We Remember Yan Wang

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We mourn the untimely death of winker Yan Wang on 7 August 2015. He died in a car accident that night. He was 28 years old.

Yan starting winking when he was a student in Severin Drix’s mathematics class at Ithaca High School in New York. His first tournament was in the the 2003 NATwA Pairs, which he won with partner Bob Henninge, winning 3 games and losing 1 for a total of 21 points. Based on their win in the 2003 NATwA Pairs, Yan and Bob qualified  to challenge for the World Pairs championship against Geoff Myers and Matthew Rose, which they played in Cambridge, England in January of 2005.  Though they lost by 27½ to 14½ points in six games, they put up a good fight, tooth-and-nail and all that.

Yan and his family joined over a dozen NATwA winkers who went to England in 2005 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Cambridge University Tiddlywinks Club.

Yan Wang winking in the 2005 celebrations of CUTwC's 50th anniversary, Cambridge, England (14 January 2005)

Yan Wang winking in the 2005 celebrations of CUTwC’s 50th anniversary, Cambridge, England (14 January 2005)

Yan Wang winking in Cambridge, England at CUTwC's 50th anniversary (14 January 2005)

Yan Wang winking in Cambridge, England at CUTwC’s 50th anniversary (14 January 2005)

Here’s a photograph of the entire NATwA team, including Yan Wang in the top row, third from left, that went to England in 2005 to compete against  top ETwA winkers during CUTwC’s 50th anniversary celebrations. (14 January 2005)

NATwA team competing against the ETwA team, January 2005

NATwA team competing against the ETwA team, January 2005

In 2005 Yan became an undergraduate MIT student and revived the MIT Tiddlywinks Association, hosting several tournaments there. Here’s a photograph of Yan from the 2007 MITTwA Independent Activities Period (IAP) Tournament.

Yan Wang winking in the MITTwA IAP Tournament (13 January 2007)

Yan Wang winking in the MITTwA IAP Tournament (13 January 2007)


In  2007, Yan and his partner Prabhas Pokharel won the NATwA Pairs. With this win, they garnered a challenge against the current World Pairs champions, Matt Fayers (UK) and Larry Kahn (USA). In April 2008, Yan and Prabhas played their World Pairs challenge against Matt and Larry  in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Yan and Prabhas won 2 of the 6 games, though they lost the match by 29½ to 12½ points.

In the Spring of 2008, Yan took  MIT class 2.671, Measurement and Instrumentation. As previous winkers at MIT did, he chose tiddlywinks as the investigatory subject of his research for his class. He reported his findings in the report, “Determining Angular Velocity of Winks Using High Speed Video”. Check it out!

In addition to playing tiddlywinks for MIT, Yan enjoyed shooting in the Varsity Co-ed Pistol Club and also played intramural billiards and softball. He was graduated from MIT in 2009 with two S.B. degrees, one in Mechanical Engineering and the other in Management.

Here’s a photograph of Yan playing in the NATwA Individual Pairs on 13 December 2014, in his last winks tournament.

Yan Wang playing in the NATwA Individual Pairs, Vienna, Virginia USA (13 December 2014)

Yan Wang playing in the NATwA Individual Pairs, Vienna, Virginia USA (13 December 2014)

Yan planned to be wed to Raechelle Medellin in Sonoma County, California on 8 August 2015.

We will miss Yan.

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