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Hero of the Month

IM Roddy McKay

Scotland's IM Roderick Macintosh McKay ("Roddy" for short!) was born in Glasgow on Monday 11 February 1952, exactly two years to-the-day after Russia's GM Evgeny Sveshnikov. Our hero is no less creative, respected, and feared as a chessplayer, and indeed just after the 1969 World Junior Championships, Anatoly Karpov's trainer GM Semyon Furman stated "During our preparation for the Championship, we had calculated that Karpov's chief rivals would be the Hungarian Adorjan, the Swede Andersson and the Scotsman McKay".

Well, Roddy truly confirmed that he is a formidable force to be reckoned with, for he finished second out of the seven competitors in "Preliminary Group 2"---ahead of future GMs like Eugenio Torre, Werner Hug, and Alexander Sznapik, and only half-a-point behind Karpov---whom he drew with on Friday 15 August 1969!

Nowadays Roddy is still more than capable of beating the best of the best, although he is also extremely busy with his demanding computing work and his important family life with his wife, Isobel, and his children Jennifer and Iain. Still, such is the level of Roddy's chess talents, that I wouldn't be at all surprised if he managed to add fresh wins to his seven (!) Scottish Championship titles which he carried off in 1971, 1974, 1976, 1979, 1982, 1985, 1988 (with five of those being outright wins, and only two being shared titles).

By now it must be very clear just how highly I RATE RODERICK McKAY, and the feeling is shared by practically everyone who has ever been on the receiving end of his seemingly magical moves! An opponent may be sitting there thinking everything seems OK, and then suddenly the 17 bold letters above rearrange the position because Roddy has MADE A TRICKY CORKER!! For example, witness the speed with which IM Stephen Mannion goes downhill as White against Roddy in game G13.63.

I'd like to conclude this passage now by wishing Roddy and his family every happiness. Personally, one of my most happy days was Sunday 2 July 1995 when I married my wife, Jenny, in the fair Scottish city of Perth, and in the above photo you can see Roddy & Isobel McKay pictured at the wedding.


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