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Juniors v MSPs


September 19, 2002

Gray v Redpath
Macnab v Harper
MacDonald v Harding
Gray v Redpath
(photos by JBH)
Rumbles v Hall


The Scottish Youth Chess team were landslide winners in their battle with five MSP's in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, September 19. Not even a valiant rearguard action by Keith Harding (Con) in the final game to finish could save the deposit of the people's representatives.

Iain Gray 0-1 Joe Redpath
Jamie Stone 0-1 Daniel McGowan
Mike Rumbles 0-1 Colin Hall
Keith Harding 0-1 Christopher MacDonald
Robin Harper 0-1 Louise Macnab

Iain Gray (Labour): Minister for Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning.

Jamie Stone (Liberal): Lib Dem spokesman on fishing and equal opportunities.

Mike Rumbles (Liberal): Lib Dem Convener, Parliamentary Standards Committee.

Keith Harding (Conservative): Conservative spokesman on local government and housing.

Robin Harper (Green): Rector of Edinburgh University and the only Green MSP.

Preview (Sep 15): Not even the division bell will save five MSPs from a parliamentary knock-out on Thursday, September 19. Iain Gray (Lab), Mike Rumbles (Lib), Keith Harding (Con), Robin Harper (Green) and Jamie Stone (Lib) have bravely agreed to be human sacrifices in a chess match against the Scotland Youth Squad to be held in the Scottish Parliament.

The MSPs will face a very strong line-up of experienced junior internationalists aged 13-17: Joe Redpath (Edinburgh West), Daniel McGowan (Tiree), Colin Hall (Perth), Louise Macnab (Aberdeen) and Christopher Mac-donald (Dollar). Having administered a guillotine motion to the MSPs the Youth Squad will watch First Minister's Question Time after the match.

The MSP's best tactic would be to draft in MP Alan Reid of Argyll and Bute as an honorary Scottish Parliamentarian for the day. Alan Reid is a former Scottish Olympiad player, rated over 2250 at his peak, and perhaps the strongest chess player ever to become an MP. Andrew Bonar Law, UK prime minister 1922-23, was previously Scotland's foremost politician-chessplayer.

Update Sep 17 from Donald Wilson: Re the match between the CS Junior squad and a gang of MSPs, I think I should "warn" the Juniors that Keith Harding was once a member of Dunblane Chess Club (now defunct). I played him in a Central League Division 3 match in the spring of 1984 (yes, I do mean 1984, not 1994) - I was playing for Hillfoots CC (also defunct) at that time. I think I won the game, though my memory is not totally reliable. In conversation, we discovered that we were both standing in that year's District Council elections: Keith for the Tories in Stirling District, me for the SDP/Liberal Alliance in Clackmannan District (in that context, he won, I didn't).

Further Update Sep 18: As I suspected, my memory is indeed unreliable. I checked my old records last night, and it turns out that the match between Dunblane and Hillfoots took place, the conversation with Keith Harding took place, and I won my game. But Keith was playing on an adjacent board - my opponent was Peter Fotheringham, whose claim to fame or notoriety is that he was one of the scriptwriters for Rikki Fulton's annual Hogmanay TV show "Scotch and Wry".

So, a near miss on one "celebrity" but a lucky hit on another.

(Keith Harding last published in the 1990 grading list with a grade of 1455. DMB)

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Chess Scotland 2002