Michael Stoop, a regular on the local congress circuit for many years, passed away on Sunday at the age of 88.
His grandfather, Cornelius Stoop was a wealthy Dutch-born entrepreneur who was high up in Shell when they merged with Royal Dutch Petroleum in 1907. He had two sons, both of whom played for England at Rugby, Michael’s father, Adrian, being captain several times.
Michael was born in 1922 and went to Oxford University. As soon as he was old enough he joined the Grenadier Guards (Armoured Section) in WWII, quickly rising to the rank of Major and being awarded the MC.
After the War he became involved in the infamous Clermont Club, where fellow gamblers included Lord Lucan, Jimmy Goldsmith, Jim Slater and Kerry Packer, backgammon being his speciality. It is well recorded how Lucan used Stoop’s car to escape the Law before he disappeared, though he was never accused of collusion.
After a day’s play, he would regale his company with tall tales of his life in High Society.
One hopes his backgammon was better than his chess, but he was always a willing learner and a good-humoured player.
This was one of his wins from the 6th Beacon Seniors Congress in 2006.
White: M. Stoop. Black: G. J. Jenkins.
Queen’s Pawn Game [D02]
1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nd7 3.e3 a6 4.Bd3 c5 5.b3 Ngf6 6.0–0 e6 7.Bb2 Bd6 8.Nbd2 0–0 9.Ne5 Qc7 10.f4 b5 After sensible development Stoop now spots a chance. 11.Nxd7 Bxd7? 12.dxc5 Bxc5 13.Bxf6 gxf6 14.Bxh7+! Any chessplayer’s dream – the Greek Gift. 14…Kg7 (If 14…Kxh7 15.Qh5+ Kg7 but 16.Rf3 doesn’t work because of 16…Bxe3+ 17.Kh1 Bxf4 18.Rh3 Rh8 19.Qg4+ Bg5. The best continuation was 16.Qg4+ Kh7 17.Rf3 Bxe3+ 18.Kh1 and Black must give up his Queen to prevent mate). 15.Qg4+ Kxh7 16.Rf3 Bxe3+ 17.Rxe3 Qc5 18.Qh3+ Kg7 19.Kh1 Rh8 20.Rg3+ the chance of mate has gone but a rich harvest awaits. 20…Kf8 21.Qxh8+ Ke7 22.Qxa8 Bc6 White should resign, of course, but these Seniors are proud people who will cling on to every last vestige of hope. 23.Qxa6 Qd4 24.Rd1 Qc5 25.Rc1 d4 26.b4 Qd6 27.Qa7+ Kf8 28.Qc5 Resigns. Without his Queen Black has nothing.