Published April 2010
Prolific writer of opening analysis, former Captain of Leicestershire and honoured as a Life Member in 2006, President of Leicestershire CA 1998-2000, Leicestershire county champion in 1972, club champion of Chesterfield and Loughborough, competitor in four BCF Championships, Chess Correspondent until 1999 of the Loughborough Echo. Otto Hardy passed away peacefully on 4 April 2010 at Loughborough.
Otto came from Vienna to England via Sweden on the Kindertransporten. He spoke English with soft middle-European accent that he never lost. His father was a tailor, but temporarily interned as an alien during the war years. Otto first appears in English chess records Otto as a player at the Universities' Congress at Cambridge in 1950. He played for Wakefield in the National Club Championship in 1955. However, by 1955-6 he was a Chesterfield player. He then left to attend the University of Sheffield where he read Education Studies and represented Sheffield University playing at Buxton in the British Universities' Congress of 1957. He returned to Chesterfield and in the 1958-9 season, played board 1 and was club champion three times in a row 1959-60-61. At that stage he “cut a dashing figure with a motorbike”, but came to grief when defaulted for arriving late for a match for Chesterfield after a crash in the 1960-61 season. At this stage, Otto’s chess was of national standard and he played in four BCF Championships: 1963, 1964, 1965 and 1974.
I first met him in the 1976 season playing for Loughborough, but according to my records we never played a recorded game in Loughborough, meeting over-the-board only in a Yorkshire Open tournament at Harrogate and later at Hereford. Although he was passionate and highly competitive while playing chess, he was modest and charming after a game. He enjoyed analysis, often proposing wild variations with an impish grin.
His professional career was that of teacher of German and was for many years on the staff of King Edward VII Grammar School, Coalville, Leics. Chess players also have reason to praise his didactic skills because he translated Ludek Pachman’s Chess Endings for the Practical Player. He wrote opening analyses for a number of English and German language magazines and specialised in off-beat lines and one reader comments that they were “always a good read”. His analyses for the …g4 Anti-Dutch; the English Defence 1…b6; attacking the Two Knight’s defence; and Death of the Benko are still available from Audio Chess.
Otto was Loughborough Chess Champion in at least three seasons in the 1980s and played regularly for Loughborough and Sheffield travelling by train from his home in Leicestershire. It was after one of these matches in 2006 that Otto suffered a serious heart attack waiting at Sheffield railway station. Only prompt resuscitation by station staff kept Otto alive before he was ambulanced to hospital where he received cardiac surgery. Eventually he made a good recovery, but it is fair to say his chess suffered. Otto liked weekend tournaments and was a frequent competitor at Hereford, Paignton and Exmouth. His friends mourn the loss of a true gentleman who played Bridge and watched football, but lived for chess.
Three illustrative games from Otto show how to capitalise on opening errors and how to win a won game.
Otto Hardy: born 1927 ?Vienna; died Loughborough 4 April 2010; husband of Jean; father of Alison; grandfather of Jacob and Joseph. Funeral 10:30am Friday 16 April at All Saints Church, Loughborough.
Ray Collett based on information from Jim Miller, Phill Beckett, James Pratt, James Toon, David Latham, and John Dawkins. Any errors are mine.
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