Metropolitan Chess Club

Founded 1890

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Peter Szabo 1940-2009

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Peter Szabo a long standing member of the Metroploitan Club and well known regular at weekend chess congresses passed away on the 2nd October.  

A short biography is provided here. 

Most members will be aware that Peter Szabo, one of the Club’s longest serving members, died suddenly on 2nd October 2009.  He was attending a weekend chess congress in Leicester and suffered a heart attack on returning to his hotel following completion of his first round game. 


Peter Lajos Szabo was born into a Jewish family in Budapest in 1940.  Following the 1956 uprising he came to England with his parents and his late teenage years were spent in Birmingham and then in Taunton where he went to school. 


Peter married Sylvia in 1962 and he went to Bangor University at the comparatively late age of 24 where he read philosophy and psychology. 


After teaching briefly in the East End of London he worked for the National Union of Mineworkers and  the Industrial Relations Commission.  Later he worked in the Department of Employment.  Peter was certainly a member of the Club by 1968, although he may have enjoyed an earlier brief acquaintance with Metropolitan as early as 1962, before he went to university.  Earlier this year he was made a Honorary Life Member following long service to the Club not only as a player, but as match captain (for many years) and, in later years, a Congress administrator. 


Peter was among the keenest of chess players and, as I remarked at his funeral, he could probably lay claim to having played almost as much competitive chess as any other Club member.  Whilst he was not the strongest of players, his understanding of the game was considerable and his enormous collection of chess literature is only a small  testament to the enthusiasm he showed towards one of the great loves of his life. 


His other passions included politics, philosophy, languages, foreign films and, of course, Leyton Orient football club. 


Peter was a close friend of mine and also a good friend to many other members of the Metropolitan Chess Club. He was a great conversationalist and had a wonderful sense of humour. For him, attention to detail was important and nothing could take too long – at the chessboard this was something of a handicap as he sought to find the best move.


He will be sadly missed.  He is survived by his wife Sylvia and his son, Gary, who lives in Denmark. 


John Kitchen

Last Updated on Sunday, 22 November 2009 04:43  

Chess Quotes

Chess, of course, may have been the cause of Morphy's mental fall; he may have loved it not wisely but too well. .... Success came to him too early and was too complete. So far as Chess was concerned he had conquered the world, and henceforth he had no motive in life. William Norwood Potter