Christopher Peter Ravilious

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Brian Denman
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Christopher Peter Ravilious

Post by Brian Denman » Sun Jan 31, 2016 6:44 pm

Chris Ravilious passed away recently at the age of 77. He joined Eastbourne Chess Club in about 1954 and a year later won the East Sussex Queen competition. In February 1973 he brought out the first of four club magazines called En Passant. The final version was printed in December 1974 and Chris believed that it was a shortage of contributors which brought the journal to an end.

In the early 1990s he worked with me to produce a history of chess in Brighton. He used an excellent form of chess software, which made it easy to include diagrams, and his profession of librarian meant that he could locate useful information very quickly. After this he produced a short book on the child problemist, Lilian Baird, and wrote an article on Brighton's public chess room for Sussex archaeology collections.

He was a superb writer and not long after his retirement he produced an excellent article for Chess Ltd on the chess activities of Aleister Crowley. Following this, he often made contributions to 'Chess' and British Chess Magazine. For the latter magazine he wrote the 'Quotes and Queries' section for several years. He also took over the editorship of Sussex Chess News for a while and occupied the position of county archivist.

For the last three to four years Chris was in poor health and he was unable to pursue his love of writing. His funeral is to take place on Thursday 11th February at 11.30 a.m. at Eastbourne Crematorium.

Gordon Cadden
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Re: Christopher Peter Ravilious

Post by Gordon Cadden » Sun Jan 31, 2016 7:31 pm

Christopher Ravilious has made many important contributions to the history of the game. His book on the 19th. century child prodigy Lilian Baird, is a fascinating insight into Chess Problem History. Have all his contributions to the BCM "Quotes and Queries" section, and his contributions to CHESS. Only his history of Chess in Brighton, is missing from my collection. Do not know if he was in possession of the Sussex County Archives, which are an important contribution to chess history. Requiscat in Pace.

John Townsend
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Re: Christopher Peter Ravilious

Post by John Townsend » Mon Feb 01, 2016 10:29 am

I used to enjoy reading Chris's writings in CHESS and B.C.M. and remember being disappointed when the Bookman's Halt came to a halt. He was certainly not the kind of historian who would merely rehash what was already known: his material was original, and, as befits a former county archivist, was often built on very useful research. Two examples spring to mind.

His article about John Brand, Faces in the shrubbery (CHESS, Volume 63, No. 3, June 1998, p. 36) was well researched and attractively presented.

A contribution to the Staunton-Morphy controversy in his article in CHESS (December 1998, pp. 32-34) demonstrated not only that a legal agreement regarding the Shakespeare edition existed between Routledge and Staunton, under which the latter accepted onerous contractual responsibilities, but also that specific penalty clauses applied to any failure to deliver in the agreed timescales; therefore, Staunton had good reason to fear Routledge's reaction to his taking too much time out to play a match against Morphy.

Chris was a chess writer of a kind not readily being replaced, and I am sad to hear that he has passed from us.

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John Saunders
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Re: Christopher Peter Ravilious

Post by John Saunders » Mon Feb 01, 2016 12:18 pm

Very sad news. I never actually met Chris Ravilious in the flesh but came to know him very well in the course of many email conversations. When Ken Whyld died, I thought Chris would be an excellent replacement as the Quotes and Queries columnist in BCM and so it proved. Chris himself felt slightly in awe of following such an eminent chess historian but I reassured him he would do well in the role. As a chess historian and antiquarian he was quietly authoritative without ever being pedantic or stooping to criticise others who were less punctilious than he was. He was also a superb indexer who contributed to both national magazines in this respect. I enjoyed working with him. He will be greatly missed.
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Brian Denman
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Re: Christopher Peter Ravilious

Post by Brian Denman » Tue Feb 02, 2016 7:33 am

I forgot to mention in my earlier obituary that Chris and Ken Whyld wrote a bibliography of chess books which had been published before 1850. This was a follow up to a similar book by D A Betts published in 1974 which covered the period from 1850-1968. The book by Chris and Ken was published in 2003 by Moravian Chess.

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