Very sadly, we have to report the death of BCCA Life member John Toothill. Our condolences go to friends & family.
John’s name may not be familiar to newer members but he was the BCCA Best Games Secretary from 1996 until the termination of the competition in 2013. But you have to go back to the 1970’s/80’s from his CC playing career. In 1972/3 he won a British Championship Reserves tournament & was a prize-winner in the BCCA Handicap. Already a Class 1 player, John won a British Championship Candidates in 1973/4 & advanced to the Final. He came 6th in 1974/5 & 2nd in 1975/6. But it is on the CC International scene that he is best known, as part of the Great Britain team that won the Gold Medal in the 9th CC Olympiad 1982-87; the first & only time that a British team has won this top CC team event. At the time, this was a fantastic achievement beating the all-conquering Soviet Union team into 3rd place (West Germany were 2nd). John was also a member of Great Britain team in the 1st European Team Championship Final (1978-81), and a member of the winning England team in the 1st North Atlantic Team tournament (1981-4). He was awarded the CC International Master Title in 1981.
John was a strong OTB player playing for Windemere Chess club for over 40 years winning the County Championship on several occasions. He also led Windemere to victory in the BCCL 1975/6.
There are three excellent annotated games of John’s in Tim Harding’s superb book Correspondence Chess in Britain & Ireland 1924-1987 and he also featured in Grigory Sanakoev’s book World Champion at the 3rd Attempt.