Tag Archives: People

Ninety Today : John Roycroft

Arthur John Roycroft
Arthur John Roycroft

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

The Chess Endgame Study
The Chess Endgame Study

From Wikipedia :

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

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

Test Tube Chess
Test Tube Chess

Birthday Greetings Julian!

GM Julian Michael Hodgson
GM Julian Michael Hodgson

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

Julian Hodgson
Julian Hodgson

From Wikipedia :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GM Julian Hodgson
GM Julian Hodgson

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

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

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

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

Happy Birthday Tony !

Tony Kosten
Tony Kosten

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

From Wikipedia :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tony Kosten
Tony Kosten

Remembering Sir George Alan Thomas

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

Many Happy Returns Ketevan!

GM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant
GM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant

BCN wishes GM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant best wishes on her birthday, July 19th 1968

From Wikipedia :

In 1985, when she won the World Junior Chess Championship for Girls, held in Dobrna (and taking silver in Adelaide three years later). Very soon thereafter, she fulfilled the criteria for the Woman International Master title and this was awarded in 1986. Encouraged by these early successes, she quickly developed aspirations[citation needed] to become a Women’s World Championship contender and in the course of the qualification cycles of the late eighties and early nineties, proved that she had the ability to compete at the top level. Second place behind Nana Ioseliani in her first Interzonal at Tuzla 1987 was an inspirational start, but she won the 1993 event in Jakarta and the 1995 event in Kishinev. Her performances in the respective Candidates Tournaments ruled out an opportunity to play for the world title.

She won the Women’s Soviet Chess Championship in 1990.

Aside from world championship competitions, in 1990 she took first place at both the Biel Women’s Open and Geneva (IM), then followed up by winning the Doeberl Cup in Canberra, Australia in 1991; the first woman to do so. Her participation at the Hastings Premier in 1993/94, where she finished ahead of six male grandmasters and defeated three of them on her way to a share of third place. In respect of women competitors at Hastings, the result was second only to that of Judit Polgár.

In the nineties she participated in the Veterans vs Ladies dance-themed tournaments where she defeated Borislav Ivkov, Vlastimil Hort, Vasily Smyslov and Mark Taimanov.

In 1996, she married Jonathan Grant, also a chess player, and they settled in Edinburgh, later giving birth to daughter Elena.

In team chess, Arakhamia debuted at Chess Olympiad at Novi Sad in 1990, representing the USSR Ladies team as first reserve and registering a perfect 12/12 score. With the Soviet and then Georgian Ladies Teams, she has won nine Olympiad medals, and including two team and three individual gold medals. She has won medals at the European Team Chess Championships; a team gold at Pula in 1997 and team silver medals in 1992 and 2005.

Despite moving to the UK, Arakhamia continued to represent Georgia for many years, through membership of its national chess federation. She was the Georgian Ladies Champion in 1983, 1984 and 1990. In January 2008 however, she switched her registration to her adopted country.

GM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant
GM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant

Post-millennium, she has won a bronze medal at the Women’s European Individual Championship at Warsaw in 2001. She was Scottish champion jointly with Paul Motwani in 2003 (the first ever woman to achieve the honour) and has participated at the British Championship, taking the Ladies’ Champion titles of 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007. In 2006, she finished just a half point behind overall Championship winner Jonathan Rowson. She concluded with a 4½/5 finish, including a win against Nick Pert in the last round. 2006 was also the year that her husband took first place in the Scottish Championship, making them the first ever husband–wife pair to win a full national championship. Also in 2006, at Batumi Georgia, she assisted the Australian squad by coaching their Under-10 Girls at the World Youth Chess Championship.

In 2007, she beat former U.S. Champion Hikaru Nakamura at Gibraltar Masters, in a 100-move first round encounter. Journalist John Saunders describes Arakhamia-Grant as the ideal role model: “her charming and dignified manner belies a tough, determined fighter at the board.”[citation needed] At Philadelphia, while visiting her sister, she played the World Open and finished top woman. As the tournament was a qualifier for the MonRoi Women’s Grand Prix, she earned a place in the Montreal finale, held just a few weeks later. There, she shared the lead after five rounds and finished in joint fourth place (Pia Cramling won). As part of the Liverpool European Capital of Culture festivities, she played in the United Kingdom vs China match and was top scorer for the UK with 4/6, although China won the match.

Arakhamia-Grant at the 2008 EU Championship
At the 2008 EU Individual Open Chess Championship in Liverpool, she shared the highest scoring woman prize with Jovanka Houska and Yelena Dembo. At the Olympiad in Dresden, she played for Scotland in the main event and completed her final grandmaster norm with victory in the final round. Having additionally met the 2500 Elo rating requirement in the January 2009 FIDE list, she was awarded the title in March 2009, making her Scotland’s sixth grandmaster. In August 2009 Arakhamia-Grant won the Baltic Queen round-robin tournament in Saint Petersburg.[1]

In July 2011 she won the Scottish Championship outright, finishing with the score of 7/9.

In league chess, Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant has played for OSC Baden-Baden in the Women’s Bundesliga and for Georgian team Interplast Tbilisi in the European Club Cup. For the 2008/9 season, she represents Wood Green Hilsmark Kingfisher 1 in the British 4NCL.

GM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant
GM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant

Happy Birthday John Rice !

John Michael Rice
John Michael Rice

BCN sends best wishes to John Michael Rice on his birthday, July 19th in 1937.

An ABC of Chess Problems
An ABC of Chess Problems

From chesscomposers.blogspot.com :

John Rice was the chief editor of the problems section of the “British Chess Magazine” from 1961 until 1974 and is a faithful collaborator of “The Problemist”. He has written “Chess Problem: Introduction to an Art” (1963) together with Robin Matthews and Michael Lipton and “The Two-Move Chess Problem” (1966), “Serieshelpmates” (1978) with Anthony Dickins or “Chess Wizardry: The New ABC of Chess Problems” (1996).

He composes mostly direct mates, but can composes as well in other genres, including fairies. He is an International Judge for twomovers, helpmates and fairy problems and the former President of the PCCC from 2004 until 2006.

John was awarded the title of “International Grandmaster for chess compositions” in 2015.

John Michael Rice
John Michael Rice

Many Happy Returns Nigel !

IM Nigel Povah
IM Nigel Povah

BCN wishes IM Nigel Edward Povah all the best on his birthday, July 17th in 1952.

Chess Training : Nigel Povah
Chess Training : Nigel Povah

From Wikipedia :

Nigel Edward Povah (born 17 July 1952 in Wandsworth, London) is a British chess player. He is an International Master at over-the-board chess and a grandmaster at correspondence chess. Povah is the author of Chess Training. He is reckoned to be the UK’s strongest correspondence chess player since Jonathan Penrose. Povah has one son, Jonathan Povah.

Sicilian Lasker-Pelikan
Sicilian Lasker-Pelikan

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