Hamilton Russell featured in The Spectator

GM Raymond Keene’s column in The Spectator today reported on the Hamilton Russell Cup and featured a game by Dominic Lawson of the MCC v David Shankland of The Athenaeum.

You can find a link to the PDF below

Spectator article April 2018


Hamilton Russell players in the news: David Jones

Oxford & Cambridge regular David Jones was featured in this month’s Chess magazine.

You can click on the image below to enlarge it.

I am one of the many players who have been on the wrong end of David’s excellent chess technique over the years!

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


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.

Keith Richardson Obituary

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.”

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: https://youtu.be/BdL6fsTAAHk

As well as these links to his drawn game with Peter Evans and his victory over Richard Saldanha.

http://chessmicrobase.com/g/9y93n6br (notes by Peter Evans)

http://chessmicrobase.com/g/5vfgy10s  (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).