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From the archives: the Chess Grandmaster

Grandmaster: Keith Richardson in action at a recent tournament. John Upham Photography.

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Keith Richardson was the first British grandmaster of correspondence chess –and worked at the New Covent Garden Market branch of Barclays Bank.

This striking photograph, published in a 1980s Barclays Careers brochure, captures the intensity of chess played at the highest level.

It shows Keith Richardson – the first Briton to be awarded the title of International Correspondence Chess Grandmaster – and was taken around the time he was working at the New Covent Garden Market branch of Barclays in central London.

Richardson, who placed fourth in the 7th World Correspondence Chess Championship (1972-6), was described by the International Correspondence Chess Federation as one of only two “truly outstanding” English players of the late 20th century.

Before becoming a Grandmaster in 1975, Nottingham-born Richardson came second in the British Correspondence Chess Championship (1964-5), and throughout the 1960s, ‘70s and early ‘80s, he was a member of the British teams at the Correspondence Chess Olympiad Finals. He retired from international play in 2001.

Now in his 70s – and still active in the Surrey Border Chess League – Richardson is a life patron of the English Federation for Correspondence Chess. In 2015, he received the English Chess Federation’s President Award for services to chess.

Despite his success, he is, apparently, a modest man: one chess blogger who played him in 2013 described him as “a very sporting player” who told him after their game (which Richardson won): “It should have been a draw”.

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