On the 9th of January at the age of 93 T Llew, as he was universally known in Welsh chess circles, has passed away peacefully at his home in Pontgarreg near the coast of Ceredigion. This is a time of great sadness for all those privileged enough to have been acquainted with T Llew and our sympathies go out to his family, including his sons Iolo, Wales’ most frequent Olympiad team member, and Emyr, founder with his son Owen of the internet (and now over the board) chess club, gwyddbwyll.com.
T Llew was one of the small group of Welsh Chess Union members and officials who instigated and fought for the secession of the WCU from the British Chess Federation (as it then was) in 1970 and our successful application to join the World Chess Federation (FIDE) as an independent member. As well as folding several posts in the WCU, T Llew founded and edited Y Ddraig which grew from the Dyfed Chess Association newsletter into the magazine of Welsh chess in the seventies. He managed the 1974 Men’s Olympiad team in Nice which achieved our best-ever result and also the Women’s team in the 1976 Olympiad in Israel. He was at the time of his death, and had been for many years, Vice-President of the WCU.
T Llew was heavily involved in Dyfed chess from the sixties onwards, in founding and running the Dyfed Chess Association, its league, Cardigan Chess Club and the highly successful Dyfed Open Congress, until recently held annually at the Cliff Hotel, Gwbert, just outside Cardigan. At his death he was Life President of the Dyfed Chess Association. Over the board T Llew was a keen and competitive player well into his eighties but achieved his best results at postal chess, representing Welsh international teams with distinction.
His great investment of time and energy in Welsh chess was the more remarkable because it was always a sideline for him. He was a teacher and headmaster by profession but also a towering and iconic figure in Welsh literature, as an author and poet. He won the chair at the National Eisteddfod for strict metre poetry in successive years in the fifties, in one of which he did the double, taking the crown for free-metre verse. He was a prolific author of short stories and novels of all descriptions, including some which have been adapted for television on S4C, and an autobiography. But he will probably be best remembered as the Welsh language’s master of children’s stories, which have captivated many generations of readers. Altogether he had nearly eighty publications to his credit, including the only book on chess in Welsh, A chwaraei di wyddbwyll? an introduction to the game written jointly with Iolo.
T. Llew was always self-effacing about his massive literary accomplishments and few among his many chess acquaintances would have been aware of them. But all will certainly remember with affection and admiration his friendship, wit and commitment to Welsh chess.
Amryddawn ei ymroddiad.