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George Livie
#1
posted on behalf of Mac McKenzie

George Wilson Livie

On Wednesday 1st June 2016 the Scottish chess scene lost one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the game in the sudden death of George Livie.

George was born in 1937 and lived the early years of his life in Cardonald, Glasgow and had one older brother, David. School was not the happiest time of his life and he left as the earliest opportunity. After a short spell in work he gained entry to the police and served as a cadet in the Metropolitan police force. Just before his eighteenth birthday he was called up for national service, where with his police background, he was able to join the Military Police and went on to serve his time in Kenya. He would recount the tale of his brief encounter with royalty when Princess Margaret visited Kenya. On duty he stood to attention and saluted only to be covered in dust as the car speedily drove past him.

Finishing national service he re-joined the Metropolitan police and after a short spell there he decided to return to his home city and join the Glasgow police force. At this time he met Margaret who was to become his wife in early 1959. He continued serving as a constable on the south side of Glasgow and later joined the CID. Now with a wife and a young family the decision was made that George would go to university to study law while continuing to work shifts in the police. This was a difficult time but George, with Margaret’s help, persevered and in 1972 he graduated with his law degree.

By this time the family had grown and there were now four children, Douglas, Valerie, Alan and Elizabeth. George entered private practice and worked with a number of Glasgow law firms ending with the firm Paterson, Robertson and Graham (now PRG) before serving as a judge on employment tribunals.
From his early days George had shown an interest in chess and used to play for the police before joining Cathcart Chess Club where he served as president from 1973-75 and again from 2003-10. He was also a past club champion and frequently won the best game prize in the Club Championship, the last time being in the 2013-14 season. In 2013 he was made an honorary member for all his support and commitment to the club.
Not only did he enjoy over the board games he was a keen correspondence player and was a founder member of the Scottish Correspondence Chess Association. Initially he served as Grading Officer and then as Vice-President. In 2003 he gained his International Master title and in 2011 there was a presentation in recognition of his outstanding service for the Scottish Association.

George also ventured into the commercial side of chess being one of the original directors of Chess Suppliers (Scotland) Ltd. His home was often used to store equipment and books before the business acquired its own premises. He was a frequent competitor at congresses throughout Britain ranging from Oban in the North to the Channel Islands in the South. You could be sure of a tough game if he was sitting opposite you. He purchased many a chess book but he often admitted that he didn’t get round to reading them all.

Due to his legal background his advice and guidance was sought by many both inside and outside chess circles. George could always be relied on to do his best to help others. His family which has grown to include nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren was a very important part of his life. Many times he would wind up one of the junior members of the family with his stories so that they were never sure if he was kidding or not but in the end it would usually be “grandpa” that ended up being caught out. Another big part of his life was the church where he served as an elder for nearly 40 years.

My memories are of a valued friend who had a big personality, happy to be “mine host”. You were always assured of a warm welcome at the Livie house. He enjoyed his red wine and had his own food preferences (steaks being high on the list). He also had his own style and was enthusiastic in everything he did. Underneath it all George was a proud family man who was generous with his time and talent when it came to helping others. I will miss that man as I’m sure many others will.

Our thoughts go out to Margaret and all the family as they love and support each other in the great loss at the centre of their lives.

Mac McKenzie
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