The picture above is of Keith playing at one of the Bournemouth Grand Chess Congresses
It is with great sadness we report that one of the local area’s most loyal, popular, personable and much loved chess players, Keith Spooner, passed away last Sunday 2nd July.
Keith was inspirational in the formation and development of two of our local chess clubs, firstly at New Milton in the mid 1970s then at Highcliffe when it evolved in the mid 1980s. He was part of the New Milton team that played its first B&DCL league match in 1983 and he then joined the newly formed Highcliffe chess club a few years later, along with Keith Day and John Jenkins. They were life long friends.
Richard Ursell remembers first meeting Keith in 1972 as a 10 year old and he has many fond memories of this meeting along with many others since.
Perhaps Keith will be most remembered for his sharp wit, sense of humour, charm, friendliness and for his unrelenting support for other chess players. He also without fail, supported local chess events including the Dorset Rapidplay, the Dorset Closed Championship, the Dorset Open, the Bournemouth Grand Chess Congress and the many trips abroad as part of Poole Chess Club International organised by Roy and Betty Milner in the 1980s and 1990s.
Keith was a regular on the national chess congress circuit travelling to Monmouth and Newport amongst many other places where he was joined at these tournaments by John Jenkins and John Stainton. They were often seen spending as much time sharing anecdotal stories in the bar as playing at the chess board!
Unfortunately, Keith has been poorly over the last 10 years or so and he moved with his wife, June, to Wareham where he joined the Purbeck Chess Club, firstly at the British Legion in Corfe Castle and then more regularly when the club moved to the Mortons House Hotel (which suited Keith as it had no staircase!), which is also in Corfe Castle. Keith never let his many ills get him down as he kept his sense of humour and positivity, nor did he let them stop him playing chess. Indeed, he still kept in close contact with the local chess world including his many friends and he was still playing chess as recently as only a fortnight ago with Keith Day who is now in his 90th year.
Essentially, when Keith became your friend, he was your friend for life. A real character.
He will be very much missed by the local chess community.