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Posted: Mon May 18, 2020 12:03 am
I am very sad to pass on the news that Hugh Flockhart died peacefully on Friday 8th May after a short illness at the age of 82.
As well as a player, he was an organiser and arbiter.
Hugh created the Chess Scotland Grand Prix for Adults.
He was also part of the team who brought the British Championships to Edinburgh in 2003.
Hugh was credited with getting the Scottish Seniors Team up and running.
There is a tribute on the Chess Scotland home page and also in the Scotsman newspaper.
Alex McFarlane has done a nice tribute on the Scottish forum.
I used to speak to Hugh on the phone and he regularly sent me entry forms for various Scottish chess congresses including Edinburgh and Lothians for me to take to Poulton-le-Fylde Chess Club.
He was very well spoken and a great man.
Rest in Peace.
Re: Hugh Flockhart
Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 3:00 pm
This was also sad news. I attended Hugh’s funeral remotely back in May; I understand his neighbours came out to line the street as the hearse went by.
Hugh was a maths teacher by profession and for many years a head teacher at Lasswade High School, just south of Edinburgh, but still had time to pursue many leisure and charitable interests. After a triple-heart bypass operation he took early retirement and was presented with a set of golf clubs. He joined my golf club in Edinburgh – some of my golfing buddies remembering how helpful he had been to them in their teaching careers. (It was a surprise to see him in the car-park there as I didn’t know he played). I had, of course known him as a chess player.
He had enthusiasm, energy and a great deal of common sense, which put him ahead of most chess players. He had a refreshingly “why not” attitude when attempting things that had rarely been done. Why not set up a new chess club? Why not organise a congress? Why not play Hastings? Why not set up a Scottish Seniors Team? Why not bring the British Championships to Edinburgh for the first time in a generation? All these were achieved, with Hugh doing more than his fair share of organising, but (and I think this was one of his strengths) he had the knack of persuading others to help him, but allowing them to get on with their roles with minimal interference. And of course, this allowed him to pass on the load and move on to other challenges when the time came.
He got Oliver Penrose to play for his new club as they climbed the divisions of the Edinburgh and Lothians League (they nearly won the title one season) and organised the Lothians Championship (which Oliver won).
He also played for Oban Chess Club (he claimed a tenuous link due to his daughter Laura living south of the town) and as a result he and I must have driven thousands of miles together to play cup-ties in various far-flung locations, such as Dunoon, or Lochgoilhead, or Tyndrum, or Fort William, often with a diversion en route to pick up another team member. He had good conversation though, the miles flew past as we discussed all sorts of things – public affairs, finance, all sorts (he was very knowledgeable) and, occasionally, chess. And of course, we often made the trip across the bridge to the National League in Dunfermline, when he and Derek Coope would be teammates.
Unfortunately he developed Parkinson’s and his health deteriorated; he was quick to realise that he should give up golf, but still carried on playing (and winning) chess until comparatively late. (I never managed to beat him with the black bits – he had good knowledge of the French Defence – but after initially succumbing to his Scandinavian I had slightly more success against his Benko.)
It’s difficult to sum up his life and his loss, but I remember one winter’s night, driving back from a match in Fort William, through Glencoe. It was raining hard, I was running low on petrol, and petrol stations, few and far between at the best of times, were universally shut (it was a Sunday). I remember thinking that were we to run out of fuel in the middle of nowhere, somehow Hugh would be a comforting presence and would know what to do. Perhaps that is how I shall remember him – a comforting and helpful presence.
It seems only fair that I will raise I glass to Hugh too. Again, my sympathies to Laura, Andrew and his friends and relatives.
Re: Hugh Flockhart
Posted: Sat Oct 24, 2020 6:32 pm
I organised TWO BRITISH teams to go to the European Team Chess Championship in Dresden in 2002. But I was unable to play and we borrowed a German. The second team name was changed to Eurostars.
Hugh was more than one of the organisers of the 2003 British Championships in Edinburgh. He raised a considerable sum for the event. That was the last year it was open to Commonwealth players neither resident, or born in Britain,
Condolences to his family. RIP HUGH.