Tag Archives: People

Death Anniversary of WIM Rowena Bruce (15-v-1919 24-ix-1999)

We remember WIM Rowena Bruce who died this day (September 24th) in 1999.

Rowena Mary Dew was born on Thursday, May 15th, 1919 in Plymouth, Devon. Her father was Clement Warner Harvey Dew and her mother was Mary Jane Rowe.

The Bruce and Dew families circa 1923. Rowena is at the front and on the right aged around four years. Source : ancestry.co.uk
The Bruce and Dew families circa 1923. Rowena is at the front and on the right aged around four years. Source : ancestry.co.uk

She married Ronald Mackay Bruce in July 1940 when she was 21 years old.

Her father Clement Warner Harvey passed away on 7 October 1957 in Plymouth, Devon, at the age of 79. Her mother Mary Jane passed away on 3 August 1958 in Cornwall at the age of 73. Her husband Ronald Mackay passed away in April 1991 in Plymouth, Devon, at the age of 87. They had been married 50 years.

From The Anglo-Soviet Radio Chess Match by Klein and Winter :

“Mrs RM Bruce was born in Plymouth in 1919, and learned chess at the age of twelve. She won the Girls’s World Championship in 1935 and the British Ladies Championship in 1937. During the war she served with the WVS in Plymouth. Apart from chess, she is interested in music and plays the cello.

Rowena practising the cello. Courtesy of Keverel Chess
Rowena practising the cello. Courtesy of Keverel Chess

She is married to RM Bruce, who is a well-known Plymouth player.”

In 1984 both Rowena and Ron received the BCF President’s Award for Services to Chess.

From British Chess (Pergamon Press, 1983) by Botterill, Levy, Rice and Richardson :

“I was taught by my Mother Mrs. May Dew, when recovering from a mastoid operation in 1930, and I joined Plymouth Chess Club on 5th November 1931, aged 12.5.

I started receiving chess tuition from the Plymouth Match Captain, Ronald Bruce in 1934. (Married him in 1940!).

I won the Girls’ World Championship in 1935. I won the British Ladies’ Championship for the first time in 1937, and again in 1950, 1951, 1954, 1959, 1960, 1962 and 1963. I tied for first place in 1955, 1967 and 1969.

I represented Great Britain in the West European Zonal tournament held in Venice 1951, where I finished 2nd. This qualified me to represent Great Britain in the Candidates tournament held in Moscow in 1952. I finished 12th out of 16.

World Chess Championship (Women) 1952 Candidates Tournament
World Chess Championship (Women)
1952 Candidates Tournament

In 1952 we adopted a little girl – Rona Mary.

Other tournaments abroad included zonals in Italy, Yugoslavia and Germany, and Olympiads in Germany, Poland and Bulgaria.

This last-named ended in disaster because I collapsed with a stroke during my second game. Obviously my chess playing was affected, but I was indeed fortunate to make a fairly good recovery.

WIM Rowena Mary Bruce at the 1952 Moscow Candidates tournament
WIM Rowena Mary Bruce at the 1952 Moscow Candidates tournament

I returned to competitive chess playing a year later but, in the meantime, several young players have surged forwards, and that British Ladies’ Championship seems to have become much more difficult to win !

But I now have three grandchildren!

BCN is grateful to WCM Dinah Norman for sending us these memories :

“Rowena Mary Bruce (need Dew) was born on 15 May 1919 and died in Plymouth in 1999. Rowena was the youngest of 3 children born to Harvey and Mary Dew. Mary Dew was a member of the Plymouth Chess Club and tried unsuccessfully to get her 2 sons interested in the game but Rowena was the only child who was interested.

When Rowena was 10 her mother organised private lessons for her with the Plymouth Champion, Ron Bruce. At the age of 21 Rowena married Ron Bruce and it was a very successful and happy marriage. They had an adopted daughter Rona who had no interest in Chess. Rowena had to wait until she was 21 before she could marry Ron. Rowena lived in Plymouth all her life. Rowena and Ron married in July 1940. Ron and Rowena cemented a formidable playing and organising partnership which benefited chess in Devon for almost half a century.

A stern-looking Rowena offers advice to one of the juniors at the WECU Congress, Easter 1951, in the analysis room at the Penolver Hotel, Newquay. Courtesy of Keverel Chess
A stern-looking Rowena offers advice to one of the juniors at the WECU Congress, Easter 1951, in the analysis room at the Penolver Hotel, Newquay. Courtesy of Keverel Chess

After the War Rowena was one of the leading quartet of British Lady players which included Elaine Pritchard (née Saunders), Anne Sunnucks and Eileen Tranmer. In 1951 Rowena played in the Ladies Zonal in Venice and qualified for the Candidates in Moscow to be played the following year.

AT the age of 53 she qualified for the East European Zonal in Sofia, Bulgaria in 1972. Sadly in Round 2 of that event she collapsed at the board with a major cerebral haemorrhage which left her right side paralysed. By sheer force of will after many months of convalescence she taught herself to speak and walk again. She had to give up playing her cello which was awful for her.

Ladies Chess Tournament Fenny Heemskerk, Rowena Mary Bruce (née Dew), Donner, Architect Date: January 12, 1953 Personal name: Architect, , Bruce, R., Donner, , Heemskerk, Fenny Institution name: Block Chess Tournament - Image ID: 2ARK3JK
Ladies Chess Tournament Fenny Heemskerk, Rowena Mary Bruce (née Dew), Donner, Architect Date: January 12, 1953 Personal name: Architect, , Bruce, R., Donner, , Heemskerk, Fenny Institution name: Block Chess Tournament – Image ID: 2ARK3JK

The steely determination with which she followed her 75 year chess career and her recovery from serious illness belied her gentle nature. She was a modest, kind and gracious person who always thought the best of others.

She won the British Ladies title 11 times.

I shared the title with her in 1967 and 1969 after 2 play offs. She was a very pleasant and sporting opponent.”

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

“International Woman Chess Master and winner of the British Ladies Championship on 10 occasions.

She was taught to pay chess by her mother, who was the Devon Lady Champion, after a mastoid operation when she was 10. In 1931 she joined Plymouth Chess Club, where she met R. M. Bruce, the Devonshire Chess Captain, who coached her and was largely responsible for later success. She married him in 1940.

Opening Ladies Danlon chess tournament in Amsterdam, v.l.n.r. T. Roodzant, F. Heemskerk, I. Larsen, L. Timofeeva, E. Rinder, R. Bruce Date: October 21, 1959 Location: Amsterdam, Noord-Holland Keywords: group portraits, chess Person Name: Bruce, Rowena Mary, Heemskerk, Fenny , Larsen, I., Rinder, Elfriede, Roodzant, Toos, Timofeeva. Lidia - Image ID: 2AW6KHJ
Opening Ladies Danlon chess tournament in Amsterdam, v.l.n.r. T. Roodzant, F. Heemskerk, I. Larsen, L. Timofeeva, E. Rinder, R. Bruce Date: October 21, 1959 Location: Amsterdam, Noord-Holland Keywords: group portraits, chess Person Name: Bruce, Rowena Mary, Heemskerk, Fenny , Larsen, I., Rinder, Elfriede, Roodzant, Toos, Timofeeva. Lidia – Image ID: 2AW6KHJ

In 1935 she won the Girls’ World Championship and two years later the British Ladies’ Championship for the first time. She has won the title outright or been joint holder on 10 occasions in 1937, 1950, 1951, 1954, 1955, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1963 and 1967.

Mrs Bruce has represented Great Britain in matches against the USSR and the Netherlands and the British Chess Federation in qualifying tournaments for the Women’s World Championship. In Venice in 1951 she came 2nd in the Western European Qualifying Tournament for the Women’s World Championship and thereby qualified for the Candidates tournament in 1952, when she came 12th out of 16.

Rowena at the 1952 Moscow Zonal tournament. Courtesy of Keverel Chess
Rowena at the 1952 Moscow Zonal tournament. Courtesy of Keverel Chess

Apart from chess, her hobbies are music, gardening and bridge.

She is principal ‘cellist in the Plymouth Orchestral Society.”

An obituary (presumably written by John Saunders) appeared in the British Chess Magazine, Volume CXIX (119, 1999), Number 11 (November), page 584 :

“Rowena Bruce died peacefully at home on 23 September following a long illness. Rowena Mary Dew was born in Plymouth on 15 May 1919, and she was taught the game at the age of 10, while she was convalescing from surgery, by here mother Mary Dew, herself a very able player who had been Devon Ladies’ Champion.

Rowena joined the Plymouth Chess Club, where she met her future husband, Ron Bruce, himself a strong player. She won the World Girls’ Championship in 1935 and the British Women’s title two years later. Rowena married Ron in 1940 and won the British title under her married name ten more times (seven outright and three jointly) between 1950 and 1969.

She represented Great Britain in matches against the USSR and the Netherlands. She qualified for the Women’s World Championship by coming 2nd in the Western European Zonal in Venice, and in the subsequent Candidates tournament in Moscow in 1952 she came 12th out of 16. She was awarded the women’s international master title in 1951.

Rowena locking horns with her friend Fenny Heemskerk, who finished in a magnificent 2nd place. Courtesy of Keverel Chess
Rowena locking horns with her friend Fenny Heemskerk, who finished in a magnificent 2nd place. Courtesy of Keverel Chess

The contribution to chess that Rowena and Ron Bruce made to national, west country and Devon chess was well recognised at the highest level, and when the British Chess Federation instituted a new award in 1983, the President’s Award for Services to Chess, they won it jointly in only its second year. Ron died in 1991.

Rowena was a past president of the Devon County Chess Association and the West of England Chess Union and continued playing for Devon until about four years ago when her increasing frailty made it impossible for her to travel to away matches.

Her other accomplishments included music : she was a principal cellist in the Plymouth Orchestral Society. She also partnered husband Ron in strictly non-competitive bridge for many years. She leaves a daughter Rona and three grand-children.”

WIM Rowena Mary Bruce
WIM Rowena Mary Bruce

From The Encyclopedia of Chess (Batsfords, 1977) by Harry Golombek :

“International Woman master and eleven times British Ladies champion or co-champion.

At the age of fifteen in 1935, Miss Dew won the girls World championship and two years later, still under he maiden name, se won the British Ladies championship at Blackpool. Thereafter she won the championship under her married name in 1950, 1951, 1954, 1955, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1967 and 1969.

Her best international result was a 2nd in the 1951 Western European Zonal tournament, qualifying for the Women’s Candidates tournament in Moscow 1952, where she came 12th/16. She has represented England in a number of team events, has excellent combinative powers, but lacks steadiness in strategy.”

Rowena (far left) during the 1952 Moscow Candidates tournament. Courtesy of Keverel Chess
Rowena (far left) during the 1952 Moscow Candidates tournament. Courtesy of Keverel Chess

David Hooper (seated right) in play at the West of England Championships in Bristol, Easter, 1947. His opponent , ARB Thomas , was that year's champion. Among the spectators is Mrs. Rowena Bruce, the 1946 British Ladies' Champion. BCM, Volume 118, #6, p.327. The others in the photo are L - R: H. V. Trevenen; H. Wilson-Osborne (WECU President); R. A. (Ron) Slade; Rowena Bruce; Ron Bruce; H. V. (Harry) Mallison; Chris Sullivan; C. Welch (Controller); F. E. A. (Frank) Kitto.
David Hooper (seated right) in play at the West of England Championships in Bristol, Easter, 1947. His opponent , ARB Thomas , was that year’s champion. Among the spectators is Mrs. Rowena Bruce, the 1946 British Ladies’ Champion. BCM, Volume 118, #6, p.327. The others in the photo are L – R: H. V. Trevenen; H. Wilson-Osborne (WECU President); R. A. (Ron) Slade; Rowena Bruce; Ron Bruce; H. V. (Harry) Mallison; Chris Sullivan; C. Welch (Controller); F. E. A. (Frank) Kitto.

Here is an interesting article from Tartajubow on Chess

From Wikipedia :

“Rowena Mary Bruce (15 May 1919 – 24 September 1999), née Dew, was an English chess player who held the title of Woman International Master (WIM, 1951). She was an eleven-time winner of the British Women’s Chess Championship (1937, 1950, 1951, 1954, 1955, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1967 and 1969).

Biography
From the end of the 1930s to the end of the 1960s, she was one of England’s strongest women chess players. In 1935, she won the FIDE World Girls Championship. Rowena Mary Bruce won the British Women’s Chess Championship eleven times: 1937, 1950, 1951, 1954, 1955, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1967 and 1969[1]. In 1952, in Moscow, she participated in the Women’s Candidates Tournament where she took 12th place[2]. In 1951, she was awarded the FIDE Woman International Master (WIM) title.

On 21 June 1946, Bruce played (and lost) a “radio chess” match against Lydmilla Rudenko. Bruce was one of two women who were part of a twelve member British team who played in a four day tournament. The British team played their moves in London while the Russian team played their moves in Moscow.”

Rowena with Spassky and the Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Alderman Pascho.
Rowena with Spassky and the Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Alderman Pascho.

“Rowena Mary Bruce played for England in the Women’s Chess Olympiads:

In 1966, at second board in the 3rd Chess Olympiad (women) in Oberhausen (+5, =5, -2) where she won an individual silver medal, and
In 1969, at second board in the 4th Chess Olympiad (women) in Lublin (+5, =3, -6).
From 1940 to 1991 she was married to Ronald Bruce (1903–1991)”

WIM Eileen Betsy Tranmer & WIM Rowena Mary Bruce
WIM Eileen Betsy Tranmer & WIM Rowena Mary Bruce

Birthday of IM Richard Palliser (18-ix-1981)

We wish IM Richard Palliser all the very best on his birthday

Richard Julian David Palliser was born September 18th in 1981 in Birmingham, West Midlands. His mother’s maiden name was Hyde.

He became a FIDE Master in 2000 and an International Master in 2001.

Richard Palliser
Richard Palliser

His peak FIDE rating (according to Felice and Megabase 2020) was 2482 in July 2012 at the age of 31.

In 1995 Richard was joint British U13 Champion together with David Hodge and Richard S. Jones.

Palliser was joint British Rapidplay Chess Champion in 2006. He writes regularly for ChessMoves and “Everyman Chess” who also employ him as an editor and advisor.

Richard represents in matches 4NCL White Rose, York RI, Yorkshire CA, and ‘Eagle and Child’

According to “Play 1.d4!” :

“is an international master and recipient of a special British Chess Federation young player’s award for achievement. In addition to being a very active tournament and match player he also writes regularly for CHESS magazine and other periodicals and is noted for his theoretical knowledge and analytical ability.”

IM Richard Palliser at the King's Place  Rapidplay, 2013.
IM Richard Palliser at the King’s Place Rapidplay, 2013.

According to “tango!” :

“His debut book Play 1.d4! was very well received by critics and the chess public alike”

His handle on the Internet Chess Club is “worcester”.

IM Richard Palliser
IM Richard Palliser

With the White pieces Richard plays 1.d4(!) and the Queen’ Gambit, Exchange Variation is the main weapon of choice.

As the second player Richard plays the Sicilian Najdorf and the King’s Indian Defence.

IM Richard Palliser and IM Jovanka Houska, British Championships, 2019
IM Richard Palliser and IM Jovanka Houska, British Championships, 2019

Richard is Editor of “CHESS” and has authored a number of publications :

Play 1.d4 !, Batsford, 2003
Play 1.d4 !, Batsford, 2003

Palliser, Richard (2005). Tango! A Dynamic Answer to 1 d4. Everyman Chess. ISBN 1-85744-388-8.

Tango! A Dynamic Answer to 1 d4
Tango! A Dynamic Answer to 1 d4

Palliser, Richard (2006). Beating Unusual Chess Openings. Everyman Chess. ISBN 1-85744-429-9.

Beating Unusual Chess Openings
Beating Unusual Chess Openings

Palliser, Richard (2006). Starting Out: Closed Sicilian. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-414-8.

Starting Out: Closed Sicilian
Starting Out: Closed Sicilian

Palliser, Richard (2007). Starting Out: Scilian Najdorf. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-601-2.

Starting Out: Scilian Najdorf
Starting Out: Scilian Najdorf

Palliser, Richard (2007). Starting out: the Colle. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-527-5.

Starting out: the Colle
Starting out: the Colle
The Complete Chess Workout, Everyman, 2007
The Complete Chess Workout, Everyman, 2007

Palliser, Richard; Kosten, Tony; Vigus, James (2008). Dangerous Weapons: Flank Openings. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-583-1.

Dangerous Weapons: Flank Openings
Dangerous Weapons: Flank Openings

Palliser, Richard (2008). Starting out: d-pawn attacks. The Colle-Zukertort, Barry and 150 Attacks. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-578-7.

Starting out: d-pawn attacks
Starting out: d-pawn attacks

Palliser, Richard (2009). Starting Out: the Trompowsky Attack. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-562-6.

Starting Out: the Trompowsky Attack
Starting Out: the Trompowsky Attack

Palliser, Richard; Williams, Simon; Vigus, James (2010). Dangerous Weapons: The Dutch. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-624-1.

Dangerous Weapons: The Dutch
Dangerous Weapons: The Dutch
Dangerous Weapons  : The Caro-Kann, Everyman, 2010
Dangerous Weapons : The Caro-Kann, Everyman, 2010
The Complete Chess Workout II, Everyman, 2012
The Complete Chess Workout II, Everyman, 2012
IM Richard Palliser
IM Richard Palliser

Birthday of WGM Anya Sun Corke (12-ix-1990)

We wish happy birthday to WGM Anya Sun Corke on her birthday.

Anya Sun Corke was born in California, USA on Wednesday, September 12th 1990.

In 2013, Anya graduated from Wellesley College summa cum laude with a B.A. in Russian and Philosophy

She became a woman’s Grandmaster in 2004.

He peak FIDE rating (according to Felice) was 2301 in October 2008.

FIDE rating profile of WGM Anya Sun Corke
FIDE rating profile of WGM Anya Sun Corke

With the white pieces Anya played the Queen’s Gambit and Trompowski Attack

As the second player Anya played the Sicilian Kan, French Rozentalis (3…Nc6) and the Grünfeld Defence.

Anya won outright the 2007 Budapest First Saturday FM tournament :

Budapest First Saturday FM Tournament, 2007
Budapest First Saturday FM Tournament, 2007

She gave up competitive chess in 2014.

An almost miniature from the 2006 British Championship :

From Wikipedia :

“Anya Sun Corke (born 12 September 1990 in California, USA) is an English chess player holding the title of Woman Grandmaster (WGM). She played for Hong Kong, where she was the top ranked chess player, until 2009.[1]

Corke earned the WGM title with her performance in the 36th Chess Olympiad, playing for the Hong Kong men’s team.[2][3]

She was the 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008 Hong Kong National Champion (for men and women), one of the youngest national champions ever at the age of 13 years and 9 months.

She was the British Junior Under-11 Champion in 2002[4] and the Under-12 Champion in 2003,[5] the first girl to win either of these age groups. In 2004, she became joint British U-14 Champion.[6]

In December 2004, she won the Asian Youth Girls U-14 Championship in Singapore.[7]

In August 2005, she jointly won with Alisa Melekhina and Abby Marshall the second annual Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls under-19.[8]

Corke represented the England Women’s team at the 2012 Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey,[9][10] and the 2013 European Team Championship in Warsaw, Poland.[11]

In 2013, she graduated from Wellesley College summa cum laude with a B.A. in Russian and Philosophy.[12][13]

In 2014, she started a Ph.D. program in Slavic Languages and Literatures at Yale University.”

WGM Anya Sun Corke
WGM Anya Sun Corke

Death Anniversary for IM Imre König (09-ii-1901 09-ix-1992)

Death Anniversary for IM Imre König (09-ii-1901 09-ix-1992)

From The Anglo-Soviet Radio Chess Match by E.Klein and W.Winter :

“Born in 1901 in Hungary when it still belonged to the old pre-World War I Austria, spent most of his life in Vienna, where he became a promising player at an early age. After World War I and the various geographical adjustments in the map of Europe, he became Yugoslav by nationality and represented that country three times in international team tournaments.

He has competed in a great number of international tournaments, some of them in this country, where he has lived since 1938. He won the Premier Reserves at Hastings, 1938, in a strong international field, finished fourth and fifth with the late Landau at Bournemouth, 1939, and shared first and second prizes with Milner-Barry in the National Chess Centre tournament, 1939. His last performance was in the London International Tournament, 1946, where he shared fourth, fifth and sixth places with Sir George Thomas and Gerald Abrahams. He is now a professional player.

König’s special strength lies in the openings, of which he has a deep knowledge.”

Imre König
Imre König

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

“International Master (1951). Born in Kula, Hungary (now Serbia). König became a Yugoslav citizen when the territory in which he lived was ceded to Yugoslavia after the First World War. In 1938 he emigrated to England and became a naturalised British subject in 1949. He found that the English climate affected his health and in 1953 went to live in the USA.

König learnt to play chess when he was 10. In 1920, while studying at Vienna University, he met Spielmann, Tartakover and Réti, and became became interested in the hypermodern school of chess, which they represented.

He played for Yugoslavia in the chess Olympiads of 1931 and 1935 and came 2nd in the Yugoslav national tournament of 1922. His results in international tournaments include =4th at Bournemouth 1939; =4th at London 1946 and 2nd at Hastings 1948-49. These results do not do justice to his strength as a player. He was handicapped by a poor temperament for tournament chess, which prevented him from achieving greater success in the international field.

A chess professional, König was a first-class teacher of the game (Anne was a student of his), as well as being a leading theoretician. He is author of The Queen’s Indian Defence (Pitman, 1947) and Chess from Morphy to Botvinnik (Bell, 1951).”

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

“An international master since 1951, born at Gyula in Austro-Hungary. After the first world war König became a Yugoslav citizen and represented that country in the Olympiads of 1931 and 1935. He emigrated to England in 1938 and was naturalised in 1949. Since 1953 he has resided in the USA. Tournament results include 2nd prize at Hastings 1948/9. His publications include a monograph on the Queen’s Indian Defence, London 1947, and a longer work, Chess from Morphy to Botvinnik, London, 1951 ”

Hooper & Whyld are silent on König for some strange reason.

From Wikipedia :

“Imre König (Koenig) aka Mirko Kenig (Sept 2, 1901, Gyula, Hungary – 1992, Santa Monica, California) was a Hungarian chess master.

He was born in Gyula, Hungary, and also lived in Austria, England and the USA during the troubled times between the two world wars.

In 1921, he took 2nd in Celje. In 1920s König played in several tournaments in Vienna; he was 3rd in 1921, 14th in 1922 (Akiba Rubinstein won), 3rd-4th in 1925, 4-5th in 1926 (Rudolf Spielmann won), and 3rd-5th in 1926. He took 12th in Rogaška Slatina (Rohitsch-Sauerbrunn) in 1929. The event was won by Rubinstein. In 1929/30, he took 7th in Vienna (Hans Kmoch and Spielmann won). In 1931, he took 4th in Vienna (Albert Becker won). In 1936, he tied for 6-7th in Novi Sad (Vasja Pirc won). In 1937, he tied for 2nd-4th in Belgrade (Vasilije Tomović won).

Mirko Kenig represented Yugoslavia in the 4th Chess Olympiad at Prague 1931 (+5 –1 =2), the 6th Chess Olympiad at Warsaw 1935 (+5 –2 =8),[2] and in 3rd unofficial Chess Olympiad at Munich 1936 (+7 –4 =7).”

“In 1938, Imre König emigrated to England. In 1939, he tied for 4-5th in Bournemouth (Max Euwe won), and shared 1st with Philip Stuart Milner-Barry in Hampstead. In 1946, he took 4th in London. In 1948/49, he took 2nd, behind Nicolas Rossolimo, in the Hastings International Chess Congress.

In 1949, he became a naturalized British citizen. However, in 1953 he moved to the United States.

König was awarded the International Master title in 1951.”

Queen's Indian Defence, König, Pitman, 1947
Queen’s Indian Defence, König, Pitman, 1947
Chess from Morphy to Botwinnik by Imre König
Chess from Morphy to Botwinnik by Imre König
The Right Way to Play Chess
The Right Way to Play Chess
Imre König by John Donaldson
Imre König by John Donaldson

Death Anniversary of Elijah Williams (08-ix-1854)

Death Anniversary of Elijah Williams (08-ix-1854)

We note today (September 8th) in 1854 marks the passing of Elijah Williams.

We are not aware of verified image / likeness of Elijah Williams. Possibly the archives of Bristol based newspapers would help?

Here is an excellent article by Neil Blackburn (aka SimaginFan)

From Wikipedia :

“Elijah Williams (7 October 1809 – 8 September 1854) was an eminent British chess player of the mid-19th century. He was the first president of the Clifton Chess Club, and publisher of a book of games from the Divan Club. His most notable result was at the 1851 London tournament, in which he defeated the celebrated British player Howard Staunton in the play-off for third place.

He was accused by Staunton of taking an average of 2½ hours per move during some matches, a strategy thought to cause opponents to lose their focus on the match. According to Staunton, following a particularly dilatory performance by Williams in the London 1851 tournament, a 20-minute per turn time limit was adopted for standard play the next year. However other sources contradict this viewpoint and indeed it was not uncommon for Staunton to attribute his losses to the intolerable dilatory play of his opponents. Staunton is quoted as remarking while playing against Williams, ‘… Elijah, you’re not just supposed to sit there – you’re supposed to sit there and think!'”

“In The Complete Chess Addict by Mike Fox and Richard James he was dubbed “the Bristol Sloth” due to his alleged extreme slowness. This sobriquet inspired a musical tune “The Bristol Sloth” by guitarist Leo Kottke (who also applied the term ‘sitzkrieg’ in describing Williams’ playing style).

Williams died in London, a victim of the 1854 Broad Street cholera outbreak.”

Birthday of IM Yang-Fan Zhou (08-ix-1994)

We send best wishes to IM Yang-Fan Zhou on his birthday.

Yang-Fan George Zhou was born on Thursday, September 8th, 1994 in Wandsworth, London. His mother’s maiden name was Yang. “Parklife” by Blur was number one in the UK Singles chart.

He attended Whitgift School, Croydon (founded by John Whitgift in 1596) and then Churchill College, The University of Cambridge.

Here is an article from the Guardian which included
“The Whitgift 13-year-old recently won the Coulsdon Premier with 8.5/9, gaining nearly 100 world rating points which will make him England’s highest ranked under-18 after Howell in the July FIDE list.”

He became a FIDE Master in 2009 and an International Master in 2011.

Yang-Fan claimed the title of UK Chess Challenge “Strat” in 2011 for winning the Terafinal outright.

IM Yang-Fan Zhou at a Wellington College Training Event in 2014, courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Yang-Fan Zhou at a Wellington College Training Event in 2014, courtesy of John Upham Photography

He scored 9/9 in the 2011 e2e4 Brighton Masters Closed tournament, including beating the two grandmasters (Keith Arkell and Alexander Cherniaev) in the tournament.

In 2012 he won the Hong Kong International Open

His peak FIDE rating was 2486 in October 2013 at the age of 19.

FIDE Rating Profile of IM Yang-Fan Zhou
FIDE Rating Profile of IM Yang-Fan Zhou

In 2014 Yang-Fan Zhou represented Cambridge in the annual Varsity match (the 132nd) and played on top board drawing with David Zakarian.

Yang-Fan Zhou plays board one in the 2014 Varsity Match, courtesy of John Upham Photography
Yang-Fan Zhou plays board one in the 2014 Varsity Match, courtesy of John Upham Photography

and this article from Leonard Barden

IM Yang-Fan Zhou at the Big Slick Tournament, June 2013. Courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Yang-Fan Zhou at the Big Slick Tournament, June 2013. Courtesy of John Upham Photography

Birthday of GM Michael Stean (04-ix-1953)

We send best wishes to GM Michael Stean on his birthday,

Michael Francis Stean was born Michael Francis Stein on Friday, September 4th, 1953 in Pancras, London. His mother’s maiden name was Feldman. Michael has a brother, Howard.

Michael Stean
Michael Stean

He attended Latymer Upper School and Cambridge University.

His early chess days were spent at Richmond Junior Chess Club.

He became an International Master in 1975 and England’s third (OTB) Grandmaster in 1977 winning £2,500 from the Jim Slater Foundation.

His peak FIDE rating was 2540 in January 1979.

His mother (Jean) presented a trophy to the Marlow Congress (now the Berks and Bucks Congress) which became the Mrs. Jean Stean Cup.

Tony Miles and Michael Stean at the FIDE Zonal in Amsterdam, 1978. (Source: http://gahetna.nl)
Tony Miles and Michael Stean at the FIDE Zonal in Amsterdam, 1978. (Source: http://gahetna.nl)

According to British Chess (Pergamon, 1983) by Botterill, Levy, Rice and Richardson :

“Stean was educated at Cambridge University, He was equal first in the British Championship, Clacton, 1974, although only 4th in the playoff. He has been an important member of Korchnoi’s team for the last 5 years, and this perhaps has been responsible more than anything for the rounding out and maturing of his style from the sharp tactical play of the early 1970s to the solid positional GM (especially with the White pieces) of today.

Korchnoi, Stean and Keene try out matching vests and T-shirts from The University of Sussex sports centre, Falmer, East Sussex. It is likely that the yellow one was only worn for this press photo shoot.
Korchnoi, Stean and Keene try out matching vests and T-shirts from The University of Sussex sports centre, Falmer, East Sussex. It is likely that the yellow one was only worn for this press photo shoot.

Stean is a fine author; Simple Chess and the Sicilian Najdorf are both excellent books.

Michael Stean at the 1977 Lord John Cup
Michael Stean at the 1977 Lord John Cup

Temperamentally he is generally pleasant, good humoured and self confident, although he suffers from intermittent poor health which might help to explain his at times erratic results.”

According to Chessgames.com :

“Michael Francis Stean was born on the 4th of September 1953 in London, England. He finished 3rd at the 1973 World Junior Chess Championships behind Alexander Beliavsky and Tony Miles. Awarded the IM title in 1975 and the GM title in 1977 (The third Englishman to attain the title after Miles and Keene).

He finished 1st= in the 1974 British Championship but lost the play-off. He played on 5 English Olympiad teams from 1974 – 1983 and has won 1st prizes at Vrsac 1979, Smederevska Palanka 1980 and Beer Sheba 1982.

A specialist in Opening Theory he served as one of Viktor Korchnoi’s seconds in the 1977 – 1981 period. He is the author of Simple Chess, an introduction to chess strategy.”

Mchael Stean, Hastings 1972-1973. Source : British Chess Magazine, Volume 93, Number 2, page 53
Mchael Stean, Hastings 1972-1973. Source : British Chess Magazine, Volume 93, Number 2, page 53
The Robert Silk Fellowship Tournament, Canterbury, 1973. Source : British Chess Magazine, Volume 93, Number 5, page 192
The Robert Silk Fellowship Tournament, Canterbury, 1973. Source : British Chess Magazine, Volume 93, Number 5, page 192
Post-banquet photograph - left to right : Harry Golombek, Andras Adorjan, Danny Wright, Brian Eley, Michael Stean, D. Silk, Robert Silk, AK Henderson. The Robert Silk Fellowship Tournament, Canterbury, 1973. Source : British Chess Magazine, Volume 93, Number 5, page 192
Post-banquet photograph – left to right : Harry Golombek, Andras Adorjan, Danny Wright, Brian Eley, Michael Stean, D. Silk, Robert Silk, AK Henderson. The Robert Silk Fellowship Tournament, Canterbury, 1973. Source : British Chess Magazine, Volume 93, Number 5, page 192

Harry Golombek wrote this about Michael in a 1980 Dataday chess diary :

“The fact that he has sprung up into second place among English players as regards Elo ratings demonstrates the considerable advance Michael Stean has made in the course of a year.

Korchnoi vs Stean at the Philips & Drew Masters of 1980. The game was drawn in 19 moves.
Korchnoi vs Stean at the Philips & Drew Masters of 1980. The game was drawn in 19 moves.

In the 1978 diary I wrote that it would not be long before he gained the grandmaster title since he already possessed one norm of the title. The forecast proved to be correct as he duly acquired the title a few months after I wrote the prophecy.

He had though to take two more bites at the cherry before he managed to gain the required norms since the tournaments in which he played were not long events. They were Montilla in August 1977 where he came third below Gligoric and Kavalek and the Lord John Cup Tournament in London in September 1977 where he was equal 2nd with Quinteros and Mestel, first place being occupied by the Czechoslovak grandmaster, Hort.

Jan Timman plays Michael Stean at the 1978 Amsterdam FIDE Zonal. The Dutch GM won in 39 moves.
Jan Timman plays Michael Stean at the 1978 Amsterdam FIDE Zonal. The Dutch GM won in 39 moves.

Before that he had assisted Keene in seconding Korchnoi in his candidates match versus Polugayevsky and had done this to such effect that Korchnoi asked him and Keene to act as his seconds at his final match in the Candidates at Belgrade and later on still at the World Championship match against Karpov in the Philippines.

Nigel Short, Lubomir Kavalek and Michael Stean
Nigel Short, Lubomir Kavalek and Michael Stean

He also played successfully in Yugoslavia in 1977 (equal 2nd at Virovitica and equal 2nd at Bar). In 1978 he was 3rd at Beersheba below Korchnoi but head of Keene. Five points out of nine at the very strong Swiss System tournament at Lone Pine was followed by an excellent equal 4th with Miles at the tournament at Las Palmas. He has shown that he not only possesses the title of grandmaster but also plays like one.

Michael Stean (far right) at an unknown event
Michael Stean (far right) at an unknown event

A good example in the following game (Stean-Sax) against one of the joint first prize winners at the Las Palmas event. It was awarded the prize for the best game :”

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

“English player, International Grandmaster (1977). At Nice 1974, in the first of his several Olympiads, he won the brilliancy prize for his game against
Browne.

Since then he has had several good results: Montilia 1976, equal second with Kavalek and Ricardo Calvo (1943— ) after Karpov; Montilia 1977, third (-1-3 = 6)after Gligoric and Kavalek ahead of R. Byrne, Taimanov, and Andersson; London 1977. second (+4=4—1) equal with Mestel and Quinteros after Hort ; Vrsac 1979, first (+ 8=5—1); Smederevska Palanka 1980, first (+7-6); Beersheba 1982, first, Stean was one of Korchnoi’s seconds in the world championship cycles of 1977-8 and 1980-1, and the two became close friends.

In particular Stean provided help with the openings, a subject on which he specialises. He published a book on the Najdorf variation of the Sicilian defence in 1976, and Simple Chess, a guide to the understanding of positional ideas, in 1978.”

GM Michael Stean
GM Michael Stean

From Wikipedia :

“Michael Francis Stean (born 4 September 1953) is an English chess grandmaster, an author of chess books and a tax accountant.

Michael Stean chats with David Levy at the London Chess Classic
Michael Stean chats with David Levy at the London Chess Classic

The game below (Stean-Browne) was the first winner of the World Brilliancy Prize established in 1974 by Isador Samuel Turover. The value of the prize was $1,000.”

See Michael Stean’s Wikipedia entry for more

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

In 1983 at the height of his powers Michael left the chess work and became a tax accountant. He is now a senior partner at RSM UK.

Mchael Stean, tax accountant
Mchael Stean, tax accountant
Michael Francis Stean
Michael Francis Stean
Simple Chess by Michael Stean
Simple Chess by Michael Stean
Sicilian Najdorf by Michael Stean
Sicilian Najdorf by Michael Stean
Simple Chess by Michael Stean
Simple Chess by Michael Stean

Birthday of GM Stephen Gordon (04-ix-1986)

We wish Stephen Gordon all the best on his birthday, this day (September 4th) in 1986.

Stephen John Gordon was born on Thursday, September 4th 1986 in Oldham, Lancashire where he has lived since.

He attended The Blue Coat School in Oldham

He became a FIDE Master in 2004, an International Master in 2006 and a Grandmaster in 2009.

In 2012 he shared first place with Gawain Jones in the British Championships in North Shields.

2012 British Championships part crosstable
2012 British Championships part crosstable

According to Felice his peak FIDE rating was 2556 in September 2012 at the age of 26.

Crosstable from the 2013 Budapest First Saturday GM Tournament
Crosstable from the 2013 Budapest First Saturday GM Tournament

Stephen plays for 3Cs in the Manchester Chess League and for Wood Green in the London League and for 4NCL 3Cs in the Four Nations Chess League.

Stephen Gordon at the final 4NCL weekend in 2014. Courtesy of John Upham Photography
Stephen Gordon at the final 4NCL weekend in 2014. Courtesy of John Upham Photography

With the White pieces Stephen almost always plays 1.d4 aiming for a Queen’s Gambit and other main lines.

As the second player, Stephen plays the Sicilian Najdorf and the Nimzo-Indian Defence.

From Wikipedia :

“Stephen J. Gordon (born 4 September 1986) is an English chess grandmaster.

In September 2004 he took a break from his A-level studies at The Blue Coat School, Oldham to compete in the thirteenth Monarch Assurance Isle of Man International.

In 2005, while still a FIDE Master, he finished 6th in the British Championships ahead of a Grandmaster and several International Masters.

At the EU Individual Open Chess Championship held at Liverpool in 2006, he led the tournament after eight rounds and finished a very creditable (joint) second, a half point behind winner Nigel Short and level with Luke McShane among others.

Probably his best result to date however, was second place in the 2007 British Championship, narrowly losing his share of the lead in the final round. In previous rounds, he defeated both tournament victor Jacob Aagaard and previous champion Jonathan Rowson.

By 2008, his rating had reached grandmaster level, although the title itself had not yet been secured. At the British Championship in Liverpool, he almost repeated his performance of the previous year, by taking a share of third place. He was the British under-21 Champion each consecutive year between 2005 and 2008. He became a grandmaster on 1 August 2009.

He has been one of the co-presenters of the chess podcast The Full English Breakfast since its inaugural show in October 2010.”

Stephen Gordon at The Plough Public House in 2014 for the annual Drunken Knights vs Wood Green London League match. Courtesy of John Upham Photography
Stephen Gordon at The Plough Public House in 2014 for the annual Drunken Knights vs Wood Green London League match. Courtesy of John Upham Photography

For more see Wiki Entry for Stephen Gordon

GM Stephen Gordon, courtesy of John Upham Photography
GM Stephen Gordon, courtesy of John Upham Photography

Birthday of GM Jonathan Simon Speelman (02-xi-1956)

GM Jonathan Simon Speelman
GM Jonathan Simon Speelman

Birthday of GM Jonathan Simon Speelman (02-xi-1956)

From Wikipedia :

A winner of the British Chess Championship in 1978, 1985 and 1986, Speelman has been a regular member of the English team for the Chess Olympiad, an international biennial chess tournament organised by FIDE, the World Chess Federation.

Jonathan Simon Speelman (02-x-1956) as imagined by Roger Morgan, 1982
Jonathan Simon Speelman (02-x-1956) as imagined by Roger Morgan, 1982

He qualified for two Candidates Tournaments:

In the 1989–1990 cycle, Speelman qualified by placing third in the 1987 interzonal tournament held in Subotica, Yugoslavia. After beating Yasser Seirawan in his first round 4–1, and Nigel Short in the second round 3½–1½, he lost to Jan Timman at the semi-final stage 4½–3½.
In the following 1990–93 championship cycle, he lost 5½–4½ in the first round to Short, the eventual challenger for Garry Kasparov’s crown.
Speelman’s highest ranking in the FIDE Elo rating list was fourth in the world, in January 1989.[2]

GM Jonathan Speelman
GM Jonathan Speelman

In 1989, he beat Kasparov in a televised speed tournament, and then went on to win the event.

In the April 2007 FIDE list, Speelman had an Elo rating of 2518, making him England’s twelfth-highest-rated active player.

Writing
He has written a number of books on chess, including several on the endgame, among them Analysing the Endgame (1981), Endgame Preparation (1981) and Batsford Chess Endings (co-author, 1993).

Among his other books are Best Games 1970–1980 (1982), an analysis of nearly fifty of the best games by top players from that decade, and Jon Speelman’s Best Games (1997). Today he is primarily a chess journalist and commentator, being the chess correspondent for The Observer and The Independent and sometimes providing commentary for games on the Internet Chess Club.[citation needed]

Jonathan Speelman
Jonathan Speelman