Message on the British Chess Magazine Blog

British Chess Magazine (BCM) Blog by John Saunders

Sunday 30 July 2006

Jessie Gilbert (1987 – 2006)

Like many people in the UK chess community, since Thursday I have been in shock at the news of Jessie Gilbert’s tragic death in the Czech Republic on 26 July.

As a specialist chess journalist, it is not for me to go into details or speculate about her death here. I will simply append the few lines I have already posted on the BBC Ceefax pages:

Jessie Gilbert (1987-2006)

“The UK chess community is currently in mourning for one of its brightest stars, Jessie Gilbert, who died in tragic circumstances on 26 July. Jessie’s first major successes came in 1997 when she won the British Girls under 10 and under 11 titles. She hit the headlines by becoming the women’s world amateur champion in Hastings in 1999, scoring 5/10 ahead of three other contenders. In doing so she became a woman FIDE master and gained a rating of 2050, aged only 11.

“Jessie’s next major success was the bronze medal in the European Girls Under 14 Championship in 2001 in Greece. She also played for Perceptron Youth and Wood Green in the 4NCL, and for her local club, Coulsdon CC. Jessie made her debut as a full England international in the European Team Championship in Gothenburg in 2005, and did creditably. This year she played on board 2 for England’s women in the 2006 Turin Olympiad, scoring 5½/11 against tough opposition.

“Having played Jessie twice myself, I was impressed by her calm determination and impeccable sportsmanship. She played very solid chess and had a good eye for a tactical opportunity. Jessie was polite, self-effacing and a role model for other girl players with whom she was hugely popular. Jessie was also brilliant academically, winning a place at Oxford to study medicine. She will be hugely missed but long remembered. A memorial tournament or trophy would be appropriate.”

The restrictions of the Ceefax format (17 lines of 39 characters each) mean that my comments were perhaps more concisely expressed than might otherwise have been the case.

Even so, I hope I have done Jessie justice in those few paragraphs.

My final thoughts are for Jessie’s family and close friends to whom I send my deepest condolences.’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *