Hilton Petrie Bennett. 25th July 1955 - 12th November 2022. Rest in Peace.

Hilton Petrie Bennett RIP

Hilton Bennett pictured seated at home with drinks

Hilton Petrie Bennett RIP

Hilton Petrie Bennett

25th July 1955 - 12th November 2022

Dear chess colleagues and friends both here and overseas,

It is with much sadness and a very heavy heart that I must tell you that our very dear friend Hilton passed away at approximately 6pm this evening. (12th November 2022 NZDT)

He had been in an induced coma since suffering a severe heart attack on Wednesday afternoon (9th November 2022 NZDT). His life support was switched off at around 2pm today. (12th November 2022 NZDT)

It is a huge loss to everyone that knew and loved Hilton. His camaraderie and friendship has had a massive impact in my life as it has in many others.

Our thoughts and love go out to Robin and her family at this time.

I am sure that I have missed many of Hilton’s friends in sending this out so rely on you to pass on this very sad news to those folks that I haven’t contacted here.

In sadness,
Paul Spiller.

I’ve been asked to write a few words for our website, as a memorial to Hilton. I don’t know where to start. I haven’t known him all that long; I only met him when I joined the chess community in New Zealand in 2007. And yet I feel like I have known him all my life. Everywhere you go in New Zealand chess, in every corner of our chess community, Hilton is (dammit, was) hugely respected, and beloved. He was always the guy who people turned to for advice, and he always did everything he could to help out. He shared his love of ancient chess literature with his fellow aficionados; his love of chess books in general with everyone. He was passionate about chess improvement and supported many projects to bring top class trainers and seminars to New Zealand. He organised, or helped to organise, or helped to run, many, many tournaments. Above all, he was a wildly enthusiastic player, with a flair for ferocious attacks, and boundless enthusiasm for the post mortem.

Post mortem. Indeed that is what this is. It is so hard to understand how a man who was enjoying chess and life to the full only a handful of days ago is now gone. Many will remember him as an entertainer – extremely witty, erudite, kind and compassionate, and full of empathy. He talked of his travels around the world (exotic chess locations a speciality). He was a connoisseur of food and drink, and a pretty good cook too. The home that he shared with his wife Robin is full of memorabilia from around the world – as well as chess books, of course! He knew every inch of New Zealand and I recall that no matter where I said I was going, he would advise me where to find second-hand bookshops in that location.

I have no doubt that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of chess players around the world, who have met him at Asian Teams or World Seniors or the Olympiad or…well, the list is long…will be reading about his death with shock, and great sadness. He made friends everywhere he went – to talk to him was to make a new lifelong friend. We are all going to miss him so very much. I wish he had made the FM title at his last tournament, the Asian Seniors. He came so close, losing out only on tiebreak. Above all, I wish he had had the opportunity to try again next year.

Helen Milligan

Photos to remember Hilton

Funeral Details

11am Thursday 17th November 2022

Woodside Estate

130-132 Woodside Road, Hamilton, Waikato, New Zealand.

No Flowers Please

Further information in Obituary Booklet

Those wanting to join in the celebration of Hilton’s life can join through any of three ways:


Thank you and kind regards.

Alan Chew


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