Masterful to the End
Dunedin-born professional chess player and writer Robert Wade has died in London, aged 87, bringing to an end a career which famously included a draw with Bobby Fischer at the Havana tournament in 1965, played by telex. Wade learnt chess moves at the age of eight from his father, a farmer, but did not take the game remotely seriously until high school, when academic success led to his being awarded membership of the Athenaeum Institute, Dunedin, where chess was played and chess books available. He won the New Zealand Championship in 1944 and his second victory the following year led to an invitation, as champion of a Commonwealth country, to the British Championship of 1946. Wade settled in England in 1947 and soon became the countryís most active player. In 1950 he was awarded the title of International Master. He represented England in six Chess Olympiads between 1954 and 1972 – as a selector in 1970 he dropped himself in favour of younger players and represented New Zealand instead. One of Wade’s finest achievements was to set new standards in chess publishing, particularly in the field of opening theory during his editorship of the Batsford series of chess books in the 1970s and 1980s. He remained an active player in his late eighties and returned to New Zealand in 2006 for the Queenstown Open, at which he drew with the winner, the Grandmaster Murray Chandler.
Robert Wade: April 10 1921 – 29 November 2008