Yorkshire Chess History



John Harold Beaty











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



30/01/1928, Doncaster


1985, Sheffield


Non-Chess Life


Harold Beaty (born 08/10/1896 Doncaster, baptised 03/01/1897 Doncaster, son of Harry Beaty and Martha Maria Beaty) was described as a bank clerk in 1911, though only 14 years of age.  He married Mabel Harsley (born 28/12/1898, Doncaster) in 1925, in Doncaster, and the couple had only one child:


John Harold Beaty

born 30/01/1928, Doncaster


The date of birth is given in one of two sources as 28/01/1928, but that seems the less reliable; his 87-year-old mother in reporting his death perhaps got confused with her own date of birth, 28/12/1898.


In 1939, when John Beaty was only 11, the family lived at 42 Godfrey Road, Halifax.  Father Harold was now a bank manager, while John was still at school.


Father Harold died on 02/11/1940, aged 44, at the Royal Halifax Infirmary.


Work evidently took him away from Yorkshire, as a chess article in the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Pictorial of 07/06/1955 described him as “the ex-Bedfordshire player, J. H. Beaty”.


At some stage, certainly by 1955 on the basis of the above, widowed Mabel and son John returned to Doncaster, perhaps due to its connection with the railway.


John had an agreeable temperament, and could easily have made a good schoolmaster or doctor, but in fact he worked for British Rail as a kind of industrial chemist, analysing oils and so on.  He took early retirement in order to look after his aging mother.


He seemingly did not marry.




John Beaty was Yorkshire Champion in 1952/53, 1957/59, 1960/61, 1969/70, 1970/71.


He represented Yorkshire in county matches, one example being the 1954-55 Counties’ Final


He made several appearances in the British Championships, and played in various tournaments, including the following:

1956 British Championships Major Open: finished first of 31, on 8½ out of 11 (½ a point ahead of Bernard Cafferty).

1957 British Championship: finished 27-29= of 32, with 4 out of 11.

1958 Yorkshire Easter Congress, in Sheffield: finished 2nd of 6 in top, all-play-all section, with 3½ out of 5.

1959 British Championship: finished 26-29 of 34, with 4½ out of 11.

1960 British Championship: finished 13-23 of 36, with 5½ out of 11.

1961 Paignton Congress: finished 8th of 20, with 4 out of 7.

1962 Appleby-Frodingham/Scunthorpe Whit Congress: finished 6th of 6, with 1 out of 5.

1962 Bradford Easter Congress: finished 2nd of 6, with 2½ out of 5.

1962 British Championship: finished 19-25 of 32, with 5 out of 11.

1965 British Championship: finished 23-28 of 34, with 4½ out of 11.


John played for Doncaster in the Yorkshire league.  In one Sheffield v Doncaster Woodhouse match, around 1969, John was on board 1 for Doncaster, and the writer, as a top Sheffield junior, was on board 10 for Sheffield.  Sheffield’s nominated board 1, Mike Littlewood, failed to turn up, and another of Sheffield’s top juniors, Norman Clarence Wilson, present only as a reserve, substituted for Sheffield on board 1, and went on to beat John!  The caveat “beware of juniors” was valid then as it is now.




John was taken ill and ended up in a hospice in the Whirlow district of Sheffield, possibly what is now, if not then, St Luke’s Hospice at Clifford House.  This was at a time when people diagnosed with cancer were not necessarily told that diagnosis.  He apparently believed some of his vertebrae had fused, but didn’t mention to visitors that he had cancer.  Whether he actually knew is unclear.  Be that as it may, John Harold Beaty died of cancer in 1985, in a hospice in Sheffield.


His mother, Mabel Beaty, significantly outlived her son, dying in 1993, in Doncaster.



[Article based in part on recollections of Jim Burnett]





Copyright © 2018, 2023 Stephen John Mann

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