Tributes paid to Shropshire players

Tributes have flooded in to the “father of Shropshire chess,” veteran player and multiple county champion David Everington, who has died.

Everington joined Shrewsbury chess club aged 16 in September 1963, and was the county champion on nine occasions, including for six consecutive years in the 1970s. As captain of the club’s A team, he led them to league titles in 2004 and 2011 and four Cox Trophy knockout competition successes. At the time of his death he was the club president and also the reigning club champion.

Club secretary Mark Smith said: “David was at the very heart of Shrewsbury chess club for many years. He had been seriously ill for quite some time and his non-participation in the recent online competitions was due, not to a dislike of online chess, but to the powerful drugs that he had to take.

“I’m sure lots of players have memories of David’s chess playing prowess as he was a strong player. I’m equally sure that still more have fond memories of David the man, who was unfailingly courteous and kind with an excellent sense of humour. We are going to miss him in Shrewsbury and our thoughts are with his family.”

Shropshire Chess Association spokesman Toby Neal said: “David was truly the father of Shropshire chess, his long playing career making him a bridge to the county’s big names of past eras, and with a unique knowledge of the game’s history in Shropshire.

“He had immense passion and enthusiasm, and was renowned for his swashbuckling style, typically sacrificing a pawn or two in the opening. He would love it if you played something a bit offbeat against him, and in the post-match analysis, which win or lose was always conducted in the atmosphere of friendship and great good humour which was trademark David, he would say something like ‘last time I saw that played was in Tal’s match against so-and-so in 1968!'”

And former county champion Carl Portman said: “David Everington was an inspiration, mentor and even a father figure in my youth. I looked up to him more than any other chess player. He influenced me in so many ways. I never heard a bad word said against the man in 40 years.”

Everington’s passing has come on the top of other recent losses on the local chess scene. John Waller was an Oswestry player of whom Jon Smith of that club says: “He was a reliable, committed and conscientious member and will be sadly missed by the club.” And Andrew Davies, who had been club secretary at Brewood Chess Circle for 25 years, has died. Chairman David Blower said: “No chess club, however good its players are, can function without a club secretary. I know Brewood Chess Circle is a very good chess club to go to, but only because we had a very good club secretary. Andrew will be very sadly missed. “