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John Purdy - chess player

Country Australia
Title Australian Master
John Purdy
Judge, Family Court of Australia
In office
1984 - 25 September 2005
Personal details
Born John Spencer Purdy
25 September 1935
Sydney, Australia
Citizenship Australian
Relations C J S Purdy (father), Spencer Crakanthorp (maternal grandfather)

John Purdy (25 September 1935 - 27 August 2011) was an Australian chess player and Family Court judge.

Early life and education

John Spencer Purdy was born on 25 September 1935 in Sydney, New South Wales. His father was C J S Purdy, an Australian chess International Master, inaugural World Correspondence Chess champion, and "one of the world's greatest English-language chess writers and teachers". His mother was Nancy née Crakanthorp and held the lease of Greenwich Baths on Sydney Harbour. His maternal grandfather, Spencer Crakanthorp, was twice Australian chess champion and Spencer's father, Lawrence, had been a leading Australian player.

John attended North Sydney Boys High where his friends encourage him to take up chess at age 13. Less than two years later, in 1951, he was the Australian Junior Chess Champion. Purdy won the title in the last round with 9½ points when John Bailey, the NSW Junior Champion could only manage a draw to finish on 9 points.

Chess master

In 1955 he became the youngest person to win the Australian Chess Championship. However, that year he failed to qualify for the junior world chess championship finals in Antwerp (the title was won by Boris Spassky). He represented Australia in the British championship in 1955.

He won the Australian title for a second time in 1963. That year, he represented Australia in the Asian Zonal championship in Jakarta (won by Bela Berger). Also in 1963, he won the first Doeberl Cup in Canberra.

Purdy served as President, Australian Chess Federation in 1971-72.

In 2003, Purdy suffered an aortic dissection in Lismore and spent weeks at St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney. Although rehabilitation allowed him to return to his professional life, he was unable to continue playing chess. His latterday interests became golf, swimming, reading and bridge.

Accountant then barrister

Purdy qualified as an accountant and then worked for the Printing and Allied Trades Employers' Association from 1956 to 1973.

He qualified through the Barristers' Admission Board for the New South Wales Bar where he practised for five years before leaving to work for the Law Society of New South Wales in 1978. He became chief executive officer in 1980.

Judge, Family Court of Australia

In 1984, Purdy was appointment to the Family Court of Australia. Headquartered at Parramatta, he also travelled on circuit throughout Australia. He retired in 2005 on reaching statutory retirement age.

Family life

Purdy married Felicity Stapleton on 6 December 1958.

Purdy died at Taree whilst travelling to attend a funeral at Kempsey. His funeral was held on 9 September 2011 at the Camellia Chapel, Macquarie Park Cemetery and Crematorium, corner of Delhi and Plassey Roads North Ryde. He was survived by his wife, Felicity, and their sons Colin and Michael and families.

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