Yorkshire Chess News





Death of Mark Whitehead


The death has been announced of Mark Whitehead of Rochdale, at the early age of 56.


The funeral is to take place at 11.50 a.m. on Thursday 9 February at Rochdale crematorium, followed by a remembrance gathering at Wellfield Working Men’s Club, Prince Street, Rochdale.


Mark was a confirmed Lancastrian, but was, even more, an avid chessplayer, and so he was one of a number of such players who on a Saturday would venture across the Lancs.-Yorks. border to play for Calderdale in the Yorkshire League.  Thus it was that Mark appeared in 78 matches for Calderdale, over the period 04/04/2009 to 02/03/2019, winning 21 games, drawing 41 and losing 15.  (Yes, that’s only 77.  In one appearance he notched up a nominal win as the opposition defaulted on his board.)


His thirst for chess took him round the congress circuit, and many congress players and congress organisers (such as the writer) knew him best as a regular congress player - usually taking a half-point bye in round 1 if it was on a Friday evening.  His last ECF-rated game was played on 15/10/2022 in round 3 of the Major section of the Crewe congress, where his opponent was, somewhat enigmatically, his former Calderdale captain Dave Patrick.  He withdrew from the event at that stage, so maybe he was off colour health-wise.


Mark played in a number of congresses where I was one of the organisers, and it is difficult to remember him without at least a slight smile on his face.  I played him only once, in a Lancashire v Yorkshire NCCU Under-175 match.  Things got far too complicated, and we both seemed to think one of us must be winning, the only question was which of us!  So we agreed a draw.


He will be missed by many people.


Mark Andrew Whitehead was born on 06/08/1966 at Littleborough, a town about 3 miles north-east of Rochdale, where he latterly resided, in 2018 specifically at South View Road with the eponymous River Roch (pronounced as “roach”) flowing through open land to the south, at the rear.  The date and cause of death seem not yet to have been announced.


Obituaries are to be found at:






Steve Mann