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Nathan Goldberg

Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:40 pm
by Anthony Higgs
I am sad to report the death of Nathan Goldberg who passed away suddenly in his home city of Glasgow at the weekend.

Nathan was a keen amateur chess player and entrepreneur. He was at one time the youngest recorded editor of a British daily newspaper when he edited the Scottish Daily News and used his journalistic skills to launch Chess Express which was very popular at the time. He used to tell stories of calls in the early hours from an excited Kasparov who had just played an interesting endgame!

At Horsham Chess Club Nathan was the driving force behind re-establishing our junior section back in the early part of the last decade. Without his enthusiasm and energy this would not have been the success it has remained ever since. He was Club Development Officer and true to his style was always coming up with ideas and schemes to keep the club fresh and relevant, an approach that would be taken forward by other club members and pushed us towards winning ECF Club of the Year in 2010.

I will remember Nathan for some moments in particular - his broad smile on letting GM Chris Ward sneak away with a draw at a simultaneous display held at the club in 2007, no rancour at missing the win, just a love of chess-playing. When he left for Glasgow around 2011 he gifted me his large display board for teaching the next generations of Horsham juniors which I have used ever since. I was planning to replace it - now, for a while at least, I won't.

Re: Nathan Goldberg

Posted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:06 am
by Craig Pritchett
I would like to echo Anthony's kind thoughts. I don't think I ever came across anyone so in love with absolutely everything about chess, its players of all strengths, its lore and considerable history, or someone as prepared as Nathan Goldberg to undertake the kind of considerable personal and purely voluntary effort required to build up interest among juniors, such as he achieved so successfully at Horsham.

Nathan was indeed an accomplished journalist, who learned his trade as many then did from all over Britain, in the newsrooms of such thriving titles as The Daily Record in 1960s Glasgow. Following the demise of The Scottish Daily News, which has gone down as a historically valiant attempt to keep the spirit of the old (Glasgow-based) Scottish Daily Express going as a continuing Scottish-based daily run by many of the old Scottish Express staff - this followed a highly controversial decision by the UK Express Group to consolidate all of its titles' production in England - Nathan eventually decamped to London, where he went on to edit many well-known publications, including Social Work Today and the Health and Social Services Journal.

Chess Express was indeed a well-edited, exuberant and highly popular product, if extraordinarily ambitious (and, yes, the young Kasparov and Karpov were involved, among very many of the UK's top players and writers). Sadly it failed because of the relatively miniscule size of the potential chess readership market. Nathan tried extremely hard to obtain sufficient capital to allow it the time and opportunity to bed in, but was unsuccessful. The UK chess world, even with notable international chess interest, wasn't able to sustain a market for a fortnightly chess newspaper, no matter its vibrancy. As The Sun might have said, were it ever remotely interested in chess, it was Cash Flow What Got It. Amen!

I was able to attend Nathan's funeral in Glasgow at the end of March and meet up again with his extended family. We gave him the time-honoured good send off and our thoughts are perhaps especially with his children, of all whom, he was exceptionally proud.

Re: Nathan Goldberg

Posted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:50 pm
by Brendan O'Gorman
Craig, thanks for providing an informative obituary about a true chess character.

Re: Nathan Goldberg

Posted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:34 pm
by Matt Mackenzie
I saw a couple of editions of Chess Express - from what I recall it wasn't that bad.

Quite expensive though, ISTR - and that may have put people off (and yes, chess players can be rather parsimonious souls anyway)

Of course though, it arguably needed that to have a chance of ever being viable. Vicious circle.......