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Re: Chris Clegg

Posted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 12:50 pm
by Richard James

Re: Chris Clegg

Posted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 11:56 pm
by John Foley
There was a "wake" for Chris Clegg tonight at the Druids Head in Kingston Market Square. Members from Kingston chess club as well as Surbiton chess club attended. We reminisced about Chris and shared snippets of information about his life and hope to produce an obituary in due course. We learned that Chris was found at home by the police who had broken into his flat. He had fallen onto the floor. He lived alone. The Coroner is aware of the interest of the chess club and will inform us when the funeral will take place. The "wake"

Clockwise from left around the near table:
Neil Maxwell (standing), Julian Way, Nick Grey, John Foley, Stephen Moss, David Rowson, Paul Shepherd, Stephen Lovell, Chris Kreuzer.
Peter Roche was also present.
Photo: Steve Kearney

Re: Chris Clegg

Posted: Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:50 pm
by John Foley
The funeral of Chris Clegg will take place on Tuesday 24th March 2015 at 12.20 pm at Kingston Crematorium. It is being handled by Garners Funeral Service of Kingston. It will be a humanist service celebrated by Stephen Foster. People will be invited to share their recollections of Chris. There will be some refreshments after the funeral. Please could you indicate whether you are likely to attend so we can plan numbers.

Kingston Chess Club intends to organise a RapidPlay event later in the season - the "Clegg Memorial". Look out for dates.

Re: Chris Clegg

Posted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:02 am
by Martin Crichton
Is this some kind of record? 2.5 months since he died and the funeral is only taking place now?

In Ireland they tend to cremate you or put you in the ground within 2-3 days of the death! I remember getting stitched up by Aer Lingus having to pay £440 for a normal £100 fare to attend my mothers funeral.

Re: Chris Clegg

Posted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:15 pm
by John Foley
Chris Clegg did not have any immediate family. The body was held by the police awaiting identification and even though they knew he was a chess player (chess players had informed the police that they were concerned about his non-appearance at a chess event which led to the finding of the body) the police did not inquire of the chess community for someone to identify him. An approach by the club to the police was not constructively engaged. The coroner could not get on with their job until Chris's body was released. A sad and shocking situation.

Re: Chris Clegg

Posted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:49 pm
by Steven DuCharme
His body will remain in limbo?

Re: Chris Clegg

Posted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 11:36 am
by Kevin Thurlow
"The body was held by the police awaiting identification and even though they knew he was a chess player (chess players had informed the police that they were concerned about his non-appearance at a chess event which led to the finding of the body) the police did not inquire of the chess community for someone to identify him. An approach by the club to the police was not constructively engaged. The coroner could not get on with their job until Chris's body was released. A sad and shocking situation."

That's terrible. Kingston police don't have a very good reputation, but you would hope for better treatment than this.

Re: Chris Clegg

Posted: Mon Apr 06, 2015 5:06 pm
by John Foley
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The funeral of Chris Clegg (1.iv.1948-5.i.2015) took place at Kingston Crematorium Chapel on Tuesday 24th March 2015. It was a well-attended affair which is all the more remarkable because there were no relatives. Chris was immensely well liked not just for what he did for chess but for the person he was. He was the gentlest of people and completely without malice. Everyone at Kingston and Wimbledon chess clubs and in the wider chess world will be the poorer for his leaving us.

Chris was a private man and sparing in his conversation which tended to revolve around chess. However, we learned a few sketchy details about his life. Fellow Kingston Club member Peter Roche read a eulogy, from which much of what follows is largely derived. There was also an appreciation from Jeffrey Horstman, partner at the firm of soliticitors from which Chris had retired some 30 years earlier.
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Peter Roche with Jeffrey Horstman at the reception.

Chris was an only child and he never knew his father. When young, he moved with his mother from Bedford to live in Surbiton. He attended Tiffin Boys’ School where he excelled at chess. He took part in tournaments including the London U-14s where he played the future grandmaster Raymond Keene. Chris joined Kingston Chess Club whilst still at school – so he was a member for over half a century. There can hardly have been a more loyal or devoted member. In recent years, Chris also played for Wimbledon in the London League. His activities extended to playing for Surrey county (for at least 45 years) and he was a regular participant in weekend and one-day quickplay tournaments.

Peter Roche joined Kingston in 1971 when he met Chris who at that time had a rating of 182 (a high grading in old money) and was playing top board for Kingston. For a number of years Chris alternated on top board with another stalwart, Ken Inwood (British U-18 champion 1953, still playing and club President). Chris reached his maximum grading of 186 in 1973. In more recent years his grading dropped and he gradually floated down the first team although he was always an integral part of the squad. There is a natural decline in chess-playing ability with the ageing process but there is no doubt that Chris had to battle against ill-health over many years, which makes his contribution to the teams he played for all the more commendable. To give an idea of the extent of his devotion, last season Chris played 33 times for Kingston and only one other player achieved more than 20 games.

What sort of player was he? To judge from his choice of openings – particularly playing the French defence with black, you might think he would be a solid if not dull sort of player but this was not true. Many years ago, he tried to “shake up “ his defences and essayed the Sicilian Najdorf for part of the season but then reverted to the trusted French. Chris had excellent tactical ability and was good at spotting combinations. He was also keen on rapidplay 30-minute games and also at 5-minute chess. He was a keen participant in the summer 5-minute tournaments the club organised during the summers.

Apart from playing, Chris was also a longstanding team captain – for some years he was in charge of both first teams (Kingston play in the Surrey and Thames Valley leagues). At the time of his death, he was still running the Thames Valley league team. Anyone who has been captain and known the agony of ringing club members to persuade them of the joys of playing at Slough or Bracknell on a freezing January evening will appreciate the efforts that went into Chris’s captaincy. The challeng was not made any easier by the fact that Chris never adopted any technology after the home telephone. From time to time, he would ring up to give a position to be plugged into a chess engine to determine whether the game was worth going for adjudication. As well as his chess-playing ability, Chris had a remarkable talent for recalling bygone matches. If you referred to a game you had played he could instantly recall not only your opponent but also what happened. It was quite uncanny.
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The reception in the atmospheric ancient church vestry.

As mentioned earlier, there were two groups of people at his funeral. This cast another light on Chris’s life – of which the chess players were unaware. After his A Levels, Chris did his articles and qualified as a solicitor at Palmers in Kingston in 1972 and soon became a partner at a relatively young age. Several of his former colleagues were in attendance. They spoke of his high intellect and creative way of solving legal problems.

The critical period in his life came in the mid-1980s when two major events happened in close proximity. The first was the death of his mother with whom he was very close. Chris had remained living with his mother. She died suddenly during a train journey. He had been waiting for her at home where they were to have tea. He later recounted this episode with sadness. Subsequently, in this difficult period, he received kindness and sympathy from Jean Price, his secretary, with whom he had formed a romantic attachment. However, tragedy struck when Jean died young of ovarian cancer.

Soon afterwards, Chris suffered what appears to have been a serious mental breakdown. His illness was such that he was required to leave the firm. Thereafter he suffered periods of ill health but continued with his efforts to resume work as a solicitor. This meant constant study including taking written tests with the College of Law and keeping up to date by reading legal journals. Unfortunately he never recovered good health nor secured employment. On at least one occasion he had to be hospitalised.

Apart from chess, Chris was a keen and knowledgeable ornithologist. In earlier years, when still working he had gone on bird watching trips abroad including to Kenya and the Gambia. He spent time at weekends going far afield to important nature reserves. He was always a frequent visitor to Richmond Park and Bushy Park. The choice of music for the service included pieces with a bird theme – “The Bog” by Rautavaara and “The Lark Ascending” by Vaughn Williams.
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Alan Scrimgour, Stephen Lovell, Rob Willams, Usman Syed

In a departure from tradition, the reception was held in a church, All Saints in Kingston, the Saxon church at the heart of English history, where the Choir Vestry was equipped with chess sets for the mourners. Chris would have felt very comfortable at the event since he loved nothing better than playing a game of chess over the board. Kingston are contemplating returning to the centre of town and taking residence at the All Saints. This would itself be a fitting tribute to Chris.
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John Foley v Christopher Kreuzer (photo Richard James)

Those attending from the chess community included: Richard James, David Rowson, Alan Marshall, Ian Cross, David Ebbett, Peter Roche, Rob Williams, Usman Syed, Stephen Lovell, Paul Shepherd, Christopher Kreuzer, Alan Scrimgour, Andrew Blackburn, Adrian Waldock, Ken Inwood, Nick Grey and John Foley.
Apologies: Stephen Moss, David Sedgwick, David Shalom, Kevin Thurlow, Julian Way.

Re: Chris Clegg

Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2015 10:15 pm
by John Foley
The Clegg Memorial Rapidplay will take place on Sunday 7th June at the Royal Oak pub, 90 Coombe Rd, New Malden KT3 4RD 12-7.
Format - small groups all-play-all stage followed by knockout stage. Those who knew Chris Clegg will enjoy this informal tournament.
Entry by invitation.

Re: Chris Clegg

Posted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 2:53 am
by John Foley
If you knew Chris Clegg or played against him, or belonged to Kingston chess club or clubs in South West London or north Surrey, then please send me a direct message for your invitation to this sociable, free event with the chance of some modest prizes.

Re: Chris Clegg

Posted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 9:28 am
by John Foley
The Chris Clegg Memorial Rapidplay takes place this afternoon at the Royal Oak, New Malden.
Entrants include John Nunn, Gavin Wall, Mike Healey, Russell Granat, Chris Briscoe, Julian Way, Stephen Lovell, Adam Raoof, Robin Haldane, David Rowson, Steven Coles, Alan Scrimgour, John Saunders, Bob Kane, Stephen Moss, 28 in total.
Spectators welcome. Knockout games start from 5pm.

Re: Chris Clegg

Posted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 2:16 pm
by John McKenna
All praise to John Foley and other members of Kingston Chess Club for putting on this friendly event in memory of Chris Clegg.

I wonder what Chris' reaction would have been if he'd know that such things would occur in his name. He was, like quite a few chessplayers, a seemingly laconic individual so I don't think he would have said too much about it. But, I am sure he would have loved the thought of others playing chess and remembering their past encounters with him.

Also good was the chance to see, hear and speak with ECF ECO Phil Ehr who, together with a couple of other ECF reps, gave the event a wider and more official dimension.

As pointed out elsewhere in this thread Chris Clegg was a loyal member of club, county and country chess who generously gave his time to support the game and other players so the least we could do was to spend some time paying tribute to him.

Re: Chris Clegg

Posted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 3:09 pm
by John McKenna
As usual, I forgot to mention the pivotal part played by David Sedgwick, who made all the actual play possible in practice on the day with his considerable organizational skills, and also played in the event himself! Couldn't ask for more than that from anyone. Many thanks David!

Re: Chris Clegg

Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 12:08 am
by Brendan O'Gorman
Some photos of the Memorial Rapidplay here:

The event was won by John Nunn who used to be a clubmate of Chris's 40 or so years ago. John McKenna doesn't mention it but he reached what looked like an even ending against the GM (bishop and two pawns versus knight and two pawns). Both players were down to about two minutes on their clocks but one was then seeing good moves and making them quickly while the other was searching for them. The result was inevitable. Still, I'm sure John McK took some consolation from drawing against me. :)

Re: Chris Clegg

Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:48 am
by John McKenna
Brendan, it was the luck of the draw that I got the chance to play the 'Doctor' in the first round and your good self in the 5th and final one. While I am happy with our game and the result I cannot say the same about the one with Dr. Nunn.

Having reach the position given below, in the circumstances you correctly described above, I proceeded to make a complete hash of the ensuing play. I was seeking the way but going astray, and if I had any plan or idea it was to simply to swap off as many pawns as possible in order to try to draw.Somehow I managed to end up with bishop and pawn versus knight and two pawns - so much for the idea of 'swapping' pawns.

At such close quarters my bishop continued to be a pedestrian prelate wandering aimlessly in the confines of the white tiles while the knight was hopping madly from black to white, and back, harrying my poor monarch into a hole in the ditch of the H-file. I felt like crying - who will rid me of this turgid priest, a horse a horse, my bishopric for a horse?!

I've the feeling that Chris Clegg would have played the position much better than I.