Counties Chess

William Ritson Morry

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This obituary is re-published from the Midland Counties Chess Union Newsletter February 1994, author not stated.


Ritson Morry has died, at the age of eighty-three. He died in hospital in Birmingham on 8th January after a brief illness following a fall at home. His involvement in chess stretched back over more than sixty years.

He was very much a Midlands man, and it must have pleased him greatly that Britain’s first modern Grandmaster, Tony Miles, came from Bir­mingham. One of Tony Miles’ achievements was to win the World Junior Championship in 1974, and again this must have given great pleasure to Ritson, for he had created this competition and managed its first staging, in Birmingham in 1951. One of Ritson’s earlier creations was the establishment of the Birmingham Junior League, in 1930. Seven years later he established the Bir­mingham Congress and organised it for decades. In 1973 on receipt of a windfall he contributed £5,000 to a trust fund whose aim was to maintain a substantial prize fund for the Birming­ham Congress.

A year later, in 1974, his generosity helped to rescue the Hastings Congress, when one of the sponsors had to reduce his contribution at a late stage. Ritson’s involvement with the Hastings Congress dated back to 1931. He become a member of the Hastings Congress Committee in 1974, and for several years was chief controller of the event. He had been a FIDE judge since 1951.
His best results in the British Championship were equal second in 1931 and equal third in 1951. The following game is from the Hastings Premier Reserves 1936-37.

W.R Morry v J.Sapira

I d4 Nf6 2c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qb3 c5 5 dxc5 Nc6 6 Nf3 Bxc5 7 Bg5 Nd4 8 Nxd4 Bxd4 9 e3 Qa5 10 exd4 Qxg5 11 g3 0-0 12 Bg2 d5 13 0-0 dxc4 14 Qxc4 Rd8 15 Rad1 Ne8 16 Ne4 Qe7 17 Qc5 Qd7 18 d5 exd5 19 Rfel Qc7? 20 Nf6+! 1-0.

Ritson Morry-Sapira, Hastings 1936. Position after 19...Qc7
Ritson Morry-Sapira, Hastings 1936. Position after 19...Qc7