Best Wishes GM Dr. Jonathan Mestel (13-iii-1957)

GM Jonathan Mestel at a Winton Capital BCPS event at Eton College, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
GM Jonathan Mestel at a Winton Capital BCPS event at Eton College, Courtesy of John Upham Photography

Best wishes to GM Dr. Jonathan Mestel on his birthday

Early Years

A(ndrew) Jonathan Mestel was born in Cambridge on Wednesday, March 13th 1957. On this day the Presidential Palace in Havana was attacked with the object of killing Fulgencio Batista, the incumbent President.

Jonathan’s parents were Leon and Sylvia Louise Mestel (née Cole) who were married in 1951. Leon was a world-class astronomer and astrophysicist whose PhD supervisor was Fred Hoyle. Jonathan has a brother Ben and sisters Rosie and Leo.

Growing Up

Living in Cambridge he attended Newnham Croft Primary School and at the age six was taught chess by his father Leon. By the age of seven Jonathan was matching his father and not long afterwards he was beating him consistently. East Cheshire Chess Club was his first club and therefore the opportunity to play adults other than his father.

MGS and Beards

The Mestel family moved to Manchester in around 1967 and Jonathan attended Manchester Grammar School along with chess players Emmanuel Rayner and Ian Watson. Famously he grew a substantial beard and moustache and apparently “they (MGS) disapproved of it” resulting in a ban until the beard was removed. Jonathan duly obliged and returned to school but was sent home once more since he had retained the moustache: “They did not mention the moustache!” we are told. A further ban was resolved when the offending item was also removed.

Mathematics

Jonathan obtained a PhD in mathematics from Trinity College, Cambridge and the associated thesis was entitled “Magnetic Levitation of Liquid Metals”.

Jonathan is Professor of Applied Mathematics at Imperial College London. As well as teaching, his research interests include magnetohydrodynamics and biological fluid dynamics.

Marriage

In the third quarter of 1982 Jonathan married Anna O’Donovan in Cambridge and they soon settled in the central Cambridge area where they remain to this day. They have a son, David.

Bridge

Jonathan has represented England at bridge joining a group of English players such as Peter Lee and John Cox who also represented their country at bridge. Paul Littlewood, Paul Lamford and Natasha Regan are amongst many others who have combined bridge and chess to a high level . Here is Jonathan’s English Bridge Union page. He remains highly ranked in the bridge world to this day.

Jonathan noted:

I should mention that all my hair fell out for no obvious nor serious reason – neither my bidding nor partner’s dummies are responsible. Few would argue with that last statement.

Serious Chess & Prize Money

His earliest recorded appearance in chess databases is from the Rhyl based British Under-14 championship in 1969 where he beat DA Winter. The eventual winner of that event was  Jonathan Speelman. Jonathan M. recounts that he shared 3rd place with two others and that the prize allotted to the three of them was a whopping £2 10s to be divided equally. This amounted to 16s 8p each. Since the entry fee was 15s it meant he had cleared a notable profit of 1s and 8 pence!

The following year all British Championships competitors were sent to Coventry and Jonathan and Jonathan shared the Under-16 title whilst Bob Wade won the main event with 8/11.

1971 was no less successful and Jonathan travelled to the location of England’s Eiffel Tower (Blackpool) returning home with the British Under-18 title. Jonathan mentioned that he should have entered the Under-21 event instead.

Jonathan Mestel during the 1972-73 Hastings Premier. Source : BCM, page 56.
Jonathan Mestel during the 1972-73 Hastings Premier. Source : BCM, 1973, page 56.

First British Championship

Brighton 1972 was Jonathan’s first appearance in the “main event” having  broken the record for the youngest qualifier. This record was later broken by Richard Webb and then by Nigel Short. His final score was a creditable 6.5/11 giving him =5th overall aged 15 years and seven months. In 1972 this was an incredible achievement. Regrettably, these days achievements such as this appear to pass unreported.

At Eastbourne 1973 he was =7th with possibly the best hair cut of anyone:

English chess player and mathematician Jonathan Mestel during the British Chess Championships at Eastbourne, East Sussex, UK, 14th August 1973. (Photo by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
English chess player and mathematician Jonathan Mestel during the British Chess Championships at Eastbourne, East Sussex, UK, 14th August 1973. (Photo by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

International Events

1974 was a breakthrough year internationally as Jonathan won the (unofficial) World Cadet Championship in Pont Sainte Maxence in southern France. The following year IM David Goodman followed up by winning the same title.

Partial Crosstable for the 1974 (unofficial) World Cadet Championship.
Partial Crosstable for the 1974 (unofficial) World Cadet Championship.

Interestingly travel arrangements for the above event were not so smooth as was the crossing of the English Channel. The hovercraft broke down; Jonathan arrived much later than anticipated and unable to find civilised accommodation leading to an Orwellian style “Down and Out in Paris” sleeping arrangement in a Paris gutter.

At Clacton 1974 Jonathan was one of seven who finished on 7/11, the title going to George Botterill after an all-play-all play-off in Wales.

1975 started well with a bronze medal in Tjentiste (former Yugoslavia now Bosnia Herzegovina) for the World Junior Championship (happening at the same as the British in Morecambe preventing a 1975 British Championship appearance).

Partial Crosstable for the 1975 World Junior Championship in Tjentiste
Partial Crosstable for the 1975 World Junior Championship in Tjentiste

First IM Norm

1976 brought further success at Portland School, Edgbaston with a first place scoring 8/10 and an IM norm in the Birmingham International tournament:

Full Crosstable for the 1976 Birmingham International
Full Crosstable for the 1976 Birmingham International

and here is a sparkling game from the 1976 Robert Silk Fellowship Tournament:

British Champion

Jonathan followed this at the Portsmouth 1976 British Championships with a splendid outright first place with 9.5/11 , the highest score since Malik Mir Sultan Khan in 1933. Also, nine consecutive wins from the starting gun  was most definitely a record!

British chess player and mathematician Jonathan Mestel, August 1976. (Photo by Fresco/Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
British chess player and mathematician Jonathan Mestel, August 1976. (Photo by Fresco/Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Leonard Barden assessed Mestel’s performance this in the Guardian:

“Jonathan Mestel’s reaction at Portsmouth to become British Champion at age 19, the youngest ever, and with a record series of nine wins, was characteristically low-key. He declined an interview with BBC’s World at One in favour of a continued sojourn on the beach, declined an invitation to the Chorley Congress (where the inducements for him to play were rumoured to include a chauffeured Rolls-Royce from station to town hall, and where the points might well have enabled him to overhaul the leader in the £1,000 Cutty Sark Grand Prix) in favour of a holiday in France, and even ‘declined’ the chance of a record total in the final round when he gifted a pawn in the opening to Whiteley in simple fashion”

Barden went on to praise Mestel as, along with Miles, one of the two young players ‘with genuine promise of ultimately reaching the world super-class.’

1977 led to the International Master title and in 1982 the Grandmaster title. In reality, the GM title should  have been awarded two years earlier from Esberg 1979 but more on this FIDE blunder later.

In the 1979 Dataday Chess Diary Harry Golombek OBE wrote this:

“I wrote in last years diary that I doubted whether Jonathan would ever change his variability, adding ‘Probably there will always recur this rise to the heights and fall to lower levels.’

To some extent this is still true. But his play in 1977 and 1978 has shown a greater firmness of purpose and revealed more powers of endurance and stamina than I had realised he possessed earlier on. Thus, for instance, in the last round of the European Team Championship finals at Moscow in 1977, playing the black pieces against the West German master Kestler, he was the last to finish and he defeated his opponent after nearly 12 hours play and some 105 moves.

At the Praxis British Zonal in February 1987 here at the roman baths. Murray Chandler, Jonathan Speelman, and Jonathan Mestel
At the Praxis British Zonal in February 1987 here at the roman baths. Murray Chandler, Jonathan Speelman, and Jonathan Mestel

He is one of our players who is nearing the grandmaster title, both in play and, as it were, in figures. At the Lord John Cup Tournament in London, September 1977, he obtained the g.m. norm by coming equal 2nd with Quinteros and Stean below Hort. He did this with a score of 6 when 5.5 would have been sufficient for the norm.

Full crosstable from the Lord John Cup 1977
Full crosstable from the Lord John Cup 1977

To my mind he is the ideal tournament competitor since he can always be relied upon to delight the onlooker with some fresh and original piece of chess. It is this talent which makes me think there is practically no limit to the heights he may attain as a player.

England plays Italy at Haifa 1976. Miles played Tatai, Keene played Toth, Hartston played Grinza and Mestel played Micheli
England plays Italy at Haifa 1976. Miles played Tatai, Keene played Toth, Hartston played Grinza and Mestel played Micheli

In the following game, played at the European Team Championships at Moscow 1977, Mestel gives signs of a new and mature sureness of purpose, whilst retaining all his incisive and ambitious qualities.

Beating the Russians

In 1978 Jonathan was part of the English team of Mestel, Speelman Taulbut, Goodman and Jonathan Kinlay that travelled to Mexico and won  the World Under-26 Student Team Championships. This was a huge achievement as beating the USSR in a chess team event simply did not happen. It is not clear even that the Russian team were all bona fide students: some looking decidedly unstudent like!

(from l-r) Jonathan Kinlay, Shaun Taulbut, Jonathan Speelman, David Goodman and Jonathan Mestel accepting 1st prize at the 1978 World U26 Student Olympiad in Mexico City
(from l-r) Jonathan Kinlay, Shaun Taulbut, Jonathan Speelman, David Goodman and Jonathan Mestel accepting 1st prize at the 1978 World U26 Student Olympiad in Mexico City

The splendid Aztec calendar trophy you can see Jonathan clutching above was taken back to England and generously donated to Bob Wade who, in turn, wrote in his will that it should be returned to Jonathan. To this day this wonderful trophy proudly lives with Jonathan and Anna in their house in Cambridge.

When is a Norm not a Norm?

From British Chess (Pergamon Press, 1983), Botterill, Levy, Rice and Richardson we have this appreciation by George Botterill:

“The tournament at Esbjerg in 1979 was a bitter-sweet experience for Mestel. He won many fine games on the way to sharing first place with the hefty score of 9.5 out of 13.

Full Crosstable for 4th (1979) Esbjerg North Sea Cup
Full Crosstable for 4th (1979) Esbjerg North Sea Cup

But the real prize for which he was competing was the final norm that would have completed his qualification for the title of grandmaster. In the last round a draw would have been sufficient, but it was not day for peaceful negotiation since his adversary was also his nearest rival, Vadasz, who needed to win in order to tie for first place.

The nervous strain of having two aims in sight, first place and the coveted norm, told on Mestel who played rather beneath himself to lose. It was some consolation that the following victory over Finland’s leading player was hailed as the best game of the tournament.”

If the previous game gives you the idea that Mestel is especially skilled in the handling of an attacking phalanx of pawns, just take a look at this contribution to England’s bronze-medal result in the 1980 European Team Championship.

It is nice to be able to conclude that since the above was written Mestel’s chess status has changed and the story of his near miss at Esbjerg in 1979 turns out to have a happy ending. His GM title was ratified by the FIDE Congress at Lucerne 1982*.”

*It transpired that the initial norm calculation in 1979 was incorrect and it should have been awarded after all. Better late than never!

Quite a good day!

Jonathan recounts that on St. George’s Day (April 23rd) 1982 he had an important interview in the morning in Cambridge which went very well followed by round eight of the Phillips and Drew Masters at the GLC in London against Lajos Portisch. Here is that game:

So quite a good day all in all!

From The Oxford Companion to Chess (OUP,  second edition, 1996) by Hooper & Whyld:

“English player, British Champion 1976, 1983 and 1988, World Under-18 Champion 1974, International] Grandmaster (1982). In the 1976 British Championship he made a record by winning 9 successive games. Mestel’s opportunities for master play are infrequent – he is a lecturer at a University; he scored perhaps his best at London 1977 when he was second ( +4=4—1) equal with Quinteros and Stean after Hort, and he has played several times in the English Olympiad team since 1976. Mestel also an outstanding solver of chess problems, has represented his country in world team solving championships, and was awarded the title of International Solving Master in 1986”

Jonathan Mestel flanked by John Nunn and Ray Keene
Jonathan Mestel flanked by John Nunn and Ray Keene

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

“British Master and British Champion 1976, who was born in Cambridge and packed into the three years 1974-6, in the period of time when he grew from seventeen to nineteen, more chess and more success than most people achieve in a long lifetime.

He first made his presence felt in the international field when he won the cadet championship at Pont Sainte–Maxene in France in 1974. This was an unofficial world under-18 championship and he confirmed this good impression by very nearly winning the British Championship in Clacton in the same year. He figured in a seven-way tie for first place but failed to win the play-off for the title.

Jonathan Mestel
Jonathan Mestel

The next he gained his first international master norm at the Birmingham international tournament where he finished equal second with Matera (USA) and Miles (England), a point below Matulovic of Yugoslavia whom he beat in their individual game.

He was little disappointing in the World Junior Championship at Tjentiste in Yugoslavia in 1975 in which he came third below the Russian Chekov and the US player Larry Christiansen. It was thought that, talented though he was, Mestel lacked stability and was too variable in his form to achieve the highest honours.

But the next year, 1976, was to show that was quite a false appreciation of his talents and character. First in April he won and international tournament which, if not as strong a the previous Birmingham, was still touch event to win ahead of the Yugoslav Grandmaster Damjanovic.

Jonathan Mestel
Jonathan Mestel

Then came a most remarkable achievement in the British Championship at Portsmouth where he won his first nine games in succession thereby winning the title and establishing a record for the British Championship with his run of victories.”

A. Howard Williams, Martyn J. Corden, Paul E. Littlewood and A. Jonathan Mestel
A. Howard Williams, Martyn J. Corden, Paul E. Littlewood and A. Jonathan Mestel

Mestel has his own named variation in the Giuoco Piano first played in Mestel-Doyle, Dublin 1975:

Olympiads and Team Events

According to Wikipedia : “Between 1976 and 1988, he was a frequent member of the English Chess Olympiad squad, winning three team medals (two silver and one bronze). In 1984, he earned an individual gold medal for an outstanding (7/9, 78%) performance on his board. Other notable results for English teams occurred in 1978 at the World Student Olympiad in Mexico and at the 1983 European Team Chess Championship in Plovdiv. Both of these events yielded gold-medal winning performances, the latter being exceptional for the highest percentage score (6/7, 85%) on any board. As a player of league chess, he has been a patron of the 4NCL since its earliest days and represented The Gambit ADs in the 2008/9 season.” Jonathan revealed that his most pleasing OTB performance ever was that of Plovdiv.

Solving and Composition

Jonathan has maintained a long time interest in problems and studies, both solving them and composing them.  In 1986 he was awarded the International Master title for solving and in 1997 the International Grandmaster title for solving and in the same year he won the World Chess Solving Championship.

Jonathan Mestel at the 2014 Winton Capital British Solving Championships at Eton College, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
Jonathan Mestel at the 2014 Winton Capital British Solving Championships at Eton College, Courtesy of John Upham Photography

He has represented England in the World Team Solving Championships on many occasions winning in 1986, 1990 (shared with USSR), and then a run of 2005, 2006 and 2007.

The successful 2010 England team in the World Solving Championships of David Friedgood, John Nunn, Jonathan Mestel and Colin McNab
The successful 2010 England team in the World Solving Championships of David Friedgood, John Nunn, Jonathan Mestel and Colin McNab

He has played many times in the Lloyds Bank and (now) Winton Capital sponsored British Solving Championships (quite often located at Eton College, Berkshire). He has won the individual title firstly in 1982-83 and then a further 17 times not to mention many times as runner-up.

Winners of the Lloyds Bank 1987-8 British Solving Championships: (l-r) David Friedgood (runner-up), Sir Jeremy Morse, Jonathan Mestel (winner) and Jonathan Lennox (third-place)
Winners of the Lloyds Bank 1987-8 British Solving Championships: (l-r) David Friedgood (runner-up), Sir Jeremy Morse, Jonathan Mestel (winner) and Jonathan Lennox (third-place)

Here are a few examples:

Firstly a prize winning study…

J. Mestel
1.p Niekarker Kruujebitter Ty (tt), 2006

[FEN “8/4pP1k/5q1p/4p3/ppQpP3/3K1pp1/2P5/6R1 w – – 0 1”]

White to Play
and Draw

SOLUTION

1.Qe6! [1.Qc8? Qxf7] 1…Qxe6 2.f8Q [2.f8N+? Kh8! (2…Kg8? 3.Nxe6 g2 4.Nxd4 exd4 5.Kxd4) 3.Nxe6 g2] 2…f2 [2…Qa6+ 3.Kd2 Qe2+ 4.Kc1 Qe3+ 5.Kb2] 3.Rxg3 f1Q+ [3…Qa6+ 4.Kd2 f1N+ 5.Kc1 Nxg3 6.Qf7+] 4.Qxf1 Qa6+ 5.c4! bxc3+ [5…dxc3+ 6.Ke3! (6.Kc2? b3+!) 6…Qxf1 7.Rg7+ Kh8 8.Rg8+ Kh7 9.Rg7+ Kxg7] 6.Kc2 Qxf1 7.Rg7+ Kh8 8.Rg8+ Kh7 9.Rg7+ Kxg7 ½-½

and another study:

and another:

and

and

and now a problem:

Jonathan Mestel
British Chess Magazine, 2007

#3, 7+6

GM Jonathan Mestel at the 2016 Winton Capital British Solving Championships at Eton College, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
GM Jonathan Mestel at the 2016 Winton Capital British Solving Championships at Eton College, Courtesy of John Upham Photography

Here is his staff page from Imperial College, London

and his personal page may be found here

A.J.Mestel. Not Your Ordinary Grandmaster. by Neil Blackburn (aka Simaginfan).

Here is his Wikipedia entry

Remembering IM William Fairhurst CBE (21-viii-1903 13-iii-1982)

IM William Albert Fairhurst CBE
IM William Albert Fairhurst CBE

Remembering IM William Fairhurst CBE (21-viii-1903 13-iii-1982)

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

“WA Fairhurst is a North Country man, born in Cheshire in 1903, but he has lived the best part of his life in Scotland. He has been Scottish Champion of many years running, and once captured the British Championship. In his last tournament, London, 1946 he failed to get into the prize list. He is, however, a fine tactician, original in opening play and a dangerous opponent to contend with.

By profession he is a civil engineer and has left his mark as a designer of a special framework for pre-fabricated houses.”

IM William Albert Fairhurst CBE (21-viii-1903 -13-iii-1982) Source : The Anglo-Soviet Radio Chess Match
IM William Albert Fairhurst CBE (21-viii-1903 -13-iii-1982) Source : The Anglo-Soviet Radio Chess Match

From The Encyclopedia of Chess by Anne Sunnucks :

“International chess master, British Champion in 1937 and Scottish Champion in 1932, 1933, 1934, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949 and 1962.

Born in Alderney Edge in Cheshire on 21st August 1903, Fairhurst taught himself to play chess from books on the game, when he was 13, when he was 18 he won the Cheshire Championship.

His first major international success was at Scarborough in 1927, where he tied for Yates for 2nd prize, ahead of Bogoljubov, Sir George Thomas, Buerger, among others.

In 1931 he went to live to Scotland, quickly established himself as a leader of Scottish chess and played a major role in agreements between the British Chess Federation and the Scottish Chess Association. In 1932 he gave a blindfold simultaneous display, winning nine games and drawing three, in the Polytechnic Club in Glasgow, and in 1933 he drew match of six games against Eliskases.

Fairhurst has represented Great Britain in matches against Czechoslovakia and the USSR in 1946 and 1947; against the Netherlands in 1937, 1938, 1949 and 1952 and against the USSR in 1954. He also played in the Great Britain v. Australia radio match in 1947. He has represented Scotland in six chess Olympiads, those of 1933, 1956, 1958, 1964, 1966 and 1968.

Scene at London. From left to right - Seated : Fairhurst, List and Winter in play. Standing König and Sir George Thomas
Scene at London. From left to right – Seated : Fairhurst, List and Winter in play. Standing König and Sir George Thomas

At Hastings in 1947 he came 5th and went through the tournament without losing a game.

IM William Fairhurst CBE (21-viii-1903 13-iii-1982)
IM William Fairhurst CBE (21-viii-1903 13-iii-1982)

Senior partner of a leading firm of engineers and designer of the new bridge over the River Tay at Dundee (the longest river crossing in Europe), Fairhurst was Chairman of the Scottish Branch of the Institute of Structural Engineers and author of Arch Design Simplified. He was also a member of the Royal Fine Art Commission for Scotland.”

In the March issue of CHESS for 1963, (Volume 28, Number 427, pp.147-155)  William Winter wrote this:

An Englishman turned Scot

Fairhurst, British champion in 1937, and umpteen times champion of Scotland is happily still in practice. He is a fine player well equipped in all departments of the game and would undoubtedly have done much more than he did but for the claims of business. Born in Lancashire he is now domiciled in Scotland and has become more Scottish than the Scots themselves. He caused me great trepidation during the Buxton congress in 1950, when he picked me up in his motor-car and drove at high speed down a spiral road with a precipice on one side while he declaimed about the tenets of the extreme wing of Scottish Nationalism. I have myself a good deal of sympathy, with the aspirations of the movement but I am sure this was not the way to make a convert. He still plays for Lancashire in the British Counties’ championship and it was in this competition that I met him at Manchester in 1953. I little thought as I sat down at the board that this was to be the last match-game I would ever play. I am glad to say that it was a good one.

 

 

 

Arch Design Simplified
Arch Design Simplified

Here are his games

Here is his Wikipedia entry

According to Edward Winter in Chess Notes WAF lived at the following addresses :

  • 53 Northern Grove, West Didsbury, Manchester, England (correspondence championship pairing-notice, 1924*).
  • 6 Capel Avenue, Newton Mearns, Scotland (Hastings and St Leonards Chess Club visitors’ book, 1 January 1938*).

Remembering William Norwood Potter, (27-viii-1840 13-iii-1895)

William Norwood Potter
William Norwood Potter

Death Anniversary of William Norwood Potter, (27-viii-1840 13-iii-1895)

William Norwood Potter
William Norwood Potter

Here is his Wikipedia entry

From The Oxford Encyclopedia of Chess by Hooper & Whyld :

“Leading English player of the 1870s, barristers clerk. He met strong opposition in only one tournament, London 1876, when he took third place after Blackburne and Zukertort. In match
play he lost to Zukertort in 1875 ( + 2=8—4) and drew with Mason in 1879 ( + 5=11—5). Potter was editor of the London Chess Magazine (1874-6)

The London  Chess Magazine
The London Chess Magazine

and wrote for the Westminster Papers and Land and Water, contributing annotations of a high standard to all three journals. He played a part in the development of new ideas attributed to Steinitz, with whom he established a firm friendship and to whom he may have shown the ideas of the English School (see schools of chess), in 1872 the London Chess Club, represented by Blackburne, Horwitz, Lowenthal, Potter, Steinitz, and Wisker, began a correspondence match of two games against a Viennese team led by Kolisch for stakes of £100 a side, (The moves were sent by telegraph and confirmed by letter.) Unable to accept the ideas of Potter and Steinitz, the rest of the London team soon withdrew, leaving these two to play on. They won the match. Subsequently Steinitz declared
that ‘modern chess’ began with these two games.

The City of London Chess Magazine
The City of London Chess Magazine

The Potter Variation in the Scotch is :

n.b. The Potter Memorial correspondence tournament was named after Reginald Potter, a past president of the BPCF.

William Norwood Potter, (27-viii-1840 13-iii-1895) from Howard Staunton, The English World Chess Champion
William Norwood Potter, (27-viii-1840 13-iii-1895) from Howard Staunton, The English World Chess Champion

Remembering IM William Albert Fairhurst CBE (21-viii-1903 13-iii-1982)

IM William Albert Fairhurst CBE
IM William Albert Fairhurst CBE

Remembering IM William Albert Fairhurst CBE (21-viii-1903 13-iii-1982)

From The Encyclopedia of Chess by Anne Sunnucks :

“International chess master, British Champion in 1937 and Scottish Champion in 1932, 1933, 1934, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949 and 1962.

Born in Alderney Edge in Cheshire on 21st August 1903, Fairhurst taught himself to play chess from books on the game, when he was 13, when he was 18 he won the Cheshire Championship.

His first major international success was at Scarborough in 1927, where he tied for Yates for 2nd prize, ahead of Bogoljubov, Sir George Thomas, Buerger, among others.

In 1931 he went to live to Scotland, quickly established himself as a leader of Scottish chess and played a major role in agreements between the British Chess Federation and the Scottish Chess Association. In 1932 he gave a blindfold simultaneous display, winning nine games and drawing three, in the Polytechnic Club in Glasgow, and in 1933 he drew match of six games against Eliskases.

Fairhurst has represented Great Britain in matches against Czechoslovakia and the USSR in 1946 and 1947; against the Netherlands in 1937, 1938, 1949 and 1952 and against the USSR in 1954. He also played in the Great Britain v. Australia radio match in 1947. He has represented Scotland in six chess Olympiads, those of 1933, 1956, 1958, 1964, 1966 and 1968.

At Hastings in 1947 he came 5th and went through the tournament without losing a game.

Senior partner of a leading firm of engineers and designer of the new bridge over the River Tay at Dundee (the longest river crossing in Europe), Fairhurst was Chairman of the Scottish Branch of the Institute of Structural Engineers and author of Arch Design Simplified. He was also a member of the Royal Fine Art Commission for Scotland.”

Arch Design Simplified
Arch Design Simplified

Here are his games

Here is his Wikipedia entry

Happy Birthday Mandy Hepworth (12-iii-1968)

Mandy Hepworth
Mandy Hepworth

BCN wishes Mandy Hepworth Happy Birthday (12-iii-1968)

Mandy Allison S. Hepworth was born in Scunthorpe, (now) Humberside (but at the time Lincolnshire) on Tuesday, March 12th 1968 to Neville Ian Hepworth and Alice Hepworth (née Ma). Neville was a Computer Manager and Alice Ma was originally from Singapore. The family moved to “Mulgoa”, The Fleet, Fittleworth, Pulborough, RH20 1HS, West Sussex.

(Thanks to David Mills who updated us on the Lincolnshire / Humberside issue)

Neville taught Mandy how to play chess.

She attended Westergate Comprehensive and Community School where Peter Barton coached both the boys and the girls teams.

From The Bognor and Arun Chess Club Archive we have :

“One particular junior, Mandy Hepworth, came to notice. In the British championships at Brighton in 1980 she came first equal in the girls under-14 competition. Peter Barton also organised some external competitions and from 1981 for a few years he organised young masters’ tournaments at the Westergate School after receiving sponsorship from the Amey Roadstone Corporation. ”

From The Bognor Regis Observer we have :

Westergate girls were chess queens in 1980

This group of girls had every reason to smile ‘“ they had just pulled off the school chess world’s equivalent of David v Goliath.

It was January 1980 and they all attended Westergate Comprehensive and Community School and had just beaten the mighty Dorothy Skinner High School, in Brighton, to qualify for the final of the Sussex Girls under-16 chess championships. Pictured from left: Melaine Wright, 11, Mandy Hepworth, 11, Lesley Glen, 11, Deborah Baxter, 12, Gail Curryer, 11, and Tracey Redding, 12.
It was January 1980 and they all attended Westergate Comprehensive and Community School and had just beaten the mighty Dorothy Skinner High School, in Brighton, to qualify for the final of the Sussex Girls under-16 chess championships. Pictured from left: Melaine Wright, 11, Mandy Hepworth, 11, Lesley Glen, 11, Deborah Baxter, 12, Gail Curryer, 11, and Tracey Redding, 12.

“It was January 1980 and they all attended Westergate Comprehensive and Community School and had just beaten the mighty Dorothy Skinner High School, in Brighton, to qualify for the final of the Sussex Girls under-16 chess championships.

The team’s captain, Mandy Hepworth, who was just 11-years-old at the time, was lauded by the school’s chess teacher as “one of the hottest properties in junior chess”.

His name was Peter Barton and, according to the report published in the Observer on January 25 1980, he had masterminded something of a chess resurgence at Westergate.”

Some 50 youngsters at the school were playing chess proficiently and 10 of them were girls.

Even though junior chess was somewhat dominated by boys at the time, Mr Barton was confident his girls could deal with any challenge thrown at them by anyone – and he had high hopes for Mandy.

He told the paper: ‘For a girl she has remarkable ability and we would hope to enter her for the British junior championships later this year.

In the past it has always been a boys’ game but, if you can catch the girls when they are young and keep their enthusiasm, there is no reason why they cannot go on to become masters.’

Does anyone know if the girls won the final? Did Mandy make it to the British junior championships?”

Mandy Hepworth
Mandy Hepworth

Mandy entered her first major competition when she was 11 and beat her father when she was 14. She became the Under-12 British Girls’ Champion (Ed: this is not correct) and the Under-14 Champion in Brighton, 1980 (shared with Susan Walker), the Under-16 Champion in Brighton, 1984

In 1985 she played in the Eileen Tranmer Memorial in Brighton. All the players resided in the same guest house. The event was organised by Ray Keene. Mandy was 4th with a TPR of 2296.

In 1986 she represented England in the Women’s Olympiad (Dubai) and scored an excellent 75% on the Reserve Board.

In 1988 she played at the Oakham Young Masters and had a tough time scoring 2.5/9

In October 1988 she travelled to Adelaide, Australia to play in the World Under-20 Girls’ Championship.

Following that we have no further information. It would appear (perhaps you can help?) that Mandy gave up competitive chess and did not play again.

1986 Press Release for Mandy Hepworth. Warning : some details are not entirely accurate.
1986 Press Release for Mandy Hepworth. Warning : some details are not entirely accurate.

We end with this against an experienced opponent :

Remembering John Cochrane, (04-ii-1798 02-iii-1878)

John Cochrane
John Cochrane

Death Anniversary of John Cochrane, (04-ii-1798 02-iii-1878)

Here is his Wikipedia entry

From The Oxford Companion to Chess by Hooper & Whyld :

Scottish player, barrister, called to the bar in 1822. If the so-called romantic style existed then Cochrane has a claim to be regarded as its founder. A dashing player, he attacked at all costs often sacrificing pieces with abandon, a style that was successful in the England of the 1820s; but when in 1821 he went to Paris, then the world’s chess centre, he was beaten by both Deschapelles and Bourdonnais. Subsequently he studied the game but he did not change his style. In 1822 he published A Treatise on the Game of Chess, a popular book largely based on Traite des Amateurs (see Verdoni) and Lolli but with a few contributions of his own.

Although Cochrane came from an old Scottish family he led the London team in the famous correspondence match against Edinburgh, 1824-8. He persuaded his team to play the Scotch Gambit, but when London had obtained a fine position Cochrane left for India. Although the Londoners, led by Lewis, failed to carry the attack, the Scotch Gambit became fashionable for more than 15 years, and other lively attacking openings were developed.

Cochrane stayed in India until his retirement in 1869 except for one visit to England, 1841-3, when he played hundreds of friendly games against Staunton, who began by winning a large majority, Wilhelm Steinitz knew both contestants and states that their last encounter was a match of 12 games. Staunton conceding pawn and move for the first six- and that Cochrane made an even score when receiving odds but won (-1-3—2— !) when playing on even terms, John Cochrane should not be confused with James Cochrane (c, 1770-1830), co-author of a book on the Muzio gambit.

The Cochrane Gambit is :

and the Cochrane Variation in the King’s Gambit is :

The Sicilian Defence, Staunton-Cochrane Variation is :

and the Scotch Gambit, Cochrane Variation is :

The Cochrane Defence is a drawing method for in the rook, bishop & king vs rook & king ending.

Happy Birthday IM Peter Large (02-iii-1956)

Peter Graham Large (Front row , far left)
Peter Graham Large (Front row , far left)

BCN wishes Happy Birthday to IM Peter Graham Large (02-iii-1956)

Peter is a solicitor by day and originates from Bromley in Kent and plays for Epsom Chess Club in the Surrey League.

Peter was Southern Counties (SCCU) champion for the 1979-80, 1987-88 and 1990-91 seasons.

He became an International Master in 1987 and his peak rating (according to ChessBase) was 2370 in July 1986.

Peter is known as Plimsol on Chess.com !

IM Peter Graham Large aka Plimsol
IM Peter Graham Large aka Plimsol

A highlight of Peter’s career was coming 1st= with Paul van der Sterren at the 1980 Philips & Drew IM Tournament with a performance of 2723. Peter shared 1st place with Darryl Johansen with 10/14 at the 1984 London Philips & Drew Knights.

At Hastings 1986/1987 he scored this win over Eduard Gufeld :

and this nice attack against Andrew Muir :

and this exciting game from the 1990 Suffolk Open provided by Tony Rubin :

Happy Birthday GM Stuart Conquest (01-iii-1967)

GM Stuart Conquest
GM Stuart Conquest

Birthday of GM Stuart Conquest (01-iii-1967)

Stuart was born in Ilford and this is where he spent his early years playing starting at the age of 8.

Since 2011 has taken the role as Director of the Gibraltar International Chess Festival, and has  returned to the UK this summer.

Here is his Wikipedia entry

This was written about Stuart aged 11 prior to the Spassky vs the BCF Junior Squad simultaneous display :

“Hastings. Rating 178. World’s best 11 year old. 100% on board 1 for England, Eumig European children’s cup, 1978.”

Stuart Conquest (far left) at Paul Buswell's house
Stuart Conquest (far left) at Paul Buswell’s house
Stuart Conquest
Stuart Conquest

Happy Birthday IM Richard JD Tozer (01-iii-1970)

IM Richard JD Tozer
IM Richard JD Tozer

Birthday of IM Richard John D Tozer (01-iii-1970)

Richard became a FIDE Master in 1989 and an International Master in 1995. According to Felice his peak rating was 2400 in January 1996. He has played for White Rose in the Four Nations Chess League. He currently plays for Cambridge City and maintains a 222 ECF grading.

The Cambridge Examiners Team
The Cambridge Examiners Team