London Central YMCA (aka CentYMCA) Chess Club

Historical knowledge and information regarding our great game.
Simon Brown
Posts: 699
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:38 pm
Location: Sevenoaks, Kent, if not in Costa Calida, Spain

Re: London Central YMCA (aka CentYMCA) Chess Club

Post by Simon Brown » Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:58 pm

Hi Andrew

I'll look forward to some additional stanzas in 2028.

I saw Bob after my YMCA days as he used to captain Kent, at least for a little while. He was very odd. He changed his name to Lee-Anderson as Roger notes, about the same time as he married (I think) someone who had neither of those names. I concluded it was because he lived in Lee.

I have no idea where he may be now, but another Lewisham stalwart Andy Smith may know - I see he is still playing. I had some strange evenings in that cricket club!

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John Clarke
Posts: 326
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2011 1:07 pm

Re: London Central YMCA (aka CentYMCA) Chess Club

Post by John Clarke » Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:38 pm

I can add some hard facts to the speculations about Bob Pentecost. They don't make for very happy reading.

I saw a good deal of Bob in the mid-70s. We were fellow-employees at the Education Department (though I was actually based much of the time at the V & A Museum), and played together for its chess team in the Civil Service League. From there, I gradually got drawn into a peripheral role in that circle of SE London chess-players mentioned by Andrew, centred on the Lewisham and Charlton chess clubs. But I never lived in the area and wasn’t a good enough player anyway to be fully involved there.

After I emigrated in 1977, we were in intermittent contact for another decade and a half, but it dwindled to nothing after the early 1990s. Bob, by his own admission, always was a poor correspondent, and I'm too often not a lot better. By one of those coincidences that add so much to the spice of life, I was searching my bookshelves only the other day for something totally unrelated, and came across one of his rare Christmas cards dated 1991.

He’d been married and divorced by the time we first became acquainted. That was to Joyce MacDonald-Ross, whom I met a time or two in his company. I’m not aware of any subsequent liaisons, and doubt there were any . Regarding his name-changing, I don’t think I’m breaching a confidence by saying that the “Lee” was in homage to the American general, Robert E. The “Anderson” I think might have been his mother’s maiden name – he was always a lot closer to her than to his father, and was a long time getting over her death in mid-1973.

Plus he had very understandable motives for ditching his original name. When I saw him for the last time, on a return visit to the UK in 1982, I learned that Pentecost père had died within the last year. But not before remarrying, and being either persuaded/prevented from renewing his will, or simply forgetting to. Whatever the truth of it, Bob was effectively disinherited. He got no change out of the new widow’s relations.

As for the current situation: if Bob is still “with us” he’d be in his early 80s. About four years ago I posted this request for news of him, which prompted the one-line reply that immediately followed. There were no further details and it seemed over-intrusive to go pursuing them, even by PM. I wasn’t totally surprised to hear it, though. Around 2009, I’d posted a similar query on a guest-book being hosted at the time (not now, it seems) by Charlton chess club. Tony Swift replied with some snippets about our former mutual acquaintances, adding a guarded comment about Bob’s then state of mind. Then, too, I felt it inappropriate to ask for more information on a public forum.

The facts related above are matters of (more or less) public record, but I’m not going to add anything further to them. The eccentricities hinted at by Andrew and Simon were indeed many, but courtesy and loyalty demand I leave it at that.
"The chess-board is the world ..... the player on the other side is hidden from us ..... he never overlooks a mistake, or makes the smallest allowance for ignorance."
(He doesn't let you resign and start again, either.)

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