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Colin J. Roberts 2018

Shropshire's chess community is in shock after news of the death of Colin Roberts who has been at the heart of the game locally for many years. Roberts, who played on board two for Wellington and was among the county's leading players, was a former general secretary and league controller of Shropshire Chess Association, and a former county champion.

Colin's older brother Keith said: "It has been a difficult time for everyone because of the speed of his deterioration but thankfully we were all together at the end which has been a great comfort. "I wanted to share a message he sent while he was in hospital, which showed his sense of humour did not leave him - 'I've got a great excuse for my grades dropping.' "I challenged him with: 'Nah, you are just getting worse with all these youngsters up and coming.' His riposte to that was: 'We're all getting old together, the trouble is the retired ones have got more time to prepare and, as you say, we've got a couple of good younger players.'"

Colin Roberts

Wellington captain Toby Neal said: "Everybody has been devastated by the news and our thoughts are with his wife Mandy - who often used to accompany Colin to matches - and the family. "Colin was of no age at all and was very popular on the chess scene with a great sense of humour, taking his chess seriously, but not too seriously, if you see what I mean. "He was his usual cheerful self when he last played for us at the end of February but then cried off March fixtures with what was thought to be an ear infection. In hospital the diagnosis was much less benign but Colin was talking of playing on the internet, and then last week came the terrible news that he was back home with not long to live."

Roberts had first started playing as a junior with the old Shifnal club and won the county individual championship 10 years later. Living in Hadley, he moved from the old Shifnal & Telford club to play for Wellington, being a key player in the 2014 season in which Wellington came within a whisker of winning the league title.

This week's Wellington A v Ludlow A match has been called off as a mark of respect.

Shropshire Star 17/04/2018