John Christian Henshaw

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Brian Denman
Posts: 91
Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2014 9:02 am

John Christian Henshaw

Post by Brian Denman » Sat Jul 27, 2019 1:32 pm

Talented Brighton and Sussex player, John Henshaw, died suddenly on 17th June 2019 in Hove at the age of 74. Born in Halifax, Yorkshire, his family moved to Richmond, Surrey, where he became the top board in the Tiffin Boys’ Grammar School team at Kingston. His chess career began to really flourish when he joined Brighton Chess Club in 1970. In 1972 John won the Sussex Championship and also came first in the Churchill Memorial Tournament at Hove with a maximum 7/7 score. A year later, when the Sussex Chess Association organised a congress at Falmer, Brighton, John came first in a strong field. Another success was his first equal placing in the Premier event at the Folkestone Congress in 1975.

One of his best results was coming second in the Major Open event at Chester in 1979. This entitled him to play in the British Championship at Brighton in 1980, where he scored four points out of eleven against strong opposition. He continued to enter external tournaments until 1984. After that he concentrated on local and county games. He won the Brighton Chess Club Championship three times in 1980, 1987 and 1993 (on the third occasion he came first equal). I do not have a record of his highest grading, but it was at least 212.

John was also very good at ten second lightning chess. He won the Sussex Lightning Championship four times and was a member of a Brighton Chess Club team, which did well in the national teams’ competition. In this event John gained wins against grandmasters. In 1996 he decided to have a break from chess.

John spent 37 years as a laboratory assistant in a Brighton school/6th form college. About a year after his retirement he decided to return to chess and in 2011 after a long break of fifteen years he rejoined Brighton Chess Club. John played for the club in the Mid-Sussex League, but took part in few other competitions in the recent period. At times he played on a lower board than in the past, but once he had settled back into the game, he lost very few games. After a few years he again felt that he could do with a break from the game and he did not play competitive chess in the 2017-18 season. In 2018 he suffered a fracture of a hip, when he fell down stairs at his flat. Although the injury was quite severe, he overcame the difficulties and returned to the Brighton team for the 2018-19 season. His last few matches in the league were tough and he found himself on a high board once again. He acquitted himself well and had just returned from a holiday with friends, when he died suddenly.

John was a very gentle and private person and, as he did not brag about his achievements, few people knew about his successes. Although he was originally a very good maths student, he later gained an M.A. in Ancient History through the Open University. He was also interested in history generally and the branch of architecture. He traced back his family tree to the fifteenth century and was a member of both the U3A and a local history society. He was also a capable pianist and enjoyed rambling through the countryside.

He will be greatly missed in Brighton and Sussex chess circles.

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