Mike Bolan

Notices of deaths, death announcements and messages.
User avatar
John Saunders
Posts: 1417
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 3:10 pm
Location: Kingston-upon-Thames

Re: Mike Bolan

Post by John Saunders » Sun May 16, 2021 6:47 pm

Great anecdote, Kevin!

I've just remembered an Ashtead-related anecdote of my own, albeit less amusing than Kevin's. In March 1992 my team (Mitcham) were due to play Ashtead in a combined Surrey League and Cup match over ten boards. I was match captain. I motored over to Ashtead in good time to meet and greet my team. When I arrived, I found... nobody. It suddenly dawned on me that the match was in Mitcham. What a disaster! After a mad dash back through the thick evening traffic in Surrey and South London, I arrived just before default time, about 25 minutes after play had started. I was greeted by nine angry glares from the rest of my team, who'd had to conjure up a board order out of the air in the absence of their captain. (No mobile phones for emergency communications in those days.) But Mike wasn't fazed: he merely looked on in bemusement and accepted my profuse apologies for the embarrassing chaos I had created with his usual beatific smile. We proceeded to win the match 10-0, which seemed vaguely unsporting in the circumstances. Sorry, Mike, and thank you for being my only friend that evening.
Personal Twitter @johnchess
Britbase https://www.britbase.info
(I prefer email to PM - contact me via this link - https://www.saund.org.uk/email.html)

Richard James
Posts: 1064
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 7:34 pm
Location: Twickenham

Re: Mike Bolan

Post by Richard James » Mon May 17, 2021 11:32 am

Very sad news: Mike was a lovely man, whom I knew partly through his involvement with Wey Valley and partly because he played for Richmond in the Thames Valley League for a number of years.

It's clear from the tributes posted here and elsewhere, that he was held in much affection by all who knew him. No one ever had a bad word to say about Mike: something sadly rare in the often fraught world of junior chess.

Simon Brown
Posts: 755
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:38 pm
Location: Sevenoaks, Kent, if not in Costa Calida, Spain

Re: Mike Bolan

Post by Simon Brown » Mon May 17, 2021 4:42 pm

I didn't know Mike particularly well when I was active, but in about 2012 I took my daughter to play at an EPSCA event in Highgate and he recognised me, we started chatting about all sorts of things, from my reasons for stopping to reminisces about mutual acquaintances from the 80s, to my daughter's chess and music ambitions. He was a delight and I wish I'd known him better. RIP Mike

User avatar
Lee Bullock
Posts: 189
Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 3:29 pm

Re: Mike Bolan

Post by Lee Bullock » Fri May 21, 2021 3:51 pm

Very sad. Only played him once at Paignton Congress in 2016. At this point I did not go over my games any more with my opponents unless something really Interesting happened. But he was so friendly and nice and I remember him asking me to look at the game and I said yeah sure.

We had a really fun laugh during the analysis. He was so warm and nice and I remember saying something nice to him and good luck. Hoped I would see him again but never did. 😞. Rip Mike
2013/2014 and 16/17 U140 Grand Prix Winner! ;)

2015 and 2016 Chess character of the year :)

Its not a failure to lose. Its a failure when you dont try and win.

Kevin Thurlow
Posts: 4561
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:28 pm

Re: Mike Bolan

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Sun May 23, 2021 9:28 am

Richard Pibworth (ex-Ashtead) has written this excellent tribute.

"It was very sad to hear that Mike Bolan had passed away.

Back before Epsom, I was a member at Ashtead for a few years. Mike's humanity and passion for chess, evidenced in his dedication to the young players there was an inspiration. I don't know what the overlap was but it's not a surprise that David Howell came out of this environment.

Under his watch no one was allowed to get out of a match on the basis that "something important had come up". To this, Mike would fix his eye on you for several seconds and ask "but what could possibly be more important than chess"? Over the years I tried "homework", "football", "family life", and as time went by variously "marriage", "job security", "holiday", "imminent HMRC deadline" and even "grammar school education", all to no effect. I do wonder how Marcus (Gosling, Epsom organizer - kjt) possibly managed to get out of an Ashtead junior membership.

Not that Mike limited his encouragement to the younger players. I well remember taking my daughter to an U11 tournament at Hinchley Wood that Mike was invigilating at. I had entered the parents tournament and on game 2 was drawn against a much stronger player. It was fear of Mike coming down the boards to look at my game which compelled me to turn an outright blunder into a desperate attack and lucky win, followed by him telling my daughter that "your Dad isn't such a bad player you know".

That day ended with me winning my first tournament in 30 years and experiencing one of the pinnacle events of the UK chess world - getting a trophy from Mike Basman. All due to Mike Bolan.

Mike Bolan was a true extrovert and one of those rare people who believed in people and inspired you to go beyond what you thought you were capable of, even if you actually weren't and really shouldn't have been able to. I will really miss him."

John Upham
Posts: 5435
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 10:29 am
Location: Cove, Hampshire, England.

David Howell tribute to Mike Bolan

Post by John Upham » Thu May 27, 2021 10:44 am

David Howell was kind enough to provide this tribute to Mike :

British Chess News : britishchessnews.com
Twitter: @BritishChess
Facebook: facebook.com/groups/britishchess :D

John Foley
Posts: 319
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 9:58 am
Location: Kingston-upon-Thames

Re: Mike Bolan

Post by John Foley » Tue Jun 22, 2021 9:04 am

The funeral of Mike Bolan will be at 11.00 am Friday 2nd July at Randalls Park Crematorium, Randalls Road, Leatherhead KT22 0AG. Would any of you who are planning to attend please send an email to Richard Jones - jrichard4@aol.com.

Post Reply