We remember Reverend John Owen who passed away on the 24th November 1901)
John Owen was born on April 8th, 1827 to John and Sarah Owen in Marchington, Uttoxeter, Staffordshire.
He was baptised at Marchington, St. Peter on April 9th, 1827 by H. Bennett and their residence was recorded as “Brook House”. His father is recorded as being a gentleman.
From The Oxford Companion to Chess (OUP, 1984) by Hooper & Whyld :
“English player, vicar of Hooton, Cheshire, from 1862 to 1900. In 1858, playing under the pseudonym ‘Alter’, he lost (=2-5) a match against Morphy, who conceded pawn and a move. (Hoffer attributed this poor result to Owen’s just being married.) Subsequently Owen played better. He drew a match with Kolisch in 1860 (+4-4) and at the London tournament of 1862 took third prize after Andersen (whom he defeated) and L. Paulsen ahead of Dubois, GA MacDonnell, Steinitz and Blackburne.
From 1857 to 1898 Owen played in more than a dozen tournaments, all of them in Great Britain.
He liked close openings and often played the Queen’s Fianchetto Defence, sometimes named after him, and the Larsen Opening.”
Probably, the strongest of all the chess-playing reverends of the nineteenth century. Owen came 3rd at Birmingham 1858, below Löwenthal and Falkbeer, but ahead of Saint-Amant, Staunton and Bird; but is should be pointed out that the method of play was still by the old knock-out system.
He was also =3rd with MacDonnell in the first congress of the British Chess Association at London in 1862.
He also had the distinction of losing matches to Morphy, Zukertort and Burn, though he beat Burn in a later match. He drew a match with Kolisch in 1860.
Sunnucks is silent on Owen.
According to The Complete Chess Addict (Faber&Faber, 1987), Mike Fox & Richard James :
“For the record (and because it’s so impressive) here is the most devout team of all time, If there is anything in the efficacy of prayer they’d be tough to stop :
“John Owen (8 April 1827 – 24 November 1901) was an English vicar and strong amateur chess master. He ranked among the world’s top ten chess players for certain periods of the 1860s. He was a major figure in English chess from the mid 1850s to the 1890s.
Owen was born in Marchington, and obtained his early schooling at Repton School, Derbyshire. In 1850 he graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge, and received his M.A. from Cambridge three years later. He was ordained by the Church of England in 1851, and served as Vicar of Hooton, Cheshire from 1862 to his retirement in 1900.
In 1858 he won a chess game against the young American master Paul Morphy, the world’s best player, who was then touring Europe. ”
This led to a match between the two. Despite being given odds of pawn and the move (meaning he started the game with an extra pawn and always moved first), Owen lost the match 6–1, never winning a game.
His performance in the very strong 1862 London tournament, the first international round-robin event (in which each participant plays every other) was more impressive. He finished third, ahead of future world champion Wilhelm Steinitz, and was the only player to win against the eventual tournament winner, Adolf Anderssen. Louis Paulsen placed second. This result was arguably Owen’s top lifetime chess achievement.
Owen continued to play frequently and often successfully in British tournaments into the 1890s, and performed strongly in several matches against top British players, who were essentially chess professionals. He never competed outside the British Isles. He died in Twickenham.
Owen is the eponym of Owen’s Defence, a chess opening characterised by the moves 1.e4 b6. Owen was the first strong player to play this frequently, including in his victory over Morphy.”
The Power of Defence and the Art of Counterattack in 64 Pictures : Nikola Nestorović and Dejan Nestorović
From Nikola’s web site :
“My name is Nikola Nestorović and I have been playing chess for more than 20 years. During that time I managed to accomplish most of my playing career goals. The most important fact is that I became a Grandmaster at the end of 2015 and officially I became FIDE Chess Trainer in 2018. As I was growing up I realized that I really enjoy teaching so I decided that I am going to pursue that kind of a profession. Whether at school or at home I was always in the mood for teaching others and that feeling was very important in my chess coaching career. The connection between teacher and student need to be professional but friendly because only with this trust student can improve in a special way. So first, I want to make a special connection with my student – and then, chess will be very easy to learn! For years I worked on my special chess materials, so I can adjust my lessons to any type of player! And one very important thing – your age is not important, you can ALWAYS improve your chess play! So, If you love chess and you want to learn and improve in this beautiful game – I am sure that together – we can achieve your (our) goals! I am waiting for you! Cheers! Nikola”
From the publisher’s website :
“A tale of 64 magical squares in 64 shrewdly created pictures. Many a book delved deep into the vast oceans of tactics, positional play and strategy, but very few dared to enter and master a notoriously elusive realm of defence in chess.
In this highly instructive tome the authors tried to accomplish several demanding goals. To uncover many of the secrets that remain hidden so very often, to tackle the most difficult area of chess skill – defence, and finally to teach a great number of ambitious chess-players helping them to improve their knowledge in this important area of chess expertise.
We present you the book by GM Nikola Nestorović, and his father IM Dejan Nestorović with firm belief that you will appreciate many hours of their hard work and devotion to this intriguing topic. The games presented in this tome are both recent and older ones, played by the chess elite and their lower rated peers, but without exception instructive, deeply and diligently analysed for your reading and learning pleasure.
You learned to attack – now it is time to sharpen your defensive tools!”
The first thing to notice is that this is a handsome hardback, complete with a bookmark, and enhanced by photographs of some of the players featured within. Unlike the previous book I reviewed from this publisher, it uses orthodox fonts for both text and diagrams.
When turning to the first game you’ll see a game from a tournament that is still, at the time of writing this review, unfinished. This is Grischuk – Alekseenko from the 2020 Candidates Tournament. The first section, Modern gladiators, features 19 games or positions from recent tournaments, working backwards from 2020 to 2017, featuring many of today’s leading players.
Knights of XXI century takes us back from 2016 to 2007 with another 19 examples. Then, Pearls don’t lose their luster offers ten more positions going back to Savon – Tal in 1971. A moment of glory gives us seven specimens from slightly less celebrated players, and finally, From the maker’s mind treats us to nine games from the authors themselves.
This is an advanced book covering a difficult topic, that of defence and counterattack, and probably most suitable for players above, say, 2200 strength. You’ll find a lot of exciting, double-edged games, demonstrating all that is best in contemporary chess. Many of the games feature positional sacrifices, so if you’ve read and enjoyed Merijn van Delft’s recent book, this might be a useful follow-up. But the analysis here is much denser: lots of presumably computer generated tactical variations for you to work your way through.
Let’s look at one of the shorter and simpler examples.
We join the game Kožul – Stević (Nova Gorica 2007) with White about to play his 31st move. (Informator’s house style is to omit capture and check signs: I’m following that here, but using letters for pieces instead of the book’s figurines.)
“Kožul is resigned to the fact that he has to wait for his opponent’s mistake in the realisation because Black’s extra pawn on b4 along with excellent placement of his pieces don’t bode well for White.”
“A mistake that wouldn’t have needed to drastically affect assessment and events in the game had the danger alarm made a sound in good time.
“31… Qd3!? After simple exchange of queens Black would have only minor technical problems in the realisation of his material advantage. 32. Qd3 Rd3 33. Rc6 Ba5 34. Rc8 Kh7 35. Kg2 g5 With further strengthening of the position.”
“The only way to create a chance, of course. White is still waiting for his opponent’s help.”
“After Rd3 one could surmise that Stević overlooked his opponent’s threat and that he only expected a passive defence. 32… Rd8! after the rook returned to the eighth rank, the chance for salvation disappeared, at least at this moment.”
“A nice tactical stroke which immediately changed the situation on the board. This was an absolute shock for Stević! All of a sudden he had to deal with concrete problems. And as it is usually the case, one mistake follows another.”
“33… hxg5?? 34. Qh5#”
“After Qe4 good defence is required in order not to lose the game.”
“Now a fatal error which brings White closer to victory. Black has two responses after which his opponent would be forced to draw.”
(Now there’s some analysis of Black’s drawing moves Kg5! and Kh5!, along with a diagram after Kh5, which I’ll omit here.)
35. ef6 Kg5 36. fg7!?
“36. Qe5! The safest path to victory. 36… Kg4 37. Qf4 Kh5 38. fg7+-”
“A good attempt to create a counter-chance. 36… Qb1! The best practical chance. 37. Kg2 Rg3! 38. hg3 Qe4 39. Kh2 Qh7 40. g8Q Qg8 41. Rg8 Kf6 42. f4 There would still be some play here, although it can be said that White only needs to resolve some technical problems in the realisation of his material advantage.”
(There’s another diagram here: rather redundant as we’re only two half moves away from the previous one.)
“The game can still be lost for White: 37. Kf2?? Rd2 38. Kf1 Qd1 39. Qe1 Qf3 40. Kg1 Qg2#”
37. Rg3 38. Kf2 1:0
“Dangerous checks have disappeared. Black resigns due to the simple capture of the rook followed by promotion of the pawn to queen. Certainly, the key moments happened in time-trouble which is the period of the game when the side experiencing problems in the position should be concentrated and should seek its chance carefully.
“Kožul seized his chance while for Stević it can be said that he first missed a huge opportunity to win and then when he had to calculate where to go with his king and how o do it, he made incorrigible mistakes and suffered defeat.”
Here’s one of the authors in action in a very recent game: Todorović – N Nestorović (Smederevska Palanka (rapid) 2020).
“The position on the board shows us the moment when White has the opportunity to prevent a counterattack with a simple bc3 or enter calculations by playing tactical Ne8 where, at first glance, he wins material and easily promotes the e-pawn to queen.”
“29. bc3! (I’ve omitted the diagram) The simplest move! Now White is threatening to capture the rook on e8 and create the best defensive setup. 29… Qc4! 30. R4e3! After two simple defensive moves, Black’s hope vanishes. 30… Rc7 (30… Re7 31. Qa8! Capturing material.) 31. Qc7 And Black doesn’t have any possibility to create threats. 31… Qa2 32. cd4 Qa1 33. Kd2 Qb2 34. Kd1 Qb1 35. Ke2+-
“The king goes to the part of the board where there are no more checks and so the last threats will disappear.”
(There’s another diagram here.) “The only way to create threats and shift the focus of play to the other side of the board.”
“The most logical way to defend the white castling.”
(There’s a long note here demonstrating that 30. Nd6!? and 30. Qa5!? both lead to perpetual check, and again there’s a diagram after each of these moves.)
30… cb2 31. Kb2 Qc2 32. Ka1 Qc3
“Our desire to win sometimes gets us off the right path. 33. Kb1=
33… Nc2 34. Kb1
(Surely this diagram should be after, rather than before Black’s next move.)
“A phenomenal way to end a counterattack!
“White resigns due to his inability to defend from checkmate!”
35. Qb6 Na3# 0:1
These extracts should give you some idea of the strengths and weaknesses of this book. There’s a lot of great chess here: exciting, creative and imaginative, as well as, as you’d expect in games of this nature, even at the highest level, a lot of mistakes as well. You certainly get a feeling of the inexhaustible riches of our beloved game. The subject of defence and counter-attack is not an easy one to teach, but the main point is well made. If you’re under attack you must meet immediate threats, but, beyond that, you should, if possible, avoid passive defence and look for opportunities to create active counterplay, even if this involves taking risks. Don’t be afraid to consider moves which may not be objectively best but will put your opponent under pressure.
The authors clearly have a keen eye for games of this nature and all readers will enjoy playing through and studying them.
However, you can probably also see some negatives. The translation, while mostly making sense, is a long way below professional standards. The layout of the book is poor and makes the games difficult to follow. You’d certainly need two boards and even then it wouldn’t be easy. There are lots of long tactical variations with embedded diagrams the same size as those in the main text. In some cases the game continuation is in the annotations while the book follows a more interesting line that wasn’t played. It all gets rather confusing, and the translation, along with the lack of capture and check signs, doesn’t help. It’s especially confusing when the actual game continuation is in the notes, while another variation, which would have led to a different result, is given as the main line.
Speaking as a 1900 strength player, I thought the book was pitched rather above me. I’d have preferred annotations with fewer computer generated variations and less verbose prose, and perhaps a puzzle section at the end to reinforce the lessons learnt from the examples, along with an improved layout and a better translation. The van Delft book mentioned above handles a similar subject in a much more appropriate way for players of my level, in terms of a more logical structure and more helpful annotations.
A qualified recommendation, then, for lovers of thrilling tactical games with vacillating fortunes played, mostly, at the highest level.
Richard James, Twickenham 22nd November 2020
Book Details :
Hardback : 352 pages
Publisher: Sahovski Chess (aka Chess Informant or Informator) 2020
We remember Mary Rudge who passed away one hundred and one years this day on Saturday, 22-xi-1919.
She was born in Leominster, Herefordshire on February 6th, 1842. Her father was Henry Rudge (born 1794 in Gloucestershire) who was a surgeon and General Practitioner. Her mother was Eliza Rudge (née Barrett) who was born in Ledbury, Herefordshire in 1802.
Mary was part of a typically large household and according to the 1851 census she had sisters Sarah (23), Caroline (18), Emily H (12), brothers Henry (14) and Alfred (10). Assisting Henry with medical matters was William S Boyce and acting as a “General Servant” was Thomas Rotheroe (18). Their address is given as “21, Middle Marsh, Leominster, Herefordshire, England” (HR6 8UP). According to HM Land Registry : “Middlemarsh is in the Leominster North & Rural ward of Herefordshire, County of, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire.”
By 1861 the household had relocated to 62, Broad Street, Leominster and the servants were James Price (18) whose occupation is given as a Groom and Sarah Gardener (21) who was the House Servant.
Mary moved, “helpless from rheumatism”, at some point, to Truro and then to the British Home for Incurables, Streatham. She died in Guys Hospital, London, on 22 November 1919.
Editor of British Chess Magazine at the time of her obituary was Isaac McIntyre Brown who afforded Mary a pathetic three lines.
“As we go to press we learn with great sorrow of the death, at Streatham last month, of Miss Mary Rudge, winner of the International Ladies’ tournament in 1897.”
Golombek, Hooper&Whyld and Sunnucks are all silent on Rudge.
From Wikipedia :
“Mary Rudge (6 February 1842 in Leominster – 22 November 1919 in London) was an English chess master.
Rudge was born in Leominster, a small town in Herefordshire, England. She began playing chess in a correspondence tournament in 1872. The first mention of over the board competition is in August 1874 when she played in the second class at the Meeting of the Counties’ Chess Association at Birmingham. After the death of her father, Henry Rudge, she moved to Bristol where she started playing chess seriously.
Rudge was the first woman member of the Bristol Chess Club, which did not allow women to be members of the club until she joined in 1872. She played against Joseph Henry Blackburne, who gave a blindfold simultaneous display against ten opponents. The following year she played in another blindfold simultaneous display given by Johannes Hermann Zukertort. In March 1887 she played and drew on board six for Bristol against Bath at the Imperial Hotel in Bristol. At the beginning of 1888, Rudge played and won on board six for Bristol & Clifton against City Chess & Draughts Club. The following year, she won the Challenge Cup of Bristol & Clifton Chess Club. In 1889, she became the first woman in the world to give simultaneous chess exhibitions. She won the Ladies’ Challenge Cup at Cambridge 1890, and won the second class at the Southern Counties’ tournament at Clifton 1896.”
“First Women’s International Chess Congress
She was a winner of the first Women’s International Chess Congress under the management of the Ladies’ Chess Club of London in conjunction with the Women’s Chess Club of New York. Lady Newnes was president of the Tournament Committee, and Sir George Newnes, Baron Albert Salomon von Rothschild, Mr. Harry Nelson Pillsbury and some others offered prizes. The tournament was played at the Hotel Cecil in the Masonic Hall for six days, but the final rounds were decided at the Ideal Café, the headquarters of the Ladies’ Chess Club, from 22 June to 3 July 1897. Miss Rudge was 55 years old and the oldest of the 20 players, and had substantial experience playing chess at the time. She was a well-known English player, ranking in chess strength with the first class of the leading men’s clubs. She won the event with 18 wins and 1 draw, followed by Signorina Louisa Matilda Fagan (Italy), Miss Eliza Mary Thorold (England), Mrs. Harriet Worrall (USA), Madame Marie Bonnefin (Belgium), Mrs. F.S. Barry (Ireland), Lady Edith Margaret Thomas (England), among others.”
“Over the next years, she took part in various competitions, playing in Bristol and Dublin. In 1898, she played against world champion Emanuel Lasker in a simultaneous display at the Imperial Hotel. Lasker was unable to finish all the games in the time available, and Rudge’s was one of those unfinished. He conceded defeat because he would be lost with best play.”
“International Woman master and British Women’s Champion 1957, 1958 and 1964. Her best international result was a 2nd in the 1954 Western European Zonal. This qualified her for the 1955 Women’s Candidates tournament, but as this held in the USSR and she was at the time serving as a Major in the British Army, the authorities would not give her leave to participate.
Miss Sunnucks has represented England a number of times in Olympiads and team matches. She has compiled The Encyclopedia of Chess, London, 1970.”
From The Encyclopedia of Chess (Robert Hale, 1970 & 1976), Anne Sunnucks :
“International Woman Master (1954) and winner of the British Ladies’ Championship in 1957, 1958 and 1964.
Born on 21st February 1927 Anne learned the moves at the age of 8 but did not take up chess seriously until she was 21, when she joined the same club as International Master, Imre König” whose pupil she became.
In the 1954 Western European Zonal tournament, she came 2nd and qualified for the 1955 Women’s Candidates tournament but was unable to compete.
She played for Great Britain v. the USSR in 1954 and for the British Chess Federation team in the Women’s Chess Olympiads of 1966 and 1972. She also represented the BCF in the Western European Zonal tournaments of 1963 and 1966.”
Anne created Camberley Chess Club in 1972. She offered to open her spacious home at 28, Brackendale Close, Camberley for weekly club nights and matches.
Anne was a director of BMS (?, Mothersill, Sunnucks) Chess Supplies Ltd. which retailed chess books and equipment which the grateful membership purchased!
In September 1984 in Bracknell, Berkshire Anne married Richard C Mothersill.
Anne passed away on November 22nd, 2014 at a retirement village in Meadow Park, Braintree, Essex.
From Brian Towers : It is also worth noting that she was an occasional contributor to the weekly chess ‘Magazine’ programme which was broadcast on the Third Network (the precursor to Radio 3) between Autumn 1958 and Summer 1964.
According to Megabase2020, her highest Elo rating was 2045 but we suspect it was in reality, quite a bit higher.
In 1972 Anne was awarded with a FIDE Medal of Merit. Anne was made an Honorary Life Member of the BCF and then ECF.
From Wikipedia :
Patricia Anne Sunnucks (21 February 1927 – 22 November 2014) was an author and three-times British Women’s Chess Champion (1957, 1958, 1964). During her chess career she was always known as Anne Sunnucks.
She was educated at Wycombe Abbey School, Buckinghamshire. Although she learned how to play chess at the age of 8, she did not play seriously until the age of 21, when she joined the same chess club as Imre König, who became her tutor. By finishing tied for second place in the 1953 British Women’s Championship she became one of three British representatives in the 1954 Western European Zonal.
Sunnucks earned the Woman International Master title by placing second in the 1954 Western European Zonal. Although this result qualified her to play in the next event in the Women’s World Championship sequence, she was a major in the Women’s Royal Army Corps and the authorities would not allow her to travel to the USSR where the 1955 Women’s Candidates tournament was being held. Sunnucks represented England several times in Olympiads and team matches, including Great Britain vs. USSR 1954, the Anglo-Dutch match in 1965, and top board for the British Chess Federation (BCF) team at the 1966 Women’s Chess Olympiad at Oberhausen. She participated in the Women’s World Championship cycle two more times, representing the BCF in the Western European Zonal tournaments of 1963 and 1966. Sunnucks won both the Army and the Combined Services Championships in 1968, and was the only woman to compete in either. Sunnucks compiled The Encyclopaedia of Chess (1970, second edition: 1976).
Peter Nicholas Charles Lee was born on Sunday, November 21st in 1943 in Lambeth, London. His mother’s maiden name was Paganucci.
Peter attended Exeter College, Oxford from 1962-1966 to read mathematics followed by postgraduate statistics gaining an MA in 1969.
In 1963 Peter represented Oxford in the 81st Varsity Match played at the University of London Union in Malet Street on Korchnoi’s birthday (March 23rd). Peter had black on board 5 and drew with Frederick Michael Akeroyd in a King’s Gambit Declined.
1965 saw a 5.5 – 1.5 Oxford victory with Peter beating Graham Arthur Winbow.
During this period Peter found time to win the British Championship at Hastings in 1965. Peter Clarke reported in the October 1965 British Chess Magazine:
“Seventy years on from the great international tournament of 1895, which sowed the seeds of the Christmas congresses. the fifty-second in the British Chess Federation’s annual series-and this too began at Hastings, 1904 – saw victory and the national title go to the youngest player ever. Peter N. Lee, of London, a twenty-one-year-old Oxford University graduate in mathematics, made light of playing in the Championship for the first time and led from start to finish. Jonathan Penrose and Norman Littlewood vied with him all the way but in the last round had to be content with draws sharing second place 1/2 point behind with 8. ”
Peter played at Hastings in 1965 and we can see him here in this silent movie at 1’40” in :
Peter’s final Varsity appearance as British Champion in 1966 saw another drawn match but Peter’s best Varsity result when he beat Bill Hartston with the white pieces in a King’s Indian Attack.
In world cup year Peter was selected by the BCF to represent England at the Havana Olympiad on board two below Peter Clarke in Group 4 and then Final B scoring a creditable +4=7-1.
Lugano 1968 saw Peter playing as first reserve and scoring an excellent +7=4-2 (Penrose on top board scored a wonderful 83.3% for the silver medal.
In another world cup year (1970) in his final Olympiad appearance Peter played on board four and recorded +4=9-2
Peter played in the British Championships again in 1967, 1968, 1971 and finally in 1972 withdrawing after five rounds following a loss to David Pritchard. This is Peter’s last game recorded in Megabase2020.
With the white pieces Peter was a committed 1.e4 fan playing 8.c3 in the Lopez and open sicilians.
As the second player he played the Sicilian Najdorf and the Dragon along with the King’s Indian.
According to Wikipedia : “Later, he turned to contract bridge, at which he has also been highly successful. He has won the English Bridge Union’s National Pairs title four times, the first time in 2003, and has also been a member of the team that won the Gold Cup, the premier teams event in Britain, in 2003 and 2011. This makes him the only person who has won British championships in both chess and bridge.”
Until 1979 he worked as a statistician to the Tobacco Research Council, in Harrogate and then in London. From 1979 to 1984 he was an independent consultant in statistics and advisor in epidemiology and toxicology to a number of tobacco, pharmaceutical and chemical companies.
He formed P N Lee Statistics and Computing Ltdin 1984 to widen these activities. Peter is a Chartered Statistician who has published over 200 papers, letters and articles, and several books.
Peter is currently a director of PNLSC based in Palmers Green, London, N13.
As a consultant in medical statistics and epidemiology, he has also published over 200 papers, many on the effects of tobacco on health.
Peter reached a peak Elo rating of 2390 aged 47 in July 1990 according to MegaBase 2020. However, his peak playing strength was probably in or around 1971.
Peter has returned to playing for the Athenaeum in the Hamilton-Russell Cup. For those not aware : “The Hamilton-Russell Chess Tournament is a chess competition competed in by social, political, military and sports Clubs in Great Britain.”
According to Paul Littlewood currently Peter “plays Bridge for Surrey and chess for the Athenaeum in London”.
Best wishes to IM Andrew Kinsman born on this day Friday November 20, 1964 to Kenneth H and Yvonne (née Greening) Kinsman. Andrew has sisters Cassandra Suzie and Joanna Marie and a brother Graham John. His father played for Wimbledon and then retired to Kettering (thanks Richard James).
Andrew Peter Harry Kinsman was born in North East Surrey and grew up in Kingston-Upon-Thames near Kingston Hospital (thanks Richard James!). He was a member of Richmond Junior Chess Club.
Andrew was a member of the University of Sussex chess team in 1983 along with IM Byron Jacobs. Andrew became an editor of chess publisher BT Batsford Ltd. following in the footsteps of Bob Wade, Paul Lamford and others.
He made his first Grandmaster norm with his victory in the 1997 Owens Corning International in Wrexham.
Andrew’s peak rating was 2430 in January 1998. He played for Guildford in the Four Nations Chess League and for Wimbledon in other leagues. His last ECF grading was 222D in July 2002 and highest may have been 230B in July 2000.
He left chess and turned to poker becoming a successful player and author and was married to Pauline. They lived in Ditchling Rise in Brighton.
He joined Byron Jacobs to form Chess Press which eventually morphed into First Rank Publishing.
With the white pieces Andrew was consistently a d4 player with the occasional Nf3 thrown in. He played a “slow” Queen’s Gambit (Nf3 inserted before c4) and the Trompowski Attack for variety.
As the second player Andrew played the French Winawer and the Benko Gambit.
Andrew is registered for both Wimbledon and Guildford and represented Wuppertal in the Bundesliga. Andrew’s most recent appearance in 4NCL was the final weekend of the 2001/2 season beating JA Toothill.
He has written several books on chess (and poker) as follows :
James Derrick Slater was born on Wednesday, March 13th, 1929. On the same day “Leon Trotsky gave his first interview to the foreign press in his apartment in Turkey, saying he was writing a book tracing the history of his opposition to Joseph Stalin and expressing a desire to go to Germany because he preferred the care of German physicians.”
He was born in Heswall, Cheshire (Wirral, Merseyside was the registration district) to Hubert Slater and Jessica Alexandra Barton.
He arrived (aged 31) in Southampton on board the Pretoria Castle as a first class passenger whilst resident in 16, Stafford Terrace, Kensington and his occupation was given as Company Director.
He died on 18th November 2015 in Cranleigh, Surrey aged 86. He had four children one of which is Mark Slater.
Jim wrote his chess autobiography as follows :
(This text was retrieved using the Wayback machine via https://web.archive.org/web/20110909053137/http://www.jimslater.org.uk/views/chess/)
“As a boy Jim Slater enjoyed playing Monopoly and draughts but his main indoor hobby was chess. He stopped playing chess after leaving school as he found it took too much time and concentration while studying for accountancy.
It was not until a colleague asked Jim to teach him to improve his game in the late 1960s that his interest in chess was rekindled. For a short while Jim joined a London chess club (Richard James reveals that this is West London Chess Club as mentioned in their internal magazine) but found he preferred correspondence chess which he could play much more conveniently when he returned home in the evening. Jim did quite well in his correspondence club, going up a few grades, until he reached a level at which it became hard work.
Jim had maintained a link with Leonard Barden, who was a British Champion and a chess correspondent. With his help Jim began subsidising the annual Hastings Tournament with a view to expanding it so that leading players would have a chance to qualify as international masters. Other countries would not invite British players to play in their tournaments until they became international masters so they were in an impossible situation. The small amount of help Jim was able to give to Hastings was arranged in a very low-key way and attracted very little publicity. The World Chess Championship would prove to be a very different proposition.
For the previous two decades the Russians had dominated world chess and then the West produced two exceptional players – Bobby Fischer of the USA and Bent Larsen of Denmark. In particular, Fischer had fantastic potential but he was handicapped by being extremely temperamental.
In the final rounds of the World Chess Championship the players were playing the best of ten games. In the quarter finals Fischer won six games to nil. In the semi-final Fischer was paired with Larsen and also beat him six games to nil. This had never happened before in world chess, and for the first time it looked as if the Russians were going to get a run for their money.
In the last qualifier Fischer came up against Petrosian, a brilliant defensive player. Fischer won the first game but lost the second. The next three games were drawn. It was said by some that Fischer had a bad cold and everyone wondered if he could regain his earlier momentum. After this relapse he won the next four games. This made Fischer challenger to Spassky. Spassky too was a brilliant attacking player and had been a chess genius since early childhood, so it promised to be an exceptional match.
While preparations were being made for the World Championship in Iceland, Fischer started to complain about the prize money which he thought should be doubled.
‘I was driving into London early one Monday morning in mid-July feeling disappointed that after all this build-up Fischer might not be taking on Spassky, when it suddenly occurred to me that I could easily afford the extra prize money personally. As well as providing me with a fascinating spectacle for the next few weeks it would give chess players throughout the world enormous pleasure for the match to proceed.’
From The Complete Chess Addict (Faber&Faber, 1987) , Mike Fox & Richard James:
“Jim Slater, the financier and children’s author, was a strong schoolboy player. He gave up chess for finance. This turned out a very good thing for chess, since he was able to tempt Bobby Fischer (with a £50,000 increase in stake-money) into playing Boris Spassky for the world title in 1972. Here’s what the young Slater was capable of:”
From Bobby Fischer Goes to War , David Edmonds and John Eidinow, Faber & Faber, 2004 we have a fuller account as follows :
“Driving to work in London early on Monday morning, 3 July, Jim Slater was upset by a radio report on the challenger’s non-appearance in Reykjavik. Slater was a businessman who had set up his own company, Slater Walker Securities, in 1964, when he was in his mid-thirties. His partner, Peter Walker, had left the business to become a Conservative member of parliament and a government minister under Edward Heath and,later, Margaret Thatcher. At the time of the Fischer-Spassky match, the company reportedly had a controlling interest in 250 companies around the world. Supremely confident, decisive, ruthless in business, Slater had by then amassed a fortune of, in his own words,’£6 million and rising’. A gambler by nature, the one big luxury he allowed himself was to play bridge for thousands of pounds with stronger opponents.
He was also a chess fan and supporter of the game, subsidizing the annual Hastings tournament. In the years following Fischer-Spassky, he would, alongside the former British champion and journalist Leonard Barden (who provided the vision and organization), transform the state of British chess by channelling funds into junior competition. Now he decided that he could easily afford the money to send Fischer to Reykjavik – or expose the American as a coward. He would double the prize, putting an additional £50,000 ($125,000) into the pot. Arriving at his office that Monday morning, he passed on his offer through Barden, who then spoke to Marshall, giving the US attorney some background details about this championship angel. Marshall then talked to Fischer. Slater says he also telephoned his friend David Frost, who in turn rang his friend Henry Kissinger’ Kissinger then contacted Fischer. What motivated Slater?’As well as providing me with a fascinating spectacle for the next few weeks, I could give chess players throughout the world enormous pleasure’
Slater’s offer made headlines in London’s Evening Standard and his house was soon swarming with reporters. When he returned from work, he told his astonished wife,’I had a good idea on the way to the office.’The good idea was couched in challenging terms: ‘If he isn’t afraid of Spassky, then I have removed the element of money’
It is not altogether clear how the British offer finally persuaded Fischer. Paul Marshall certainly had a hand, initially pushing it as the answer to all Fischer’s financial demands.’But he wouldn’t accept it; he says.’His experiences with people promising things had taught him not to believe them, particularly with money. And he wanted proof. And he said no.’Marshall tried to change his mind. Phoning Barden, the attorney took his place in the gallery of callers that saved the match.’I said if I were them I would rephrase the offer. Slater should say he didn’t think his money was at risk, because Fischer was just making excuses. He should say that deep down Fischer was frightened. I said Bobby might be piqued by that challenge – and he was. I knew Bobby was very very competitive and combative and would not like to be thought of as a chicken.’ Slater denies this version of events. He maintains it was always his idea to express his offer as a taunt. He never spoke to Fischer and never received a word of gratitude from him.’Fischer is known to be rude, graceless, possibly insane,’he says.’I didn’t do it to be thanked. I did it because it would be good for chess.'”
The match between Fischer and Spassky was a most exciting one and fully up to everyone’s expectations. Fischer won the match.
A few months later, in an endeavour to help our young players, Jim Slater offered on behalf of The Slater Foundation to give a prize of £5,000 (about £75,000 in today’s money) to the first British grand master and £2,500 to the next four. Over the next few years Great Britain went from having no grand masters to twenty and became one of the strongest teams of young chess players in the world.”
and here is his entry from chessgames.com which lists one game from 1947 : “James Derrick Slater, better known as Jim Slater, was an English accountant, investor and business writer. Slater became a well-known chess patron in the 1970s, when he stepped in to double the prize fund of the Fischer-Spassky world championship match at a time when Fischer was threatening not to play, thereby enabling the match to go forward. Afterwards he provided significant financial backing for the development of young British players, many of whom later contributed to Britain becoming one of the world’s strongest chess countries in the 1980s.”
From The Oxford Companion to Chess (OUP, 1984) by Hooper and Whyld :
“British chess patron, financier, children’s author, Slater achieved wide fame in the chess world on the occasion of the Spassky-Fischer world championship match of 1972. Fischer showed reluctance to play and apparently decided to do so when Slater added £50,000 to the prize fund. Slater has also made contributions to many other chess causes and in 1973 set-up the Slater Foundation, a charitable trust which, among other activities, pays for the coaching of young players and provides help for their families if needed. Leonard Barden advises the trust on chess matters. In the 1970s, partly owing to this patronage, junior players in Britain became as strong as those in any other country.”
“An English financier, a great patron and benefactor of chess, both on a national and world level. Passionately devoted to chess from schooldays. He said that on leaving school he hesitated between the alternatives of become a chess master and of going into business, opting for the latter on the grounds that he was not sure of his chess-playing prowess.
It is perhaps a fortunate thing for chess that he did not become a chess-master, since he offer of a £50,000 increase to the stake at the match at Reykjavik in Iceland in 1972 may well have swayed Fischer into consenting to play. He established a Slater Foundation Fund which helps young English players to go and play abroad.”
The following article was originally published on November 7th 1980 in Education magazine. The author was George Low. George may be found on LinkedIn. Education magazine was a weekly publication that started in 1903 and in 1997 was absorbed into Education Journal.
George Low explains why our youngsters are doing so well
“Britain’s international chess team, with an average age of under 30, is now the most formidable and talented in the world. At this month’s tournament in Malta they will be breathing down the necks of the Russians for the championship and have a high chance of coming away with a medal.
Behind the national team there is an even more promising junior squad, who have won the European championships two years’ running. Among the up and coming youngsters who are beginning to give the Russians cause for anxiety are two potential world champions – Tony Miles, now a Grandmaster and serious contender for the world championship, and Nigel Short, who at 15 is already the youngest international master ever.
The remarkable upsurge of standards and interest is a phenomenon of some educational significance. The schools have been the seedbed. The nurturing of young talent (often from the age of six or even younger) has been a tangible proof of the dedication of teachers to supervision and support outside school
hours, and there are few extra-curricular activities more time-consuming than chess.
But alongside the school clubs a network of small informal clubs have sprung up and a series of tournaments for all ages and groups. City financier Jim Slater and Lloyds Bank can take the main credit for financial sponsorship of the junior squad, and newspapers like The Sunday Times and The Evening Standard have stimulated a great deal of competitive zeal through their school and individual tournaments.
Like many educational developments in this country, the chess phenomenon has completely by-passed the Department of Education and Science, who have turned down all approaches for financial and even moral support. Officials are wont to plead that there is no mention of chess in the 1944 Education Act or its successors, This is, of course, true, but the Department, nevertheless, manages to make all sorts of direct and indirect contributions to musical and sporting activities. When set beside the intense involvement of many other nations in the development of chess the official attitude appears all the more
How then has Britain managed to bound up the international league table from no. 26 to among the top three nations of the world? Mr. Leonard Barden, manager of the junior squad, traces the resurgence of interest to media coverage of the Spassky-Fischer duel eight years ago and its sequel between Korchnoi and Karpov five years later.
In about 1972-3, he recalls, the selectors started casting their nets much wider than the Home Counties grammar schools where the recruiting ground had
traditionally been. He and his colleagues looked through the results of a lot more tournaments all over the country. Those who had real talent were encouraged to go in for the National Junior Squad championships and to enter adult tournaments. They were also given the opportunity to play against Grandmaster in ‘simuls’ (simultaneous games involving 20 or 30 boards). Mr. Barden now has 500 young players on his books in whom he takes an active interest, following their tournament games and writing to suggest alternative strategies in their games. Beneath these there is a pool of 2000 to 3000 children who play in tournaments and are graded players whom the selectors have their eye on.
Nigel Short was an early find when he won the Merseyside championship under nines. By the age of 9.5 he was developing very rapidly under special tuition and was entering simuls with Grandmasters. He was one of the children who Leonard Barden put into his training schedule and persuaded him to aim for the highest league. ‘Between the ages of nine and fourteen they can develop very rapidly and are ready to play with adults. After that they fall foul of the English exam system and that slows them down having to memorise all that largely irrelevant mass of information,’Mr. Barden says.
There is no risk of force-feeding the children in his squad, he says, they are all naturally bright and do not suffer from the competition within their age group. They are as group a perfectly normal lot. He believes that besides the technical help promising youngsters can be given such as being introduced to chess magazines, motivation is all-important. The Department of Education should do more to foster chess, he thinks, achievement in chess and success in academic subjects.
Mr. Michael Sinclair, who runs the chess club at Hampton School and organises many school tournaments, see numerous educational and personal benefits from children playing chess in schools. The older boys (Ed: this was 1980!) can help the younger ones to develop their game and they in turn learn a lot from competing with adults in congresses.
The game teaches children to concentrate for long periods of time, to observe correct etiquette and to accept adjudication decisions (Ed: I suspect this means arbiting decisions!). It also gives them an understanding of a symbolic language that can be a useful grounding in such subjects as algebra or even computer programming. in later studies. Given its undoubted educational contribution, it is surprising that few books have been written on teaching chess in schools.”
We remember Gordon Crown who died this day (November 17th) in 1947.
Gordon Thomas Crown was born on Thursday, June 20th, 1929 to James Crown (born 18th November 1899) and Hilda M Crown (born 3rd October 1900, née Sharrott).
James was a refrigerating engineer and Hilda carried out unpaid domestic duties. The birth was registered in the district of West Derby, Lancashire.
According to the electoral register of 1939 they lived at 8 Ingledene Road, Liverpool, Liverpool C.B., Lancashire, England. (This is L18 3HJ in this day and age.)
According to Zoopla : “This 4 bed freehold semi-detached house is located at 8 Ingledene Road, Liverpool L18 3HJ and has an estimated current value of £581,000. Ingledene Road has 19 properties on it with an average current value of £492,220, compared to an average property value of £325,035 for L18. There have been 5 property sales on Ingledene Road, L18 over the last 5 years with an average house price paid of £474,900. There are currently 108 properties for sale in L18 with an average asking price of £372,163 and 59 properties to rent in L18 with an average asking rent of £408 pw.”
Both Sunnucks and Hooper & Whyld are silent on GTC : surprising!
“Gordon Crown is one the sad might-have-beens of the world of chess. In his short life he had already shown himself to be of master strength and a potentially very great player when suddenly, at the age of eighteen, he died during an operation.
He learnt chess when aged nine and soon became one of the best players, first in Liverpool,, his home town, and then in Lancashire, of which county he won the Junior Championship three years in succession.
Crown first came into national prominence when he came second in the British Boys Championship in 1946. (Ed : the winner was John Fuller) In the Hastings Congress of 1946/7 he won first place in a strong Premier Reserves Section.
The last year of his life even saw him reaching out to international success, Playing on board 9 for Britain against The Netherlands he scored 1.5 out of 2 against L.J. Tummers. Then he won third prize in the British Championship at Harrogate. As a result of this success he was promoted to board 4 for Britain against Australia in a radio match when he beat Dr. M. Gellis.
In September 1947 he was hurried to hospital suffering from peritonitis and, being a diabetic, succumbed under the operation.
As a player he excelled in both the opening and endgame phases and possessed a style of play that stamped him as a future grandmaster. As a person he was modest, clever and a very agreeable companion. This was great loss for British and, almost certainly, world chess.”
We have reproduced his obituary from British Chess Magazine, Volume LXVII (1947), Number 12 (December), Page 387-8 and we assume that this was written by the then editor, Julius du Mont :
We are grateful to Leonard Barden on the identity of T.J.B. :
“Thomas John Beach, wartime RAF navigator with Distinguished Flying Cross, leading light of Liverpool chess, regular British championship player for many years, chairman of BCF junior selectors, father of a leading Midlands expert, a good and dedicated man” TJB was the father of Richard Beach who won the British Boys Under 18 title in 1961.
According to the British Chess Magazine, 1943, March, page 56 GTC lived at 8 Ingledene Road, Calderstones, Liverpool 18, England.
On 17 November 1947 he was admitted to hospital, complaining of a stomach upset. Diagnosed too late with appendicitis, complicated by his diabetes, he died in the operating theatre.
His friend (and former British champion) Leonard Barden speculates that had he lived, Crown would have become at least a strong Grandmaster, further noting that he was ” … open, friendly and modest as well as a clear and enthusiastic explainer of his chess ideas; I think he would have been like Keres or Gligoric in their countries, a model for our young players.”
Harry Golombek was similarly impressed with Crown’s play, stating that “In his short life, he had already shown himself to be of master strength and was potentially a very great player.”
We are grateful to be able to use comments from long time friend, Leonard Barden posted under the nom de plume of Roberts Partner on chessgames.com :
“As to the circumstances of Crown’s death. The finger of blame must be pointed at the family doctor for failing to make a timely correct diagnosis. On Sunday 16 November 1947 a chess friend visited the Crown home at Ingledene Road, Liverpool, and found Crown in bed. He explained that his doctor had diagnosed a stomach upset and had recommended rest. The friend and Crown played and analysed together for several hours, and Crown did not appear in any physical discomfort. But that night after the friend left his condition deteriorated and he was rushed to hospital where he died in the early morning hours of 17 November. There was also a belief among some Liverpool chess players that the hospital procedures could have been better.”
“On another thread some CG posters expressed surprise at the Ritson Morry v Crown game where Morry fell into a well-known opening trap.
The British championship at Harrogate in August 1947 was played in a spa building where the underfloor heating was still switched on. This coincided with one of the warmest summers on record (it was the year in which Compton and Edrich made their memorable cricket achievements for Middlesex). By the second week of the BCF congress older and overweight players (the latter group including Ritson Morry) were wilting. Ritson also had some long adjourned games, and by the time of his game with Crown in the final round was exhausted. The game finished in 15-20 minutes so by the time other players went to spectate after their opening moves there was just a reset board with no sign of the players and no indication of what had transpired. Other final round results went Crown’s way so that he finished third outright and thus got selected on a high board for the USSR match.”
and here is an article by ddtru (?) in chess.com : full article
We are grateful to renowned chess historian, Taylor Kingston for supplying these scans of an article from Chess Life in 1947 about Gordon Crown written by Reuben Fine :
From Wikipedia :
“Gordon Thomas Crown (20 June 1929 – 17 November 1947) was a promising British chess player who died of appendicitis at the age of eighteen. He is best known for his win against the Russian Grandmaster Alexander Kotov shortly before his death.
Crown was born in Liverpool in 1929. He finished second in the British under 18 championship in 1946 and improved rapidly, winning the Premier Reserve section of the 1946/7 Hastings International Chess Congress. This led to his being placed on the reserve list for the 1947 British Chess Championship. Following the withdrawal of the defending champion Robert Forbes Combe, he was allowed to play in the championship, where he finished third (Harry Golombek won).
Consequently, he was selected to play for the British team in the 1947 Britain-USSR match, where he caused a sensation by defeating the Soviet Grandmaster Alexander Kotov, though he lost the return game. He also defeated Max Gellis in a Britain-Australia radio match.”
Interestingly, via the EC Forum, Geoff Chandler pointed out a note by Edward Winter in which Bill Hartston recounts advice from David Bronstein : “Look at the games of Gordon Crown. He really understood chess”. From NOW! magazine, (6-12 February 1981, page 80.) : thanks Geoff !
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