Famous Players

Historically, who were the most famous, strongest or most notable players ever to play for Sutton Coldfield Chess Club? Unfortunately, we do not have the records for a satisfyingly complete answer, but here are some very good candidates (in alphabetical surname order):

  • Robert Bellin (b. 1952) worked as a sub-editor on BH Wood's CHESS magazine c. 1970 which was when he played for the Club. He became an IM in 1978 and was British Champion the following year. He gave a 14-board simul at the Club in July-2005, losing only one game. As of April-2016 his FIDE rating was 2353, while his ECF grade was 226.
  • Stephen Berry (1951-2019), holder of the FM title and ultimately a member of Wimbledon CC, was sometime Board 1 for the Club 1973-1975.
  • Simon Bibby (b. 1974) was at the Club from when he was 12 years-old until about 1993. In Japan since 2000, he was that country's chess Champion in 2003 and led them at the Olympiad the following year.
  • G Michael Boyce was sometime Board 2 in the 1970s.
  • Bernard Cafferty (b. 1934) was a leading English player of the 1960s. He was British Correspondence Champion in 1959-1960, while over-the-board he achieved a peak Elo rating of 2440 in July 1971. He guested for Sutton Coldfield six times on top board when the Club won the National Club Championship in 1960-61.
  • John Carleton (b. 1948) played for the Club in the 1960s. He became a correspondence SIM in 1999.
  • Sabrina Chevannes (b. 1986) played local league chess for the Club in the 1990s and early 2000s. She held various British Girls titles, and was in fact the first junior of Afro-Caribbean descent to do so. She became a WIM in 2013.
  • Owen Hindle (b. 1940), author of Further Steps in Chess (1968), and co-author of The English Morphy? (2001), worked on CHESS magazine for the three years between March 1960 and May 1963 throughout which time he was a Club member and sometime Club Champion. Thereafter possibly his best result was when he beat the strong Yugoslav GM, Svetozar Gligoric, at Hastings 1964-65 having drawn with him the year previously. At the British Championships in 1975 at Morecambe he scored 6½/11. He holds the FM title, and his last FIDE rating was 2355, equivalent to an ECF grade nowadays of 221.
  • David LeMoir (b. 1950), author of How to Be Lucky in Chess (2001), and Essential Chess Sacrifices (2015), was Sutton Coldfield's top board in 1979 when he briefly worked on CHESS magazine.
  • Peter Oakley (1931-1989), a Club member in the late 1950s and 1960s at any rate, was British Correspondence Chess Champion in 1958, and became a correspondence IM in 1982.
  • And of course Baruch Wood himself (1909-1989), who in the Midland Counties Chess Union Grading List of 1961 was categorized as "3a" equivalent to a grade of 209-216. See his biographical page.

Information is sought about Keith & David Fox, Paul Lamford (b. 1953), Tony Demsey (b. 1955?), and Jimmy Adams (b. 1947?).

With thanks in particular to Owen Hindle, David LeMoir, Simon Bibby, and Mike Darlow for some of the above information that would otherwise have been unrecovered or eventually lost. The suggestion that American GM Andrew Soltis played for us was personally denied by him.

At present, the Club's strongest player, and probably the Club's strongest-ever player, is Ameet Ghasi (b. 1987). Ameet became an International Master in 2012 and was rated at 2505 in January-2019. He joined Sutton Coldfield Chess Club in October-2018.

MJS 09-Jan-2017 (with minor updates later).