I’ve had a busy few days as yesterday I flew up to Sydney for Peter Parr’s funeral.   Peter, for the younger readers who may not have heard of him, ran a chess shop in Sydney for over 40 years, was an International Arbiter and 6-time captain of Australia’s Olympiad team.   Like me, he was a Life Member of the Australian Chess Federation.

Of course I arrived early and so sat on a park bench for an hour or so waiting for people to arrive.  Another old chap arrived early, sat next to me and introduced himself.   “Hi, my name is John Hendry” he said.  “Good grief!” I exclaimed.   I haven’t seen you since the 1968 Australian Junior Championships.   It was like that all day.  These people kept arriving who looked vaguely familiar but who I couldn’t quite place.  Some were dressed in suits and wearing black.  Others were unshaved and wore colourful jumpers and sloppy jeans.  “They must be chess players” I thought to myself.

Stephen Solomon and Alex Wohl, two of Peter’s former Olympiad team members, flew down from Brisbane for the service, which was nice.   My old rival, Max Fuller, was not there …. apparently he’s not too well these days, but I enjoyed chatting with John Curtis, Roy Travers, Roger Cook, Phil Viner and many others as we swapped stories about Peter.  It was suggested that mourners meet in the coffee shop after the funeral for a coffee and a chat, which we of course eagerly did.  We all started hoeing into the free coffee and nibbles when suddenly a frantic cafe employee rushed out.   “This isn’t for your funeral” she exclaimed!   Peter would really have enjoyed that finish to his send-off.

I shall write an appreciation of Peter shortly.   He was up there with Cecil Purdy as one of the greats of Australian Chess.

Meanwhile I’m now back in Melbourne and looking forward to following the live games in the Box Hill Grades tournament tonight.  There was a nice little puzzle in one of the games there last week.  Unfortunately Black missed the winning line, as did most of my students who I’ve showed the position to.   I hope you can do better.  It’s Black to play and win.

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