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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 July 2006, 10:11 GMT 11:11 UK
Chess star's father on sex charge
Jessie Gilbert - died in fall
Jessie Gilbert fell from an eighth floor hotel window
The father of a teenage chess champion who died in a fall in the Czech Republic is awaiting trial on rape charges, it has emerged.

Jessie Gilbert, 19, from Croydon, south London, fell from the window of a hotel where she was staying during the Czech Open tournament.

Her father, Ian Gilbert, 48, is to stand trial on seven counts of rape and two of indecent assault.

He is due before Guildford Crown Court on 21 August.

Czech police are continuing to investigate how Miss Gilbert came to fall from her eighth floor window in the town of Pardubice on Wednesday.

One suggestion was that she may have been sleepwalking.

It is a great tragedy for all of us
Jan Mazuch, Czech Open director

John Saunders, editor of British Chess Magazine, said he had been approached independently by several chess players claiming Miss Gilbert had a problem with sleepwalking.

Jan Mazuch, director of the Czech Open, said a one-minute silence was held.

Some English players had been too distraught to compete and had travelled home.

"It is a great tragedy for all of us. Everybody is shocked," he said.

Until recently, Miss Gilbert had been living with her parents and sister at their family home in Woldingham, Surrey.

Leading player

In a statement issued on Friday, her family described her as much loved and an exceptionally talented chess player.

Miss Gilbert had been working towards becoming a women's international master chess player and had a place to study medicine at Oxford University.

A former pupil at Croydon High School, she had been taking part in the competition on a year off from her studies.

She regularly represented England at international chess events.

The English Chess Federation described Miss Gilbert as one of the country's leading women players.


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