Andrew Whiteley (OW 1969)

The school was informed that Andrew Whiteley died on 7 July 2014, aged 67.  Andrew was a chess player who represented Britain on many occasions. The following notes, taken from the MCS Club history notebook record his chess prowess whilst at MCS. This is followed by an obituary published by The Times on 19 July 2014.

1961    Arrival of Andrew Whiteley from the Dragon (13), who had already been playing for the county and City of Oxford teams for two years.
1961    Lily comments on Whiteleys outstanding chess for MCS.
1963    U18 chess team has its most successful year, reaching the national semi-finals of the Sunday Times Schools Chess Championships, played at the Rembrandt Hotel in London. His parents donate a chess clock to the school.
1964    Whiteleys school record is an outstanding 63/65: Andrew Whitelely is captain and top board of a very strong U18 team of: A Whiteley, H Morphy, MN Crombie, MM Daube, A Hawkins and AH Smith.
1965    The January Lily reads: This term we have maintained our record as one of the countrys leading schools. MCS was currently unbeaten in the schools league and had reached the fourth round of the Sunday Times competition. We have been awarded a special shield by the British Chess Federation. AJ Whitely has again been setting an outstanding example. In addition to winning the senior championships of both Oxford City and Oxfordshire, he came third in the British U21 Championships.

The obituary of Andrew published in The Times newspaper:

Amiable chess player who represented Britain in a variety of tournaments overseas and was carried shoulder high from the hall after vanquishing a leading Soviet star.

The snug bar of the King’s Head in Bayswater, west London, was perhaps an unlikely place to find a chess champion, but it was where you were most likely to locate Andrew Whiteley, one of the most popular and jovial characters on the British chess scene. In the pub, where chess players are always welcome, Whiteley would have his pipe, in the shape of a chess knight, in one hand, and a pint of beer in the other. Whenever an unwary visitor mentioned to Whiteley that it looked like rain he would flash straight back with: Yes, but with the faintest smattering of hops.

The high point of Whiteley’s chess career undoubtedly came at the world student team championship in Czechoslovakia in 1967. In those days chess was dominated by Eastern European nations and the British Chess Federation (BCF) team was regarded by the quasi professionals from Moscow and Belgrade as a harmless collection of amateurs. With five rounds to go, the BCF had to face the mighty Soviet Union. Sensationally, Whiteley crushed Boris Gulko, his Soviet opponent, the BCF triumphed in the match, and Whiteley was swept out of the playing hall on the shoulders of the members of other teams, delighted to witness the fall of the Soviet giant. The BCF took the bronze medals, up to then the best British result in the history of the competition.

Andrew Jonathan Whiteley was born in Birmingham in 1947, the son of DEH Whiteley, chaplain of Jesus College, Oxford. Andrew became an Oxford man through and through, attending the Dragon School, then Magdalen College School before completing his education at Pembroke College. In 1968 and 1969, he represented Oxford University on first board in the annual Varsity matches.

His early chess successes soon led to invitations to foreign events. Unfortunately for him, this created an unforeseen peril; he was a confirmed vegetarian at a time when organisers of chess tournaments thought that any Englishman abroad would be happy with roast beef, bacon and sausages. Always on the thin side, he often faced near starvation while representing his country in continental competitions.

Whiteley was a member of the British Chess Federation team at the chess Olympiads of Siegen 1970, Skopje 1972, and Nice 1974. Also in 1974 he was instrumental in gaining the team gold medal for the BCF in the Clare Benedict western European tournament in Minorca, ahead of Germany, Spain, Austria and the Netherlands.

In 1985 he won the Brighton International with the overwhelming score of 8.5 points from a possible 9, outdistancing a future grandmaster and representatives from the USA and Canada.

Whiteley, who never married, practised for several years as a solicitor in London but gave this up to play and write about chess and organise chess events, many of them under the imprimatur of the King’s Head.

Andrew Whiteley, chess player, was born on June 9, 1947. He died after a long illness on July 7, 2014, aged 67.