Wednesday, 8 February 2017

The Roger Goldsmith Memorial Trophy

In 1990 the then Secretary of the Bury Area Chess League, Roger Goldsmith, suddenly died of a heart attack at the age of only 42.   Of course, this was a tremendous shock to everyone in the League, but especially to his Ely Club members.

The League President, Jim Page of Stowmarket, proposed that a trophy should be awarded in his name.   A Cup competition was devised, open to all clubs in the League, with a maximum grading limit of 550 per team.   Initially it was entitled the Roger Goldsmith Champagne Memorial Trophy, because Jim wanted the winners to receive a bottle of champagne, in addition to an engraved wooden chess board.

The competition has now been running successfully for 25 years.   The trophy has been won by Linton on seven occasions, with Bury St Edmunds/Bury Cannons six times.   Cambridge and Woolpack have won three times each, whilst Sudbury and Ely have won twice.   One win has been recorded for Soham and Stowmarket.   Indeed, the only club in the League not to record a win is Newmarket (who have recently dropped out of the BACL).

The only changes in the format is that a bottle of champagne is no longer awarded, and the maximum grade is 580.   There is also a Division 2, for teams not exceeding 450.

The only game score I have against Roger is dated 21 February 1989, a year or so before he died.   He was a reasonable chess player; his grade for this match was 101.   In the following position, I (White) had wrongly sacrificed a knight for a pawn, hoping to win his knight on c6.   The game continued:   12. Bxe7   Bxe7?   If Roger had taken back with his King, he would have escaped the pin and would have been heading for a win.   He was probably deterred from playing 12... Kxe7 because of the fork on g6, losing his rook.   But the knight can easily be rounded up and I would still have been losing.

For the record, after 13. Bb5, I ended up after the exchanges on c6 a pawn ahead and went on to win!

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