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Bloodworth & Grime R.I.P.

Ken Bloodworth’s Memorial service went off satisfactorily at the Weston Mill Crematorium in Plymouth on Monday last. Appropriately, perhaps, the biggest group of mourners comprised his fellow chess-players, mostly members of the Plymouth Chess Club. His son Richard came over from Western Australia while Peter, from near Bournemouth, was accompanied by his family members. 

The funeral directors were Walter C. Parson of Budshead Road, Plymouth. In an earlier existence, Wally Parson was an able and very promising Plymouth Junior chessplayer, who came under the guidance of Ken, but he gave the game up as his career took over.

Afterwards, a reception was held at a nearby social club, which provided an opportunity to chat with the Wheeler brothers about chess stories from the distant past.

This was followed on Friday by the announcement of the death of Roger Grime, one of Cornwall’s most faithful servants for 40 of his 58 years.

He was born in Helston and attended the Grammar School there from 1963 – ‘70 before eventually qualifying as an accountant. He was general factotum at the town’s Godolphin Chess Club for over 35 years, acting as Secretary and 1st Team Captain  until his illness from cancer prevented it.

He took a top board for the Cornwall county team, rarely missing a match, and was Hon. Treasurer for C.C.C.A. throughout.  He won Cornwall’s individual championship in 1975, before the arrival on the scene of Peter Clarke, Michael Adams and Andrew Greet.

Roger Grime in 1983


The funeral is due to take place on Monday 18th April at 11 a.m. at St. Michael’s Church, Helston. It is family flowers only, and donations, if wished, to either the Helston Flora Day Association or the Amputee Club at the Camborne-Redruth Hospital (Bamcoose). Cheques may be sent to Pendle Funeral Services, The Firs Funeral Home, St. Johns, Helston. TR13 8HN

Ken Bloodworth (1914 – 2011)

The news of Ken Bloodworth’s sudden death at the age of 96 came to light earlier today.

Here is the wording of an obituary I’ve done for the Western Morning News which should appear in their Saturday edition.

Kenneth John Bloodworth     (25.06.1914. – 16.03.2011.) 

Ken Bloodworth, a leading national organiser of junior chess, has died suddenly at his Plymouth home at the age of 96. 

He had a distinguished career in the Royal and Polish navies, during which time he was awarded Poland’s Kryz Walecznych for great valour and courage in WWII. On June 1st 1944, his ship, the Polish vessel Krakowiak, tied up in Plymouth for 24 hours, and he had to report to the supplies office, where he encountered a teenage clerk, Joyce Turner. As he signed the requisite forms, she mused “Hmm, Bloodworth – that’s a funny name”. They married the following year. 

He settled in Plymouth, becoming a schoolteacher and working in the city’s primary schools – Public P. S. (1949 – ‘60); Honicknowle (1960 – ’64); Montpellier (1964 – ’68) before returning to Honicknowle as Deputy Head until his retirement in 1974. 

He joined Plymouth Chess Club after the war and was soon running the city’s school chess league. In 1953, he started the Devon Junior Championships, held each Christmas holiday at Plymouth College and ran this for 27 years. At its height, this attracted over 200 young players and the international section that he developed attracted players from all over Western Europe. At least six competitors went on to become senior champions of their own countries – Germany, Netherlands, France, Ireland, England and Scotland. 

By the mid-1950s he was on a small committee that ran English junior chess. When The Times newspaper offered to sponsor a national inter-school tournament, it was Ken that devised the age-handicap formula that is still used to day. 

In 1961 he became Secretary of the Glorney Cup competition, which was originally designed as a tournament between the junior players of the four home countries, but Ken expanded its scope to include national teams from Western Europe. In 1968, he got sponsorship from the publishers Faber, to run a similar tournament for the girls, the Faber Cup. In 1991, Ken completed three decades as Secretary when the competition was held in Ghent, Belgium, his last year. 

In 1963, he was asked by the Western Morning News  to succeed their then chess columnist, J. E. Jones, who was due to move north, and Ken filed his weekly copy for the next 37 years, before handing this job on in 1999 – his last administrative task in chess. 

In 1983, the British Chess Federation inaugurated an annual award, the President’s Award for Services to Chess, to recognise outstanding voluntary service. Such was the esteem in which Ken was held, that he was nominated in only its third year. He was indeed a man of boundless energy, enthusiasm and perseverance who has left a lasting mark on the chess world. 

Although he gradually relinquished his administrative posts, after several decades in each, there was little sign of him slowing down generally. He played both chess and bridge regularly and would drive himself to chess events throughout the westcountry well into his 94th year. 

His wife, Joyce, predeceased him, and he is survived by his two sons, Peter and Richard who lives in Australia.

A much fuller account of his life may be found in the biographies section.