I am grateful to Peter Rust, the MCC’s captain for this tribute to Keith:
Keith Bevan Richardson was born in Nottingham in 1942. Keith excelled in chess from a very young age, winning the Nottingham County championship in 1959 and 1960. He participated in the 1962 British Junior (under 21) Championships where he won the championship. Next, he won the 1963 Durham county championship. He played for England Cricket U-19s whilst at Durham, where he read mathematics, and took part in Chess Olympiads in the 1960s.
The championship title enabled him to represent the country at the European Junior Championships at Gröningen in 1963, where he won a silver medal.
The most successful over-the-board tournament of his career was in 1968 when he came joint 7th in the 55th British Championship Tournament at Bristol, which was won by Jonathan Penrose. After that, he devoted much time to correspondence chess. He finished 3rd= in the World Correspondence Championships of 1975 and 1984. Keith was awarded the International Master Correspondence title in 1968. Before becoming a Grandmaster in 1975, Keith came second in the British Correspondence Chess Championship of 1964-5, and throughout the 1960s, ‘70s and early ‘80s, he was a member of the British teams at the Correspondence Chess Olympiad Finals. Keith was the first British citizen to become a correspondence grandmaster. He retired from international play in 2001.
Keith worked for many years for Barclays Bank and subsequently as a member at Derek Tidy and Partners LLP, until May 2008.
Well into his 70s – and still active in the Surrey Border Chess League – Keith was a life patron of the English Federation for Correspondence Chess. In 2015, he received the English Chess Federation’s President’s Award for services to chess. Apart from being a leading light in the Hamilton-Russell, he played for Surrey, and for Guildford II in the Four Nations chess league. He was still a strong player, representing England several times in Senior international team tournaments. Keith’s ELO rating in September 2016, was 1995 ELO points.
Keith, such a gentleman with his cheerfulness and kindness, made countless friends during his years representing M.C.C. at chess in the Hamilton-Russell Cup competition, some known from his earliest days in chess. Keith was participating in the 31e Festival International des Jeux at Cannes when he suffered a severe stroke, from which he did not recover, despite great support from his two sons, his wife Sandra, the Pasteur hospital in Nice and the Frimley hospital in Surrey.
Apart from those I have received as secretary of MCC Chess Society, many tributes to him are paid on :-
Henry Blank, one of our stalwarts, told me…
“Caroline and I spent a day walking with Keith in Bermuda, when he might otherwise have been on his own, as Sandra could not accompany him on this trip because she could not go 8 days without kidney dialysis. We could not fail to notice what a profoundly decent and modest individual he was. He pooh-poohed my suggestion that he was a dead ringer for Andy Williams and claimed that I was the first to make this comparison. He seemed dismayed when I mentioned that I was aware that he owned a Ferrari. He asked how I had found this out; the answer to that question is of less importance than what his question says of him as an individual.
Wind back a few years before that trip, when Keith made his first appearance at MCC chess club night. Our (then) organiser Michael Clappe asked me to give him a game or two to assess his strength. I lost two games to him but I reckon I was (and am) too poor a player to appreciate how good a player he was. My verdict to Michael was that he should play above Wil Ransome and me in our cup team. His results playing on board 1 or board 2 showed how good he was. He was possibly toying with me to spare my embarrassment.”