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Happy 50th birthday, Nigel!

June 1, 2015

Today is my lfe-long friend's, Nigel Short, 50th birthday, and I am looking forward to reading the report Chessbase will produce today to commemorate the occasion.

In the run up, I have looked back at my old scrapbooks, and taken a very happy trip down memory lane. Nigel and I first met in the summer of 1972, shortly after I had taken up chess, and got the bug, in the media storm which culminated in Fischer-Spassky.

Our respective parents, not finding chess clubs in our home villages of Culcheth and Atherton, independently found a miners' social club in Golborne, near Wigan, Lancashire, and each week drove us there. Nigel was seven, I was ten, and the miners more or less just left the two of us to play each other, which we did each week.

Later, I don't quite remember when, Golborne has a match against Bolton chess club, one of whose players, the late Mike O'Hara, when strolling around, saw the two kids playing, and realised that we were both better than any of the adults. He took us away, I think at first to Bolton chess club, but quickly he formed Atherton chess club. Mike shepherded the two of us around the country, for no recompense: we were fortunate that Mike was a tireless supporter of English junior chess. Atherton soon became a formidable force in England club chess.

No mobile phones, and I suspect I didn't even have a camera then, so no pictures from the earliest days. The earliest picture I have (though, to be honest, I am now going to trawl through old photo albums and other papers) is from the Bolton Evening News, 29th November 1976. By then Nigel had joined me at Bolton School, where we spent our senior school years together (winning the National Schools chess tournament). Our first win was the Lancashire team Lightning (10seconds a move) with our colleagues Jonathon Bergwerk and Kim Harris (the article has his name wrong as Tim).

 

Lancashire Teams Lightning Tournament 27/11/76

 

Bolton Evening News 29/11/76

 

Happy birthday, Nigel!

 

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