the early hours of 21st May, Stephen Eastwick-Field died peacefully
in hospital at Ipswich. This was a great shock, particularly to
those who saw him at the AGM and congress in March 2001. Shortly
after this, he was taken ill and found to be suffering from a
brain tumour. Despite surgery, his condition deteriorated extremely
rapidly, and, although he became very confused towards the end,
he didn't generally appear to be in any great distress. Several
BCA members attended his funeral on 1st June at Ipswich crematorium.
Steve was educated at Linden Lodge and then at Worcester College,
where I first met him. Even in those days, he was extremely keen
on chess, and he regularly took part in college tournaments and
inter-school matches, and also organised tournaments within the
college. Steve and I played together on many occasions, and we
continued to do so after we left Worcester in 1969. In the early
70s we hit upon the grand idea of a complete tour of the London
underground, playing a game of chess at a pub in the vicinity
of each station. We must have covered about 30 before we lost
we had a lot of fun during that time, though I suspect the analysts
would not have been kept that busy towards the end of those particular
Steve started playing on the tournament circuit around the country
in the mid-70s and he got me interested in 1977. In that year
we both joined the BCA and played in the British Championship
in November at Blackpool. There were 16 players in one section
then, in marked contrast to the large numbers attending today's
events. In spite of the rather authoritarian set-up at the Century
Hotel, Blackpool, in those days, we both thoroughly enjoyed our
first BCA experience.
Besides chess, Steve's other great passion was sport. He particularly
enjoyed cricket and football, and towards the end of his life
he became very interested in horse-racing and enjoyed a modest
bet. He was a keen actor, and his confidence on stage was a revelation.
He liked music, particularly middle-of-the-road pop, folk and
country. He enjoyed short-wave radio, which enabled him to keep
up with sporting events around the world, something that became
easier with the advent of digital TV.
Although chess had always been one of Steve's major interests,
joining the BCA gave his passion for the game a massive boost.
In addition, he relished the social side of BCA activity, whether
standing at the bar after a game, discussing what had gone wrong,
or debating the latest sporting issues. Steve lived through a
marked transformation in the BCA, resulting in a considerable
increase in membership, and a great upsurge in its activity. He
was a great supporter and ambassador, frequently getting involved
in fund-raising events. Although he did take part in some correspondence
chess, he will be particularly remembered as a great scrapper
over the board, and he played out many epic draws in his time.
At Chorleywood in 1981, he left his adjourned position set up
under a tree on the way to the pub and, predictably, was unable
to find the correct tree on his return journey.
Steve was one of the BCA's most loyal members. It would be fair
to say that he attended almost every BCA tournament from the moment
he joined. He played many times at Haaksbergen, and also represented
England in a B International and in the Six Nations Tournament.
I know that he was keen to get into the British Championship proper,
and, but for his untimely death, he would surely have achieved
Steve was a very gentle, kind person. He was generous and reliable,
and would always be pleased to analyse games with his opponents
and to offer advice. He tended to be shy and withdrawn in large
groups. What the BCA offered him was the opportunity to play his
favourite game with some of his
people. His loss will be keenly felt by those of us who knew him,
but I hope that we will always remember his loyalty and friendship,
his good-natured banter and his warmth and generosity."