RIP Jim Slater

13th March 1929 to 18th November 2015

Jim was a highly successful financier, but things went wrong with the stock market collapse of the mid-1970s. Later he reinvented himself, including writing children’s books.

He was a chess enthusiast throughout his life and counted his sponsorship of British chess as one of his proudest achievements. The most dramatic of these was adding £50,000 to the prize money for the 1972 World Chess Championship Match. Bobby Fischer had said that the purse was inadequate and he wouldn’t play. Jim’s challenge, expressed on his behalf by Leonard Barden, did the trick. Bobby was duly grateful and the match resulted in a worldwide explosion of interest in chess. England benefited from this more than any other country; thus the expression ‘English Chess Explosion’. He also sponsored Hastings for a couple of years.

The Slater Foundation also helped young English players develop; Leonard selected Tony Miles, Jonathan Mestel, John Nunn, Jon Speelman, Michael Stean from 1971. All became GMs in due course. Again, at Leonard’s suggestion, he helped finance the 1973 World Junior Championship in Teesside where Tony Miles and Michael Stean were runners-up to Beliavsky. Tony Miles won the title the following year in the Philippines. He also offered considerable financial inducements for our players to become GMs. Tony Miles received £5000 as the first. Ray Keene and the others mentioned also received valuable sums. 45 years on, we still get benefit from the impact of that era.

It was only today that I suddenly thought (and it was remiss of me) Jim should have received the honour of ‘Honorary Life Member of the ECF’. Our condolences to his wife and four children.

— Stewart Reuben