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😐😕😱 ‘The Moves That Matter’ – Jonathan Rowson (Bloomsbury 2019). HB. p 352. cp £20.
Subtitled ‘A Chess Grandmaster on the Game of Life’, this is a chess publication like no other. To draw comparisons I would have to wander into other fields which is hardly the idea hereabouts and beyond my experience anyway. Having spent about seven or eight hours with this remarkable tome what follows is more of a reaction than a deadpan review.
When I bought my copy in Waterstone’s in Reading the lady said it was not shelved with other chess books and I am not surprised. It merits its own glass case as this is special but not to my taste. How the sales will pan out I have no idea. I imagine quite well as with ‘The Rookie’ by Stephen Moss, also a Bloomsbury. Moss’s book was an outsider’s view looking inwards. Rowson writes as an insider yet jumps (outside!) around seemingly not getting over himself. International travel, tournament success, marriage, maturity and great academic success have failed to bring him the answers he seemingly requires, the reader will bleed with him. His pain is now ours.
In a closing chapter, putting flesh on very intricate bones, he gives 19 annotated games. No diagrams that I spotted but should that matter? Here is philosophy offered in scholarly form, a life journey, as all the best autobiographies try to be. But I just was not entertained or instructed. It did, however, tell me all about this chess master.
The author is a largely retired Scottish Grandmaster.
A very merry Christmas 2019 to all of our readers !
The BCN Editorial team wishes you all the best for the New Year.
Happy Birthday IM Graeme Noel Buckley born on Christmas Day, 1971.
According to ChessBase Graeme reached his highest FIDE rating in July 2003, aged 32 of 2420.
Graeme teaches chess in many Surrey Schools and is the partner of IM Susan Lalic.
Graeme was Southern Counties (SCCU) champion for the 2009-10 season
Best Wishes to IM David James Eggleston, born this day (December 22nd) in 1987.
According to ChessBase David’s peak FIDE rating was 2434 aged 26 in December 2013. However, this could easily be surpassed.
David plays for Cheddleton in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL).
David has one book, published in July 2014 : Hacking up the King published by Mongoose Press.
We remember William Winter who passed away on December 18th, 1955.
This is some variation from sources who quote his Date of Birth. All have 11th of September but vary by the year giving either 1898 or 1899. However careful research by John Townsend (Wokingham) gives 1897 and this work is cited by Edward Winter.
His father was William Henderson Winter and his mother Margaret “Winter”. He was born in Medstead, Hampshire. In the 1911 census their address was recorded as “The Boynes”, Alton, Hampshire and the family had two servants : a cook and a housemaid.
“W. Winter was born in 1899 in Hampshire. A Cambridge graduate in Law, he devoted himself eventually entirely to chess and is the only Englishman who, despite all vicissitudes, has faithfully remained a professional. After winning the Cambridge University Championship in 1921 he competed in a number of international tournaments. His outstanding performance was in the tournament in Scarborough 1928, which he won. He won the British Championship in 1935 and 1936, and has represented his country on four occasions in international team tournaments. In Hamburg, 1930, he was undefeated.
His literary activities include Chess for Match Players and The Alekhine-Capablanca World Title Match, 1927. He edits the chess column in the Soviet Weekly.
His chess record is erratic and does not reflect his true ability. He is capable of some of the finest chess, but often plays too impulsively. His greatest strength lies in King’s side attacks. which he handles with skill and accomplishment.”
From The Encyclopedia of Chess (BT Batsford, 1977) Edited by Harry Golombek :
International Master and twice British Champion (1935 and 1936), Winter was an excellent illustration of Réti’s thesis that players tend to be opposite over the board to their character in real life. Over the board he was classical, scientific and sober; away from the board he was revolutionary, moved by his emotions (he contrived to be both a fervent Communist and a staunch patriot), and more often than not, drunk.
His university career, where he read law, coincided with the First World War and, after a brief interruption for military service he returned to Cambridge where in 1919 he became university champion and defeated R. H. V. Scott (a strong player who won the British Championship in 1920) in a match by 4-2. On the strength of this he was invited to play in the Hastings Victory tournament of 1919 where, however, he did badly, coming 11th out of 12.
After an interval during which he fervently pursued a political career to such an extent as to incur a six-months prison sentence for sedition (Winter always denied the sedition and said that the charge was trumped-up one), he took up the career of chess professional. The life suited him since it enabled him to lead the kind of Bohemian existence that pleased his artistic temperament. It should be mentioned that he was a nephew of Sir James Barrie and would have fitted in well on one of his uncle’s plays.
As a player he was eminently sound and, being an apostle of Tarrasch, a fine clear strategist. But he was lacking in tactical ability and his poor health and his way of life interfered with his consistency and impaired his stamina. But he had a number of fine victories over great players (Bronstein, Nimzowitsch and Vidmar for example).
He played in four Olympiads: Hamburg 1930 (scoring 76.7% on 4th board), Prague 1931 (58.8% on 4th board), Folkestone 1933 (59.1% on 3rd board) and Warsaw 1935 (41.7% on 1st board). He was selected to play at Stockholm in 1937 but, having “lost” his passport three times. he was refused a fresh one by the authorities.
His best international individual results were =6th at London 1927, and =5th at Lodz 1935.
His career as a chess journalist (he wrote for the Manchester Guardian and the Daily Worker) was somewhat impeded and spoilt by his Bohemian ways, be he wrote some excellent works on chess : Chess for Match Players, London, 1936″
Here is an excellent article (as you’d expect) from Edward Winter
Kings of Chess, London, New York 1954; Modern Master Play in collaboration with F. D. Yates), London, Philadelphia 1929.
We remember Harold Maurice Lommer who passed away on December 17th, 1980.
From The Oxford Companion to Chess by David Hooper Ken Whyld :
International Judge of Chess Compositions (1958), International Arbiter (1962), International Master for Chess Compositions (1974), the greatest British study composer. Born in Islington of German parentage, he moved to Switzerland when he was four and returned to England 18 years later.
Inspired in his youth by the Saavedra study, he
became the leading specialist on promotion tasks, and in 1933 was the first to show allumwandlung in a study, which Rinck had declared was impossible. Lommer also showed in studies six consecutive promotions to rooks (1935) and a minimal with concurrent promotions to queen, bishop, and knight. (For another task record see star-flights.) After the Second World War he became proprietor of a Soho club, where players and composers often met; in 1949 the club organized a small international tournament, won by bernstein, Lommer retired in 1961 and went to live in Valencia, where he died.
In 1939 Lommer and the English player Maurice A. Sutherland (d.1954), who backed the project, published 1,234 Modern End-game Studies. In 1975 Lommer compiled a sequel, 1,357 End-game Studies. These two collections, catholic in taste, made by a composer who was above all an artist, have become standard works. Besides his studies, the best of which are in these books, he composed fairy problems.
We remember Thomas Rayner Dawson who passed away on December 16th, 1951.
From Wikipedia :
Thomas Rayner Dawson (28 November 1889 – 16 December 1951) was an English chess problemist and is acknowledged as “the father of Fairy Chess”. He invented many fairy pieces and new conditions. He introduced the popular fairy pieces grasshopper, nightrider, and many other fairy chess ideas.
Dawson published his first problem, a two-mover, in 1907. His chess problem compositions include 5,320 fairies, 885 directmates, 97 selfmates, and 138 endings. 120 of his problems have been awarded prizes and 211 honourably mentioned or otherwise commended. He cooperated in chess composition with Charles Masson Fox.
Dawson was founder-editor (1922–1931) of The Problemist, the journal of the British Chess Problem Society. He subsequently produced The Fairy Chess Review (1930–1951), which began as The Problemist Fairy Chess Supplement. At the same time he edited the problem pages of The British Chess Magazine (1931–1951).
Caissa’s Playthings a series of articles in Cheltenham Examiner (1913)
Retrograde Analysis, with Wolfgang Hundsdorfer (1915)
Fata Morgana, with Birgfeld, Nanz, Massmann, Pauly (1922)
Asymmetry, with W. Pauly (1928)
Seventy Five Retros (1928)
Caissa’s Wild Roses (1935)
C. M. Fox, His Problems (1936)
Caissa’s Wild Roses in Clusters (1937)
Ultimate Themes (1938)
Caissa’s Fairy Tales (1947)
The last five titles were collected as Five Classics of Fairy Chess, Dover Publications (1973), ISBN 978-0-486-22910-2.
and from The Oxford Companion to Chess by David Hooper & Ken Whyld :
English composer, pioneer of both fairy problems and retrograde analysis. His problems in these fields form the greater part of his output (about 6,500 compositions) and are better remembered than his studies and orthodox problems. For fairy problems he invented new pieces: grasshopper (1912) LEO (1912), NEUTRAL MAN (1912) NIGHT RIDER (1925), and VAO (1912); he codified new rules such as the maximummer (1913) and various kinds of series-mover; and he used unorthodox boards.
In 1915 he wrote Retrograde Analysis, the first book on the subject, completing the project begun several years earlier by the German composer Wolfgang Hundsdorfer (1879-1951). From 1919 to 1930 Dawson conducted a column devoted to fairy problems in the Chess Amateur, In 1926 he was a co-founder of the Problemist , which he edited for its first six years and he founded and edited The Problemist Fairy Supplement (1931-6) continued as The Fairy Chess Review (1936-51).
Besides conducting columns in several newspapers and periodicals, one of them daily and one in the Braille Chess Magazine, Dawson edited the problem section of the British Chess Magazine from 1931 to 1951; he devised and published in its pages (1947-50) a systematic terminology for problem themes in the hope that it would supplant the extensive jargon then and now in use, Dawson wrote five hooks on fairy problems: Caissa’s Wild Roses (1935); C. M. Fox, His Problems (1936); Caissa’s Wild Roses in Clusters (1937); Ultimate Themes (1938); and Caissa’s Fairy Tales (1947). Charles Masson Fox (1866-1935) was a patron whose generosity made possible the publication of four of these books and the two fairy problem magazines founded by Dawson. Ultimate Themes deals with tasks, another of Dawson’s favourite subjects. In 1973 all five books were republished in one volume. Five Classics of Fairy Chess,
Dawson found it difficult to understand the problemist’s idea of beauty because it is not susceptible to precise definition. The artist talks of “quiet” moves, oblivious that they are White’s most pulverizing attacks! This aesthetic folly, reverence, response thrill to vain-glorious bombast runs throughout chess.(See Bohemian for a problem showing 16 model mates, a task Dawson claimed as a record but a setting Bohemian composers would reject.) His genius did not set him apart from his fellows; he could find time for casual visitors and would explain his ideas to a tyro with patience, modesty, and kindness. Although he won many tourney prizes much of his work was designed to encourage others, to enlarge the small band of fairy problem devotees, He composed less for fame than to amuse himself, confessing to another composer ‘We do these things for ourselves alone.’
A chemistry graduate, Dawson took a post in the rubber industry in 1922 and rose to be head of the Intelligence Division of the British Rubber Manufacturer for which he founded, catalogued, and maintained a technical library. Unwell for the last year of his life, he died from a stroke. (See eight OFFICERS PUZZLE; PARTIAL RETROGRADE ANALYSIS.) K. Fabel and C. E. Kemp, Schach ohne Grenzen or Chess unlimited (1969) is a survey, written in German and English, of Dawson’s contribution to the art of fairy problems.
We remember Horatio Caro who passed away on December 15th, 1920.
From Wikipedia :
Horatio Caro (5 July 1862 – 15 December 1920) was an English chess master.
Caro was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, but spent most of his chess career in Berlin, Germany. He played several matches. In 1892, he drew with Curt von Bardeleben (+2 –2 =2), lost to Szymon Winawer (+2 –3 =1). In 1897, he lost to Jacques Mieses (+3 –4 =3). In 1903, he drew with Bardeleben (+4 –4 =0). In 1905, he won against Moritz Lewitt (+4 –3 =5).
In tournaments, he won in Berlin (1888, 1891, 1894, 1898 (jointly), and 1903). He also took 10th at Berlin 1883, took 4th at Berlin 1887, tied for 2nd-3rd at Nuremberg 1888, took 3rd at Berlin 1889, took 2nd at Berlin 1890.
He took 3rd at Berlin 1894, took 9th at Berlin 1897, took 17th at Vienna 1898, took 4th at Berlin 1899, tied for 6-7th at Berlin 1902, tied for 11-12th at Coburg 1904, tied for 7-8th at Barmen 1905, took 9th at Berlin 1907, tied for 3-5th at Berlin 1908, and took 4th at Berlin 1911.
Caro died in London at age 58.
His claim to fame is linked to the opening Caro-Kann Defence (B12), which he analysed along with Marcus Kann and jointly published about on the German journal Bruederschaft in 1886.
According to Richard James :
He spent most of his life in Germany. Page 353 of the JubilÃ¤ums-Ausgabe (1926) of Kagans Neueste Schachnachrichten (yes, I also read Edward Winter’s Chess Notes) claims that he lived in Frankfurt up to his 22nd year and in Berlin from 1882 onwards (arithmetic fail). Some sources claim, incorrectly, that he died in Berlin.
His death was registered in Mile End Old Town. In the 1911 census there are a lot of Caros in St George in the East, just the other side of the Commercial Road from Mile End Old Town, from their first names clearly Jewish. There’s also Blanche Caro, a 65-year-old Polish born widow, described as a furrier, in hospital in Mile End Old Town.
It seems possible that Horatio was visiting relations in London when he died, and may well have been buried in Berlin not in London. The name Horatio doesn’t sound very Jewish, though. Does anyone else know anything about his background, and indeed why he was born in Newcastle? I’ll see what else I can find and post again later unless anyone more knowledgeable beats me to it.
There is extensive discussion from the same above source.