Brian Hare

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Brian Denman
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Brian Hare

Post by Brian Denman » Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:31 pm

Brian Henry Hare died on 27th January 2018 at Brighton. He was born on 3rd June 1940 at Stroud and was therefore 77 years of age. From an early age he demonstrated good skills at chess and in 1957 he won the West of England Junior Championship. This was followed by his selection for the England under 18 team, which contested the Glorney Cup at Glasgow with Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

When he was 18 years of age, his parents emigrated to Australia. Brian decided to stay in England, but he could not obtain a grant to go to university. He needed to raise funds for this and he worked for a couple of years as an actuary at an insurance company. He then obtained a place at the London School of Economics, where he gave an early glimpse of his entrepreneurial skills by running a travel company to Eastern Europe, which he called ‘Quo Vadis’. On one of these business trips he met a young Polish student, Maria Wrobel, whom he married in 1964. They had two daughters, Eva (born 1965) and Julia (born 1967). Sadly Julia died in 1994.

When he had moved to London, Brian had become a member of the progressive chess club called Cedars, which had promising young players, David Mabbs, David Rumens and Arthur Hall as its members. Brian took part in the West of England Championship at Weymouth in 1961. A report in the magazine called ‘Chess’ dated 22.4.1961 stated that he had first-class natural ability in the endgame, but referred to ‘early risks’ that he took on many occasions. It could be argued that this was a bit harsh as Brian won all his games. As a result he qualified for a play-off to decide who was to become the West of England champion. In this he was unsuccessful, losing against Adrian Hollis. They played three games and Adrian won two of these while a third was drawn. However, Brian’s play clearly attracted attention as he was selected to play for England Students in the World Olympiad at Marianske Lazne in Czechoslavakia in 1962. Here he faced strong opposition and the English team struggled, coming 11th out of 18 teams.

In 1966 Brian obtained a place at Sussex University, where he studied for his Ph.D. For this he carried out original research into statistics. The university had a strong chess club in the late 1960s and early 1970s, which included Rodney Phillips, David Strauss and Roy Buckland, while Professor of Maths, Bernard Scott, was also a fine player. The university players joined with strong Brighton Chess Club players to form a ‘Town and Gown’ team, which did well in the National Club Championship.

After about 1971 Brian reduced the amount of time that he spent on chess. He took up a post as a lecturer in statistics and economics at Brighton Polytechnic and, following his separation from his wife, he was also raising his two daughters. In addition he had business interests in the hotel trade. He had used money from his travel agency to put down a deposit on the Mermaid Hotel, which he filled with homeless people. He gradually purchased other properties and then sold them all in the early 1980s to purchase what is now called The Brighton Hotel. He himself called it ‘Serendipity’ and he left a notice in the window ‘For musicians, magicians and all gentle people…’ Original and eccentric, Brian had become interested in the hippie culture and he took up meditation and Kria Yoga.

He took part in chess congresses at Hastings in 1988, Eastbourne in 1990 and the Lloyds Bank Masters in London in 1993 under the name of H Ben Shannon. He was showing respect for his Irish grandmother, who came from Shannon and had helped him when he was learning the game. Also he preferred the name of Ben to Brian and most of his friends called him Ben.

Brian was widely travelled and he spent some time in Malaysia with a former fellow student of his at Sussex University. However, his father did not approve of their marrying and Brian eventually returned to England. His last years were spent in Brighton when he faced difficult health problems. His brain remained razor-sharp, but a back injury meant that he became virtually bedridden. He will be sadly missed by his friends and family.

David Sedgwick
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Re: Brian Hare

Post by David Sedgwick » Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:05 pm

Brian Denman wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:31 pm
[Brian Hare] took part in chess congresses at Hastings in 1988, Eastbourne in 1990 and the Lloyds Bank Masters in London in 1993 under the name of H Ben Shannon.
Prior to that, he used the name of Al Player for a few years. I played him at the Guernsey Festival in 1986. When I subsequently found out that Al Player wasn't his real name, I started to tell the story of the time I played a player who wasn't A Player.

Hastings regulars may recall his flamboyant and eccentric appearances in the Commentary Room in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Rest in Peace Brian / Al / Ben.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Brian Hare

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:10 pm

I recall playing at Hastings (probably 1988) and someone went up to him and said, "Hallo Brian", and he responded, "My name is Ben Shannon", there was then toing and froing of "You're Brian Hare!", "Oh no I'm not." etc. This caused much discussion amongst other players!

He was obviously a character.

RIP

Gordon Cadden
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Re: Brian Hare

Post by Gordon Cadden » Sat Jun 16, 2018 8:17 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:10 pm
I recall playing at Hastings (probably 1988) and someone went up to him and said, "Hallo Brian", and he responded, "My name is Ben Shannon", there was then toing and froing of "You're Brian Hare!", "Oh no I'm not." etc. This caused much discussion amongst other players!

He was obviously a character.

RIP
He may be a character, but it cannot be legal, giving false names. Nightmare for the Rating Officer. The Cedars Club had many characters, with Dave Rumens up front.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Brian Hare

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Sat Jun 16, 2018 10:21 pm

Actually its far from clear its illegal as such (to take a topical example, see the number of aliases "Tommy Robinson" has had)
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

Neil Graham
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Re: Brian Hare

Post by Neil Graham » Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:48 pm

Matt Mackenzie wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 10:21 pm
Actually its far from clear its illegal as such (to take a topical example, see the number of aliases "Tommy Robinson" has had)
It would be illegal if you tried to obtain something you weren't entitled to by giving false details. I can remember that the late Paul Shand whose obituary was given on this site in 2015 presented a cheque in a totally different name when entering a local congress. When I queried this with him he pointed out that he had an Equity identity as well as his real name as everyone who is a member of the Actors' Union must have an individual registered identity.

Stewart Reuben
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Re: Brian Hare

Post by Stewart Reuben » Wed Jul 04, 2018 1:35 am

Brian Hare, who was at London University at the same time as me. played in the team that went to Prague in 1961. He would have been about 200 strength at that time.
He eventually confided in me why he went by the name Ben Shannon. I very much doubt he ever tried to take advantage of his 'subterfuge'.
I would never have betrayed the confidence while he was still alive. He had an argument with an Irishman about (I think) a girlfriend who said he would kill Brian. So Brian disappeared himself and used an assumed name. There was no point in arguing with him, pointing out that it was probably an offhand comment many years ago. He loved chess, so I certainly didn't point out to him that he could have been traced through that connection.
Brian was indeed a highly intelligent, original, if impractical, thinker.
He used to revel in the Commentary Room at Hastings.
RIP

Kevin Thurlow
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Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:28 pm

Re: Brian Hare

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Wed Jul 04, 2018 8:37 am

"He had an argument with an Irishman about (I think) a girlfriend who said he would kill Brian. So Brian disappeared himself and used an assumed name."

That would explain his reaction when somebody loudly greeted him by his real name.

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