View Full Version : Ralph Seberry

13-05-2004, 01:29 PM
I'm not sure where to post this, but this seems as good a place as any:

Ralph passed away in his sleep last night [May 12th 2004]. He was the current NSW chess champion and had returned to chess last year after a break of about ten years. Ralph was also involved in chess administration serving on the NSWCA Council in the past and most recently as Tournament officer in 2004 and director of NSWCA tournaments. Ralph will be sadly missed by the chess community.

I received a telephone call to relay this news at lunchtime today. Seems almost surreal that a man can go so quietly so young. It's been fantastic having Ralph involved in chess admin this year; as a leading player he has brought energy and fresh ideas to tournaments in Sydney. The recent Sydney teams event, and current NSW Masters/Purdy Memorial are shining example of his willingess to try different formats, and many more of our top players are competing than was the case a year ago.

Just unbelievable.

Bill Gletsos
13-05-2004, 01:40 PM
Just unbelievable.
My feelings exactly when Peter Parr informed me earlier this morning.
An obitury notice has been placed on the NSWCA web site.

13-05-2004, 01:51 PM
My feelings exactly when Peter Parr informed me earlier this morning.
An obitury notice has been placed on the NSWCA web site.
can i ask, did ralph have any type of illness?

Bill Gletsos
13-05-2004, 02:03 PM
can i ask, did ralph have any type of illness?
None that i am aware of.

13-05-2004, 02:10 PM
I am shocked to hear this news and although I have only known Ralph for about 6 months, I feel that his absense will be immensely felt in the NSW chess community. I found him to be very reasonable and sensible when directing tournaments, and a friendly and humourous character while conversing with him on a few occasions.

13-05-2004, 02:18 PM
I'm shocked by this news - it was only on Sunday that we were laughing and joking together at the Bridge Centre.

He had become a great addition to the NSW chess scene both as a player and an organiser in the 18 months since his comeback. I for one had become good friends with him.

My thoughts are with his girlfriend and two kids.

Trent Parker
13-05-2004, 03:14 PM
i'm speecless...... ???????????????
Yes my thoughts are with his girlfriend and relatives.

I recently lost a grandmother. But we knew that chances are she was going to die soon due to cancer. It is hard enough loosing a relative like this. But loosing someone you love so unexpectedly would be next to incomparable.

13-05-2004, 03:21 PM
I am shocked.

I found Ralph to be a decent young man with plenty to give - he deserved more time.

His poor family ...

13-05-2004, 04:25 PM
Unbelievable! Only a couple of days ago we exchanged emails on the CJS Purdy tourn. This is totally unbelievable. I think we can all be thankful for his brief return to chess: NSW Teams, the current Masters tourn - he was the driving force for these.


13-05-2004, 04:31 PM
I can't describe how shocked I am. It's terrible! I feel exactly as all of the above posters. What was the reason of death?

13-05-2004, 04:41 PM
I can't describe how shocked I am. It's terrible! I feel exactly as all of the above posters. What was the reason of death?
did you read jase's first post? died in his sleep, usually means cardiac arrest.

13-05-2004, 06:12 PM
It's very sad news. I'll be writing an obituary for the next newsletter. I didn't know Ralph, so could anybody who knew him well please email me with any details about his life and his chess achievements.

Regards - paulb

13-05-2004, 06:38 PM
Please, all, let's not speculate about COD. It is not the time or place.

Bill Gletsos
13-05-2004, 07:02 PM
Please, all, let's not speculate about COD. It is not the time or place.
Well said.

Kevin Bonham
13-05-2004, 08:51 PM
I'm shocked too. Especially as he just returned and was making such a contribution in such a short time back, then just suddenly gone. Condolences to all here who knew him. (And Trent, my sympathies to you too.)

Paul S
13-05-2004, 11:32 PM
Like everyone else, I too am shocked by Ralph's sudden death at the age of 37. It his hard to believe, and shows how fragile life can be (especially as he did not appear to have any health problems). I think Jason summed up things very well in the initial post in this thread. :( :( :(

I didn't know Ralph that well, as even though both of us are "prominent Sydney chess identities", Ralph's focus was on weekend chess (whereas mine is on club chess - specifically Canterbury and St George chess clubs). Nonetheless, I am well aware that he made a significant impact to weekend tournament chess in Sydney this year (primarily as a result of him becoming the NSWCA Tournaments Officer this year). As a result of his initiative, some additional tournaments (ie club teams weekender, Anzac Day Weekender and Purdy Memorial) were created this year and some changes were made to existing tournaments. Some of these initiatives/changes were successful and some were not, but nonetheless the bottom line is that due to Ralph's initiatives some EXTRA weekend tournamnents for Sydney chess players were created this year, which is a GOOD thing for chess. Also, if you don't TRY new things, you will never know if they work or not!

As is common knowledge, chess organisers are "thin on the ground", in particular people who RUN (DOP) and organise tournaments, which Ralph did this year. As such, Ralph's untimely death is a significant loss to NSW chess.

I guess we all feel inadequate at this time, as nothing we can do will bring him back. No doubt in the near future there will be some sort of collection for his partner and children by the chess community (which I am sure we would all contribute to as we are able), which I guess is probably all we can do.

RIP, Ralph Seberry!

Alan Shore
14-05-2004, 12:05 AM
My goodness, I had no idea he was just 37. I never knew the gentleman but certainly knew of his contributions to chess, they will be missed and so will he - my condolences to those who knew him.

14-05-2004, 10:43 AM
I never knew Seberry but it was obvious that he was trying to improve the chess scene in NSW so his death will leave a big hole. Condolences to all who knew him and will miss him
Scott Colliver

14-05-2004, 09:22 PM
This news is shocking and tragic. I knew Ralph as a friendly, intelligent and witty man, with great enthusiasm for chess and for the improvement of NSW chess. He will be sorely missed.

14-05-2004, 09:33 PM
Ralph was a formidable chessplayer, with a steady positional style, yet
he had a knack for finding surprising tactical possibilities in his games.

I would like to submit the following game, where he convincingly defeats George Xie, currently Sydney champion, as a good example of his play:

1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. a3 Be7 7. Bg5 d5 8.
cxd5 exd5 9. e3 O-O 10. Bb5 Ne5 11. Be2 h6 12. Bh4 a6 13. Qb3 Ng6 14. Bg3
Bd6 15. Bf3 Bxg3 16. hxg3 {Ralph has already outplayed Black by his clever handling of the opening. He has got a weak isolated pawn to attack on d5, an outpost on d4, and the Black light squared bishop has little scope.} Ne7 17. O-O Qa5 18. Rfd1 Rb8 19. Qa4 Qb6 20. b4
Bg4 {trying to exchange off the craven bishop. But Ralph has seen further...} 21. Bxg4 Nxg4 22. Qd7 {probably the most unusual fork I have ever seen. I remember vividly seeing this position and trying to convince myself Black could save the piece. He cannot. Ralph finishes the game off efficiently} Nxf2 23. Kxf2 Qf6+ 24. Kg1 Qg5 25. Re1 Rfd8 26.Qh3 Rd6 27. Qh4 Rg6 28. Qxg5 Rxg5 29. Nce2 Ng6 30. Nf3 Rg4 31. Kf2 Re8 32.Nf4 Ne7 33. Rad1 Nf5 34. Rxd5 Nxg3 35. Nd2 g6 36. Kf3 h5 37. e4 g5 38. Nd3
Re6 39. Nf2 Nxe4 40. Rxe4 Rf6+ 41. Ke3 Rxg2 42. Re8+ Kh7 43. Nde4 Rg6 44.
Rdd8 Rg7 45. Rh8+ Kg6 46. Rd6+ Kf5 47. Re8 Rxf2 48. Rf6+ Kg4 49. Rxf2

15-05-2004, 01:37 PM
Gareth, do you know what tournament that game was from?
Also, does anyone else have PGN of some games by Ralph Seberry?

16-05-2004, 01:42 AM
Ralph was a formidable chessplayer, with a steady positional style, yet he had a knack for finding surprising tactical possibilities in his games.

Gareth, a better example of this is the following game from the Anzac Day Round Robin, which Ralph sent me a couple of weeks ago. George, if you're reading this, sorry to publish another of your losses, but think of it as a mark of respect for your strength.
(Paul, Iím pretty sure Ralph's earlier win given by Gareth was from the City of Sydney 2003.)

[Event "NSW Anzac Day Round Robin"]
[Site "kryten"]
[Date "2004.04.24"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Seberry, R."]
[Black "Xie, G."]
[Result "1-0"]
[PlyCount "99"]
[EventDate "2004.??.??"]

1. Nf3 d6 2. e4 g6 3. d4 Bg7 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. h3 O-O 6. Be3 a6 7. a4 Nbd7 8. e5 Ne8 9. Bc4 Nb8 10. Qe2 c5 11. dxc5 dxe5 12. Rd1 Qa5 13. O-O Nc7 (Ralph has a clear advantage in this position of course, but now plays a remarkable and quite original combination which would probably not have occurred to the likes of me; I have never seen anything quite like it.) 14. Bxf7!! Kh8 (14... Rxf7 15. Rd8+ Rf8 16. Rxc8 Rxc8 17. Qc4+ Kh8 18. b4 trapping Black's Queen is the beautiful point. George valiantly struggled for another 35 moves but it was a fait accompli.) 15. Bb3 Nc6 16. Ng5 h6 17. Nf3 Kh7 18. Ne4 Ne8 19. c3 Nf6 20. Ng3 e6 21. Nd2 Qc7 22. Nde4 Nd5 23. Bxd5 exd5 24. Rxd5 Be6 25. Rd6 Bb3 26. Qd3 Qf7 27. Ra1 Rad8 28. Rxd8 Rxd8 29. Nd6 Bf8 30. Nge4 Qe6 31. c4 Na5 32. Qc3 b6 33. cxb6 Bxd6 34. Nxd6 Bxc4 35. Ne4 Nb3 36. Nc5 Nxc5 37. Bxc5 Rd3 38. b7 Rxc3 39. bxc3 Qc6 40. b8=Q Qxc5 41. Qb7+ Kg8 42. Rd1 Bf7 43. Qb4 Qc7 44. a5 e4 45. Qxe4 Qxa5 46. Qd4 Qa2 47. Qf6 Be8 48. Rd8 Qf7 49. Qxa6 Kg7 50. Qd6 1-0

Kevin Bonham
16-05-2004, 02:10 AM
Very nice combo indeed.

Javier Gil
17-05-2004, 09:39 AM
I just got an email and learned the terrible news.
Ralph was a good friend of mine and we spent a lot of time together playing blitz against each other in our junior days (both 37). He was always very friendly and willing to give a hand.
During my visit to the Lidcombe tournament a few weeks ago, I took a picture of him playing chess. I never imagined it would be the last...

17-05-2004, 09:58 PM
Shocked by this news. I've been out of the loop for a while so only saw it in Peter's column today.

Ralph was one of the strongest juniors in NSW when the likes of jase and I first started playing in tournaments and he was always gentle and approachable. He's clearly made great contributions to the NSW scene this year, as indeed he has in the past. Very sad news.

RIP Ralph.

20-05-2004, 12:10 AM
In lieu of there being no funeral service to honour Ralph [in accordance with his wishes], there is likely to be a get-together among the chess community to pay our respects.

Details will be made widely available next week. I would appreciate an indication of your interest in attending [it will be an inner Sydney venue, probably on a Friday evening] by sending me a short private message. Some indication of numbers would greatly assist in finding a suitable venue.

I hope on this occasion that we will be able to present the NSW State Championship trophy to Ralph's partner, and that a fitting number of the chess community can be there to mark his farewell from this place.

21-05-2004, 04:41 PM
I still can't believe it. It seems like only yesterday we were discussing broadband options by email.

It's been 16 years since my last serious game of chess, but so many of the names in this forum are familiar... if you organise something in Ralph's memory, please let me know.

I've written up some of my memories of Ralph at


24-05-2004, 10:54 PM
The chess community is invited to a service in honour of Ralph Seberry, 2004 NSW Chess Champion, who sadly passed away on May 12. Details follow.

Venue: Upstairs, the Dolphin Hotel, corner of Crown and Fitzroy Streets, Surry Hills.
Time: 7pm - 9pm, Thursday 3rd June.
RSVP: Please indicate your attendance by contacting me [Jason Lyons] by PM on this bulletin board, by email [jasongraham@yahoo.com], or by telephone [0412 907 686]. Advice of your attendance will greatly assist preparations with the venue.

Your assistance in communicating details of this service to Ralph's friends is appreciated.

If you are travelling by public transport, The Dolphin Hotel can be reached by walking up Foveaux St from Central Station. When you reach Crown Street [800m], the hotel is 50m to the left.

Ralph's partner Kat will be presented with the Kostich shield, recognising Ralph's State Championship triumph, and the George Kepper Memorial Trophy, awarded to winners of the North Sydney Leagues Club Chess Club Championships.

02-06-2004, 12:34 PM
Javier has sent me the picture to which he alludes in his above post. I have included it below.

A reminder that RSVPs for the wake would be greatly appreciated. There are a few posters here who I had assumed would be present but who have not indicated as such. And it seems most of Ralph's fellow NSWCA Councillors are not attending either, which is a little disappointing.

Bill Gletsos
02-06-2004, 01:16 PM
This was discussed at the last council meeting and it is my understanding that at least 3 of the NSWCA councillors will be attending. The others have work or prior commitments.

04-06-2004, 08:58 AM
Jase, thanks for all your work in organising the wake. I think it worked well and we had 40-50 people in a fitting tribute to Ralph.

It was great to see Kat, Jack, Alex and Jennifer (Ralph's partner, son, daughter, and mother, respectively) along with many friends and contemporaries of Ralph from both stages of his chess career.

Thanks also to everyone in the chess community, especially Norm, Charles, and Nick.