A long standing and well respected member of Denton Chess Club died recently: Hughie.
He was 95 years old and was in good health as far as I know for all but the last year or so.
He could tell numerous good stories about various events during his life. I believe he was captured and escaped about 3 times during the second world war for example, though Alan could probably tell us more about that.
One of his tales I can only half remember. Someone mentioned the name of a famous British grandmaster of the past, and Hughie remarked “He used to play board two for our club”. (That was long before Hughie joined Denton Chess Club of course.) When I asked who played board one, a little smile came to Hughie’s face and he replied “I did!”
At first it seems a little hard to believe, but the explanation lies in Hughie’s age. At the time the grandmaster was young and kept getting better. Hughie was a bit older and didn’t.
A few years ago the club had sponsors and at the end of the club’s year, the sponsors organized a party with a few prizes for best player, most improved player etc. We must have had about 30 members at the time, and I am sure that about 30 prizes were awarded. We had a Polish member at the time: Chrizystof Lewdinsky or some similar name that I found difficult to remember so I used to think to myself “Christmas Lewinsky”. (I wonder what Monica Lewinsky is up to these days?) Chrizystof picked up about 3 of the thirty prizes. That meant that some people – just one or two – had to go without a prize. That somebody was of course me!
I remember Hughie’s prize. He was in his early nineties at the time, and he was given life membership of the club. By the time Hughie was 94 we used to joke to him that it was a decision the club had come to regret. 😉 He would reply to the tongue in cheek remark with a serious offer to pay his annual subscription, but of course no one would have entertained the thought, let alone taken the money!
Hughie’s funeral may well have been on Friday. I don’t know. I wanted to post details on here, but I have not been informed. There has been a little bit of a communication breakdown.
In the last few years, Hughie’s hand to eye coordination was not what it had been. We wanted visiting teams to excuse Hughie from writing down his games. Sometimes, we’d try to have someone write his game down for him. He still had it upstairs, and would give anybody a good game, and since his main opponent was Alan, Hughie probably won more than he lost. (No disrespect meant to Alan, and he can correct me if I am wrong!) When Alan beat Hughie, that would be an event worth talking about.
Hughie was kind hearted, and the chess set that he owned and used for games against Alan has been left to him.
If I can find a game of Hughie’s, I will post it later.