A Celebration of Life
Captain William Davies Evans
He was born more than 200 years ago but is not forgotten. Captain Evans, Welsh-born, gave us chessplayers the ‘Evans Gambit‘, a brilliant little opening that soon became as popular in years past as the Najdorf Sicilian is today.
Today I came across this wonderful article in The Western Telegraph of a celebration of his LIFE in Wales this past Saturday and as a chessplayer very much interested in history I must reproduce it here.
“A DAY to celebrate a famous son of Wolfscastle was enjoyed by villagers and visitors last Saturday, October 19.
Captain William Davies Evans, chess expert, inventor and sailor, was born at Musland Farm in the Parish of St Dogwells, just outside the village, on January 27, 1790.
He became fascinated by the sea and ships and in 1804 joined the royal navy where he rose to the rank of captain. He invented the internationally recognised system of tri coloured lights for shipping in order to make sailing at night less dangerous.
While aboard ships he passed the time by playing chess and invented the move now known as the Evans Gambit. The move which is now used and recognised by chess players the world over was used by Cpt.Evans to win against high-ranking chess player, Alexander Macdonnell in 1825.
A blue plaque was unveiled on the village green next to the school commemorating Wolfscastle as Cpt Evans’ birthplace.
The stone was brought by Paul Evans of Musland Farm where Captain Evans was born. The ceremony was attended by members of Fishguard Sea Cadets; Chris Martin, chair of Milford Haven Port Authority and members of the Welsh Chess Association.
The plaque was unveiled by descendants of the Captain who had travelled from Falmouth, Bristol and Folkstone for the prestigious event and children from Ysgol Casblaidd entertained the audience.
After the ceremony a very interesting presentation of the history of Captain Evans` life and marine career was given by Reverend Richard Davies and the history of the Evans Gambit was given by Howard Williams of the Welsh Chess Association.
“The Welsh Chess Union and the Dyfed Chess Association are delighted that it has been possible to honour Captain Evans, probably Wales’ most distinguished chess player ever, in this way,” said a spokesman.
Members of Captain Evans’ family said:
“We felt quite overwhelmed by the support from the community for the recognition and the event.
“It was great to have Captain Evans recognised in his home village and we can’t thank everyone enough for their efforts to make the day a success.
“We received such a warm welcome in Wolfscastle on Saturday, and it was a profound experience.
“The chance not only to value Captain Evans’ legacy, but also to understand where it all started for him as a youngster on a Pembrokeshire farm.””