Manchester Chess Federation Founded 1890

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RIP Gareth Lewis.

was saddened to hear of the reported death of Gareth Lewis. To those who were fortunate enough to have known Gareth I'm sure you will feel as I do that the passing of a true character somehow lessens us all. He really was unique and a person who it was a pleasure and delight to spend time with.


In the formative days of Oldham and Gt. Manchester Junior chess, he was the driving force who enthused all of us around him. He made things happen and got things done. He had little time for the bureaucracy and petty politics that blights the chess world. Some of our older 3Cs members will no doubt carry their own memories as they competed in one of his teams. He had the ability to inspire players to play at the very best of their abilities. My own son remembers with great fondness, Gareth's fictional Aberystwyth Dragon opening especially invented by Gareth to trap and ensnare the opposition. It worked too because he made everyone believe in it. Gareth elevated the performance of the junior chess teams of Oldham and Gt. Manchester to heights they have never since been able to replicate.


Gareth B Lewis was a true son of Owain Glyndwr. He loved his rugby, his chess and of course Dylan Thomas. His teams entered the arena for combat with a passion only equalled at the Arms Park. Whatever the sport or game he could generate a team spirit that was tangible and everyone was prepared to give their all.


Gareth had been blessed with the gift of storytelling. It didn't matter about the accuracy or the plausibility he could weave a tale that had you hooked into wanting to believe every word. Such were the spells the man could cast. He personally taught me much as a young and inexperienced headteacher. He took me under his wing and encouraged me constantly throughout those formative years.


He was never a man who you could lay claim to and hold as an inseparable friend as if he was a treasured possession. His whole demeaner was unique and often shrouded by a self created mystery as to his next venture. Life and time allowed us to drift apart as it often does. Yet, with his passing I can only to smile and recall how influential and special he was when I picture him in full flow. It was a pleasure and unique experience Gareth to have known you.

Stan played a significant role, for many years with the Manchester Federation and was also active with the ECF. He was very popular and always provided wise words and thoughts.

RIP Dave Harrison 1942-2021  Dave was a founder member of  Swinton Chess Club. This week Dave has past away peacefully. Dave used to arrange many tournaments throughout the Manchester area for many years from  approx  1983 for 20 years or more.

it is very sad to report the death on January 10th of Dave Monaghan, aged 74 and who had been one of the stalwarts of the 3Cs' club since its very early years.

Similar to many of those who work behind the scenes at 3Cs, Dave's connection with the club began when his son Karl started playing chess and then himself took an interest in the game.

Not only did Dave enjoy playing but also gained great satisfaction in taking a very active part in coaching at the club and was the ideal person in explaining the basics of the game to those who were just starting their own chess career - many of whom eventually went on the achieve great success in later years.

One of his proudest moments at the board was when the great Russian Grandmaster David Bronstein visited 3Cs for a simultaneous display in 1989 and Dave achieved a draw against him.

Steve Rigby, founder and still main organiser of 3Cs, says it was a honour to know Dave as his friend and that he was always a dignified person who certainly encompassed the 3Cs' ethos of always ensuring the progress of the children came first - and in that respect Dave had always shown a very patient attitude in teaching the game of chess to the many youngsters who had come under his wing at the club.

RIP Neil Pickering.

Neil Pickering who was the Captain of Eccles Chess Club from 1998 - 2013

Neil who captained the 1st team in all leagues became invaluable organising matches. In 2011 Eccles won the Silver Rook for C Division under his captaincy and in 2012 spent a brief season as captain of B Division.


He continued to support Eccles Chess Club throughout his 70's and retired in 2013 due to his health.


Those who knew Neil will remember him for all his hard work and commitment. Signed Eccles Chess Club

RIP Julian Farrand

Tribute to Julian Farrand

Peter Webster "Condolences to Tom and his family. He played for the Greater Manchester team I captained in my gap year, and had the best individual record that season. I remember him arriving breathless at a venue in Worcestershire just before the default time and bashing out 1...Nc6 in response to 1 e4, and quickly getting a winning position".

Julian Farrand vs Harry Golombek British Chess Championships Bristol 1968 Harry Golombek was a three times British chess champion 1947,1949,1955.

Julian Farrand winning for the England senior  Team March 2020

RIP Neville Hawkins 

I am sorry to inform you that Neville Hawkins who used to be involved in


Manchester chess died on Friday 10th July aged 88 years.


Nina Hawkins

Bernard Sharples 12 March 1938 to 14 July 2020 

It is with immense sadness that Bury Chess Club have to announce the death this morning of our club President, Bernard Sharples



Bernard died peacefully  at home, at 5 pm on 13th July.  Having very recently been diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus; he was 82; he is survived by his wife Marjorie



Bernard was a member when the club formed in 1956 having played chess at Bury Grammar, and remained a member with only a break in the 1970s when his work as a Tax Inspector took him away from Bury; as well as club President and Committee Member, he was Press Secretary, former first team captain and tournament controller, and also former Auditor of the Manchester Chess Federation



Bernard was close to 200 strength at his peak, and remained a 150 grade player in his 80s, testament to his underlying chess ability, and his determination and mental sharpness



We’re not sure that the club will survive without him, and we can’t imagine we will see his like again; he always made an effort to welcome new players, young and old, to the club, and encourage them whatever their ability



More importantly, Bernard was a gentleman, genuinely interested in others, always happy to listen, put things into perspective, and give any help that he could; he was patient and kind, honest, reliable and trustworthy; everyone liked Bernard



We are all better for having known Bernard, and proud that he was our friend



Mick Norris, Treasurer Bury Chess Club

Bert Thomas 15 July 1932 to 1 August 2017

Bert stepped in as General Secretary of the Manchester and District Chess Association at the turn of
the century, and was elected President in 2000; he served for a record 6 years in total, taking the
organisation through the merger with the Greater Manchester County Chess Association, and in the
process becoming the first President of the Manchester Chess Federation; he was later General
Secretary of the MCF from 2011 to 2015 and remained on MCF Council.
I will miss him; Manchester chess would not be the same without his wise counsel and hard work.
Bert was a key member of Urmston chess club, where in particular he filled the role of club
Treasurer; he was later instrumental in setting up and (re)forming Sale chess club, with considerable
Bert was a gentleman, genial and polite, but with an inner determination that made him a
formidable negotiator; he used his non-chess skills excellently, and proved the adage that weaker
chess players can make brilliant chess administrators.
After his retirement, Bert and his wife Jeannie spent a few months a year in Florida, until her ill-
health confined them to the UK.
Away from chess, Bert had many interests and was involved with the Scout Association; the most
historical was that he was present on 6 May 1954 at Oxford's Iffley Road athletics track when Roger
Bannister broke the 4 minute mile.
Bert joined the RAF after school, then went to Oxford to complete his education; he then became a
teacher, and moved round the south east as he progressed, before arriving in Manchester in the
mid-1970s; he became head of Sale Boys Grammar until it closed, and at his funeral, there were lots
of favourable mentions of his abilities.
He was also active in the Institute of Management; clearly, he brought his work and personal skills,
even temper, smile and great organisational abilities into chess; for which we should be eternally
Bert had set up a Scout group in Woolwich when he was 27, and the 3 troops within it were so well
organised that they entered local scout competitions for 3 years during which they filled the first 3
places every time; Bert rose to a number of district commissioner roles in Manchester, and was
awarded the highest honour that Scouting offers.
Mick Norris, former MCF President; with kind assistance from Keith Johnston, former MCF President,
although any mistakes are mine!
25 September 2017