Yorkshire Chess History



Michael John Haygarth











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



11/10/1934, Leeds


27/04/2016, Rochdale


Family Background


Mike Haygarth’s parents were John Rhodes Haygarth (born 19/07/1901, Cross Gates) and Gladys Lilian Haygarth, née Finch (born 18/01/1907, Swindon, Wiltshire).


His paternal grandfather was Keighley-born Rhodes Haygarth, a medical practitioner, in the Cross Gates area of Leeds.  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.


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 (only?) child, Michael John Haygarth, was born in Leeds on the 11th of October 1934.


Non-Chess Life


He may have lived in York for a while. (Somebody believes he recalls Mike Haygarth playing for York in the National Club competition.)


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.)


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.


At some time after marrying he apparently went to live in  France, though by the time he died he was presumably living in or near Rochdale,


One recollection is that worked in a clerical capacity for a shoe manufacturer in Leeds.  On might guess he worked in “accounts”, so following to some extent in his father’s footsteps.  Another recollection, more probable, is that he worked for one of the large accountancy firms in Leeds.




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 won the Yorkshire Individual Championship in 1953/54, and again in 1959/60.


He played in the British Championships of 1955, 1957, and each year from 1959 to 1979.  (Possibly also 1956 and/or 1958.)  He didn’t qualify for the 1980 championship, and played in the Major Open instead.


He won British Chess Champion at Whitby in 1964.  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.


He reportedly played at one time for York in the BCF’s National Club Competition.


After marrying, he seemed soon to give up competitive chess.




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.





Copyright © 2012 and 2016 Stephen John Mann

Census information is copyright of The National Archive, see UK Census Information

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