We Were the Champions (11)

Our last match of the season saw us up against Athenaeum, another of London’s leading clubs of the day. They fielded the legendary Bob Wade on top board, a Correspondence GM on second board, and a number of young players who were working with Bob helping to research and write chess books for Batsford.

We needed to win this match to take the London League title for the first time, and were able to field a team close to full strength. As a result, my services were not required, although our top three boards were all current (at the time) or former pupils of my alma mater, Latymer Upper School.

We won in style: draws on the top boards and a stonking seven wins out of eight lower down. Athenaeum’s original board 8 failed to show, but they had a reserve in place.

29 March 1976 Pimlico School
Richmond & Twickenham 1 Athenaeum 1
1 MF Stean 233 ½:½ RG Wade 219
2 AP Law 225 ½:½ KB Richardson 223
3 DSC Goodman 200 ½:½ Dr KD Sales –
4 MJ Franklin 192 ½:½ JS Walton 195
5 KI Norman 191 ½:½ AL Hosking 189
6 GH James 211 1:0 CCW Sheppard 199
7 JC Benjamin 183 1:0 TD Harding 188
8 MJ Lightfoot 183 1:0 WG Raines 172
9 DM Andrew 182 0:1 SJF Walsh 181
10 AR Bracher – 1:0 HC Thomas 182
11 P Gillham 184 1:0 RV Atkins –
12 PJ Sowray 170 1:0 CJ Stonehill –

The lives of two of the Athenaeum players would later diverge. Bill Raines became a Church of England clergyman, while Hilary Thomas, sadly, was in the news recently for the worst of reasons. Tim Harding is now a respected chess historian and author: if you have any interest in earlier British chess history you should read his books.

John Walton and Steven Walsh are still pushing pawns for Athenaeum today. Gavin’s team may well encounter them in the 2019 replay of this match next week.


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  1. Pingback: Athenaeum 1 v Richmond 03-04-19 – Richmond & Twickenham Chess Club

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