Saturday 16 December 2023

Warwickshire County Chess Teams

Warwickshire did not enter the County Championships in 2023-24, due to a lack of captains, and a perceived lack of interest from players. This survey is designed to gather data on both of those issues.

If you are interested in playing for Warwickshire in 2024-25, please complete this form by Monday, 8th January.

Thursday 10 September 2020

Bob Wildig (1944-2020) RIP

 Bob Wildig died this morning (10th September 2020). Bob was the President of Rugby Chess Club, a member since the 1960s and, for many decades, the clubs Secretary and Board 1 player in the A team. He has been ill in recent years and died as a result of this illness, peacefully, in his sleep. 

Members of the club will have many memories of Bob, with several of them having known him since they were juniors. For now we are putting a placeholder picture into this post to mark his passing. There will be a more significant reflection about Bob's life once we have had time to plan. This photo is one taken in 2010 when the club held an exhibition at the Rugby Art Gallery and Museum. Bob is posing next to part of the display - an image showing him at age 15 (seated foreground) playing as a schoolboy in a simultaneous match. Bob had a lifelong interest in chess and instilled this love into others also, several of whom still play with the club. He will be sadly missed by all of us.

Friday 28 August 2020

John Naylor (1972-2020) RIP

Members of the club are saddened to hear of the sudden death this month of a past club player John Naylor. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.

Chess players, including several GMs have commented on John's chess talent. A video by Tryfon Gavriel talks about John and shows one of his games. Simon Williams (aka GingerGM) devoted a podcast to John and is organising a special tournament for chess players who knew John (6th Sept on Lichess). There is a memorial thread on the ECF forum which you can add to.
John last played for RCC during 2008/9 and 2009/10 seasons. He was a formidable player, an excellent chess coach, a memorable and likeable person. He is well remembered in the club and the league. Some of the memories have nothing to do with chess ...  but if you do want to look at some of his games on this blog there are games here,  here and here.

Club President Bob Wildig, recalls that John first came to the club in the mid to late ‘80s along with Russell James, similar age and nearly as strong a player. They were both juniors and Bob recalls taking them both to quite a few matches around that time. 'On one occasion there was an enemy pawn on the seventh on the verge of promotion only stopped by knights and I must’ve gone white as a sheet thinking it would all collapse but John just smiled and said ‘It’s all quite sound, Bob’ and went off for his customary drag.'

John Hall knew John Naylor well from this time and recalls not only games played by and against him, but also inviting him home for a meal and giving John what turned out to be his first curry.

John moved away from Rugby for a while and when he returned he not only played very successfully as Board 1 on our A team, but also taugh chess to local schools and coached individuals. One junior he coached was Chris Pegler's son and she has video footage of him running a poker school for Rhys' 13th birthday party as a side gig. (Poker at that time was an passion equivalent to chess, and much more lucrative!). She recalls: 'John not only visited us at home to teach, but also accompanied us to Northampton Juniors' events to watch Rhys play. This venue had a high balcony from which parents could watch the games. John wanted to watch Rhys but was not keen on heights so I had to try and describe the game. Sometimes John would get  so frustrated by my lack of decent commentary that he would advance briefly to the edge. He really was very committed to encouraging new chess talent'. Although Rhys did not persist with chess he still has the meticulously written notes from John and a great affection for the French Defence.

Nalin Kadowala and Jonathan Cox (who like John started chess at Rugby as juniors) joined him as part of what Nalin calls‘The Rugby Chess Club Dream Team’ during an amazing season in 2009/10.  Nalin recalls John as very humorous and laid-back. Away from the chess board he was witty and welcoming. Until you were sitting across the board from him. Then you’d realise that he could harness his bluffing power from poker to dismantle you over the course of a not-very-long chess game.

Nalin also recalls when Rugby A had a home match against Coventry Chess A at Rugby Railway Club. They had set out their usual four boards, everyone present apart from the top board, John Naylor. This was no surprise to either RCC or our opponents (such was John’s reputation)! Coventry’s top board, was also not present and as it was not unusual for him to be late, Nalin and Jonathan had a little bet on who would arrive first. Close to half hour after the games had begun things started to get tense (half an hour is the league's default time). What nobody expected was that two minutes to the default time, John and Dave would casually walk in together clearly sharing some amusing banter, each holding the staple beer. A few moves were played before John leaned over his chess board to Dave to suggest, ‘Draw?’ ‘Fancy watching the footie?’ This was met with a swift ‘Yes’ and the two of them happily trotted off to the main lounge area.

In telling this tale Nalin reflects that whilst chess was an important part of John’s life - it wasn’t all his life. Friendships and encouraging others was also what he enjoyed doing. Wherever John is now, Nalin feels confident he has a pint in hand, and if he happens to be watching Nalin play some horrendous chess there will be a smile on his face. 
Thank you for the memories John and God Bless.

Sunday 22 March 2020

Chess and COVID-19

The Rugby Workers Club has closed its doors in line with the governmental recommendations for tackling Covid-19. Both leagues in which we compete had already cancelled further matches and the league AGM arrangements are on standby until we know more. Other clubs (including Coventry Chess Club - which was due to start its summer tournament at end of March) are closed for now.

For juniors the news about the 2020 UK Chess Challenge is that this will now no longer happen in May and is likely to happen (at earliest) in September. You can find out more and sign up for email alerts on the deLancey website (LINK).

These are vary uncertain times and I hope that every one of our members, their families, members of other clubs and Rugby Workers Club staff and members can stay healthy. I will keep in touch by email when there is any news and hope that we might find some amusement in online chess until we can meet in person again.

Rugby Chess Club cancelled our last meeting (16th March) and you should assume that unless you hear otherwise via the Rugby Chess email list, meetings in April and May will not now go ahead. Hope to see you again soon and STAY SAFE PLEASE.

Monday 20 January 2020

Warwickshire Congress 2020

The Warwickshire Congress is being held on 21st – 23rd February 2020.

Venue: Citrus Hotel Ryton on Dunsmore, Coventry.

Open, U1975, U140 and U110 sections.

Free entry for first 20 female entries.

Entry form and online entry through

Wednesday 11 December 2019

Graham Lightfoot - RIP

Very sad news. On Wednesday 4th December 2019, past Secretary of Rugby Chess Club Graham Lightfoot died. Graham was club secretary from about 1968 to 1999 and made a big impression in taking forward competitive chess in this club during that time. His most remarkable achievement was to steer the club to a win against Cambridge and then Oxford Universities in 1982 making RCC national club champions.

The team included two young men who went on to become chess grandmasters (Mark Hebden and Keith Arkell) and also included current Club President Bob Wildig. Graham accompanied the team when they went to the USSR to represent English chess the following year. Ben Gaff (Leamington League Chair) writing about the 100 year history of the Coventry & District Chess League recently (Dec 2019, Chess magazine) described this as perhaps the most stunning achievement in the league's history.

This was at a time when soviet chess was a very serious business and the match against Moscow Chess Club was a huge event. Graham is pictured at this event (seated right) with a decidedly serious expression.

Graham's family have extended an invitation to his funeral and wake - an opportunity to celebrate Graham's life. This will be on Monday 23rd December at 2pm at Rainsbrook Cemetery (Avon Room) & Crematorium and afterwards at The Railway Club (which was where RCC used to meet). 

Family flowers only please. Donations in memory of Graham for the Alzheimer's Society may be sent to Walton & Taylor Funeral Directors,
16 Railway Terrace Rugby, CV21 3EW, telephone 01788 543008.

Please email the club if you need directions or further information.  (Obituary in Rugby Advertiser where you can leave online comments is here).

Saturday 5 October 2019

End of pre-season results - thanks for taking part

Malcolm sends this report on the final two rounds of the 2nd RCC pre-season tournamet. As you can see newcomer Francis emerged as a clear winner.

Thank you to all who took part, and especially Malcolm for running the contest. We trust you all enjoyed the evet and that it may have helped limber you up for the coming season. Malcolm reckons it had had that effect for him, he started with a win and two draws in the first 3 Leamington League matches.


This round started with Francis just ahead of Chris Badley, Mike Johnson & Simon Turner, with six players a further point back, waiting to pounce.

Francis played Chris, and continued his serene progress. Neither Simon nor Jim were able to join us, so Malcolm was re-paired with Mike Johnson, and was pleased to break his duck when his pawns managed to invade Mike's posititon.

Ganesh beat Petar, Dave beat John, Nicola beat Chris P and Vassily will have been pleased to follow up his win against Malcolm with a draw against Bob.

This gave Francis the luxury of knowing he'd won the Tournament with a round to spare. Nevertheless, he kept his run going with a win against Mike, our visitor from Coventry, who we'd been pleased to welcome. Ganesh beat Nicola, and Chris B beat Vassily to join Simon equal 2nd behind Francis on 4 points.

John beat Petar, Bob beat Dave, and Malcolm beat Chris P giving the final table, LINK.