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Richard W. O'Brien ()

Richard W. O'Brien 1944-2009

Obituary of British chess arbiter and organiser.

Obituary: Richard W. O’Brien

Sadly I report that Richard O’Brien died in hospital in Sussex on the 5th November 2009 aged 65. He had lived on the Sussex coast for many years.

  Although a controversial character in the chess world, it shouldn’t be forgotten that Richard made lots of positive contributions to chess community. Many will remember him as the publisher of the ‘Trends’ series of books on openings and ‘Tournament Chess’. He would sell these along with many other publications through his network of dealers across the world as well as at his chess stalls at weekend tournaments.

But perhaps not everyone was aware of his other chess accomplishments; he was an International Chess Arbiter, an accolade not achieved by many, and a Chess Tournament Organiser, the Lewisham International’s in the early 1980’s and Accountancy Age Masters to name but two.

He was also very knowledgeable in the mechanics of the ELO Rating system and therefore was able to help many players achieve the results required to get GM/IM Norms particularly at the Lloyds Bank Masters where he acted as an Arbiter.

He was Team Captain of Essex County Chess Team in the 1970/80’s and played for many club teams. I know him from having been a member of Charlton Chess Club and my own Club Lewisham for whom he was an excellent Team Captain. In that capacity, he was most definitely a hugely competitive captain who would ‘play to win’ at all costs.

He also represented Ireland a couple of times in matches against Wales and was a frequent traveller to Spain and other European Countries to play Tournaments and network with players and book dealers. Although he also dabbled in accountancy, chess was his life, love and living! A man who lived on his wit’s, he was a true entrepreneur.

In later years, he played for Lewes in the local Sussex League although not for some time as his health had deteriorated over the last few years. Despite this, he still kept in contact with many of his friends from the Chess Community and remained interested in Chess till the end.

But overriding all of this, on a personal level, his passing, means the loss of a long standing friend of more than 30 years.

  His funeral will be at 3.00PM on Monday 7th December at Eastbourne Crematorium in Sussex.

  For further details of the funeral please contact Andrew Smith at apstubs@aol.com or by telephone 07962 580349

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