W.A. (Sandy) Cordon

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Paul Habershon
Posts: 106
Joined: Sat Aug 07, 2010 5:51 pm

W.A. (Sandy) Cordon

Post by Paul Habershon » Tue Jan 03, 2017 2:35 pm

Sandy Cordon, BCF President 1978, died on Christmas Day 2016 aged 90. He was for years an energetic figure on the Bedfordshire chess scene and a great motivator of the weaker players at Bedford Chess Club. A formidable disciplinarian, he was Deputy Head at Stewartby School and had at one time a hundred pupils in the school chess club. He founded the Bedfordshire Middle Schools Chess League which won a BCF President's Award in the 1980s. He was also a BCF grader in the pre-computer age - I would be interested in further details of him in that role. Also someone may be able to add more on his BCF Presidency which I remember coincided with the Tennant-Smith controversy.

Sandy was also a league table tennis player and when he gave up competitive chess he devised for the Bedford Table Tennis League a grading system which was considered a wonderful innovation.

My favourite anecdote about Sandy illustrates his insistence that rules are pointless unless enforced. Bedfordshire League rules state that 'Matches shall start at 7.30 p.m.' One club was notoriously slack about setting up for home matches as they had no storage space and relied on someone to bring in equipment. Sandy took Bedford clocks with his team to the away match. At 7.30. prompt he plonked the six clocks on the empty tables and started them. Knowing him, he probably got his three White players to seal a move!

His funeral will be at Bedford Crematorium, Friday 13 January at 10 a.m..

Kevin Thurlow
Posts: 2120
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:28 pm

Re: W.A. (Sandy) Cordon

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Wed Jan 04, 2017 9:32 am

I don't think I met him, but I like his style! We need more people like that.

James Plaskett
Posts: 78
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:36 pm

Re: W.A. (Sandy) Cordon

Post by James Plaskett » Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:10 pm

Sñr Habershon´s post omits to mention that he served in the army in the far East, and was just about to see action until the Japanese capitulation in the second week of August 1945.
He played badminton for the county well into his fifties, was still, at that age, a scuba diver and represented England at Freestyle in the 1948 London Olympics.
"I believe in a full and active life," he once told me.

He had a peak BCF grade of 190 and as late as 1983 pulled off a splendid and successful queen sacrifice as white in a Dragon at the Hitchin Congress.

His respect for rules was not unconnected to his expressed atheism. He thought we are alone and we alone are responsible for what goes on in this world. So it´s up to us to handle things in a proper way.

He was scrupulously fair, often pointing out to noisy Bedford Club members that he was certain that they would object to the row "...if you were Mr X."

I recall Phil Roe telling me that when he had once, at a general meeting, taken a contrary stance against Sandy, " ...he nevertheless still asked a question which allowed me to make one of my strongest points."
Indeed, so straight was he that I often thought he would make a first class magistrate.
And, quaintly enough, in 1988 I decided out of curiosity to visit Bedford Law Courts ... and bumped into Sandy as he exited.
He had had to drop something off there.

Adios, amigo.


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