David Raeburn (b 9th June 1916, d 28th December 2002)

David Rabinovich aged 17 David Raeburn aged 83
David Rabinovich, 1934David Raeburn at the Southend Congress, 2000
Photos with kind permission of BCM

David Solomon Rabinovich was born in the Finsbury Park area of North London on 9th June 1916. "I changed my name to Raeburn when I got married. My wife didn't want to be called Mrs. Rabinovich, and I can hardly say I blame her," was David's account.

David's parents originated from different parts of Europe, according to David "to escape some pogrom or other". His Romanian father, when aged 14, jumped on a ship to escape persecution, leaving his entire family behind. His mother, Lottie Applebaum, was sent to London from Austria before the First World War. David took up chess quite early in life. In 1934, he became the British Boys' Champion as a result of beating Frank Parr, who went on to win the title the following year. "The Championship was played at Hastings in those days," David once told me. "Frank was a much better player than I was. How I won the Final I will never really know..." Disarming modesty was one of David's attributes.

Being the age he was, David was called up to the armed services early in World War II. Some "old soldiers" had relatively easy wars. Not David. Initially stationed in Tobruk, North Africa, he was one of many flown out to defend Singapore. "I didn't see any fighting: as soon as we arrived in Singapore we were taken prisoner." He spent almost four years in a Japanese PoW camp in which the mortality rate was about 90%. "I was one of 300 to go in and one of 25 to come out...". It seems a crass thing to say, but it was almost as though this unimaginably horrendous experience haunted him almost every minute of his life afterwards.

He was a vegetarian, not, I think, out of any conscientious leanings: "When I was in the camp, they didn't give us a lot of meat ... come to think of it, they didn't give us a lot of anything... but I used to dream of food. I promised myself that, if I ever got back to Britain, one of the first things I was going to do was have a big roast chicken dinner. When we finally landed at Liverpool, I found a restaurant and ordered my meal, but when it arrived I couldn't eat any of it. I haven't touched meat since."

After the War he settled in Surrey and joined the Clapham Common Club, becoming acquainted with such players as Michael Franklin. Apart from his chess, he used to walk. In his heyday, a walk to Brighton from the South London borders was not out of the question. Even when he moved to Southend, almost 70 years old, he would quite happily walk 20 miles in a day, striding out in a manner which most men half his age would not have been able to emulate, head down, arm swinging, often with a battered shopping bag on the crook of his left elbow. This was quite a regular sight around south-east Essex but if you offered him a lift, it was a mistake you only made once as he made it perfectly plain that he was quite happy walking, thank you.

David had a great love of music, Beethoven in particular, which he was able to discuss most knowledgeably. It was a great sadness to him that his musical appreciation was ruined in his last few years as he increasingly suffered from tinnitus. Similarly, failing eyesight in the final year of his life prevented him from completing the Sunday Times Crossword each week, something he was previously accustomed to doing.

He was a formidable opponent but always a courteous one and was left completely baffled by the petty squabbles that seem to embroil some chess players. After one incident at the Southend Congress a few years ago in which a strong and experienced player became involved in a vociferous altercation at the board, David remarked "I remember (that player) when he wore short trousers and he had tantrums then. Come to think of it, he hasn't changed much...". My own experience was that you couldn't afford to make a mistake against him and I beat him only once, with several draws and several wins to him. The most painful of these defeats was in the last round of the Southend Club Championship some years ago. Southend's Champions' Cup is a beautiful piece of engraved silver dating back to the 1920s, I coveted it and would have won the title had I won that game. I had the upper hand and just before the adjournment, was a pawn ahead and had a simple plan of exchanging the pieces (which David couldn't avoid) but, of course, I rejected the plan and lost. To my eternal shame, my efforts at hiding my disappointment were feeble and David said quietly "I think I'm going to give up chess... I hate it when I lose and I don't enjoy it when I win." He didn't of course, and in two separate years well past his 75th birthday simultaneously held the Southend Club & League titles, four in all, at longplay and lightning chess. To the end he still attended the Westcliff Club as often as he could, his last visit there being about a fortnight before he died.

David was a very loyal man and he nursed his wife for five years through the Alzheimer's disease to which she eventually succumbed. It took a massive toll upon him and, with his own health not so good as it had been, he left it for as long as he could before she was transferred to a home. He would sit with her for hours when there was no recognition left. It was my guess that he felt that he owed it to her for helping him to remain relatively balanced after his war-time experiences.

David's one other interest was horse-racing. Very early in my acquaintance with him, probably about 1985, Southend were to play against Waltham Forest in a completely meaningless Saturday afternoon fixture in April. I was captain and had offered David a lift. I waited at the appointed place for him to arrive and a couple of minutes later he emerged from the Bookies'. "You bastard, Walker!" was the reply to my cheery greeting. I didn't know him well at that stage and was not certain that this was a joke. "What's the matter, Dave?" I enquired, wondering what I had done wrong. "Do you know, this is the first time since 1947 that I have missed the Grand National!"

David leaves two daughters, two grandchildren who, to his delight, addressed him as "Papa" and many, many friends who will miss him enormously.


Rabinovich,D - Parr,F [B01]
British Boys' Championship, 14.04.1934
1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.d4 Nxd5 4.c4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nf3 Be7 7.h3 c6 8.Be3 Nbd7 9.Bd3 Qc7 10.Qc2 Nf8 11.Rd1 Bd7 12.Ne5 Bd6 13.f4 a6 14.Qf2 c5 15.0-0 cxd4 16.Bxd4 Ng6 17.Bb6 Qb8 18.Nxd7 Nxd7 19.Bxg6 hxg6 20.Qd4 Nxb6 21.Qxb6 Be7 22.Ne4 Qa7 23.Qxa7 Rxa7 24.Rf3 b6 25.Rb3 Rb7 26.Nd6+ Bxd6 27.Rxd6 Rc7 28.Rdxb6 Rxc4 29.Rb8+ 1-0

Carr,T - Raeburn,D [C31]
Tower Hamlets, 1981
1.e4 e5 2.f4 d5 3.exd5 e4 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.d3 Bf5 6.dxe4 Nxe4 7.Nf3 Bc5 8.Nxe4 Bxe4 9.Bb5+ c6 10.dxc6 Qa5+ 11.Nd2 bxc6 12.Bc4 0-0 13.Qg4 Bf5 14.Qg3 Nd7 15.c3 Rae8+ 16.Be2 Qa6 17.c4 Re3 18.Nf3 Rxe2+ 19.Kxe2 Qxc4+ 20.Ke1 Re8+ 21.Ne5 Qe4+ 22.Kf1 Nxe5 23.fxe5 Rxe5 24.Be3 Qd3+ 0-1

Double for Dana

London Under 12 (101 entries)
                                BCF  j/    R  O  U  N  D  S
Pos Player                     Grade /e    1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9    A   B    C   D
  1 HAWRAMI,Dana.............   139  j   b65+  w61+  b15+  w11+   b6=  w12=   b8+   b2+   w3=  7  9  1200 133
  2 KHANDELWAL,Ankush........   101  j   b43+  w45=  b20+   w7+   b5+  w15+   b6+   w1-  b14+  7  9  1084 120
  3 SEN,Subin................   106  j   b41+  w66+  b39-  w62+  b36+  w34+  b11+  w12+   b1=  7  9  1049 117

  4 KILPATRICK,Callum........   100  j   b68+  w30+  b34+   w5=  b39+   w6=  b12-  w41+  b22+  7   9   951 106
  5 LEE,Jia Shen.............    81  j   b86+  w35+  b14+   b4=   w2-  w23+  b46+   w6=  b12+  7   9   944 105

  6 TUCKER,Andrew L..........    86  j   b58+  w62+  b21+  w39+   w1=   b4=   w2-   b5=  w24+  6  9   944 105
  7 VOROPAYEV,Yari...........    94  j   w76+  b49+  w36=   b2-  w55=  b32+  w42=  w46+  b19+  6  9   856  95

Dana Hawrami has triumphed spectacularly in this season's London Junior Championships with a magnificent "double" in which he lifted the under 14 title before Christmas and the under 12 in the second bout of tournaments in this traditional end-of-year spectacular.

Dana has now notched up four separate London titles: he won the under 8 and under 10 in consecutive years (1998 & 1999) and now he has won the u14 outright and shared first place in the under 12 in the same month. In the last of these events he was placed first on SOPS tie-break, finishing level on points (on 7½/9) with Ankush Khandelwal and Subin Sen. This is also a marvellous result for Subin who, at just 9 years of age, has completed one of the toughest tests in British junior chess with just one loss (round 4) and a solitary draw in the final round against Dana. Dana's father Khidir must also be absolutely delighted with these results as he coaches Subin as well as his own son. Consequently they have a very similar style of play and, given that the two of them had a half-point lead over the next group at the start of the final round, I wonder how many moves were made in their game before the draw was agreed...

Apart from Dana and Subin, there were other creditable performances by Essex players. Joseph Bloomfield scored 5/9, winning three games and drawing four. In local tournaments Joseph's scores have been very close to Dana's over the past 12 months, but he has not yet managed to raise his game to the same extent in the big events. However, he is a highly talented player and, with a little more hunger for the full point, I am sure that will come. Simon Payne scored 4½, a good score in an event of this strength, and one upon which he will be able to build next year. Similarly, Jonathan Fallman's 4 falls under the "not bad" category, but Jonathan's shortage of tournament play was evident. He lost his first two games, scored 4 out of the next 5, and then lost the last two, one of them to former Essex player Katie Hale, who finished as the top girl.

In other sections, Ezra Lutton was the highest-placed Essex player in the under 21/18 Championship. Here, a brilliant result by Surrey's Donny Muter, who beat last year's Champion Lorin D'Costa in round 3, won him the under 21 title. Donny won his first four games and then coasted home with draws on the final day. Thomas Nixon (Surrey) took the under 18 title, relegating Lorin, who has made a habit of picking up all the important Junior titles in recent years, into third place. There was something of an anomoly in this event in that Michael Luberto (Zimbabwe) finished amongst the leading players but was awarded 1½ points in byes on the first day.

The majority of players who do well in events such as this have been high achievers in chess since their primary school days. Lorin D'Costa, ever since the age of 11 (and some considered him to be a late starter), has been one of ths country's leading players in his age group, and the same is true of Thomas Nixon and Ezra Lutton. Donny does not fit into this category. He was not "on the circuit" as a primary school child and has really only come to the fore during the past three or four years. In other years, the winner of the London u21 might have been considered future IM material. I would not have put Donny in that category, but if he can produce a few results as good as this in 2003 then a reappraisal may be appropriate.

London under 21 (44 entries)
                              Nat Ti FIDE   R  O  U  N  D  S
Pos Player                    lty tl Rtng    1     2     3     4     5     6   A   B  C     D     E     F
  1 D'COSTA,Lorin AR......... ENG    2274  b14+  w29+   b3-  w15+  b18+  w12+  5   5  4  2081  3.75  0.25
  2 LUBERTO,Michael.......... ZIM          bye+  bye=  b40+  w26+  w10+   b4=  5   2  1                   
  3 MUTER,Donny.............. ENG    2085  b32+  w39+   w1+   b9+   w4=   b5=  5   4  3  2188  1.44  1.56
  4 NIXON,Thomas CM.......... ENG    2204  b44+  w19+   b8+  w18+   b3=   w2=  5   2  1 2071  1.36  0.14

  5 CLARK,Stephen P.......... ENG    2107  w10-  b42+  w21+  b16+  w14+   w3=  4  2  1 2071  1.10  0.40
  6 GWAZE,Robert............. ZIM m  2280  w41-  b32+  w14=  b19+  w11+  b10+  4  2  1  2036  1.60 -0.60
  7 LUTTON,J Ezra............ ENG    2107  b27+  w17+  b18-  w22+  b12=  w24+  4  5  3 2092  2.60  0.90

In the under 16 section, Shaun Alley, Jason Klimach and Andrew Lillie (all Ilford / Barking) were the Essex representatives, in which Shaun was the highest scorer with 3/6. Andrew Fernandes (Saffron Walden) scored 4/7 in the under 8 to become the top Essex player.

Khandelwal,A - Hawrami,D [B21]
London u12, 2002
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 d6 6.Bc4 e6 7.0-0 a6 8.Qe2 Be7 9.Rd1 Qc7 10.a3 Nf6 11.Be3 0-0 12.Rac1 Bd7 13.Ba2 Ng4 14.Bd2 Nf6 15.h3 Qd8 16.Bf4 e5 17.Bh2 Qb6 18.Kh1 Nd4 19.Qe3 Qxb2 20.Nxd4 exd4 21.Rxd4 Rac8 22.Rb4 Qxa3 23.Rxb7 Rfe8 24.g4 Bc6 25.Rxe7 Rxe7 26.Nd5 Qxe3 27.Nxe7+ Kf8 28.Ng6+ hxg6 29.Bxd6+ Kg8 30.fxe3 Bxe4+ 31.Kh2 Rxc1 32.Kg3 g5 33.Bb4 Rg1+ 0-1

8/3k4/1K6/8/4BR2/4p3/4p3/8 8/5p1p/8/6k1/8/6P1/5PP1/7K
White to play and win. Last week's solution (Nunn, 1999): 1 Kh2! f6 2 Kh1!! f5 3 Kg1! Kf6 4 Kf1 Ke5 5 Ke1! Kd5 6 Kd1! Ke5 7 Kc2 Kd4 8 Kd2 Ke4 9 Ke2 h6 10 Kf1 Ke5 11 Kg1 Kf6 12 Kh2 Kg6 13 Kh3 Kg5 14 f4+ Kh5 15 g4+ 16 Kg3 Kg6 17 Kxg4 and wins.
I have given just the moves. In "Endgame Challenge", Nunn devotes three pages of highly detailed analysis to the solution and, since my New Year's Resolution is to try to understand this fully, I am afraid that I can do no better than this unless I reproduce it parrot-fashion...so I am afraid you will just have to buy his book! It's all about reciprocal zugzwang and the Theory of Corresponding Squares with several permutations depending upon Black's choice of position in which to fix the pawns.

© Peter Walker 2003

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