Lisa Lane: Early Life, Career, Age, Married Life, Second Husband, Health Issue, Illness And Death

Lisa Lane’s contributions to the world of chess transcend her titles and accolades. She blazed a trail for future generations, challenging stereotypes and paving the way for inclusivity in the realm of competitive gaming

Lisa Lane: A Legacy in Chess

Lisa Lane, a renowned figure in the world of chess and a former contestant on the historic CBS game show “What’s My Line?”, bid farewell to the world on February 28, 2024.

Her passing left a profound impact, particularly on her beloved husband and partner.

Lisa Lane’s Early Life and Achievements

Born on April 25, 1933, Lisa Lane was also known by her birth name, Marianne Elizabeth Lane Hickey.

Her journey into the realm of chess began in her late teens, where she discovered her passion for the game. Despite not achieving the title of chess master, Lane exhibited remarkable talent and dedication.

Pioneering Moments: Lisa Lane’s Chess Journey

Breaking Barriers in Chess

Lisa Lane made history by becoming the U.S. Women’s Chess Champion in 1959. Her exceptional skills and strategic prowess set her apart in a male-dominated arena.

Notably, she graced the cover of Sports Illustrated on August 7, 1961, marking a significant milestone as the first chess player to receive such recognition.

Local Beginnings and International Triumphs

Lane’s journey in chess saw her frequenting local coffeehouses, honing her skills amidst friendly competitions. Under the guidance of Master Attilio Di Camillo, she embarked on a path of success.

Lisa Lane
                                                                            Lisa Lane (

Her triumph at the women’s championship in Philadelphia in 1958 paved the way for her historic victory at the U.S. Women’s Chess Championship the following year, a remarkable feat at just 21 years old.

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A Departure from Chess: Lisa Lane’s Legacy

  • Despite her undeniable talent, Lisa Lane made the decision to step away from competitive chess.
  • In a candid interview with Sports Illustrated in 2018, she reflected on her journey and the challenges she faced as a female player.
  • “I felt it would be letting the idea of women’s chess down if I said no,” Lane expressed. “I felt like I was working all the time… The idea that I was defending my title every time I sat down to play was an unpleasant feeling, even though I wasn’t really defending it. I just couldn’t put the title of women’s chess champion on the line every time I sat down to play.”

Lisa Lane’s First Marriage to Walter Rich

Lisa Lane, an esteemed figure in the world of chess, embarked on the journey of marriage not once, but twice.

Her first union was with Walter Rich, a promising figure in the realm of Philadelphia advertising and commercial artistry.

The Meeting at the Coffeehouse

Their paths crossed at a quaint coffeehouse, where Lisa Lane often indulged in her passion for chess. It was amidst the clinks of coffee cups and the quiet strategy of the game that their story began.

The Marriage

In 1959, Lisa and Walter exchanged vows, marking the commencement of their marital journey. However, their bond was ephemeral, with the union culminating in divorce merely two years later, in 1961.

Unveiling the Reasons

Despite the public intrigue surrounding their separation, Lisa and Walter opted to maintain silence regarding the underlying reasons for their parting.

Lisa Lane
                                                                                 Lisa Lane (Image:@Alamy)

This veil of secrecy has left many curious minds pondering over the intricacies of their relationship.

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The Timely Union

Coincidentally, Lisa Lane’s ascent to the summit of the U.S. Women’s Chess Championship occurred merely nine days before her wedding to Walter Rich.

This temporal alignment adds an intriguing layer to their narrative, sparking speculation about the interplay between personal and professional milestones.

Post-Separation Pursuits

Following their divorce, Lisa delved wholeheartedly into her passion for chess, dedicating herself to intensive training.


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To sustain herself financially, she embraced self-promotion and initiated chess exhibitions, showcasing her skills to audiences far and wide.

Lisa Lane’s Marriage to Neil Hickey: A Chronicle of Friendship, Love, and Literary Collaboration

Lisa Lane, renowned for her contributions to journalism and her connection to the world of chess, found companionship in Neil Hickey following her divorce from Walter Rich.

The Union of Lisa Lane and Neil Hickey

In 1962, Lisa Lane exchanged vows with Neil Hickey, an esteemed figure as the editor-at-large of the Columbia Journalism Review.

Their union marked a significant chapter in Lisa’s life, signifying a transition from one partnership to another.

A Shared Passion for Chess: Lisa, Neil, and Bobby Fischer

Lisa and Neil shared not only marital ties but also a close friendship with the legendary Bobby Fischer, the prodigious chess grandmaster.

Lisa Lane
                                                                             Lisa Lane (Image:@Instagram)

Their involvement with Fischer extended to collaborative efforts on various chess-related articles, underscoring their shared passion for the game.

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A New Chapter in Carmel: Entrepreneurship and Natural Foods

Following their marriage, Lisa and Neil embarked on a new venture in Carmel, where they established a natural food store.

This entrepreneurial endeavor symbolized their joint commitment to holistic living and sustainable practices, reflecting their values and beliefs.

Legacy and Literary Contributions

Neil Hickey, a gifted writer in his own right, penned one of the earliest literary works centered around Lisa Lane, titled “Chess Queen’s Gambit.”

Through his writing, Neil immortalized Lisa’s influence and contributions to the realm of journalism and chess.

A Lasting Bond: Neil’s Presence in Lisa’s Final Days

In the twilight years of Lisa Lane’s life, Neil Hickey remained a steadfast companion and source of support.

His unwavering presence during her final moments exemplified the depth of their bond and the enduring nature of their love and partnership.

Renowned Chess Champion Lisa Lane Passes Away at 90 After Battling Cancer

Renowned chess icon Lisa Lane, a two-time champion, breathed her last at the age of 90 on February 28, 2024, following a brave battle with cancer.

Lisa Lane
                                                                             Lisa Lane (Image:@Instagram)

In addition to her health struggles, Lisa had also faced the challenges of depression in the past.

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Fond Farewell in Carmel, N.Y.

Lisa Lane, a revered figure in the chess community, bid farewell to the world in the comfort of her home in Carmel, N.Y., situated in Putnam County.

She was surrounded by her beloved family and close friends during her final moments.

Town Clerk’s Office Registers the Loss

The town clerk’s office, located near Kent, New York, officially recorded Lisa Lane’s passing. However, the specific type of cancer that led to her demise remains undisclosed.

Rising Star in Chess

Lisa Lane’s ascent to fame was swift, owing to her remarkable talent and youthful vigor, coupled with her notable achievements as a two-time US Women’s Chess champion.

Unraveling the Enigma on “What’s My Line?”

Even in the spotlight of television, Lisa Lane’s profession remained a mystery to many. During her appearance on the popular game show “What’s My Line?,” four panelists struggled to decipher her occupation.

A Charismatic Legacy

Commenting on Lisa’s captivating presence, Broadway director Abe Burrows remarked, “Her beauty led us to overlook her intellectual prowess.”

Lisa Lane’s legacy transcends her accomplishments on the chessboard, leaving behind an indelible mark on those who knew her.

Lisa Lane’s Health Struggles Beyond Cancer: Exploring Unseen Challenges

The Impactful Journey of Lisa Lane

Lisa Lane’s life took an unexpected turn when she was involved in a tragic accident while driving her mother’s car, resulting in the unfortunate demise of an elderly woman.

This incident left a profound mark on her, leading to a period of deep depression.

Unveiling Hidden Struggles

Depression and Heartbreak: A Dual Battle

The aftermath of the accident was not the sole contributor to Lisa’s mental anguish.

She also endured the pain of a failed romantic relationship, compounding her emotional distress. The combination of these adversities undoubtedly intensified her struggles with depression.

Beyond the Surface: Unexplored Health Concerns

While Lisa’s battle with depression and cancer has garnered significant attention, there are other health issues that have remained in the shadows.

Lisa Lane
                                                                             Lisa Lane (Image:@Instagram)

As individuals age, it is not uncommon for various health issues to arise, irrespective of age. Even at the age of 90, individuals may face health challenges associated with the natural aging process.

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Shedding Light on the Unknown

Despite Lisa Lane’s public profile, there remains a veil of secrecy surrounding her health struggles.

Trusted media outlets and family members have provided little to no insight into her ongoing health battles, leaving many questions unanswered.

Jennifer Shahade Pays Tribute to Lisa Lane’s Legacy

Renowned US Women’s Chess Champion, Jennifer Shahade, publicly honored the memory of Lisa Lane in a heartfelt Facebook post shared on March 21, 2024.

Jennifer Shahade Celebrates Lisa Lane’s Enduring Influence

In a poignant tribute, Jennifer Shahade reflected on Lisa Lane’s remarkable life and contributions to the world of chess.

Through her eloquent words, Shahade emphasized the profound impact that Lane had on both the game and its perception.

Recognizing Lisa Lane’s Iconic Status

In her acclaimed 2023 publication, “Chess Queens,” Jennifer Shahade immortalized Lisa Lane as an icon ahead of her time.

Through this portrayal, Shahade underscores Lane’s pivotal role in shaping the narrative of chess, particularly in terms of glamour and female empowerment.

Lisa Lane’s Enduring Legacy

Shahade’s tribute post not only celebrates Lisa Lane’s past achievements but also highlights the enduring legacy she leaves behind.

By shedding light on Lane’s lasting influence, Shahade ensures that future generations will continue to recognize and draw inspiration from her remarkable journey.


1)How Old Was Lisa Lane?

Lisa Lane was 90 years old at the time of passing.

2)How Much Was Lisa Lane’s Rating?

As of the end of 1961, Lane had a 2002 Elo rating from the United States Chess Federation, a low expert rating.

3)What Was Lisa Lane’s Net Worth?

Lisa Lane’s net worth was $1 million at the time of her passing.

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