Yorkshire Chess History



Norman Littlewood











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



31/01/1933, Sheffield



May 1989, Sheffield



Norman Littlewood was one of four chess-playing Sheffield-born brothers.


Non-Chess Life


Norman Littlewood was the fifth child and third son of Alfred Edward Littlewood and Ida Littlewood, née Wheeldon, who had eleven children in all. Where the family lived prior to 1937 is unclear, but from about that date they lived in a newly-built left-hand semi-detached council property, 222 Eastern Avenue, Sheffield. For more on the family background, his parents and siblings see The Littlewoods of Sheffield.)


Norman did his National Service in the Far East.  He appears to have experienced some psychiatric problems which brother Mike attributed, none too plausibly, to Norman’s period of National Service.


Norman once described himself as an accountant, perhaps meaning he had worked in an accounts office.  He resided at the parental home in Eastern Avenue for his whole life.  In later life he found himself looking after his mother and sister Joyce, and for a long time was not in employment.


He never married.


He appears to have had an inquiring mind, and in later life taught himself Russian, and once took delight in telling me about a Russian poem titled “Yesli” (Russian for “If”) after Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If”.


He had been regarded as a reasonably accomplished pianist.  I once looked out of the kitchen window of Norman’s home, after he’d died, and noticed in a dilapidated corrugated-iron shed what looked like the remains of a smashed-up piano.  This, it transpired, is exactly what it was.  Norman had, according to brother Mike, once set about smashing up the piano in the family home during some sort of attack of anger, exasperation or despair.


Besides chess he also played draughts competitively.  I once went round to Norman’s home to invite him to play chess for Yorkshire against Lancashire.  Although he’d already agreed to play draughts for Yorkshire against Avon on the same day, he withdrew from the draughts match and opted to play in the chess match instead, because it gave him a chance to see brother John who played for Lancashire.


After such a chess match, on the way home, he’d sometimes accompany me to my bus stop and talk animatedly to me until my bus came.


I remember Norman with warmth and affection.




His death in May 1989 was caused by cancer of the prostate or some such problem in that area.  He’d been experiencing problems but had refused to see a doctor until it was too late.




Norman Littlewood first won the Sheffield Championship in 1959, and thereafter in 1960, 1962 and 1963.


He won the Yorkshire Championship in 1962/63 and 1963/64.


He never won the British Championship, the nearest he got being in 1964, at Whitby.


He played in the 1964 Olympiad as England’s board 4, winning 6 games, drawing two and losing 6.


He played again, in the 1966 Olympiad, scoring 5 wins, four draws and 6 losses.


In later years he played on board one for Batemoor & Jordanthorpe in the Sheffield league, with brother Mike on board two.





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

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

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