Tag Archives: Biographies

Greetings John Shaw

GM John K Shaw
GM John K Shaw

We offer birthday greetings to GM John Shaw this day, October 16th in 1968

From Wikipedia :

John K. Shaw (born 16 October 1968) is a Scottish chess player. He won the Scottish Championship in 1995 (tied), 1998 and 2000 (tied). He is an uncommon example of great progress in an adult chess player. In 1988, at age 19, his rating was 1700, which is the strength of a slightly above average Scottish chess player. He was awarded the International Master title in 1999, and the International Grandmaster title in 2006.

To qualify for the GM title, he gained three norms at Gibraltar 2003, Calvia Olympiad 2004 and 4NCL Season 2005/6.

A writer of chess books, Shaw is also the Chief Editor of the publishing house Quality Chess.

starting out : the ruy lopez
starting out : the ruy lopez
starting out : the queen's gambit
starting out : the queen’s gambit
Quality Chess Puzzle Book
Quality Chess Puzzle Book
The King's Gambit
The King’s Gambit
Playing 1.e4
Playing 1.e4

Happy Birthday Dr. Jonathan Penrose OBE

Dr. Jonathan Penrose OBE
Dr. Jonathan Penrose OBE

We send best wishes to Dr. Jonathan Penrose OBE on his birthday, this day (October 7th) in 1933.

From Wikipedia :

Jonathan Penrose, OBE (born 7 October 1933, in Colchester) is an English chess Grandmaster and International Correspondence Chess Grandmaster (1983) who won the British Chess Championship ten times between 1958 and 1969. He is the son of Lionel Penrose, a world-famous professor of genetics, the grandson of the physiologist John Beresford Leathes, and brother of Roger Penrose and Oliver Penrose. He is a psychologist and university lecturer by profession, with a PhD.

Jonathan Penrose
Jonathan Penrose

Learning the game at age four, he was a member of Hampstead Chess Club at twelve and British Boys (Under 18) Champion at just fourteen years of age. Chess was played by the entire Penrose family. His father was a composer of endgame studies and a strong player, as was his older brother Oliver.

By the age of seventeen, he was already acknowledged as a top prospect for British chess. Playing Hastings for the first time in 1950/51, he beat the French champion Nicolas Rossolimo and at Southsea in 1950, defeated both Efim Bogoljubov and Savielly Tartakower. In 1952/1953 he shared the first place at Hastings with Harry Golombek, Antonio Medina García and Daniel Yanofsky.

Jonathan Penrose
Jonathan Penrose

Penrose earned the International Master title in 1961 and was the leading British player for several years in the 1960s and early 1970s, surpassing the achievement of Henry Ernest Atkins by winning the British Championship a record number of times. He was widely considered to be of grandmaster strength, but did not achieve the grandmaster title during his active playing career, despite some notable victories. This was mainly due to his choosing to remain amateur and placing his lecturing as a first priority. In effect, it meant that he played few international tournaments and frequently turned down invitations to prestigious tournaments such as Hastings. In 1993 he was awarded the grandmaster title by FIDE.[1][2]

He competed in eight Chess Olympiads between 1952 and 1962, then at the Olympiads of 1968 and 1970, frequently posting excellent scores, including +9−1=7 in 1962 (Varna), and +10−0=5 in 1968 (Lugano). On both of these occasions, he won an individual silver medal on first board; in 1968, his score was bettered only by the World Champion, Tigran Petrosian.

Penrose-Tal, Leipzig (1960): final position
At the Leipzig 1960 Olympiad, he defeated then-World Champion Mikhail Tal with the white pieces in a Modern Benoni:

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.d5 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Bd3 Bg7 8.Nge2 O-O 9.O-O a6 10.a4 Qc7 11.h3 Nbd7 12.f4 Re8 13.Ng3 c4 14.Bc2 Nc5 15.Qf3 Nfd7 16.Be3 b5 17.axb5 Rb8 18.Qf2 axb5 19.e5 dxe5 20.f5 Bb7 21.Rad1 Ba8 22.Nce4 Na4 23.Bxa4 bxa4 24.fxg6 fxg6 25.Qf7+ Kh8 26.Nc5 Qa7 27.Qxd7 Qxd7 28.Nxd7 Rxb2 29.Nb6 Rb3 30.Nxc4 Rd8 31.d6 Rc3 32.Rc1 Rxc1 33.Rxc1 Bd5 34.Nb6 Bb3 35.Ne4 h6 36.d7 Bf8 37.Rc8 Be7 38.Bc5 Bh4 39.g3 1–0. [3]

This victory made Penrose the first British player to beat a reigning world champion since Joseph Henry Blackburne defeated Emanuel Lasker in 1899.[4]

Jonathan Penrose
Jonathan Penrose

Penrose suffered from nerves, and he collapsed at the 1970 Olympiad in the midst of a tense game. Consequently, he moved on to correspondence chess, where he was successful, earning the International Master (IMC) title in 1980 and the grandmaster (GMC) title in 1983. He led his country to victory in the 9th Correspondence Olympiad (1982 – 1987).[5]

Jonathan Penrose was awarded the OBE in 1971.

Jonathan Penrose
Jonathan Penrose

Happy Birthday Yang-Fan Zhou

IM Yang-Fan Zhou
IM Yang-Fan Zhou

We send best wishes to IM Yang-Fan Zhou on his birthday, this day (September 8th) in 1994.

IM Yang-Fan Zhou
IM Yang-Fan Zhou

Best Wishes Daniel King

GM Daniel John King
GM Daniel John King

We offer best wishes to GM Daniel King on his birthday, this day (August 28th) in 1963.

From Wikipedia :

King achieved the International Master title in 1982 and the Grandmaster title in 1989. He won minor tournaments around the world and recorded promising results at some prestigious events, for example 4th= at Bern 1987, 4th= British Championship 1987, 1st= (with Boris Gelfand) at the Sydney Open 1988, 5th= London 1988, 2nd= Dortmund 1988 and 2nd (after Bent Larsen) London 1989. At the Geneva Young Masters in 1990, he shared first place with the Australian Ian Rogers.

King later pursued a media career as presenter, commentator, reporter and analyst, and this likely affected his playing career by limiting the opportunity for dedicated research and study. Nevertheless, he has played professionally for more than 20 years at a high level, including the top leagues of the Bundesliga and 4NCL. In 1996, he won the Bunratty Masters, an Irish tournament with an impressive list of previous winners, including John Nunn, Sergei Tiviakov and Peter Svidler.

King represented England at the European Team Chess Championship (Haifa 1989) and at the Reykjavik VISA Chess Summit of 1990, the latter being the scene of a victory over the strong Soviet team and a team silver medal.[citation needed]

King is known as ‘Dan’.

He coaches some of the UK’s brightest chess prospects. He has written more than 15 chess books on topics ranging from the preparatory Winning with the Najdorf to the self-tutoring How Good is your Chess and Test Your Chess.

Best Wishes Helen Milligan

WFM Helen Milligan
WFM Helen Milligan

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

From Wikipedia :

Helen Milligan (born Helen Scott; 25 August 1962) is a Scottish-New Zealand chess player holding the FIDE titles of Candidate Master (CM) and Woman FIDE Master (WFM), and three-time Asian senior women’s champion.

WFM Helen Milligan
WFM Helen Milligan

In 2004 Milligan co-authored the book “Chess for Children” with Grandmaster Murray Chandler.[2] She is an officer of the New Zealand Chess Federation,[3] and works as a coach at Murray Chandler’s National Chess Centre in Auckland.[4]

Milligan has won or jointly won the Scottish women’s championship three times: in 1982, 1986 and 1988.[5] In 1983 she was joint British ladies’ champion with Rani Hamid.[6]

Milligan represented Scotland in eleven Women’s Chess Olympiads between 1982 and 2006. Since 2008 she has played for New Zealand in this competition,[7] having transferred national federations in 2007.[8]

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

Milligan became Oceania women’s champion at the Queenstown Chess Classic tournament in January 2012.[9] She also competed in Women’s Zonal Chess Championships in Bath 1987, Blackpool 1990, Delden 1993, Saint Vincent 1999, and Gold Coast 2009.[citation needed]

She won the Asian senior women’s champion title in 2015 in Larestan, Iran,[10] 2016 in Mandalay, Myanmar[11] and 2017 in Auckland.[12]

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

Chess For Children
Chess For Children

Here is a notable game :

Ninety today : Leonard Barden

Leonard Barden (Linda Nylind of the Guardian)
Leonard Barden (Linda Nylind of the Guardian)

Ninety today is Leonard Barden, born August 20th, 1929.

From Wikipedia :

Leonard William Barden (born 20 August 1929, in Croydon, London) is an English chess master, writer, broadcaster, organizer and promoter. The son of a dustman, he was educated at Whitgift School, South Croydon, and Balliol College, Oxford, where he read Modern History. He learned to play chess at age 13 while in a school shelter during a World War II German air raid. Within a few years he became one of the country’s leading juniors.[1] He represented England in four Chess Olympiads. Barden played a major role in the rise of English chess from the 1970s. As a chess columnist for various newspapers, his column in London’s Evening Standard is the world’s longest-standing chess column.

Leonard Barden
Leonard Barden

In 1946, Barden won the British Junior Correspondence Chess Championship, and tied for first place in the London Boys’ Championship.[1] The following year he tied for first with Jonathan Penrose in the British Boys’ Championship, but lost the playoff.[1][2]

Leonard Barden & "Assiac" (Heinrich Fraenkel)
Leonard Barden & “Assiac” (Heinrich Fraenkel)

Barden finished fourth at Hastings in 1951–52.[1] In 1952, he won the Paignton tournament ahead of the Canadian future grandmaster Daniel Yanofsky.[2] He captained the Oxfordshire team which won the English Counties championship in 1951 and 1952. In the latter year he captained the University of Oxford team which won the National Club Championship, and he represented the university in the annual team match against the University of Cambridge during his years there.[1] In 1953, he won the individual British Lightning Championship (ten seconds a move). The following year, he tied for first with the Belgian grandmaster Albéric O’Kelly de Galway at Bognor Regis, was joint British champion, with Alan Phillips, and won the Southern Counties Championship.[1][2]

Leonard Barden vs Victor Korchnoi, Leipzig Olympiad, 1960
Leonard Barden vs Victor Korchnoi, Leipzig Olympiad, 1960

He finished fourth at Hastings 1957–58, ranked by chessmetrics as his best statistical performance.,[1][3] In the 1958 British Chess Championship, Barden again tied for first, but lost the playoff match to Penrose 1½–3½.

Leonard Barden (centre) with Raaphi Persitz, JB Sykes, OI Galvenius and DM Armstrong, Ilford, May, 1953
Leonard Barden (centre) with Raaphi Persitz, JB Sykes, OI Galvenius and DM Armstrong, Ilford, May, 1953

He represented England in the Chess Olympiads at Helsinki 1952 (playing fourth board, scoring 2 wins, 5 draws, and 4 losses), Amsterdam 1954 (playing first reserve, scoring 1 win, 2 draws, and 4 losses), Leipzig 1960 (first reserve; 4 wins, 4 draws, 2 losses) and Varna 1962 (first reserve; 7 wins, 2 draws, 3 losses). The latter was his best performance by far.[1][4][5]

Barden has a Morphy number of 3, having drawn with Jacques Mieses in the Premier Reserves at Hastings 1948–49.[6] Mieses drew with Henry Bird in the last round of Hastings 1895,[7][8] and Bird played a number of games with Paul Morphy in 1858 and 1859.[9][10]

Leonard Barden (far right)
Leonard Barden (far right)

In 1964, Barden gave up most competitive chess to devote his time to chess organisation, broadcasting, and writing about the game.[1][2] He has made invaluable contributions to English chess as a populariser, writer, organiser, fundraiser, and broadcaster.[11]

Leonard Barden
Leonard Barden

He was controller of the British Chess Federation Grand Prix for many years, having found its first sponsor, Cutty Sark. He was a regular contributor to the BBC’s Network Three weekly radio chess programme from 1958 to 1963. His best-known contribution was a consultation game, recorded in 1960 and broadcast in 1961, where he partnered Bobby Fischer against the English masters Jonathan Penrose and Peter Clarke. This was the only recorded consultation game of Fischer’s career. The game, unfinished after eight hours of play, was adjudicated a draw by former world champion Max Euwe.[12][13] Barden gave BBC television commentaries on all the games in the 1972 world championship. From 1973 to 1978 he was co-presenter of BBC2’s annual Master Game televised programme.

Leonard Barden (left of Korchnoi)
Leonard Barden (left of Korchnoi)

As of 2010, his weekly columns have been published in The Guardian for 54 years and in The Financial Times for 35 years. A typical Barden column not only contains a readable tournament report, but is geared toward promoting the game.[14] His London Evening Standard column, begun in summer 1956,[15] is now the world’s longest running daily chess column by the same author, breaking the previous record set by George Koltanowski in the San Francisco Chronicle. Koltanowski’s column ran for 51 years, 9 months, and 18 days, including posthumous articles.[16][17]

Leonard Barden
Leonard Barden

Leonard reveals this his best game was

Leonard has authored or co-authored the following books.

A Guide to Chess Openings (1957),

A Guide to Chess Openings
A Guide to Chess Openings

How Good Is Your Chess? (1957),

How Good is Your Chess ?
How Good is Your Chess ?

Chess (1959),
Introduction to Chess Moves and Tactics Simply Explained (1959),

An Introduction to Chess Moves and Tactics Simply Explained
An Introduction to Chess Moves and Tactics Simply Explained

Modern Chess Miniatures (with Wolfgang Heidenfeld, 1960),
Erevan 1962 (1963),
The Ruy Lopez (1963),

The Ruy Lopez
The Ruy Lopez

The Guardian Chess Book (1967),

The Guardian Chess Book
The Guardian Chess Book

An Introduction to Chess (1967),

An Introduction to Chess
An Introduction to Chess

The King’s Indian Defence (1968),

The King's Indian Defence
The King’s Indian Defence

Chess: Master the Moves (1977),
Guide to the Chess Openings (with Tim Harding, 1977),

Guide to the Chess Openings
Guide to the Chess Openings

Leonard Barden’s Chess Puzzle Book (1977) (a collection of his Evening Standard columns),

Leonard Barden's Chess Puzzle Book
Leonard Barden’s Chess Puzzle Book

The Master Game (with Jeremy James, 1979),

The Master Game
The Master Game

How to Play the Endgame in Chess (1979),

How to Play The Endgame in Chess
How to Play The Endgame in Chess

Play Better Chess (1980),

Play Better Chess
Play Better Chess

Batsford Chess Puzzles (2002),

Batsford Chess Puzzles
Batsford Chess Puzzles

One Move and You’re Dead (with Erwin Brecher, 2007).[1][2][18]

Happy Birthday to Peter Charles Griffiths

Peter Charles Griffiths
Peter Charles Griffiths

Happy birthday best wishes to Peter Charles Griffiths on this day, August 15th, in 1946.

Peter was a strong player active from the 1960s until 1989. He played in the British Championships more than once and was a professional coach. He wrote the column “Practical Chess Endings” which appeared in the British Chess Magazine. He wrote Exploring the Endgame

Exploring the Endgame
Exploring the Endgame

and co-authored Secrets of Grandmaster Play with John Nunn.

Secrets of Grandmaster Play
Secrets of Grandmaster Play

and wrote Improving Your Chess

Improving Your Chess
Improving Your Chess

and Better Chess for Club Players

Better Chess for Club Players
Better Chess for Club Players

Happy Birthday Peter !

Peter Griffiths (far left)
Peter Griffiths (far left)

Malcolm : Happy Birthday to You !

IM Malcolm Pein
IM Malcolm Pein

We wish IM Malcolm Pein the very best wishes on his birthday.

From Wikipedia :

Pein earned the title of International Master (IM) in 1986.[1] According to IM Lawrence Trent‘s introduction at the start of the round one commentary at the 2013 Chess Candidates Tournament in London, Pein has not only been an influence in British chess for over thirty years, he has engaged in several chess organizing activities. He is CO of Chess in Schools and Communities which is a UK chess charity focusing on chess for youth, Director of the London Chess Classic tournament, and runs the London Chess Centre. Pein also writes a daily chess column in The Daily Telegraphnewspaper and is the executive editor of CHESS magazine, a monthly publication with an international readership. He is also the representative to FIDE for the English Chess Federation and in October 2015 was elected as ECF’s International Director.[2]

IM Malcolm Pein
IM Malcolm Pein

From Wikipedia :

In addition to his newspaper column and magazine editorial, Pein has written a number of chess books and booklets, including:

Grunfeld Defence (Batsford, 1981) – ISBN 978-0713435948
Blumenfeld Defence [with Jan Przewoznik] (Everyman, 1991) – ISBN 978-0080371337
Daily Telegraph Guide to Chess (Batsford, 1995) – ISBN 978-0713478143
The Exchange Grunfeld [with Adrian Mikhalchishin] (Everyman, 1996) – ISBN 978-1857440560

Guide to Chess
Guide to Chess
Malcolm Pein & Dominic Lawson
Malcolm Pein & Dominic Lawson

Happy Birthday Bill !

IM William Hartston
IM William Hartston

On the “glorious twelfth” of August we celebrate the birthday of IM William Hartston.

From Wikipedia :

William Roland Hartston (born 12 August 1947) is an English journalist who writes the Beachcomber column in the Daily Express and a chess player who played competitively from 1962 to 1987 with a highest Elo rating of 2485.[1] He was awarded the title International Master in 1972, but is now best known as a chess author and presenter of the game on television.

Soft Pawn
Soft Pawn

At the 19th Chess Olympiad, held at Siegen 1970, he won the gold medal for best score on board 3 (78.1%).[2] He won the British Chess Championship in 1973 and 1975. In international competition, he had many fine performances, but failed by the closest possible margin to achieve the results required for the formal award of the title of International Grandmaster. During his time as a PhD student at Cambridge, Hartston became the first person to stack the pieces from an entire chess set on top of a single white rook.[3][4] He studied mathematics at Jesus College, Cambridge but did not complete his PhD on number theory as he spent too much time playing chess.[5]

William Hartston
William Hartston

Since the early 1970s, he has made many TV appearances for the BBC,[6][7] usually in the role of expert commentator and analyst on world title matches, including Fischer-Spassky ’72, Karpov-Korchnoi ’78, Kasparov-Short ’93 and Kasparov-Anand ’95. He twice won the BBC Master Game competition before taking over from Leonard Barden as its resident expert. During the 1980s he presented the BBC series Play Chess. In recent years he has diversified into a number of creative areas, running competitions in creative thinking for The Independent newspaper and the Mind Sports Olympiad. He writes the off-beat Beachcomber column for the Daily Express and has authored books on chess, mathematics, humour and trivia. He has also been a regular guest on the BBC Radio 4 and occasional TV programme, Puzzle Panel and appeared in Series 8 of The Museum of Curiosity also on Radio 4.[citation needed]

Aside from his chess and media-related activities, Hartston is a mathematician and industrial psychologist. He was educated at City of London School and Jesus College, Cambridge, where he studied mathematics. During the 1980s, he was recruited by Meredith Belbin, at the Industrial Training Research Unit in Cambridge, to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team researching the dynamics of team roles. While continuing to write the Beachcomber column and other features for the Daily Express, he has also been behind the launching of the wakkipedia.com Internet site of useless information. His latest publication is Even More Things That Nobody Knows (Atlantic Books), a further discussion of 501 unanswered questions ranging from science to history, including a good supply of typically quirky items.[8]

Hartston was the first of three British chess champions to be married to Woman Grandmaster Dr Jana Bellin (née Malypetrova). With his second wife, Elizabeth, he had two sons, James and Nicholas.

On 2 April 2013 it was reported that Hartston had “perfected” a formula for predicting the winner of the Grand National horse race, in a study commissioned by bookmaker William Hill.[9][10][11] The story of the winning formula has since been widely thought to be an April Fools joke that many have fallen for.[12]

In 2013 Hartston and his friend Josef Kollar became regular ‘viewers’ on the Channel 4 programme Gogglebox.[13]

The King's Indian Defence
The King’s Indian Defence

Remembering Sir George Alan Thomas

Sir George Alan Thomas
Sir George Alan Thomas

We remember Sir George Alan Thomas who died on July 23rd, 1972

From Wikipedia :

Thomas was British Chess Champion in 1923 and 1934. He shared first prize at the 1934/5 Hastings International Chess Congress with the next world chess champion Max Euwe and leading Czechoslovak player Salo Flohr, ahead of past and future world champions José Raúl Capablanca and Mikhail Botvinnik, whom he defeated in their individual games. For Capablanca, this had been the first loss in tournament play for four years, and the first playing the white pieces for more than six years. Also in Hastings, eleven years later, Euwe would become the third world chess champion to be defeated by Thomas in a game.[9]

His ‘lifetime’ scores against the world’s elite were however less flattering: he had minuses against Emanuel Lasker (−1, not counting a win in a Lasker simultaneous exhibition in 1896), Capablanca (+1−5=3), Alekhine (−7=6), Efim Bogoljubov (−5=3), Euwe (+1−9=2), Flohr (+2−9=4) and Savielly Tartakower (+3−9=10). He also fared badly against Edgard Colle (+1−9=8). Thomas made even scores with Botvinnik (+1−1), Richard Réti (+3−3=1) and Siegbert Tarrasch (+1−1=3). Against Géza Maróczy, the balance was in Thomas’ favour (+3−1=5).

Domestically, he held a plus score against his great rival Fred Yates (+13−11=13), but was less successful against Women’s World Chess Champion Vera Menchik (+7−8=7),

In 1950 he was awarded the International Master title by FIDE and in 1952, became an International Arbiter. He gave up competitive chess at the age of 69.

Sir George Alan Thomas
Sir George Alan Thomas