Sunday, December 18, 2016: Profile of a Lifetime Achievement Award recipient
Ragnar Wikman was born on October 19th 1947 in Hangö (Hanko) and he lived his youth in Borgå (Porvoo). He belongs to the Swedish speaking minority in Finland, which is mainly located to southern and western costal area – hence the double names of towns. He started his studies in Åbo Academy University in 1966 in journalism, but changed promptly after one year to more fitting applied mathematics, computer science (in 1967!) and statistical mathematics. He graduated in 1975 and continued with post-graduate studies achieving Phil. Lic degree in 1979. He did his lifetime job as a Lecturer in Computer Science in Åbo Academi University until his retirement in 2012.
Ragnar learned chess from his father Runar Wikman, who was a strong correspondence player and mathematician like Ragnar. Besides chess, Ragnar showed interest in collecting stamps, something not so uncommon for a correspondence chess player.
Ragnar’s first correspondence chess tournament was in 1968 (ICCF World Cup I), he reached master class in 1973 and eventually IM title in 1987 in Bloemendal Congress. He started his career in chess administration as a TD (Tournament Secretary as it was called in early days) in 1971 in ICCF World Cup II and continued for several decades. In 1975 Ragnar achieved another important step: International Arbiter (IA). In 1987 he “inherited” the post of Tournament Director (corresponding to World Tournament Director today) from his lifelong mentor and friend Erik Larsson, who did an impressive career in ICCF. In 1995 ICCF did a major re-organizing and Ragnar continued from there as Deputy President (Tournaments). In 1999 Ragnar moved on and took the responsibility of chairing Rules commission as a Deputy President. In 2003 he withdrew from the presidium job and continued as a Chairman of the Appeals Committee (Playing Rules) – a job he still holds today in ICCF.
On the national level Ragnar has been invaluable help as a member of the board of FCCF (Finnish Correspondence Chess Federation) from 1971, worked as a TS in numerous national and international events, was responsible for national events in 1979-85, became the national delegate in 1992 after ICCF Honorary Member Raimo Lindroos resigned from that post, until 2011, and was of invaluable help in the ICCF Congress’ organisation held in Finland.
During 1990-94 he also edited the Swedish correspondence chess periodical SSKK-bulletinen – a rewarding experience, but unfortunately too time consuming, which cut his journalistic responsibilities only to four years.
When Ragnar Wikman was awarded the “Lifetime Achievement Award" for ICCF in the Bremen Congress in 2016, it was difficult to imagine anyone more deserving following his mentor Erik Larson.