Happy Birthday IM Jeff Horner (25-viii-1949)

BCN wishes IM Jeff Horner, all the best on his birthday.

Jeffrey Horner was born in Bolton, Lancashire on Thursday, August 25th, 1949.

Jeff played for Poulton-le-Fylde Teacher Training College and is registered for Lancashire CA.

Jeff became a FIDE Master in 1989 (aged 40) and an International Master in 2008 (at the age of 58) and a gap of some 19 years!

(Compare this with John Pigott : John became a FIDE Master in 1984 and an International Master in 2017, a gap of some 33 years!)

He achieved a peak rating of 2450 in January 1975 at the age of 26.

His most recent ECF grading was 233E in January 2017. His last recorded game was played on June 30th 2018 and was a win with black versus Andrew Ledger graded 227.

Jeff played 1.e4 playing 1.g3 once against Graham Lee and winning and the Trompowski once against Murray Chandler and losing. In recent years he favoured the Wormald (Alapin) Attack in the Ruy Lopez.

With the black pieces Jeff defended the main line Ruy Lopez and the King’s Indian Defence.

Here is a comment from PQB4 from chessgames.com :

“A pity we don’t have more games here by this gifted attacking player, arguably the most respected amateur in the North of England. 220 BCF/2300+ for about 30 years, he’s beaten a string of grandmasters, but his best stuff probably occurs in weekend congresses, hence we don’t have enough recorded. I hope there are many such players in the world whose respect for the game and other players shows more of the quality of a true chess black belt than that of some of the more famous. Off the board he’s a schoolteacher, and presumably a pretty inspiring one, to judge by his infectious love of chess and the encouraging words he invariably has for opponents. I’ve had the pleasure of playing Jeff a few times and… let’s just say that The Day of My Revenge will surely come.”

According to David Norwood :

(from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/chess/3601119/David-Norwood-shows-how-there-is-life-in-an-old-dog-yet.html)

“There have been so many headlines about Britain’s 12-year-old chess prodigy, David Howell, that it nice to turn our attention to someone at the other end of the spectrum. Perhaps few readers will have heard of 53-year-old Jeff Horner- unless, that is, you have played on the north of England chess circuit, where Jeff has been dominating events since before I was born. My first meeting with Jeff was at Bolton Chess Club at the age of six, but it was another ten years before I fancied my chances against him. And it wasn’t just me who feared him. Few indeed were the top players who travelled “Up North” and got the better of Horner.”

1993 : Jeff Horner takes on world under-10 chess champion Luke McShane blindfolded
1993 : Jeff Horner takes on world under-10 chess champion Luke McShane blindfolded

The above photograph was recovered from The Bolton News

which goes on to write :

“IT’S hard enough challenging a world champion to a game of chess, but to then say you’ll do it blindfold is bordering on the ridiculous.

But that’s exactly what Jeff Hormer from Radcliffe did back in 1993.

Teacher Jeff’s showdown with Luke McShane, the world under-10 chess champion from London was the main attraction at a two-day chess festival held at Bolton’s Moat House.

Jeff, 43, faced off against nine-year-old, Luke, with a thick black cloth placed over his eyes.

The youngster had full view of the board, but Mr Horner was forced to play with the aid of an assistant who placed his pieces and let him know the moves Luke was making

Jeff’s amazing memory and powers of concentration coupled with his greater experience proved too much for the young chess champion.

And despite the handicap of the blindfold, he beat the world champion relatively easily..

It ended up being one of the few matches that Luke McShane lost as he gained international recognition as a chess prodigy.

Jeff Horner, Isle of Man 2008, Photograph : John Saunders
Jeff Horner, Isle of Man 2008, Photograph : John Saunders

Aged just 16 he became the youngest British chess player to be awarded the title of Grandmaster by the International Chess Federation in 2000 and now, although he works as a trader in the City of London, Luke is regarded as the best amateur chess player in the world.

Jeff Hormer was a long-standing member of Bolton chess club and was renowned for his ability on the board, often taking on – and beating – internationally-renowned players.

He famously beat British Grand Master Tony Miles, who himself had only recently defeated the reigning world champion Anatoly Karpov.

Jeff was awarded the title of International Master by the International Chess Federation.”

Jeff Horner
Jeff Horner

Here are his games

More from David Norwood :

“I still remember Tony Miles, fresh from his historic victory against World Champion Anatoly Karpov, stopping off at the Blackpool Open. Miles had become a legend overnight but nobody bothered to tell Jeff, who calmly trounced him just as he would us. Two weeks ago David Howell had to play Jeff Horner in Blackpool. Both players needed two wins from their last two games to earn an international master (IM) result. Would it be Britain’s youngest new IM or our oldest new IM?”

Jeff Horner
Jeff Horner

Best Wishes WFM Helen Milligan (25-viii-1962)

We wish WFM Helen Milligan all the best on her birthday, this day (August 25th) in 1962.

Helen became a Woman’s FIDE Master in 2000 and a Candidate Master in 2013.

Her highest FIDE rating was 2138 in July 1999.

Helen Milligan (born Helen Scott; 25 August 1962) is a Scottish-New Zealand chess player holding the FIDE titles of Candidate Master (CM) and Woman FIDE Master (WFM), and five-times Asian senior women’s (50+) champion. The CM title was earnt at a FIDE open zonal.

WFM Helen Milligan
WFM Helen Milligan

In 2004 Milligan co-authored the book “Chess for Children” with Grandmaster Murray Chandler. She has been an officer of the New Zealand Chess Federation, and has worked as a coach at Murray Chandler’s National Chess Centre in Auckland. She currently works as a self-employed chess coach. The National Chess Centre has since been sold by Murray Chandler.

Milligan has won or jointly won the Scottish women’s championship three times: in 1982, 1986 and 1988. In 1983 she was joint British Ladies’ champion with Rani Hamid.

WFM Helen Milligan in 2010
WFM Helen Milligan in 2010

Milligan represented Scotland in eleven Women’s Chess Olympiads between 1982 and 2006. Since 2008 she has played for New Zealand in this competition, having transferred national federations in 2007.

WFM Helen Milligan vs Susan Arkell
WFM Helen Milligan vs Susan Arkell

Milligan became Oceania women’s champion at the Queenstown Chess Classic tournament in January 2012. She also competed in Women’s Zonal Chess Championships in Bath 1987, Blackpool 1990, Delden 1993, Saint Vincent 1999, and the open zonal at Gold Coast in 2009.

She won the Asian senior women’s (50+) champion title in 2014 in Kalutara, Sri Lanka; 2015 in Larestan, Iran; 2016 in Mandalay, Myanmar; 2017 in Auckland, New Zealand; and 2018 in Tagaytay, Philippines.

Here is Helen’s chess web site

Here is Helen’s Lichess coaching account

Helen co-authored Chess for Children with Murray Chandler in 2004 :

Chess For Children, Helen Milligan
Chess For Children, Helen Milligan

Here is a notable game :