Mike Bolan

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John Saunders
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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.
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Richard James
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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.

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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

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Lee Bullock
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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
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Kevin Thurlow
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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."

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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 :


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYeFD0AVRB4
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John Foley
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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.

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Re: Mike Bolan

Post by John Upham » Sun Aug 01, 2021 3:11 pm

Another photograph of Mike at the Southern Giga Final 2012. Nikon D700, 80-200/2.8 Nikkor, ISO 3200, Adobe Lightroom.

At the Rivermead Leisure Complex



616815_10151156465802195_1871476477_o.jpg
Mike Bolan at the Southern Giga Final 2012. Nikon D700, 80-200/2.8 Nikkor, ISO 3200, Adobe Lightroom.
616815_10151156465802195_1871476477_o.jpg (552.55 KiB) Viewed 410 times
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John Cox
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Re: Mike Bolan

Post by John Cox » Wed Sep 08, 2021 12:37 am

Sad to hear this. Mike was a great supporter of what my parents used to call The Congress (ie the Shropshire Open). I remember his eternal Leningrad Dutch with ...Nh6. He was a notably friendly man.

Brendan O'Gorman
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Re: Mike Bolan

Post by Brendan O'Gorman » Wed Sep 08, 2021 6:16 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Sun May 16, 2021 5:49 pm
I'm reminded too that when Surrey Chess had a "Pub Quiz" between clubs a few years ago, Mike was part of the Ashtead team. The question was read out, "What is Jordan's real name?" Mike apparently immediately said "Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan", (which is correct), and he was somewhat bewildered when his team-mates expressed the view that the answer "Katie Price" was probably expected...
:D

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