Ken Horne, Las Vegas chess organizer, dies in Airplane Crash

by Sam Sloan

Ken Horne, flying home in his own airplane from the US Open Chess Championship in Reno, died along with his wife Gwen in a crash on August 20, 1999.
John Trivett

John Trivett, who was also a chess player and had also just participated in the US Open, was severely burned in the crash but was pulled to safety by bystanders. Trivett is in the burn unit of the UMC Medical Center in Las Vegas. Although Trivett has burns over 35% of his body, he is expected to survive and is out of the trauma center already. According to the hospital, his condition remains critical.

According to the Las Vegas Sun, Horne was flying a single engine Mooney plane when it crashed into a house in North Las Vegas.

The story is available on the Las Vegas Sun web site at

Horne and Trivett had both just scored 4.5-4.5 each at the US Open. Complete results of the US Open are available at

Horne was Nevada's delegate for the last ten years to the United States Chess Federation. At the USCF delegates meeting in Reno last week, Horne was a strong advocate of reform in organized chess and spoke in favor of and voted for One Member One Vote. However, Horne's efforts at reform failed this year, as the proposal was defeated.
Ken Horne

Horne was also chairman of the Senior's Committee and a member of the Prison Chess committee of the USCF. Horne was also Vice-President Nevada Chess, Inc., the state affiliate organization of the USCF, since 1989.

Horne was also deeply involved in the Stan Vaughan controversy which has been shaking organized chess for the last several years. Vaughan sued Trivett and several other Nevada chess officials in his unsuccessful efforts to take over Nevada chess. Although Horne was strongly opposed to Vaughan, Horne was the only top official of the legitimate Nevada chess organization who was not personally sued by Stan Vaughan.

Horne was 55 years old and was born on June 1, 1944 in Oakland, California. He had a degree in physics. He worked at Nellis Air Force Base at the Range Safety Division. He was planning to retire next month.

Horne and Trivett both signed my nomination petition to run for Executive Board of the United States Chess Federation. Both Horne and Trivett are voting members of the USCF.

I asked Ken Horne to fly me in his plane from Reno to Las Vegas, as I also needed to go to Las Vegas after the Reno tournament, but Horne told me that his plane was too full.

I must have been one of the last people to see Ken Horne alive, as just before he departed for the airport, he gave me his last round game against Ken Sloan (no relation to me) and asked me to publish it. This is undoubtedly the last game Ken Horne ever played in his life. Here is that game:

Sam Sloan

[Event "U.S. Open 99"]
[Site "Reno USA"]
[Date "1999.08.20"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Horne,Ken"]
[Black "Sloan,Ken"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A11"]
[WhiteElo "1642"]
[BlackElo "1824"]
[PlyCount "81"]

1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 c6 3. g3 Nf6 4. Bg2 Bf5 5. O-O Nbd7 6. b3 e5 7. d3 Bc5 8. Bb2
d4 9. Nbd2 O-O 10. Ng5 Qe7 11. Nge4 Rae8 12. Nxc5 Qxc5 13. a3 Qb6 14. b4 Nc5
15. Rb1 Nxd3 16. exd3 Bxd3 17. Rc1 Bxf1 18. c5 Qd8 19. Kxf1 Nd5 20. Nc4 f5 21.
Nd6 Re6 22. Qd3 f4 23. Be4 Rh6 24. Kg2 Qg5 25. Qf3 Nf6 26. Nf5 Nxe4 27. Nxh6+
Qxh6 28. Qxe4 f3+ 29. Kh1 Qd2 30. Qc2 Qxc2 31. Rxc2 d3 32. Rd2 e4 33. Kg1 g5
34. Bd4 g4 35. Be3 Kf7 36. h3 h5 37. a4 Ke6 38. b5 Kd5 39. Rb2 Kc4 40. Bd2 Kxc5
41. Bb4+ 1-0

UPDATE: Las Vegas Sun: Second pilot escapes serious injury in crash landing.

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