2017 Honorary Members Fred Clough and Martyn Griffiths

Austin Lockwood  Monday, September 11, 2017

To celebrate the West Wales victory in the 2016/7 Ward Higgs British Counties and Districts Championship, WCCF would like to offer honorary membership to two members of the victorious team, both of whom have been stalwarts of Welsh correspondence chess for many years. Citations by Ian Jones.

Fred Clough

Born in 1931 Fred Clough started playing postal chess in 1954! Fred left school at 15, and became a professional golfer’s assistant, later he became Royal Marines Commando, earning a green beret. Fred later trained as a Teacher, earned his BA Honours in Psychology, and eventually his PhD!

During the Second World War, Fred was involved with the ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign cultivating allotments when he was received by King George V.

In 1959 Fred qualified and played in the OTB British Championship; in the first round, Fred played Leonard Barden who was the then British champion. In a very long game where Fred was punishing Barden, Barden just managed to hold a draw in an ending with Fred was two pawns up. B H Wood in his chess column wrote:

"One shouldn't be too harsh on Fred here; he outplayed a British champion"

Fred also played EG Sergeant in this event. Seargent played Steinitz, and others, such Rubinstein. On the English chess forum they explain, that Morphy would be a M1, Sergeant a M2, and Fred Clough a M3, so that anyone that has played Fred, would be an M4. There are a lot of M4 players.

After researching Fred’s Chess career, International Master Gary Lane had so much respect for Fred that in his Chess Café Column he called him "Mr Clough" Gary wrote about Fred in his Opening Lanes column:

I have to applaud Mr. Clough for his sterling work in promoting the gambit with his own correspondence games and I thank him for sending on so much information. Fred is quick to mention that a thorough knowledge of the openings from correspondence chess can be a massive point’s winner in otb chess.

Here is a recent otb game of Fred’s where he wins a piece in the opening. This was all published in Fred’s BCCA article. 2016.

Clough. v D. J. Gibson Sicilian Defence. N.C.C.U. . 30th April 2016.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.b4 Nxb4 4.c3 Nc6 5.d4 cxd4 6.cxd4 e6 7.d5 exd5 8.exd5 Nce7? 9.d6 and wins a piece. Later 1-0

Although out graded by every player in the The BCCA Portsmouth Gambit 2016 tournament, Fred duly came first without losing a game. On The chess.com site Fred’s Portsmouth gambit is still discussed to this day, as it is on the chess publishing forum, there is even a line named The Swansea Variation with 8.Rb1!

Fred’s Portsmouth articles were later transferred to a Portsmouth Gambit web site, and after the mention on Chess Café, the site regularly had 5000 visits per day. Fred Clough has decided to retire from this role after many years of excellent service to the BCCA. Fred has a strong predilection for Gambit play (Evans, Sicilian Wing Gambit, Ponzianis, French, etc.), which has led to many interesting games. He has written many well researched articles for the BCCA and the Welsh correspondence web site. His articles are always well received.

Fred’s Correspondence chess is a mirror image of his otb chess. Unlike some players, he is not scared to attack, will always give anyone a difficult game, and loves nothing more than to gambit material. For The last thirty years Fred has been very active with the BCCA. Even with the demise of Correspondence chess in Wales, Fred carried the Welsh flag with his involvement in The BCCA. He had until retirement this year been heavily involved in the running of the opening tournaments selective and gambit. It was a wonder how each year he seemed to select new and interesting ideas for this event. Fred has also continued to captain and run teams such as Upper Killay (A Swansea regional team) in postal and correspondence chess.

Fred was the catalyst that restarted The West Wales County team. It was his idea to raise a team for this event, after speaking to Neil Limbert. Soon Ian Jones was phoned and the team was formed, and won The Sinclair and Ward-Higgs Trophies.

Without Fred’s results the team would not have come first in The Ward-Higgs British Counties Championship.

Martyn Griffiths

Martyn is 71 and is one of the longest serving Welsh Correspondence players. Martyn is a retired Police Officer. Martyn was in the first postal chess team for Wales in the World, European and NATO Team Championships. Martyn is perhaps like Keres in that when he was young he played lots of postal chess, which sharpened his game up a lot, and improved his level of play.

Martyn has been involved with Founding three chess clubs at Bridgend (1968), South Wales Police (1970) and Castell Nedd (1978) and has always promoted correspondence chess within these clubs. Martyn is The Welsh chess historian, writing the book on the History of Chess in Wales, and also with Austin Lookwood A history of Correspondence chess in Wales 1835-2015. He also writes still for the Welsh Correspondence chess site.

Martyn has been playing correspondence chess for well over 50 years His involvement in correspondence chess goes on and on. It’s difficult to find a post in Welsh Correspondence chess that he hasn’t done. In The 1960s he was secretary and county captain. Suddenly there was a huge increase in the interest in Correspondence chess. Matches were played against The BCCA SCCA, etc. Martyn actually played in Wales' first Correspondence match against The Kazakh Republic! Martyn also played correspondence chess against Cuba where you were lucky to play two moves within a year.

Martyn has also continued to Captain and run teams such as Castell Nedd (A Neath Regional team) in postal and correspondence chess Leagues. Martyn has a history also of running the Neath & District Junior Chess Championships, and he has helped develop a massive talent of young players within this area. Martyn actually formed the Welsh Correspondence Chess Association (When Wales became a nation and broke away from England) in 1970 and was running events in the 1970s.

Martyn's Son Hwyel mentioned to me that he has one of the finest stamp collections, from all these postal games. Remember in this correspondence era, there was a huge amount of administration. From 1970-1977 he ran the lot (Welsh Championships, Interzone, International matches etc). Martyn is still playing strong correspondence chess, and without Martyn’s results for the team would not have come first, in The Ward-Higgs British Counties Championship. Martyn is also a very strong otb player, he has beaten IMs otb.Still as recent as the last otb game for his team Castell Nedd and he still plays top board, playing above Steve Smith ,Hwyel Griffiths, and The Beck Twins.