior Championship, San Francisco, 1973. The caption read “they battle to a draw in a Pirc.” I think it was a Koltanowski article in the SF Chronicle.
Mark Diesen playing Black favored defensive and counter-attacking schemes as black in the Pirc, Alekhine’s, and Sicilian Scheveningen. He had noticeable positional superiority over most of his peers as he ascended in the mid 1970s. I posted games and memories Part I (there will be a 2nd part) on the US Chess Online site.