So Long Doc-Dude ... .. And Thanks For All The Fish ~ You're A Legend of RCC (Come Back We Miss You !!)

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Monday, November 7th 2016. A date now sorely etched into Rushden Chess Club's historical memory and probably the 2nd saddest evening in our entire 40 years - beaten only by discovering a pawn missing from one of our sets in 1984. We never did find it, but Alan Lewis found us - way back in 1977, just as Peter Hann was opening the club doors for the first time, and OH what a catch!! Both are pictured above left examining their formerly handsome reflections in Alan's exceedingly shiny, hard-earned, and silver (effect) salver which was presented to him midway through that tearful evening when we made Alan play all of the club members in a simultaneous exhibition. This is now standard practice for anyone thinking that they can escape us by meekly sneaking off into the Suffolk sunset. No Escape!! No Mercy!! The piccy on the right is of course the great dude himself raising a toasty glass to his adoring club after having a week's rest to freshen up, following his 4 - hour Goodbye Simul, before steaming back in on November 14th for his last appearance at the Club and last Silver King League match on our behalf. What a guy eh?. "Did he again save the team from a whitewash with a tactical brilliancy, forcing a stalemate to snatch a draw to the incredulous frustration of his opponent, as he's done so many times in the past?", I hear you ask ... .. . ??
No, of course not!! Before calming down and chilling out in his mature years (to study facial hair cultivation and topiary) and mastering the chess tradecraft of 'not-losing' - thereby earning him the nickname 'Draw-meister' (one of many btw) - our Alan had a fierce reputation with his wife, newborn sons and pet dog as a vicious attacking player who would often attack only with his King, refusing to move another piece on principle until he was checked. Wow eh? I mean, WOW!!
So when Corby came visiting on that fateful evening the poor chaps had no idea what was in store. Alan tore out of the blocks to rampage, pillage and batter his opponent into submission in little more than an hour to lead his A-Team mateys to a clean 5-0 win. And a perfectly fitting tribute to him it was too, yeah baby! Our Doc has had many wonderful wins in his career, oodles of them on behalf of RCC (Thanks Doc!!), and the most personally satisfying of these according to the great man himself is shown below in the game viewer along with his last SKL destruction. Plus a couple of his simul losses, sorry Alan ... .. .

2013-10-28 Mon 21.10 Alan Lewis IGMC 10

LEFT: Alan 'Top-Beard' Lewis was well pleased and no mistake guv'nor to learn he'd have his own bye-bye page on the website - specifically asking that we only use the best photos we could find. So I found this one on the left of Alan in his 'Bushy' period, holding his certificate of audition for a part as a Chess-playing Wizard in Harry Potter ... and RIGHT is the world's longest handshake: 40 years ago with this handshake Peter Hann welcomed Alan to RCC ... and here it is again wishing him farewell .. so, sooo sad. Sob sob weep ... .. .

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LEFT: The two longest continuously serving RCC legends - Alan Lewis beaming with his new shiny peanut tray after being presented with it (to much tearful applause from the members) by Honorary President Peter Hann. RIGHT: Alan used to walk out in the morning to an uplifting view of litter - filled potholes and neatly inscribed goodwill messages on pavements filled with welcoming alternative medicine vendors - now the poor chap has to tolerate this damp and stinky mess and the sickening thud of seagull poop on his head. Sad.

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Here below you'll find Alan's very own magical simul caption board complete with 64 light and dark squares (it's even round the right way!). Each black and white square forms a picture & caption pair, of which there are 32 (obviously) giving a simple run-through tribute of
Alan's simul experience. Just click the first caption pair in the top left corner (squares a8/b8) to view the starting image/mickey-take
and then use the arrows to the side of the pop-up to cycle through the board and have a good laugh at someone now too far
away to defend themselves or fight back. Tough. I mean, sorry about that Doc !! Enjoy .... ... .. .

In the viewer to the left are 4 games: the bottom 2 are simul losses to James Wicks & Nik Puryer - sadly none of Alan's 14 super wins were recorded for posterity by his opponents. Sorry about that Doc. The second game in the viewer is Alan's last ever Silver King League match, for Rushden's A-Team at home to Corby on November 14th, in which our Great Docster led the Aimsters to a 5-0 whitewash with a ravenously aggressive destruction of Corby's poor, helpless board 4. The lead game is the one picked out by Alan as perhaps his greatest & most rewarding win; here are his own words about his marvellous success:
"I've attached the game of the century, 20th that is, and below is a little account of what I remember of the occasion ... .. .

This game comes from the olden days, long long long ago, from the 1979 Welsh Correspondence Chess Championship. I'd been playing Correspondence Chess since 1973. In 1976 I qualified for the Welsh Championship by winning the Candidates event and stayed in this section for the next 5 years. My opponent in this game was David Vaughan, the current Champion and had been for the last 6 years. In that time he'd not lost a game, which makes this game kind of special.
In those olden days I played e4 as white, in correspondence chess you could use as many books on the openings as you could get hold of so any traps were easy to avoid. I was not an aggressive player but David Vaughan was and took risks, that's the only reason I can think of why he played 6. ... Kf8, because a lot of his troubles start here.

12. f4 is not a move I'd probably make these days, but I may not have had any chance if I hadn't risked it.

13. ... dxc3 ? Just allows me to develop another piece, and a beautiful
piece it turns out to be !

After 15. 0-0-0 and 16. Nd5 Black has to do something about all these white pieces ganging up on him eg. 16. ... Bxd5, but no he plays into my hands when the post arrived and I saw ... .. .

16. ... Re8 ?!?! ~ I couldn't believe it, surely I had this game!

I was waiting at the letterbox the next few days, there were a few ways
he could play it but I couldn't see any that would allow him any
chances, and then it arrived ... .. .

17. ... gxf6 ??? What was he thinking ?
... .. . and the rest is history .. .

David Vaughan went on to win the Championship yet again but this win did give me second place."


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For the record Alan's Salver reads, front:

Presented On Monday November 7th 2016
To Living (but leaving) Legend Of
Rushden Chess Club ~ ALAN LEWIS
aka 'Doc', 'Drawmeister', 'Top Beard',
And Occasionally Also 'The Greatest'.
40 years of support is beyond written
appreciation, so from all us who knew
you past & present, we'll just say a big
... .. . and on the reverse ... .. .
Here's wishing you the best of everything for
your new life, home, and Chess Club - from all
of your adoring fans at Rushden Chess Club.


Well then my lickle chess puppies, that's about all there's room for on this meagre-sized interweb thingy and of course it's utterly inadequate to do justice to the magnitude of the glory of our Alan 'Doc' - 'Top Beard' Lewis, but we hope we did a
good enough job for you to enjoy our tribute to him. So, finally, Alan went on a small-square walkabout from 18:30 playing
25 games against Juniors & Seniors over an exhausting 4 hrs. He won 14 games (WOOHOO Well Done!!) lost 6 and drew 5. Sarah Collins was first to check him afte 1. f4 e5 2. d3 Qh4+ !! and was also the only player to get 2 games after sneaking round to another board, turning her cardy inside out and introducing herself as Maggie Carlsen. Youngest present was art prodigy Lydia Childs who was first to draw Alan, producing a lovely matchstick rendering showing him with green arms, orange legs and a yellow head with supersize eyes. Well done to all, especially Alan, and thanks everyone for making it a very special and almost emotional evening (Alan nearly cried at the end when he walked off into the frosty moonlight, heh).

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