Dave Rumens

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David Mabbs
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Re: Dave Rumens

Post by David Mabbs » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:18 pm

Dave Rumens and I held one guilty secret for forty years.

Those who knew Cedars Chess Club will remember us as loud, brash, arrogant – we marketed ourselves, we talked the talk. On this particular evening we travelled to Hayes Chess Club for a league match, only to find the press and photographers waiting for us. (Hayes were treating us a bit like Manchester United visiting Yeovil Town.)

Our top three boards were the three Daves … Rumens, Mabbs and Levens. As the clocks ticked along, the Hayes board one didn't arrive, and they put in a last-minute substitute. Well, Dave Rumens knew that he could throw down the board as many pieces as he liked. Unlikely sacrifices and combinations rained down. Against all reason, his opponent happened upon the right replies - this wasn't part of the deal !

At the call of time, I demonstrated with feigned disappointment the only line whereby Dave's opponent didn't win, but which would lead to a forced draw … and, as the newspapers reported “at the call of time young David Adams unleashed a perpetual check against the champion to secure a draw”.

To be fair, it didn't affect the match result, which was an overwhelming win for Cedars, but I think that it stayed on all our consciences until, in the 1990s I finally confessed to Hayes (and was forgiven). The good thing was, that the experience taught all of us never to take any opponents for-granted.

David Mabbs
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Re: Dave Rumens

Post by David Mabbs » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:19 pm

One evening, after a London League match in town, Dave Rumens, Norman Stephenson and I amused ourselves in the West End before catching the last Bakerloo Line train back to Headstone Lane. Norman had one of those plug-in sets, with red and white men, and two troughs for captured pieces. We spent the journey playing chess, but at some point between games Dave Rumens noticed a lost sweet that had been trodden in among the floorboards.

At the last minute we realized that we were coming in to our station, and had to scramble out through the automatic doors. As we were doing so, Dave shouted to Norman, and pointed, saying one of his pieces was on the floor. Norman leapt back in and the doors closed behind him. On the platform, Dave confided to me that it was actually a red Smartie. Poor Norman would have to make his own way home - three miles, in the dead of night.

The next day we came upon Norman, and he carried on as if nothing had happened. Eventually Dave asked him if he had found the red Smartie . And Norman, trying to put a brave face on it, said “Oh … yes …. I knew all the time !” This became a catch-phrase for Dave and myself. If ever we were tricked or caught unawares, it was “I knew all the time !”

David Mabbs
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Re: Dave Rumens

Post by David Mabbs » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:20 pm

One autumn evening after Cedars Chess Club, Dave Rumens and I wandered off to Pinner Park. It was the most beautiful starry night, shortly after the launch of Sputnik One. We sat on a park bench, miles from any artificial light source, and we marvelled at the universe. We felt curiosity and inspiration, and we exchanged deep metaphysical thoughts and philosophical reflections.

For a good ten minutes our mood was one of awe and wonder … Then one of us said “Pawn to King 4” - the mood was broken, and we came to our senses: what mattered in life was not the nature of the universe, not aliens, not the origins of mankind, it was chess.

David Mabbs
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Re: Dave Rumens

Post by David Mabbs » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:21 pm

One of Dave Rumens' greatest coups was not on the chess board at all. On the free day at one of the Eastbourne Open tournaments, we and several other players had taken the bus out to the Long Man of Wilmington (an ancient chalk figure carved on a hillside). We walked back to Eastbourne, six or so miles as the crow flies, but at least twice the distance in real life. During the final mile back when we were all exhausted, Dave made the offer, that if we gave him ten shillings he would jump off the end of the pier. This cheered us all up, we raised the money, and walked with renewed vigour.

Imagine our disappointment when Dave collected his money by jumping off the land end of the pier on to the shingle below ! It was some consolation that he blew it in short order on the slot machines, playing table hockey against the Spanish IM Francisco Perez.

David Mabbs
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Re: Dave Rumens

Post by David Mabbs » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:22 pm

Dave Rumens was a totally genuine person: what you saw was what you got. He had no airs or graces, no facade – you took him as he was. He believed in allowing people to discover themselves, and to be themselves. He extended this approach to his own family – Carol, his wife, and Becky and Kelsey, his daughters.

My own family was of a similar age, except that Jenny and I have two sons, John and Peter. We would sometimes visit the Rumens family at Old Coulsdon. I remember one occasion when it was decided that we should all head off to the Crystal Palace complex – 'the girls love it there' – all eight of us in my car. The entry to the adventure payground was through a tunnel passable only by young children. Our boys zipped in without a second bidding, but the girls absolutely refused … until the time came for us to leave. The girls took this as a signal to finally go in, and steadfastly refused all requests to come out ! By the time that we lured them out, it was wet underfoot. Despite our pleas, the girls walked through every muddy puddle, and then piled into the back of my car.

In Dave's eyes, the girls were expressing themselves and discovering their individuality, and I've got to admit that no real harm was done. It all came down to a difference in point of view, and I guess that it was my fault if I couldn't decide whether to laugh or to cry !

At this distance in time, I can truly see the funny side of it and, bottom line, “Hey, this was Dave Rumens !” A really great mate, a superb chess player, and a real character. Very sadly missed.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Dave Rumens

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Wed Jul 12, 2017 8:03 pm

Thank you for those superb posts sir 8)
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Dave Rumens

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:02 pm

"Thank you for those superb posts sir "

Absolutely - best ever!

Gordon Cadden
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Re: Dave Rumens

Post by Gordon Cadden » Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:52 am

How wonderful to have DJ Mabbs on this thread. Know that you were the dynamo behind the Cedars Club, and you would have helped Dave Rumens to raise his game. Stewart Reuben and DJM used to fill the pages of Baruch Woods magazine, during the 1960's, mainly with various interpretations of the Rules of Play.
Carol Rumens is a wonderful poet. She introduced her husband into one of her poems, not by name, but we know it was DR.

Gordon Cadden
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Re: Dave Rumens

Post by Gordon Cadden » Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:07 am

Believe that Dave Rumens was involved in a major incident regarding the Rules of Play. Dave had checkmated his opponent, but his flag fell, as he gave the coup de grace. His opponent claimed a win on time. F.I.D.E. had to be consulted.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Dave Rumens

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:10 am

Gordon Cadden wrote: F.I.D.E. had to be consulted.
Hence the current rule that checkmate (and stalemate) end the game.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Dave Rumens

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Thu Jul 13, 2017 2:04 pm

Gordon Cadden wrote:Believe that Dave Rumens was involved in a major incident regarding the Rules of Play. Dave had checkmated his opponent, but his flag fell, as he gave the coup de grace. His opponent claimed a win on time. F.I.D.E. had to be consulted.
His opponent there was one David Mabbs, no less.
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

John Collins
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Re: Dave Rumens

Post by John Collins » Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:03 pm

Greetings Dave Mabbs!
I belonged to CEDARS chess club in the 1950s as I lived a mile or so away, and went to Harrow Weald Grammar School with David Levens. I knew Dave Rumens very well: indeed I once shared an hotel room with him at one of B.H.Wood's Eastbourne congresses (an experience never to be repeated).
As DER developed as a very strong player, he was on the fringe of international honours, indeed he was selected as first reserve for England against I think the Netherlands. The match was to be played at Cheltenham. At the time Dave had an aged moped, which seemed to him to be the ideal way to travel to the match, and so he set off. The fact that Cheltenham was over a hundred miles away didn't seem to bother him, but unsurprisingly his trusty moped expired after a few miles, and he never arrived. This annoyed the selectors considerably, as another player was indisposed/absent, and Dave would have played. The selectors did not forget.
Fresh anecdotes keep occurring to me, and I now realise that Dave was one of those people you never forget; those years were marvellous ones for chess, and I am very glad to have known him and to have belonged to CEDARS !!

John Collins.

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JustinHorton
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Re: Dave Rumens

Post by JustinHorton » Thu Jul 13, 2017 4:25 pm

Gordon Cadden wrote:How wonderful to have DJ Mabbs on this thread. Know that you were the dynamo behind the Cedars Club, and you would have helped Dave Rumens to raise his game. Stewart Reuben and DJM used to fill the pages of Baruch Woods magazine, during the 1960's, mainly with various interpretations of the Rules of Play.
Carol Rumens is a wonderful poet. She introduced her husband into one of her poems, not by name, but we know it was DR.
That's interesting. You couldn't guide us in the right direction?
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Dave Rumens

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Thu Jul 13, 2017 4:34 pm

JustinHorton wrote:
Gordon Cadden wrote:How wonderful to have DJ Mabbs on this thread. Know that you were the dynamo behind the Cedars Club, and you would have helped Dave Rumens to raise his game. Stewart Reuben and DJM used to fill the pages of Baruch Woods magazine, during the 1960's, mainly with various interpretations of the Rules of Play.
Carol Rumens is a wonderful poet. She introduced her husband into one of her poems, not by name, but we know it was DR.
That's interesting. You couldn't guide us in the right direction?
Page 148 of Poems: 1968-2004 by Carol Rumens seems to have a poem dedicated to David Rumens:

The title is "Double Exposure" and in brackets below the title it says "for David Rumens".

Google Books preview doesn't show me any more than that.

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=apllAAAAMAAJ

It appears to date from before 1993, as shown by it appearing on page 78 in Thinking of Skins: New & Selected Poems:

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=MkFbAAAAMAAJ

You can get the opening lines if you put the poem title into Google Books with "Carol Rumens" and then search line by line and preview will give you the gist of the poem. Better to order or buy the book, really.

It does mention chess:

"Show her some snaps - not of your holidays or chess triumphs, but the future"

I'll stop there. It probably really is worth reading in full, as reviews seems to say that it is one of Carol Rumens's better-received works (I say this as someone who has not read her works - Gordon said earlier that "Carol Rumens is a wonderful poet").

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JustinHorton
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Re: Dave Rumens

Post by JustinHorton » Thu Jul 13, 2017 4:53 pm

Thanks, I'll chase it up. But is that the poem to which Gordon was referring?

I confess that either I had forgotten they were once married, or I never knew.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

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