RIP Roger Barnett (RGS 1953-61)
Roger was a member of Redhill Chess Club for more than 50 years. He was always willing to play anyone, and encouraged new members. He was a dangerous attacking player, and knew a lot about obscure gambits. In contrast, he was a shy and rather nervous person away from the board, but he was always eager to help. Roger always wrote entertaining match reports which he submitted to the Surrey Mirror. For some years he was Club Secretary, and more recently, club archivist and refreshment officer. Every week, he brought us tea, coffee, milk, biscuits, and jaffa cakes, until the cupboard was overflowing (and he never wanted to accept payment for what he brought). He also acted as Surrey’s Correspondence Chess Captain, until correspondence chess became electronic. Although Roger’s job was in IT, he never owned a PC! He also attended Surrey Chess meetings, as he wanted to be involved, and really nobody else at the club wanted to attend. Unfortunately, a couple of times he arrived with instructions to vote against some proposal, and announced this, at which point someone at the meeting would say we had misunderstood the proposal, so Roger, being very nice and trusting, would vote in favour!
He was always the first to visit club members in hospital and to turn up with presents he had carefully selected. He was always thoughtful like that and you couldn’t meet a kinder, gentler person. After I suffered a stroke, he turned up with a book on cricket which cheered me up, and a book of crosswords, which provided evidence that my brain would still work.
He had not been well recently, then had a bad fall in the recent freezing weather. He seemed to be recovering then died a few days later. At the next club meeting we consumed jaffa cakes in his honour.
He won several club competitions (including the club championship) and recently suggested a new idea in a rather dramatic opening sequence. A search of the databases revealed that a Russian grandmaster had independently had the same idea, which understandably delighted Roger.
He was keen on crosswords and would tell us about interesting clues. He also acted as scorer for a local Cricket Club until recently.
Kevin Thurlow (RGS 1964 – 1972)