F H Rawlins - Founder of FIDE

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John Saunders
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F H Rawlins - Founder of FIDE

Post by John Saunders » Sat Aug 22, 2015 2:50 am

I've been working on the 1913 British Championship games and looked up Major F H Rawlins, who played in the First Class event that year.

The ECF website and yearbook list him as one of the 15 founders of FIDE in 1924. It took me a while to discover his full name (which was the main object of the exercise). It turns out he was Francis Hooper Rawlins, more familiarly known as Frank. The first item which led me to his full name was a 1910 scrapbook which was auctioned online. It gives quite a lot of info about him as well as a photo of him in uniform. (I had previously discovered that he had fought in the Boer War.) I then found a photo of him on his wedding day in 1903: the photo is extremely well documented and provides a lot more info about him (including the fact that the wedding resulted in a judicial separation in 1908). The pen picture of him attached is as follows:
Major Francis Hooper Rawlins (1861-1925) Captain and Hon. Major, Royal Anglesey Engineer Militia, later painter, poet and musician in Paris.
Ancestry provides some more details such as his date of birth (30 May 1861) and date of death (14 Oct 1925, in Bath, Somerset).
Probate Details wrote:RAWLINS Francis Hooper of 17 Green Park Bath died 14 October 1925 at Hopitat de la Charite, Rue Jacob, Paris, France. Probate London 8 February to Edward Brinsley Rawlins captain H.M. Army and Harriet Janie Barnes (wife of the reverend Alexander Barnes). Effects £1784 2s. 4d.
He was at Cambridge...
Cambridge Alumni wrote:Adm. pens. at PETERHOUSE, Oct. 1, 1880. [Eldest] s. of the Rev. Francis John (next), of St Leonards-on-Sea. B. May 30, 1861. School, St Leonards-on-Sea. Matric. Michs. 1880; B.A. 1884; M.A. 1887. Lieut., Royal Anglesey Engineers Militia, 1886; Capt., 1892. F.R.G.S. [Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society]. Served in the Great War, 1914-19 (Major, R.E.). Married, 1903, Evelyn, dau. of Major George Smijth-Windham, the Rifle Brigade, and had issue. Died in 1925. (T. A. Walker, 559; Univ. War List; Army Lists; Fox-Davies, Armorial Families.)
In 1911, the census finds him lodging with a family called Saunders (nothing to do with me or any other chess-playing Saunders, as far as I can see) at 6 Queen's Road, St John's Wood, London NW, and describing himself as "private means (art student)", which tallies with some of the data given above.

So, in 1925, just over a year after he became Britain's only signatory at the founding of FIDE, he died. There was no BCM obit (perhaps a measure of the relative unimportance of FIDE to Britain?) and he is not listed by Gaige. A report of his funeral (Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Saturday 31 October 1925) mentioned that he was on the committee of "Somerset Chess Club" and that he "attended the Olympia in France as the sole British representative." (Clear indication there of a reporter not understanding what was being said to him by a chess player.)

I presume Rawlins was the BCF's representative at the founding of FIDE as he was well-connected, wealthy and/or resident in Paris. Anyway, I thought someone might be interested in this snippet which, typically, I have come across while looking for something else.
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Tim Harding
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Re: F H Rawlins - Founder of FIDE

Post by Tim Harding » Sat Aug 22, 2015 11:18 am

Thanks for that. Here is a game lost by Rawlins: the only one by him in my databases.

Tim Harding
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Author of 'British Chess Literature to 1914', Joseph Henry Blackburne: A Chess Biography', and 'Eminent Victorian Chess Players'
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Brian Denman
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Re: F H Rawlins - Founder of FIDE

Post by Brian Denman » Sat Aug 22, 2015 12:05 pm

I enclose another game played by Major Rawlins. However, as John is currently studying the 1913 BCF Congress at Cheltenham, he may have already seen this game.

[/pgn]

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Gerard Killoran
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Re: F H Rawlins - Founder of FIDE

Post by Gerard Killoran » Sat Aug 22, 2015 4:02 pm

A bit of history...


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John Saunders
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Re: F H Rawlins - Founder of FIDE

Post by John Saunders » Sat Aug 22, 2015 4:38 pm

As Brian surmised, I had come across the NB Thomas game when researching the 1913 British Championship (which is about to go live), but not seen the other two games before. I shall add them to my file for a rainy day, thanks.
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