Category Archives: Player

Remembering Captain William Davies Evans (27-i-1790 03-viii-1872)

Captain William Davies Evans (27-i-1790 03-viii-1872)
Captain William Davies Evans (27-i-1790 03-viii-1872)

BCN Remembers Captain William Davies Evans (27-i-1790 03-viii-1872)

Captain William Davies Evans (27-i-1790 03-viii-1872)
Captain William Davies Evans (27-i-1790 03-viii-1872)

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

“Inventor of the Evans gambit, for about half a century one of the most popular attacking weapons. He was born in (Musland Farm in the parish of Saint Dogwells,) Pembroke, Wales, went to sea at the age of 14, was employed by the Postal Department from about 1815, and rose to the rank of captain four years later. In 1824, soon after taking command of the first Royal Mail steam packet to sail from Milford Haven to Waterford, and while aboard, he invented his gambit. Evans was a keen player. He gathered a small chess circle in Waterford, and when on leave in England played chess in London, notably in 1826 when he showed his gambit to Lewis and McDonnell, and in 1838 when he played a long series of games with Staunton at the Westminster Chess Club. In Jan. 1840 he was pensioned off on account of ill-health. He went to Greece, became captain of a steamer that sailed the Mediterranean, and returned to London at the end of 1842. During the next 13 years there are several accounts of his presence in London, and then he settled abroad. He died and was buried in Ostend,

Evans claimed to have solved the three pawns problem (See below) , which, however, had already been solved by others. His claim to the invention of tri-coloured lighting for ships has not been verified independently, although he is known to have investigated the subject. For this invention he states that the Tsar of Russia gave him a gold chronometer, and that he also received money. For a more detailed life of Captain Evans see British Chess Magazine, 1928, pp, 6-18.”

The Evans Gambit is a variation of the Giuoco Piano or Italian Game :

When Evans originally devised his gambit the move order was slightly different :

in which White sacrifices the b-pawn for increased central control and development viz :

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

“Inventor of the Evans Gambit, an opening described by a player in the last century as ‘A yellow fever attack : if you live through the initial stages and avoid any carelessness that may bring on a relapse, you will come out alright’.

Captain Evans discovered the gambit in about 1824. It was a favourite opening during the last century and was adopted by a number of leading players including La Bourdonnais and Morphy.

For some years Commander in H.M. Royal Mail Packet Service on the Milford and Waterford station, Captain Evans later became Commander in the P.& O. Company’s service and agent for the Royal Mail Steampacket Company, Port Grande. On retirement he lives for many years in Holland and Belgium.

The story is told of how, in 1870, the Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia, brother of the Tsar, was visiting Bruges when he heard that the inventor of the Evans Gambit was living in Ostend. Being a keen chess player he invited Evans to play a game. When Evans had won, the Grand Duke turned to his adversary and said : ‘I believe you invented the Evans Gambit ?’, ‘Yes’ replied Evans ‘and it’s not the only thing I’ve invented for which you have not paid me.’ ‘What’s the other?’ asked the Grand Duke.
Evans then explained that he was the inventor of the ship’s lights which were being used by the Russian Navy, in which the Grand Duke held the rank of Admiral. Several months later Evans was invited to the Russian Consulate in Ostend, where he was handed a letter from the Grand Duke, a gold chronometer, a gold chain and a draft of money, ostensibly in payment for the Russia’s rights to use the captain’s invention in her ships. ”

Enjoy this interesting article from “Introuble2” on chess.com

Evans analyzed the “Little Game of Chess” (an endgame composition involving only two kings with three pawns each)

to independently discover that it actually won for the player who moves first, not drawn as had been believed for over a hundred years.

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

“After his retirement Evans went to live abroad and eventually found a haven is Ostend and there, ill, and almost blind and in very straightened circumstances, he dictated a letter on 22 March 1871, which was published in the Gentlemen’s Journal supplement for June 1872, along with an appeal for him organised by George Walker. The letter gives the authentic facts of his life and is worth quoting in full, if only to refute various unfounded reports about a meeting with the Tsar’s brother, or according to that rich source of misinformation, the Rev GA MacDonnell, that the Evans Gambit was discovered off the coast of Africa by a middle-aged lieutenant in the Royal Navy -perhaps the reverend gentleman was confusing Waterford with the Canary Islands.

The letter runs :

Williams Davies Evans is a native of Pembrokeshire, South Wales, and was born on 27 January 1790. He commenced a naval career at the age of fourteen. He was about twenty-eight years of age when he first learnt the moves of the game of Chess. Having the advantage of frequent practise with Lieut H. Wilson, R.N., who was a player of some reputation in his time, beside corresponding on the subject of the game with the late Mr. W. Lewis, and also with George Walker, the able Chess Editor of Bell’s Life , he made a rapid progress in the game. Captain Evans received at first the odds of a Rook from Lieut. Wilson. After a continuance of play for some years, the odds were greatly reduced, until ultimately Captain Evans succeeded in defeating his formidable antagonist playing even.

About the year 1824, being then in command of a Government Mail Steamer, the passages between Milford Haven and Waterford were favourable to the study of the game of Chess and at this time he invented the Gambit, which bears his name. The idea occurred to him while studying a narration of Giuoco Piano in Sarratts’s Treatise on Chess.

Captain Evans was the first who gave to the world a true solution of that very difficult end game, the King and three Pawns unmoved against King and three Pawns also unmoved. This position was handed down to us through a period of some centuries as a drawn game, but Captain Evans proved that the first player can always win.

Captain Evans acquired some celebrity as “Inventor of the System of Tri-Coloured Lights for Ships to Prevent Collisions at Night”, which has been adopted by all nations possessing a marine. For this invention the English Government awarded him the sum of £1,500 , and the Czar of Russia a gold pocket chronometer, value £160, together with a donation of £200.

The subscription that amounted to over £200 was too late. He died in 1872 and was buried in Ostend where his grave bears the inscription :

To the sacred memory of William Davies Evans, formerly Commander in the Post Office and Peninsular and Oriental Steam Services, Superintendent In the Royal Mail Shipping Company, and inventor of the system of tri-coloured light for shipping. Also well known in the Chess World as the author of the Evans Gambit

Blue Plaque for Captain WD Evans
Blue Plaque for Captain WD Evans

Here is his Wikipedia entry.

Read here of the Plaque in Wolfscastle

Blue Plaque for Captain William Davies Evans (27-i-1790 03-viii-1872)
Blue Plaque for Captain William Davies Evans (27-i-1790 03-viii-1872)
Play The Evans Gambit (co-author Tim Harding). Cadogan. ISBN 1-85744-119-2.
Play The Evans Gambit (co-author Tim Harding). Cadogan. ISBN 1-85744-119-2.

Happy Birthday CM David Anderton OBE (02-viii-1941)

David Anderton OBE from the final 4NCL weekend of 2014, courtesy of John Upham Photography
David Anderton OBE from the final 4NCL weekend of 2014, courtesy of John Upham Photography

BCN sends Best Wishes to CM David Anderton OBE on his birthday (02-viii-1941)

David William Anderton was born in the district of Walsall, West Midlands. His mother’s maiden name was Coltart and David continues to reside in Walsall.

David is married to Margaret.

David Anderton (rhs) congratulates Sir Philip Stuart Milner-Barry for winning the "Board of Honour " game versus Edward Lasker 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
David Anderton (rhs) congratulates Sir Philip Stuart Milner-Barry for winning the “Board of Honour ” game versus Edward Lasker 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

David is an Honorary Life Vice-President of the English (formerly British) Chess Federation.

John Nunn, David Anderton and Jonathan Speelman
John Nunn, David Anderton and Jonathan Speelman

“David won the ECF President’s Award in 2009 following his stepping down as ECF legal expert. This is the citation from the 2010 ECF Yearbook : As this is Gerry Walsh’s last year as President it was considered appropriate that he be allowed to choose someone receive the award. Gerry has worked with David for all his time with BCF and ECF and has selected him due to his tireless and selfless devotion to both the BCF and ECF over many years.

David Anderton OBE, ? and Teresa Needham
David Anderton OBE, ? and Teresa Needham

Most of you will know David and will agree that this is a well deserved award. It is fair to state that David’s assistance over the years has been invaluable and that without it many areas of the Federation would have found it difficult, if not impossible to operate.

Jim Plaskett with David Anderton OBE at the 1983 Benedictine International (Manchester)
Jim Plaskett with David Anderton OBE at the 1983 Benedictine International (Manchester)

Since my election David has been a constant friend and confidante. He has invariable given sound advice throughout my term of office. It was John Wickham who rang me and suggested that due to my length of tenure, a special award might be in order.

Jim accepts the 1981 Grand Prix shield from David Anderton OBE
Jim accepts the 1981 Grand Prix shield from David Anderton OBE

After years of selfless and generous devotion serving as ECF President, International Director, Captain of the England Team and legal adviser, this seems to be a fitting tribute.

From the Praxis Bath Zonal Tournament of 1987. David Anderton OBE is second from right
From the Praxis Bath Zonal Tournament of 1987. David Anderton OBE is second from right

David’s advice both legal and general, has been invaluable in such matters as the John Robinson legacy and the change of name from BCF to ECF Limited, and I certainly hope that this advice will continue.

Gerry Walsh”

Bob Wade OBE, Murray Chandler MNZM and David Anderton OBE
Bob Wade OBE, Murray Chandler MNZM and David Anderton OBE

David is a FIDE Candidate Master.

With the White pieces David exclusively plays 1.d4 aiming for a Queen’s Gambit and main lines.

With Black David plays the Winawer and the Classical French plus the Lenningrad Dutch.

Here are his games.

DW Anderton OBE plays BH Wood MBE in 1981 in a Blitz tournament outside of the National Film Theatre. Photograph courtesy of John Saunders
DW Anderton OBE plays BH Wood MBE in 1981 in a Blitz tournament outside of the National Film Theatre. Photograph courtesy of John Saunders

During 1989-93 David was an Executive Board Member of FIDE.

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

In 2002 David was awarded the title of International Master by the ICCF (correspondence chess)

In 2015 David stood down from all of his roles within the ECF.

David Anderton OBE, Paul Bazalgette (Senior Partner at Philips & Drew)  and Tony Banks (GLC Arts & Recreation Department) at the 1982 Philips and Drew Kings Tournament Opening Ceremony. Photograph by Clive Field
David Anderton OBE, Paul Bazalgette (Senior Partner at Philips & Drew) and Tony Banks (GLC Arts & Recreation Department) at the 1982 Philips and Drew Kings Tournament Opening Ceremony. Photograph by Clive Field

David has won the British Seniors Championship in 2003 (shared), 2005, 2007 (shared), 2009 (shared) and 2011.

Here is a potted biography from The Express and Star Newspaper

David Anderton OBE at the 2019 British Championships in Torquay
David Anderton OBE at the 2019 British Championships in Torquay

David is Head of Regulatory Law at Anson’s Solicitors.

CM David William Anderton OBE
CM David William Anderton OBE

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.

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 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.

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

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.

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.”

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

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

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 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

Happy Birthday IM Nigel Povah (17-vii-1952)

IM Nigel Povah, courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Nigel Povah, courtesy of John Upham Photography

BCN wishes IM Nigel Edward Povah all the best on his birthday, July 17th in 1952.

Nigel Povah, from Knightmare, Volume 2 (1976-77) drawn by Chris Jones.
Nigel Povah, from Knightmare, Volume 2 (1976-77) drawn by Chris Jones.

Nigel was born in Wandsworth, London.

He became a FIDE Master in 1980, an International Master in 1983 and an International Correspondence Master in 1983. He became England’s 7th ICCF GM in 1989. His predecessors were :

210048 Markland, Peter Richard ENG GM 1984
210060 Penrose, Dr. Jonathan ENG GM 1983
210178 Webb, Simon ENG GM 1983
210011 Clarke, Peter Hugh ENG GM 1980
210029 Hollis, Adrian Swayne ENG GM 1976
210062 Richardson, Keith Bevin ENG GM 1975

Nigel has been Southern Counties (SCCU) champion for the 1974-75 and 1975-76 seasons.

Nigel Povah, circa 1979
Nigel Povah, circa 1979

Nigel has played for Streatham & Brixton Club (see the Andrew Martin video below) and was part of this very strong London club which developed many original opening ideas.

Nigel was a strong opening theoretician and developed ideas in the Sicilian Lasker-Pelikan, Sveshnikov and English Openings amongst others.

Knightmare magazines are a valuable source of information about the club and it’s members.

Below we have the game Berg-Povah, Wijk aan Zee, 1979 annotated by Streatham & Brixton team mate, IM Andrew Martin :

Nigel continues to play for Guildford in the Surrey League and in the Surrey Border League as well as Guildford in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL).

Nigel started the highly successful 4NCL teams sponsored by his company Guildford A&DC (Assessment & Development Consultants) and the 4NCL team(s) are now run by Roger Emerson and Julien Shepley having taken a back seat since June 2017.

His peak rating was 2385 in January 1980 aged 28.

Nigel is married to Gill and has a daughter Lucy and a son, Jonathan.

In recent times Nigel has been playing more nationally and internationally and and has become a specialist in the Accelerated London System (with 2.Lf4) and is a regular on the International veterans circuit.

Here is an article written by Richard W. O’Brien from British Chess, Pergamon Press, 1983 :

“Nigel Povah was for the majority of the seventies a chess professional. He mixed playing with teaching in various schools and also coached individuals. He is a BCF qualified coach. Danny King (our second youngest international master) and the late Ian Wells were two who clearly benefited from his teachings.

On the playing front he won numerous congresses including Hammersmith 1970, Paignton 1974, LARA 1974, Evening Standard 1974, LARA(again) 1978 and Charlton 1979. In 1975 he won the SCCU Championship and again in 1976. He first played in international tournaments in 1973 when as one of the weaker players in the tournament he produced excellent annotations for the bulletin, even for the games he lost. These were the first signs of becoming a chess writer. To date he has shared first place in four international tournaments Robert Silk 1976, Malta 1976, Malta(again) 1979 and Wijk aan Zee Master Reserves 1979. It can be seen that 1979 was a good year. He also shared 4th place in the British Championship and represented
England at senior level against Denmark in the same year.

His road to the lM title has been long and hard. On several occasions he got close to the norm requirement just to fail. At Lloyds Bank in 1978 and 1980 and Lewisham 1981 he got the necessary three norms. Had he then ceased playing (with an Elo of 23751 he would automatically have had the lM title confirmed at Lucerne in 1982. He however continued playing and became the victim of some complicated and, with respect, unfair FIDE regulations, and his title was delayed until 1983. Clearly had the General Assembly met between January 1982 and June 1982 he would have been awarded the title at least a year earlier!

He has written several books-Chess Training published by Faber, English:Four Knights Batsford, How to Play the English Batsford and was co-author of Sicilian: Lasker-Pelikan Batsford. These last three Batsford publications indicate his interest in current theory. Two of the games which follow- v Berg (see 16…Rb8) and v Speelman (see 12 NgS)certainly confirm this. The Streatham and Brixton club owe much to Nigel Povah in becoming one of the strongest clubs in the country. At one time an average second division side (London league) they have since won the league and been in contention more than once. For several years he was one of the main three organisers at the club and even today still continues to play for them and is currently their National Club match-captain although he now lives some twenty miles away in Guildford.

In 1979 he organised the First Regency International at Ramsgate. In conjunction with Ian Josephs (sponsor) and Bob Wade (controller) this has become a highly successful annual event.

Now married, his wife Gill presented him with a daughter Lucy shortly after the completion of the Regency International in 1982.

He now works for ICL as training consultant and limits his over the board chess to club chess for Streatham.

He has recently taken up postal chess and in 1983 after competing in the BPCF Jubilee he became a correspondence International Master.

He has a BSc in Psychology and an MSc in Occupational Psychology.”

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

According to Chess Training : “Two of his pupils were members of England’s victorious 4-man team in the World Under-16 team event.”

Here is his Wikipedia entry :

Sicilian Lasker-Pelikan
Sicilian Lasker-Pelikan
Chess Training : Nigel Povah
Chess Training : Nigel Povah
English : Four Knights
English : Four Knights
How to play the English Opening
How to play the English Opening
Assessment Centres and Global Talent Management
Assessment Centres and Global Talent Management
IM Nigel Povah, courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Nigel Povah, courtesy of John Upham Photography

Happy Birthday IM Lawrence Cooper (16-vii-1970)

IM Lawrence Hugh Cooper, photograph from Cathy Rogers
IM Lawrence Hugh Cooper, photograph from Cathy Rogers

BCN wishes Happy Birthday to IM Lawrence Cooper (16-vii-1970)

Lawrence was born in Stone, Staffordshire and attend Walton High School, Stafford.

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.

He became a FIDE Master in 1989 and then an International Master in 2001.

Lawrence was awarded the FIDE International Organiser title in 2011 and the FIDE Arbiter title in 2016.

Tim Dickinson and Lawrence Cooper at the 2012 London Chess Classic, Olympia
Tim Dickinson and Lawrence Cooper at the 2012 London Chess Classic, Olympia

His peak rating was 2430 in January 1988.

Lawrence plays for Wood Green in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL)  plus Newport (Shropshire), Stafford, Bushbury and Worcestershire CCA in other competitions.

Lawrence Cooper (centre with trophy) being presented with 1992 BCF Counties Championship trophy by WIM Cathy Forbes. Others in the group include Michael Gough, Alan A Smith, Gerald Acey, Mike P Townsend, Malcolm Armstrong, Martin Costley, Alan Crombleholme, Graeme N Buckley, Paul Wallace, Mark A . Wheeler, Dave Carless, Darren P Wheeler, Keith Thompson, Ralph MA Allen and Graham Smith
Lawrence Cooper (centre with trophy) being presented with 1992 BCF Counties Championship trophy by WIM Cathy Forbes. Others in the group include Michael Gough, Alan A Smith, Gerald Acey, Mike P Townsend, Malcolm Armstrong, Martin Costley, Alan Crombleholme, Graeme N Buckley, Paul Wallace, Mark A . Wheeler, Dave Carless, Darren P Wheeler, Keith Thompson, Ralph MA Allen and Graham Smith
Full caption in image below
Full caption in image below
Full caption for above 1986 BCF Junior Squad group photograph
Full caption for above 1986 BCF Junior Squad group photograph

 

IM Lawrence Cooper, photography by Fiona Steil-Antoni
IM Lawrence Cooper, photography by Fiona Steil-Antoni

Happy Birthday FM David Friedgood (11-vii-1946)

FM David Friedgood at the 2019 British Championships in Torquay, courtesy of John Upham Photography.
FM David Friedgood at the 2019 British Championships in Torquay, courtesy of John Upham Photography.

BCN wishes Happy Birthday to FM David Friedgood (11-vii-1946)

David was born in Cape Town, Republic of South Africa and now resides in England.

He first won the South Africa Championship in 1967 in Johannesburg, again in 1971, and in 1973 in Cape Town when his main rivals were Piet Kroon and Charles de Villiers.

He plays for Cavendish, Hendon and 4NCL MK Phoenix.

He gained his FM title in 1982.

His peak rating of 2335 was achieved in January, 1980.

David Friedgood (far right) and a victorious Wood Green team. Trophy presented by Magnus Magnusson
David Friedgood (far right) and a victorious Wood Green team. Trophy presented by Magnus Magnusson

David Friedgood at a Lloyds Bank problem solving event with Sir Jeremy Morse, Jonathan Mestel and ?
David Friedgood at a Lloyds Bank problem solving event with Sir Jeremy Morse, Jonathan Mestel and ?
FM David Friedgood at the 2014 Winton Capital Problem Solving Championship at Eton College, courtesy of John Upham Photography
FM David Friedgood at the 2014 Winton Capital Problem Solving Championship at Eton College, courtesy of John Upham Photography
David was part of the successful 2010 England team in the World Solving Championships along with John Nunn, Jonathan Mestel and Colin McNab
David was part of the successful 2010 England team in the World Solving Championships along with John Nunn, Jonathan Mestel and Colin McNab
Secrets of Spectacular Chess
Secrets of Spectacular Chess