Tony Kirby 1938-2021

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Matt Mackenzie
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Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:51 pm
Location: Millom, Cumbria

Tony Kirby 1938-2021

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Wed Feb 24, 2021 1:30 pm

Anthony (Tony) Kirby, a stalwart of Barrow Chess Club for longer than many of us have been alive, passed away last week aged 82. Despite his age, he had been in pretty good shape when we last saw him in the autumn, and this news was not expected.

One of a chess playing family - his father was also a club mainstay for decades and our library is named after him, whilst his five brothers were all taught to play to a high level - he started playing seriously close to 70 years ago and as a junior played the Russo-French master Znosko-Borovsky (who died not long afterwards) in a simul held at the club. He won the club title in 1955, and again a mere 33 years later.

A regular for many years at congresses in the NW, he was a patient and tricky player who could be highly resourceful in saving bad positions - and carried on playing at a very decent level until the end. I usually managed to beat him (especially in recent years) but he managed a few wins and some draws too (plus he had bad luck in some other games) He was one of our most regular players in the local leagues, and more than once filled a gap at short notice. Though some of us were relieved when he finally gave up driving duties in his dotage :lol:

Also a complete gentleman at the board, who "treated triumph and disaster just the same". Few ever had a bad word to say about him.

He will indeed be hard to replace. RIP.
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

Simon Rogers
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Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2020 4:30 pm

Re: Tony Kirby 1938-2021

Post by Simon Rogers » Fri Feb 26, 2021 11:41 pm

Terrible news. A complete shock. I was saddened when I first heard about his passing.
I played Tony many years ago at the South Lakes Congress. We had a great game.
Every year when the tournament was held at the Cumbria Grand Hotel in Grange-over-sands, we renewed acquaintances.
When the tournament moved to the Kendal Leisure Centre, neither of us played in the tournament again.
Tony was such a lovely chap.
Thoughts are with Matt, Trevor Blower, Dave Cole and the rest of Barrow Chess Club at this sad and difficult time.
Picture of Tony on

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