JOE FRENCH

It is with sadness when we learned that Joe French has passed away at St.Michaels Hospice. Joe was the Basingstoke Chess Club secreatary for many years and in this capacity he received the award of the 'Best Chess Club in England' in the 1990's.

However it was his efforts in developing young players in the schools around Basingstoke and Hampshire that he will best be most remembered. Under his coaching Kempshott school became the first state school to reach the finals of the England Schools championship, losing a very close contest in the ultimate match.

His services were sought by countless schools in initially instructing the moves before moving on to the more advanced aspects of the game. Once he was invited to help coach the England team due to his involvement with several Basingstoke players who were in the team.

Playing against some of the best youngsters in Europe the team starting with the lowest graded players pulled of a surprise competition victory in Gibraltar. However Joe will always be remembered for showing the same patience and enthusiasm towards complete beginners as the more advanced players.  A few years back he was nominated for the  'Unsung Heroes' award issued annually by the Basingstoke Gazette where he reached the final selection. Joe French, 79-year-old Basingstoke Chess Club secretary and Hampshire Chess Junior organiser was born in South London and it is understood he learned the basic moves of chess at four-years-old. He entered a Chess Congress at the Elephant and Castle at a young age and was to go on and play for teams in the strong London Chess Leagues. After moving to Basingstoke, Joe  took up an accountant post at The Automobile Association and played for Fanum Chess Club.

He moved to Basingstoke Chess Club in 1980, where he quickly became involved in the club administration, taking up the position of Club secretary. Over the years the club was gradually improved to a very high standard and in 1992 there was a visit from the British Chess Federation which resulted in Basingstoke Chess Club being named England club of the year. However, it was while working with junior players that Joe excelled. Taking on the role of the junior organiser, he showed amazing patience to teach many youngsters the basic moves of the game. His work in this field did not go un-noticed particularly by many of the more forward looking and progressive schools in a wide area around Basingstoke.

Within a few years, Joe was coaching and developing many of the top quality Chess Players and Basingstoke’s Chess Club where his reputation in the chess world was high. An example was the amazing achievements of Kempshott Junior School who were rubbing shoulders with the best public and private schools. Back in 2004, The British Chess Federation made a special award from the president directly to Joe French. He was also a finalist for the Basingstoke Gazette awards a few years ago. Joe's accolades were numerous and his dedication to chess was remarkable and countless young players will testify to the progress they made under his coaching. Joe remained dedicated to playing the game until the end, even when he was desperately ill he still turned up at Basingstoke Chess Club. It was fitting that his team won the Southampton League division in the final season before he passed away. Joe will be sadly missed by many in the world of Chess.

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Ref

Member

Name

Sex

Age

Club

Standard

Previous

Rapidplay

Previous

105909K

Bronze

Ashmore, Roy E

M

Basingstoke

135

A

138

A

245887B

Bronze

Beldaus, Peter A

M

Basingstoke

107

D

108

D

106983E

Bronze

Bonsey, Frank A

M

Basingstoke

111

C

106

B

107117J

Bronze

Boyd, Paul

M

Basingstoke

132

D

137

D

163759K

Silver

Chapman, Timothy J

M

Sandhurst

146

D

145

C

163037E

Gold

Chilton, James I

M

Basingstoke

148

A

145

A

109437D

Gold

Davis, Timothy J

M

Farnham

170

A

170

A

155

C

148

D

299716C

Bronze

Graham, David

Basingstoke

149

B

139

B

282276D

Gold

Hackman, Paul

Andover

182

B

187

B

148959J

Gold

Kirkwood, Ross W

M

Basingstoke *

140

A

143

B

293103F

Platinum

Knight, Colin B

Basingstoke *

137

C

139

C

127698A

Silver

Kocan, Barry A

M

Basingstoke

133

A

128

A

299705J

Matthews, Adam

Basingstoke

76

D

70

D

118731E

Gold

Shaddick, John

M

Basingstoke

132

A

124

A

191559K

Bronze

Smith, Adrian

M

Basingstoke

88

E

82

E

119226H

Silver

Smith, Ewart J

M

Basingstoke

140

B

140

B

286605F

Gold

Stipcevic, Ivan

M

Basingstoke

173

B

173

B

173

F

280314J

Vanlint, Alex JP

M

16

Reading School

143

C

152

D

283348H

Vanlint, Paul

M

Basingstoke

121

D

119

D

307081F

Bronze

Ware, Philip J

Basingstoke

132

F

260482G

Bronze

Willis, Alan S

M

Basingstoke

110

D

117

D

127182K

Bronze

Wyld, Ken

M

Basingstoke

106

B

112

B



 

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