Best Wishes GM Nigel Davies (31-vii-1960)

Nigel Davies
Nigel Davies

We send best wishes to GM Nigel Davies on his birthday, this day (July 31st) in 1960.

Nigel Rodney Davies was born in Southport, Merseyside.

He lived in the Wirral, Merseyside, moved to Sidcup and then to St. Helen’s, Merseyside where he resides with his chess playing son, Sam who is ECF 165A currently.

In July 2020 Nigel graduated with a BSc (Hons) is Computing.

Nigel Davies (centre) at a Lloyds Bank event
Nigel Davies (centre) at a Lloyds Bank event

He became an FIDE Master in 1980, an International Master in 1982 and a Grandmaster in 1993.

Nigel Davies
Nigel Davies

He won the British Under-21 Championship in 1979 (Chester) and the British Rapidplay Championship in 1987.

Nigel receives a much welcome prize (in Manchester) from Miss Benedictine in 198?
Nigel receives a much welcome prize (in Manchester) from Miss Benedictine in 198?

He won The Regency Ramsgate Masters 1980, Wrexham 1994, Katrineholm 1995 and the Blackpool Hilton Premier in 2003.

Nigel Davies
Nigel Davies

Nigel publishes his Chess Improver Blog and Tiger Chess for online training. The ECF lists this as his main club.

In 2015 Nigel transferred his international allegiance from England (the English Chess Federation) to Wales (Welsh Chess Union). He maintains an ECF standard play grading of 236C.

William Watson, Jonny Hector, Alexander Khalifman, Jonathan Tisdall and Nigel Davies at the 1991 Watson, Farley, Williams tournament in London.
William Watson, Jonny Hector, Alexander Khalifman, Jonathan Tisdall and Nigel Davies at the 1991 Watson, Farley, Williams tournament in London.

His peak FIDE rating was 2530 in January 1995 at the age of 35.

Here is one of Nigel’s favourite games

Nigel Davies, seated, second from right, event unknown
Nigel Davies, seated, second from right, event unknown

In 2015 Nigel contributed to an article by Guardian journalist, Stephen Moss entitled “Grandmaster crash: the inside story of how English chess pawned its future

GM Nigel Davies
GM Nigel Davies

Here is his Wikipedia entry

Here is an article : Fight against the solid Caro-Kann opening with the Caro Krusher – GM Nigel Davies

Nigel’s repertoire with White is wide including Queen’s Gambit, King’s Indian Attack, English/Reti and the Ruy Lopez.

As black Nigel’s repertoire is also varied and difficult to pin down. The Modern Defence is a favourite and is the Nimzo-Indian Defence.

Nigel has had many books and DVDs published :

The Chess Player's Battle Manual. Batsford. ISBN 0-7134-7043-7
The Chess Player’s Battle Manual. Batsford. ISBN 0-7134-7043-7
The Power Chess Program. Batsford. ISBN 0-7134-8415-2.
The Power Chess Program. Batsford. ISBN 0-7134-8415-2.
The Grünfeld Defence. Everyman Chess. ISBN 1-85744-239-3.
The Grünfeld Defence. Everyman Chess. ISBN 1-85744-239-3.
The Veresov. Everyman Chess. ISBN 9781857443356.
The Veresov. Everyman Chess. ISBN 9781857443356.
The Dynamic Reti. Everyman Chess. ISBN 9781857443523.
The Dynamic Reti. Everyman Chess. ISBN 9781857443523.
The Trompowsky. Everyman Chess. ISBN 1857443764.
The Trompowsky. Everyman Chess. ISBN 1857443764.
King’s Indian Attack. Hamburg: ChessBase. ISBN 978-3-86681-071-6.
King’s Indian Attack. Hamburg: ChessBase. ISBN 978-3-86681-071-6.
Starting Out: The Modern. Everyman Chess. ISBN 9781857445664.
Starting Out: The Modern. Everyman Chess. ISBN 9781857445664.
Play the Catalan. Gloucester Publishers plc (formerly Everyman Publishers plc). ISBN 9781857445916.
Play the Catalan. Gloucester Publishers plc (formerly Everyman Publishers plc). ISBN 9781857445916.

Happy Birthday GM Jacob Aagaard (31-vii-1973)

GM Jacob Aagaard
GM Jacob Aagaard takes on all-comers!

BCN wishes Happy Birthday to GM Jacob Aagaard (31-vii-1973)

Jacob was born in Hørsholm in Denmark.

He became an International Master in 1997 and a Grandmaster in 2007.

His peak FIDE rating was 2542 in May 2010 aged 36.

Jacob was British Champion in 2007 in Great Yarmouth and in 2012 was Scottish Champion.

Jacob is the owner of publishing house, Quality Chess and works with IM Andrew Greet.

Here is his Wikipedia entry.

GM Jacob Aagaard
GM Jacob Aagaard takes on all-comers!

Jacob’s publications include :

(1998). Easy Guide to the Panov-Botvinnik Attack. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-563-3.
(2000). Easy Guide to the Sveshnikov Sicilian. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-280-9.
(2001). Dutch Stonewall. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-252-6.
(2001). Excelling at Chess. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-273-1.
(2002). Queen’s Indian Defence. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-300-4.
and Esben Land (2002). Meeting 1.d4. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-224-3.
(2003). Excelling at Positional Chess. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-325-7.
(2004). Excelling at Chess Calculation. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-360-8.
(2004). Excelling at Combinational Play. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-345-5.
(2004). Excelling at Technical Chess. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-364-6.
(2004). Starting Out: The Grunfeld. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-350-9.
(2004). Inside the Chess Mind. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1857443578.
(2006). Practical Chess Defence. Quality Chess. ISBN 978-91-975244-4-5.
(2008). The Attacking Manual: Basic Principles. Quality Chess. ISBN 978-91-976004-0-8.
(2008). The Attacking Manual 2: Technique and Praxis. Quality Chess. ISBN 978-91-976004-1-5.
(2012). Grandmaster Preparation – Calculation. Quality Chess. ISBN 978-1-907982-31-6.
(2012). Grandmaster Preparation – Positional Play. Quality Chess. ISBN 978-1-907982-27-9.
(2013). Grandmaster Preparation – Strategic Play. Quality Chess. ISBN 978-1-907982-29-3.
(2013). Grandmaster Preparation – Attack & Defence. Quality Chess. ISBN 978-1-907982-70-5.
(2014). Grandmaster Preparation – Endgame Play. Quality Chess. ISBN 978-1-907982-27-9.
(2017). Grandmaster Preparation – Thinking Inside the Box. Quality Chess. ISBN 978-1-907982-35-4.

Happy Birthday Demis Hassabis CBE FRS FREng FRSA (27-vii-1976)

Demis Hassabis in August 1987, Photographer : Glenn Copus. Source : Amazon
Demis Hassabis in August 1987, Photographer : Glenn Copus. Source : Amazon

BCN wishes Happy Birthday to Demis Hassabis CBE FRS FREng FRSA (27-vii-1976)

From https://achievement.org/achiever/demis-hassabis-ph-d/ :

Demis Hassabis, the eldest of three, was born in London on July 27, 1976, to a Greek Cypriot father and a Chinese Singaporean mother.

(Originally his surname was spelt Hassapis)

“Demis Hassabis was born in London, England. He is of both Greek and Chinese ancestry; his father came from Cyprus, his mother from Singapore. Demis and his family moved frequently as his father pursued a variety of business and creative ventures.

Demis was four years old when he saw his father and an uncle playing chess and asked them to teach him the game. He took to it quickly and was soon beating both of them. He showed a precocious aptitude for all games employing logic and strategy. ”

Demis Hassabis
Demis Hassabis

Demis was SCCU Under-18 champion in 1989 and was presented with the “old Trophy” according to the SCCU report.

Demis was a Candidate Master and brother of George Hassapis.

Demis started off with Hampstead Junior Chess Club.

He then played for Barnet Knights, Queens College College Union and Finchley chess clubs

According to Tryfon Gavriel :

Demis wrote a hit computer game called “The theme park”, that was at the top of the charts for six months and sold than more 3.5 million copies. He also did quite well in the 1997 Mind Sports Olympiad.

Danny Gormally wrote (in March 2014) this :

“Demis Hassapis is a former chess prodigy who recently sold his company to Google for £400 million. Demonstrating that if you have the brainpower to be good at chess, you are far better off putting that intelligence to use in some other activity where you might actually get rewarded. Then in fairness, even most strong chess players aren’t as bright as Demis.”

Demis was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2018

Here are his listed games

Lawrence Cooper, Demis Hassabis, Cathy Haslinger and Dharshan Kumaran in around 1986. Possibly at a Lloyds Bank event.
Lawrence Cooper, Demis Hassabis, Cathy Haslinger and Dharshan Kumaran in around 1986. Possibly at a Lloyds Bank event.

Birthday Greetings GM Julian Hodgson (25-vii-1963)

GM Julian Hodgson
GM Julian Hodgson

We send best wishes to GM Julian Hodgson on his birthday, this day July 25th) in 1963.

Julian Michael Hodgson was born in Hammersmith, West London son of (Ronald) George Hodgson and Johanna Hodgson (née Birch).

Julian attended St. Paul’s School (See below) and then attended The University of Leicester for one year.

Julian married Lizette and David Norwood was his Best Man.

Julian and Lizette Hodgson
Julian and Lizette Hodgson

(Curiously both Felice and Gaige state Julian was born in Saint Asaph in Wales.)

Julian Hodgson
Julian Hodgson

Harry Golombek wrote this about Julian in a 1980 Dataday chess diary :

“I think that the first time I saw Julian Hodgson in play was some four years ago in a London tournament. Upon my arrival Leonard Barden told him that he must now be careful how he played as Golombek was watching.

Julian and Nigel Short play Korchnoi in a simul. Leonard Barden observes.
Julian and Nigel Short play Korchnoi in a simul. Leonard Barden observes.

“Who”, enquired the twelve-year old Julian, “is Golombek?”

Neil Carr and Julian Hodgson at the 1976 Lloyds Bank Match by Telex, London - New York. From BCM, volume XCVI (96) Number 11 (August), Page 494. The venue was the Bloomsbury Hotel, London. Photo courtesy of Lloyds Bank.
Neil Carr and Julian Hodgson at the 1976 Lloyds Bank Match by Telex, London – New York. From BCM, volume XCVI (96) Number 11 (August), Page 494. The venue was the Bloomsbury Hotel, London. Photo courtesy of Lloyds Bank.

I felt grateful at the time that he did not say who or what is Golombek but I tell this story chiefly to show the cheerful insouciance with which Master Hodgson treated all comers
whether chess masters or chess rabbits.

Julian playing Simon L Triggs. Event and photographer unknown
Julian playing Simon L Triggs. Event and photographer unknown

Julian astonishing maturity as a player has been impressive ever since at the age of ten, he won the Southern Counties Under 14 Championships in 1973. Since then he has acquired a host of such championships culminating in the British Under-21 Championship in 1977.

Streatham & Brixton becoming BCF National Club Champions in 1989. The team was Tony Kosten, Mark Hedben, Daniel King, Nigel Povah (Captain), Joe Gallagher and Julian Hodgson : quite a strong team !
Streatham & Brixton becoming BCF National Club Champions in 1989. The team was Tony Kosten, Mark Hedben, Daniel King, Nigel Povah (Captain), Joe Gallagher and Julian Hodgson : quite a strong team

Perhaps his most remarkable performance so far has been his equal 3rd in a strong challengers section at Hastings where he scored 7.5 out of 10. 1977 was a good year for him and here, from the Lloyds Bank Silver Jubilee Tournament of that year is his fine win over a strong opponent :

Here is his entry (written by Richard W O’Brien) in British Chess (Pergamon Press, 1983, Botterill, Levy, Rice and Richardson) :

“Following a series of excellent results Julian, at the tender age of 11, became the second youngest ever to play in an international tournament when he took part in the London Chess Club International Invitation tournament in September 1974. Only Reshevsky had been younger. Julian’s first opponent was Michael Woodhams, an Australian international who had just scored 15.5/18 in the recent Olympiad (Nice)

The following year he became the youngest player ever to win the London Amateur Championship. A year later he reached a grading of 200 (BCF), only Reshevsky, Pomar, Karpov and Kasparov had done so at an earlier age.

By now he was at St. Paul’s School, which was in the process of becoming one of the strongest chess playing schools in the country. In 1977 he shared first place with WN Watson (also St. Paul’s) in the British U21 Championship. Progress was however not as fast as had at one time been anticipated

It was at Ramsgate, late in 1980 before his first IM norm. A month later he finished second in the Hastings Challenger. Other good results followed in 1981. First he was selected for the Glorney Cup and shortly afterwards did well to come fourteenth in the British Championship (Morecambe). He represented England in the World Youth Team championships scoring 4/6. His second IM norm followed when he shared fifth place at Manchester in the same year. Good results in weekend congresses meant that he finished fourth in the Leigh Grand Prix. The year had finished with Julian needing a draw in the last round at Ramsgate to get his title. He lost and was to wait another 12 months to achieve his final norm.

The England Team from the 1990 Novi Sad Olympiad : John Nunn, Jon Speelman, Julian Hodgson, David Anderton OBE (Captain), Nigel Short, Michael Adams and Murray Chandler
The England Team from the 1990 Novi Sad Olympiad : John Nunn, Jon Speelman, Julian Hodgson, David Anderton OBE (Captain), Nigel Short, Michael Adams and Murray Chandler

When the final norm came it arrived out of the blue. With a score of 2.5/5 at Lewisham in November 1982 the chances seemed remote, 3.5/4 was required against a strong field and it even seemed doubtful whether he could actually play those he needed to play. He scored 2.5/3 and now had to play Jon Tisdall, who still had a chance of winning the tournament.

Julian finished second equal in the tournament behind Jim Plaskett who had beaten him earlier.

Julian Hodgson
Julian Hodgson

The next six weeks saw Julian come equal first in the Pergamon sponsored British Lightning championship, a highly creditable sixth in the Nightflight International at Brighton (equivalent to an IM rating) and second place yet again in the Hastings Challengers.

John Delaney plays Julian Hodgson at the Bath Zonal Tournament in 1987
John Delaney plays Julian Hodgson at the Bath Zonal Tournament in 1987

Earlier in 1983 he scored 6.5/9 at Lugano, probably Europe’s strongest ever Swiss (Swiss !) tournament, losing narrowly to Jan Timman.

Julian Hodgson. Event and photographer unknown.
Julian Hodgson. Event and photographer unknown.

He left Leicester University after just one year preferring to concentrate on chess.

FM Andrew Whiteley, IM Julian Hodgson and FM Byron Jacobs at Cappelle Le Grand, 1988. Photograph by Caroline Winkler
FM Andrew Whiteley, IM Julian Hodgson and FM Byron Jacobs at Cappelle Le Grand, 1988. Photograph by Caroline Winkler

He plays fairly regularly for Streatham & Brixton Chess Club which encouraged juniors for several years. Daniel King is another junior who also played frequently for Streatham. ”

This is what was written about Julian prior to the 1979 Spassky vs the BCF Junior Squad simultaneous display : “St Paul’s and Shepherds Bush. Rating 210. Standard London Amateur Champion at age 12, 1975.

Standard London under-18 champion, 1976. British under-21 co-champion, 1977. Youngest ever to beat two grandmasters in successive games, 1978.”

Julian Hodgson drawn by Rupert van der Linden
Julian Hodgson drawn by Rupert van der Linden

Julian was Southern Counties (SCCU) champion in the 1997-98 season.

Julian has claimed that he is a descended from the (in)famous “hanging judge” Jeffries !

Julian is the in-house chess teacher at Westminster School.

Here is his Wikipedia entry :

GM Julian Hodgson
GM Julian Hodgson

Aside from more formal achievements, he developed a sharp, relentless, attacking style of play and against lesser opponents this frequently resulted in devastating quick wins, earning him the epithet “Grandmaster of Disaster”.

Hans Ree plays Julian Hodgson at the Cannes Team Tournament, 1992
Hans Ree plays Julian Hodgson at the Cannes Team Tournament, 1992

Hodgson’s greatest legacy as a chess player may however lie in his resurrection of an almost forgotten opening system. The Trompowsky Attack (1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5) had floundered in the doldrums for many years, prior to his adoption and development of the opening. In interviews, he reveals that this was born out of laziness and a reluctance to learn established chess opening theory. It soon became his weapon of choice with the white pieces, leading to a surprising popularisation of the system, the spawning of a whole generation of devotees and ironically, a number of theoretical guides, containing a high quota of Hodgson’s own games and analysis. Indeed, his expert treatment of the system once prompted fellow grandmaster Joe Gallagher to write that it should be renamed the Hodgson–Trompowsky Attack, a view shared by many other masters. A chess journalist once wrote that Hodgson put the ‘romp’ into Trompowsky.

A related, but more obscure version of the system (1.d4 d5 2.Bg5), has been dubbed by some the Hodgson Attack and by others the Pseudo-Trompowsky or Queen’s Bishop Attack.

and

Julian, Dominic Lawson and Matthew Sadler
Julian, Dominic Lawson and Matthew Sadler
Attack with Julian Hodgson, Book No.1
Attack with Julian Hodgson, Book No.1
Attack with Julian Hodgson, Book No.2
Attack with Julian Hodgson, Book No.2
Quick Chess Knockouts
Quick Chess Knockouts
Julian Hodgson drawn by Rupert van der Linden
Julian Hodgson drawn by Rupert van der Linden

Happy Birthday (Arthur) John Roycroft (25-vii-1929)

(Arthur) John Roycroft
(Arthur) John Roycroft

We are delighted to offer (Arthur) John Roycroft best wishes on his birthday, this day (July 25th) in 1929.

John was born in Hendon, London and his mother’s maiden name was Banks.

AJR aged 9, courtesy of the BCPS web site.
AJR aged 9, courtesy of the BCPS web site.

John moved to Brighton and then evacuated to Calcot, North Wales and returned to Brighton when the threat had subsided.

He married Betty in 1961 and they had a son and a daughter and now have several grand children.

He claimed that he had never suffered a common cold.

John is Platinum Life Member of the English Chess Federation and an “ECF Supporter”.

The Chess Endgame Study
The Chess Endgame Study

“From The Oxford Companion to Chess (Oxford University Press, 1984) by David Hooper and Ken Whyld :

English study composer and author, International Judge of Chess Compositions (1959), Computer systems analyst.

In 1965 he founded EG, quarterly publication which became the world’s first and only long-running magazine devoted wholly to studies.

His Test Tube Chess (1972), the best English language guide to the art of studies., was revised and republished as The Chess Endgame Study (1981).

Studies are commonly classified by means of the GBR code of which he was co-inventor.”

From The Encyclopedia of Chess (Robert Hale, 1970 & 1976) by Anne Sunnucks :

“FIDE Judge of Endgame Studies. Born on 25th July 1929. Founder of the Chess Endgame Study Circle in London in March 1965.and its quarterly magazine EG, the first and only publication exclusively devoted to the composed chess ending. Roycroft who is a computer systems analyst and lives in London, has composed about 20 endgame studies.”

AJ Roycroft

“EG” July 1965

Solution :
1.Bg7 Kb1; 2.Nf6 b4; 3.Kxb4 Kb2 4.Bh8 Nc2+; 5.Ka4 Kxc3 6.Ne4++

Video Chess Event (See caption below)
Video Chess Event (See caption below)
Video Chess Caption
Video Chess Caption

AJR won the BCF President’s Award in 1995.

Here is AJRs Wikipedia entry

Here is AJR talking about himself on the BPCS web site

Here is his entry from the Chess Programming Wiki

Test Tube Chess
Test Tube Chess

Happy Birthday FM Marcus Harvey (24-vii-1996)

Marcus Harvey at the 2013 Hastings International Congress, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
Marcus Harvey at the 2013 Hastings International Congress, Courtesy of John Upham Photography

BCN wishes Happy Birthday to FM Marcus Ross Harvey born on this day (Wednesday, July 24th) in 1996.

Marcus was born in Oxford and attended The Marlborough School, Woodstock, Oxfordshire and then (in 2014) at The University of Southampton he studied mathematics.

Originally playing for Bicester Marcus now represents Witney Chess Club in local leagues.

Marcus first played in the British Championship in 2011 (Sheffield).

Marcus Harvey at the 2013 King's Place Rapidplay, courtesy of John Upham Photography
Marcus Harvey at the 2013 King’s Place Rapidplay, courtesy of John Upham Photography

Originally playing for Oxford he now plays for Wood Green in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL) and Southampton University in the Southampton League.

Marcus playing IM Yang-Fan Zhou at the 2013 Delancey UKCC Terafinal at Loughborough Grammar School. Courtesy of John Upham Photography.
Marcus playing IM Yang-Fan Zhou at the 2013 Delancey UKCC Terafinal at Loughborough Grammar School. Courtesy of John Upham Photography.

In 2014 Marcus won the title of “Strat” (the overall Terafinal winner) of the 2014 Delancey UK Chess Challenge at Loughborough Grammar School.

Marcus Harvey at the 2013 Delancey UKCC Terafinal at Loughborough Grammar School, courtesy of John Upham Photography.
Marcus Harvey at the 2013 Delancey UKCC Terafinal at Loughborough Grammar School, courtesy of John Upham Photography.

Marcus has a FIDE rating of 2440 and an ECF grading of 240.

2014 Delancey UKCC Terafinal winner, Marcus Harvey at Loughborough Grammar School. Courtesy of John Upham Photography
2014 Delancey UKCC Terafinal winner, Marcus Harvey at Loughborough Grammar School. Courtesy of John Upham Photography

In 2018 he won the Witney Open outright with 4/5 and, in the same year, was runner-up to David Howell in the UK Blitz Open with 12.5/15 and a of 2589.

In 2019 he was =1st (with Mark Hebden) in the 4NCL Easter Open in Stevenage. Later that year Marcus was losing semi-finalist (to Gawain Jones) in the London Classic Blitz Knockout.

Marcus, on home ground, won the 43rd Kidlington Open in 2020 and followed this with and is the current 2020 English Online Blitz Champion beating IM Andrew Greet, FM Jonah Willow, IM Ameet Ghasi and IM Andrew Horton in the final.

In the Pro chess league he represents UK Lions.

Marcus Harvey's FIDE rating profile according to Megabase 2020
Marcus Harvey’s FIDE rating profile according to Megabase 2020

Recently (6th November 2019) we reported that Marcus had obtained his second International Master norm at the recent (October 2019) Hull 4NCL International Congress by scoring 4.5/9 with wins over IM Andrew Greet and IM Richard Palliser.

Marcus enjoys playing the Smyslov-Larsen opening with white and the classical French and the Nimzo-Indian Defence.

FM Marcus Ross Harvey
FM Marcus Ross Harvey

Happy Birthday GM Tony Kosten (24-vii-1958)

Tony Kosten
Tony Kosten

We wish Tony Kosten best wishes on his birthday, this day (July 24th) in 1958.

Tony was born in North Eastern Surrey, and eventually relocated to France where he now resides.

Tony is married to Gyongyver Kosten-Forintos, the daughter of Hungarian Grandmaster Győző Forintos.

Streatham & Brixton becoming BCF National Club Champions in 1989. The team was Tony Kosten, Mark Hedben, Daniel King, Nigel Povah (Captain), Joe Gallagher and Julian Hodgson : quite a strong team !
Streatham & Brixton becoming BCF National Club Champions in 1989. The team was Tony Kosten, Mark Hedben, Daniel King, Nigel Povah (Captain), Joe Gallagher and Julian Hodgson : quite a strong team

Here is his Wikipedia entry

Tony played for Lower Earley and played in the Berkshire League and for Streatham & Brixton in the National Club competition.

He was =3rd in the 1982 British Championship in Torquay (won by Tony Miles)

He was =2nd in the 1984 Robert Silk Young Masters.

He won the Berkshire Chess Association Quickplay title in 1985.

Tony was runner-up to Yuri Balashov at Minsk 1986.

He won Naujac 2000 with 7.5/9

Tony won many other events : See his Wikipedia entry for details.

Tony Kosten (fourth from left) at a NatWest Bank sponsored event
Tony Kosten (fourth from left) at a NatWest Bank sponsored event

Tony is the founder of chesspublishing.com, a subscription based web site specialising in cutting edge opening theory with many contributors.

He plays for Guildford in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL) is registered as a member of the French federation. He also plays for Schott Mainz in the German Team Championship.

According to Megabase 2020 his highest FIDE rating was 2551 in July 2002 at the age of 44.

With the white pieces Tony prefers the Ruy Lopez and Giuoco Piano with the English coming a close second.

With black Tony defends the Lopez and the Nimzo-Indian defence.

Tony Kosten
Tony Kosten
Winning Endgames, Crowood, 1987
Winning Endgames, Crowood, 1987
Winning with the Philidor, Batsford, 1992
Winning with the Philidor, Batsford, 1992
101 Tips to Improve your Chess, Batsford, 1996
101 Tips to Improve your Chess, Batsford, 1996
The Dynamic English, Gambit, 1999
The Dynamic English, Gambit, 1999

Remembering Sir George Alan Thomas, 7th Baronet (14-vi-1881 23-vii-1972)

Sir George Thomas, President of the Anglo-Soviet Chess Circle. Captain of the British Team
Sir George Thomas, President of the Anglo-Soviet Chess Circle. Captain of the British Team

We remember Sir George Alan Thomas who died on July 23rd, 1972

Signature of GA Thomas from a Brian Reilly "after dinner" postcard from Hastings Christmas Congress, 1945-1946
Signature of GA Thomas from a Brian Reilly “after dinner” postcard from Hastings Christmas Congress, 1945-1946

From The Encyclopedia of Chess (BT Batsford, 1977) by Harry Golombek :

“British international master, born in Constantinople (previously Byzantium and currently Istanbul : Ed.) His mother (Lady Edith Margaret Thomas : Ed) was one of the strongest English women players, winner of the first Ladies tournament at Hastings 1895.

(Ed : his father was Sir George Sydney Meade Thomas)

Thomas was an all-round athlete who excelled at tennis, hockey and badminton as well as chess. He captained the English badminton team and was All England Badminton Singles champion from 1920 to 1923.”

Sir George Alan Thomas : "During his playing career, he won 78 national titles in the United Kingdom and a further 12 French titles; he also competed in 29 out of 30 English internationals, winning 50 matches in the process."
Sir George Alan Thomas : “During his playing career, he won 78 national titles in the United Kingdom and a further 12 French titles; he also competed in 29 out of 30 English internationals, winning 50 matches in the process.”

Here is an excellent article (albeit stating GT was a Grandmaster and was president of the British Chest Federation!) from the National Badminton Museum.

“Thomas won the British chess championship twice, in 1923 and 1934 and represented England in the Olympiads of 1927 where he tied with Norman Hansen for the best score – 80% on board 3, 1930, 1931, 1935, 1937 and 1939.

Passenger list from RMS Alacantra showing Sir George Thomas arriving at Buenos Aires on September 19th, 1939
Passenger list from RMS Alacantra showing Sir George Thomas arriving at Buenos Aires on September 19th, 1939
Entry for Sir George Thomas from above image.
Entry for Sir George Thomas from above image.

In international tournaments his greatest successes were 1st at Spa (ahead of Tartakower) and =1st at Hastings 1934/5 (tied with Euwe and Flohr, ahead of Capablanca and Botvinnik).

Sir George Thomas, British Chess Champion, Southsea Congress, 1923 Photograph by Gilbert N Fulcher, Southsea
Sir George Thomas, British Chess Champion, Southsea Congress, 1923 Photograph by Gilbert N Fulcher, Southsea

He was known for his keen sense of sportsmanship and for his ability to encourage and inspire younger players. He served for many years on the BCF Junior selection committee and was for a time Games Editor of the British Chess Magazine. FIDE awarded him the titles of international master (1950) and International Judge (1952). (article by Ray Keene)”

British chess champion Sir George Thomas playing at the Annual British Chess Federation Championship in Yarmouth, England, July 11th 1935. (Photo by Harry Todd/Fox Photos/Getty Images)
British chess champion Sir George Thomas playing at the Annual British Chess Federation Championship in Yarmouth, England, July 11th 1935. (Photo by Harry Todd/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Thomas with the White pieces was predominantly a Ruy Lopez devotee.

With the Black pieces against 1.e4 he defended the Lopez and the Queen’s Gambit Declined was his favourite versus 1.d4

From The Encyclopedia of Chess (Robert Hale 1972 and 1976) by Anne Sunnucks :

“International Master (1950), International Judge (1952) and British Champion in 1923 and 1934. All England Badminton Singles Champion, All England Badminton Doubles Champion, Wimbledon tennis player and county hockey player.

Sir George Thomas was born in Constantinople on 14th June 1881. His mother, Lady Thomas, won the first ever ladies’ tournament, which was held in conjunction with the Hastings International Chess Tournament of 1895.

He learned the moves at the age of 4, and as a boy met many of the world’s leading players, including Steinitz, Lasker, Tchigorin and Pillsbury, in his mother’s drawing-room.

Scene at London. From left to right - Seated : Fairhurst, List and Winter in play. Standing König and Sir George Thomas
Scene at London. From left to right – Seated : Fairhurst, List and Winter in play. Standing König and Sir George Thomas

Apart from serving as a subaltern in the Army during the 1914-1918 war, Sir George has devoted his life to sport. He played tennis at Wimbledon, played hockey for Hampshire, captained the English Badminton team and was All England Badminton Singles Champion from 1920-1923 and doubles champion nine times.

Sir George Thomas And Brian Reilly Sir George Thomas (left), leader of the British chess team, playing Irishman Brian Reilly at the Easter Chess Congress, Margate, April 24th 1935. (Photo by Harry Todd/Fox Photos/Getty Images)
Sir George Thomas And Brian Reilly
Sir George Thomas (left), leader of the British chess team, playing Irishman Brian Reilly at the Easter Chess Congress, Margate, April 24th 1935. (Photo by Harry Todd/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Sir George played chess for England regularly from 1910 to 1939. He played for the British Chess Federation in the Chess Olympiads of 1927,1930, 1931, 1933, 1935, 1937 and 1939, and captained the team which withdrew from the Buenos Aires Olympiad in 1939 on the out-break of war.

A Brian Reilly "after dinner" postcard from Margate 1936.
A Brian Reilly “after dinner” postcard from Margate 1936.
The Grand Hotel, Cliftonville, Margate. Venue for the Margate tournaments.
The Grand Hotel, Cliftonville, Margate. Venue for the Margate tournaments.

His first appearance in the British Championship was in he came 2nd. He also came 2nd in 192l and in 1923 won the first time, thus becoming British Chess Champion and
Badminton Champion in the same year. Sir George’s best performance was at Hastings 1934-1935, when he came =1st. In the last round he needed only a draw against R. P. Michell to come lst, ahead of Euwe, Capablanca, Flohr and Lilienthal, but he lost and had to be content with sharing lst prize with Euwe and Flohr.

Nice Masters, 1931. Standing : Daniel Noteboom, Abraham Baratz, George Renaud (Organiser), John J O'Hanlon, Marcel Duchamp, Brian Reilly (winner), Seated : Eugene Znokso-Borovsky,, Arpad Vajda, Sir George Thomas, Jacques Mieses, Stefano Roselli del Turco, Jacob Adolf Seitz. British Chess Magazine, 1931, page 201
Nice Masters, 1931. Standing : Daniel Noteboom, Abraham Baratz, George Renaud (Organiser), John J O’Hanlon, Marcel Duchamp, Brian Reilly (winner), Seated : Eugene Znokso-Borovsky,, Arpad Vajda, Sir George Thomas, Jacques Mieses, Stefano Roselli del Turco, Jacob Adolf Seitz. British Chess Magazine, 1931, page 201

During his career he has beaten Botvinnik, Flohr and and drawn with Nimzowitsch, Rubinstein and Capablanca. He been noted for his sportsmanship and for his interest in and encouragement of young players.

Partie d'échecs Sir Georges Thomas, le célèbre joueur d'échecs britannique, jouant contre sa plus jeune adversaire âgée de 8 ans, à Londres, Royaume-Uni le 24 octobre 1934. (Photo by Keystone-France\Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Partie d’échecs
Sir Georges Thomas, le célèbre joueur d’échecs britannique, jouant contre sa plus jeune adversaire âgée de 8 ans, à Londres, Royaume-Uni le 24 octobre 1934. (Photo by Keystone-France\Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Since his retirement until the last few years, Sir George continued to attend tournaments as a spectator.

He is the author of The Art of Badminton, published in 1923.

The Art of Badminton
The Art of Badminton

He died on 23rd July 1972 in a London nursing home.”

Here is Part II of GM Matthew Sadler’s appreciation of Sir George.

Most interestingly we have this this splendid article from Neil Blackburn (SimaginFan) on chess.com

Here is his Wikipedia entry

Sir George Alan Thomas (14-vi-1881 23-vii-1972)
Sir George Alan Thomas (14-vi-1881 23-vii-1972)

and here is Part III of Matthew Sadler’s article

Sir George Alan Thomas
Sir George Alan Thomas

From The Oxford Companion to Chess (OUP, 1984) by Hooper & Whyld :

“English player. International Master (1950), International Arbiter (1952), British champion 1923 and 1934. His mother, who taught him chess, was winner of one of the first women’s tournaments, Hastings 1895, He played in more than 80 tournaments and achieved his best result at Hastings 1934-5 (about category 9), when he scored +6-1—2 to share first prize with Euwe and Flohr ahead of Botvinnik and Capablanca. Thomas played in seven Olympiads from 1927 to 1939, and in the first the highest percentage score was made by him ( + 9=6) and the Dane Holgar Norman-Hansen (1899- ) (+11=2—2). A leading English player for more than 25 years, Thomas fought many battles at the famous City of London club, winning 16 of the annual championships from 1913-14 to 1938-9. In his sixty-ninth year he gave up competitive chess when, after a hard game, ‘the board and men began to swim before my eyes,’ He continued his active interest in junior events and his visits, now as a spectator, to chess events.

A man of few words, imperturbable, of fine manners. Sir George Thomas was respected throughout the chess world for his sportsmanship and impartiality, and his opinion was often sought when disputes arose between players. The inheritor of both a baronetcy and private means, he
devoted his life to games and sports. Besides his chess he was a keen hockey player, a competitor in international lawn tennis (reaching the last eight at Wimbledon on one occasion), and winner of about 90 badminton titles, notably the All-England men’s singles championship which he won four times, from 1920 to 1923.”

Bill Hartston wrote this in “On the Knight Shift”, Chapter 20 of the The Chess Player’s Bedside Book (Batsford, 1975) :

“In the days when chess was perhaps a more noble pastime, one of England’s leading players was the Baronet, Sir George Thomas. A true gentleman and sportsman, he considered it rather unprincipled to analyse adjourned games before their resumption and could only be persuaded to look at his own positions after being assured that his opponents were certainly taking full advantage of the adjournment in this manner.”

The Modernized Delayed Benoni

The Modernized Delayed Benoni
The Modernized Delayed Benoni

Ivan Ivanisevic, born in 1977, started playing chess when he was 5 years old, while watching his grandfather and father play. At the age of 10 he started working with IM Petar Smederevac, the coach of the national team of former Yugoslavia, who is probably the real reason why he started playing professionally. Before he reached the age of 20 years old, he shared 1st place in the Championship of the former Yugoslavia. In 1999 he won the title of Grandmaster. Since 1998 he is a member of the national team, and since 2007 continually playing on the first board. Four times he was the Champion of Serbia. He won many tournaments, from which we remember mostly following: Saint Petersburg 2014, Skopje 2015, sharing 1-5 place in Dubai 2015, Vršac, the Bora Kostić Memorial, 2006, Nova Gorica 2007, Bergamo 2014, Kavala 2007, Podgorica, 2011 becoming the Balkan champion and Kozloduy, the rapid championship of Danube 2012. He was also participant of the World Cup in 2011. This this second book for Thinkers Published, after he co-authored the most acclaimed ‘Taimanov Bible’ from 2017.

GM Ivan Ivanisevic
GM Ivan Ivanisevic

From the rear cover :

“The Modernized Delayed Benoni is much more than the title makes you think! I like the author’s approach very much: it is a mixture of a personal journey and a theoretical manual. The author has been probably the main exponent of this line for the past ten years and he uses many of his games to illustrate the variations he has recommended. Although the book is again extremely detailed, there is careful attention to move orders and enough passages of explanations to make much of it understandable for non-experts. An excellent effort. GM Matthew Sadler, NIC Magazine 2020/4.

My aim in this book is to show that the Delayed Benoni is equally as attractive as its cousin, the Modern Benoni. For some reason – perhaps because “Modern” sounds more exciting than “Delayed”? – my favorite Benoni has been neglected for years, receiving scant coverage in chess publications.”

As with every recent Thinkers Publishing publication high quality paper is used and the printing is clear. The book can easily be laid flat next to the board and does not require weights to prevent it from “self-closing” (a particular bugbear of ours !). Each diagram is clear and the instructional text is typeset in two column format, which, we find, enables the reader to maintain their place easily. Figurine algebraic notation is used throughout and the diagrams are placed adjacent to the relevant text and each diagram has a “to move” indicator.

There is no index which, unfortunately, is a standard omission of Thinkers Publishing books. Also missing is a bibliography.

The Modernized Delayed Benoni is written by Grandmaster Ivan Ivanisevic, with an important contribution by GM Ivan Sokolov. It is an excellent 240 page book, produced by Thinkers Publishing.

There is a lot of detailed analysis here, complimented by plenty of relevant text. The book revives a system in the Benoni which has not been given the respect it deserves over the years.

This is not a beginner’s manual and strong players will get the most out of it.

The book focuses on the move order 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 d5 g6!

as a way of getting to positions which are dynamic, relatively unexplored and suitable for playing for the win as Black.

Let’s take a look at some of these ideas…

Having digested a lot of this book, I’ve been trying the Black system online. Virtually all strong players meet it in the same way :

IM Andrew Martin, Bramley, Surrey 21st July 2020

IM Andrew Martin
IM Andrew Martin

Book Details :

  • Hardcover : 236 pages
  • Publisher:  Thinkers Publishing; 01 edition (30 Jan. 2020)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9492510650
  • ISBN-13: 978-9492510655
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 23.5 cm

Official web site of Thinkers Publishing

The Modernized Delayed Benoni
The Modernized Delayed Benoni

Dr. Julian Farrand QC (Hon) (13-viii-1935 17-vii-2020)

Prof. Julian Farrand at the King's Place Rapidplay, 2013, courtesy of John Upham Photography
Prof. Julian Farrand at the King’s Place Rapidplay, 2013, courtesy of John Upham Photography

BCN mourns the passing of Dr. Julian Farrand (13-viii-1935 17-vii-2020). He was 84 years of age.

Julian Thomas Farrand was born August 13th, 1935 in Doncaster in the West Riding of Yorkshire.

Dr. Farrand QC(Hon), formerly the Insurance Ombudsman, became the Pensions Ombudsman, and he had been a Law Commissioner and a University Professor of Law at the University of Manchester where he was Dean of the faculty.

Most recently he lived in Morpeth, London, SW1.

Dr JULIAN FARRAND  Pensions Ombudsman  COMPULSORY CREDIT: UPPA/Photoshot Photo  UKWT 011879/A-32a    31.07.1996
Dr JULIAN FARRAND Pensions Ombudsman COMPULSORY CREDIT: UPPA/Photoshot Photo UKWT 011879/A-32a 31.07.1996

His first recorded game in Megabase 2020 was white at the 1968 British Championships in Bristol against life-long friend CGM Keith Bevan Richardson. Together with Raymond Brunton Edwards, Julian and Keith were long-time trustees of the BCFs Permanent Invested Fund (PIF).

Julian played for Pimlico, Cavendish and Insurance in the London League and he maintained a standard play grading of 172A in 2020 as well as a FIDE rating of 1943 for standard play. He also played in the London Public Services League, the Central London League and the City Chess Association League. He made regular appearances in the Bronowski Trophy competition and the World Senior’s Team Tournament.

His (according to Megabase 2020) peak Elo rating was 2238 in April, 2004 aged 69. It is likely to have been higher than that if it was measured.

Julian joined Barbican following its merger with Perception Youth to become Barbican Youth in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL).

His favourite openings with white were : The Richter-Veresov Opening in later years and the English/Barcza Opening in earlier times.

With Black he enjoyed the Czech System and the Lenningrad Dutch.

His son, Tom, is a strong player and a successful barrister with expertise in Intellectual Property Rights, Trademarks and Copyright law.

His wife (married in 1992), Baroness Hale of Richmond, served as President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom from 2017 to 2020, and serves as a member of the House of Lords as a Lord Temporal.

Julian Farrand with Lady Hale at a Buckingham Palace reception. Photo : Press Association
Julian Farrand with Lady Hale at a Buckingham Palace reception. Photo : Press Association

Memorial messages have been posted on the English Chess Forum and many will, no doubt, follow. Included are older games from John Saunders not found in the online databases.

In 2015 Julian (together with fellow trustees Keith Richardson and Ray Edwards) received the ECF President’s Award for services to the Permanent Invested Fund.

Here is the citation from the 2015 award :

“Julian is best known as the first-ever English ombudsman (in insurance). He is the husband of law lord Baroness Hale. I (SR) first met him at about the age of 12 year old when playing for my school. He is about four years older. Both Ray and Julian are members of the Book of the Year Committee and have been reviewing books for this purpose for many years. Both are quite strong chess players, indeed playing for England in the same team in the European 60+ Team Championship in Vienna 11-20 July 2015. Keith was to have been a member of the same team, but his wife’s ill-health forced him to withdraw.”

Here is an obituary from The Times of London

Here is an obituary from Stewart Reuben

Prof. Julian T Farrand at the King's Place Rapidplay, 2013, courtesy of John Upham Photography
Prof. Julian T Farrand at the King’s Place Rapidplay, 2013, courtesy of John Upham Photography
Love All Risks by Julian Farrand
Love All Risks by Julian Farrand