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Published 26 September 2021

Harris memorial match

Worcester All Stars - Stourbridge All Stars played 16 September 2021

Board Rating Worcester All Stars Score Stourbridge All Stars Rating
1 2058 Stephen Mellor (w) 1 - 0 Brian Turner 1983
2 1780 Phil Austin 0 - 1 Julie Wilson 1825
3 1713 Robin Hayles 1 - 0 Paul Sharratt 1803
4 1488 Phil Smith 0 - 1 Hossam Aboushady 1728
5 1293 John Hesketh 0 - 1 John Varilone 1638
    Total 2 - 3    

Members started the evening in sombre mood with a few words about Nick from Worcester Secretary Ray Collett. Players and members reflected on Nick's contributions to the chess community in Worcester and Stourbridge with a minute’s silence. Worcester won the toss and chose white on odd-numbered boards. Andrew Farthing, Secretary of Worcester and District Chess League Arbiter for the match then started players’ clocks to inaugurate the first league match of the 2021-2 season. Stourbridge, the visiting team strengthened with players from Kidderminster and Malvern, emerged victorious 3-2. Players used the new slightly faster time control 50 minutes plus 20 seconds increment adopted by the league. This led to some very brisk finishes and disasters with players yet to adapt to the new time control. The collection in Nick’s memory for St Richard’s Hospice, Worcester raised over £250 when contributions from players unable to attend were added.

Nick Harris 1937-2021

Loss of a champion

Nick Harris
Nick Harris in 1991

Nick was educated at Brighton Grammar School and studied history at University College Oxford. He then went for teacher training and taught for a few years in Further Education before becoming an editor for Thames & Hudson, publishers. Nick turned freelance as a writer in the 1960s.

Nick had one son, Max, by his first marriage in Cumbria but, he separated from his wife. After a whirlwind romance in Kendal, he married Rosie and they had a second son, Joe, while Max was still living with them. Nick was always a strong chess player and played for Windermere Club in Cumbria before moving to Worcester in 1986.

Nick’s early work was editing part-works about artists, history, writers and musicians. Later, publishing under his name, Nathaniel, he wrote a large number of books about fine arts, history, politics, writers and musicians.  I remember talking about being a writer and the precarious nature of that profession while I was travelling with Nick to a match at Kidderminster. He told me it meant that writers often had to turn their hand to what was offered, but “he drew the line at knitting”! If you look on Amazon you will find over fifty works some of which have been translated into German and Spanish. Nick also authored a series of short books about government and current affairs for secondary school children.

He joined Worcester City Club and played a couple of seasons for City in the late 1980s and early 1990s. During this time he was a member of the Worcester City team that were Worcestershire League champions in the 1990/91 season. Nick later transferred to Worcester St John’s Club, where he met players like him who were keen to play more than once a week. He decided to play for Stourbridge in the Birmingham League with Greg Dyett and Steve James. With Nick in the St John's team, they were Worcestershire League champions in 1998-9 and 2004-5 and also in the Droitwich & St John's team in 2006-7. After the demise of the Worcester St John’s club, Nick returned to Worcester City and was again a member of a league championship-winning team in the 2010/11 season.

According to my records, Nick and I played 32 competitive games against each other, many with tight finishes, but he usually ended as the winner. It took me 20 games before I first scored a full point. I also searched the City club’s records and found that he was first in nine tournaments held by Worcester City Chess Club:  Knock-out (1986/87); Lightning (1986/87); All-play-all three times (2010/11, 2012/13, and 2013/14); Rapidplay championship (2013/14 and 2017/18), club championship (2016/17 and 2018/19). With no competitions completed in 2019/20, he was officially the club champion at the time of his death.

Ray Collett

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