Radnor Lucas

Post by Brian J Denman on May 19, 2013 at 9:59pm
A few weeks ago Paul Buswell received from Richard Radnor Mountstephen – Whetham a medal commemorating the winning of the East Sussex Queen in 1908. On the front of the medal the Sussex Chess Association is mentioned. The colour is blue and it has martlets on a chessboard. On the reverse side the winner, Radnor Lucas, is mentioned. There is a blue ribbon and the case is embossed “Sussex County Chess Assoc’n” and inside “Dobell Bros, Art Jewellers, Hastings” is quoted. (N.B. Herbert Dobell (1864 -1938) was perhaps the club’s greatest president).

Radnor Lucas was born in London in 1836 and became a bank manager. He may have come to live in the Hastings area on his retirement and the first reference that I have to his playing in the town occurs in 1904. As well as representing the club he played several games for the county correspondence team, though not on a high board. The last-known reference to his chess activities is found in the 1922-23 season when he is listed in the club minutes as a vice-president of the club. Winning the East Sussex Queen may have been the highlight of his chess career and occurred when he was in his early seventies. He died in the Hastings area in the March quarter of 1927 aged 90.

According to the Hastings and St Leonards Observer of 24.2.1945 Radnor’s daughter, Rona (1880 – 1974), was a niece of George Stephen, 1st Baron Mount Stephen (1829 – 1921). He was the first Canadian to be elevated to the peerage of the United Kingdom. He was the financial genius behind the creation of the Canadian Pacific Railway and a president of the Bank of Montreal. At the same time he is remembered as one of the greatest philanthropists of the time. It is interesting that the sender of the medal to the club has Radnor as one of his Christian names.

Enclosed with the medal was the score of a game in which Radnor drew with J H Blackburne when the latter was giving a simultaneous display:

Blackburne,JH – Lucas,R [C21]
14 board simul at Hastings, 26.01.1907
1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 Nc6 5.Nf3 d6 6.Nxc3 Be6 7.Bb5 (The score just gives 7 ‘B – Kt5′) 7…Be7 8.Qa4 Bd7 9.Bf4 Nf6 10.0–0–0 Nh5 11.e5 Nxf4 12.Qxf4 Nxe5 13.Bxd7+ Nxd7 14.Rhe1 0–0 15.Nd5 Bf6 16.g4 h6 17.h4 Bxh4 18.Rh1 g5 19.Qf5 Re8 20.Qxd7 Re6 21.Qxd8+ Rxd8 22.Nxh4 gxh4 23.f4 c6 24.f5 Re2 25.Nf6+ Kg7 26.Nh5+ Kh7 27.Rxh4 Rg2 28.Re1 d5 29.Re7 Kg8 30.Rxb7 d4 31.Nf4 Rg3 32.Kd2 d3 33.Rb3 c5 34.Rc3 Rf3 35.Nh3 Rg3 36.Nf4 Rd4 37.Nxd3 c4 38.Rxh6 Rgxg4 (The score just gives 38…’R x KtP’) 39.f6 Rg3 40.Ke2 Rgxd3 41.Rxc4 Sources: Radnor Lucas, Richard Radnor Mountstephen-Whetham and Paul Buswell. ½–½

Brian Denman 19.5.2013

Est. 1882