Trophy for champion of chess from Black Country

It was a case of check-mate as Ray Dolan received a trophy in the shape of a castle after being named Sports Personality of the Year by the Staffordshire Chess Association.

Ray Dolan has received the sports personality of the year award from Staffordshire chess association..
Ray Dolan has received the sports personality of the year award from Staffordshire chess association..

Ray, aged 70, from Bloxwich, has been playing the game since he was five years old and remains still actively involved as chief executive officer and events director of the Midlands County Chess Union.

He said: "I started playing with my father and then the late Doctor Norman Young introduced me to Walsall Kipping Chess Club.

"The club used to meet in 1961 at the Central Library in Walsall but has moved several times.

"I started as tournament secretary and ended up as county captain eight times at different levels and one as the open captain.

"I was general secretary twice of the Staffordshire Chess Association and started in 1996 on the committee and did a term from 1997 for seven years and then from 2017 for four years, which ended this year."

Ray also founded the Cannock League with three other gentlemen but he is the only remaining member of the group and the current president.

Both his wife, Eunice, and Ray founded the Bloxwich Junior Chess Academy and Club which meets at Ryecroft Community Hub.

Over the years the club has produced many stars including 32 UK champions and 26 Staffordshire champions at junior level.

The award ceremony at Ryecroft Community Hub involved saw former Mayors of Walsall, Kath Phillips and councillor Paul Bott, making the presentations.

Ray said: "I am delighted with the award and am still very actively involved with chess.

"I think that once an enjoyment of chess gets into your blood you cannot get rid of it.

"Both my wife and I have taught the game to many young people who have gone on to become champions of the game."

"We have both also taught young people at three schools and in the Library at Bloxwich."

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