Welch, David

David Welch (30.10.1945 - 9.11.2019)

Dave, as he was known to almost everyone, was born in Brampton, Chesterfield and attended the local Grammar School before going on to Queens’ College, Cambridge where he was the Librarian and Bulletin Editor for the chess club.  He moved from Wallasey CC to Liverpool CC in 1968.  He was eventually to become its President.  He played a significant role in organising the Liverpool Chess Congress which in its day was a massive event.

He joined the arbiting team of the British Championships in 1981 eventually becoming its Chief Arbiter and Manager. Within the ECF (and its predecessor the BCF) he was the Manager/Director of Congress Chess and Chief Arbiter.  He was awarded the ECF President’s Award in 2007.

Internationally he was awarded the FIDE International Arbiters (IA) title in 1977 and the International Organisers (IO) title in 2010. He was awarded the FIDE Long Service award in 2016.

As well as being Chief Arbiter of the British and numerous local congresses, Dave had served as Chief Arbiter at the Gibraltar and Isle of Man Tournaments.

While in Gibraltar in 2017 Dave suffered a stroke which left him debilitated.  As a result of this he was unable even to visit a chess event and passed away in hospital at 6am on 9 November..

The above are the bare facts.  They do not come close to giving an indication of the tremendous amount of work and effort and success David had in promoting the game he loved.  Dave was just as happy working on the Minor Section of a weekend congress as he was being arbiter of a Grandmaster event. He was always happy to pass on his knowledge to less experienced arbiters who showed a willingness to learn.

Dave had no immediate family in the normal sense but he has left behind his family of chess players who will miss him greatly.

Peter Purland - “David was born in Chesterfield on October 30th 1945. He was educated at Chesterfield Grammar School where he both played and organised chess which his father had taught him. After a successful career at school he moved on to Queens’ College Cambridge to study Physics.  There he played for Queens’ at chess and, believe it or not, was a cox in the College eight. After four years at Cambridge he qualified with an MA and got a job at Liverpool College as junior physics teacher in the Upper School (current Y9 and above). He started in September 1968 which was also when I started. I taught History and Sport, especially Rugby and Swimming, in the Lower School (Ys 5-8) so at first we did not see a lot of each other. I had played chess at University and agreed to start some teams in the Lower School in 1969. I remember meeting Dave at “The Tram” the staff pub, and we both mentioned that we would be able to drive the minibus after half term. It was then we found out we were both born on the same day – but in different countries. David was living in a College Flat in Croxteth Road and when Ann and I got engaged I was lucky enough to get the flat above Dave’s. Dave remained the owner of his flat until his death although I moved to Wallasey in 2008.

 After a couple of years running school chess during which time Dave became a BCF Judge he persuaded me to start doing Adult Congresses and I followed him down the path of International Arbiter and BCF Senior Arbiter. I remember Stewart Rueben saying that there would never be any law disputes when Liverpool College were playing! I am afraid I do not remember the exact dates when David moved up the arbiting ladder but he did become chief arbiter of the British Championships and also chief arbiter of the BCF (later ECF). We also started taking holidays together and travelled to Ethiopia, Libya, Jordan, Guatemala, Honduras, Crimea, Lithuania, Finland, Estonia, up the Hurtigruten, Rumania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic and many other places. We also took school holidays – Dave did the finance and was very cheesed off when the Euro arrived as it was far too easy!

David retired due to ill health in 2000 but this did not stop him travelling or running chess. He did go to Azerbaijan for the Olympiad. Both of us had been involved in chess at Gibraltar from the start of the tournament and visited over 65 times. Sadly it was in Gibraltar in August 2017 that Dave suffered a severe stroke. He survived it but was left totally paralysed down the right side. He went in to Arundel Park Care Home where his many friends visited him. Gradually his health deteriorated and on 7th November he was rushed in to Royal Liverpool and passed away peacefully on Saturday 9th November.

He will be remembered as a true gentleman, polite, caring, hard working and with an excellent brain. His contribution to English Chess has been immense and he will be sorely missed. “

Nigel Short - “A Great servant of British chess”

David Sedgwick - “He loved arbiting at all types of events, whatever the format and whatever the strengths of the players.”

John Saunders - “David Welch contributed so much to British Chess as an arbiter and organiser over so many years”

Jack Rudd - “It was always a pleasure working with him”

Lara Barnes Click here for pictures and comment

Howard Wood - “A gentleman of the chess world”

Alan Atkinson - “He was always a great encourager of people; a good arbiter and an astute judge of character”

Alex McFarlane - Dave was a great inspiration and mentor to me. I first met him in 1985 at the British in Edinburgh.  We worked together every year after that at either the British, Blackpool or Hastings until his stroke in 2017.  At one of the British Championships at Eastbourne we were using a complicated Swiss pairing system which was reserved for the British Championship only. The system was supposed to produce a unique pairing.  We both came up with different pairings on one scoregroup.  A check showed that both pairings satisfied the rules.  When David saw my solution to a problem he thought it neater than his but not content with that he applied the same logic to a different scoregroup where a similar problem had existed.  The outcome was a third version which became the published version. The special rules were abandoned at the end of that event!

David also had a love of beer. When we were at the Olympiad together in Baku I would go out and get some nice dark beers which we both preferred to the mass produced lager that was on sale in the hotel bar. We sat together most evenings , downing a beer or two, chatting and putting forward suggestions for revisions to what was to become the 2017 Laws of Chess. One of these suggestions, regarding illegal positions, appeared in draft version 7 only to disappear in draft 8 which appeared only a few hours later and before we had finished our beers!