We remember David Pritchard who passed away on Monday, December 12th, 2005.
David Brine Pritchard was born on Sunday, October 19th, 1919. On this day the first US Distinguished Service Medal was awarded to a living female recipient, Anna Howard Shaw.
He was born in Wandsworth taking his mothers’ Winifred maiden name of Brine (as was customary in those days). His father was Arthur Pritchard (DoB : 4th January 1890) and he was the managing director of an Engineering Company. Arthur and Winifred married in Maidenhead, Berkshire in 1917.
At the time of the 1939 census David was a chiropodist and recorded as single and living in Munee Cottage, Main Street, Bedford. Main Street appears to have been renamed to Main Road which is in Biddenham. It is likely DBPs cottage was something like :
During the second world War David joined the Royal Air Force and was stationed in the Far East and following the war, he switched to intelligence work also for the RAF. He attained the rank of Squadron Leader and played much chess during this period of his life.
In 1950 David completed his first book : The Right Way to Play Chess, Elliot Right Way Books, 1950, ISBN 1-58574-046-2
(Ed : This was the first chess book of this article’s author and was thoroughly consumed!)
On page 224 of said book David wrote :
Chessplayers – and this must be whispered – are generally an egotistical, ill-mannered crowd. If they conformed to common rules of decorum these words would not have to be written
I once carried out a private survey at a well-known chess restaurant where a large number of ‘friendly’ games are always in progress. In less than 30 per cent of those observed was resignation made with a good grace. In two-thirds of the games the loser either knocked his king over, abruptly pushed the pieces into the centre of the board, started to set up the men for a fresh game, or got up and walked away without saying a word to his opponent.
He married Elaine Saunders in between January and March of 1952 in the Cheslsea Registry Office.
Elliot Right Way Books was an excellent choice of publisher for David and only 36 minutes by car from his new home in Godalming.
He won the Singapore Championship in 1954 and the Malaysian Championship in 1955.
Visiting https://www.chesshistory.com/winter/winter97.html you will find two images of David and Elaine playing chess in Singapore.
David and Elaine had a daughter, Wanda on March 21st 1958. She became Wanda Dakin who was also a successful chess player. Wanda attended Guildford High School for Girls and then Royal Holloway College, Egham.
David was Southern Counties (SCCU) champion for the 1958-59 and 1965-66 seasons.
From the British Championships, 1959 in York we have this sparkling game with Frank Parr :
By now David had developed an interest in chess variants and board games in general.
David was the Chairman of the organising committee for the Battle of Britain Chess Tournament : he was runner-up in the first year to RF Boxall.
In 1970 he brought out his third book : Begin Chess, David Pritchard, Elliot Right Way Books, 1952
David became President of British Chess Variants Society and wrote many books on variants and indoor games.
Here is an interview compiled by Hans Bodlaender about David’s Encyclopedia of Chess Variants :
Particularly interesting was this Q&A :
Do you think computers and the Internet will have effect on chess and on chess variants? If so, in what way?
I think that the Internet will inevitably introduce chess to more players but I forsee chess variants, because of their novelty, benefitting in particular from publicity on the net. I expect variants to gain more and more adherents in the future.
David was preparing a second edition before he passed away. This was completed and made available on-line by John Beasley.
The Pritchard family lived at Badgers Wood, Hascombe Road, Godalming, Surrey, GU8 4AA in an idyllic location :
and here is the exceptional interior with games room :
At the time of his passing he had five grand children.
From British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXVI (126, 2006), Number 2 (February), page 76 :
“David Brine Pritchard (19 x 1919 Streatham, London – 12 xiii 2005, London) has died following a fall . He was a strong amateur player and a successful author of books on chess and other games.
David Pritchard was a Squadron Leader in the RAF during the war and later rejoined it to work in intelligence. Whilst serving with the RAF he won the Malayan Chess Championships in 195, and he was also instrumental in the running the UK event known as the Battle of Britain Tournament which attracted a strong field in its heyday and generated revenue for the RAF Benevolent Fund.
He was a dangerous attacking played who scored a number of notable scalps in the British Championship including Penrose and Miles, without ever achieving the consistency required to challenge for the leading positions. He won the Southern Counties championships in 1959 and 1966.
As an author, Pritchard’s most successful book was The Right Way to Play Chess (Elliott, 1950, with numerous reprints), which is still to be found for sale in many British bookshops.
He will also be remembered as a leading authority on chess variants: he was reported to be in the process of preparing a second edition of The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants (1994) at the time of his death. He was also a very good correspondence player, an inventor composer of chess puzzles of all sorts (some of which appeared in BCM) and his interest in Fairy chess dated back to the 1940s.
His wife Elaine Pritchard, the leading woman player of the 1950s and 1960s, and their daughter Wanda (who also played competitive chess) survive him. We send them our condolences on behalf of BCM and its readers.”
He was a leading member of Godalming Chess Club and played in the Surrey Border League. The David Pritchard Shield was presented in his memory.
Here is David’s Wikipedia entry
6 thoughts on “Remembering David Pritchard (19-x-1919 12-xii-2005)”
A fine humorist about chess as well. Two of his talks on the BBC “Chess” programme in the 1960s – “The Public Image” and “A Match At The Club” – were subsequently reprinted in “Chess Treasury Of The Air”.
David Pritchard had the philosophy that chess was massively important whilst being played but almost totally meaningless, results wise, after the contest. He shared this, I believe, with some others who faced the war – such as the Bruces – a sense of perspective their reward thereafter I suppose, I hope. I met him once, nice chap, genuine. When his wife died I contacted Wanda and her response was perhaps shy and certainly modest.
When I was running Barry Wood’s chess shop in Belgravia, 1961-62, David called in regularly on afternoons, which were usually quiet. He didn’t buy much (!) but liked to chat – not always about chess. He was a joy for a youngster like me to talk with and I really enjoyed his visits. I knew Elaine from my playing in her Middlesex team. When I was about to leave London in 1964, she phoned to thank me for playing and passed on her and David’s best wishes for the future – two very nice people!