Sad News

John Cannon

I am very sad to report that John Cannon passed away at home on Sunday night with his family following a period of illness. John's contribution to the club was absolutely enormous and the club owes him a great debt. I was pleased to speak of him shortly before Christmas and there was no doubting the great pride he had in Horsham Chess Club and the great joy it had brought him over the years. He will be very sorely missed.

John played very actively at school showing early promise by winning the King’s School, Macclesfield championship at only 11. He was Stockport and District Boys Champion in 1947/8. Durham University offered more testing opportunities and he captained the university and his college and played in three British University Championships. The inaugural one, which was held at Cambridge University in 1950, was organised by B.H.Wood, who published John’s loss against Leonard Barden (joint winner with Oliver Penrose) in the Illustrated London News, describing it as an example of the frightening knowledge of our younger players. John also played at Oxford in 1951 and came joint second at Leeds in 1953. He also had the opportunity to play at a variety of congresses including Bolton, Bognor and the BCF British Championships at Chester 1952 and Nottingham 1954. It was at Chester that Barden tied with Alan Phillips and uniquely shared the title, following ten play-off games!

John joined Horsham Chess Club in 1958 and was club champion ten times. John had been very active in running our club ever since. He was Secretary (1967 to 2005), Match Secretary (1967 to 2003) and first team captain (1966 to 2006). He became Chairman in 2005, continuing remarkable decades of service to our club.

John was very active in Sussex chess too. As a strong player peaking with a grading of 195 in 1965. He was runner-up in the Sussex Individual Championship three times, in 1962, 1964 and 1968. His county match record is unparalleled playing a total of 515 county games, which is a national record that received national attention in the magazine Chess. John played for all five Sussex teams: Open, U180, U160,U140, Minor Counties and Sussex SCCU Jamboree. As well as captaining Jamboree and U160 teams he also tasted victory in teams that won two National U175 titles (and runner up once) and four National Minor Counties titles.


John was a legend for both Horsham and Sussex chess.
A lovely chap who will be missed by all of us.