Dave Rumens

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Stewart Reuben
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Dave Rumens

Post by Stewart Reuben » Sun Jul 09, 2017 6:06 pm

DAVID EDWARD RUMENS died peacefylly in his sleep Saturday night. 23 September 1939 to 8 July 2017.

He contracted pneumococal meningitis about three weeks ago. We last partnered each other at bridge 12 June. He was complaining then of deafness in one ear. Apparently that is a symptom of this ailment.

He was an FM and had two IM norms. He was one of the originators of the GRAND PRIX ATTACK. He came third in the 1959 World Junior Championship.
In later years he has mainly been a chess coach of younger players.

I wil, in due course, do a considered obituary. If you would like to contribute here, by all means do so. Or send me at [email protected]

Gordon Cadden
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Re: Dave Rumens

Post by Gordon Cadden » Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:31 am

This is very sad news. I introduced Dave Rumens to junior coaching at the Hampstead Junior Club in 1993. He enjoyed coaching the juniors, and soon started coaching at local schools. He was a regular visitor to my home in Hampstead, and he also visited the Hampstead Club President, Bernard Haase. Long divorced from his wife, the poet Carol Rumens, he kept in touch with his two daughters.
He loved playing the Birds Opening, and had many a Grand Prix success. Know that he enjoyed playing Bridge, and that Michael Macdonald- Ross was one of his partners. A great character with a passion for playing chess. Rest in Peace Dave.
Last edited by Gordon Cadden on Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Dave Rumens

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:12 pm

Yes, a sad loss. He was undoubtedly IM strength at his peak even if he never quite managed the title.
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

David Gilbert
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Re: Dave Rumens

Post by David Gilbert » Mon Jul 10, 2017 4:56 pm

Sad to hear of David Rumens' death. He played for several years for DHSS Chess Club after Brian Tysoe found him work in the Hospital Buildings Division in Euston Tower. His first game was on Monday, 7 October 1985 when he played on top board against Government Chemists where Kevin Thurlow provided the opposition. Here's the game.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Dave Rumens

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:26 pm

Not one of my good days (played in 1985). The other time I played him was even worse - he was an excellent player and interesting character.

Howard Williams memorably said to Rumens at one Civil Service League match, "Is your qualification for DHSS as an employee or a claimant?"

Andrew Martin
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Re: Dave Rumens

Post by Andrew Martin » Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:01 pm

Very sad news. I will miss him greatly. He had amazing talent for chess and a very original and aggressive style. We played many weekend tournaments together in the 1970's, which he mainly won. He and Gerald Bennett were the best players on the circuit at that time. Richard Lobo, Michael Franklin, Rumens and myself toured around a lot.

Life was hard, so hard we had to share a bed at one weekend event. Ugh! We arrived late to the Portsmouth Open after torrential downpours on the way down and didn't finish until about 10.30 pm. Only at that stage did the search for accommodation begin.

We arrived at this pub; I think it was called the Yorkshire Grey near the Guildhall, which advertised rooms. It was pretty much a dump full of drunks. The cheery landlord informed us he did in fact have one room left, with basic facilities including a double bed and a sink. £ 2.50.

' Only one night' he said,grinning.

Well, it was that or sleep in the car, so we agreed to give it a try.

Matters did not improve when, on being shown to the room on the first floor, we found a drunk from the bar pissing in the sink. The landlord moved him on.

To be honest,when you are completely knackered and you have lots of chess to play over the weekend, all you want to do is turn in, so that is what happened next. Lines were drawn in the bed and we turned over to get some sleep.

Barely 60 seconds had gone by when the town hall clock struck eleven, right outside the room, a deafening noise. And then again at 11.15 and 11.30!

Well, what can a chessplayer do at that point? With sleep unlikely we started playing blindfold chess.

The game ended in a draw in 33 moves at around 3 am ,with Rumens playing his Grand Prix attack formation against the Modern and Black playing a quick...c6 and ...d5 followed by ...Na6-c5 to get the Rumens Bishop off the board.

For some reason this game has stuck in my memory all these years.

There are many such stories from that time, when English Chess was just about to explode. Rumens was one of the major forerunners of the very strong next generation to come

RIP Dave , English chess will not forget you.

David Robertson

Re: Dave Rumens

Post by David Robertson » Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:58 pm

Cracking. As fitting a tribute as we're likely to get. Splendid!

John Cox
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Re: Dave Rumens

Post by John Cox » Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:01 pm

Sad news. RIP, Dave. I can't believe he wasn't an IM; of course the title was much harder to get then. What I will remember is the twinkle he always had in his eye; it was always an event to play him. I didn't know he was still playing bridge; I used to see him sometimes at the Young Chelsea in the late eighties/early nineties.

Gordon Cadden
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Re: Dave Rumens

Post by Gordon Cadden » Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:10 am

Kevin Thurlow wrote:Not one of my good days (played in 1985). The other time I played him was even worse - he was an excellent player and interesting character.

Howard Williams memorably said to Rumens at one Civil Service League match, "Is your qualification for DHSS as an employee or a claimant?"
Howard Williams was an Inspector for the Inland Revenue, and would have been familiar with his background. The DHSS sensibly decided to give him employment.

Roger Lancaster
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Re: Dave Rumens

Post by Roger Lancaster » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:00 am

As Andrew Martin rightly says, Dave was a leading figure on the 1970's English chess circuit. Only time I played him, and lost, was at the Kings Head International a decade later by which time his status already verged on the institutional. RIP.

Simon Brown
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Re: Dave Rumens

Post by Simon Brown » Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:40 am

Sad news. I first met him in 1978 or 79 when he was in the quest for the Grand Prix, in Totnes - I won, luckily, but he was very generous in defeat. A few years later I was his match captain at Hampstead and he was a joy to have in the team - totally reliable, a big smile win or lose and always on hand with helpful comments for younger players. He was past his peak by then, but happy to play below players who wanted the experience of higher boards. I remember one occasion - Gordon may have been there - when someone locked the door at Chess & Bridge on Euston Road when a London League match was in progress in that upstairs room, and two Division One teams had to exit via a fireman's ladder. Dave found it amusing, but others didn't.

Finally, I bumped into him at a Kent junior event at Dulwich College in about 2010, when my daughter played one of the kids he was coaching. We chatted despite not having seen each other since I stopped playing in 1996, and of course he remembered each move of the Totnes game. He looked fitter, healthier and happier than I remembered him from the 90s, and it's hard to believe he has gone. RIP Dave.

Gordon Cadden
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Re: Dave Rumens

Post by Gordon Cadden » Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:46 pm

The year is 1959, and at 20 years of age, David Rumens had secured second place in the World Junior Championship, held in Switzerland.
Dave Rumens family does not appear to have encouraged his enthusiasm for chess. His father was employed as a Postman.
He appears to have honed his chess skills at a local community chess club, known as Cedars, in Harrow Weald, Middlesex.
The inspiration for this club came from David Levens and David Mabbs. They initially met at each others homes, but as their enthusiasm for the game spread to other juniors, they decided to meet at the local Cedars Community Association Premises. Thus, the Cedars Chess Club was born.
During 1953, the club moved into the Cedars Primary School, with an active membership of 30 juniors, and one adult, name of Arthur Hall. David Levens and David Mabbs were Joint Secretaries. Both strong players, with David Rumens arriving at the club during the 1954/1955 Season. He must have thrived with the strong competition. Rumens and Mabbs were selected to play against visiting grandmaster, Viacheslov Ragozin, in a Simultaneous Display at the Harrow Club, during the 1955/1956 Season.
In 1956/1957, Dave Rumens was selected to play for England in the Glorney Cup, and in the same season, won the British Boys Championship at Plymouth. A week later, David Mabbs won the Middlesex Boys Championship.

David Mabbs
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Re: Dave Rumens

Post by David Mabbs » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:15 pm

Congratulations to Gordon Cadden on your extraordinary knowledge of Dave Rumens and colleagues in the 1950s.

We three Daves lived in adjacent streets: David Levens was the sensible one, and he taught me chess in 1949 having been bought a chess set by his parents. Dave Rumens came into our circle in 1952-3 after I met him nearby as train spotters on the Euston main line – it took a few conversations before our common interest in chess surfaced, and very soon train-spotting was dumped. All three sets of parents encouraged us unreservedly … to excess even, allowing us to stay up most of the night playing five-minute chess. In those days, before the internet, Dave Rumens' dad was the nearest thing to Wikipedia: it seemed that he knew everything about everything. He was immensely proud of Dave, and justifiably so: Dave had enormous natural talent, and I was fortunate to be carried along in his wake. When people encountered me, they would ask “how's Dave Rumens ?”, and I of course basked in his glory. It must have been galling for Dave, when asked “how's Dave Mabbs ?”, and I imagine that he probably answered, albeit with a wicked grin and a twinkle in his eye, “what, that rabbit Mabbs … ?”

They were supremely happy days, wonderful memories – I shall try to share some – and Dave Rumens will be so, so missed. RIP.

David Mabbs
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Re: Dave Rumens

Post by David Mabbs » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:16 pm

As the 1950s wore on, we teenagers had to acknowledge that we were not as other lads, and once every so often we would walk away from the chessboard and try to act as if we were normal. One such occasion was “Anyone for tennis ?” A Cedars cohort had got hold of some tennis gear, and we were persuaded to hire a court.

Unfortunately, this coincided with a phase that Dave Rumens was going through. Rather like Linus with his blanket in the Peanuts cartoon, Dave had adopted a cumbersome ex-army greatcoat which he wore all day long whatever the weather. It was rather like a magician's coat, in that it had a great variety of enormous pockets. Dave would occasionally fish out today's newspaper – or, more likely, one two or three weeks old. From other pockets would come snacks, some fresh, some stale. We almost expected a live dove to appear from another pocket.

So equipped, we traipsed down to the local park, and Dave sat at the side of the court. We others did our best to get the ball over the net and even, sometimes, into the court; Dave happily ridiculed us. For our part we chided him and bullied him to come on court and finally he agreed – and strode on to court still wearing his greatcoat ! After lots more bullying, eventually he agreed to take it off – only to throw it over the net, which immediately sank to two inches high ! With that we all collapsed in giggles, and unanimously agreed that our tennis careers were over.

David Mabbs
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Re: Dave Rumens

Post by David Mabbs » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:17 pm

Another soppy moment that stays in my memory was at the Cameo-Poly cinema in Upper Regent Street in about 1960. This was a mainstream cinema, but its films were, shall we say, leading edge. Dave Rumens and I went in after the lights had gone down, and found seats in the seventh row. At the very moment that the interval lights went on, there was a terrifying wail from the front row. “Oh no !”, a voice called out, “I thought that I was the best chess player in here !!” It was one of the Islington players, our rivals, and if I remember correctly it was Ron Banwell. A great wit !

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