John Rety (1930-2010)

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Simon Spivack
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Re: John Rety (1930-2010)

Post by Simon Spivack » Sat Mar 20, 2010 6:50 pm

Gerard Killoran wrote:An obituary of John Rety in The Guardian.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/ma ... y-obituary

Unfortunately they write, 'he found time to indulge his passion for chess and become a grandmaster.' I hope the rest of the article is more accurate.
Haste can be an enemy to thought. The sort of thing that would make we wonder whether I have fallen for a practical joke is:
Born Reti Janos in Budapest
As I recall Janos is Hungarian for John, thus the Guardian's obituary writer seems to have written that John Reti was born Reti John. Make of that what you will.

While I'm motivated, the FT tribute, previously mentioned by me, can be found on http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/e3f92442-27e0 ... abdc0.html ;a quick read suggests it is identical to what I read in the paper last week.

George Szaszvari
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Re: John Rety (1930-2010)

Post by George Szaszvari » Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:24 am

John Saunders wrote:I've just learnt the sad news that John Rety has died of a heart attack. His d.o.b. was 8 December 1930 (source, an old Grading List); I don't have his definitive d.o.d. but one of the links below seems to point to 3 February 2010. [snip..]

I didn't know him personally but he was obviously a bit of a character.
Just blundered across this thread and wanted to add a note. Yes, John was indeed a lovably bohemian character. The reminiscences here already give a good picture of him, and one more funny incident to recall was his outburst during the first round of the London "Chess for Peace" tournament in the 80s about there being no coffee on the premises, starting with: "Call this a chess tournament! One can't even get a cup of coffee here..." he shouted, walking up the main aisle between the games in progress. While most looked up in disbelief, Lobron, first checking that he was in no immediate danger, simply put his thumbs in his ears and continued to concentrate on his game. It might have looked as if John had completely "lost it" somehow, but a few hours later we all went for lunch as though nothing unusual had happened at all. One got used to the idea that John could be a bit theatrical at times.

It is mentioned that his birth name is oddly given as Rety John somewhere, but in Hungarian it is normal to put the surname before the first name, so he'd be Réty János in his country of birth.

John McKenna
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Re: John Rety (1930-2010)

Post by John McKenna » Sat Mar 03, 2012 9:45 am

I recall that he had a nasty fall on the icy slopes of Hastings during the New Year tournament some years ago. And, though somewhat frail, I think he continued to attend tournaments after that accident.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

AustinElliott
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Re: John Rety (1930-2010)

Post by AustinElliott » Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:15 pm

As George Szasvari already said, Hungarians put the surname first, so Réty János would be the Hungarian way to give the name.

Korean and (possibly?) Japanese are other languages where I think they do the same. Don't know if there are others, but most probably.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: John Rety (1930-2010)

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:45 pm

AustinElliott wrote:As George Szasvari already said, Hungarians put the surname first, so Réty János would be the Hungarian way to give the name.

Korean and (possibly?) Japanese are other languages where I think they do the same. Don't know if there are others, but most probably.
It's also quite common with Chinese and Indian names. If you look a person from one of those countries up on Wikipedia, it'll say something like "this is a Chinese name. The family name is...".

Gordon Cadden
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Re: John Rety (1930-2010)

Post by Gordon Cadden » Sat Mar 03, 2012 4:26 pm

I remember John Rety as an Anarchist Leader in the 1960's. He was a regular on the annual Aldermaston to London CND March.
Also remember him at Speakers Corner, where he would set the park ablaze with a ferocious Anarchist diatribe. Imagine my suprise in later years, when he would sit quietly playing chess at the Camden Club. In later years, he joined the Hampstead Chess Club, as a second team player.
He had mellowed with age, and I occasionally met him in Waterstones Book Shop on Hampstead High Street. He was usually polite, but that fiery temper was never far below the surface. His obituary in the Daily Telegraph, describes a memorable encounter with the poet Ted Hughes.
He was a fascinating character, and it is good that he is remembered.

Paul McKeown
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Re: John Rety (1930-2010)

Post by Paul McKeown » Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:59 pm

I asked the Guardian to correct its obituary to remove the incorrect reference to John Rety being a grandmaster, which they did. However, the article now reads, "played chess professionally". I give up. Someone else like to try?

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Gerard Killoran
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Re: John Rety (1930-2010)

Post by Gerard Killoran » Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:30 am

A rare photo of John Rety as a young man.

The Sketch - Wednesday 20 April 1955.png
The Sketch - Wednesday 20 April 1955.png (417.43 KiB) Viewed 492 times

Roger Lancaster
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Re: John Rety (1930-2010)

Post by Roger Lancaster » Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:38 pm

I've only recently come across this thread but I knew John reasonably well in the 1980's (although I don't recall our ever discussing politics, which perhaps was just as well) and would echo what many others have already said about him - a thoroughly nice man and a memorable eccentric. RIP.

James Pratt
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Re: John Rety (1930-2010)

Post by James Pratt » Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:11 pm

I met him at an anarchists' Christmas party. We chatted and he sent me a short story. Two bands turned up to play at a party: both insisted they stayed and played. They did, opposite ends of the room, seemingly in competition. Priceless. He told me it was a nightmare translating Flesch's Batsford, bits of text winging back and forth from Hungary in secrecy, though heaven knows why this was necessary.

http://essexroad.blogspot.com

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Gerard Killoran
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Re: John Rety (1930-2010)

Post by Gerard Killoran » Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:28 pm

My post was prompted by

http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/inde ... ad_bishops

Scroll down to Item 11050. "Tom Driberg and John Rety"

Gordon Cadden
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Re: John Rety (1930-2010)

Post by Gordon Cadden » Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:24 pm

I knew John Reti at Hyde Park Speakers Corner. A renowned Anarchist and chess player. Was a regular player at the Hampstead Chess Club.
This outspoken anarchist was very quiet at the club, and played a reasonable game. Note that his name is spelt Rety, but I seem to remember the name Reti, on the membership Register. Was always astonished at how peaceful he was, at the club. In complete contrast to his Public Meetings.
Come the Revolution, John Reti would be at the front, holding the flag, and breathing fire.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: John Rety (1930-2010)

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Fri Oct 12, 2018 7:08 pm

"Come the Revolution, John Reti would be at the front, holding the flag, and breathing fire."

Gordon will be pleased to know that John was at the "Chess For Peace"(!) tournament and walked up and down shouting that no refreshments were available. We did agree with his general point, but not the way he expressed it. The arbiters all ignored him!

Gordon Cadden
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Re: John Rety (1930-2010)

Post by Gordon Cadden » Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:02 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 7:08 pm
"Come the Revolution, John Reti would be at the front, holding the flag, and breathing fire."

Gordon will be pleased to know that John was at the "Chess For Peace"(!) tournament and walked up and down shouting that no refreshments were available. We did agree with his general point, but not the way he expressed it. The arbiters all ignored him!
That would be the " Anarchy John" that I remember from his marching days. Amazing that he adopted such a peaceful game as chess.

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