Remembering William Ritson Morry (05-ix-1910 08-i-1994)

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Remembering William Ritson Morry (05-ix-1910 08-i-1994)

Post by John Upham » Sat Jan 09, 2021 12:41 pm

On the weekend of the Hastings Online Tournament it seems only appropriate to celebrate the life of William Ritson Morry.


Remembering William Ritson Morry (05-ix-1910 08-i-1994)


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Hastings bench memorial bench for William Ritson Morry
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William Ritson Morry (05-ix-1910 08-i-1994)
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Re: Remembering William Ritson Morry (05-ix-1910 08-i-1994)

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Sat Jan 09, 2021 4:38 pm

BH Wood memorably referred to him as a "fat jailbird", which I assume would not be permitted these days as it is stoutist. When Ritson accidentally transferred a client's money into his own account, he wrote a lengthy appeal against conviction, and the Appeal Court rather quickly expressed the opinion that it was a load of rubbish and threw out the appeal. He did of course commit the cardinal error of being caught.

But he did a lot of work for chess (for which we should all be grateful) and I recall him prowling the Falaise Hall.

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Re: Remembering William Ritson Morry (05-ix-1910 08-i-1994)

Post by John Upham » Sat Jan 09, 2021 5:48 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 4:38 pm
BH Wood memorably referred to him as a "fat jailbird", which I assume would not be permitted these days as it is stoutist. When Ritson accidentally transferred a client's money into his own account, he wrote a lengthy appeal against conviction, and the Appeal Court rather quickly expressed the opinion that it was a load of rubbish and threw out the appeal. He did of course commit the cardinal error of being caught.

But he did a lot of work for chess (for which we should all be grateful) and I recall him prowling the Falaise Hall.
In the article you will find a charming picture of WRM and BHW playing each other in what must have a been a "difficult" pairing since it was two years following the libel case. The body language from BHW speaks volumes!
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Re: Remembering William Ritson Morry (05-ix-1910 08-i-1994)

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Sat Jan 09, 2021 6:28 pm

I think there was some sort of rapprochement later as I saw BH greeting him effusively at an event with "Ah, Ritson!"

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Re: Remembering William Ritson Morry (05-ix-1910 08-i-1994)

Post by John Upham » Sat Jan 09, 2021 6:35 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 6:28 pm
I think there was some sort of rapprochement later as I saw BH greeting him effusively at an event with "Ah, Ritson!"
I suspect what kicked it all off was that they attended the same school and then shared Sutton Coldfield. Something had to give....
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Re: Remembering William Ritson Morry (05-ix-1910 08-i-1994)

Post by ben.graff » Sun Jan 10, 2021 10:34 am

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 6:28 pm
I think there was some sort of rapprochement later as I saw BH greeting him effusively at an event with "Ah, Ritson!"
I think that's right, Kevin. When I interviewed Phil Wood (BH Wood's son) for Chess he touched on this. Phil told me that BH and Riston were "sort of" reconciled. Phil recalled BH asking him to give Morry a lift to Eastbourne, which Phil did.
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Re: Remembering William Ritson Morry (05-ix-1910 08-i-1994)

Post by Neil Graham » Sun Jan 10, 2021 10:57 am

Ritson and I crossed swords at a number of MCCU meetings and no doubt if we have any West Midlands contributors they will be able to regale the board with numerous stories about him. It seems astonishing that 26 years have gone by since he passed away.

I actually played Ritson in an otb board match between our two clubs in the MCCU Club Championship. The rules of this competition prescribed that the home side, in this case Mutual Chess Circle, should provide refreshments. As team captain it fell on Ritson to provide these and they consisted of one packet of biscuits and a bottle of cordial. Having ladled out the squash into various cups, Ritson topped up the remainder with water and proceeded to swig this out of the bottle for the rest of the match. I lost.

Possibly it was this that persuaded the MCCU subsequently to rule that "refreshments" must include a hot drink for all their competitions.

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Re: Remembering William Ritson Morry (05-ix-1910 08-i-1994)

Post by Ian Thompson » Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:40 am

Neil Graham wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 10:57 am
The rules of this competition prescribed that the home side, in this case Mutual Chess Circle, should provide refreshments. As team captain it fell on Ritson to provide these and they consisted of one packet of biscuits and a bottle of cordial. Having ladled out the squash into various cups, Ritson topped up the remainder with water and proceeded to swig this out of the bottle for the rest of the match. I lost.

Possibly it was this that persuaded the MCCU subsequently to rule that "refreshments" must include a hot drink for all their competitions.
Maybe someone in the MCCU realised that biscuits, cordial and a kettle would have been beneficial to everyone playing before this scientific research was published.

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Re: Remembering William Ritson Morry (05-ix-1910 08-i-1994)

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Sun Jan 10, 2021 1:22 pm

"Maybe someone in the MCCU realised that biscuits, cordial and a kettle would have been beneficial to everyone playing before this scientific research was published."

I hope Chris Whitty is reading this forum...

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Re: Remembering William Ritson Morry (05-ix-1910 08-i-1994)

Post by Andy Stoker » Sun Jan 10, 2021 2:19 pm

As a schoolboy, I played in Ritson's Easter events from the mid-60s, which he seemed to organise almost single-handedly (was this true?) and for this we should be very grateful. The international tournaments are mentioned - some exciting games - Miles' first grandmaster scalps, I think. Generally slouched in a chair with a cheroot or cigarette dropping ash over his corpulence. Rounds generally started quite late.
But what a man with money! Obvious financial difficulties - yet supported chess events with his windfall.
Thank you Ritson

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Re: Remembering William Ritson Morry (05-ix-1910 08-i-1994)

Post by John Saunders » Sun Jan 10, 2021 4:38 pm

Nobody has so far referred to Bill Hartston's less than charitable obituary of Ritson Morry, published in the Independent in 1994, entitled "The World is Now a Less Smelly Place". It is available to read online...

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-ente ... 94470.html

(n.b. for some reason the Independent website dates this to 2011 but it must have been written in 1994)

In the scurrilous pages of 'Dragon' (the Cambridge University Chess Club bulletin) in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Ritson was often referred to as 'W Snotty Moron'. This soubriquet may well have been the invention of the above-named obituarist.

I personally never had any dealings with Ritson Morry though I remember seeing him at congresses when I was still a chess 'civilian'. When researching chess history I have reason to be grateful to him for his congress bulletins which were always rich in content and promptly published, despite the absence of technological advantages that we all enjoy today.
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Re: Remembering William Ritson Morry (05-ix-1910 08-i-1994)

Post by Neil Blackburn » Sun Jan 10, 2021 4:45 pm

A dear friend to both me and to British chess. One of the greatest orators you could wish to hear. Had many happy hours with him. Indeed, he smoked Hamlet cigars wrapped in liquorice papers, and his jacket was always covered in ash. I didn't spot it in the article, but he was responsible for the first world junior championships.

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Re: Remembering William Ritson Morry (05-ix-1910 08-i-1994)

Post by Neil Blackburn » Sun Jan 10, 2021 4:48 pm

Describing Harstston's obituary as less than charitable is being charitable.

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Re: Remembering William Ritson Morry (05-ix-1910 08-i-1994)

Post by Andy Stoker » Sun Jan 10, 2021 5:06 pm

Yes Hartston could have been much more generous with the obituary without inconveniencing himself; I remember that some British players (Bellin particularly springs to mind) criticised the Hastings events - compared them unfavourably to Wijk-an-Zee - but they took place.
I had forgotten the tremendous efforts to kick start the World Juniors in 1951 (Malcolm Barker second above Larsen, Olafsson, Bhend...)

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Re: Remembering William Ritson Morry (05-ix-1910 08-i-1994)

Post by John Upham » Sun Jan 10, 2021 7:29 pm

John Saunders wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 4:38 pm
Nobody has so far referred to Bill Hartston's less than charitable obituary of Ritson Morry, published in the Independent in 1994, entitled "The World is Now a Less Smelly Place". It is available to read online...
WRHs famous piece was referenced in my article.

Perhaps not that prominently but nonetheless present just above the cartoon drawing of WRM.
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