David Wallace died in his sleep at his home in St Andrews on 9th June at the age of 79.
David was a private man. Few chessplayers will have known that he came from a military family background and led troops onto the Normandy beaches during the Second World War. But many chessplayers will know, and have reason to be grateful for, his commitment to education, in both his professional and chess activity.
David had a passion for education. He was a teacher, firstly in St Andrews and then as the founding Head Teacher at Abbotsgrange Middle School in Grangemouth until his retirement in 1984. David's commitment to education spilled over into one of his other passions, chess. He became a key figure in the Scottish Junior Chess Association and was its President for many years in the 1980s.
Before that, he was active in organising many chess competitions at junior and adult level in Scotland, making Grangemouth the centre of many key tournaments. In the 1970s, he helped widen young players horizons by taking them to many chess events including the British Championships. He was also responsible for starting the Scotland v Wales junior internationals and for many years organised girls events to boost the number of girls playing chess.
But his work was not limited to promoting junior chess. David's keen eye for precision and detail and his rigorous and careful style - no doubt influenced by his military training - helped him become one of Scotland's most influential arbiters, not just locally but at world level.
He was instrumental in organising Scotland's first courses for training arbiters, reflecting again his enthusiasm for education. He maintained records of arbiters activity and contributed to the development of an examination for arbiters. The quality of arbiting at Scottish congresses certainly improved from his work, and the concepts were exported to other countries.
He also practised what he preached and was a regular arbiter at both the Scottish and British Championships until a few years ago. David's work on arbiting spread to FIDE, the World Chess Federation. He served as Chairman of their Arbiters Committee attending meetings throughout the world at his own expense and influencing the development of the Laws of Chess as a result.
When he retired from chess activity four years ago (following increased deafness and a car accident), FIDE recognised his services by making him an Honorary Member, a rare distinction.
David was proud of the number of leading players he had encouraged towards chess and, even after his retirement, he maintained an active interest in primary school chess in St Andrews.
Just a week before his death and despite increasing speech difficulties, he was still fluently teaching chess to primary schoolchildren. Scottish chess will miss this professional and committed educationalist. We send our condolences to his family.
A Memorial Service was held to celebrate the life of David Wallace at St Andrews Episcopal Church, Queen Terrace, St Andrews on Saturday 1st December 2001 at 6 p.m. The service will include the Faure Requiem sung by Falkirk Festival Chorus.
John Glendinning, President
Posted by Duncan R Glassey on 26/8/2001, 6:55 pm
It was with great sadness that I heard of the death of Mr Wallace, my headmaster at Abbotsgrange, who opened my world to the wonderful game of chess.
There are so many of us out there, who benefited from your great gift.
Thank you Mr Wallace