Tournament tribute to tragic chess champ

Chess champ: Jessie Gilbert

Chess champ: Jessie Gilbert

First published in News by

An annual international tournament is to be held in memory of 19-year-old troubled chess champ Jessie Gilbert who died last summer.

Organisers of Coulsdon Chess Fellowship (CCF), where Jessie was a member for 12 years, said her death had left a big hole' in the group, and hoped the contest would be a fitting tribute to the prodigy.

Jessie died after falling 65ft from her hotel window in the Czech Republic where she had been taking part in an open chess tournament on July 26 last year.

The former Croydon High School pupil's mum, Angela, maintains Jessie killed herself, although an inquest into her death last month recorded an open verdict as despite a history of self-harm she had left no suicide note.

The inquest heard that Jessie had been due to give evidence against her dad, Ian Gilbert.

She had accused him of raping her between 1995 and 2000 at their £800,000 Woldingham home.

Mr Gilbert denied the allegations and was cleared by a jury last November.

Reverend Howard Curtis who runs CCF says he is hopeful the Jessie Gilbert Celebration International, which is supported by Jessie's mum, will prove popular.

The event, which will replace the club's usual all-play games in August, will raise money for the NSPCC.

"Jessie left a big hole. She was with us for 12 years, and when someone is with you for 12 years it's still a shock that they are gone," Rev Curtis said.

He added: "She was a brilliant player, she could have been world champion.

"She was very helpful with the other chess players. Always willing to help them with their game. She was a lovely girl."

For more information on the CCF which meets on Monday evenings click here.

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