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David Burke
The North East chess community was dealt another severe blow this week with the sudden death of David Burke. At the early age of 58, David succumbed to a massive heart attack while being driven to Banff hospital following some slight chest pains. Efforts to resuscitate him at the hospital were regrettably unsuccessful. David was an avid chess fanatic, a love only second to his family.  The latter always knew what to buy him for birthdays and Xmas – another chess book or video! He was an active member of the Newmachar club and regularly turned out on the top boards in both the long and Allegro versions of the game. The club team was based on a parody of characters from the Lord of the Rings going into battle over the 64 squares and his moniker was Lord Burke – a title that caused much mirth from his wife.  He also was a regular attendee at Congresses such as Dundee, Perth, Edinburgh and Oban, often with his sparring partner and chauffeur the late Steve Sawaryn. During the Covid pandemic he set up a Lichess online club so that club players could receive their weekly ‘fix’ of the Royal Game and benefit from his coaching skills. He was also passionate about encouraging juniors to play the game and was ever-present at NEJCA events, where he helped as an assistant arbiter, coach between rounds and always ready to give any ‘byes’ a game of chess (with lots of instruction included). As well as contributing to local chess activity and acting as tutor to club members, he was also keen to improve his own game and recently had been under the tutelage of Hamish Olson. He was forever regaling we mere wood-pushers about the different perspective that Hamish brought to the game.

In life, David was a very honest and gentle person (but over the board do not give him the slightest chance of a king hunt!). He also had a very self-deprecating sense of humour, and his emails are littered with anecdotes and comments where he is the butt of his own jokes. Those who knew him well were proud to call him a friend and that makes his loss all the harder to bear. His early death has had a massive impact on his family and currently they have not decided how they prefer to mourn his passing, possibly at a private funeral.

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