RHS Chess Team

The RHS chess team playing Newcastle Grammar School over the telephone in the Sunday Times National Schools Chess Tournament – 1960-61, would that be right? None of the matches finished – but we lost on adjudication (I think)!
  • Alastair MacLean
  • Dennis Wallace
  • Colin Moffat
  • Gordon Burt
  • Keith Moffat (no relation)
  • Gavin Bolus
Alex ‘Henry’ Hall is the man with the pipe – he was head technology teacher and staff member responsible for the chess club. George Kempsall is the man standing behind Wallace and Moffat. He was himself a chess player and a great advocate and organiser of Edinburgh schools chess – and a reporter for the Edinburgh (was it the Evening Dispatch or the Evening News). Every chess match was reported with individual results – so we regularly got our names in the newspaper! I have forgotten the name of the man on the left – but he was an associate of George Kempsall’s and likewise a great enthusiast for schools chess. Posted by Gordon Burt


  1. Comment from Alistair McLean –
    I think the date was Friday, 19 February 1960 as my recollection is that it was the day Prince Andrew was born. We finished quite early as the dedicated telephone line was booked for only 2.5 hours and I then went on to Scouts!

    As I recall, the excuse for playing the match by phone (which was a novelty in its time) and not travelling to Newcastle was that exams were imminent. Kempsall and friend were there as observers to ensure there was no cheating. Gordon is correct that we lost; had we won we would have been in the finals which took place in London.

    Alan Grosset (a.grosset@btinternet.com) who left school in 1959 sometimes sees Dennis Wallace (they both play golf at Duddingston) but we have lost contact with Keith Moffat.

    Alex Hall went on to succeed Jocky Cunningham as deputy Rector.

    Best wishes,

  2. ok..except that Dennis Wallace and Alistair McLean left school in 1960. And were my contemporaries all the way from Jock’s Lodge..the wee school

    chess was hugely popular for a few years…at the front of the school, the pillars, the front quadrangle, the band room..i think

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