Mrs Nancy Conchar Elder (née Gordon)

25 May 1915, Kirkmabreck, Scotland - 04 March 1981, Perth, Western Australia

Scottish Ladies' Champion 16 times. The first was in 1950 (under the name Gordon), and the last in 1980. The 1956 championship was shared with Mrs Steedman.

Represented Scotland at five Women's Olympiads: 1963 (Split, Yugoslavia), 1972 (Skopje, Yugoslavia), 1976 (Haifa, Israel), 1978 (Buenos Aires, Argentina) and Malta in 1980. In 1978 she scored 6½/12 on board three, and in 1980 she scored 5½/12 on board two.

Mrs Elder was a music teacher at Dundee High School, having arrived in that city in the mid-1940s from Manchester. She later became a member of Dundee Chess Club and improved her self-taught chess abilities by taking lessons from the club's Edward Beckingham into the 1950s.

Throughout her time at Dundee High School Mrs Elder encouraged and coached pupils, many of whom went on to success. An early, notable example was A.M. Davie ('Sandy') who won the Scottish championship three times. Several girls that were coached by Mrs Elder also went on to greater things; Margaret Forwell, Rosie Giulian (née Jackson) and Lynne Morrison (née Houston) all won the Scottish Ladies' Championship.

Mrs Elder was also involved in organisational matters, in particular with Dundee CC, but also in the general promotion of chess. She was the main instigator in forming both the Schools' and Primary League in Dundee, and she assisted in the organisation of the Dundee 1967 International Centenary Tournament.

In 1974 Mrs Elder was awarded MBE "for service to chess in Scotland", the first person in the country to receive the honour with regards to chess matters.

Nancy Elder was on her way to Australia in 1981 to visit relatives when she suffered a heart attack on the flight. She died soon after in Perth, Western Australia.

Scottish Chess, July 1974, p. 12.
Scottish Chess, June 1984, p. 7-8 - from a tribute by Peter Walsh.
British Chess Magazine, June 1981, pp. 219-220.






Compiled by Alan McGowan