Chess legend Bob Wade dies at 87

by ChessBase
11/29/2008 – Robert Graham Wade, player, writer, arbiter, coach and chess promoter, was born in New Zealand, where he won the national championship three times. After moving to England he won the British Championship twice and played for England in six Olympiads. He beat Korchnoi and helped Bobby Fischer prepare for his match in Reykjavik. Bob died in the early hours of the morning. In memoriam.

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Robert Graham Wade, 1921–2008

Robert Wade, OBE was born on April 10, 1921 in Dunedin, New Zealand. He was a chess player, writer, arbiter, coach, and promoter. After winning the New Zealand Chess Championship in 1944, 1945 and 1948, he traveled to Europe to further his chess career. Settling in England, he became an International Master in 1950 and went on to represent England in six Chess Olympiads. In 1952 and 1970 he was British Champion.

Bob Wade (left) with GM Jon Speelman and ECF International Director Peter Sowray in 2007

Bob Wade earned the title of International Arbiter in 1958, and made much of his living from directing events. He defeated tournament winner Viktor Korchnoi at Buenos Aires 1960, and continued to play on the international circuit. Wade served as chess editor with the respected Batsford publishers in the 1960s and 1970s and managed the Batsford Chess Library after this. Well respected as a chess coach and author, Wade helped Bobby Fischer prepare for his 1972 World Championship match with Boris Spassky by collating a special file of Spassky's games. He was awarded an OBE for services to chess in 1979. He was made an 'Honorary Member' of FIDE, the World Chess Federation.

Ex New Zealanders: Murray Chandler vs Bob Wade

Still an active player in his 80s, Bob Wade was still able to play at a high level, as evidenced by his 2006 draw against Grandmaster Murray Chandler in the Queenstown Chess International, where he scored 6/10 with only one loss. Wade played in the European Senior Teams chess championship for the last six years, with excellent results considering his age and grade. In August this year he played in the Staunton Memorial in London, where he unfortunately finished with 0.0/11 points.

Bob Wade's lectures during the 2006 Queenstown Classic [Photo Malcolm Tredinnick]

Wade built up an enormous chess library at his house in South London, which included books, magazines and many original bulletins from tournaments: these latter were the primary sources for many types of chess literature. The growth of this library was supported by B.T. Batsford. Eventually the library was gifted to the nation, though its eventual destination is not certain at present. In the days before computer databases the Wade library was often used by British and foreign players in preparation for matches.

Robert Wade was taken to the queen Elisabeth Hospital in Woolwich on Wednesday morning with severe pneumonia. He died on Saturday November 29th 2008 at 03:00 a.m.. Bob, you will be sadly missed.


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