Sheffield & District Chess Association

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14/10/2021

Mike Johnson

(1962 – 2021)

 

1) from Andy Mort, Chesterfield

2) photograph

3) from Pete Swallow, Leeds

 

1)

When I first joined Chesterfield Chess Club, Mike was a member of the strong Chesterfield Juniors team which dominated the (long defunct) Chesterfield League. He subsequently progressed to become a member of the Sheffield League A Team, whom he represented until his death.  A late developer, mainly because of his time-trouble addiction, he became a formidable opponent in his thirties, and regularly occupied one of the higher boards in the team as well as representing Derbyshire.  Although he never overcame his love affair with time-trouble, he mastered it in time, thriving on the adrenaline it produced, and often winning by luring his opponents into a false sense of security.

 

Expanding his horizons, he started to play in the Yorkshire League, and was a member of the 1978-79 Rotherham team which won the Woodhouse Cup.  Subsequently, Mike played in the same competition for Sheffield, and was a key member of several League-winning teams.  However, it was in the 4NCL that Mike found his ultimate metier when I persuaded him to strengthen the Spirit of Atticus squad.  Not only did he love the attendant social life, but the slow time-limit was absolutely suited to his attritional style of play (he always valued knights above bishops, and often made appropriate exchanges in the opening).  Mike was prepared to 'grind out' endlessly positions in which he had a minimal edge, to gain a crucial extra half point for the team (though it often left his team mates hungry).  More than once, his game was the very last in the room to finish, and interestingly, he seemed to reserve his 'Spanish Torture' for Bradford players, his three most notable marathon victims being Mike Bramson, Dave Patrick and Harry Baxter.

 

Outside chess, it is well known that Mike was a fanatical - and possibly deluded - Derby County supporter, but less well known is that, before a leg injury, he was a runner – a marathon runner, unsurprisingly, who once failed only narrowly to achieve a prestigious sub-three hours' time.

 

As President of Chesterfield Chess Club and a team captain, he was a tireless worker.  An absolute gentleman, he will be missed by team members and adversaries alike.

 

Andy Mort

 

2) photo:

At 4NCL Rounds 2, 12th November 2017, Doncaster:

Mike Johnson (left, Sheffield/Chesterfield) of Spirit of Atticus B team,

and Gary Hinchcliffe (right, Barnsley) who filled in for Shropshire,

going through their 2nd round game which was won my Mike.

(Steve Mann)

3) by Pete Swallow, Leeds (ex. Yorkshire Copper Works)

 

Mick was a good friend of mine for many years and he played in my (I was NE Captain) PORC North-East chess team when we played in the Post Office national team championships.

 

Mick always scored well on second board in our six man team.  At the nationals in 1997 at Stoke-On-Trent, Mick made a 100% score of 4/4 on second board and received a special trophy for his terrific result.  Mick played for the team from 1991 to 1999 after which the tournament was scrapped by the Post Office as a result of cuts.

 

I also played in a number of tournaments with Mick and on two occasions (at Scarborough & Nottingham) Sohrab Panday also played and we called ourselves ''The Three Muskateers''.

 

Mick also visited me here in Leeds on many occasions and we always enjoyed each other's company and even took short breaks together which were always a pleasure.

 

Mick was a good chap and a loyal friend.  Tragically, we lost touch in 2013 but I will always remember Mick as a genuine bloke and a very solid/positional chess player.

 

Pete Swallow