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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Harlow B. Daly

    A reader suggested that I do a post on Harlow B. Daly, so here it is. Unfortunately I could not find a lot, but what I did find suggests he was an incredible person. I remember Daly's name cropping up from time to time in Chess Review and Chess Life, but because it was always in relation to tournaments in New England, I never paid much attention to him. It turns out he was a fascinating person.  While typing this brief post, I kept repeating myself using words like remarkable and amazing.
     Daly was relatively unknown outside of his native New England and his career spanned eight decades from Harry N. Pillsbury to Bobby Fischer. During his career he played in simultaneous exhibitions against Alekhine, Lasker, Pillsbury, Mieses, Marshall, Fine, Torre and Dake.
     Harlow Bussey Daly was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts on December 2, 1883 and is likely the oldest person to ever win a state chess championship. He played chess for 75 years (1900 to 1974). He won the championships of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine (9 times). He competed in 280 tournaments and matches, not counting correspondence events.
     Daly holds two records in Maine chess that still stand to this day; he won seven consecutive Maine State Championship titles from 1959 to 1965. That made him 76 years old when he won the first time, but he wasn't done! In 1969 he won the Championship of Maine at age 86. That's hard to fathom but he still wasn't finished; he tied for 1st in 1970 (with Master Stanley Elowich) and was 2nd in 1971 and 1972.
     Daly played in the New England Open every year from 1908 (when he won it) to 1971; a stretch of 63 years. He won the Massachusetts State Championship in 1940 and 1942. As remarkable as those achievements were Daly was still successfully playing chess in his early 90s.
     At 90, in 1973, he won a New Hampshire Open tournament with a perfect 5-0 score. In 1975, he was designated Master Emeritus by the USCF. He died on July 8, 1979 in Framington, Massachusetts at the age of 95 and was buried at the Mount Pleasant Cemetery in North Berwick Maine.

     In 1975 New England Master Harry Lyman authored a 40 page booklet titled 75 Years of Affection for Chess : A tribute to Harlow B. Daly. Documents of City of Boston for 1910 showed Daly as being employed as a city Clerk at a salary of circa $30,000 year in today's dollars. He lived at 7 Butler Street; the area today consists of apartment buildings.     
     Here's a game from the book: It's unusual to feature a game a player lost, but while looking at some of his games I found this one (which appears in the booklet on Daly) which is simply too amazing to not post!

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