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Steve Boniface

En Passant

Paul Byway VC 51

In passing, it means - and here I would like to remember Steve Boniface, whose passing was noted in the last issue. He was 54 and the west country's best-known chess organiser - eventually being awarded the title of International Arbiter. To me he was at first only a name appearing in VC playing postal progressive chess, but later I saw him often at the Four Nations Chess League where he officiated. Earnest and hardworking - but always cheerful and ready for a friendly word or two. I tried to entice him into playing again, but he had too many commitments. I last saw him at this year's British Championships on the Isle of Man; my car broke down on the morning of prize-giving and I missed it. I eventually arrived when all was over and found him in the controllers' room - busy and cheerful as the event was being wound up. He handed over the prize money, chaffering me all the while. A short while after, I was at the Royal Beacon Seniors Congress in Exmouth - he had devised the formula for this in 2000 - and his name was on everybody's lips. It's very sad that he should have died so young. He won our first Progressive Chess tournament in 2002. Here is a game from that event.

Progressive Chess Tournament 2002.
White Jed Stone, Black Steve Boniface.
1 d4 2 Nf6 c5 3 Bd2 Ba5 Bxd8 4 Ne4 Nxf2 Nxd1 Kxd8 5 dxc5 c6 cxb7 bxa8=Q Qxb8 :

6 e5 h5 Rh6 Bc5 Rd6 Bf2 mate.

There are also more appreciations in VC51

There have been many other tributes to Steve Boniface on the web. A few known to us at the time of writing are:
Obituaries and reminiscences by his West of England colleagues Bob Jones and John Richards, on the 4NCL site. Click on News Archive, then scroll down to 31st October.
A tribute given by David Sedgwick at the 4NCL on 22nd October. In the 4NCL Press Release of 31st October, immediately below the previous item.
A tribute by John Saunders on the BCM site. Click on the Guernsey report.

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