Remembering Conel Hugh O’Donel Alexander CMG CBE (15-ii-1974)

Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander
Conel Hugh O’Donel Alexander

We remember Conel Hugh O’Donel Alexander CMG CBE who passed away on 15-ii-1974

Here is his detailed Wikipedia entry

Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander
Conel Hugh O’Donel Alexander

From Chessgames.com :

“Conel Hugh O’Donel Alexander was born in Cork, Ireland. Awarded the IM title in 1950 at its inception and the IMC title in 1970, he was British Champion in 1938 and 1956. During the Second World War, he worked at Bletchley Park with Harry Golombek and Sir Philip Stuart Milner-Barry, deciphering German Enigma codes and later for the Foreign Office. Alexander finished 2nd= at Hastings (1937/38) tied with Paul Keres after Samuel Reshevsky and ahead of Salomon Flohr and Reuben Fine. He held Mikhail Botvinnik to an equal score (+1, -1) in the 1946 Anglo-Soviet Radio Match, and won Hastings (1946/47) while finishing equal first at Hastings (1953/54). He represented England on six Olympiad teams. Alexander was also an author of note. He passed away in Cheltenham in 1974.”

Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander
Conel Hugh O’Donel Alexander

From The Oxford Companion to Chess by Hooper & Whyld :

International Master (1950), International Correspondence Chess Master (1970). Born in Cork, he settled in England as a boy. In spite or because of his intense application at the board his tournament performances were erratic. From about 1937 to the mid 1950s he was regarded as the strongest player in Great Britain, although he won only two (1938, 1956) of the 13 British Chess Federation Championships in which he competed; he played for the BCF in six Olympiads from 1933 to 1958. Holding a senior post at the Foreign Office, he was not permitted to play in countries under Soviet control or influence; but when he did compete abroad he achieved only moderate results. His best tournament achievement was at Hastings 1937-8 when he was second (+4=5) equal with Keres after Reshevsky ahead of Fine and Flohr; but he is better remembered for his tie with Bronstein for first prize at Hastings 1953-4. He won his game against Bronstein in 120 moves after several adjournments, and the outcome became a kind of serial in the press, arousing great national interest in the game. Alexander was the author of several books on chess, notably Alekhine’s Best Games of Chess 1938-1945 (1949) and A Book of Chess (1973).

Golombek and Hartston, The Best Games of C.H.O’D. Alexander (1976).

Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander and Sir Stuart Milner-Barry
Conel Hugh O’Donel Alexander and Sir Stuart Milner-Barry

From The Encyclopedia of Chess by Anne Sunnucks :

For many years the chess correspondent of The Sunday Times, The Spectator and the Evening News. There was probably no “chess name that was better known to the non-chess-playing element of the British public than that of Hugh Alexander. His victory over Russian Grandmaster David Bronstein at Hastings in 1953, after a struggle which lasted for 120 moves and took 13 hours, made chess front page news in the British press.

David Bronstein vs Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander
David Bronstein vs Conel Hugh O’Donel Alexander

Born in Cork on 19th April 1909, Alexander picked up the game at prep school at the age of 8. In 1926 he won the Boy’s Championship, later to be recognised as the British Boy’s Championship, at Hastings. After coming down from Cambridge University, where he won the university championship four times, Alexander taught mathematics at Winchester College from 1932 to 1938. He later joined the Foreign Office.

One of the few British players who might have reached World Championship class if he had chosen to devote sufficient time to the game, Alexander was at his best when he faced a top class opponent. During his chess career, he scored victories over two World Champions Botvinnik and Euwe, and he beat a number of other Grandmasters, international tournaments were all at Hastings where he came =2nd in 1938 with Keres, half a point behind Reshevsky and ahead of Fine and Flohr; 1st in 1947 and =1st with Bronstein in 1953. In 1951 tournament he came =5th.

Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander playing Alberic O'Kelly de Galway in a publicity shot before the start of the Hastings Premier., probably Hastings 1953-54, the year Alexander tied first with Bronstein : thanks to Leonard Barden
Conel Hugh O’Donel Alexander playing Alberic O’Kelly de Galway in a publicity shot before the start of the Hastings Premier., probably Hastings 1953-54, the year Alexander tied first with Bronstein : thanks to Leonard Barden

His other hobbies included bridge, croquet and philately, He was the Author of Alekhine’s Best Games of Chess 1938-1945 (Bell), Chess (Pitman) and joint author with T.J. Beach of Learn Chess; A New Way for All (Pergamon Press); Fischer v. Spassky: Reykjavik 1972 (Penguin); A Book of Chess (Hutchinson) 1973; The Penguin Book of Chess Positions (Penguin) 1973. He died on 15th February 1974.

The British Team at Amsterdam. Left to right : Barden, Clarke, Penrose, Wade, Golombek and Alexander
The British Team at Amsterdam. Left to right : Barden, Clarke, Penrose, Wade, Golombek and Alexander
The Penguin Book of Chess Positions
The Penguin Book of Chess Positions
Fischer v. Spassky : Reykjavik 1972
Fischer v. Spassky : Reykjavik 1972
Alekhine's Best Games of Chess : 1938-45
Alekhine’s Best Games of Chess : 1938-45

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