En Passant – IM Bob Wade OBE (1921-2008)
By ICC ChessFM

ICC was saddened to hear that IM Robert “Bob” Wade OBE, regarded by many as the doyen of British Chess, died last week in London of complications from pneumonia, aged 87.

A three-time New Zealand champion, Bob was born in Dunedin, New Zealand 1921. Early in his career though, he emigrated to the U.K. and became British champion at Chester 1952, and again in 1970 at Coventry. He represented England in seven Olympiads between 1954 and 1972.

From 1969, Bob edited Batsford Chess Books – a famed series known to all that launched a publishing boom for chess material in English across the world. He also had an extensive chess library that was consulted by authors, journalists and top players alike – and he even supplied secret files on Taimanov, Larsen, Petrosian and Spassky for Bobby Fischer, on his road to capturing the world title in 1972 (and also his 1992 rematch with Spassky).

But arguable his greatest contribution was that in laying the foundations for the English chess explosion, as he and Leonard Barden successfully groomed a stable full of young players to top grandmaster level, resulting in England, during the mid-1980s being the main threat to the Soviet dominance in the game.

Bob was awarded his OBE by the Queen of Gt. Britain for his services to chess in 1979. A couple of Bob’s acclaimed books as author include Soviet Chess and (in conjunction with Kevin O’Connell) The Games of Robert J. Fischer. Bob Wade: Tribute to a Chess Master was released last year highlighting his playing career. With a ready quick wit, he was one of the most likable and trusted personalities on the chess scene and will be sadly missed by all in the game.

In a special audio tribute on the Chess.FM blog, Macauley Peterson interviews GM Jon Speelman and IM Malcolm Pein on the life and times of Bob Wade OBE. To listen to this special tribute, click here. A fuller obituary of Bob’s outstanding career and service to the game can be found at Mark Crowther’s TWIC. Other obituaries come from Malcolm Pein at The Daily Telegraph, Leonard Barden at The Guardian. There’s also an interesting 1999 interview with Bob Wade by John Saunders at the British Chess Magazine.

A fuller obituary of Bob’s outstanding career and service to the game can be found at Mark Crowther’s TWIC. Other obituaries come from Malcolm Pein at The Daily Telegraph, Leonard Barden at The Guardian. There’s also an interesting 1999 interview with Bob Wade by John Saunders at the British Chess Magazine.

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