The Chess Club is reeling from the completely unexpected death of one of its stalwarts. Richard Almond died last Saturday at the age of 46.
Richard, the reigning Club co-Champion, had been a leading member of the Club for years and it is nigh impossible to imagine the Club without him.
He was a Grove School chess player who progressed to serious adult play in the Club, becoming a strong County player who twice played in the British Championship as well as occasionally taking the scalps of titled international players during his extensive tournament play. But as well as competitive success he also put his skills into chess administration and into supporting the game he loved: he had been captain of our title-winning Mid-Sussex League team, match secretary of the Sussex first team, Chess Club Treasurer and still was a Trustee of the charitable Junior Fund.
But above all the messages coming in from elsewhere in the chess world emphasise his perfect courtesy and gentlemanly approach to the game and the favourable impression this made on all opponents. An impression echoed in the Chess Club, where he always had time to help other members on all and any matters.
After trying unsuccessfully to register on this forum, Mark Rich has emailed with the following message about Richard Almond:
My name is Mark Rich and I will probably be known to a number of Hastings Chess Club members. I joined the club when I was 13 years of age and at this time became good friends with Richard Almond. We went to the same secondary school (as did Stuart Conquest – GM) in Hastings called The Grove.
Over the years, we must have played literally hundreds of games (mainly blitz but a few “over the board” matches) together. Richard was a quiet unassuming person who loved playing chess and also the social side that this brought to his life as well. He enjoyed sport and was a fan of Liverpool FC. In his younger years he was a good runner and also cycled a lot. He lived with his mother until a couple or so years ago when she sadly passed away. He was an only child so lived alone after her death.
Richard was a very good player and represented the club on many occasions, at the highest level. He represented Sussex at county level and also captained the first team for a period of time. He was very tough to beat and resilient. Richard was always a fan of the Queens Gambit Declined (as black) and initially the Caro-Kann against 1.e4 Later on, he played the Scandinavian Defence against 1.e4 As White he always played 1.d4
Richard was also a member of the e2e4 team that played in the National League (4NCL) event and, it was on his way to this event, that Richard was very sadly taken ill and passed away, as a consequence.
When I heard the very sad news of his death, I agreed immediately to speak at his funeral and say a few words in his memory. He was a good friend to me for in excess of 30 years and although in later years, we did not see each other much, we kept in touch via Email.
His death is a very sad occasion for many of us but I am sure that his memory will live on for very long. It was very touching to see so many people attend his funeral in Hastings with so many of them coming from all over Sussex to attend.
It now includes a portrait photograph (extracted from a scan of the larger Macarthur Cup Team photo taken in 2004), and incorporates some of the information from Mark Rich, above, as well as two games to play through, provided by Brian Denman.