Bobby Fischer Documentary Film Editor, Karen Schmeer Killed in Police Chase (NYC)

New York City, Jan. 29th, 2010

Along with the excitement of the New York City Chess Championship comes the nerves and the last minute private chess classes in preparation for the big tournament.  On Friday night, such was the case for me who had just wrapped up a private chess lesson with a student.

As I headed home, I was caught up in a police chase in the vicinity of 86th and Columbus Avenue as I headed towards the East side.  It was an outrageous chase involving police cars and even a yellow cab.  As a precaution, I pulled over then called a friend to describe the unbelievable scene that unfolded in front of me.  She commented that perhaps I just happened across the filming of an action movie, a typical thing in NYC where once a friend from Pennsylvania was caught in a crowd running hysterically down the street, his first thought…terrorist attack….but, nothing that serious…just a Spider-Man movie filming on location.

It was not until now that I saw the news and put two and two together.  Sadly, the scene I happened across on Friday night was not a movie.

The talented film editor Karen Schmeer was hit by a getaway driver as he fled the scene of a robbery on the West side and what I witnessed was the police chase.  Certainly very sad and tragic news.  Our thoughts and condolences go out to her family.

Karen has been called “one of the greatest editors of her generation.” Her current project was a documentary about Bobby Fischer that’s supposed to air on HBO.  Many chess personalities had already been interviewed for the documentary.

Here are a few of the websites covering this tragedy:

  • Meg

    The family posted a sign at 88th and Broadway asking that people who saw the accident contact them at They said not to give detailed information in the email. Just get in touch and let them know you saw it. I think they need some help piecing the events together.

  • Jan 29 accident

    Thank you for this article about the accident. I was a close friend of Karen’s and we are gathering witness accounts. Could you please email me at

    I encourage anyone else who was witness to the accident and has factual information to please write to me as well.

    Thank you.

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