Ken Groce

Ken Groce, who was one of our clubs longest serving and active members, passed away May 2023. He was in his eighties.

Ken playing for the Essex U160 team.

Ken lived in and played for Loughton in the Essex and North Circular leagues. He represented Essex usually for the U160 team. In the 1990s, he lived in Waltham Abbey and played for the now defunct Powdermill team. He won the Intermediate at the 2010 St. Albans congress and also won the Minor at the 2010 Ilford congress with 6/6.

In his younger days, he was a grader and an arbiter at congresses. He often regaled us with tales as an arbiter, e.g. sorting out problems when a blind player got paired with a deaf player.

At an Essex congress, Ken’s fellow arbiter was monitoring the Open. He was sitting mournfully awaiting the first game to finish. He noticed Ken was fiddling with cards in the Minor. Ken suddenly said, "That's the draw for round 3 done, I'm off to the pub!"

Ken had been a family man, but he lost his wife and two sons (one killed in Falklands war) a long time ago. He was in the army, like his father before him and then worked in communications. When he came to Loughton, but then took up part-time lecturing at Loughton ( now New City ) College.

Whilst chess was his main activity, he was also writing a textbook on mathematics. Whatever his original intention was, I am sure he realised he would never finish the book, but I guess he tinkered with it just to keep his mind busy.

He read a lot, mainly science/engineering for factual and fantasy fiction such as Terry Pratchett English humourist novels.

Ken never drove. Except once, he drove a tank while with the army in Germany, but managed to crash it!

He was still playing good chess in his eighties.
See Ken vs. Paul Gilberg 2020.

He will be sadly missed.


Thanks to John Campbell and Kevin Thurlow for their contributions.