Sandy Ruxton learnt how to play chess on a rainy childhood holiday, with an antique travelling set won by his great grandfather in Glasgow in 1903.

 

At school in Cheltenham, he was fortunate enough to encounter well-known players such as C.H.O’D. Alexander, Sir Stuart Milner-Barry, and Dr J.M. Aitken. On the fringes of Leonard Barden’s national coaching sessions in the 1970s, he played in various tournaments around the country during adolescence, and ended up playing as a freshman for Oxford University.

 

Owing to the demands of working life, he then gave up competitive chess for approximately 30 years, only returning when he went freelance five years ago and discovered internet chess. As a result he returned to playing over the board at the London Classic in 2009, and won the Weekend Major two years running. He now lives in Oxford and has played for the Cowley Club in the local league.

 

Outside the chess world, Sandy works as a freelance policy advisor and social researcher, mainly for national and international NGO's (non-governmental organisations). Having trained as a French and German teacher, he spent the early part of his career working with young people in schools, community education projects, and the prison system.

 

He is a Visiting Fellow at both Liverpool and London Metropolitan Universities.