Wednesday, March 08, 2006

(89) Malcolm Pein

V
On the morning of October 12th 1992 I telephoned a man who was dealing with the creditors of Pergamon Chess magazine which had gone into receivership, because I was owed money by the magazine.
He said that he would be in touch with me about settlements.
During our conversation I referred several times to the new MD of the consortium which had taken over the magazine: Malcolm Pein.

Within a few seconds of my hanging up a colleague at my workplace telephoned a company and asked to speak to their managing director - a Mr Malcolm Payne.

Then, on an evening later that month, I was chatting with some friends in a London café.
One of the topics of conversation was the result of that day’s game, the twenty-sixth, in the match between Fischer and Spassky.
Someone said that Malcolm Pein - in his capacity as chess correspondent of the Daily Telegraph -might know, but that it would now be difficult to contact him at so late an hour.

Yet later I went to Kings Cross Thameslink station, and whilst I was awaiting a train someone tapped me on the shoulder.
It was Malcolm.
Sure enough, not only did he know the game’s result, but also produced a pocket set and played through the moves of it for me on the train that we took together.
I never again bumped into him like that, although his home in Hendon was on the same line as mine in Luton.

NB. The man sitting opposite us was greatly intrigued and amused by our analysis of the game, and after Malcolm had got off he even asked me who we were.

As it happened, on two occasions in the next couple of days I found myself seated on trains very close to people who were looking at positions on pocket chess sets, normally a very rare sight.

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