Saturday 7 June 2008

John Alps 1910-2008

John Alps, one of the longest serving members of the ACT chess community passed away on Tuesday, 3rd June, at the age of 98 years. He remained an active player into his 90's, until failing eyesight forced him into retirement.
His name appeared in numerous club trophies in Canberra, including a win of the Belconnen Club Championship when he was well into his 70's. (It is worth noting that the winner of the following years championship was David Austin, who was 60 years his junior.) He was also an active member of the Woden and Canberra Chess Clubs. He was very encouraging of the junior players (including myself) and didn't seem to mind when a number of us cottoned onto the tactic of dragging the game out, in the hope of him making a mistake while tired. What we discovered that we couldn't get that far, as he usually beat us in rather short order.

Here is a game from 1995, when even as an 85 year old he still had a few tricks up his sleeve.

Forace,L - Alps,J (1555) [E30]
ACT Reserves ACT Reserves (3), 1995

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Nf3 0-0 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 c5 7.e3 d5 8.a3 Bxc3+ 9.bxc3 Nbd7 10.cxd5 exd5 11.c4 Qa5+ 12.Qd2 Qxd2+ 13.Nxd2 cxd4 14.exd4 Re8+ 15.Be2 Ne4 16.Nxe4 Rxe4 17.Bg3 Rxd4 18.Rc1 dxc4 19.Rxc4 Rxc4 20.Bxc4 Nb6 21.Bd3 Be6 22.0-0 Rc8 23.Be4 Nd5 24.Bxd5 Bxd5 25.Rd1 b5 26.h3 Be6 27.Rb1 a6 28.Rb4 Rc1+ 29.Kh2 Bc4 30.Bd6 Rc2 31.f4 Bd5 32.Kg3 Rxg2+ 33.Kh4 Bc4 34.Rb1 f6 35.Re1 Bf7 36.Rc1(D)
36. ... g5+ 37.fxg5 hxg5# 0-1


Anonymous said...

John should have beaten Rogers at the 1976 Doeberl Cup - but he drew anyway.

Anonymous said...

A true gentleman and a past ACT Champion, but I cant remember what year.

TrueFiendish said...

The first time I ever walked into a chess club (the Canberra club, must have been the early 90s) I was lucky enough to be challenged to a couple of friendly games by an elderly gentleman who played very well. It was a very positive introduction to the quite daunting atmosphere of the chess club. That gent, of course, was John Alps.