Category Archives: Players

Life Begins at Eighty Six (!) for IM James T Sherwin

IM James T Sherwin
IM James T Sherwin

Veteran IM James T Sherwin (FIDE 2231) brought home possibly the most pleasing result of the 2019 British Championships in Torquay.

Infamously featured in game one of Bobby Fischer’s Sixty Memorable Games, James has been resident in the London area for many years specialising in rapidplay events such as the Richmond and Golders Green series of rp tournaments.

FM Andrew Lewis
FM Andrew Lewis

James and FM Andrew Lewis (somewhat less that 86!) tied first equal in the orange lit Forum area of the Riviera Centre with 7.5/9 with James beating Gerald Moore (FIDE 2132) in the final round whereas Andrew (FIDE 2283) drew with Josiah Haynes (2132).

Well done James and Andrew !

Best Wishes Nigel !

GM Nigel Davies
GM Nigel Davies

We send best wishes to GM Nigel Rodney Davies on his birthday, this day (July 31st) in 1960.

the trompowsky
the trompowsky

From Wikipedia :

Nigel Davies (born 1960) is an English chess Grandmaster, chess coach and writer.

Davies won the British (Under-21) Boys Championship in 1979[1] and the British Rapidplay Chess Championship in 1987.

In July 2015 Davies transferred his FIDE registration from England to Wales and will become eligible to represent them internationally.[2]

Davies is also a keen practitioner of Tai Chi and Qigong, and is a registered instructor with the Tai Chi Union for Great Britain.[citation needed]

Davies, Nigel (1998). The Chess Player’s Battle Manual. Batsford. ISBN 0-7134-7043-7.
Davies, Nigel (1998). The Power Chess Program. Batsford. ISBN 0-7134-8415-2.
Davies, Nigel (2002). The Grünfeld Defence. Everyman Chess. ISBN 1-85744-239-3.
Davies, Nigel (2003). The Veresov. Everyman Chess. ISBN 9781857443356.
Davies, Nigel (2004). The Dynamic Reti. Everyman Chess. ISBN 9781857443523.
Davies, Nigel (2005). The Trompowsky. Everyman Chess. ISBN 1857443764.
Davies, Nigel (2008). King’s Indian Attack. Hamburg: ChessBase. ISBN 978-3-86681-071-6.
Davies, Nigel (2008). Starting Out: The Modern. Everyman Chess. ISBN 9781857445664.
Davies, Nigel (2009). Play the Catalan. Gloucester Publishers plc (formerly Everyman Publishers plc). ISBN 9781857445916.

Nigel Davies
Nigel Davies

Happy Birthday Richard !

Richard James, Chess author and writer
Richard James, Chess author and writer

BCN is delighted to send birthday wishes to Richard James, today, July 28th.

The Even More Complete Chess Addict
The Even More Complete Chess Addict

Member of Richmond & Twickenham Chess Club since 1966.
Active tournament and occasional county player 1966-1977.
I started teaching chess informally in 1973 and in 1975, together with Mike Fox, founded Richmond Junior Chess Club. When Mike moved to Birmingham in 1979 I took sole charge of the Club – where I remained until July 2006. In September 2006 Peter Sowray took over the top section of the Club while I continued to run the lower group until July 2007. I returned to Richmond Junior Club in April 2012 and am currently teaching there along with Marie Gallagher and Mark Josse.
Author of chess books (on chess for children and chess trivia) and magazine columns.
Recipient of the British (now English) Chess Federation President’s Award in 1996.
I have also worked on various chess editing projects, and am now writing for Right Way Books. My book Chess for Kids is a best seller on Amazon, receiving very positive reviews, and the companion volume for parents and teachers, The Right Way to Teach Chess to Kids was published in June 2013.

Chess for Kids
Chess for Kids

Employment:
I worked as a computer programmer in the Market Research Industry 1972-1986, writing programs to analyse market research data.
Between 1986 and 1997 I continued computer programming work on a freelance basis while working on chess projects. I was working for the Richmond Chess Initiative from its foundation in 1993 until its closure in 2005, and at some point in the mid 1990s I started being paid for running Richmond Junior Chess Club. I have been involved in running school chess clubs since 1993, and, because of my dissatisfaction with the traditional lunchtime or after-school chess club, I am always interested in hearing from schools who want to try a different approach and are prepared to listen to my views.
I was working at Hampton Court House from 2002 to 2013, providing one-to-one chess tuition, teaching reasoning and logic to Y4 and Y5 and preparing children for 11+ Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning tests.

I left Hampton Court House in Summer 2013, due to declining interest in chess at the school, and, more generally in the Richmond area. I’m now branching out into schools in the Hounslow area, where children currently have fewer opportunities for extra-curricular activities, and where there is, by and large, less academic pressure.

I’m also the curriculum consultant for Chess in Schools and Communities, a charity putting chess on the curriculum in state primary schools, and am hoping to be able to help some schools in the Borough of Hounslow in this respect in future.

The Right Way to Teach Chess to Kids
The Right Way to Teach Chess to Kids

Ninety Today : John Roycroft

Arthur John Roycroft
Arthur John Roycroft

We are delighted to offer Arthur John Roycroft best wishes on his ninetieth birthday, this day (July 25th) in 1929.

The Chess Endgame Study
The Chess Endgame Study

From Wikipedia :

In 1959 he was awarded the title International Judge of Chess Compositions.[1] In 1965 he founded EG, the first long-running journal exclusively for endgame studies.[2] Roycroft served as editor and publisher through 1991. The journal continues to be published, but under Dutch ownership (“ARVES”). Roycroft remained its chief editor until 2007 when Harold van der Heijden took over. His 1972 book Test Tube Chess (revised as The Chess Endgame Study, 1981) is considered one of the best English-language examinations of endgame studies.[2] He also served as the endgame study editor for the British Chess Magazine from 1973 to 1974.

Roycroft’s adaptation of the Guy–Blandford code in the 1970s resulted in the Guy–Blandford–Roycroft code, an efficient way to index endgame studies – or any chess position.[3] He also advised Ken Thompson in writing programs for endgame data bases with four and five pieces. For queen and pawn against queen some results were published by Roycroft in three booklets in 1986, years ahead of full tablebase output on CD.

Video Chess Event (See caption below)
Video Chess Event (See caption below)
Video Chess Caption
Video Chess Caption

AJR won the BCF President’s Award in 1995.

Test Tube Chess
Test Tube Chess

Birthday Greetings GM Julian Hodgson (25-vii-1963)

GM Julian Michael Hodgson
GM Julian Michael Hodgson

We send best wishes to GM Julian Michael Hodgson on his birthday, this day July 25th) in 1963.

Julian Hodgson
Julian Hodgson

From Wikipedia :

Hodgson was born in London (Shepherd’s Bush to be precise : Ed.), England. He first came to the notice of the chess world for his phenomenal prowess as a junior, whilst at Hammersmith Chess Club in West London;[2] he was London under-18 champion at 12 years of age and won the British Boys under-21 title aged just 14.[3]

Neil Carr and Julian Hodgson 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.
Neil Carr and Julian Hodgson 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.

International Master and Grandmaster titles followed in 1983 and 1988 respectively. Tournament successes, either shared or outright, included second place Lloyds Bank Open 1986: first place Benidorm 1986: first place Geneva Open 1988: second place Tel Aviv 1988: first place Kecskemét 1988 and first place Dos Hermanas 1989. At San Bernardino 1989, he finished first on tie-break, ahead of strong grandmasters Kiril Georgiev and Ivan Sokolov. A frequent visitor to Spain’s Seville Open, he shared first place in 1986 and 1988. At the Philadelphia World Open of 1990, he was runner-up behind Igor Glek.

In domestic competition, Hodgson competed regularly at the British Chess Championship, winning the Champion’s title on four occasions (1991, 1992, 1999, and 2000). By 2000, he was so at home with the event that he even brought his own executive chair with him, wheeling it from board to board for maximum comfort. On those occasions that he did not play, his live commentary sessions and evening lectures were well received by amateurs and competing masters alike.

FM Andrew Whiteley, IM Julian Hodgson and FM Byron Jacobs at Cappelle Le Grand, 1988. Photograph by Caroline Winkler

In international team chess, he played for the English Olympiad team, winning the bronze team medal at Novi Sad 1990, and an individual silver medal at Manila 1992. The Manila success followed a notable win earlier in the year, at the colossal Open tournament held annually in Cappelle-la-Grande.

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

In 1997 he won the Canadian Open Chess Championship, and was joint winner of the National Open in Las Vegas. At Oxford in 1998, he shared victory with Jonny Hector, ahead of John Nunn and Emil Sutovsky. He was the winner of the North American Open in 1999 and in the millennium year, recorded his peak Elo rating of 2640. A return visit to the World Open saw him finish a half point behind the leaders. In 2001, he was a joint winner of the Chicago Open with Alexander Goldin.

Over a number of years, Hodgson played league chess in both the German Bundesliga and British 4NCL.

Since 2003, he has not played competitive chess,[4] instead teaching chess in schools.[5]

This is what was written about Julian prior to the 1979 Spassky vs the BCF Junior Squad simultaneous display : “St Paul’s and Shepherds Bush. Rating 210. Standard London Amateur Champion at age 12, 1975.

Standard London under-18r champion, 1976. British under-21 co-champion, 1977. Youngest ever to beat two grandmasters in successive games, 1978.”

Julian was Southern Counties (SCCU) champion in the 1997-98 season.

Julian has claimed that he is a descended from the (in)famous “hanging judge” Jeffries !

Julian is the in-house chess teacher at Westminster School.

GM Julian Hodgson
GM Julian Hodgson

Aside from more formal achievements, he developed a sharp, relentless, attacking style of play and against lesser opponents this frequently resulted in devastating quick wins, earning him the epithet “Grandmaster of Disaster”.

Hodgson’s greatest legacy as a chess player may however lie in his resurrection of an almost forgotten opening system. The Trompowsky Attack (1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5) had floundered in the doldrums for many years, prior to his adoption and development of the opening. In interviews, he reveals that this was born out of laziness and a reluctance to learn established chess opening theory. It soon became his weapon of choice with the white pieces, leading to a surprising popularisation of the system, the spawning of a whole generation of devotees and ironically, a number of theoretical guides, containing a high quota of Hodgson’s own games and analysis. Indeed, his expert treatment of the system once prompted fellow grandmaster Joe Gallagher to write that it should be renamed the Hodgson–Trompowsky Attack, a view shared by many other masters. A chess journalist once wrote that Hodgson put the ‘romp’ into Trompowsky.

A related, but more obscure version of the system (1.d4 d5 2.Bg5), has been dubbed by some the Hodgson Attack and by others the Pseudo-Trompowsky or Queen’s Bishop Attack.

and

Julian, Dominc Lawson and Matthew Sadler
Julian, Dominc Lawson and Matthew Sadler

Happy Birthday GM Tony Kosten (24-vii-1958)

Tony Kosten
Tony Kosten

We wish Tony Kosten best wishes on his birthday, this day (July 24th) in 1958.

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

From Wikipedia :

In 1982 he placed third in the British Championship, held in Torquay. In 1989 he moved to France and since then has captained and coached that country in major competitions.

Kosten played many tournaments, finishing first or equal first in the following:

1984 Budapest
1985 Andorra International Open
1986 Geneva International Open, clear first at 8.5/9
1987 Cappelle-la-Grande Open (first on tie-break)
1987 Challengers Open, Hastings Congress 1987/88
1989 Challengers Open, Hastings Congress 1989/90
1991 San Benedetto del Tronto
1992 Mandelieu-la-Napoule
1993 16th Festival of Asti
1994 Chanac (repeated in 1995)
1995 Saint-Affrique
2000 Naujac-sur-Mer – L’Étang-Salé
2004 Montpellier – Villeurbanne
2005 Mundolsheim
2006 Cap d’Agde
2007 Clermont-Ferrand – Saint-Dié-des-Vosges
2008 Avoine, Indre-et-Loire – Kilkenny
2010 Wellington College International
Perhaps the most striking of these performances was at the 1st Geneva Open tournament of 1986 (170 players, including several grandmasters, among them Anthony Miles, Miguel Quinteros or Armenian Smbat Lputian from the Soviet Union). The event was nine rounds and Kosten won all of his first eight games. This was sufficient to already guarantee him first place ahead of a strong international field. In the final game, Kosten accepted an offer of a draw from his compatriot, Glenn Flear. He agreed after some half an hour´s deliberation, for the position was hopelessly lost for Flear. That acceptance prevented Kosten from achieving a perfect 9/9 score. IM Kosten won outright a full point ahead of sole second GM Lars Karlsson [de].

He lives in Clermont-Ferrand, France, and is now naturalized French and registered on the French Elo list.

Kosten was married to the daughter of Hungarian Grandmaster Győző Forintos.

Team Championships
With the English national team he participated in the European Championship in 1989 in Haifa, where he received the individual bronze medal for his score of 5 points from 7 games on the first reserve board. In 1990 he played for England in the 1st VISA Chess Summit in Rekyavik. England came second.

In the British Team Championships 4NCL, he won with Slough in 1996, 1999 and 2000 and with Guildford in 2004, 2007 and 2008. He twice won the French Team Championships with Monaco, in 2001 and 2002. In Germany he has played on the first board of Schott Mainz since 1994. In Austria, he played for Frohnleiten from 2001, which became Holz Dohr-Semriach from the 2004/05 season. In the 2007/08 season he was the best player with Rainer Buhmann. In Switzerland, he played for Lausanne Le Joueur, and he was also active in the Hungarian (for MTK) and Basque (for Oaso X.T.) Team Championships.

Tony Kosten
Tony Kosten

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)

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.

His first appearance in the British Championship was in he came 2nd. He also came 2nd in l92l 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.

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.”

Sir George Thomas (seated , second from left)
Sir George Thomas (seated , second from left)