All posts by John Upham

John Upham is the founder of British Chess News, staff photographer and the IT Manager. John performed similar roles for British Chess Magazine from 2011 until 2015. John is an English Chess Federation accredited coach and has taught in schools and privately since 2009. John started chess relatively late(!) at the age of twelve following the huge interest in the Spassky-Fischer World Championship match in 1972. John is Membership Secretary of Camberley Chess Club and an ordinary member of Crowthorne and Guildford Chess Clubs. John plays for Hampshire and for 4NCL Crowthorne. John is Secretary of the Hampshire Junior Chess Association and the Berkshire Chess Association and manages the Chess for Schools partnership.

Remembering Anthony Stewart Mackay Dickins (01-XI-1914, 25-XI-1987)

Anthony Stewart Mackay Dickins
Anthony Stewart Mackay Dickins

We remember Anthony Stewart Mackay Dickins who passed away this day (Wednesday, November 25th) in 1987.

From http://chesscomposers.blogspot.com/2012/10/november-1st.html

we have

Anthony Dickins wrote “A Guide to Fairy Chess” (1967, read it here) and other books about fairy chess. He edited the column of non-original fairy problems for “The Problemist”.
He was specialized in constructional problems and was also an International Judge.

A Guide to Fairy Chess
A Guide to Fairy Chess
100 Classics of the Chessboard
100 Classics of the Chessboard

Remembering Reverend John Owen (08-IV-1827, 24-XI-1901)

Reverend John Owen
Reverend John Owen

We remember Reverend John Owen (08-IV-1827, 24-XI-1901)

From Wikipedia :

John Owen (8 April 1827 – 24 November 1901) was an English vicar and strong amateur chess master. He ranked among the world’s top ten chess players for certain periods of the 1860s.[1]. He was a major figure in English chess from the mid 1850s to the 1890s.

Owen was born in Marchington, and obtained his early schooling at Repton School, Derbyshire. In 1850 he graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge, and received his M.A. from Cambridge three years later.[2] He was ordained by the Church of England in 1851, and served as Vicar of Hooton, Cheshire from 1862 to his retirement in 1900.[3]

In 1858 he won a chess game against the young American master Paul Morphy, the world’s best player, who was then touring Europe.

This led to a match between the two. Despite being given odds of pawn and the move (meaning he started the game with an extra pawn and always moved first), Owen lost the match 6–1, never winning a game.

His performance in the very strong 1862 London tournament, the first international round-robin event (in which each participant plays every other) was more impressive. He finished third, ahead of future world champion Wilhelm Steinitz, and was the only player to win against the eventual tournament winner, Adolf Anderssen. Louis Paulsen placed second. This result was arguably Owen’s top lifetime chess achievement.

Owen continued to play frequently and often successfully in British tournaments into the 1890s, and performed strongly in several matches against top British players, who were essentially chess professionals. He never competed outside the British Isles. He died in Twickenham.

Owen is the eponym of Owen’s Defence, a chess opening characterised by the moves 1.e4 b6. Owen was the first strong player to play this frequently, including in his victory over Morphy.

A much fuller biography may be found at the excellent Yorkshire Chess History web site

Amos Burn (left) and Rev. John Owen circa 1885.
Amos Burn (left) and Rev. John Owen circa 1885.

Remembering Mary Rudge (06-II-1842, 22-XI-1919)

Mary Rudge
Mary Rudge

We remember Mary Rudge who passed away one hundred years this day on Saturday, 22-XI-1919

From Wikipedia :

Mary Rudge (6 February 1842 in Leominster – 22 November 1919 in London) was an English chess master.

Rudge was born in Leominster, a small town in Herefordshire, England. She began playing chess in a correspondence tournament in 1872. The first mention of over the board competition is in August 1874 when she played in the second class at the Meeting of the Counties’ Chess Association at Birmingham. After the death of her father, Henry Rudge, she moved to Bristol where she started playing chess seriously.

Rudge was the first woman member of the Bristol Chess Club, which did not allow women to be members of the club until she joined in 1872. She played against Joseph Henry Blackburne, who gave a blindfold simultaneous display against ten opponents. The following year she played in another blindfold simultaneous display given by Johannes Hermann Zukertort. In March 1887 she played and drew on board six for Bristol against Bath at the Imperial Hotel in Bristol. At the beginning of 1888, Rudge played and won on board six for Bristol & Clifton against City Chess & Draughts Club. The following year, she won the Challenge Cup of Bristol & Clifton Chess Club. In 1889, she became the first woman in the world to give simultaneous chess exhibitions. She won the Ladies’ Challenge Cup at Cambridge 1890, and won the second class at the Southern Counties’ tournament at Clifton 1896.[1]

Miss Stevenson  & Mary Rudge
Miss Stevenson & Mary Rudge

First Women’s International Chess Congress
She was a winner of the first Women’s International Chess Congress under the management of the Ladies’ Chess Club of London in conjunction with the Women’s Chess Club of New York. Lady Newnes was president of the Tournament Committee, and Sir George Newnes, Baron Albert Salomon von Rothschild, Mr. Harry Nelson Pillsbury and some others offered prizes. The tournament was played at the Hotel Cecil in the Masonic Hall for six days, but the final rounds were decided at the Ideal Café, the headquarters of the Ladies’ Chess Club, from 22 June to 3 July 1897.[2] Miss Rudge was 55 years old and the oldest of the 20 players,[3] and had substantial experience playing chess at the time. She was a well-known English player, ranking in chess strength with the first class of the leading men’s clubs. She won the event with 18 wins and 1 draw, followed by Signorina Louisa Matilda Fagan (Italy), Miss Eliza Mary Thorold (England), Mrs. Harriet Worrall (USA), Madame Marie Bonnefin (Belgium), Mrs. F.S. Barry (Ireland), Lady Edith Margaret Thomas (England), among others.[4]

Mary Rudge
Mary Rudge

Over the next years, she took part in various competitions, playing in Bristol and Dublin. In 1898, she played against world champion Emanuel Lasker in a simultaneous display at the Imperial Hotel. Lasker was unable to finish all the games in the time available, and Rudge’s was one of those unfinished. He conceded defeat because he would be lost with best play.[5]

Mary Rudge
Mary Rudge

The International Ladies Congress
The International Ladies Congress

Remembering WIM Patricia Anne Sunnucks (21-II-1927, 22-XI-2014)

WIM Patricia Anne Sunnucks at the Lloyds Bank Masters
WIM Patricia Anne Sunnucks at the Lloyds Bank Masters

We remember WIM Patricia Anne Sunnucks who passed away this day, November 22nd, 2014, aged 87 years.

From Wikipedia :

Patricia Anne Sunnucks (21 February 1927 – 22 November 2014[1]) was an author and three-times British Women’s Chess Champion (1957, 1958, 1964). During her chess career she was always known as Anne Sunnucks.

She was educated at Wycombe Abbey School[2], Buckinghamshire. Although she learned how to play chess at the age of 8, she did not play seriously until the age of 21, when she joined the same chess club as Imre König, who became her tutor. By finishing tied for second place in the 1953 British Women’s Championship she became one of three British representatives in the 1954 Western European Zonal.

Anne Sunnucks vs Chaudé de Silans (Amsterdam, 1962)
Anne Sunnucks vs Chaudé de Silans (Amsterdam, 1962)

Sunnucks earned the Woman International Master title by placing second in the 1954 Western European Zonal. Although this result qualified her to play in the next event in the Women’s World Championship sequence, she was a major in the Women’s Royal Army Corps and the authorities would not allow her to travel to the USSR where the 1955 Women’s Candidates tournament was being held. Sunnucks represented England several times in Olympiads and team matches, including Great Britain vs. USSR 1954, the Anglo-Dutch match in 1965, and top board for the British Chess Federation (BCF) team at the 1966 Women’s Chess Olympiad at Oberhausen. She participated in the Women’s World Championship cycle two more times, representing the BCF in the Western European Zonal tournaments of 1963 and 1966. Sunnucks won both the Army and the Combined Services Championships in 1968, and was the only woman to compete in either. Sunnucks compiled The Encyclopaedia of Chess (1970, second edition: 1976).

The Encyclopedia of Chess by Anne Sunnucks
The Encyclopedia of Chess by Anne Sunnucks

Her married name was Anne Mothersill.[1]

Anne created Camberley Chess Club in 1972. She offered to open her spacious home at 28, Brackendale Close, Camberley for weekly club nights and matches.

Anne was a director of BMS Chess Supplies Ltd. which retailed chess books and equipment which the grateful membership purchased !

Anne passed away on November 22nd, 2014 at a retirement village in Meadow Park, Braintree, Essex.

From Brian Towers : It is also worth noting that she was an occasional contributor to the weekly chess ‘Magazine’ programme which was broadcast on the Third Network (the precursor to Radio 3) between Autumn 1958 and Summer 1964.

According to ChessBase, her highest Elo rating was 2045 but we suspect it was in reality, higher.

WIM Patricia Anne Sunnucks
WIM Patricia Anne Sunnucks
Full Caption
Full Caption

Birthday Wishes Peter Lee

Peter Nicholas Lee
Peter Nicholas Lee

We wish Peter Nicholas Lee all the best on his birthday, this day (November 21st) in 1943.

From Wikipedia :

Peter Nicholas Lee (born 21 November 1943)[1] is an English chess player who won the British Chess Championship in (Hastings : BCN) 1965 . Born in London and educated at Exeter College, Oxford, he represented Oxford University in the Varsity chess matches of 1963, 1964, 1965, and 1966, and represented England in the Chess Olympiads of 1966, 1968, and 1970.

Peter Nicholas Lee (to the left of RD Keene)
Peter Nicholas Lee (to the left of RD Keene)

Later, he turned to contract bridge, at which he has also been highly successful. He has won the English Bridge Union’s National Pairs title four times, the first time in 2003, and has also been a member of the team that won the Gold Cup, the premier teams event in Britain, in 2003 and 2011. This makes him the only person who has won British championships in both chess and bridge.

As a consultant in medical statistics and epidemiology, he has also published over 200 papers, many on the effects of tobacco on health.[2]

PN Lee playing JH Donner in the 1966 Zonal at The Hague. Peter just played 7.h4
PN Lee playing JH Donner in the 1966 Zonal at The Hague. Peter just played 7.h4

Peter reached a peak Elo rating of 2390 aged 47 in July 1990 according to MegaBase 2020.

According to Paul Littlewood currently Peter “plays Bridge for Surrey and chess for the Athenaeum in London”.

PN Lee (Standing, top left)
PN Lee (Standing, top left)

Birthday Greetings IM Andrew Kinsman

IM Andrew Peter Harry Kinsman
IM Andrew Peter Harry Kinsman

Best wishes to IM Andrew Peter Harry Kinsman born on this day Friday November 20, 1964. Andrew was born in North East Surrey and grew up in Kingston-Upon-Thames near Kingston Hospital (thanks Richard James!) He was a member of Richmond Junior Chess Club.

IM Andrew Kinsman
IM Andrew Kinsman

Andrew was a member of the University of Sussex chess team in 1983 along with IM Byron Jacobs. Andrew became an editor of chess publisher BT Batsford Ltd. following in the footsteps of Bob Wade, Paul Lamford and others.

He made his first Grandmaster norm with his victory in the 1997 Owens Corning International in Wrexham.

Andrew’s peak rating was 2430 in January 1998. He played for Guildford in the Four Nations Chess League and for Wimbledon in other leagues. His last ECF grading was 222D in July 2002 and highest may have been 230B in July 2000.

He left chess and turned to poker becoming a successful player and author.

IM Andrew Kinsman
IM Andrew Kinsman

He has written several books on chess (and poker) as follows :

French Winawer by Andrew Kinsman
French Winawer by Andrew Kinsman
The Benko Gambit by Andrew Kinsman & Byron Jacobs
The Benko Gambit by Andrew Kinsman & Byron Jacobs
Spanish Exchange by Andrew Kinsman
Spanish Exchange by Andrew Kinsman
Modern Benoni by Andrew Kinsman
Modern Benoni by Andrew Kinsman
Improve Your Middlegame Play by Andrew Kinsman
Improve Your Middlegame Play by Andrew Kinsman
IM Andrew Kinsman
IM Andrew Kinsman

Happy Birthday Michael !

GM Michael Adams
GM Michael Adams

We send best wishes to GM Michael Adams on his birthday, this day (November 17th) in 1971

His Wikipedia entry is here

Michael Adams
Michael Adams

Michael, Tara and friend
Michael, Tara and friend

Remembering Gordon Thomas Crown, (20-VI-1929, 17-XI-1947)

Gordon Thomas Crown with Julius Du Mont observing
Gordon Thomas Crown with Julius Du Mont observing

We remember Gordon Thomas Crown who died this day (November 17th) in 1947

We have reproduced his obituary from British Chess Magazine, Volume LXVII (1947), Number 12 (December), Page 387-8 and we assume that this was written by the then editor, Julius du Mont :

Obituary of Gordon Thomas Crown, part one
Obituary of Gordon Thomas Crown, part one

and

Obituary of Gordon Thomas Crown, Part Two
Obituary of Gordon Thomas Crown, Part Two

We are grateful to Leonard Barden on the identity of T.J.B. :

“Thomas John Beach, wartime RAF navigator with Distinguished Flying Cross, leading light of Liverpool chess, regular British championship player for many years, chairman of BCF junior selectors, father of a leading Midlands expert, a good and dedicated man” TJB was the father of Richard Beach who won the British Boys Under 18 title in 1961.

From Wikipedia :

Gordon Thomas Crown (20 June 1929 – 17 November 1947)[1] was a promising British chess player who died of appendicitis at the age of eighteen. He is best known for his win against the Russian Grandmaster Alexander Kotov shortly before his death.

Crown was born in Liverpool in 1929. He finished second in the British under 18 championship in 1946 and improved rapidly, winning the Premier Reserve section of the 1946/7 Hastings International Chess Congress. This led to his being placed on the reserve list for the 1947 British Chess Championship. Following the withdrawal of the defending champion Robert Forbes Combe,[2] he was allowed to play in the championship, where he finished third (Harry Golombek won).

Consequently, he was selected to play for the British team in the 1947 Britain-USSR match, where he caused a sensation by defeating the Soviet Grandmaster Alexander Kotov, though he lost the return game. He also defeated Max Gellis in a Britain-Australia radio match.

Gordon Thomas Crown, from CHESS, 1948, January, page 86
Gordon Thomas Crown, from CHESS, 1948, January, page 86

On 17 November 1947 he was admitted to hospital, complaining of a stomach upset. Diagnosed too late with appendicitis, complicated by his diabetes, he died in the operating theatre.[3][4]

His friend (and former British champion) Leonard Barden speculates that had he lived, Crown would have become at least a strong Grandmaster, further noting that he was ” … open, friendly and modest as well as a clear and enthusiastic explainer of his chess ideas; I think he would have been like Keres or Gligoric in their countries, a model for our young players.”[3]

Harry Golombek was similarly impressed with Crown’s play, stating that “In his short life, he had already shown himself to be of master strength and was potentially a very great player.”[5]

We are grateful to be able to use comments from long time friend, Leonard Barden posted under the nom de plume of Roberts Partner on chessgames.com :

“As to the circumstances of Crown’s death. The finger of blame must be pointed at the family doctor for failing to make a timely correct diagnosis. On Sunday 16 November 1947 a chess friend visited the Crown home at Ingledene Road, Liverpool, and found Crown in bed. He explained that his doctor had diagnosed a stomach upset and had recommended rest. The friend and Crown played and analysed together for several hours, and Crown did not appear in any physical discomfort. But that night sfter the friend left his condition deteriorated and he was rushed to hospital where he died in the early morning hours of 17 November. There was also a belief among some Liverpool chess players that the hospital procedures could have been better.”

and

“On another thread some CG posters expressed surprise at the Ritson Morry v Crown game where Morry fell into a well-known opening trap.

The British championship at Harrogate in August 1947 was played in a spa building where the underfloor heating was still switched on. This coincided with one of the warmest summers on record (it was the year in which Compton and Edrich made their memorable cricket achievements for Middlesex). By the second week of the BCF congress older and overweight players (the latter group including Ritson Morry) were wilting. Ritson also had some long adjourned games, and by the time of his game with Crown in the final round was exhausted. The game finished in 15-20 minutes so by the time other players went to spectate after their opening moves there was just a reset board with no sign of the players and no indication of what had transpired. Other final round results went Crown’s way so that he finished third outright and thus got selected on a high board for the USSR match.”

and here is an article by ddtru (?) in chess.com : full article

We are grateful to renowned chess historian, Taylor Kingston for supplying these scans of an article from Chess Life in 1947 about Gordon Crown written by Reuben Fine :

Chess Life article about Gordon Thomas Crown, Part One
Chess Life article about Gordon Thomas Crown, Part One

and

Chess Life article about Gordon Thomas Crown, Part Two
Chess Life article about Gordon Thomas Crown, Part Two
Gordon Thomas Crown
Gordon Thomas Crown

The Modernized Colle-Zukertort Attack

The Modernized Colle-Zukertort Attack
The Modernized Colle-Zukertort Attack

Grandmaster Milos Pavlovic was born in Belgrade in 1964 and was Yugoslav Champion in 2002. He is a well known theoretician specialising in opening theory and has written many chess books and magazine articles.

GM Milos Pavlovic
GM Milos Pavlovic

This is his third title in the “Modernized” series from Thinkers Publishing with a fourth on the Scotch Game being published on November 17th. We first reviewed a title in this series with The Modernized Caro-Kann from GM Daniel Fernandez.

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.

The main content is divided into ten chapters of which the first six concern lines in which Black plays an early d5 (usually 1.d4 d5) and the remainder where Black does not (usually playing 1.d4 Nf6).

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

This is a repertoire book for the White player utilizing the undeservedly less popular Zukertort flavour of the Colle System. In the “CZ” System the c1 (Queen’s for the more mature reader !) bishop is developed to b2 rather than the c1 – h6 diagonal as in the Koltanowski flavour of the Colle System. Typically therefore White attempts to establish a structure of the sort :

and play for ideas such as Ne5, f4 Rf3, Rg3 and checkmating attacks involving the bishop pair. These are often similar to the famous Lasker – Bauer game of 1889.

On the other hand we have the possibly more familiar Colle-Koltanowski structure of :

and the main idea of the latter is to advance e4, e5 and the launch a fairly clockwork attack against Black’s kingside.

Both of these approaches have been served by books, videos and instructional DVDs of the “Winning with the X” sort with the most well known players of the Colle-Zukertort being Aaron Summerscale, Artur Yusupow, Susan Polgar and Vladimir Kramnik.

We have no intention of “spilling the beans” on all of the many and varied ideas presented by Pavlovic : you should buy the book and find out for yourself. However, as past players of the CZ ourselves we noticed interesting advice on the move order advised. The traditional move order in possibly the most challenging main line has (more or less) been :

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e3 e6 4.Bd3 c5 5.b3 Nc6 6.0-0 Bd6 7.Bb2 0-0 8.Nbd2 leading to the following well-known, traditional position :

and David Rudel in his various evangelistic style CZ books advocated 8.Ne5 instead. In The Modernized Colle-Zuckertort we have this new move order :

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e3 e6 4.Bd3 c5 followed by the provocative 5.0-0 ! giving us this position

which appears (well, it does!) to allow 5…c4!? This early castles move order is, in itself, modernizing and advocated by none other than the fourteenth World Champion, Vladimir Kramnik ! Other adherents of this move order include Artemiev, Vaganian and Romain Edouard, Editor of Thinkers Publishing.

To give you a feel for the book here is a sample

One idea that caught our eye was a recommendation of how to meet the Classical Dutch when played via

1.d4 e6 2.Nf3 f5

and you might expect a line to of the CZ to be recommended but you’d be quite wrong. We won’t spoil the surprise by telling you here ! Suffice to say this is not a formulaic “Play the CZ against everything and win” style of approach. You’d be disappointed if it was !

This book contain a veritable potpourri of new ideas and material plus strategical concepts for the White player in the CZ System. It offers much more than one of the cheesy “Play this Opening and you will win” style books that we are all familiar with. Having owned all (English Language) books and DVDs we would suggest that this is the most academic and the most appealing to players wanting to make the CZ a serious weapon of theirs. In the “club player opening book wars” this book redresses the balance with the recent splurge of London System books and videos.

Get this book and you will learn about middlegame, plans of attack and a wealth of other themes : highly recommended !

John Upham, Cove, Hampshire, 17th November, 2019

John Upham
John Upham

Book Details :

  • Hardcover : 208 pages
  • Publisher:  Thinkers Publishing; 1 edition (July 29, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9492510529
  • ISBN-13: 978-9492510525
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches

Official web site of Thinkers Publishing

The Modernized Colle-Zukertort Attack
The Modernized Colle-Zukertort Attack

Remembering Edward Guthlac Sergeant (3-XII-1881, 16-XI-1961)

We remember Edward Guthlac Sergeant (3-XII-1881, 16-XI-1961)

From Wikipedia :

Edward Guthlac Sergeant (3 December 1881, Crowland, Lincolnshire[1] – 16 November 1961, Kingston upon Thames) was an English chess master.

He participated many times in the British Chess Championship, London City championship, and Hastings International Chess Congress. In 1907, he tied for 2nd-5th in London (British-ch, Henry Ernest Atkins won). He won or shared 1st at London 1913, London 1915/16 (won a playoff match against Theodor Germann),[2] London 1916, Hastings 1919 (Minor), Bromley 1920, and Broadstairs 1921.[3] He tied for 2nd-3rd with Harry Golombek at Brighton 1938 (British-ch, Conel Hugh O’Donel Alexander won).

He was a second cousin of Philip Walsingham Sergeant.[4] In 1949 he was awarded the OBE in the Birthday Honours in recognition of his 39 years’ service in the office of the Solicitor to the Board of Inland Revenue. He was the author of a leading work on Stamp Duty.[5]

Sergeant on Stamp Duties
Sergeant on Stamp Duties

and from British Chess Magazine, Volume LXXXII, March, 1962, Number 3, pages 76 -80 we reproduce an obituary from Bruce Hayden entitled “E.G. Sargeant – An Appreciation” as follows :

Edward Guthlac Sergeant, part one
Edward Guthlac Sergeant, part one
Edward Guthlac Sergeant, part two
Edward Guthlac Sergeant, part two
Edward Guthlac Sergeant, part three
Edward Guthlac Sergeant, part three
Edward Guthlac Sergeant, part four
Edward Guthlac Sergeant, part four
Edward Guthlac Sergeant, part five
Edward Guthlac Sergeant, part five