Year Book 2018-19 Contents
When I popped across to Hull on Thursday, to look in on the British Championship in Hull, Stewart Reuben was pointed in my direction by Nick Mahoney. Stewart was concerned that no obituary for Mike Haygarth had appeared on the ECF website or the English Chess Forum, and would I be able to knock one up? Mike is covered in more detail by my Yorkshire Chess History website (Michael J. Haygarth), but he died before this particular website had come into being. Nevertheless, as Iíve submitted something appropriate which now appears on the ECF website, I thought Iíd include the obituary here. Steve Mann
Michael John Haygarth, 1934-2016
Michael John Haygarth was born on 11/10/1934 in Leeds. His family was well-rooted in Yorkshire. Keighley-born grandfather, Rhodes Haygarth, was in medical practice in Cross Gates, Leeds. Tadcaster-born father, John Rhodes Haygarth, was a chartered accountant. Mike in turn earned his crust from accountancy, apparently with one of the accountancy firms in Leeds.
Mike was a pupil at Leeds Grammar School, where he joined the chess club at the age of 16. Four years later he was Yorkshire Champion and five years later he was playing in the British Championship!
He won the Yorkshire Championship in 1953/54, and 1959/60, though later did not usually participate. He was Northern Counties Champion in 1961.
Early proficiency in chess was evidenced more emphatically by Mike participating in the British Championship as early as 1955, at the age of 20, and finishing 7th-9th equal, then in 1956 finishing 3rd-4th. He played in the Championship every year from 1955 to 1979, except for 1958. The championís crown fell to him at Whitby in 1964, when a very lucky win from a losing position against the leader, Norman Littlewood, spurred him on to take the title*.
He represented England in two Olympiads, Leipzig 1960 and Tel Aviv 1964, as well as other events including the Clare Benedict Cup.
Though seemingly a confirmed bachelor, in 1982 he married Margaret Boardman (!), helping to seriously disrupt the Woodhouse Cup match schedule that Saturday. (Leeds Universityís board one also got married on the same day!) The newly-weds lived for a short while with the brideís mother in Horsforth, Leeds, then established their own home elsewhere in Horsforth, remaining at that address up to 1993.
Mike soon withdrew completely from chess after getting married.
At some stage he removed to France, perhaps in 1993, but eventually returned to England, seemingly Rochdale, Lancashire. ďMichael John Haygarth, formerly of Leeds and France, past British Chess ChampionĒ was reported as dying peacefully in hospital on 27/04/2016 [Yorkshire Post, 03/05/2016], aged 81. He was cremated at Rochdale crematorium on 06/05/2016.
* After playing Norman Littlewood in the 5th round Mike went on to meet Harry Golombek in round 6. An early draw was agreed, but it was pointed out they had not made the minimum 30 moves which a recent change to the Laws of Chess required, so they played on a few moves, whereupon Mike won a pawn and soon thereafter won the game. So the new Law may have been crucial to him winning the title.
Personal memory: Jim Vickery (Leeds, 10/08/2018)
I think one of his last Woodhouse match games may have been at Scarborough (yes, they were in the Woodhouse for that one season) on 5 November 1983.† I was in the car driven on this single occasion by his wife, and I donít think she was too happy about the long, boring day out.†
Also: I gave Michael a lift to many British Championships (he didnít drive), where I played in Major Opens.† I would drop him off at a proper hotel, then continue to my humble B&B.† I would often collect him from the family home by the river in Linton, a posh village near Wetherby, before they moved to the Primley Park suburb of Leeds.
Finally, Michael apparently never studied books or openings, apart from the Chess Informant which he received, free and unasked for, from Brian Eley.† What a natural talent!† Even more surprising, he didnít keep his scoresheets after the game was finished.†
I hope your obituary stimulates others to dig up more memories of a great Leeds player.