Walter Munn

Walter Munn, former President of the Scottish Chess Association died on March 31, 2001.

"When Walter Munn became President of the Scottish Chess Association in 1969, he brought an inclusive and friendly team based approach which helped transform chess in Scotland. He came into the role with a wealth of experience in organising chess from his local club to top quality congresses.

As an accountant, he understood the importance of establishing a sound financial base and set about crafting this with the involvement and agreement of players and organisers throughout Scotland.

He helped enhance the Scottish Championships by establishing popular venues which attracted players to the many social events run, as well as chessplaying. And at many chess events, he was supported by his wife Margaret and for many years by his children Rosanne and Derek. Walter remained as President for 16 years, then was elected Honorary President, which he remained until his death.

Our thoughts are with his wife and family.

John Glendinning, SCA President"

Walter Munn: 19 November 1931 - 31 March 2001 Eulogy by Gerald Bonner

We gather here this afternoon to offer our support and sympathy to Margaret and the family at the untimely loss of a dearly loved husband, father, and grandfather, to share in their sadness as we all mourn a wonderful friend, to pray that God may grant Walter eternal rest and the joy of the Resurrection, and to celebrate the life of a man of many talents, boundless energy, and dedicated service.

Walter was born in Shawlands, Glasgow, in November 1931 and educated at Hutcheson's Grammar School. He then joined the firm of Harold Sinclair and Blair, duly becoming a chartered accountant in the mid 1950s. By then, he had already met Margaret who was training in bookkeeping with the firm. They got engaged shortly after Walter became a CA, and were married in 1958. Walter later became a partner in the firm, followed by joining Wardhaugh and McVean.

Eventually Walter decided to work as a freelance accountant from home, continuing to provide the same professionally meticulous and immaculate work for clients, as had been his hallmark throughout his career Walter had a lifelong interest in chess, and his first club was Cathcart. He joined Busby and Clarkston in 1963, playing a key part in helping to re-form it as Giffnock and Clarkston Chess Club meeting in Rhuallan House, where it has remained ever since.

He was also a founder member of the Scottish Correspondence Chess Association, sometimes pondering moves well into the night so that he could send his replies promptly to equally dedicated opponents.

He became Secretary of Giffnock and Clarkston in 1965 and remained in that post until last year, surely a record for any club? Walter's commitment, organisational skills, and enthusiasm quickly raised the club's status to that of one of the biggest and best in Scotland.

Walter still managed to play competitive chess himself in those days, and at a level that made him runner-up in the strong Club Championships of 1964,1965, and 1971.

He organised internal club tournaments, team fixtures, the Renfrewshire County Championship, the Renfrewshire Open Championship, and the West of Scotland Championship throughout most of those years as Club Secretary.

You might think this was plenty for anyone, but Walter was a very special man. He joined the Glasgow Chess Congress Committee in 1965 and became Congress Secretary. I was already chairman of this group and had met Walter on and off at chess events, but this was when I got to know him well, and I have never met a more able and gifted organiser in all the many committees of which I have been a member.

After a year or two, Walter and Margaret kindly allowed the Congress Committee to meet monthly in their home, and there are countless happy memories of banter, jokes, anecdotes, a cat which wanted to muscle in on the act, and suppers which included the best home members of the team of Congress helpers, and provided a canteen for insatiably hungry chess addicts from Glasgow, the rest of Scotland, and as far afield as the Antipodes.

Some years witnessed players placing bets as to whether or not they would be served their soup or roll by a Munn or a nun! Walter's vision brought about the annual Junior International Tournament at the Congress, and his encouragement of junior chess included years of input to Richmond Park School, Ashcraig School, Fernhill School, the Eastwood District Primary Schools Annual Tournament, the Boys Brigade group in this Church, and a junior international chess tournament for disabled players in the Glasgow City Chambers. Walter always showed a keen interest in helping young people with any form of handicap.

In 1969, Walter was elected president of the Scottish Chess Association, a post which he held with distinction in his characteristically modest and unassuming manner. His 1 6 year tenure of the office brought about numerous advances in the status and playing strength of Scottish players and our standing as a member of the international chess community.

Every chess enthusiast in Scotland owes a debt of gratitude to this quiet, selfless, talented man. "The Munn Era" saw the Glasgow 800 Tournament, the World Microcomputer Championship, the 1984 SCA Centenary Congress, and the visit by then World Champion Anatoly Karpov in May of the same year.

Walter's steady guiding hand at the helm encouraged and enabled other talented and dedicated organisers to undertake these and many other events, and again the Munn home provided warm hospitality for a large number of chess masters and grandmasters over this golden age.

The SCA indicated its high regard for Walter by electing him Honorary President when he relinquished the post of president in 1985. He retained the title until his death last Saturday.

Nobody has made a greater contribution to the Scottish chess scene than Walter Munn. Few can equal it. Walter and Margaret made a wonderful team and created a very close family with Derek and Rosanne, of whom they were so justly proud. Walter enjoyed seeing them happily married to Fiona and Chris and being a loving grandpa to Alexander and Rachel.

Walter was a gentleman and a gentle man with a keen sense of humor that never hurt anyone. His family and friends can thank God for a life well lived. No one has ever had a bad word to say about Walter, and, when you think about it, that's no mean epitaph for anyone.

The words of a prayerful thought I came across may bring some consolation to his family and to all of us. "We seem to give them back to you, 0 God, who first gave them to us. Yet, just as you did not lose them in giving, so we do not lose them by their return. And life is eternal and love is immortal, and death is only a horizon, and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight." I feel sure that Walter is just over that horizon, quietly raising his eyebrows at what is being said and suggesting that I stop talking and sit down.