Happy Birthday Leonard Barden (20-viii-1929)

Leonard Barden (Linda Nylind of the Guardian)
Leonard Barden (Linda Nylind of the Guardian)

Ninety-one today is Leonard Barden, born Tuesday, August 20th, 1929.

His mother’s maiden was Bartholomew and she became Elise EM Barden when she married Leonard’s father who was William C Barden and they were living in 1939 at 89, Tennison Road, Croydon.

89, Tennison Road, Croydon
89, Tennison Road, Croydon

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

“British Master and joint British Champion 1954. Barden was born in Croydon and learned to play at his school, Whitgift, which became a frequent producer of fine players.

In 1946 he tied for first place in the London Boys Championship and in the following year he tied with Jonathan Penrose for first place in the British Boys Championship, but lost the play-off.

In 1952 he came first at Paignton ahead of the Canadian Grandmaster Yanofsky and he reached his peak in 1954 when , after tieing for first place with the Belgian Grandmaster O’Kelly de Galway at Bognor, he tied for for first place in the British Championship at Nottingham with A. Phillips. The play-off was drawn and so the players became joint champions.

Alan Phillips and Leonard Barden are joint British Champions of 1954 in Nottingham, photographer unknown
Alan Phillips and Leonard Barden are joint British Champions of 1954 in Nottingham, photographer unknown

He played for the BCF in four Olympiads from 1952 to 1962 and then abandoned competitive chess, applying all his energies to writing (he is chess correspondent of the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Evening Standard and the Field, and has written many books on the game.

He has also developed two special interests, in junior chess and in grading, working with utmost persistence and energy in both of these fields.

Leonard authored a series of articles on what was to become the Yugoslav Attack versus the Sicilian Dragon. Source : British Chess Magazine, Volume LXXXIII, Number 7 (July), page 208
Leonard authored a series of articles on what was to become the Yugoslav Attack versus the Sicilian Dragon. Source : British Chess Magazine, Volume LXXXIII, Number 7 (July), page 208

Amongst his best works are : a A Guide to Chess Openings, London, 1957; The Ruy Lopez, Oxford, 1963; The King’s Indian Defence, London, 1968.”

Curiously Sunnucks Encyclopedia does not mention Barden at all and Hooper and Whyld’s Oxford Companion only from a connection with Jim Slater.

Leonard Bardens’ Evening Standard column ends after 63 Years

Signature of LW Barden from a Brian Reilly "after dinner" postcard from Southsea 1951.
Signature of LW Barden from a Brian Reilly “after dinner” postcard from Southsea 1951.

Here is an in-depth article from Edward Winter

Leonard Barden’s Blunder Theory from Kingpin Magazine

54-Year-Old Chess Record established in 2009

From Wikipedia :

“Leonard William Barden (born 20 August 1929, in Croydon, London) is an English chess master, writer, broadcaster, organizer and promoter. The son of a dustman, he was educated at Whitgift School, South Croydon, and Balliol College, Oxford, where he read Modern History.

Travel Chess 2nd January 1951: British chess champions Jonathan Penrose and Leonard Barden ponder over a portable travel game in a restaurant. (Photo by Walter Bellamy/Express/Getty Images)
Travel Chess
2nd January 1951: British chess champions Jonathan Penrose and Leonard Barden ponder over a portable travel game in a restaurant. (Photo by Walter Bellamy/Express/Getty Images)

He learned to play chess at age 13 while in a school shelter during a World War II German air raid. Within a few years he became one of the country’s leading juniors.[1] He represented England in four Chess Olympiads. Barden played a major role in the rise of English chess from the 1970s. As a chess columnist for various newspapers, his column in London’s Evening Standard is the world’s longest-standing chess column.

Leonard Barden (seated, second from right)
Leonard Barden (seated, second from right)

In 1946, Barden won the British Junior Correspondence Chess Championship, and tied for first place in the London Boys’ Championship. The following year he tied for first with Jonathan Penrose in the British Boys’ Championship, but lost the playoff.

Barden finished fourth at Hastings in 1951–52.[1] In 1952, he won the Paignton tournament ahead of the Canadian future grandmaster Daniel Yanofsky.[2] He captained the Oxfordshire team which won the English Counties championship in 1951 and 1952.

Leonard William Barden (20-xiii-1929)
Leonard William Barden (20-xiii-1929)

In the latter year he captained the University of Oxford team which won the National Club Championship, and he represented the university in the annual team match against the University of Cambridge during his years there.[1] In 1953, he won the individual British Lightning Championship (ten seconds a move).

The following year, he tied for first with the Belgian grandmaster Albéric O’Kelly de Galway at Bognor Regis, was joint British champion, with Alan Phillips, and won the Southern Counties Championship.

Leonard Barden vs Victor Korchnoi, Leipzig Olympiad, 1960
Leonard Barden vs Victor Korchnoi, Leipzig Olympiad, 1960

He finished fourth at Hastings 1957–58, ranked by chessmetrics as his best statistical performance. In the 1958 British Chess Championship, Barden again tied for first, but lost the playoff match to Penrose 1½–3½.

Leonard Barden (centre) with Raaphi Persitz, JB Sykes, OI Galvenius and DM Armstrong, Ilford, May, 1953
Leonard Barden (centre) with Raaphi Persitz, JB Sykes, OI Galvenius and DM Armstrong, Ilford, May, 1953

LWB observes analysis between David Rumens and Murray Chandler from Brighton 1980
LWB observes analysis between David Rumens and Murray Chandler from Brighton 1980

He represented England in the Chess Olympiads at Helsinki 1952 (playing fourth board, scoring 2 wins, 5 draws, and 4 losses), Amsterdam 1954 (playing first reserve, scoring 1 win, 2 draws, and 4 losses), Leipzig 1960 (first reserve; 4 wins, 4 draws, 2 losses) and Varna 1962 (first reserve; 7 wins, 2 draws, 3 losses). The latter was his best performance by far.

Leonard Barden (left) and Murray Chandler display the Lloyds Bank Trophy which the 19-year old New Zealander won ahead of 3 Grandmasters and 10 International Masters for his finest international success up to 1979. in the Lloyds Bank Masters
Leonard Barden (left) and Murray Chandler display the Lloyds Bank Trophy which the 19-year old New Zealander won ahead of 3 Grandmasters and 10 International Masters for his finest international success up to 1979. in the Lloyds Bank Masters

Barden has a Morphy number of 3, having drawn with Jacques Mieses in the Premier Reserves at Hastings 1948–49.[6] Mieses drew with Henry Bird in the last round of Hastings 1895,[7][8] and Bird played a number of games with Paul Morphy in 1858 and 1859.

Leonard Barden (far right)
Leonard Barden (far right)

In 1964, Barden gave up most competitive chess to devote his time to chess organisation, broadcasting, and writing about the game. He has made invaluable contributions to English chess as a populariser, writer, organiser, fundraiser, and broadcaster.

Leonard Barden
Leonard Barden

He was controller of the British Chess Federation Grand Prix for many years, having found its first sponsor, Cutty Sark. He was a regular contributor to the BBC’s Network Three weekly radio chess programme from 1958 to 1963. His best-known contribution was a consultation game, recorded in 1960 and broadcast in 1961, where he partnered Bobby Fischer against the English masters Jonathan Penrose and Peter Clarke. This was the only recorded consultation game of Fischer’s career. The game, unfinished after eight hours of play, was adjudicated a draw by former world champion Max Euwe. Barden gave BBC television commentaries on all the games in the 1972 world championship. From 1973 to 1978 he was co-presenter of BBC2’s annual Master Game televised programme.

Leonard Barden (left of Korchnoi)
Leonard Barden (left of Korchnoi)

As of 2010, his weekly columns have been published in The Guardian for 54 years and in The Financial Times for 35 years. A typical Barden column not only contains a readable tournament report, but is geared toward promoting the game. His London Evening Standard column, begun in summer 1956,[15] is now the world’s longest running daily chess column by the same author, breaking the previous record set by George Koltanowski in the San Francisco Chronicle. Koltanowski’s column ran for 51 years, 9 months, and 18 days, including posthumous articles.”

Leonard Barden (Linda Nylind of the Guardian)
Leonard Barden (Linda Nylind of the Guardian)

Leonard was Southern Counties (SCCU) champion in the 1953-54 season.

Leonard Barden, Stewart Reuben and Michael Franklin at the 1978 Aaronson Masters
Leonard Barden, Stewart Reuben and Michael Franklin at the 1978 Aaronson Masters

Leonard reveals this as his best game :

Leonard has authored or co-authored the following books :

A Guide to Chess Openings (1957),

A Guide to Chess Openings
A Guide to Chess Openings

How Good Is Your Chess? (1957),

How Good is Your Chess ?
How Good is Your Chess ?

Chess (1959),
Introduction to Chess Moves and Tactics Simply Explained (1959),

An Introduction to Chess Moves and Tactics Simply Explained
An Introduction to Chess Moves and Tactics Simply Explained

Modern Chess Miniatures (with Wolfgang Heidenfeld, 1960),
Erevan 1962 (1963),
The Ruy Lopez (1963),

The Ruy Lopez
The Ruy Lopez

The Guardian Chess Book (1967),

The Guardian Chess Book
The Guardian Chess Book

An Introduction to Chess (1967),

An Introduction to Chess
An Introduction to Chess

The King’s Indian Defence (1968),

The King's Indian Defence
The King’s Indian Defence

Chess: Master the Moves (1977),
Guide to the Chess Openings (with Tim Harding, 1977),

Guide to the Chess Openings
Guide to the Chess Openings

Leonard Barden’s Chess Puzzle Book (1977) (a collection of his Evening Standard columns),

Leonard Barden's Chess Puzzle Book
Leonard Barden’s Chess Puzzle Book

The Master Game (with Jeremy James, 1979),

The Master Game
The Master Game

How to Play the Endgame in Chess (1979),

How to Play The Endgame in Chess
How to Play The Endgame in Chess

Play Better Chess (1980),

Play Better Chess
Play Better Chess

Batsford Chess Puzzles (2002),

Batsford Chess Puzzles
Batsford Chess Puzzles

One Move and You’re Dead (with Erwin Brecher, 2007) : Can you supply an image?

Remembering Thomas Wilson Barnes (1825 20-viii-1874)

Thomas Wilson Barnes (1825 10-viii-1874)
Thomas Wilson Barnes (1825 10-viii-1874)

BCN remembers Thomas Wilson Barnes (1825 20-viii-1874)

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

“One of the strongest English players during the 1850s, He made little impression in his one and only tournament, London 1862, but is remembered for having scored more wins than anyone else in friendly play against Morphy in 1858. He reduced his corpulence by 130 pounds in ten months and as a result died. ”

He is perhaps most well know for having a reasonable score against Paul Morphy of -19 +8 which was a lot better than most !

According to chessgames.com :

“Thomas Wilson Barnes was one of the strongest English players in the 1850s. His only tournament appearance was in London 1862 but he did not do himself justice. He’s best remembered for having more wins against Paul Morphy in friendly play than anyone else. Being overweight he decided to reduce his size, but the loss of 130 pounds in 10 months was more than his system could handle and resulted in his death in 1874.”

The Barnes Opening, was played by T. W. Barnes. This opening move has no particular merit but he liked to avoid book lines, to which end he
sometimes answered 1 e4 by 1…f6.

He died at 68, Cambridge Street, Pimlico.

His death was registered in the St George, Hanover Square district.

He was buried on August 25th, 1874 in Brompton Cemetery (plot number 76449). According to the burial records he had a “Private Grave” the plot of which measured 113.3 x 18.3 and “no extra depth” was required.