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Mr Bruce Birchall

Posted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 5:57 pm
by James Pratt
I gather Bruce Birchall has died. Can anybody tell me exactly when and where please?

Thank you.

James Pratt
BCM ET

Re: Mr Bruce Birchall

Posted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:07 pm
by Richard James
A quick look came up with this and this, which says that he died in March 2011 after a year in hospital.

It must be nearly 10 years since I was last in touch with Bruce. I'm surprised he lasted as long as he did as he'd been in poor health for years (diabetes-related) and didn't seem to be good at taking care of himself.

A quick BMD check reveals that Bruce H Birchall was born in Nottingham in 1946. His last graded games were in 2003.

Re: Mr Bruce Birchall

Posted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 8:39 pm
by James Pratt
if he died that long ago this isn't news, just me being ill informed. He had been lost to chess for sometime, I assume. Thanks Richard notwithstanding.

James

Re: Mr Bruce Birchall

Posted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 8:44 pm
by Richard James
It was news to me as well but it seems that even his friends from the theatre world had little information.

Still I think it's worth a mention in BCM.

Re: Mr Bruce Birchall

Posted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 8:58 pm
by Jon D'Souza-Eva
How sad. I knew Bruce 20 years ago, I think he was a member of Hackney Chess Club at the time. He was a very interesting character and a pretty good chess player (about 150-160 grade) as well.

Re: Mr Bruce Birchall

Posted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 11:52 pm
by David Robertson
I'm sorry to hear this news too. My contact with Bruce goes back 30 years to the short time he spent in Liverpool, early 1980s. It has nothing to do with chess either; he never played locally.

He was an 'interesting' indeed extraordinary character; some would say 'colourful'; others, 'impossible to manage'. He was both generous with his time, and relentless with his views. In the time I knew him, he would pick an argument in an empty room. Yet beneath a personal presentation that owed no debts to genteel bourgeois conformity, or even hygiene, lay a sharp mind, albeit one distorted, some would feel, by an intimidating monomania.

I have stories to tell from this period, stories amusing after a fashion that reflect well on Bruce, but not happy stories. I'll mull the merits of saying much more in his memory.

Re: Mr Bruce Birchall

Posted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:23 am
by Jon D'Souza-Eva
Apparently Bruce was a Grandmaster and even a World Champion!
http://www.boardability.com/profile.php ... h_birchall

Many years after I last saw Bruce I read an interview he gave to, I think, Bill Hartston, which I felt gave a great insight into his personality and lifestyle. I'm sure it's online somewhere and I'll post it if I find it.

Edit: Not the interview I was looking for, but very amusing: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2 ... 67,4839676

Re: Mr Bruce Birchall

Posted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 11:43 am
by Gordon Cadden
Remember Bruce Birchall as a Junior Chess Organiser in London. He was particularly active in promoting competitions for girls. Had a chess group at Haverstock School in Hampstead, which David and Ed Milliband attended.
Not a very strong chessplayer himself, but he was very good at general knowledge. Remember that he won the Mindsports Competition on general knowledge about 12 years ago. He lived in Notting Hill Gate towards the end of his life. His personal hygiene was not good, probably because he was living in a bedsitter, and he suffered from diabetes. Know that he attended Cambridge University, but do not know if he graduated.

Re: Mr Bruce Birchall

Posted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 12:26 pm
by Louise Sinclair
I don't think diabetes causes poor personal hygiene. I met Bruce myself and he had an advanced case of body odour due to not using soap and water. However he was an interesting character although we disagreed about womens chess.
Louise

Re: Mr Bruce Birchall

Posted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:48 pm
by John Upham

Re: Mr Bruce Birchall

Posted: Tue May 08, 2012 7:35 pm
by Richard Haddrell
Bruce died intestate. I have received the following.
Daniel Kilroy wrote:I am looking for any images of Bruce Birchall. We are featuring him in a programme we are making for the BBC called Heir Hunters. Please do get in touch if you or anybody you know has some photos of Bruce.
Best Wishes
Daniel Kilroy DanielK@flametv.co.uk
Assistant Producer, Heir Hunters 7, Flame TV, 4a Exmoor Street, London, W10 6BD 020 7598 7315
Can anyone help?

Re: Mr Bruce Birchall

Posted: Wed May 09, 2012 2:16 am
by Stewart Reuben
Heir Hunters interviewed me for about 2 hours a couple of weeks ago concerning Bruce. I didn't know him very well. They are getting quite desperate for a photo for the TV programme that will probably go out in the autumn. It seems Bill Hartston was unable to help, nor were the Mind Sports People. HH did turn up some long-lost cousins.
It is interesting that somebody, quite well-known to a number of us, was so little really known. That he died intestate is unsurprising. That he had a significant estate is surprising.
If anybody feels they have any light to shed on Bruce, I expect Flame TV would still be interested.

Re: Mr Bruce Birchall

Posted: Wed May 09, 2012 2:25 am
by Roger de Coverly
Stewart Reuben wrote: If anybody feels they have any light to shed on Bruce, I expect Flame TV would still be interested.
Presumably it's well known that he was a "student activist" whilst at Cambridge. He didn't play chess at any level to be noticed. As a chess player I wasn't aware of his interest until either the 1971 or 1972 Islington where I looked for familiar names in the lower sections and thought "surely not". But there he was with that trademark hair.

The accounts of his lifetime suggest that he was a prolific writer of plays. It's possible that one or more of them were a commercial success.

Re: Mr Bruce Birchall

Posted: Wed May 09, 2012 8:33 am
by Richard James
I seem to recall Mark Huba taking photographs at an event in which both Bruce and I were involved. He might possibly have something.

Re: Mr Bruce Birchall

Posted: Wed May 09, 2012 10:04 am
by John Upham
Richard James wrote:I seem to recall Mark Huba taking photographs at an event in which both Bruce and I were involved. He might possibly have something.
I have searched the BCM archive (of around 7,000 images) which has many MH photographs but none labelled with BB in them. He might well be in one of our photos but I don't know what he looks like.