Tag Archives: British Championships

Sultan Khan : The Indian Servant Who Became Chess Champion of the British Empire

Sultan Khan: The Indian Servant Who Became Chess Champion of the British Empire
Sultan Khan: The Indian Servant Who Became Chess Champion of the British Empire

Sultan Khan : The Indian Servant Who Became Chess Champion of the British Empire : Daniel King

GM Daniel King
GM Daniel King

“Daniel King (1963) is an English grandmaster, coach, journalist and broadcaster. He has written 16 chess books on topics ranging from opening preparation to the self-tutoring How Good is your Chess? and Test Your Chess.”

From the rear cover :

“Sultan Khan arrived in London in 1929. A humble servant from a village in the Punjab, he created a sensation by becoming the British Empire champion. Sultan Khan competed in Europe with the leading chess players of the era. His unorthodox style often stunned his opponents, as Daniel King explains in his examination of the key tournaments in Khan’s career. King has uncovered a wealth of new facts about Khan, as well as dozens of previously unknown games. Now for the first time the full story can be told of how Khan was received in Europe, of his successes in the chess world and his return to obscurity after his departure for India in 1933.”

Daniel King, well known as a writer and broadcaster, here turns his hand to chess history, and one of the most fascinating stories our game has produced.

It would be remiss of me not to mention at the start that Sultan Khan’s family, whom the author chose not to consult,  are very unhappy about the book. You can read a review by Dr Atiyab Sultan, Sultan Khan’s granddaughter, here.

Dr Sultan and her father also write about Sultan Khan here.

I’ll leave that with you: you can decide for yourself whether or not it will deter you from buying the book. I have my views but prefer to concentrate on the chess.

Malik Mir Sultan Khan
Malik Mir Sultan Khan

What we have is a collection of Sultan Khan’s most interesting games (in some cases only the opening or conclusion) with excellent annotations. It’s not a ‘Best Games’ collection: there are plenty of draws and losses. As you would expect from such an experienced commentator, King knows exactly what, and how much, to tell you. You’ll get clear and concise verbal explanations, with variations only when necessary: an approach entirely suited to Khan’s style of play.

Sultan Khan’s openings were sometimes very poor, even by the standards of the day, on occasion running into trouble by neglecting the essentials of development and king safety, and not always learning from his mistakes. You won’t find a lot of brilliant tactics and sacrifices in his games, either. But he excelled at manoeuvring, and was an outstanding endgame player, winning many points through sheer determination. It was these skills that enabled him to beat Capablanca, draw with Alekhine, and reach, according to Jeff Sonas, the world’s top ten.

Here’s his most famous game, which is treated to six pages of annotations in the book.

King offers a lot more than just the games, though. The descriptions of the events in which Sultan Khan participated are enlivened by contemporary reports from newspapers and magazines which portray a vivid picture of the chess world 90 years ago, and of how Khan was perceived within the chess community. Then as now, newspapers would sometimes send non-playing journalists to write a ‘let’s laugh at the weird chess players’ article. Here, for example, is a Daily Herald reporter visiting Hastings for the 1930-31 congress. “DRAWING THE LONG BROW AT HASTINGS”, chortled the headline. “Moving (sometimes) scenes at chess congress.” Yes, very droll.

Although Sultan Khan was a very popular member of the British chess community, much respected for his quiet and modest demeanour, remarks which would today be considered racist sometimes appeared in the press. The London Evening News on Hastings 1932-33: “Sultan Khan, the British Champion, of course, did well; but he is not English by birth, which makes a difference.”

Malik Mir Sultan Khan (right)
Malik Mir Sultan Khan (right)

King also sketches in the political background behind Sultan Khan’s time in England: the discussions concerning the future of the Indian subcontinent which would eventually lead to independence and the partition in 1947. Writing as someone with embarrassingly little knowledge of the subject, I thought these sections of the book were written with sensitivity and impartiality, but, as the partition is still highly emotive today, I quite understand why others might take a different view.

My main problem with the book is the lack of indexing. There’s an index of names, but I’d also expect indexes of games and openings: something I’d consider essential for a book of this nature. While it was interesting to read something of the history of Western chess in India, a section on John Cochrane would have been useful. I noticed a couple of errors in tournament crosstables (pp 22 and 309), and on p322, EM Jackson mysteriously becomes EM Mackenzie (his middle name).

What you don’t get is a definitive and complete biography and games collection such as McFarland might publish, but Daniel King knows his audience well, and, from the chess perspective, does a thoroughly professional job. If you don’t feel strongly about Sultan Khan’s family’s criticisms, then this book is highly recommended, telling a story full of chess, human and historical interest.

You can see some sample pages on the publisher’s website.

Some more links for anyone interested in finding out more about Sultan Khan:

An article by chess.com blogger simaginfan (Neil Blackburn)

Edward Winter’s feature article about Sultan Khan

A short documentary from 1990 about Sultan Khan and Miss Fatima

Richard James, Twickenham 22nd May 2020

Richard James
. Richard James

Book Details :

  • Paperback : 372 pages
  • Publisher: New In chess (1 Mar. 2020)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9056918745
  • ISBN-13: 978-9056918743
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 23.1 cm

Official web site of New in Chess

Sultan Khan: The Indian Servant Who Became Chess Champion of the British Empire
Sultan Khan: The Indian Servant Who Became Chess Champion of the British Empire

Many Happy Returns IM Andrew Martin (18-v-1957)

IM Andrew Martin
IM Andrew Martin

BCN wishes IM Andrew Martin many happy returns on his birthday (18-v-1957)

From ChessBase :

Andrew David Martin (born 18th May 1957 in West Ham, London) is an English chess player with the title of international master. Martin has won various national and international tournaments. He has been playing for years in the Four Nations Chess League, at present (July 2009) for Wood Green Hilsmark Kingfisher, previously for the Camberley Chess Club. Martin received his title as international master in 1984. He earned his first grandmaster norm in the British Championship of 1997 in Brighton. Martin was a commentator on the chess world championship between Kasparov and Kramnik in 2000.
On the 21st February 2004 Martin set a new world record for simultaneous chess.

He faced 321 chess players at the same time. His result was: 294 wins, 26 draws and only one loss. Martin is known as a professional chess teacher and head trainer of the English youth team. He trains eight schools (Yateley Manor, Aldro, Millfield, Sunningdale, Waverley School, St Michael’s Sandhurst, Wellington College, Salesian College). Martin is a chess columnist, an author of chess books and the author of various instructional videos. He was the publisher of the series Trends Publications. Martin lives in Sandhurst, England, is married and the father of two daughters and two sons. His present Elo rating is 2423 (as of July 2009).

Andrew coaching students
Andrew coaching students

The above is somewhat inaccurate and out of date. Andrew came from East Ham rather than West Ham. He was the editor rather than the publisher of Trends Publications and he lives in Bramley, Surrey with his partner Naomi.

Andrew and friends at the NatWest Bank Young Masters
Andrew and friends at the NatWest Bank Young Masters

On July 23rd 1981 a world record attempt of continuous blitz games was undertaken at the National Film Theatre in London with much support of the membership of London Central YMCA.

Yours Truly (John Upham) plays Andrew Martin at the NFT
Yours Truly (John Upham) plays Andrew Martin at the NFT

Andrew now plays for Camberley and Guildford clubs in the Berkshire and Surrey Border Leagues and is former member of East Ham, Ilford, London Central YMCA (CentYMCA), Wood Green and Barbican clubs.

Andrew plays JJ Ady whilst Simon LeBlanq observes at the London Central YMCA
Andrew plays JJ Ady whilst Simon LeBlanq observes at the London Central YMCA

Andrew has written many books starting as Editor of the “Trends Series” for Tournament Chess owned by Richard W. O’Brien (Not of The Crystal Maze). He has authored numerous DVDs for Foxy Videos and ChessBase and has a YouTube Channel focused on young and improving players called “Andrew Martin – Chess Explorations“.

Below Andrew annotates his game (with black) versus GM Stephen Gordon from 4NCL in 2005 :

Andrew’s first book as author was this one :

Winning With the King's Indian, Caissa Publishing, Andrew Martin, 1989
Winning With the King’s Indian, Caissa Publishing, Andrew Martin, 1989

Here is one his favourite games :

Trends in the Slav Defence, Tournament Chess, Andrew Martin, 1990
Trends in the Slav Defence, Tournament Chess, Andrew Martin, 1990
The Contemporary Anti-Dutch, 1990
The Contemporary Anti-Dutch, 1990

Here is a second memorable game :

Secret Weapons, Tournament Chess, 1991
Secret Weapons, Tournament Chess, 1991
Short, Tournament Chess, 1993
Short, Tournament Chess, 1993
Alekhine's Defence, 2001
Alekhine’s Defence, 2001
The Essential Center-Counter, 2004
The Essential Center-Counter, 2004
King's Indian Battle Plans, 2004
King’s Indian Battle Plans, 2004
The Hippopotamus Rises, 2005
The Hippopotamus Rises, 2005
Play the Benko Gambit, 2007
Play the Benko Gambit, 2007
First Steps : Queen's Gambit, 2016
First Steps : Queen’s Gambit, 2016
First Steps : Caro-Kann Defence, 2018
First Steps : Caro-Kann Defence, 2018
First Steps : King's Indian Defence, 2019
First Steps : King’s Indian Defence, 2019

and finally this game was very pleasing :

Chess Hacker, Andrew Martin, Thinkers Press, 2019
Chess Hacker, Andrew Martin, Thinkers Press, 2019
Play the Budapest Gambit, Andrew Martin, Everyman Chess, May 2021, ISBN-13 : 978-1781945889
Play the Budapest Gambit, Andrew Martin, Everyman Chess, May 2021, ISBN-13 : 978-1781945889

Happy Birthday GM Danny Gormally (04-v-1976)

GM Danny Gormally
GM Danny Gormally

BCN wishes Happy Birthday to GM Daniel William Gormally (04-v-1976)

Danny won the Southern Counties (SCCU) championship in the 2002-03 and 2010-11 (sharing with David Howell) seasons.

Here is a ChessBase interview with Danny

Danny Gormally Caption Competition
Danny Gormally Caption Competition

and another interview from Chessbase

GM Danny Gormally
GM Danny Gormally
Danny Gormally with the ? Trophy
Danny Gormally with the ? Trophy
Insanity, Passion and Addiction
Insanity, Passion and Addiction

Happy Birthday GM Joseph Gerald Gallagher (04-v-1964)

GM Joe Gallagher
GM Joe Gallagher

BCN wishes Happy Birthday to GM Joseph Gerald Gallagher (04-v-1964)

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

Here is his Wikipedia entry

GM Joseph Gerald Gallagher
GM Joseph Gerald Gallagher
GM Joe Gallagher
GM Joe Gallagher

GM Joe Gallagher
GM Joe Gallagher
Winning With the King's Gambit, Batsford, ISBN 0-7134-6944-7
Winning With the King’s Gambit, Batsford, ISBN 0-7134-6944-7
Beating the Anti-Sicilians, Batsford/Henry Holt and Company, ISBN 0-8050-3575-3
Beating the Anti-Sicilians, Batsford/Henry Holt and Company, ISBN 0-8050-3575-3
Beating the Sicilian 3
Beating the Sicilian 3
Beating the Anti-King's Indians, Batsford/International Chess Enterprises, ISBN 1-879479-36-2
Beating the Anti-King’s Indians, Batsford/International Chess Enterprises, ISBN 1-879479-36-2
The Trompovsky, Chess Press, ISBN 1-901259-09-9
The Trompovsky, Chess Press, ISBN 1-901259-09-9
101 Attacking Ideas in Chess, Gambit Publications, ISBN 1-901983-20-X
101 Attacking Ideas in Chess, Gambit Publications, ISBN 1-901983-20-X
The Magic of Mikhail Tal, Everyman Chess, ISBN 1-85744-266-0
The Magic of Mikhail Tal, Everyman Chess, ISBN 1-85744-266-0
Starting Out: the Caro-Kann, Everyman Chess, ISBN 1-85744-303-9
Starting Out: the Caro-Kann, Everyman Chess, ISBN 1-85744-303-9
Starting Out: King's Indian, Everyman Chess, ISBN 1-85744-234-2
Starting Out: King’s Indian, Everyman Chess, ISBN 1-85744-234-2
Starting Out: The Pirc/Modern, Everyman Chess, ISBN 1-85744-336-5
Starting Out: The Pirc/Modern, Everyman Chess, ISBN 1-85744-336-5
Play the King's Indian, Everyman Chess, ISBN 1-85744-324-1
Play the King’s Indian, Everyman Chess, ISBN 1-85744-324-1

Happy Birthday WIM Dr. Ruth Sheldon (03-v-1980)

WIM Dr. Ruth Sheldon
WIM Dr. Ruth Sheldon

Happy Birthday WIM Ruth Sheldon (03-v-1980).

Ruth was born in Manchester and became a WFM in 1993 and WIM in 1996. Her peak rating was 2310 in July 1999.

She was World U12 Vice Champion in 1992, World U14 Champion in 1993 and World U18 Champion in 1998.

She is a lecturer in Religion and Social Science at King’s College, London

WIM Dr. Ruth Sheldon
WIM Dr. Ruth Sheldon

Here is her rather brief Wikipedia entry.

Ruths's partial Chessbase record
Ruths’s partial Chessbase record
WIM Dr. Ruth Sheldon during a county match (full caption below)
WIM Dr. Ruth Sheldon during a county match (full caption below)
Caption to photograph above
Caption to photograph above

Remembering Norman Littlewood (31-i-1933 29-iv-1989)

Norman Littlewood
Norman Littlewood

BCN remembers Norman Littlewood (31-i-1933 29-iv-1989)

Norman Littlewood circa 1967
Norman Littlewood circa 1967

From British Chess Magazine, Volume 109, June (#6), page 265 we have the following obituary which appears to have been lifted and used in the BCF Yearbook from 1989 – 1990, page 14, (editor Brian Concannon) with no acknowledgement :

“We were sorry to (announce the) hear of the death from cancer of Norman Littlewood of Sheffield(31 i 1933 – 29 iv 1989) who played with great force in British Championships of the 1960s.
Born into a working class family of 11 children, Norman played for England in the 1951 Glorney Cup, but did not make his debut in the British Championships until 1963 when he finished second to Penrose. He was then joint runner-up in the next three title contests, impressed at Hastings Premiers, particularly 1963-4 when he was the best of the English players, and represented England in the 1964 and 1966 Olympiads. By 1969, however, he was drifting away from play in the direction of problem and study composition, and his other interests such as bridge. He was also a skilled pianist, a true all-rounder.

Norman Littlewood
Norman Littlewood

A great impression was made on the top players at the 1964 British Championships when Norman won his first four games with his dynamic style. His victims included both Golombek and Clarke. Had he won his next game against Haygarth, as he deserved to do, he would have surely taken the title which fell to his Yorkshire colleague.

Norman was always a modest but assertive character, and with more management might well have challenged Penrose even more closely than he did. Our thanks to elder brother John Littlewood for some of the above information.”

The 1964 England Olympiad (Tel Aviv) Team : Owen Hindle, Čeněk Kottnauer, Peter Clarke, Michael Franklin, Norman Littlewood & Michael Haygarth
The 1964 England Olympiad (Tel Aviv) Team : Owen Hindle, Čeněk Kottnauer, Peter Clarke, Michael Franklin, Norman Littlewood & Michael Haygarth

Here is a splendid article from Yorkshire Chess History

See BCF Yearbook 1989-90, page 14.

Happy Birthday GM John Nunn (25-iv-1955)

"John DM Nunn Britain' Number 2 chess grandmaster and winner of the Benedictine International Chess Championship Tournament in Manchester pictured during the Benedictine Tournament. September 15th , 1980. Photograph by John C Madden"
“John DM Nunn Britain’ Number 2 chess grandmaster and winner of the Benedictine International Chess Championship Tournament in Manchester pictured during the Benedictine Tournament. September 15th , 1980. Photograph by John C Madden”

BCN wishes GM John Nunn Happy Birthday (25-iv-1955). John resides in Bude, Cornwall with his wife Petra (née Fink) having previously resided in Chobham, Surrey.  John became a director of Gambit Publications Ltd. on January 30th, 1997 along with  Murray Chandler and Graham Burgess. WFM Petra Nunn is the German editor.

Harry Golombek OBE wrote the following (presumably in 1978) in the 1979 Dataday chess diary:

“Fortunate is the country which has a number six player as good and as effective as John Nunn. As I wrote last time, ‘The former European Junior champion is such a fine player and pursues the game with such energy when he does play that one is apt to forget he is an amateur with only a limited amount of time to spare for study of the game.’

He like Mestel, obtained a grandmaster norm at the Lord John tournament where he score 5.5 points coming just below Mestel but beating both Quinteros and Torre in the process.

At the Moscow Team tournament, already mentioned, he had a magnificent result scoring 3.5 out of 7 on board 4. Perhaps it was this performance that increased his Elo rating by 30 points and when I say board 4 it should be realised that opposition consisted of such players as the former world champion Tal and many other genuine grandmasters. I give the entertaining and fighting draw he had with Tal as Moscow.”

From British Chess (Pergamon Press, 1983), pp.201- 210:

“It is a difficult task to pick out three games from many hundreds played over the years. What criteria should be used in the selection? Brilliance, strength of opponent, importance of result – all these are reasons for a game to stand out in one’s memory. As this selection is autobiographical I have given prominence to the last criterion and so I will give one game from each of the tournaments in which I gained an International title, and one game from a team tournament.

The first of these tournaments was the European Junior Championships held over the new year 1974-5 in the Dutch town of Groningen. It was only by chance that I played in this event at all. Originally Jonathan Mestel was the English representative, but he was invited to play in concurrent Hastings Premier and so I travelled to Groningen instead.

The organisation of the Championship has changed over the years, but at that time a seven-round Swiss formed a preliminary event, with the top ten of the twenty-eight participants going on to an all-play-all final section. The score thought to be sufficient for qualification was 4.5/7 and the accepted method of reaching this target was to win one’s first two games and then draw all the others., facilitated by the fact that one’s opponents would also require draws to reach the magic figure 4.5. However tie-breaking in the final was decided  firstly by the score in the preliminaries and secondly by the result of the individual game in the final, so it was clearly an advantage to outstrip one’s rivals in the Swiss. I started with the requisite two wins and then drew my next three games, but in round six with the white pieces I decided to play for the win against Manny Rayner of Wales. I felt slightly self-conscious playing amidst a row of boards on which peace has been concluded at an early stage, but I did gain the full point. The game stirred up a certain amount of comment and I even heard one player’s second declare

You can’t trust Nunn!

In such a short race there will inevitably be upsets and the unlucky man on this occasion was Alexander Ivanov, the Russian representative.

The final round started less smoothly for me and after five rounds the leading scores were Borokowski 4, Szekely 3.5 and van der Sterren and myself on 3. I had already beaten van der Sterren, who had tied with me in the preliminaries, so in view of the tie-break rules, I had effectively half-a-point advantage over the rest of the field. In round six I played Borkowski and a win for would leave the tournament wide open.

I scored well in the three rounds after this game and appeared to have a good chance of winning. However in the penultimate round I lost to Lars-Ake Schneider in only 18 moves so as the last round started the leading scores were Szekely 5.5 out of 8 with Schneider, Borkowski and myself on 5. Skekely was White against Borkowski while I had White against the Israeli Grunfeld. Schneider blundered quickly and lost, while to my surprise Skekely drew in only 14 moves. The way was now open to the title if only I could defeat my opponent. However after 4.5 hours play I had only a slight advantage. But then a curious thing happened. I made my 40th move with a minute or two left on my clock and Grunfeld, who had half an hour left, replied almost immediately. The game was played to a finish without adjournment and now, with an hour on my clock, I was able to see that his 40th move was a mistake allowing a decisive combination. This small event decided the result of the tournament and so I became European Junior Champion and an International Master.

The second game was played in the Finals of the European Team Championship held at Moscow 1977. This event which takes place every three years, is second in importance only to the biennial Olympiads. The twenty teams entering were divided into five preliminary groups to produce seven qualifiers for the final. The USSR, as previous winners, were admitted directly to the final to make up the total of eight countries represented at Moscow. England qualified ahead of Holland, the other teams in this preliminary group being Wales and France. Since the matches in the final take place over eight boards this event is much more test of strength in the depth than the four board Olympiads and so England was not expected to do well, especially in view of the absence of Tony Miles. Nevertheless the final result of bottom place was a disappointment. My individual performance of 50% against strong opposition was quite satisfactory, but it was the following game which made the tournament particularly enjoyable for me.

We now move ahead to the summer of 1978. At this time I had a 9-game grandmaster norm from the Lord John Cup held in London during September 1977 and so I needed a 15-game norm to actually gain the title. In July I played in an event at Lublin in Poland at which, however, there was no GM norm. My play showed evidence of lack of practice and my final position was rather low.

Then I went on to the annual Tungsram tournament held in Budapest during August. This was a much stronger event (category 10) and the GM norm was a formidable 10 out of 15. However my play was much better than in Poland and, after a first round loss, I began to score well. After 12 rounds the leading scores were Kuzmin 8, Nunn 7.5 and Csom, Jansa, Adorjan and Mednis 7. I could have had half a point more if I had not overlooked a combination two (!) moves deep winning Kuzmin’s queen, but, apart from this incident Kuzmin had played very well and seemed to be heading for first prize.

My sights were firmly set on scoring 2.5 from the last three games to reach the GM norm and my interest in winning the tournament was secondary. However, Kuzmin was destined to lose his next two games and so these two objectives became one and the same.

In these final games I was to be White against F. Portisch (Lajos’ brother), Black against GM Jansa and in the last round White against Hardicsay, the weakest player in the tournament. The plan was clear – I had to win both games with White and hold Jansa to a draw with the Black pieces. The execution, however, was more difficult.

While preparing for F. Portisch I noticed that he played either the French or the Sicilian Pelikan. Since I was playing only for the win I naturally hoped he would opt for the complications of the Pelikan. Two days before this game I had been given a copy of the latest issue of the Hungarian chess magazine, Magyar Sakkelet, containing a game Honfi – Piasetki in which Honfi had played 11.Bxb5!? and won with the aid of a novelty. This piece sacrifice seemed to be ideal for stirring up as much trouble as possible and so I decided to try it in the game, at the same time hoping that F. Portsich had not read his magazine!

The first obstacle had been surmounted, but two more remained. The opening went badly against Jansa, but I managed to restrict myself to a small disadvantage in the early middle game. To my good fortune the Czech Grandmaster was going through a bad patch, having started with 7/10 anf then scored only half a point from his next three games. With only two rounds to go his interest in the tournament had dissipated and rather try to exploit his edge he offered a draw. Of course I was only too pleased to accept.

Before the last round I was extremely nervous but bolstered my confidence with that thought that Hardicsay had only managed to score 3.5/14 , and indeed had accumulated only half a point from his last six games. In most cases this was due to his chronic addiction to time trouble. At first things went well. I accepted a pawn sacrifice and gradually seemed to be repelling my opponent’s threats. But at a crucial moment I chose a faulty bishop move and suddenly my difficulties were growing from move to move. Before long I was pawn down with an inferior position. My only hope lay in the fact that Hardicsay had only seconds to make the last eight moves of the time control. Exploiting this, I regained the pawn and even adjourned with a slight plus.

After a one hour break play was resumed and once again Hardicsay played well, almost completely neutralizing my advantage. I cunningly made some pass moves with my King until he was once again in time trouble and then tried my last winning attempt!

In the event my opponent made a mistake and a further session was not necessary. The two spectators who had stuck it out to the end dashed up to congratulate me and Hardicsay gave me a distinctly sour look (justifiably!)- I had become a Grandmaster!

From The Encyclopaedia of Chess (Batsford, 1977) by Harry Golombek OBE :

British International master and European Junior Champion, 1975. Born in London, Nunn learned chess at the age of four and soon revealed a great aptitude for the game.

 

Graham Ladds and John Nunn. See full caption below.
Graham Ladds and John Nunn. See full caption below.
Supplied caption for above picture.
Supplied caption for above picture.

He came 6th in the Norwich Junior international tournament in 1970 and went up to Oxford University to take a mathematics degree at a very early age. He played on top board for the University from 1972-6 and is now preparing for a doctorate there.

John DM Nunn
John DM Nunn

He won the European Junior Championship and with it the international master title in Groningen in 1975. In that year too he was equal first in the IBM Master tournament, and at London in 1975 he reached an international master norm coming 5th in the international tournament there. He played on bottom board at the Haifa Olympiad 1976 and scored 64.2%

GM John Nunn
GM John Nunn

From The Oxford Companion to Chess by Hooper & Whyld :

English player. International Grandmaster (1978), British champion 1980. He went to Oxford at the unusually young age of 15, graduated in 1973. Gained his B.Sc. the following year and his
doctorate in 1978.

GM John Nunn
GM John Nunn

 

A Junior Research Fellow, he lectured in mathematics until 1981 when he became a professional player. By then he had already achieved several good results in international tournaments: Budapest 1978, first; Hastings 1979-80, first (4-5 = 10) equal with Andersson; Baden-bei-Wien 1980, category 12, third (+5=10) after Spassky and Belyavsky: Helsinki 1981, first (+5 = 6) equal with Matulovich; and Wiesbaden 1981, first (+6=3). In the category 12 Wijk aan Zee tournament 1982, Nunn came first ( + 5=7 — 1) equal with Balashov ahead of Tal, Hubner, and Timman and at Helsinki 1983 he came second (+5 = 6) after Karlsson.

Maia Chiburdanidze and John Nunn from Lloyds Bank, 1985
Maia Chiburdanidze and John Nunn from Lloyds Bank, 1985

Possessing a remarkably quick sight of the board, Nunn is an expert solver: he made the second highest individual score in the world team solving championship, 1978, and won the solving championship of Great Britain in 1981.

Lubomir Kavalek and John Nunn
Lubomir Kavalek and John Nunn

Here is an excellent article from ChessBase

Polugayevsky-Nunn European team championship :

GM John Nunn
GM John Nunn

Here is his Wikipedia entry

46th USSR Chess Championships 1978, RD Keene, JDM Nunn, RG Wade, Master Chess Publications, 1978, ISBN 0 906634 00 8
46th USSR Chess Championships 1978, RD Keene, JDM Nunn, RG Wade, Master Chess Publications, 1978, ISBN 0 906634 00 8

 

The Benoni for the Tournament Player
The Benoni for the Tournament Player
Solving in Style
Solving in Style
The Complete Pirc
The Complete Pirc
Secrets of Rook Endings
Secrets of Rook Endings
Secrets of Pawnless Endings
Secrets of Pawnless Endings
New Ideas in the Pirc Defence
New Ideas in the Pirc Defence
Beating the Sicilian 3
Beating the Sicilian 3
The King Hunt
The King Hunt
Secrets of Grandmaster Chess
Secrets of Grandmaster Chess
Secrets of Practical Chess
Secrets of Practical Chess
Nunn's Chess Openings
Nunn’s Chess Openings
John Nunn's Chess Puzzle Book
John Nunn’s Chess Puzzle Book
101 Brilliant Chess Miniatures
101 Brilliant Chess Miniatures
Learn Chess
Learn Chess
Secrets of Minor-Piece Endings
Secrets of Minor-Piece Endings
Understanding Chess Move by Move
Understanding Chess Move by Move
John Nunn's Best Games
John Nunn’s Best Games
Endgame Challenge
Endgame Challenge
Tactical Chess Endings
Tactical Chess Endings
Learn Chess Tactics
Learn Chess Tactics
Mammoth Book of the World's Greatest Chess Games
Mammoth Book of the World’s Greatest Chess Games
Grandmaster Chess Move by Move
Grandmaster Chess Move by Move
Understanding Chess Endgames
Understanding Chess Endgames
Nunn's Chess Endings
Nunn’s Chess Endings
Understanding Chess Middlegames
Understanding Chess Middlegames
Chess Tactics Workbook for Kids
Chess Tactics Workbook for Kids

Chess Endgame Workbook for Kids
Chess Endgame Workbook for Kids
The Chess Endgame Exercise Book Paperback, JDM Nunn, Gambit Publications Ltd., 2020
The Chess Endgame Exercise Book Paperback, JDM Nunn, Gambit Publications Ltd., 2020
Desert Island Chess Puzzle Omnibus, Adams, Nunn, Burgess, So, Gambit Publications Ltd., 2021, ISBN-13 : 978-1911465652
Desert Island Chess Puzzle Omnibus, Adams, Nunn, Burgess, So, Gambit Publications Ltd., 2021, ISBN-13 : 978-1911465652
GM John Nunn
GM John Nunn

Happy Birthday GM Willie Watson (18-iv-1962)

William Watson
William Watson

BCN wishes Happy Birthday to GM William Nicholas Watson (18-iv-1962)

William Watson
William Watson

Here is his brief Wikipedia entry

This was written about William who was 16 just prior to the 1979 Spassky vs the BCF Junior Squad simultaneous display :

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.

“St Paul’s and Barnes. Rating 204. British under-21 co-champion, 1977. 16th British men’s championship, 1978.”

William Watson at a BCF National Club Final (top left)
William Watson at a BCF National Club Final (top left)

William Watson (2nd from left)
William Watson (2nd from left)

On March 3rd, 2016 William became a trustee of the Chess in Schools and Communities charity.

William Watson (2nd from left)
William Watson (2nd from left)