Category Archives: Biographies

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

Gordon Thomas Crown
Gordon Thomas Crown

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

Best wishes WGM Sheila Jackson

WGM Sheila A Jackson, photograph by John Upham
WGM Sheila A Jackson, photograph by John Upham

Best wishes to WGM Sheila Jackson on here birthday, this day, (November 11th) in 1957.

From Wikipedia :

Sheila A Jackson (born 11 November 1957) is an English chess player who holds the title of Woman Grandmaster (WGM, 1988). She is a four-time winner of the British Women’s Chess Championship (1975, 1978, 1980, 1981).

Sheila Jackson by Cathy Rogers
Sheila Jackson by Cathy Rogers

n 1970, Sheila Jackson won the British Chess Youth Championship in the age group U14, but in 1971 she repeated this success in the age group U18. Sheila Jackson participated in many British Women’s Chess Championships and four times won this tournament (1975, 1978, 1980, 1981), but in 1977, after the additional match, she was second[1].

Sheila during a Lloyds Bank Masters
Sheila during a Lloyds Bank Masters

Sheila Jackson played for England in the Women’s Chess Olympiads:[2]

In 1974, at first reserve board in the 6th Chess Olympiad (women) in Medellín (+2, =2, -5),
In 1976, at second board in the 7th Chess Olympiad (women) in Haifa (+5, =2, -2) and won the team silver medal,
In 1978, at second board in the 8th Chess Olympiad (women) in Buenos Aires (+5, =3, -4),
In 1980, at seconde board in the 9th Chess Olympiad (women) in Valletta (+5, =4, -3),
In 1982, at second board in the 10th Chess Olympiad (women) in Lucerne (+7, =3, -2) and won the individual silver medal,
In 1984, at second board in the 26th Chess Olympiad (women) in Thessaloniki (+5, =7, -2),
In 1986, at second board in the 27th Chess Olympiad (women) in Dubai (+6, =2, -4),
In 1988, at third board in the 28th Chess Olympiad (women) in Thessaloniki (+6, =2, -3),
In 1990, at third board in the 29th Chess Olympiad (women) in Novi Sad (+5, =4, -3),
In 1992, at third board in the 30th Chess Olympiad (women) in Manila (+3, =6, -2).
Sheila Jackson played for England in the European Team Chess Championships:[3]

In 1992, at second board in the 1st European Team Chess Championship (women) in Debrecen (+0, =3, -1).
In 1981, she was awarded the FIDE International Women Master (WIM) title and received the FIDE International Women Grandmaster (WGM) title seven year later.

In 1991, in Subotica Sheila Jackson participated in the Women’s World Chess Championship Interzonal Tournament where she stayed at 31st place[4].

Since 2000, participate in chess tournaments rarely[5].

WGM Sheila A Jackson
WGM Sheila A Jackson

David Welch RIP (30-X-1945, 09-XI-2019)

David Welch, photograph by John Upham
David Welch, photograph by John Upham

We have learnt the sad news that popular longtime Arbiter and Organizer David Welch has passed away at the age of 74 after a long illness : he was being cared for in The Royal Liverpool Hospital.

David was born on Tuesday, October 30th 1945 in Brampton, Chesterfield, Derbyshire and he played for Wallasey Chess Club for many years having initially been a member of Liverpool Chess Club.

He attended Queen’s College, Cambridge reading Natural Sciences (Chemistry) and (according to John Swain) David served Cambridge University Chess Club as Junior Treasurer, Librarian and Bulletin Editor.

In 1968 David and Peter Purland started teaching at the same Liverpool school on the same day and continued their friendship from there.

David became a BCF arbiter in the early 1970s eventually becoming the BCFs Chief Arbiter and then the ECFs Chief Arbiter and was heavily involved in many British Championships around the country.

David was curator of ECF equipment for some time and personally funded much of the BCFs and ECFs early equipment stock.

He became a FIDE International Arbiter as early as 1977 and was awarded the FIDE International Organizer title in 2010.

David shared the exact same date of birth as long time friend and fellow arbiter, Peter Purland.

Here is an excellent tribute from John Saunders

in 2016 David received recognition from FIDE for his long service as an International Arbiter. David was the third English arbiter to receive the honour, following Stewart Reuben and Gerry Walsh in 2014.

David Welch receives FIDE Arbiter Award
David Welch receives FIDE Arbiter Award

We send our condolences to all of his many family and friends.

David Welch, photograph by John Upham
David Welch, photograph by John Upham

Remembering Jacob Henry Sarratt (?-?-1772, 06-XI-1819)

Jacob Henry Sarratt
Jacob Henry Sarratt

We remember Jacob Henry Sarratt who died 200 years ago today (November 6th) in 1819.

Chess historians will, of course, be familiar with JHS but the name is (probably) not well known outside these exalted circles.

Possibly his most obvious contribution to chess in England was in 1807 when he influenced the result of games that ended in stalemate. You may not know that in England prior to 1807 a game that ended in stalemate was recorded as a win for the party who was stalemated. JHS was able to influence various major chess clubs so that the result be recorded as a draw. Much endgame theory would be different if it wasn’t for JHS !

Outside of chess, JHS was an interesting chap :

The content below has been copied (and we have corrected a few typos along the way) from http://www.edochess.ca/batgirl/Sarratt.html

Also, http://billwall.phpwebhosting.com/articles/Sarratt.htm is worthy of consultation.

Jacob Henry Sarratt, born in 1772, worked primarily as schoolmaster but was much better known for his advocations which, of course, included chess.

After Philidor’s death, Verdoni (along with Leger, Carlier and Bernard – all four who co-authored Traité Théorique et Pratique du jeu des Echecs par une Societé d’ Amateurs) was considered one of the strongest players in the world, especially in England. Verdoni had taken Philidor’s place as house professional at Parsloe’s. He mentored Jacob Sarratt until he died in 1804. That year Sarratt became the house professional at the Salopian at Charing Cross in London and most of his contemporaries considered him London’s strongest player.

There he claimed the title of Professor of Chess while teaching chess at the price of a guinea per game.

By any measure Surratt was not a particularly strong player, but he was able to maintain the illusion that he was by avoiding the stronger players as he lorded over his students who didn’t know better.

Sarratt’s most important contributiion to chess was that he mentored William Lewis who in turn mentored Alexander McDonnell.

Surratt had a strange notion that chess culminated in the 16th century and that everything since then had been a step backwards. This odd notion had a positive side. Philidor was the darling of the English chess scene. Almost all books at that time were versions of, or at least based on, Philidor’s book. Surratt at least kept open the possiblitly that there were ideas beyond those of Philidor.

In 1808, true to his role as a teacher, Surratt published his Treatise on the Game of Chess, a book that mainly concentrated on direct attacks on the king which he lifted from the Modense writers.

He translated several older writers whom he admired (though his translations are not considered particularly good):
The Works of Damiano, Ruy Lopez and Salvio in 1813.
The Works of Gianutio and Gustavus Selenus in 1817.

In 1921 a posthumous edition of his Treatise, A New Treatise on the Game of Chess, was published. This copy covered the game of chess as a whole and was designed for the novice player. It also contained a 98 page analysis of the Muzio Gambit

In addition to his chess books, Surratt also published
[i]History of Man in 1802,
A New Picture of London[/i] in 1803
He translated Three Monks!!! from French in 1803 and Koenigsmark the Robber from German in 1803.

His second wife, Elizabeth Camillia Dufour, was also a writer. In 1803 (before they were married, which was 1804), she published a novel called Aurora or the Mysterious Beauty.

They were married the following year. His first wife had died in 1802 at the age of 18. Both his wives were from Jersey.

Contrary to what one might expect, Sarratt has been described tall, lean and muscular and had even been a prize-fighter at one point. He had also bred dogs for fighting. He was regarded as a very affable fellow and very well-read but with limited taste (Ed : surely this applies to everyone ?)

William Hazlitt, in his essay On Coffee-House Politicians wrote:

[Dr. Whittle] was once sitting where Sarratt was playing a game at chess without seeing the board… Sarratt, who was a man of various accomplishments, afterwards bared his arm to convince us of his muscular strength…
Sarratt, the chess-player, was an extraordinary man. He had the same tenacious, epileptic faculty in other things that he had at chess, and could no more get any other ideas out of his mind than he could those of the figures on the board. He was a great reader, but had not the least taste. Indeed the violence of his memory tyrannised over and destroyed all power of selection. He could repeat [all] Ossian by heart, without knowing the best passage from the worst; and did not perceive he was tiring you to death by giving an account of the breed, education, and manners of fighting-dogs for hours together. The sense of reality quite superseded the distinction between the pleasurable and the painful. He was altogether a mechanical philosopher.”

Somewhere along the way there must have come about a complete reversal of his fortunes because Surratt died impoverished in 1819, leaving his wife destitute. But the resiliant Elizabeth Sarratt was able to support herself by giving chess lessons to the aristocracy of Paris.

She must have been very well liked. In 1843 when she herself became old and unable to provide for herself, players from both England and France took up a fund to help her out. She lived until 1846.

Some games by Jacob Henry Sarratt:

Birthday Greetings IM Gary Lane

IM Gary Lane, photograph by John Upham
IM Gary Lane, photograph by John Upham

We send birthday wishes “down under” to IM Gary William Lane, born this day (November 4th) in 1964.

From Wikipedia :

Gary William Lane (born 4 November 1964) is a professional chess player and author. He became an International Master in 1987 and won the Commonwealth Chess Championship in 1988. He has written over thirty books on chess, including Find the Winning Move, Improve Your Chess in 7 Days and Prepare to Attack. There have been translations in French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. In the 1980s the ITV documentary “To Kill a King” was screened nationwide in Great Britain.It featured a young Michael Adams and Lane. This feature is shown regularly at chess film festivals.[1]

IM Gary Lane
IM Gary Lane

After his marriage to Woman International Master Nancy Jones, he moved to Australia, winning the Australian Chess Championship in 2004. He won the 2005 Oceania Chess Championship and represented Oceania at the Chess World Cup 2005.

He has also represented Australia in the 2002, 2004, and 2006 Chess Olympiads.[2] In the 2004 Olympiad he helped Australia score a 2–2 draw with his former country England, scoring a decisive win over Nigel Short.[3] He has been a chess coach for England or Australia at the World Junior and also European Junior championship for over a decade[when?].

Gary & family at the London Chess Classic, photograph by John Upham
Gary & family at the London Chess Classic, photograph by John Upham

In 2012 he won the George Trundle Masters in Auckland, New Zealand with a score of 7/9,[4] and the NZ South Island Championships in Dunedin, with a score of 8/9.[5] He was unbeaten in both events.

In 2015 at the Australian tournament the Doeberl Cup he beat Loek van Wely the reigning Dutch Champion and one of the world’s leading players. [6] He played the Closed Sicilian which he has also written about in two books. In 2016 he came =1st at George Trundle Masters in Auckland, New Zealand with a score of 7/9,[7] and followed this up with =1st place scoring 8/9 at the NZ South Island Championships in Canterbury.[8] He did not lose any games in the two events. At the 2nd Fiji International Open Chess Tournament Lane dominated the event winning with the perfect score of 7/7.[9] A score of 9/9 and clear first place was the result at the 1st Fiji International Rapid Open.[10]

Lane is a supporter of Torquay United F.C. [11]

Wells, Lane, Emms and Norwood
Wells, Lane, Emms and Norwood

Remembering Reginald Joseph Broadbent (03-VIII-1906, 29-X-1988)

In simultaneous play at the central cafe, Mr. RJ Broadbent pauses at the board of Mr. J. Nowell
In simultaneous play at the central cafe, Mr. RJ Broadbent pauses at the board of Mr. J. Nowell

We remember Reginald Joseph Broadbent who passed away on October 29th 1988

A detailed biography may be found here

Happy Birthday IM James Terry Sherwin (25-X-1933)

IM James Terry Sherwin
IM James Terry Sherwin, image by John Upham

We send best wishes to IM James Terry Sherwin, a welcome visitor from “over the pond”

From Wikipedia :

James Terry Sherwin (born October 25, 1933)[1] is an American corporate executive and International Master in chess.

Born in New York City[1] in 1933, Sherwin attended Stuyvesant High School, Columbia College (Phi Beta Kappa) and Columbia Law School. He graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Officer Candidate School in 1956 and later became a Lieutenant Commander. He is an attorney admitted to the New York and Supreme Court Bars. He joined GAF Corporation in 1960 serving in various legal and operational roles and eventually becoming its Chief Financial Officer. He was CFO at Triangle Industries from 1983 to 1984, rejoining GAF Corporation as Vice Chairman from 1985 to 1990.

While at GAF, in 1988, he was indicted by the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Rudolph Giuliani, for stock manipulation in connection with the 1986 sale of stock owned by GAF.[2] He was convicted after three trials, but the conviction was reversed on appeal[3] and dismissed with prejudice.[4] In 1991 he was appointed Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Hunter Douglas N.V., a Dutch multinational company, in which capacity he served until 1999. Since then he has been a Director and an adviser to Hunter Douglas.

He is an Overseer of the International Rescue Committee and member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. He received an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the University of Bath in December, 2007.

In chess, Sherwin finished third and tied for third in the US Chess Championship four times and tied for fourth three times.[5] He was Intercollegiate Champion and New York State Champion in 1951 and US Speed Champion in 1956–57 and 1959–60. He earned the International Master title in 1958.[1] He played in the Portorož Interzonal in 1958, which was part of the 1960 World Championship cycle. While he finished only 17th out of 21 players, he scored (+2–2=2) against the six players who qualified from the tournament to the Candidates tournament at Bled 1959. He is a previous President of the American Chess Foundation.

Sherwin resides with his wife, Hiroko, near Bath, United Kingdom.

Famous for “Sherwin slid the rook here with his pinky, as if to emphasize the cunning of this mysterious move” as annotated in Game 1, “Too Little, Too Late” of My Sixty Memorable Games by Robert James Fischer (and game introductions by Larry Evans).

James has been a frequent to English Rapidplay tournaments at Richmond and Golders Green and, in August 2019 in Torquay, aged 86, tied for first place in the Rapidplay event at the British Championships.

The Columbia College chess team of 1949–1952 after a radio match with Yale. Right to left: James Sherwin, Eliot Hearst, Carl Burger, Francis Mechner (Courtesy of the Columbia University Archives).
The Columbia College chess team of 1949–1952 after a radio match with Yale. Right to left: James Sherwin, Eliot Hearst, Carl Burger, Francis Mechner (Courtesy of the Columbia University Archives).

Remembering Sir Theodore Henry Tylor (13-V-1900, 23-X-1968)

Sir Theodore Henry Tylor
Sir Theodore Henry Tylor

We remember Sir Theodore Henry Tylor who passed away on October 23rd 1968.

From Wikipedia :

Sir Theodore Henry Tylor (13 May 1900 – 23 October 1968)[1] was a lawyer and international level chess player, despite being nearly blind. In 1965, he was knighted for his service to organisations for the blind. He was Fellow and Tutor in Jurisprudence at Balliol College, Oxford for almost forty years.[2]

Born in Bournville,[1] Tylor learned to play chess at age seven. His chess skill increased while he attended Worcester College for the Blind from 1909 to 1918. He studied at Oxford University beginning in 1918, and captained the Oxford University Chess Club. Tylor received First-class Honours in Jurisprudence in 1922 and was made an honorary scholar of Balliol College. The next year, he became a Bachelor of Civil Law and a lecturer at Balliol College. Called to the Bar by the Inner Temple with a certificate of honour, he was made a Fellow at Balliol College in 1928.[3]

Theodore Henry Tylor, Courtesy of John Saunders and Britbase
Theodore Henry Tylor, Courtesy of John Saunders and Britbase

Tylor competed in twelve British Championships, finishing fourth in his first appearance in 1925. His best result was in 1933, finishing second to Mir Sultan Khan.[2][3] He tied for first at the 1929/30 Hastings Premier Reserves alongside George Koltanowski ahead of Salo Flohr, Josef Rejfiř, Ludwig Rellstab, C.H.O’D. Alexander, Daniël Noteboom, and Milan Vidmar.[2] Tylor played in the top section, the Hastings Premier, nine times beginning in 1930/1. His best finish was 6th= in 1936/7.[3] He was first reserve for the English team at the Hamburg 1930 Chess Olympiad.[3][4]

Tylor won the British Correspondence Chess Championship in 1932, 1933, and 1934.[1][2] He shared 5–6th at Margate 1936 with P. S. Milner-Barry, but he won their individual game and drew with 2nd- to 4th-place finishers José Raúl Capablanca, Gideon Ståhlberg, and Erik Lundin (Salo Flohr won). Although he finished 12th at Nottingham 1936, he had the best score of the British participants, ahead of C. H. O’D. Alexander, G. A. Thomas, and William Winter.[5] Mikhail Botvinnik noted that Tylor was using a tactile chess board that he incessantly fingered, as well as a device for counting the number of moves made.[6]

Tylor was President of the Midland Counties’ Chess Union from 1947 to 1950, but his work for the university and for the welfare of the blind limited the time he had to devote to chess. Tylor also enjoyed bridge.[3] He died in Oxford on 23 October 1968.[1]

Sir Theodore Henry Tylor
Sir Theodore Henry Tylor
Worcester, circa 1931: Mir Sultan Khan (left) plays Theodore Tylor, while Sir George Thomas (far left) and Arthur Mackenzie (far right) spectate. Photo courtesy of Britbase.
Worcester, circa 1931: Mir Sultan Khan (left) plays
Theodore Tylor, while Sir George Thomas (far left) and
Arthur Mackenzie (far right) spectate.
Photo courtesy of Britbase.

Best Wishes Adam Hunt

IM Adam Hunt
IM Adam Hunt

We offer IM Adam Ceiriog Hunt best wishes on his birthday, this day (October 21st) in 1980.

Adam is an International Master and became a FIDE Trainer in 2016. He is Director of Chess at Woodbridge School in Suffolk and is the brother of IM Harriet Vaughan Hunt.

IM Adam Hunt
IM Adam Hunt