GM Michael Stean on the BBC

On Monday 23rd April BBC Northern Ireland started a series of half-hour programmes entitled “Glory Days”. These are compilations of sporting events taken from the BBC NI archives and the first episode focused on the 1970s. Towards the end (about 25 minutes in) there was confirmation that at least the people at the BBC consider chess a sport, with coverage of a simultaneous exhibition by English GM Michael Stean in Newtownards, County Down.

Unfortunately, I cannot put anything of this on IRLchess, because the BBC understandably do not like people taking liberties with their copyright. However, if you live in the UK, for a few more days you should be able to view the programme, (unfortunately I believe it is geo-restricted elsewhere) courtesy of the BBC IPlayer at Glory Days 1970s.

However, from an old minute book of the Newtownards Chess Club, what I can tell you is that Stean’s simultaneous exhibition took place in the Londonderry Room of Newtownards Town Hall on Saturday 23rd June 1979 with the GM winning 32 games, drawing 2 and losing 6. The organiser was Mervyn Bennett, secretary of the Newtownards Chess Club, and if you are able to access the video, he’s the player, wearing glasses and in a dark striped shirt, featured in close-up. I wasn’t at the simul but I do recall attending a lecture Stean gave the previous night at CIYMS Chess Club in Belfast. He took the assembled players through a recent game from grandmaster praxis (possibly a Korchnoi game – Stean had seconded him at the 1978 World Championship). At one point, Stean stopped and asked us what we thought the next move was, and I’m afraid we completely failed to identify it!

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