Stewart won the Scottish Championship in 1894, 1895, 1900, 1901 and 1902 - a remarkable achievement considering the quality of opposition at the time. Facing such formidable opponents as Richard Jordan, James Ferrie, Henderson, Buchanan , Searight, Freedman and others, he achieved the outstanding score of 35-8-129. Moreover, in the three England v Scotland matches his figures were 5-0-26, and in the Britain v USA match of 1905 he recorded a fine 7-0-32. From 1901 Stewart went 21 years without the loss of one game in public. That lost game came in the 1922 victory over the American Champion Newel Banks (2-1-37), which secured him the World Championship in a match played in the City Halls, Glasgow for £500 in prize money. Given that he had effectively retired from match play in 1905 and would consequently be short of practice (unlike Banks!), this result was truly an outstanding one. On his return to Kelty he was to be feted with bands playing and crowds cheering. However Robert was a very reserved man and left the train at the station before Kelty and then walked home to avoid the crowds.
Other local accounts of the man confirm him as slightly eccentric (normal for a genius?). He could, for example, pass a close member of his family in the middle of a country lane without a word; he would spend much time wandering through Blairadam estate with his pocket draughts set (now in my possession) thinking, maybe, of his latest "cook" - an expression used for a previously unknown "killer" move.
As well as his championship successes, Stewart established a prodigious record in exhibitions and demonstrations. For example as a "blindfold" player (ie without sight of the board) he was outstanding, as the figures for his last three displays indicate:-
Cowden Beith in 1904 (14-0-0)
Peebles in 1905 (12-0-3)
Carlisle in 1905 (19-0-6)
This man was capable of much more! Similarly as a simultaneous performer, his record defies comment: 1101-0-182.
After the 1922 match he played no other (shades of Bobby Fischer!). The Americans attempted to arrange another World Title match and claimed that Stewart would not play. Stewart always totally denies this; in fact he claimed that he had "On four occasions.....accepted proposals to cross the Atlantic. On each occasion the matter fizzled out because America could not raise the money....." Where the truth lay is now hard to pinpoint - the unhappy effect was that Stewart really retired in 1922. He was scheduled to play Sam Levy of England for the title in 1937 but resigned it due to ill health.
Robert Stewart died in 1941 and is buried in Kirk O' Beith cemetery close to his home in Fife.