Richard A Furness (1937-2004)
Richard was the first Editor of Arbiting Matters, and between 1993 and 1998 produced 13 editions of our newsletter – “full of good stuff…” wrote one chess journalist, an active player who was outside the circle of the arbiting fraternity, “…why has it yet to be a guest publication on Have I Got News for You?”. Richard himself was a frequent contributor and his analysis of the pairings for later rounds of the 1994 British Championship will remain a lasting guide to the official Seeded Swiss Pairing Rules of the BCF for all new and aspiring arbiters.
I first met Richard at the 1989 championships and was to work with him many times, notably at the Counties Championship finals, at Hastings, the 4NCL and at his last appearance at an event he had tended and treasured almost throughout its life, the Monarch Assurance International in the Isle of Man. His efficiency and calmness under the occasional attack always shone through. It was at last year’s British Championships that the first signs of what turned out to be Motor Neurone Disease developed, when what seemed to be a minor throat infection meant that he could not perform his inimitable presentation of the prize-winners at the closing ceremony. The symptoms continued to worsen at the Monarch Assurance and the November rounds of the 4NCL. He was not on duty when the 4NCL met at Telford in January, although he visited on the Sunday, just two days before the diagnosis was confirmed. It became a matter of urgency that presentation of the BCF President’s Award should be made as soon as possible, and at an informal ceremony at his home in Culcheth, attended by the Chairman and Secretary of the CAA, Gerry Walsh gave him his well deserved trophy.
Just one day after his funeral at Culcheth, attended by no less than ten Senior BCF Arbiters, he was posthumously elected an Honorary Life Vice-President of the BCF at the Finance Council Meeting.
We shall long remember him.