top of page



It is with great sadness that we must report the death of Harry Lamb. Harry had been in a care home for the last twelve months, suffering from periods of dementia. He was well looked after and his sons Ian and Michael had been in regular attendance. On 6th May, Harry suffered a seizure and was taken to Bolton Royal Hospital where, despite their best efforts, Harry died on 13th May. Ian and Michael were at his side at the end. His final hours were peaceful.



Harry was brought up in Bolton and went to Bolton County Grammar School. He studied chemistry at Sheffield University, and throughout his working life held many senior and responsible posts. In later years, he set up his own business working with companies in China to supply zirconium compounds to the chemical industry. Harry’s parents lived in Halliwell, and his father was in the fire service. His wife, Barbara, sadly died some years ago. He was a family man and very close to his wife and sons. Harry’s younger brother was also a chess player.



Chess absorbed most of Harry’s time, his efforts and his undoubted expertise. It is difficult to understate the contribution that Harry made to Bolton Chess Club, Manchester Chess Congresses, the Manchester Chess Federation and the Midlands Chess Union. There was hardly any aspect of chess in Greater Manchester that did not benefit from Harry’s involvement, from the organisation of the league, through representative Manchester teams and the MCF’s Instruments and Articles, to the work of the Disputes Committee – this all bears witness to Harry’s professional approach and his clear thinking. The current state of the Manchester Chess Federation owes a debt of gratitude to Harry for the breadth and depth of his contributions. At various times, Harry was President, Treasurer, Secretary and Council member of the MCF. Latterly he chaired the Disputes Committee.



Harry held numerous key roles in the (former) Manchester Chess League (MDCA) and helped to shape its current format and composition. He also helped set up the Greater Manchester County Chess Association (GMCCA) to enable Manchester to enter representative teams in national and regional tournaments. Later, he played a key role in bringing the league (MDCA) and the GMCCA together to form the current Manchester Chess Federation (MCF). The MCF continues to be one of the strongest centres for chess in the country.



Harry was also responsible for organising the Manchester chess congresses, using his close ties with the University of Manchester, as well as extending to other venues in the Greater Manchester Region. Manchester congresses were major events in the chess calendar, and at their peak they attracted hundreds of players to their tournaments at the University of Manchester. They were able to host many very strong grandmasters, including David Bronstein, Murray Chandler, Nigel Short and David Norwood. Harry applied sound common sense to his organisation of chess congresses, even where there were disputes and friction. As he himself often noted, ‘The players came and paid good money to play chess and enjoy themselves. Not to worry about the rules!’ The current strength of Chess Congresses in Manchester is a tribute to Harry’s hard work, commitment, and good sense.



Harry was instrumental with others in setting up the Bolton League, which continues to operate successfully. Harry was an ECF Senior Arbiter and also took time out to train other arbiters in the north west of England. He lead the control team at Manchester Congresses for many years and also supported other north west congresses when they required arbiter support.



For many years Harry wrote a column in the Bolton Evening News reporting on events in the chess world and matches in the Bolton League. Harry was a strong player and throughout his playing career he played in the top tournaments in the United Kingdom, often with distinction. He took some well-known scalps including James Plaskett GM and Aaron Summerscale.



Harry also played in the French League (Esbarres Chess Club), combining gastronomic weekends with more competitive chess. Across his chess playing career he represented Bolton in their first team and Manchester County in MCCU and ECF County matches. Away from chess, Harry was a true son of Bolton, following Bolton Wanderers but also involving himself the political life of the town, standing as a Parliamentary Candidate on behalf of UKIP. In recent years, Harry was content to leave matters in the hands of others, but he continued to be involved in the MCF and provide the wisdom that derives from experience. His absence will be a great loss to chess in Bolton, in Manchester and beyond.


Thanks to Julian Clissold who has written this obiituary.



Funeral arrangements


St Andrew’s Church, Crescent Ave, Over Hulton, Bolton, BL5 1EN


Monday 12th June 1.30pm

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page