FRANK HATTO ( -2004)
Frank was a BCF and International FIDE arbiter, but primarily a Welshman. A former President of the Welsh Chess Union, he was instrumental in bringing the British Championships to Swansea in 1987. This was the one without the horrendous ventilation problems of a future visit. This was a joyful event won by Nigel Short where the after-event party was held in the swimming pool. The success was marked by the only joint winners of the Richard Boxall Plate, Frank and his wife Olive.
Until two years ago Frank was the arbiter of the unique Dyfed Congress, and oversaw its transfer from Gwbert to Fishguard, a brave move which has improved an already excellent event. Frank was the most laid-back of controllers and at one of the early congresses refused to start the tournament on time when so many players were absent. “Let’s give them a few more minutes, shall we?” he said and sat down again. He also allegedly once gave all the Joneses in the Major Section the Black pieces in the first round ‘to avoid confusion’.
He was involved in running the British Isles Tournaments at Swansea, bringing such famous names as David Bronstein to Wales. Unfortunately the event was dogged by bad luck, especially over sponsorship, and came to a premature end.
Frank was a very gentle person, and hated to see anyone sitting without a game, persuading visitors to play to avoid a bye. He was a lovely person, and I’m sure the WCU are missing his presence already.