Frederick L. Tatler 1926-2001
Although Fred was born in Stoke-on-Trent he grew up and spent all his life in the Black Country. He had a brother and sister who both survive him. He went to Hawbush primary school and then onto Audnam Secondary School in Brettel Lane, Amblecote. He worked for Baldwins, toolmakers. During the millennium year 2000 Fred and his wife, Betty, celebrated 50 years of married life. Forty of those years were spent in the same house in Bridgnorth Road, Stourbridge. To his family Fred was a real hero. The tribute paid to him by his son David at his memorial service was moving beyond words. Very few sons could pay tribute to their fathers in the way David did. He described an animated story-teller who could separate himself from anything that was ugly in life. A man who watched "The Wizard of Oz" or another Disney classic three times per week, who listened to opera and most of all who never had a bad word to say about anyone. Betty also told me that Fred had read "The Lord of the Rings" at least 8 times.
Fred was always a competitor in life. He never lost his thirst to win although always in the most gentlemanly manner. He also excelled in a number of pastimes. In his time Fred was a cross-country runner, a wrestler, a boxer, a cyclist, a ballroom dancer, a country dancer and of course a chess player.
Fred also once tried to set up a local draughts club. He even appeared on Midlands Television local news with Tom Conie. Nothing came of it and he continued with local chess clubs instead.
It is as a chess player that many of his friends will remember him. Both for Stourbridge and for the Hagley clubs he really did provide a lifetime of dedicated service, both as a player and an organiser. He has captained teams at all levels, including the Worcestershire first team. He has organised at league and club level. Most of all he was the most dependable man to have in the team. He would drive anywhere to play chess. In his time he has beaten players graded in the high 190's and was playing for Stourbridge in a Division IV Birmingham League match on the night he died.
I was only able to find a few score books kept by Fred. In December 1999, at the age of 71 he wrote the following comment about a game against a Birmingham Division One player; "I feel at last I am slowly starting to improve". The following game was an 18 move win played by Fred in February 1999.
Fred was white against Iain Wilson of Telford, in a Wolverhampton League match, Division One. It sums up Fred at the Board - always attacking and always playing his moves as quickly as he could.
Fred was well known in the Birmingham and the Wolverhampton, Dudley and Worcestershire leagues, where he played regularly right up to his sudden death. 150 people attended his funeral last Monday. He will be missed with great affection by all who knew him.
I.S.Howarth Secretary, Stourbridge Chess Club, 22 Feb 2001