President’s Award 2011 – details and citations

We received several nominations this year and have made the award to :

Mike Colebrook, Mike Truran, Kevin Thurlow, Syd Cassidy & Dave Thomas


Mike Colebrook – Record of Achievement

Grimsby Chess Club
Club Secretary 1964 to 1967 & 1990 to 1993
Club Treasurer 1971 to 1972
Club President 1973 to 1984
Club Champion 1978/79 & 1979/80
Responsible for moving the club to Cherry Valley Canteen in 1986 where it stayed until 1998, this move laid the playing and financial foundation that the club is built on today.
Mike was awarded Life Membership in recognition of all the valuable work for Grimsby Chess Club.

Lincolnshire Chess Association
League Secretary 1971 to 1972, 1976 to 1977, 1991 to 1994 & 1996 to 2010.
First Team match captain 1973 to 1974
MCCU Delegate 1973 to 1983
Secretary 1974 to 1991 & 2002 to 2010
Grading Officer 1974 to 1981
Treasurer 1981 to 1990
Newsletter Editor 1981 to 1983, 1987 to 1989, 1992 to 1995 & 1998 to 1999
Second Team match captain 1992 to 1993
President 1993 to 2001


Mike Truran

Mike Truran has a longstanding involvement in chess organisation in Oxfordshire and in the West of England, but he is best known for his association with the 4NCL throughout the eighteen years of its existence. His first involvement was as a team captain, but he soon became one of the most important members of its Board.
When the 4NCL was founded, there were many who said that it would not last, not least because of the difficulty of finding satisfactory hotel venues and making suitable arrangements with them. Mike has worked tirelessly at that demanding task. Today over 400 players participate at each 4NCL weekend.
Mike has also been responsible for agreeing the 4NCL’s arrangements with the BCF/ ECF. Those of us who have been on the other side of these discussions know him to be a forceful but very fair negotiator.
Mike also served with distinction as one of the first Non-Executive Directors of the ECF.


Kevin J Thurlow

Kevin, who is 57, learned to play chess when he was four years old. Since then, Kevin has had an outstanding career in both the organisation of and playing chess to a high level at Club, National and International levels. He is a Candidate Master and an ECF Arbiter. He has actively promoted chess for everyone at local, National and International level since 1969 which has included his work as an arbiter, coaching juniors and adults, running his local Club (Redhill), organising and running events, columnist and publisher, etc. You will see from his record below that Kevin has held many posts simultaneously carrying out the duties of each post to a very high standard. His dedication and unfailing energy to chess despite the pressures of a difficult and time consuming job and his serious illness a few years ago have been such a benefit to so many players. He is respected by many for his contributions to the chess community for a period of over forty years.
There can be no-one more deserving of an ECF President’s Award than Kevin J Thurlow.
Kevin’s outstanding record is as follows:-

Organisation (as an individual)
• British (now English) Chess Federation arbiter since 1993.
• Has acted as emergency arbiter at zero notice at Guernsey International Chess Festival (when Steve Boniface died), and assisted at international events in Netherlands, Norway, Guernsey and Hastings. Arbiter at Combined Services Chess Championships since 2003, (and collation of results for grading), and has acted as arbiter at many other tournaments e.g. Surrey, Civil Service, Thanet, Metropolitan, Islington, Brighton, CCF Junior events, Spectrum events at Birmingham, Dudley, Hastings, Bideford, Weymouth, Portsmouth, Tunbridge Wells, Aveley, etc.
• Passed FIDE Arbiter exam in 2010.
• Published chess articles in Kingpin, British Chess Magazine, Surrey Mirror (columnist for many years), BCF “Chessmoves”, and other journals, and also items published on websites in England, Germany, Guernsey, Netherlands, and Scotland.
• Has interviewed players such as Kasparov, Korchnoi, Spassky, Smyslov, etc.
• Commissioned by London Civil Service, Post Office and Municipal Chess League to write a history of the League.
• He has been interviewed on chess by Channel TV, Channel 5, BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Guernsey
Organisation (Clubs and Associations)
• Reigate Grammar School – Captain/Secretary 1969 to 1970.
• Redhill Chess Club Committee – 1975 to date including
– Chairman 1996 to date;
– Secretary 1982 to1991;
– Treasurer 1981;
– Tournament Director 1982 to date;
– Grading Officer 1985 to 2007;
– First team captain 1975 to 1980, 1990 to 1998;
– Editor of newsletter 1975 to 1985;
– Junior Coaching, emergency captain, assisting other officers where necessary, giving simultaneous displays at schools.
• Civil Service Chess Association (for Civil Service Sports Council)
– Vice-President 1994 to 2008;
– National individual organiser 1994 to 2004, 2007 to date;
– Production of Bulletin for each event;
– Collation of Results for grading.
• London Civil Service Chess League
– Vice-President 1994 to date;
– League Recorder 1982 to 1993;
– Bulletin editor 1982 to 1994, (Leonard Barden and B H Wood both congratulated him on it!);
– Additional Committee member 1994 to date;
– Adjudicator 1985 to date;
– London Regional individual organiser 1991 to 2002;
– SE Regional individual organiser 1996 to 2002.
• Surrey County Chess Association
– Bulletin editor 1986 to 1988;
– Inter Clubs Tournament Secretary 2004 to 2007;
– Adjudicator 1978 to1994;
– Inaugural Director of SCCA CLG;
– Member of Rules and Ethics Subcommittee 2000 to 2004;
– Member of Chess Disputes Committee 2007 to 2010.
• Government Chemists CC Committee
– Secretary 1978 to 1990;
– 1st Team captain 1977, and on emergency basis thereafter;
– Tournament Director 1978 to 1990.
• Captain of “South” in “South” versus “North” – a large match organised to celebrate rebranding of “Chess” Magazine, when taken over by Pergamon in the 1980s.
• Spectrum Chess
– One of the three Directors of a company organising chess events throughout the UK 2008 to date.
• Surrey Mirror
– Regular column, then match results for several years since the early 1990s.
• DTISSA Magazine
– Chess column 1981 to 1995.
• TI-LINE Magazine
– Chess Column in the early 1980s.
Playing for Clubs and Associations
• Reigate Grammar School chess club 1964 to 1971;
• Redhill Chess Club 1967 to date (Surrey League);
• Government Chemists Chess Club 1975 to 1990 (London Civil Service League);
• UNATS Chess Club 1993 to date, (London Civil Service League);
• A variety of other Clubs e.g. Grays (Essex League), Beckton Rooks (North Circular League/4NCL), NPL (Thames Valley League), City University (London League), Wimbledon (London League), Wood Green (London League/National Club Championship – selected for European Club Championship), Mitcham (London League),Thistle White Rose (4NCL), Waltham Forest (Essex League), Guernsey (now called Channel Isolani) (4NCL), Yorkshire (county championships), Surrey (County Championships – runners-up 2007, Winners Minor 2008, County postal championships), Civil Service (Representative matches and postal), Combined Services (Representative matches);
• Member of winning teams in Surrey Division 1, Division 2, Division 3, Team KO, Civil Service Division 1 (for both Government Chemists and UNATS), Division 2, North Circular League Division 1, London League Division 1, County and national postal championship team events, and various Cup competitions.
Playing as an individual
• Candidate Master and has played at international events in England, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Scotland, and Switzerland. His best performance was probably 2nd place at Guernsey in 1996 which gave him qualification for the British Championship, results in which allowed him to achieve the highest increase in FIDE rating in the country for that year. He has also finished 3rd in Lugano (2nd Section) in 1983. He has beaten grandmasters at speed chess.
• He has won Civil Service championships at Lightning, 5 minutes for all moves, Selected Openings, Selected Endings, Rapidplay, classical chess, and postal chess. He also won the Surrey Postal Chess title in 1982, and has won over 60 trophies at club level. He has won brilliancy prizes at the Guernsey tournament, Civil Service Championship, and in the Surrey League, and Surrey Best Game prizes in Counties Correspondence Chess Championship.
• The first prize Kevin won was in a BBC Radio “find the move” quiz, broadcast in 1959; the most recent, the Redhill Club Championship in May 2010.


Syd Cassidy

On behalf of Cumbria Chess Association and the NCCU, I would like to nominate Syd Cassidy of Austin Friars/Carlisle chess club for the ECF President’s award.
Syd is retiring from teaching at the end of the summer term and is returning to Ireland , where he has his home. Syd has been outstanding in his service to chess over 20 years in Cumbria . I am sure the list below is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of chess organisation that Syd has been involved in. Syd is an inspirational coach, mentor and organiser and a League controller that has had fewer disputes than any of his predecessors. This is testament to his gracious good nature and no doubt Irish sense of humour, which invariably will quell any dissent. In other words, Syd gets on with everyone and I don’t know of a single person who has a bad word for Syd or a bad experience at his events.
He started the Austin Friars school chess club in Carlisle over 20 years ago and encouraged hundreds of Juniors to join and play in the club over the years. Indeed, many still play and are members of the ECF. Following on from this he entered the club into the Cumbria Chess Association and many adults have subsequently joined. In recent years as Carlisle club has diminished, Austin Friars has flourished to such a point that Carlisle effectively ceased to exist. But given Syd’s tact, he re-badged Austin Friars as ‘ Carlisle ‘ and the club is in good health.
Junior participation and junior events is Syd’s passion and was rewarded in 1997 when Austin Friars was awarded the NCCU Schools Award for outstanding achievement. Syd has run countless Junior events such as the Cumbria Junior Championships, the NCCU Junior championships and various junior jamborees. He is a close collaborator with Paul Bielby and jointly they have hosted events every year for Juniors in the North. Syd has also been very generous not only with his time and commitment, but also has on many an occasion dipped into his own pocket to help out financially, such as taking Juniors to Mega-Finals.
Syd, set up and still runs the Cumbria Chess website, which is one of the clearest and informative in the UK chess community. Check it out at
As well as promoting chess in England, Syd has been successful in organising cross-border matches with Clubs such as Dumfries and encouraged Scottish players to take part in Cumbrian events as well as inter-County matches with the setting up of the South Tyne League, with Cumbrian and Northumbrian clubs taking part.
Although junior events are his prime target, he has been active in a number of roles in the County.

Currently Syd is:
Cumbria League Controller
Cumbria Membership Secretary
Cumbria Rules Secretary
Cumbria Junior Secretary
South Tyne League organiser
Carlisle Match Captain
Cumbria Webmaster
and probably numerous other positions as well! – In fact, I don’t know what we will do without him. On a personal note it has been a real pleasure to work with Syd and imbibe a few real ales with him as we ruminated over chess matters. On a particular occasion at the South Lakes Chess Congress in Grange, Syd brought his violin – as he is an accomplished player of the fiddle as well as chess – and on the Saturday evening we were regaled with hours of fine Irish folk tunes. I am sure that if Syd were awarded this honour, it could not go to a better person, who has served chess selflessly for many years.
I am writing to formally nominate (in case nobody else already has) Syd Cassidy for the 2011 President’s Award for services to chess. While your exhortation is that the citation be brief, this may not be possible, since the depth and volume of work Syd has done must be recognized.
As I know a few people have outlined Syd’s organisational and job hat roles, let me add a personal side to the nomination.
I first started playing serious chess at the turn of the millennium, in one of Syd’s county junior rapidplay tournaments, and in matches with my school against his. Since then I’ve gone on to be a decently strong player, thanks in no small part to Syd’s running of Austin Friars (now Carlisle) chess club, and a large number of junior tournaments up and down the county, and leagues, in which I got to play those above me, and eventually match them. Naturally to do so much organisation requires giving up a ridiculous amount of time, just to be there to oversee the juniors and to keep everything safe and smoothly run. He has always managed to run junior tournaments with great aplomb, sometimes starting behind time due to things against his control, but not only always finishing on time, but with no child going away sad. When I began to help out in running these tournaments he was of invaluable help, patiently explaining the whys and wherefores of the pairing, and eventually trusting me to run senior sections of the county junior for example. Still he is always there for advice and guidance.
At times Syd has had to run six separate teams in our county league, juggling many intermittently if ever available players, transport arrangements, and always willing to drop out if it gives someone else a game. Such altruism is rarely found if you have driven a team seventy miles to a match, only to sit out for four hours! Our club has recently been able to play in NCCU cup matches, and again Syd has found venues here and in other locations at short notice, often stringing together a team where you would think players weren’t available.
The main point from all this is that Syd’s running of Cumbrian chess has often been so smooth that you don’t even notice it. As an arbiter I can think of nothing more I ever want than such a steady ship to sail. On two occasions he very successfully organised and ran the County Championships itself up here while I have been playing, both times in excellent conditions, with a great many players. I can remember no dispute ever escalating beyond simple misunderstanding with Syd and any other player. The man is simply unflappable.
The knock-on effect of organising at junior level is most presciently felt at the senior level. Many strong juniors have gone on here to be very active and welcomed members of our club, and in their turn helped me become a stronger player. Without Syd’s constant encouragement, and without the countless matches available to us all in the past, fewer of us would have stayed in the game, and as a result Cumbria would have by now suffered badly.
As you may already be aware he organises and effectively runs the County’s 2 league divisions (split into 3 groups in total), inter-school matches, South Tynedale’s league and jamboree nights, and our club. Without all this work I probably would not be seriously into chess today, and nor would be many others, who would never have had the chance to play in a happy environment with so many like-minded others.
While I am sure there is so much more which could be said, the essence of his work has as I say been to keep a dynasty of junior players coming up through our county for many years, me included. If our next county organiser can do one tenth of his work, we will be doing well.


Dave Thomas

The ECF Board unanimously agreed to make this award to Dave in recognition of his many years of devoted service to chess both in the Birmingham League and as a member of the BCF Management Board.
Dave is also extremely active as an ECF Senior Arbiter being involved in the running of Congresses and in assisting at the British Championships.
In addition he has assisted the ECF in many areas including IT and Grading.
This short resume just highlights the work Dave has done for chess. The award is a well deserved honour.

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