I’m very sorry to have to report that Maurice Bell died a few days ago. For very many years Maurice was one of the mainstays of Durham County Chess, playing regularly for the county team, participating in meetings and officiating at local congresses. Originally a member at Chester-le-Street, when the club folded he (along with his great friend Roger Simpson) joined Durham City, for whom he played team chess until illness intervened a couple of years ago.
Another former Chester-le-Street member, Tom Reynolds, recalls:
Maurice was a very good fast bowler for Kibblesworth and had a bit of a reputation for being a rather aggressive character on the pitch. Over the chess board he had a never-say-die attitude and I lost count of the number of swindles he managed to pull off from seemingly hopeless positions. He was never afraid to speak his mind, which occasionally upset some people, but essentially he was a very amiable character who loved a good chat over a few beers.
Maurice’s son Keith has said that the family would like to present something – a donation, sponsorship or a cup. This would be a fine way of remembering Maurice, who did so much for chess in County Durham.
Keith has also supplied this wonderful photo of Maurice – in the white sweater with Roger Simpson on his right – playing in a simultaneous display by the legendary Viktor Korchnoi in 1972.
A longer version of this tribute, with a few anecdotes, will be published on the Durham City Chess Club website.