Alan May

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Simon Rogers
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Alan May

Post by Simon Rogers » Sat Feb 19, 2022 7:07 pm

I am sorry to inform you that Alan May passed away on Thursday 10th February 2022.
Alan had been a member of Dorking Chess Club for many years and as well as previously being a member of Richmond Chess Club.
His funeral will be held on Friday 11th March at the Holy Trinity Church, Logmore Lane, Westcott, Surrey, RH4 3NN at noon.
RIP

Richard James
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Re: Alan May

Post by Richard James » Sat Feb 19, 2022 8:31 pm

Very sorry to hear this news. I knew Alan well back in the 1970s when he was a member of Richmond & Twickenham Chess Club.

I'll post a tribute on our club website at some point.

Many thanks for posting, Simon.

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John Saunders
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Re: Alan May

Post by John Saunders » Sun Feb 20, 2022 11:58 am

That's sad news. Alan May was a strong player and quite a well-known figure in chess some years ago.

I think his full name was Alan Kenneth May and that he was born in June 1937. Here are some links to references in BritBase which might assist anyone writing an obituary. He took part in the 1955 British Boys' (Under 18) Championship and scored 6/11. In the 1957 Major Open he scored 5½/11.

He appears in the 1958 BCF Grading List (when his clubs were listed as Twickenham and Durham University) at 4a, which equates to 193-200. He remains in 4a on the 1959 list and also 1960. In 1961 he moves up to 3b (equivalent to 201-208) but he's back to 4a in 1962 and remains there in 1963 and 1964. By 1968 the BCF was publishing the three-figure numbers and May was 204 in the 1968 list and 205 in 1969. He slipped to 198 on the 1970 SCCU list. He was 200 in 1972 and up to 206 on the 1973 list. BritBase doesn't yet have any intervening lists until 1979 but he didn't appear on that. I suspect he had given the game up, only returning to it later in life.

He took part in the 1960 CHESS Festival in Eastbourne, scoring 6½/12. He qualified to take part in the 1961 British Championship in which he scored 4/11, including wins against Ray Edwards, Harold Israel and Abram Bernfield (no game scores yet discovered). BritBase has references to him playing in the 1964, 1965, 1966 and 1967 Bognor Regis Internationals. He scored a creditable 7/11 in 1966, including a win against Golombek (game score not available) and an even better 7½/11 in 1967, including a win against Simon Webb (ditto).
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Alan May

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Feb 20, 2022 12:27 pm

John Saunders wrote:
Sun Feb 20, 2022 11:58 am
That's sad news. Alan May was a strong player and quite a well-known figure in chess some years ago.
He appeared in the pages of BH Wood's Chess magazine from time to time either as a letter writer or game story teller.

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John Saunders
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Re: Alan May

Post by John Saunders » Sun Feb 20, 2022 12:40 pm

Further to my earlier post with various links to BritBase: a few minutes after posting it I received an email from Ken Norman with the score of an excellent win by Alan May against Owen Hindle at the 1964 Bognor Regis International. I am very grateful to Ken for sharing it with me. Here it is...



EDIT: Ken Norman mentions the fact that Owen Hindle referenced this game in his annotation of his win against Gligoric at Hastings 1964/65, published in BCM, March 1965, pps 91-92. Hindle gave 18...Ne5 an exclamation mark but Stockfish finds an improbable defence to this a few moves later and prefers 18...Rxb2 which appears in some games on Big/Mega Database 2022.
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Roger Lancaster
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Re: Alan May

Post by Roger Lancaster » Sun Feb 20, 2022 1:22 pm

Sorry to hear the news. I remember Alan from Surrey League matches back in the 1960s and/or 1970s, although I don't recall actually playing him. If I remember rightly, he was Richmond ! match captain for much of that period.

Ken Norman
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Re: Alan May

Post by Ken Norman » Sun Feb 20, 2022 2:04 pm

Roger Lancaster wrote:
Sun Feb 20, 2022 1:22 pm
Sorry to hear the news. I remember Alan from Surrey League matches back in the 1960s and/or 1970s, although I don't recall actually playing him. If I remember rightly, he was Richmond ! match captain for much of that period.
Roger is correct.

Alan May was match captain of the Richmond and Twickenham Surrey Trophy team throughout the 1960's his team won the Surrey trophy in 1962,1966,1969 and 1973.

We also played in the knockout competition the Alexander Cup winning in 1962, 1963 1967,1968,1969 and 1971. ( I believe Wimbledon won in 1970).

Alan gave up OTB chess in the 1970's due to the pressure of work and family life.

Mike Gunn
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Re: Alan May

Post by Mike Gunn » Mon Feb 21, 2022 12:14 pm

For the last decade Alan played for Dorking in the Surrey League and I have had a few games against him in this period. He last played in 2019 and I was one of his last opponents.

Richard James
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Re: Alan May

Post by Richard James » Mon Feb 21, 2022 5:40 pm

https://rtchessclub.com/2022/02/21/alan-may-rip/

Obituary of Alan May from the Richmond & Twickenham Chess Club website.

John Cox
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Re: Alan May

Post by John Cox » Wed Feb 23, 2022 2:48 am

He wrote some entertaining articles in Chess in the 1970's, IIRC. It's a pity the back issues aren't digitalised and searchable (assuming they're not).

Ken Norman
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Re: Alan May

Post by Ken Norman » Thu Feb 24, 2022 9:01 am

John Cox wrote:
Wed Feb 23, 2022 2:48 am
He wrote some entertaining articles in Chess in the 1970's, IIRC. It's a pity the back issues aren't digitalised and searchable (assuming they're not).
I am aware of two examples of Alan's writings in CHESS.

1) LETTER FROM ITALY an account of a trip to Italy to play in a tournament in San Benedetto del Tronto .

This is in CHESS volume 35 October 1969 page 31.

2) SOUR GRAPES about his game against Craig Pritchett played by telephone in the Richmond v Glasgow University National Club Match.

This is in CHESS volume 37 April 1972 page 240.

John Cox
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Re: Alan May

Post by John Cox » Thu Mar 03, 2022 7:48 pm

Yes! Sour Grapes is the one I remember. I was ten years old, but I could tell funny and self-deprecating when I saw it. Any chance of posting it?

Were there not others? I feel like I know he played the Najdorf, and that feels like the product of more than one article. Maybe not.

Stewart Reuben
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Re: Alan May

Post by Stewart Reuben » Fri Mar 04, 2022 3:08 pm

Alan was also a competent poker player. We played some times at the En Passant Salon in The Strand. I remember him teaching me something about Bragg, which hadn't occurred to me.
He organised the annual Richmond Lightning Tournaments (10 seconds per move) for some years.
We were good friends, but then drifted away. So sad.
RIP

James Pratt
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Re: Alan May

Post by James Pratt » Fri Mar 04, 2022 10:52 pm

True to form there I was nervous as a proverbial. Small operation to remove a mole. Flat on my face in - you'd guessed - Basingstoke Hospital. Random comment snatched out nowhere, said to the surgeon: "You have the privilege of operating on a chessplayer etc etc etc" or some such quip and she said: "My father was a very great player, now retired from the game but, his friend, Alan May, still plays I believe .. "

And there the connection was perfect.

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