Tag Archives: History

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 Frederick 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

Remembering Henry Bird

Henry Edward Bird
Henry Edward Bird

BCN remembers Henry Edward Bird who was born this day (July 14th) in 1830.

From Wikipedia :

Henry Edward Bird (Portsea in Hampshire, 14 July 1830 – 11 April 1908) was an English chess player, and also an author and accountant. He wrote a book titled Chess History and Reminiscences, and another titled An Analysis of Railways in the United Kingdom.

Although Bird was a practicing accountant, not a professional chess player, it has been said that he “lived for chess, and would play anybody anywhere, any time, under any conditions.”

At age 21, Bird was invited to the first international tournament, London 1851. He also participated in tournaments held in Vienna and New York City. In 1858 he lost a match to Paul Morphy at the age of 28, yet he played high-level chess for another 50 years. In the New York tournament of 1876, Bird received the first brilliancy prize ever awarded, for his game against James Mason.

In 1874 Bird proposed a new chess variant, which played on an 8×10 board and contained two new pieces: guard (combining the moves of the rook and knight) and equerry (combining the bishop and knight). Bird’s chess inspired José Raúl Capablanca to create another chess variant, Capablanca Chess, which differs from Bird’s chess only by the starting position.

It was Bird who popularized the chess opening now called Bird’s Opening (1.f4), as well as Bird’s Defense to the Ruy Lopez (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nd4). Bird’s Opening is considered sound, though not the best try for an opening advantage. Bird’s Defense is regarded as slightly inferior, but “trappy”.

Chess Novelties
Chess Novelties

Remembering BH Wood

Baruch Harold Wood
Baruch Harold Wood

BCN notes that 110 years ago today was born Baruch Harold Wood.

From Wikipedia :

Baruch Harold Wood MSc OBE (13 July 1909 – 4 April 1989), generally known as B. H. Wood, was an English chess player, editor and author. He was born in Sheffield, England.

Easy Guide to Chess
Easy Guide to Chess

From Wikipedia :

Between 1938 and 1957, Wood won the championship of Warwickshire eight times. In 1939 he represented England at the Chess Olympiad in Buenos Aires.[1][2] He won the tournaments at Baarn (1947), Paignton (1954), Whitby (1963), Tórshavn (1967) and Jersey (1975).[3] He tied for 4th–6th, scoring 5 points out of 9 games, at the 1948–49 Hastings Christmas Chess Congress, 1.5 points behind winner Nicolas Rossolimo.[4] In 1948, he tied for second place at the British Chess Championship held in London.[3] He won the British correspondence chess championship in 1944–45.[5]

Everybody Loves Wood
Everybody Loves Wood

From Wikipedia :

In 1935, Wood founded the magazine CHESS, which became one of the two leading chess magazines in Great Britain.[6] He edited it until 1988, when it was taken over by Pergamon Press. Wood was the chess correspondent for the Daily Telegraph and The Illustrated London News.[3] From 1948 to February 1967, he was responsible for the chess column of the Birmingham Daily Post. He also wrote a popular and often reprinted book Easy Guide to Chess (Sutton Coldfield 1942),[3] described by Grandmaster Nigel Davies as “one of the best beginners books on the market”.[7] His other books include World Championship Candidates Tournament 1953 (Sutton Coldfield 1954)[3] and 100 Victorian Chess Problems (1972).

BH Wood
BH Wood

From Wikipedia :

From 1946 to 1951 he was a president of the ICCA, a forerunner organization of the International Correspondence Chess Federation. Wood was a FIDE Judge,[3] an international chess arbiter, and the joint founder of the Sutton Coldfield Chess Club. Wood represented England when it joined FIDE, the world chess federation. He was longtime President of the British Schools Chess Association and also of the British Universities Chess Association.

From Wikipedia :

Wood’s daughter Margaret (Peggy) Clarke won the British Girls’ Championship in 1952, 1955, and 1956, and was the joint British Ladies’ Champion in 1966.[8] Her husband Peter Clarke was a full-time chess player and writer, who finished second in the British Chess Championship five times, represented England in the Chess Olympiads seven times, wrote five chess books, and was the Games Editor of the British Chess Magazine.[9] Wood’s sons Christopher, Frank and Philip are also strong chess players.

BH Wood & Peggy Clarke
BH Wood & Peggy Clarke

Ken Whyld Remembered

Ken Whyld
Ken Whyld

BCN remembers much loved Ken Whyld who passed away on July 11th 2003 in Lincolnshire.

From Wikipedia :

Kenneth Whyld (6 March 1926 – 11 July 2003) was a British chess author and researcher, best known as the co-author (with David Hooper) of The Oxford Companion to Chess, a single-volume chess reference work in English.

Whyld was a strong amateur chess player, taking part in the British Chess Championship in 1956 and winning the county championship of Nottinghamshire. He subsequently made his living in information technology while writing books on chess and researching its history.

As well as The Oxford Companion to Chess, Whyld was the author of other reference works such as Chess: The Records (1986), an adjunct to the Guinness Book of Records and the comprehensive The Collected Games of Emanuel Lasker (1998). He also researched more esoteric subjects, resulting in works such as Alekhine Nazi Articles (2002) on articles in favour of the Nazi Party supposedly written by world chess champion Alexander Alekhine, and the bibliographies Fake Automata in Chess (1994) and Chess Columns: A List (2002).

From 1978 until his death in 2003, Whyld wrote the “Quotes and Queries” column in the British Chess Magazine.

Shortly after Whyld’s death, the Ken Whyld Association was established with the aim of compiling a comprehensive chess bibliography in database form and promoting chess history.

Whyld’s library was later sold to the Musée Suisse du Jeu, located on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland (as reported in number 152 of EG).

The Oxford Companion to Chess
The Oxford Companion to Chess