J.H.Baines

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James Henry Baines 1989

Harry as he was known to everyone attended hundreds of congresses over the years and a knack of keeping members of the Chess world under control.

He was best known throughout the chess world as the chief controller for the BCF and in that capacity ran the recently held annual congress at Plymouth in early August where the entries totalled 993. He was also chief controller of the general section of the Hastings International Congress where the annual entry was around 400.

He was one of the International Arbiters of FIDE in which capacity he was also well known to many visiting foreign players, who regarded him as a wise friend and counsellor, as well as a firm but strictly impartial referee. His loss will be mourned by thousands of local players in the Midlands among whom he was universally popular.

Harry was a former President of the Midlands Counties Chess Union, The Birmingham & District Chess League and the Wolverhampton & District Chess League. He had been Chairman of these and many other committees, too numerous to include them here. His guidance and advice which was given freely was sought by many. I for one respected both, as did many more. On a journey to attend one of the many meetings, he told me he sat on 38 committees.

Harry learned to play chess as Wednesbury Boys Schools, when C.S.Kipping was Headmaster. Harry started his playing career as a member of Walsall Chess Club, and later joined West Bromwich Chess Club, where he played in both Birmingham and Wolverhampton Leagues, County Matches for Staffordshire, and any other matches that were around. He was the first winner of the Rock Cup, which is the individual championship of the WDCL 40 years ago. This was only one of his many successes. In later years he transferred back to Walsall Kipping Chess Club. Over the last few years he only played in matches when the club was a player short, but still gave a very good account of himself.

When Staffordshire Chess Association decided in 1963 to hold a congress, Harry was proposed as chairman of the committee to run it. He still help that post on October 16th 1989. I had just taken over as congress secretary and will do my very best to keep the congress going, in company with the other members. We are intending to commemorate Harry's name with the congress.

Harry gave his services to chess very freely, and it was his willingness to do this that in some small way contributed to his death, he felt he was too busy to give time to seek medical help when he needed it, until it was too late.

Our last trip to a meeting together was on October 8th 1989. It was fairly obvious to me that he was not well. I had known Harry for over 40 years , and my request made to him as to, how are you Harry , produced the expected reply. "I am alright". This was typical of Harry. I have endeavoured to give a summary of a man who was a friend to me and many chess players, he will be greatly missed.

May I on behalf of you all, offer the deepest condolences to Harry's mother and family, who will receive a copy of this obituary.

K.G.Humphreys, Nov 1989