Yorkshire Chess History
Michael John Haygarth
Mike Haygarth’s paternal grandfather was Keighley-born Rhodes Haygarth, B.Sc., M.B. & C.M. Edin., a medical practitioner in Cross Gates, Leeds. His parents were John Rhodes Haygarth (born 19/07/1901, Cross Gates) and Gladys Lilian Haygarth, née Finch (born 18/01/1907, Swindon, Wiltshire).
The 1911 census found 40-year-old Rhodes Haygarth, with his wife 41-year-old Haworth-born Mary Ann Haygarth, 9-year-old son John Rhodes Haygarth (Mike’s Father), and one domestic servant, living at 15 Austhorpe Road, Cross Gates, Leeds. The doctor and his wife had been married for eleven years. Directories show that Rhodes Haygarth was in a joint practice with a certain Dr. Ashmore, as Haygarth & Ashmore, physicians and surgeons, with consulting rooms at 15 Austhorpe Road. (He may well have served as doctor to Geoff Sunderland’s parents and Geoff himself in childhood at least.)
The banns of marriage between John Rhodes Haygarth (then of Manston) and Gladys Lilian Finch (of St. Mary’s Beeston) were read at St. James, Manston, on 18/06/1933, 25/06/1933 and 02/07/1933. Presumably nobody declared “any just cause or impediment why these persons should not be joined together in holy matrimony”, as the couple were accordingly married on 19/07/1933 at Beeston parish church by Hubert Spence. The 32-year-old groom was described as a chartered accountant of Ashfield, Cross Gates, Leeds, and son of Rhodes Haygarth, medical practitioner. The 26-year-old bride was described as a shorthand typist, of 33 Cross Flatts Row, and daughter of Charles Bland Finch, coal merchant.
The couple’s first child, Michael John Haygarth, was born in Leeds on the 11th of October 1934. The following would appear to be subsequently-born siblings: Margery Haygarth born 27/09/1935, Greta M Haygarth born 1938, and Nigel C Haygarth born 1943.
In 1939 the family was living at 14 Moor park Mount, Leeds. The father, John Rhodes Haygarth was recorded at this time as being a chartered accountant.
He was a pupil at Leeds Grammar School (1). He followed his father into the work as an accountant (1). It has been said he worked for one of the large accountancy firms in Leeds.
His eldest sister, Margery, married Andrew F Rutter early in 1960.
In the 1960s, his father lived at 40 Heathfield, Leeds 16 (phone book, 1962, 1967), and it is possible Mike still lived at his parental home at this stage. His father died during the third quarter of 1974, but his mother was still alive then. (No phone book entry 1981.)
It seems the Haygarths moved at some stage to Linton, a satellite village of the town of Wetherby, and thereafter to the Primley Park suburb of Leeds. (3)
He married Margaret Boardman(!) in April 1982, on the same day that Leeds University’s Woodhouse Cup team’s board one got married, leading to the postponement of two Woodhouse Cup matches that day.
The couple lived initially with Margaret’s mother, also called Margaret Boardman, at 86 Newlaithes Road, Horsforth, Leeds, LS18 4SY (1983 electoral register), but they soon moved into their own home, Oaklea, Newlay Grove, Horsforth, Leeds, LS18 4LQ, where they remained up to 1993. (Present in electoral register 1984 to 1993, but not 1994.) By 1995, Oaklea had become occupied by a different couple.
Thereafter the trail goes cold. Mike and his wife would appear to have left Leeds in 1993/94, as they disappeared from Oaklea and from the Leeds telephone directory at the same time. Mike had perhaps turned 60, retired earlyish, and relocated for his retirement.
The death of his mother Gladys Lilian Haygarth was registered at in the first quarter of 1995, at Leeds.
After his death it became evident that at some time, in or after 1993, he had moved to live in France, though by the time he died he was presumably living in or near Rochdale. Clues hint at him being resident in Heywood (within Rochdale borough) and his arrival being as recent as 2015, but these clues need to be followed up.
He was for a long time board one for Leeds Chess Club’s Woodhouse Cup team, besides playing for Leeds Chess Club in evening league matches, and of course representing Yorkshire in county matches.
He had joined the chess club at Leeds Grammar School at the age of 16, i.e. in 1950 or possibly 1951, and must have developed his playing strength very fast as he was soon hitting high in adult chess.
He won the Yorkshire Individual Championship in 1953/54, and again in 1959/60. He won the Northern Counties Chess Union Championship in 1961.
He played in the British Championship each year from 1955 to 1979 except 1958. He’d previously been in the Major Open. He didn’t qualify for the 1980 championship, and played in the Major Open instead.
He won British Chess Championship at Whitby in 1964 (see below). Thereafter the nearest he got to regaining the title was when he reached a seven-way play-off in 1974, which was won by George Botterill. Earlier he’d lost a play-off in 1959.
In 1959 he represented England in a match versus the Netherlands.
He played for England in the Clare Benedict Cup, at least in the three years 1960 to 62.
He played for England in the 1960 Olympiad in Leipzig, on board four, behind Jonathan Penrose, Harry Golombek, and Peter Clarke. Leonard Barden and Bob Wade were reserves. He scored +5, =7, -3.
He played again in the 1964 Olympiad in Tel Aviv, on board three, behind Cenek Kottnauer, and Peter Clark, with Sheffield’s Norman Littlewood on board four, and Owen Hindle and Michael Franklin as reserves. He scored +1, =7, -2.
Jim Vickery recalls giving Michael a lift to many British Championships, where Jim played in Major Opens. Jim would collect Michael from the family home by the river in Linton; at the venue Jim would drop Michael off at a “proper hotel”, then continue to his own humble “B&B”.
Mike reportedly played at one time for York in the BCF’s National Club Competition, presumably while resident at Linton, which is about half way between Leeds and York.
After marrying, he seemed soon to give up competitive chess. What must have been one of his last Woodhouse Cup matches was probably one on 05/11/1983 where Leeds played away to Scarborough, and Jim Vickery went with Mike, driven by Mike’s wife; Mike did not drive (3).
Jim recalls that Mike apparently never studied books or openings, apart from Chess Informant which he received, free and unasked for, from Brian Eley. Jim also recalls that Mike didn’t keep his scoresheets after games were finished.
During the 1970s, at least, he was Yorkshire Chess Association Minute Secretary, a post separate from that of Honorary Secretary which relieves the latter of a tedious job.
The Yorkshire Post of 03/05/2016 reported that Michael John Haygarth, formerly of Leeds and France, past British Chess Champion, had died peacefully in hospital on 27/04/2016. The funeral took place at Rochdale Crematorium on Friday 06/05/2016.
Whitby 1964 (1), ( 2)
The British Championships in 1964 where of especial interest to Yorkshire players, as a British Champion from Yorkshire seemed likely to emerge.
Norman Littlewood of Sheffield had started well with 4 out or 4, and seemed to have a good chance of winning. In round 5, Norman Littlewood had White against Mike Haygarth and reached the adjournment with a winning positon. Mike was reportedly on the point of resignation, but on resumption of play tried a desperate rook sacrifice which had practical chances of perpetual check. The sacrifice was in fact unsound, but Norman studiously avoided taking the rook, and over three or so horrendous moves, which must long have haunted him, he managed to convert his win into a loss. *
Mike didn’t seem to sense at that point any real chances of taking the championship, as in round six he rapidly agreed a draw with Golombek. However, the organisers then pointed out they had not played the minimum 30 moves required to agree a draw under the recently amended Laws of Chess. So, they played on a few moves, Golombek being off his guard, perhaps thinking a few more token moves were all that were needed before the draw was re‑agreed. However, Haygarth in a few moves won a pawn, and in fact went on soon to win the game.
Mike seems now to have sensed the championship title looming on the horizon, and after round 10 he was 1½ points ahead of the rest of the field, meaning the final round was unnecessary as far as determining the new Champion was concerned. In the last round he drew with Penrose, who had been champion in the previous six years and had been in with a chance of seven wins in a row, so equalling (had it happened) the existing record achieved by Henry Ernest Atkins. Final placings and scores were as follows, and alongside are Mike’s performances in the British Championships over the years:
* In 1959 Jonathan Penrose won the play-off tournament with Mike Haygarth and Harry Golombek.
** In 1975 Haygarth came 4th in 7-way play-off, won by George Steven Botterill.
It was noted that there were more junior players than adults competing at Whitby 1964, though whether “junior” meant under 21 or under 18 wasn’t stated.
* Norman Littlewood, having scored 4 wins then a loss to Haygarth, went on the score as follows: draw, draw, draw, loss, draw and finally a last-round win. He apparent loss of form might be attributable to some unnerving effect of the loss to Haygarth, but also there was an alarming saga unfolding back at home, in Sheffield, news of which might have been received on the Friday (even before the adjournment in Littlewood-Haygarth) or on the Saturday This turn of events, which it might not be appropriate to elaborate here, might equally have had a significantly disturbing effect on Norman, and possibly cost him the championship.
(1) Comments inter alia by Stan Wilkinson in the Yorkshire Post, August 1964.
(2) Reports in Yorkshire Post, August 1964; Chess magazine 1964.
(3) Jim Vickery’s memories.
Copyright © 2012, 2016, 2018 Stephen John Mann
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