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  1. #31
    CC FIDE Master Metro's Avatar
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    Dick was a great guy.
    I never heard anyone call him 'Dick' in some 20 years.One day I said to him,"Rosario in Sydney calls you 'Voonie'.Can I call you Voonie?"
    He paused and said "Why not?" ha ha

  2. #32
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    He was very robust, even at the start of this year. He coaxed me into staying at one of his accommodation places for the 2019 Australian Open, for $50 a night. He, Donato Mallari and 2 of Donato's young daughters and myself spent New Year's Eve wandering through the city of Melbourne for hours and we got home around 2 or 3am. We were so exhausted from walking for hours but Donato was saying, "Look at this guy! He's 80 years old and he's walking out in front while we are all tired at the back!" Dick talked about playing blitz when we got home but it didn't happen

    The next day Dick and I played in the Australian Open lightning and we wanted to play so many rounds that we pushed it too far and played too many and only allowed 20 minutes to get from the venue to my coach before it left. Dick didn't worry though, he drove about 20 kms over the speed limit, ran about 5 amber lights and got me there within about one minute of departure time. The next time I saw him at the Ballarat tournament he was all friendly so I guess he didn't get any speeding tickets or I guess he would have asked me to pay them .

  3. #33
    CC Grandmaster antichrist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Banana View Post
    Sad. Dick was a great guy.

    He told me lots of good stories. One of them was something like he'd been an illegal immigrant in Australia for decades and the authorities could never track him down to extradite him so finally they relented and let him off. Then a week later he was playing illegal gambling in some Chinese business's basement and they got raided by the police who took ID checks and wanted to extradite him but he told them, "Sorry, you could have busted me last week but not now" .

    He was an amicable guy who took losses so much better than a lot of people. I played him 3 times in tournaments and I won 3/3 but 2 of those where monumental swindles by me from totally lost positions. Didn't bother him in the slightest though, he was just as super friendly to me after those games as he always was.
    There was a gambling joint in a basement in Dixon street below some business. On the dot of Saturday 3PM I think it was, the cops religiously turn up to collect bribes I was told. In a building opposite upstairs I would play Chinese chess, was in the eighties and took place for many years. I never witnessed the cops escorting anyone out. I stopped playing Chinese chess as did not want to foul up international chess strategy.
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  4. #34
    CC Grandmaster antichrist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by antichrist View Post
    There was a gambling joint in a basement in Dixon street below some business. On the dot of Saturday 3PM I think it was, the cops religiously turn up to collect bribes I was told. In a building opposite upstairs I would play Chinese chess, was in the eighties and took place for many years. I never witnessed the cops escorting anyone out. I stopped playing Chinese chess as did not want to foul up international chess strategy.
    There were a few Dept Immigration
    amnesties in that era that Richard may have been able to available himself of. Sometime in the eighties I think it was, whilst a major chess competition was taking place in Sydney Voonie was playing gambling chess with a Ukrainian "friend " of mine who was having swigs of maybe vodka from a small bottle in his jacket pocket . Voonie won and grabbed the $10 off the table. The Ukrainian picked up his chair to attack Voonie with. Richard immediately rushed in and landed three good jabs to the head and the chair was dropped. Decades later Voonie denied this tale but mutual friends thought it fitted Richard perfectly?? That champion venue may have been an Arts Council building in either Pitt or Castlereagh street Sydney
    Last edited by antichrist; 22-08-2019 at 08:31 AM.
    Zionism is racism as defined by the UN, Israel by every dirty means available steals land and water, kill Palestinian freedom fighters and civilians, and operates an apartheid system to drive more Palestinians off their land

  5. #35
    Premium Member ER's Avatar
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    One of Richard Voon's last chess hurrays . Here he is (left) receiving his prize from Tom Kalisch as IM James Morris (background) awaits his turn in one of the Chess Artists' tournaments.

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  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham View Post
    Richard was a local legend of the Melbourne chess scene, a larger than life character and still inspirationally dangerous to stronger opponents even in his later years (he would have been 80 this year) when his rating had finally dropped down towards average club level. Among other things he won the Commonwealth Seniors Champion title in Sri Lanka in 2016. RIP.
    Belatedly, saddened to here this.

    Dick Voon and I always got on well, we were neighbours ,back in the day circa 1970 when we both lived in Surry Hills.
    He was studious and thoughtful, a good work ethic, always gave me the impression of being immersed in his thoughts.

    When he was in Sydney he was always known as Dick. The Richard must be Melbourne thing!?

    A few reminiscences retrieved from what remains of my neurons.

    He came to Oz to study, I think engineering at NSW Uni but dropped out and as has been mentioned became an illegal immigrant, not wanting to return to Malaysia (Sarawak? Borneo?).

    When he faced deportation former Oz champ Fred Flatow organized a petition to the immigration minister.
    Some chess playing lawyers and barristers helped.
    Many in the chess community supported Dick and he gained residency.

    He worked at one time on Cockatoo Island Naval Dockyards, then a heavy industrial site now a tourist spot, as he said "I am now a wigger!"
    Yes. he was a rigger.
    The heavy outside work showed: he beefed up and was not someone to be bullied.
    Once a certain player became cranky with Dick during a chess game and assaulted him: bad move, the bully ended up in hospital I believe.
    The fallout perhaps had something to do with Dick moving to Melbourne.
    Plenty more Dick (Richard!) Voon stories if anyone is interested.
    His tragi-comic gambling escapes alone would make a novel or movie.
    I think chess obsession was his escape from the gambling demon.

    Dick gets a mention in the recently published book about philosopher and fellow chess fanatic George Molnar.
    Dick and George and one other (loser up) were regulars at chess-tolerant all night cafes in Kings Cross.
    Their lightning chess playing seances became stuff of legend.
    Sometimes day and night for many days with just an occasional meal and toilet break.
    Eventually the proprieter would insist they go home and shower!

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by antichrist View Post
    Yes please more stories we (I) am very interested - a good contra to the typical chess nerd. Kings Cross was a friendlier place back then. The certain player who became cranky is he still active in chess? I doubt it would have been the Ukrainian who always wore a light grey suit.
    Hi a/c: Mr Light Grey Suit I have seen but is/was not the person I alluded to.

    That person moved more into correspondence chess and somehow "achieved without computer help" a stellar rating despite his not so stellar OTB rating.
    You may have come across the type: memorizes book lines then first move out of book they blunder a piece then berate you
    as to how lucky you were to win because you had a dead lost book position!

    Kings Cross has been neutered by a combination of gentrification and lockout laws: the once heaving day and night scene is moribund.
    I still go for jazz at the El Rocco, the World Bar, the Bourbon and for coffee Piccolo Bar but the general atmosphere around the Cross is depressing.

    The LGS gentleman could by quite volcanic.
    Once he was drawn to play a 40 move in 90 mins game with that other colourful gent the late Glen Devine.
    After about half an hour's play LGS had a bathroom break. When he returned he had a serious hissy fit: his flag was
    about to fall! LGS's shriek was off the Richter scale. Sadly for Glen a witness had seen his hand snake behind the mechanical clock and wind his opponents clock forward!
    Glen's response was a classic: other players cheat all the time, how come it's only me who gets caught and punished?

  8. #38
    CC Grandmaster antichrist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterjansen View Post
    Hi a/c: Mr Light Grey Suit I have seen but is/was not the person I alluded to.

    That person moved more into correspondence chess and somehow "achieved without computer help" a stellar rating despite his not so stellar OTB rating.
    You may have come across the type: memorizes book lines then first move out of book they blunder a piece then berate you
    as to how lucky you were to win because you had a dead lost book position!

    Kings Cross has been neutered by a combination of gentrification and lockout laws: the once heaving day and night scene is moribund.
    I still go for jazz at the El Rocco, the World Bar, the Bourbon and for coffee Piccolo Bar but the general atmosphere around the Cross is depressing.

    The LGS gentleman could by quite volcanic.
    Once he was drawn to play a 40 move in 90 mins game with that other colourful gent the late Glen Devine.
    After about half an hour's play LGS had a bathroom break. When he returned he had a serious hissy fit: his flag was
    about to fall! LGS's shriek was off the Richter scale. Sadly for Glen a witness had seen his hand snake behind the mechanical clock and wind his opponents clock forward!
    Glen's response was a classic: other players cheat all the time, how come it's only me who gets caught and punished?
    Funny you mentioned that "computer-less" guy. Someone had an OTB run in with that other great chess personality, Lloyd Fell and exactly occurred what you described. He got beyond book lines then blundered a piece but took the move back after letting go of the piece. I was the witness and we mutually smiled - him interpreting that I would concur with him. Well Lloyd is the last person on earth that one would attempt to cheat against so all hell broke loose and Lloyd was expelled - the first time in 44 years maybe. Then Lloyd changed his will accordingly so that NSWCA would not get his "fortune". I played Lloyd at Bass Hill shopping centre when I was doing a chess promotion there when I did not know who he was. I got a few pieces ahead then felt sorry for him as he was elderly and let him win. If only...

    That LGS guy I regularly met at the Ukrainian club at Lidcombe that was my chess haunt for over twenty years. Once a few beers got beyond the waistline he would bellow out anti-...…. rants that one would get jailed for. There were a few like that.
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  9. #39
    CC Grandmaster antichrist's Avatar
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    Now knowing that Voonie may have skipped town due to a physical run in that may explain why he denied the run in with the Ukrainian - just in case. He certainly didn't back down when there was danger.
    Zionism is racism as defined by the UN, Israel by every dirty means available steals land and water, kill Palestinian freedom fighters and civilians, and operates an apartheid system to drive more Palestinians off their land

  10. #40
    Premium Member ER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterjansen View Post
    ... and for coffee Piccolo Bar but the general atmosphere around the Cross is depressing.
    Is Vittorio still around? Passed by the other day during an early walk as I do every time when in Sydney, but the place was closed of course.

    with that other colourful gent the late Glen Devine.
    The legendary Devine, undisputed King of Hyde Park's plebeians he gave it hard to some of the stars of the era like Max Fuller though.
    An encounter vs Dick V. would have been interesting, Dick would most likely beat Glen at chess but I wouldn't trust him to hold his own against
    Devine's strength and fitness if it came to blows. Yes, Glen D. the archetypal trash talker, "why don't you put your money where your mouth is"?
    was his favourite like toward any one who disputed his chess related statements or challenged him for a game. The late Peter Parr always commented his analytical strength.
    All of the people referred to in this are not with us anymore, and chess is definitely poorer!
    Last edited by ER; 06-12-2019 at 10:47 PM.
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  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by antichrist View Post
    Funny you mentioned that "computer-less" guy. Someone had an OTB run in with that other great chess personality, Lloyd Fell and exactly occurred what you described. He got beyond book lines then blundered a piece but took the move back after letting go of the piece. I was the witness and we mutually smiled - him interpreting that I would concur with him. Well Lloyd is the last person on earth that one would attempt to cheat against so all hell broke loose and Lloyd was expelled - the first time in 44 years maybe. Then Lloyd changed his will accordingly so that NSWCA would not get his "fortune". I played Lloyd at Bass Hill shopping centre when I was doing a chess promotion there when I did not know who he was. I got a few pieces ahead then felt sorry for him as he was elderly and let him win. If only...

    That LGS guy I regularly met at the Ukrainian club at Lidcombe that was my chess haunt for over twenty years. Once a few beers got beyond the waistline he would bellow out anti-...…. rants that one would get jailed for. There were a few like that.
    Mention of Lloyd Fell, that brought back a few memories!

    He could be irascible and rude at times but was also a source of excellent knowledge when you caught him in the mood.
    I still apply some ideas he showed me in the NimzoIndian and QGD. His knowledge of rook and pawn endings was legendary.
    One of my early interactions with him was at North's where we were both spectators at a tournament. We were at the bar,
    I could see he enjoyed a beer and was about to shout him one when he railed at me after some remark "How dare you comment on the games of the masters!!"
    He didn't get his beer!

    Later we met in a tournament and I managed a draw and endured a scolding about my feeble play.
    When we met again it was in Adelaide. I remembered a comment of Kevin Harrison who had played Lloyd many times OTB
    and in correspondence, that Lloyd hated aggressive queen moves (Freudian?). Well, so I discovered as our game unfolded.
    I ended up in an ending exchange up R v Kt plus a pawn to boot as well. But Lloyd, having a low opinion of my ability, played on
    probably thinking the mug will fall for a Kt fork of his K and R. So I kept them far apart and systematically took all his remaining pawns
    so we ended up with something like R+4P vs lone Kt plus a crowd of bemused onlookers!
    Lloyd glared at me, muttered something, harrumphed, stopped the clock and left.

    Later we became friends of sort and I used to give him a lift home to Burwood after tournaments we both played in.

    One incident sticks in my mind but it didn't involve Lloyd directly though we discussed it as I drove him home.
    We were playing in a Swiss, I think at the Lithuanian Club, DOP was Narelle Kellner.
    There had been some niggling grumbles about the draw and it was clear Narelle was a bit distracted and getting agitated.
    The final straw for her was a complaint (memory suggests it was from Don Keast) that he had been given the wrong colour.

    This must have been the tipping point: Narelle exploded! She was a large woman, her Viking ancestors would have been
    proud of her tirade. The room fell into a stunned silence, we all avoided eye contact with her for the rest of the night!

    Lloyd had known Narelle most of her life and was dumbfounded at her behaviour.

    Subsequently, working back a timeline, the incident may have been related to the tragedy that was later uncovered.
    Police and fire brigade were called to the burning Kellner residence where it was discovered Narelle had shot herself
    and set the house on fire. The decomposing body of John Kellner, noted chess journalist and player, was also found.
    It appeared he had been shot some weeks earlier.
    Narelle may have been directing the tournament with some distracting thoughts, hence her testiness.

    I knew Lloyd was intending his property go to NSWCA on his passing, sad this did not occur.
    His house in Burwood alone was quite valuable.

  12. #42
    CC Grandmaster antichrist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterjansen View Post
    Mention of Lloyd Fell, that brought back a few memories!

    He could be irascible and rude at times but was also a source of excellent knowledge when you caught him in the mood.
    I still apply some ideas he showed me in the NimzoIndian and QGD. His knowledge of rook and pawn endings was legendary.
    One of my early interactions with him was at North's where we were both spectators at a tournament. We were at the bar,
    I could see he enjoyed a beer and was about to shout him one when he railed at me after some remark "How dare you comment on the games of the masters!!"
    He didn't get his beer!

    Later we met in a tournament and I managed a draw and endured a scolding about my feeble play.
    When we met again it was in Adelaide. I remembered a comment of Kevin Harrison who had played Lloyd many times OTB
    and in correspondence, that Lloyd hated aggressive queen moves (Freudian?). Well, so I discovered as our game unfolded.
    I ended up in an ending exchange up R v Kt plus a pawn to boot as well. But Lloyd, having a low opinion of my ability, played on
    probably thinking the mug will fall for a Kt fork of his K and R. So I kept them far apart and systematically took all his remaining pawns
    so we ended up with something like R+4P vs lone Kt plus a crowd of bemused onlookers!
    Lloyd glared at me, muttered something, harrumphed, stopped the clock and left.

    Later we became friends of sort and I used to give him a lift home to Burwood after tournaments we both played in.

    One incident sticks in my mind but it didn't involve Lloyd directly though we discussed it as I drove him home.
    We were playing in a Swiss, I think at the Lithuanian Club, DOP was Narelle Kellner.
    There had been some niggling grumbles about the draw and it was clear Narelle was a bit distracted and getting agitated.
    The final straw for her was a complaint (memory suggests it was from Don Keast) that he had been given the wrong colour.

    This must have been the tipping point: Narelle exploded! She was a large woman, her Viking ancestors would have been
    proud of her tirade. The room fell into a stunned silence, we all avoided eye contact with her for the rest of the night!

    Lloyd had known Narelle most of her life and was dumbfounded at her behaviour.

    Subsequently, working back a timeline, the incident may have been related to the tragedy that was later uncovered.
    Police and fire brigade were called to the burning Kellner residence where it was discovered Narelle had shot herself
    and set the house on fire. The decomposing body of John Kellner, noted chess journalist and player, was also found.
    It appeared he had been shot some weeks earlier.
    Narelle may have been directing the tournament with some distracting thoughts, hence her testiness.

    I knew Lloyd was intending his property go to NSWCA on his passing, sad this did not occur.
    His house in Burwood alone was quite valuable.
    I could make a few comments re Lloyd's explosion that got him expelled but they are defamatory - there was a background to it going back previous tournaments and people involved who had previously cheated on him and got away with it even though he had made complaints. I was a witness to one prior event and later notified him of it and that person was directly involved in the Parramatta/expulsion incident so Lloyd was an unpinned hand grenade. I can understand the arbiter's decision but it did not take into account the full context - it only addressed the current. As I have stated elsewhere I did further incite Lloyd before the explosion and he took my advice so I feel a bit responsible about it. I think my memory is connecting everything together okay.
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  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham View Post
    Richard was a local legend of the Melbourne chess scene, a larger than life character and still inspirationally dangerous to stronger opponents even in his later years (he would have been 80 this year) when his rating had finally dropped down towards average club level. Among other things he won the Commonwealth Seniors Champion title in Sri Lanka in 2016. RIP.
    Indeed!
    IIRC an early big scalp for Dick Voon was the freshly minted Australian Champ Serge Rubanraut in a regular tournament game.
    Dick was v. pleased with this win.

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterjansen View Post
    Indeed!
    IIRC an early big scalp for Dick Voon was the freshly minted Australian Champ Serge Rubanraut in a regular tournament game.
    Dick was v. pleased with this win.
    Over the years, Dick has beaten several IMs
    Interested in Chess Lessons?
    Email webbaron!@gmail.com for more Info!

  15. #45
    Premium Member ER's Avatar
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    and for those of you who never met him but still manage to drop a hearsay opinion (or two)about him here's Dick (left)
    with his trademark smirk smile during one of his endless blitz encounters vs Eli Beranja at the MCC.

    VOON ELI.jpg
    Last edited by ER; 09-12-2019 at 03:10 PM.
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