Sheldon Marshall (1953-2017)

As many of this website’s readers will know Sheldon passed away on 17 December 2017.

With kind permission of Stephen Meyler and the RAC I am reproducing their tribute to him. I have also added a few words of my own at the end.


Sheldon Marshall  (1953 – 2017)

Sheldon Marshall long time member of the Club and Honorary Secretary of the Chess Circle passed away on Sunday 17 December in New Delhi, India having been on an expedition to Mount Everest in Nepal.

Sheldon joined the Club in 1989 and soon became an enthusiastic member of the Chess Circle participating in overseas trips to Washington, Paris and Gibraltar.

In 2010 he joined the Chess Committee and was the driving force behind the 100 Board Simultaneous Display with the UK’s leading Grand Masters and the production of the Chess Circle Centenary Book marking the Pall Mall centenary in 2011.

On becoming Chess Secretary in 2012 Sheldon led the expansion, overseas, of the Chess Circle with trips to Reykavik, New York, Dublin and Havana – where the Chess Circle became the first “club” chess team to play in Cuba since the revolution.

Not only did Sheldon organise exceptional trips but he possessed that really rare quality that ensured that he made long lasting friendships wherever he went.

Sheldon enjoyed in full what the Club has to offer and was frequently in attendance on Epsom Derby Day, golf days at Woodcote Park and was well known to Backgammon, Snooker and the Long Bar.

The Club has lost a great member and our thoughts are with his family, who are all current members.

He will be missed greatly by all who knew him but he will never be forgotten.

Danny Rosenbaum writes:

When I think of Sheldon Marshall, I think of a warm-hearted generous man with a terrific sense of humour, and, above all, I think of a good friend. I find I have to write these few words on two levels. Firstly, in my official capacity as Hamilton Russell secretary, I want to put on record how appreciative I am of all the tireless work and support Sheldon put in to the organisation of the various Hamilton Russell events. Secondly, I write as a friend. Shortly after I started as Secretary Sheldon kindly invited myself and my wife-to-be Sarah to RAC trips to Cuba and New York. It was during these times that I really got to know Sheldon and see what a force of nature he was. In spite of all the weight of looking after the itinerary and organisation of these trips, he was a constant shining light. His warmth, joie de vivre, and humour shone out. Back on home turf, we would often take each other to our respective clubs (not just the RAC and the Reform) and he was incredibly generous. There was never a dull moment. On top of all the anecdotes and stories there was always a wealth of interesting gems drawn from Sheldon’s extraordinary knowledge of history and geography. There was always a stream of interesting facts and thoughts to take home. Sheldon had such an aura about him. My wife’s children upon first meeting him over dinner at the RAC were totally captivated by him! He will always be a great inspiration to me and my heart goes out to Anne and all the family.

Sheldon Marshall



The Knights Tour 2017 Report

The Knights’ Tour (our fifth so far) proved to be once again a very successful affair. It was held on Monday 25 September at The Reform, the Oxford & Cambridge, the RAC, and The Athenaeum, rounded off with dinner back at The Reform.

Congratulations to Team 4 alias ‘Ringo’ that comprised of Ian Reynolds, Peter Rust, Wil Ransome, David Longrigg (all MCC), Nadim Osseiran (NLC), Alex Lynford (RAC), Nick Lloyd (EIC), Paul Weston (RAC) on winning with 3 out of 3 points.

Peter Lee generously donated a book by Kasparov to the winner of the new Knight of the Day award, which went to Nick Lloyd of the East India Club, who scored 3 out of 3 on board 7 for the winning side.

Trevor Dunmore v Peter Lee do battle on board 1 in Round 2 “John” v “Paul”

The teams were:

Team One (John)

Trevor Dunmore (RAC)

David Openshaw (ROE)

Danny Rosenbaum (Reform)

Richard Jones (RAC)

Sheldon Marshall (RAC)

Teddy Bourne (Reform)

Stephen Hunt (RAC)

John Curran (RAC)

Team Two (Paul)

Peter Lee (ATH)

Izzie Thomas (CAC)

David Shankland (ATH)

Ben Widdicombe (NLC)

Gordon Hamme (NLC)

Paul Hendrick (Reform)

Robert Gordon (Hurlingham)

James Whiteley (NLC)

Team Three (George)

Nigel White (O&C)

John Godfray (O&C)

Vivian Woodward (O&C)

Richard Saldanha (O&C)

Benedikt Koehler (Reform)

Habib Amir (ORI)

Alan Fishman (Reform)

Janine Mackinlay (RAC)

Team Four (Ringo)

Ian Reynolds (MCC)

Peter Rust (MCC)

Wil Ransome (MCC)

David Longrigg (MCC)

Nadim Osseiran (NLC)

Alex Lynford (RAC)

Nick Lloyd (EIC)

Paul Weston (RAC)

Thank you to everyone who took part and all the staff at the four host clubs that made this such an enjoyable event.

Hamilton Russell 11th Annual Dinner

On Tuesday over 50 of us enjoyed the terrific hospitality of The Hurlingham Club for our 11th annual dinner.

After a welcoming glass of champagne in the marvelous Terrace Room, we enjoyed an exceptionally tasty meal in The Quadrangle rounded off with coffee and brandy/port/whisky.

As is customary at these dinners, the Hamilton Russell Trophy was presented to the last season’s winners, and the photo below shows Henry Mutkin of the RAC presenting the trophy to Peter Rust of the MCC.

It was the MCC’s fourth consecutive win.

RAC Annual Chess Dinner

All the Clubs that took part in the Hamilton Russell Cup this year were present by the kind inviatation of the RAC to see Peter Rust pick up the trophy on behalf of the MCC.

It was a splendid event and many thanks should go to the RAC for their excellent hospitality.

After dinner a simul was held with Grandmasters Julian Hodgson and Timur Gareyev (the Blindfold King) working in tandem.

There were several interesting games, but thanks go to Peter Lee for annotating his game, which you can find by clicking here.

Strangers In The Night

On the night of Wednesday 12 April 2017, anybody passing by the Strangers Room in the Reform, who had innocently popped their head around the door, would have been treated to a somewhat surreal site of a young man sitting on a chair cycling on a desk bike, blindfolded, munching at bananas, endeavouring to drink water without spillage and calling out ab-struse remarks like “c7c5”.

It might not require Sherlock Holmes to deduce that this gifted chap Grandmaster Timur Gareyev was conducting a simultaneous blindfold chess exhibition. After all, around him in a circle of desks arranged rather like a series of cowboy wagons under siege by native Americans were 10 suited gentlemen pondering hard with chess boards in front of them.

GM Gareyev is the Guinness world champion at blindfold chess, having taken on an extraordinary 48 players simultaneously on December 4, 2016.

It was back in 2013, that the head of the Reform Club chess circle Teddy Bourne and myself first discussed the idea of having a blindfold simultaneous exhibition at The Reform. We had a couple of false starts, when it looked all set for a match to take place only for some bureaucratic snag to raise its ugly head to scupper our plans.

Fortunately, we persevered, and rather like a chess player who initially had seen a mate in sight only to be thwarted by a devilish resource from his opponent, we all regrouped to get the job done.

It didn’t just require our own persistence. Mr Gareyev himself relentlessly pursued the idea, and we should not forget the patience of The Reform banqueting department who having had the inconvenience of a couple of cancellations were kind enough to bear with us and in the end their patience bore fruit.

We should be grateful also to Mr Nevil Chan, who stepped in at the last minute to be the grandmaster’s ‘eyes and ears’. As Mr Gareyev could not, of course, see any of the boards it was Nevil’s job, which he conducted expertly, to call out each player’s moves and play the GM’s on the board. Meanwhile in an added element of spice he also had to be very aware of the respective clock times and prioritise accordingly.

I should explain. Most simultaneous chess exhibitions are, of course, played sighted, but they are also usually based on the grandmaster playing his move and then expecting an instantaneous response from his opponents when he next reaches the board. This makes it much harder for his opponents, particularly when several of the games have finished and the GM comes around pretty quickly.

In a particularly sporting gesture Timur Gareyev insisted that we played with clocks and this, of course, allowed his opponents much more flexibility to take time over their moves.

Additionally, he played alternately as black and white, whereas most GMs insist on having the advantage of playing white throughout.

No doubt if you have read thus far, you are probably itching to know the match score! After all, if the GM lost all the games it makes his achievement a tad less impressive.

The upshot in this case was, however, that he won 9 games, drew just one and had no losses!

On top of all this, Mr Gareyev proved to be a thoroughly friendly chap, who took time before and after his feat to chat convivially with all those there, spectators included.

An inspirational character indeed.

For those wanting to know more about the event, I would direct them to a short video of the event posted on YouTube:

As well as these links to his drawn game with Peter Evans and his victory over Richard Saldanha. (notes by Peter Evans)  (notes by Prof Martin Hazelton)

For the record his opponents were: Konstantin Yelin, Peter Evans, Richard Saunders, Mark Glover, Danny Rosenbaum (all Reform), Adam Lux (applying to The Reform); Sheldon Marshall and Henry McWatters (both RAC); David Openshaw (Roehampton); and Richard Saldanha (Oxford & Cambridge).


Keith Richardson has Passed Away

Keith Richardson passed away on 10 April and the Hamilton Russell website received a message from his son Ian:

Hello all,

You may have heard already that Keith (my dad) passed away on 10th April after suffering a stroke and seizures. His passing was peaceful and pain free.

For anyone who would like to say hello and pay respects the funeral and wake 3pm at Aldershot Crematorium [on 3 May] and then on to Camberley Heath Golf club.

Anyone who might like to contact directly my email is


Ian Richardson

I would like to add some notes about Keith. One of the delights of running the Hamilton Russell Cup is the wonderful people you meet, and I can honestly say that Keith was at the pinnacle of the community.

He was one of our friendliest, most helpful and most sporting, as well as strongest players.

A joy to deal with and a joy to play against – even though I lost all of our encounters!

I was not alone in being beaten by Keith. In the 2014/15 Hamilton Russell season, for example, he scored 7.5/8 on boards 2 and 3 for the MCC.

This Barclays web page has some background on Keith’s achievements, including becoming Britain’s first correspondence chess grandmaster.

To finish up with, here is a link to a beautiful game Keith played against the former British champion Peter Lee in the Knights’ Tour, where the time control was 30 minutes a side.

Danny Rosenbaum

Changes at the Oxford & Cambridge

This week saw the last Hamilton Russell game by Oxford & Cambridge’s top board Terry Chapman. He will be a great loss to the community. Many of of his fine games are in our games database.

Terry himself has kindly annotated his last game: Terry Chapman v Adam Eckersley Waites – it’s well worth a look, particularly Terry’s last comment!

Meanwhile there is a changing of the guard at the O&C with Nigel White taking over from Peter Webster as Cup Captain. Peter has been a great servant to chess at the O&C and we look forward to his continued involvement as a player.

And yet more news from the O&C. Congratulations to Tam Freestone Bayes, who two weeks ago became a father to Athena! Congratulations to Tam!