Gordon Marks

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Andrew Zigmond
Posts: 1973
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:23 pm
Location: Harrogate

Gordon Marks

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Thu May 05, 2022 3:39 pm

Gordon Marks died on 4th May 2022. His connection with Harrogate Chess Club can be traced at least as far back as 1970 (the earliest Yorkshire CA bulletin archived on Steve Mann’s site) and likely a bit before that. He played consistently for the club during all that time and his last rated game was played on 29th January this year.

Within the Harrogate chess community Gordon was best known as the longstanding controller of the Harrogate Evening League, a role he held (with a break in the early 90s) for almost forty years. The Harrogate league has always had a relatively informal nature and Gordon was passionate about defending that principle as well as the league’s peculiarities such as the bye being named FIDO (the reason was once explained). He kept teams updated through the league Bugle which was always written in his deeply imitable style with puzzles and crosswords provided during quiet periods.
On the chess board Gordon enjoyed attacking chess, always playing the King’s gambit against 1 e4 e5 and indeed an early f4 in most white openings. A scrappy blunder ridden game was always preferable to a dull positional battle, particularly if the bar was a short walk away. Perhaps inevitably his results were erratic but his highest recorded grade was 149 in 1995.

Outside of chess Gordon founded the Harrogate Lunar Society, a group of fellow science enthusiasts based around the principle that “daft ideas change the world”. Some googling has turned up an archived report from the Harrogate Advertiser which states, “The Lunar Men played with a yoyo, made a slinky monster and an aeolian harp all from audio and video tape. They visited The Royal Hall, saw a scientific exhibition and made a bang with a violet cloud! Lastly they put a radiometer into a freezer making it go backwards!” Which rather sums Gordon and the Lunar Society up better than I can. Suffice to say that for many years they met at the Empress in Harrogate and had a great time. He lived a full life, travelling abroad with friends and frequently staying with his identical twin brother, John, first in New Zealand and latterly in Vienna.

Gordon was a great character, everybody at Harrogate will have their favourite Gordon memory. He was always open to new ideas and initiatives although he detested what he dubbed, “irrelevant waffle”. If there was a new event or opportunity to play chess in Harrogate Gordon would be there. He was always a great supporter of my work for the club and very generous with his time.

A few memories have been in and out of this piece, suffice to say that a certain benign havoc could result when Gordon was in his element. However he was one of the kindest and gentlest men I ever knew. He was sadly diagnosed with cancer last September but initially responded to treatment and the speed of his decline last month caught us all by surprise. Right now I would give a great deal to be able to have one last evening at the pub in his company. He will be so much missed by all who knew him.
Controller - Yorkshire League
Chairman - Harrogate Chess Club
All views expressed entirely my own

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