William Dunphy

Winner of the club championship in 1974.

W. Dunphy

By Brian Denman

William Richard Dunphy (known generally as Bill) was born on 5.9.1929. In the mid 1950s his name appears as a Hertfordshire chess player. In 1956 he competed in a masters’ tournament in Dublin and was invited to represent Ireland in the Olympiad in Moscow . This must have been a tremendous experience, but unsurprisingly he struggled in the high standard of chess. He also competed in a strong tournament in Madrid in 1957. In these three events where he played against masters his best result was a draw against Jan Hein Donner, arguably the best player in Holland .

My first record of him as a Hastings CC player dates from 1971, but he may have joined the club a little before that. In 1974 he won the club championship and in the Hastings and St Leonards Observer of 4.5.1974 the columnist, Frank Rhoden, mentioned that Bill had played aggressive and interesting chess. Earlier that year Bill had taken over the position of Congress Director. It seems that he held the post for a year or two. The Hastings and St Leonards Observer of 4.1.1975 reported that Bill had had his hands full with the organisation of the Congress and the telephone rang incessantly. In the midst of all the activity Bill took a personal £400 gamble with the finances of the Congress. He hired the entertainers George Melly and The Feet Warmers for an appearance at the Pier Ballroom with all the profits going to the Congress. I do not know if this act of initiative was successful.

In February 1975 Bill started a series of lessons for junior players at Pelton House. The classes were held on Saturday mornings.

Chess was not the only hobby that Bill had. The Hastings and St Leonards Observer of 24.5.1975 reported that Bill ‘forsook the bat’ to play in a match for Hastings against Ilford. The newspaper added that he preferred to play cricket during the summer and was not usually seen much in the chess club at that time. He obviously was not a bad cricketer, as the same newspaper of 12.7.1975 reported that he had taken a hat-trick while playing for Old Hastings.

Bill died in the first half of 1985 at the age of 55. He had suffered from an illness for a long time and it is likely that this had cut down on his chess activities at the club.

Robin Moss
Post by on Apr 29, 2013 at 2:29pm
Bill was a fine tactical player. I spent many hours with Bill playing 5 minute. I have no doubt this helped my rapid rise from being 120 in 1983 to 192 by the end of 1986. Sadly for me Bill died in 1985 but I will never forget him.

Post by wolf359 on Aug 12, 2014 at 7:22pm
A super player was Bill! The most aggressive player I ever played.I only knew him for his final couple of years when obviously his health was in decline.Stress of the antiques business I believe.He maintained that his doctor advised him NOT to give up smoking and he continued his 80 a day habit until the end.One would enter the room and he would be sitting there shaking with nerves.Before you could sit down he would remove his King Rook and push his pawn to h3 (The rook as a handicap for us weaker players,and the pawn move to stop swapping pieces off). Being so good it was often the only way he could get a game!

As I say, a really aggressive 190/200 player who would look for sacrifices. A puncher who could knock you out with ease or be slowly dismantled by a craftsman (Not often

Est. 1882