Remembering William Lewis (09-x-1787 22-viii-1870)

William Lewis
William Lewis

We note the passing today (August 22nd) in 1870 of William Lewis of the Lewis Counter Gambit.

The Lewis Counter Gambit
The Lewis Counter Gambit

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

“English player and author. He left his native Birmingham as a young man and worked for a time with a merchant in London. He learned much of his chess from Sarratt, a debt that was not repaid.

Around 1819 he was operator of the Turk, meeting all-comers successfully. With Cochrane he visited Paris in 1821, received odds of pawn and move from Deschapelles, and defeated him in a short match (+ 1=2), Lewis had already begun to write and of the more useful books he published around this time were translations of Greco and Carrera which appeared in 1819 and 1822 respectively.

Although he considered Sarratt’s A Treatise on the Game of Chess (1808) a poorly written book, Lewis published a second edition in 1822 in direct competition with Sarratt’s last book, published in 1821 by his impoverished widow, (In 1843 many Englishmen contributed to a fund for Mrs Sarratt in her old age, Lewis’s name is not on the subscription list,}

William Lewis, George Walker and Augustus Mongredien
William Lewis, George Walker and Augustus Mongredien

In 1825 Bourdonnais visited England. Lewis recalled that they played about 70 games, and according to Walker seven of them constituted a match which Lewis lost (+2—5). With no significant playing achievements to his credit Lewis acquired such a high reputation that a correspondent writing to the weekly magazine Bell’s Life in 1838 was moved to call him grandmaster.

From 1825 he preserved this reputation by the simplest means: he declined to play on even terms. In the same year he opened a club where he gave lessons at half a guinea each. McDonnell and Walker were among his pupils. Speculating unwisely on a piano-making patent, Lewis went bankrupt in 1827, and the club closed. After three precarious years of teaching chess (rich patrons were becoming fewer) Lewis became actuary of the Family Endowment Society and enjoyed financial security
for the rest of his life.

William Lewis
William Lewis

Circumstances now made it possible for him to concentrate on his writing and he published his two most important works: Series of Progressive Lessons (1831) and Second Series of Lessons (1832), both republished with various revisions. Lewis continued to write but gradually withdrew from other chess activities; his last notable connection with chess was as stakeholder for the Morphy-Lowenthal match of 1858.

Chess Board Companion by William Lewis
Chess Board Companion by William Lewis

Lewis’s Lessons contain extensive analyses of many opening variations, examined in the closeness of his study. Subsequent writers, notably Lasa, were influenced by these books, but more on account of the form than the content, which, adequate for the 1830s, were soon out of date.

Around 1840 writers no longer worked in isolation (a circumstance Lewis found unavoidable) and new positional ideas were being shaped. Because Lewis failed to assimilate these his judgements were faulty, and his voluminous Treatise on the Game of Chess (1844) was out of date when published.

Industrious rather than inventive, he made only one innovation, the Lewis Counter-Gambit; but it had no practical value in 1844, for simpler defences had already been discovered. Lewis’s work commands respect, but he is more aptly described as the last and one of the best of the ‘old’ writers than the first of the new, a more fitting description for Jaenisch and the authors of Bilguer’s Handbuch. ”

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

Chess theoretician, teacher, author and one of the leading players in England in the nineteenth century.

William Lewis was born in Birmingham on 9th October 1787. As a young man he went to London and took chess lessons from JH Sarratt. Within a short time he was making chess his principal means of livelihood.

In 1819 he was engaged as the player concealed in the chess-playing automaton, ‘The Turk’, when it was exhibited in London. In 1825 he opened some chess rooms in St. Martin’s Lane in London, where he taught chess. Among his pupils was Alexander McDonnell. After going bankrupt in 1827, the chess rooms were closed, and Lewis decided to put his lessons into a book. He soon became a highly-successful writer, His Chessboard Companion published in 1838 ran into nine editions, and his Series of Progressive Lessons of the Game of Chess has been described as one of the landmarks in the history of the game. This book included some completely new analyses of various chess openings and later formed the basis of the Handbuch des Schachspiels. Lewis also translated the work of Greco and Stamma and was author of The Elements of Chess (1882), Fifty Games of Chess (1832) and Chess for Beginners (1835).

Chess Board Companion by William Lewis
Chess Board Companion by William Lewis

Towards the end of his life, Lewis rarely played chess, and his last public appearance in chess circles was 12 before he died, when he acted at stake-holder in the match between Morphy and Lowenthal in 1858. He died on 22nd August 1870.

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

“Author of The Chessboard Companion, London, 1838, and several other popular works on chess (including translations of Greco and Stamma). Lewis was also a leading chess teacher – his most famous pupil was Alexdander McDonnell – and for a time he ran chess rooms in St. Martin’s Lane. In 1819 he operated the chess-playing automaton ‘The Turk’ when it was exhibited in London. The Lewis Counter-Gambit is 1.P-K4, P-K4; 2.B-B4 B-B4; 3.P-QB3,P-Q5!?”

Chess for Beginners
Chess for Beginners

From “Chess : A History” by Harry Golombek there are two references to WL on pages 98 and 123 alluded to above.

Here is an interesting article from Chess.com

From Wikipedia :

“William Lewis (1787–1870) was an English chess player and author, nowadays best known for the Lewis Countergambit and for being the first player ever to be described as a Grandmaster of the game.

Born in Birmingham, William Lewis moved as a young man to London where he worked for a merchant for a short period. He became a student of chess player Jacob Sarratt, but in later years he showed himself to be rather ungrateful towards his teacher.

Although he considered Sarratt’s Treatise on the Game of Chess (1808) a “poorly written book”, in 1822 Lewis published a second edition of it three years after Sarratt’s death in direct competition with Sarratt’s own superior revision published posthumously in 1821 by Sarratt’s poverty-stricken widow. In 1843, many players contributed to a fund to help the old widow, but Lewis’ name is not on the list of subscribers.

Around 1819 Lewis was the hidden player inside the Turk (a famous automaton), meeting all-comers successfully. He suggested to Johann Maelzel that Peter Unger Williams, a fellow ex-student of Sarratt, should be the next person to operate inside the machine. When P. U. Williams played a game against the Turk, Lewis recognised the old friend from his style of play (the operator could not see his opponents) and convinced Maelzel to reveal to Williams the secret of the Turk. Later, P. U. Williams himself took Lewis’ place inside the machine.

Lewis visited Paris along with Scottish player John Cochrane in 1821, where they played with Alexandre Deschapelles, receiving the advantage of pawn and move. He won the short match (+1 =2).”

“Lewis’ career as an author began at this time, and included translations of the works of Greco and Carrera, published in 1819[5] and 1822[6] respectively.

He was the leading English player in the correspondence match between London and Edinburgh in 1824, won by the Scots (+2 = 2 -1). Later, he published a book on the match with analysis of the games. In the period of 1834–36 he was also part of the Committee of the Westminster Chess Club, who played and lost (−2) the match by correspondence with the Paris Chess Club. The other players were his students McDonnell and Walker, while the French line up included Boncourt, Alexandre, St. Amant and Chamouillet. When De La Bourdonnais visited England in 1825, Lewis played about 70 games with the French master. Seven of these games probably represented a match that Lewis lost (+2 -5).

Lewis enjoyed a considerable reputation as a chess player in his time. A correspondent writing to the weekly magazine Bell’s Life in 1838 called him “our past grandmaster”, the first known use of the term in chess.  Starting from 1825 he preserved his reputation by the same means that Deschapelles used in France, by refusing to play anyone on even terms. In the same year Lewis founded a Chess Club where he gave lessons to, amongst others, Walker and McDonnell. He was declared bankrupt in 1827 due to bad investments on a patent for the construction of pianos and his chess club was forced to close. The next three years were quite difficult until in 1830 he got a job that assured him of solid financial security for the rest of his life. Thanks to this job, he could focus on writing his two major works: Series of Progressive Lessons (1831) and Second Series of Progressive Lessons (1832). The first series of the Lessons were more elementary in character, and designed for the use of beginners; the second series, on the other hand, went deeply into all the known openings. Here, for the first time we find the Evans Gambit, which is named after its inventor, Capt. Evans.

The works of Lewis (together with his teacher Sarratt) were oriented towards the rethinking of the strictly Philidorian principles of play in favour of the Modenese school of Del Rio, Lolli and Ponziani.  When he realised that he could not give an advantage to the new generation of British players, Lewis withdrew gradually from active play (in the same way that Deschapelles did after his defeat against De La Bourdonnais).

After his retirement he wrote other chess treatises, but his isolation prevented him from assimilating the positional ideas of the new generation of chess-players. For this reason, Hooper and Whyld in their Oxford Chess Companion describe the last voluminous work of Lewis, A Treatise on Chess (1844), as already “out of date when published”.”

According to Edward Winter in Chess Notes Lewis lived at 12 Chatham Place, Blackfriars, London, England (Chess Player’s Chronicle, 1841, pages 9 and 34*)

Remembering Ernst Klein (29-i-1910 22-viii-1990)

Ernst Ludwig Klein (29-i-1910 22-viii-1990)
Ernst Ludwig Klein (29-i-1910 22-viii-1990)

Remembering Ernst Klein (29-i-1910 22-viii-1990)

From CHESS, July 1946 (and also The Anglo-Soviet Radio Chess Match) :

Since Ernst Klein came to England in 1935 his play has earned our ungrudging admiration. Born in Vienna, 1910, he learned chess at the age of eleven. His grandmother taught him the moves, his father having died when he was eight. Steinitz was a frequent guest in his grandparents house. At eighteen, he shared first, second and third prizes in the Championship of Vienna. Before coming to England, he had lived for some years in Switzerland, France and Italy and his French, German and English are equally impeccable. In his last tournament at Bournemouth, in 1939, he finished equal with Flohr after Euwe ahead of König, Landau, Aitken and others. He met his wife, who is an Englishwoman, during the blitz. They were married in 1944. He holds a London University degree and teaches mathematics in Southend.

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

About 1940, he offered to give any opponent in Great Britain the odds of the draw.; his challenge was never taken up, no doubt owing to the conditions of the moment, but we imagine there would be many “takers” if it were repeated now.”

Later, Klein clarified matters by writing What I said was: “I am ready to accept the challenge of any player in this country and am prepared to give the odds of a draw in a contest at least twelve games if he so wishes. That is, I offered to concede victory on a score of 6 : 6 draws counting, which is the necessary and sufficient condition to justify my offer. It is still open.

See below photograph for caption
See below photograph for caption
Caption for above photograph
Caption for above photograph

 

Here is his Wikipedia entry

Edward Winter has written a detailed article here.

According to Edward Winter in Chess Notes Klein lived at 4 St George’s Drive, Westcliff-on-sea, Essex, England (The Times, 11 March 1978, page 13).

The Anglo-Soviet Radio Chess Match (1947, Pitman)
The Anglo-Soviet Radio Chess Match (1947, Pitman)

Happy Birthday WCM Dinah Norman (21-viii-1946)

WCM Dinah Norman at the 2015 British Championships in Coventry, courtesy of John Upham Photography
WCM Dinah Norman at the 2015 British Championships in Coventry, courtesy of John Upham Photography

BCN wishes Happy Birthday to Dinah Norman on August 21st

Dinah Margaret Dobson was born on Wednesday, August 21st 1946 in Exeter, Devon. Her parents were Leslie and Barbara Dobson (née Hayward).

She was taught to play Chess by her late father at the age of 9. Started playing seriously when she attended Rickmansworth Grammar School and Watford Chess Club. Her first tournament was the London Girls Championship which she won in 1962. Dinah was coached by Leonard Barden and Bob Wade.

Some of the participants in the Paul Keres display on November 25th, 1962, at St Pancras Town Hall, London WC1. Back row : AJ. Whiteley, D. Floyer, PJ Collins, PJ Adams, RC Vaughan, KB Harman, D. Parr, DNL Levy, Front row : MV Lambshire, AE Hopkins (selector) Paul Keres, Miss D. Dobson, RE Hartley, BC Gillman, WR Hartston and PN Lee. Photograph by AM Reilly. Source : BCM, 1963, page 13
Some of the participants in the Paul Keres display on November 25th, 1962, at St Pancras Town Hall, London WC1. Back row : AJ. Whiteley, D. Floyer, PJ Collins, PJ Adams, RC Vaughan, KB Harman, D. Parr, DNL Levy, Front row : MV Lambshire, AE Hopkins (selector) Paul Keres, Miss D. Dobson, RE Hartley, BC Gillman, WR Hartston and PN Lee. Photograph by AM Reilly. Source : BCM, 1963, page 13

Dinah’s tournament successes were as follows :

1962 London Girls’ Champion
1963 Southern Counties (SCCU) Girls Champion
1963 Southern Counties (SCCU) Ladies’ Champion
1964 Joint British Girls Champion (three way tie with Gillian Moore and Marcia Syme)

Marcia Syme, Dinah Dobson and Gillian Moore : 1964 joint British Girls's Champions
Marcia Syme, Dinah Dobson and Gillian Moore : 1964 joint British Girls’s Champions

Dinah played as 1st reserve for England in the third FIDE Women’s Olympiad in Oberhausen, Germany in 1966 and in 1969 she played board 1 in Lublin, Poland.

1967 and 1969 Joint British Lady Champion shared with Rowena Bruce after a 4 game playoff

1968 British Lady Champion
1970 American Open Ladies Champion
1975 Winner of first ever Female Grand Prix (as Dinah Wright)
1976 Winner of second Female Grand Prix
Dinah became a WCM in 2002.
She was 9th in the World Over 65 Ladies Championship held in Bled in November 2018.
She is current holder of the Gibraltar Cup.

According to chessgames.com : “Dinah Margaret Norman Dobson is a WCM. She was British champion (w) in 1967 (=Rowena Mary Bruce, Oxford), 1968 (Bristol) and 1969 (=Rowena Mary Bruce, Rhyl).”

Dinah Dobson 22-year-old Champion British Chess Player Deep In Thought During Chess Competition In Hastings. Mandatory Credit: Photo by ANL/Shutterstock
Dinah Dobson 22-year-old Champion British Chess Player Deep In Thought During Chess Competition In Hastings. Mandatory Credit: Photo by ANL/Shutterstock

English Chess Champion Dinah Dobson Playing Against Two German Boys During Lunch-break At Chess Competition In Hastings. Box 658 221121512 A.jpg. English Chess Champion Dinah Dobson Playing Against Two German Boys During Lunch-break At Chess Competition In Hastings. Mandatory Credit: Photo by ANL/Shutterstock
English Chess Champion Dinah Dobson Playing Against Two German Boys During Lunch-break At Chess Competition In Hastings. Box 658 221121512 A.jpg.
English Chess Champion Dinah Dobson Playing Against Two German Boys During Lunch-break At Chess Competition In Hastings. Mandatory Credit: Photo by ANL/Shutterstock

She played in the 1968 Anglo-Dutch match on the Ladies board, which, at that time, did not count in the overall match result.

The Annual International Chess Championship opened today at Hasting. Dinah "Dobson," "23," of Northwood Middlesex. December 1969
The Annual International Chess Championship opened today at Hasting. Dinah “Dobson,” “23,” of Northwood Middlesex. December 1969

Now (1971) living in Northwood, Middlesex, she married Danny Wright in Westminster and in 1983 she married Ken Norman in Richmond.

Dinah Wright (third from right) playing in the 1971 British Ladies Championship in Palatine School, Blackpool. Courtesy of Lancashire Evening Post.
Dinah Wright (third from right) playing in the 1971 British Ladies Championship in Palatine School, Blackpool. Courtesy of Lancashire Evening Post.

Dinah Wright (far left, standing) with her England team mates (see caption) for a Lloyds Bank sponsored match with Wales
Dinah Wright (far left, standing) with her England team mates (see caption) for a Lloyds Bank sponsored match with Wales

Dinah has been a member of Crowthorne Chess Club and has played in the Berkshire League. She has represented 4NCL Iceni and Guildford in other competitions.

According to Megabase 2020 her highest FIDE rating was 2085 in July 1990 at the age of 44. However, it would have been higher than this in the late 1960s and 1970s had ratings been established then.

Dinah Norman at the 2017 Keith Richardson Memorial organised by Camberley Chess Club. Courtesy of John Upham Photographic
Dinah Norman at the 2017 Keith Richardson Memorial organised by Camberley Chess Club. Courtesy of John Upham Photographic

With the white pieces she has essayed the Colle-Koltanowki Opening for many years and as the second player she has played the Caro-Kann, Smyslov Variation and the Semi-Slav Defence.

Dinah Norman with Sandra Richardson at the 2017 Keith Richardson Memorial organised by Camberley Chess Club
Dinah Norman with Sandra Richardson at the 2017 Keith Richardson Memorial organised by Camberley Chess Club

Happy 92nd Birthday Leonard Barden (20-viii-1929)

Leonard Barden (Linda Nylind of the Guardian)
Leonard Barden (Linda Nylind of the Guardian)

Ninety-two today is Leonard William Barden, born Tuesday, August 20th, 1929.

His mother’s maiden was Bartholomew and she became Elise EM Barden when she married Leonard’s father who was William C Barden and in 1939 they lived at 89, Tennison Road, Croydon.

89, Tennison Road, Croydon
89, Tennison Road, Croydon

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

“British Master and joint British Champion 1954. Barden was born in Croydon and learned to play at his school, Whitgift, which became a frequent producer of fine players.

In 1946 he tied for first place in the London Boys Championship and in the following year he tied with Jonathan Penrose for first place in the British Boys Championship, but lost the play-off.

In 1952 he came first at Paignton ahead of the Canadian Grandmaster Yanofsky and he reached his peak in 1954 when , after tieing for first place with the Belgian Grandmaster O’Kelly de Galway at Bognor, he tied for for first place in the British Championship at Nottingham with A. Phillips. The play-off was drawn and so the players became joint champions.

Alan Phillips and Leonard Barden are joint British Champions of 1954 in Nottingham, photographer unknown
Alan Phillips and Leonard Barden are joint British Champions of 1954 in Nottingham, photographer unknown

He played for the BCF in four Olympiads from 1952 to 1962 and then abandoned competitive chess, applying all his energies to writing (he is chess correspondent of the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Evening Standard and the Field, and has written many books on the game.

He has also developed two special interests, in junior chess and in grading, working with utmost persistence and energy in both of these fields.

Leonard authored a series of articles on what was to become the Yugoslav Attack versus the Sicilian Dragon. Source : British Chess Magazine, Volume LXXXIII, Number 7 (July), page 208
Leonard authored a series of articles on what was to become the Yugoslav Attack versus the Sicilian Dragon. Source : British Chess Magazine, Volume LXXXIII, Number 7 (July), page 208

Amongst his best works are : a A Guide to Chess Openings, London, 1957; The Ruy Lopez, Oxford, 1963; The King’s Indian Defence, London, 1968.”

Disappointingly  Sunnucks Encyclopedia does not mention Barden at all and and surprisingly Hooper and Whyld’s usually excellent Oxford Companion only from a connection with Jim Slater.

Leonard Bardens’ Evening Standard column ends after 63 Years

Signature of LW Barden from a Brian Reilly "after dinner" postcard from Southsea 1951.
Signature of LW Barden from a Brian Reilly “after dinner” postcard from Southsea 1951.

Here is an in-depth article from Edward Winter

Leonard Barden’s Blunder Theory from Kingpin Magazine

54-Year-Old Chess Record established in 2009

From Wikipedia :

“Leonard William Barden (born 20 August 1929, in Croydon, London) is an English chess master, writer, broadcaster, organizer and promoter. The son of a dustman, he was educated at Whitgift School, South Croydon, and Balliol College, Oxford, where he read Modern History.

Travel Chess 2nd January 1951: British chess champions Jonathan Penrose and Leonard Barden ponder over a portable travel game in a restaurant. (Photo by Walter Bellamy/Express/Getty Images)
Travel Chess
2nd January 1951: British chess champions Jonathan Penrose and Leonard Barden prepare their openings over breakfast in the Yelton Hotel before the 9.30 am round start at Hastings 1950-51. (Photo by Walter Bellamy/Express/Getty Images)

He learned to play chess at age 13 while in a school shelter during a World War II German air raid. Within a few years he became one of the country’s leading juniors.[1] He represented England in four Chess Olympiads. Barden played a major role in the rise of English chess from the 1970s. As a chess columnist for various newspapers, his column in London’s Evening Standard is the world’s longest-standing chess column.

Leonard Barden (seated, second from right)
Leonard Barden (seated, second from right) Before Botvinnik’s 1981 Pergamon Press clock simul against England juniors, the final competitive event of the Patriarch’s career.
Standing: Stuart Conquest, Neil Dickenson. Gary Lane, Alan Byron,
Daniel King, John Hawksworth, Pergamon editor.
Seated: Julian Hodgson, Byron Jacobs, Mikhail Botvinnik, Leonard Barden, Bernard Cafferty.

In 1946, Barden won the British Junior Correspondence Chess Championship, and tied for first place in the London Boys’ Championship. The following year he tied for first with Jonathan Penrose in the British Boys’ Championship, but lost the playoff.

Barden finished fourth at Hastings in 1951–52. In 1952, he won the Paignton tournament ahead of the Canadian future grandmaster Daniel Yanofsky. He captained the Oxfordshire team which won the English Counties championship in 1951 and 1952.

Leonard William Barden (20-xiii-1929)
Barden making a move at Southend 1955.

In the latter year he captained the University of Oxford team which won the National Club Championship, and he represented the university in the annual team match against the University of Cambridge during his years there. In 1953, he won the individual British Lightning Championship (ten seconds a move).

The following year, he tied for first with the Belgian grandmaster Albéric O’Kelly de Galway at Bognor Regis, was joint British champion, with Alan Phillips, and won the Southern Counties Championship.

Leonard Barden vs Victor Korchnoi, Leipzig Olympiad, 1960
Leonard Barden vs Victor Korchnoi, Leipzig Olympiad, 1960

He finished fourth at Hastings 1957–58, ranked by chessmetrics as his best statistical performance. In the 1958 British Chess Championship, Barden again tied for first, but lost the playoff match to Penrose 1½–3½.

Leonard Barden (centre) with Raaphi Persitz, JB Sykes, OI Galvenius and DM Armstrong, Ilford, May, 1953
Leonard Barden (centre) with Raaphi Persitz, JB Sykes, OI Galvenius and DM Armstrong, Ilford, May, 1953

LWB observes analysis between David Rumens and Murray Chandler from Brighton 1980
LWB observes analysis between David Rumens and Murray Chandler from Brighton 1980. Photograph courtesy of John Upham.

He represented England in the Chess Olympiads at Helsinki 1952 (playing fourth board, scoring 2 wins, 5 draws, and 4 losses), Amsterdam 1954 (playing first reserve, scoring 1 win, 2 draws, and 4 losses), Leipzig 1960 (first reserve; 4 wins, 4 draws, 2 losses) and Varna 1962 (first reserve; 7 wins, 2 draws, 3 losses). The latter was his best performance by far.

Leonard Barden (left) and Murray Chandler display the Lloyds Bank Trophy which the 19-year old New Zealander won ahead of 3 Grandmasters and 10 International Masters for his finest international success up to 1979. in the Lloyds Bank Masters
Leonard Barden (left) and Murray Chandler display the Lloyds Bank Trophy which the 19-year old New Zealander won ahead of 3 Grandmasters and 10 International Masters for his finest international success up to 1979. in the Lloyds Bank Masters

Barden has a Morphy number of 3, having drawn with Jacques Mieses in the Premier Reserves at Hastings 1948–49. Mieses drew with Henry Bird in the last round of Hastings 1895, and Bird played a number of games with Paul Morphy in 1858 and 1859.

Neil Carr (front right)
England’s under-12 junior teams finished first and second in the international Eumig Cup, 1981.
Front row: Peter Morrish (organiser), Jimmy Hockaday, Darren Lee, Neil Fox, Neil Carr. Second row: James Howell, Stuart Conquest, Teresa Needham. Far right: LB.

In 1964, Barden gave up most competitive chess to devote his time to chess organisation, broadcasting, and writing about the game. He has made invaluable contributions to English chess as a populariser, writer, organiser, fundraiser, and broadcaster.

Leonard Barden
Leonard Barden at Bob Wade’s 80th birthday party, 2001.

He was controller of the British Chess Federation Grand Prix for many years, having found its first sponsor, Cutty Sark. He was a regular contributor to the BBC’s Network Three weekly radio chess programme from 1958 to 1963. His best-known contribution was a consultation game, recorded in 1960 and broadcast in 1961, where he partnered Bobby Fischer against the English masters Jonathan Penrose and Peter Clarke. This was the only recorded consultation game of Fischer’s career. The game, unfinished after eight hours of play, was adjudicated a draw by former world champion Max Euwe. Barden gave BBC television commentaries on all the games in the 1972 world championship. From 1973 to 1978 he was co-presenter of BBC2’s annual Master Game televised programme.

Julian and Nigel Short play Korchnoi in the Evening Standard 1976 simul. Leonard Barden observes.
Julian and Nigel Short play Korchnoi in the Evening Standard 1976 simul. Leonard Barden observes.

As of 2021, his weekly columns have been published in The Guardian for 65 years and in The Financial Times for 46 years. A typical Barden column not only contains a readable tournament report, but is geared toward promoting the game. His London Evening Standard column, begun in summer 1956, is now the world’s longest running daily chess column by the same author, breaking the previous record set by George Koltanowski in the San Francisco Chronicle. Koltanowski’s column ran for 51 years, 9 months, and 18 days, including posthumous articles.”

Leonard Barden (Linda Nylind of the Guardian)
Leonard Barden (Linda Nylind of the Guardian)

Leonard wrote this on the English Chess Forum in 2021 :

“I retired after Ilford 1964 when I finished a poor last in the England Olympiad team qualifier, returned at Hammersmith 1969 (equal 2nd behind Keene) and then played around 6-8 weekenders a year until 1972. My overall performance level between early 60s and early 70s dropped from around 225 to 215 BCF, so I wasn’t encouraged to pursue the comeback further.”

Leonard was Southern Counties (SCCU) champion in the 1953-54 season.

Leonard Barden, Stewart Reuben and Michael Franklin at the 1978 Aaronson Masters
Leonard Barden, Stewart Reuben and Michael Franklin at the 1978 Aaronson Masters

Leonard reveals this as his best game :

Leonard has authored or co-authored a number of highly regarded books, most of which are highly instructional to this day:

A Guide to Chess Openings (1957),

A Guide to Chess Openings
A Guide to Chess Openings

How Good Is Your Chess? (1957),

How Good is Your Chess ?
How Good is Your Chess ?

Chess (1959),
Introduction to Chess Moves and Tactics Simply Explained (1959),

An Introduction to Chess Moves and Tactics Simply Explained
An Introduction to Chess Moves and Tactics Simply Explained

Modern Chess Miniatures (with Wolfgang Heidenfeld, 1960),
Erevan 1962 (1963),
The Ruy Lopez (1963),

The Ruy Lopez
The Ruy Lopez

The Guardian Chess Book (1967),

The Guardian Chess Book
The Guardian Chess Book

An Introduction to Chess (1967),

An Introduction to Chess
An Introduction to Chess

The King’s Indian Defence (1969),

The King's Indian Defence
The King’s Indian Defence

Chess: Master the Moves (1977),
Guide to the Chess Openings (with Tim Harding, 1977),

Guide to the Chess Openings
Guide to the Chess Openings

Leonard Barden’s Chess Puzzle Book (1977) (a collection of his Evening Standard columns),

Leonard Barden's Chess Puzzle Book
Leonard Barden’s Chess Puzzle Book

The Master Game (with Jeremy James, 1979),

The Master Game
The Master Game

How to Play the Endgame in Chess (1979),

How to Play The Endgame in Chess
How to Play The Endgame in Chess

Play Better Chess (1980),

Play Better Chess
Play Better Chess

Batsford Chess Puzzles (2002),

Batsford Chess Puzzles
Batsford Chess Puzzles

One Move and You’re Dead (with Erwin Brecher, 2007) : Can you supply an image?

Remembering Thomas Wilson Barnes (1825 20-viii-1874)

Thomas Wilson Barnes (1825 10-viii-1874)
Thomas Wilson Barnes (1825 10-viii-1874)

BCN remembers Thomas Wilson Barnes (1825 20-viii-1874)

From The Oxford Companion to Chess (OUP, 1984) by David Hooper and Ken Whyld :

“One of the strongest English players during the 1850s, He made little impression in his one and only tournament, London 1862, but is remembered for having scored more wins than anyone else in friendly play against Morphy in 1858. He reduced his corpulence by 130 pounds in ten months and as a result died. ”

He is perhaps most well know for having a reasonable score against Paul Morphy of -19 +8 which was a lot better than most !

According to chessgames.com :

“Thomas Wilson Barnes was one of the strongest English players in the 1850s. His only tournament appearance was in London 1862 but he did not do himself justice. He’s best remembered for having more wins against Paul Morphy in friendly play than anyone else. Being overweight he decided to reduce his size, but the loss of 130 pounds in 10 months was more than his system could handle and resulted in his death in 1874.”

The Barnes Opening, was played by T. W. Barnes. This opening move has no particular merit but he liked to avoid book lines, to which end he
sometimes answered 1 e4 by 1…f6.

He died at 68, Cambridge Street, Pimlico.

His death was registered in the St George, Hanover Square district.

He was buried on August 25th, 1874 in Brompton Cemetery (plot number 76449). According to the burial records he had a “Private Grave” the plot of which measured 113.3 x 18.3 and “no extra depth” was required.

Happy Birthday Peter Griffiths (15-viii-1946)

Peter Griffiths (15-viii-1946)
Peter Griffiths (15-viii-1946)

BCN sends Happy birthday wishes to Peter Griffiths

Peter Charles Griffiths was born on Thursday, August 15th, in 1946 in Birmingham, Warwickshire. His mother’s maiden name was Ward.

Peter was a strong player active from the 1960s until 1989. He played in the British Championships more than once and was a professional coach and writer. He wrote the column “Practical Chess Endings” which appeared in the British Chess Magazine. The column commenced in the December 1972 issue and columns became less frequent until around 1991.

Peter Griffiths (far left)
Peter Griffiths (far left)

He wrote Exploring the Endgame

Exploring the Endgame
Exploring the Endgame

and co-authored Secrets of Grandmaster Play with John Nunn.

Secrets of Grandmaster Play
Secrets of Grandmaster Play

and wrote Improving Your Chess

Improving Your Chess
Improving Your Chess

and Better Chess for Club Players

Better Chess for Club Players
Better Chess for Club Players
Peter Griffiths (far left)
Peter Griffiths (far left)

Happy Birthday IM John Pigott (15-viii-1957)

IM John Pigott at the 2020 Gibraltar Masters. Photograph courtesy of John Saunders
IM John Pigott at the 2020 Gibraltar Masters. Photograph courtesy of John Saunders

BCN wishes IM John Pigott all the best on his birthday (15-viii-1957)

John Christopher Pigott was born in Croydon, Surrey and his mother’s maiden name was Fletcher.

In 1975 John was selected by the BCF junior selectors and travelled with Jonathan Speelman and Peter J Lee (Hampshire) to the 8th Biel International Open in Switzerland. Leonard Barden wrote in the October 1975 British Chess Magazine (the cover was of Geller and Smyslov) :

“17-year-old John Pigott’s 8.5/11 included wins against IM Kluger, IM Messing and the 1975 Budapest Champion Rajna and earned him 2,000 Swiss francs in prize money. The three English juniors who competed, Pigott, Speelman and Lee were chosen by the BCF junior selectors and travelled to Switzerland with the help of grant from the Slater Foundation and the London Chess Club.”

John represented England at the 1975 Anglo-Dutch match (25th and 26th of October) scoring 0.5/2 versus Paul van der Sterren. The game scores appear to either have been lost on not recorded.

In 1976 John scored 4.5/5 in the Surrey Open and shared the 3rd, 4th and 5th prize.

The caption is in the photograph below
The caption is in the photograph below
The caption is in the photograph above
The caption is in the photograph above

John became a FIDE Master in 1984 and an International Master in 2017, a gap of some 33 years!

John plays for Little Heath, 4NCL Barbican, Hon Members LCCL and King’s Head chess clubs.

After a sojourn from chess John returned to the ECF grading list in January 2015 with a grading of 269F attracting some attention.

His highest FIDE rating was 2419 in February 2018 at the age of 61.

With the white pieces John plays the Queen’s Gambit and the Giuoco Piano.

As the second player John enjoys the Sicilian Najdorf and the Nimzo Indian Defence.

Jon Speelman’s Agony Column #40

Happy Birthday to FM Andrew Smith (15-viii-1959)

FM Andrew Smith at the 2019 British Championships in Torquay, courtesy of John Upham Photography
FM Andrew Smith at the 2019 British Championships in Torquay, courtesy of John Upham Photography

BCN wishes Happy Birthday to FM Andrew Smith (15-viii-1959)

Andrew Philip Smith became a FIDE Master in 1994 and is registered with the Irish Chess Union.

His highest FIDE rating was 2310 in July 1994 at the age of 35.

FM Andrew Smith, photographer unknown
FM Andrew Smith, photographer unknown

He plays for Bourne End Chess Club in the Buckinghamshire League and in the Berkshire League.

Andrew also plays for 4NCL Barnet Knights (he has played for Atticus), Buckinghamshire CCA in the Chiltern League and Hon Members LCCL.

Andrew started his chess aged 6 when his Mother taught him and he joined Lewisham Chess Club aged 13 and then Slough Chess Club (Thames Valley League and 4NCL) in 1988.

He has won the Berks & Bucks Congress in 2018 and 2016 (joint) and he became Berkshire Individual Champion as a direct consequence winning the Cadogan Cup.

With the white pieces Andrew is (almost) exclusively a 1.e4 player favouring the Centre Game

and as the second player Andrew plays the Philidor Defence and the Benoni.

He is known to favour “enterprising” variations such as the Mason Variation of the Philidor, the Haldane Attack versus the French and other such exotica.

British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXXII (132), Number 7 (July) front cover features FM Andrew Smith from the final 4NCL weekend of the 2011-2012 season, courtesy of John Upham Photography
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXXII (132), Number 7 (July) front cover features FM Andrew Smith from the final 4NCL weekend of the 2011-2012 season, courtesy of John Upham Photography

FM Andrew Smith at the 2019 Keith Richardson Memorial, courtesy of John Upham Photography
FM Andrew Smith at the 2019 Keith Richardson Memorial, courtesy of John Upham Photography

In 2021 Andrew self-published “Off the Board Chess, The Best Games and Chess Experiences of Andrew Smith (FM)” which has received popular acclaim.

Off the Board Chess, The Best Games and Chess Experiences of Andrew Smith (FM), FM Andrew Smith, Self published, 2021, ISBN 978-1-5272-8572-9
Off the Board Chess, The Best Games and Chess Experiences of Andrew Smith (FM), FM Andrew Smith, Self published, 2021, ISBN 978-1-5272-8572-9

Happy Birthday IM Malcolm Pein (14-viii-1960)

IM Malcolm Pein at the 2019 British Championships in Torquay, courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Malcolm Pein at the 2019 British Championships in Torquay, courtesy of John Upham Photography
Malcolm Pein signature
Malcolm Pein signature

BCN sends IM Malcolm Pein best wishes on his 61st birthday.

IM Malcolm Pein at the King's Place Rapidplay 2013, photograph courtesy of John Upham
IM Malcolm Pein at the King’s Place Rapidplay 2013, photograph courtesy of John Upham

Malcolm Bernard Pein was born in Liverpool (South). South Lancashire and his mother’s maiden name is Max. (Gaige, Felice and chessgames.com all incorrectly have Malcolm L. Pein).

Malcolm Pein
Malcolm Pein

This was written about Malcolm aged 19 just prior to the 1979 Spassky vs the BCF Junior Squad simultaneous display :

” London University and Liverpool, Rating 199. British under-18 co-champion, 1977. Currently No.1 player for London University.”

Malcolm hard at work
Malcolm hard at work

Malcolm studied Chemical Engineering at University College, London entering in September 1978. He won The University of London championship in February 1979. The runner-up was John Upham also from UCL.

He became an International Master in 1986 and is a FIDE Delegate (for England) and an International Director.

Malcolm’s peak rating was 2450 in January 1992 at the age of 32.

Malcolm Pein (third from right) and a victorious Wood Green team. Trophy presented by Magnus Magnusson
Malcolm Pein (third from right) and a victorious Wood Green team. Trophy presented by Magnus Magnusson

With the white pieces Malcolm prefers the Queen’s Gambit almost exclusively with 1.e4 rarely seeing the light of day scoring 62%

As the second player, Malcolm champions the Pirc, Modern and Grunfeld defences scoring 49% which MegaBase 2020 claims is “above average”.

Malcolm plays for 4NCL Wood Green and Liverpool.

IM Malcolm Pein at the Bristol heat of the British Blitz Qualification event in 2019
IM Malcolm Pein at the Bristol heat of the British Blitz Qualification event in 2019

In addition to his newspaper column and magazine editorial, Malcolm has written a number of chess books and booklets, including :

Grunfeld Defence (Batsford, 1981) – ISBN 978-0713435948
Grunfeld Defence (Batsford, 1981) – ISBN 978-0713435948
Blumenfeld Defence [with Jan Przewoznik] (Everyman, 1991) – ISBN 978-0080371337
Blumenfeld Defence [with Jan Przewoznik] (Everyman, 1991) – ISBN 978-0080371337
Daily Telegraph Guide to Chess (Batsford, 1995) – ISBN 978-0713478143
Daily Telegraph Guide to Chess (Batsford, 1995) – ISBN 978-0713478143

The Exchange Grunfeld [with Adrian Mikhalchishin] (Everyman, 1996) – ISBN 978-1857440560]

Nigel Short's Chess Skills (1989) (was ghost written by Malcolm)
Nigel Short’s Chess Skills (1989)(was ghost written by Malcolm)

Malcolm won the ECF President’s Award in 2017:

“Malcolm Pein’s contribution to English Chess is well known. He is CEO of Chess in Schools and Communities, has been largely involved in the organisation of the London Chess Classic and is currently the ECF’s Delegate to FIDE and International Director. On top of all that he is also an IM, writes the ‘Daily Telegraph’ Chess Column, and edits CHESS Magazine.”

IM Malcolm Pein at the London Chess Classic 2013, photograph courtesy of John Upham
IM Malcolm Pein at the London Chess Classic 2013, photograph courtesy of John Upham

Malcolm is also owner (and a director) of the London Chess Centre (a company incorporated on May 1st 1997) which has relocated to 44, Baker Street, former home of the British Chess Magazine retail premises. This was purchased from Stephen Lowe and Shaun Taulbut in 2010 when the leasehold on the Euston Road premises expired. Another director is Henry Gerald Mutkin who is the main organiser of the annual Varsity match.

Here is his Wikipedia entry

Malcolm has a son, Jonathan who is a strong player and he resides in London, NW7.

In 2021 Malcolm stood as an alternative to Mike Truran in the contested election for CEO. On October 9th 2021 following “detailed and amicable discussions”  with Mike a away forward was agreed and Malcolm agreed to remain as International Director of the ECF and Mike remained as CEO.

Here is his Developing Chess web site.

Jonathan and Malcolm Pein at the 2016 Michael Uriely Memorial Tournament
Jonathan and Malcolm Pein at the 2016 Michael Uriely Memorial Tournament
Malcolm Pein & Dominic Lawson
Malcolm Pein & Dominic Lawson

The Grandmaster Mindset

The Grandmaster Mindset
The Grandmaster Mindset

From the book’s rear cover :

“By going through the chapters, you will get acquainted with my way of grandmaster type thinking. I can assure you of one thing: there are better and weaker grandmasters, but you won’t find a GM who is playing without ideas or, let’s say, without his way of thinking! As you will find out, I am basically trying to detect the problem or goal of the position and then I am starting to scan factors which can lead to the solution. That process you will find in many examples in the book. GM Alojzije Jankovic, April 2020.”

“Alojzije Jankovic (1983) is a Grandmaster and FIDE trainer from Croatia. In 2010 he shared first place in the Croatian National Championship, was national champion in 2015, shared third place with Croatia in the European Team Championships 2017 and played for Croatia in the Chess Olympiad. He won several international tournaments and also hosts weekly the broadcast ‘Chess commentary’, Croatian national tv, third channel. This is his second book for Thinkers Publishing, after his successful co-edition with GM Zdenko Kozul on the ‘Richter Rauzer Reborn‘ updated version 2019.”

GM Alojzije Jankovic
GM Alojzije Jankovic

As with every recent Thinkers Publishing publication high quality paper is used and the printing is clear. The book can easily be laid flat next to the board and does not require weights to prevent it from “self-closing” (a particular bugbear of ours !). Each diagram is clear and the instructional text is typeset in two column format, which, we find, enables the reader to maintain their place easily. Figurine algebraic notation is used throughout and the diagrams are placed adjacent to the relevant text and each diagram has a “to move” indicator.

A bibliography of sources along with suggestions for further reading would have been helpful.

 

I was rather confused when I first saw this book. The title, The Grandmaster Mindset, suggests a book for advanced players , while the subtitle A First Course in Chess Improvement suggests a book for novices.

Let’s take a look inside and find out.

The first chapter concerns pins. We start off with Légal’s Mate, which is important for novices but hardly necessary for advanced players.

En passant, we learn what Jankovic means by the Grandmaster Mindset. First, you assess the position, just as recommended by many other authors, such as Silman. Then you look for candidate moves: you consider all checks, captures and threats, as recommended by Kotov and many others, including me, over the past half century or so. Other authors, notably Willy Hendriks, will tell you to ignore protocols of this nature, to use your intuition and ‘move first, think later’.

We soon find ourselves in deeper waters, and by the end of the chapter we’re faced with a beautiful endgame study (M Matouš 1975) which is analysed in depth.

The second chapter, Candidate Moves, only seems to repeat the lessons from Chapter 1: if you assess the position and look for forcing moves you can find brilliant queen sacrifices.

Chapter 3, the longest in the book, brings with it a change of scenery. Useful endings: we have some pawn endings, rook against pawn, queen against rook, the bishop and knight checkmate explained in some detail, and finally rook against knight, again at length.

We’re back to tactics in Chapter 4, Knight Geometry.

This is Zvjaginsev-Schwarz (Novi Sad 2016).

White won with the aesthetically pleasing 44. Rxa6!! bxa6 45. b7 Qd8 46. Qxh6+!! Kxh6 47. Nxf7+. Beautiful, to be sure, with symmetrical major piece sacrifices on a6 and h6, but the queen sacrifice wasn’t necessary: 45. f4 Rg6 46. b7 was just as effective. (Note that 44. f4 also worked, but not, in the game, 46. f4? Qa5! and Black has a perpetual.) Perhaps this might have been mentioned.

The tactical ideas continue: Back Rank Mate (Chapter 5), Lure the King (Chapter 6: sacrificing a piece to expose the enemy king to danger), Unexpected Moves (Chapter 7: a collection of fairly random examples which you can discover by looking for Checks, Captures and Threats), Power of the Rooks (Chapter 8), Sudden Attack on the King (Chapter 9).

Chapter 10  is entitled Burying, which is a new one to me. The explanation, that it’s a very important tactical element when attacking the opponent’s king,  didn’t leave me much wiser. It seems to be something to do with taking away the king’s escape squares, but who knows?

In this position (Dizdarevic-Miles Biel 1985) Tony played a classic double bishop sacrifice: 13… Bxh2+! 14. Kxh2 Qh4+ 15. Kg1. Now after the immediate and obvious 15… Bxg2, 16. f3 defends. Instead, 15… Bf3!! (‘Burying!’) 16. Nd2 Bxg2!, and as the queen can no longer defend along the second rank, Black wins in short order.

There’s more to come: Underpromotion to a Knight in Chapter 11, and Different Tactical Motives in Chapter 12, but the whole book seems to me fairly random.

If you want to see some beautiful and spectacular chess, you’ll find a lot of great examples in this book: some hackneyed (the queen sac and knight fork from the 1966 Petrosian-Spassky match must have been in almost every tactics book for the past half century, and the Topalov-Shirov bishops of opposite colours ending for the past 20 years) but many unfamiliar.

Jankovic, by and large, explains his examples well and has an attractively friendly style of writing.

However, for this reviewer at least, the whole is rather less than the sum of its parts. With its mixture of elementary and advanced examples the book’s target market is not clear. The ‘Grandmaster Mindset’ advice (assess the position and consider candidate moves looking at checks, captures and threats) is far from original and, you might think, rather too simplistic. The contents seem fairly random (showy sacrifices, with some technical endings thrown in for good measure) but typical of what appears to pass for chess tuition in some circles. I’ll be writing a lot more about this at some point in the future.

It would require quite a lot of fleshing out, but there were potentially two much more useful books here. A book on finding tactical surprises, using the examples here but with the addition of exercises for the reader to solve. And then a much expanded version of Chapter 3 dealing with technical endings.

A qualified recommendation, then, but perhaps a missed opportunity which would have benefited from a more proactive approach from the publishers.

Richard James, Twickenham 13th August 2020

Richard James
. Richard James

Book Details :

  • Hardcover : 200 pages
  • Publisher:Thinkers Publishing; 1 edition (14 July 2020)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10:9492510774
  • ISBN-13:978-9492510778
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 1.8 x 23.4 cm

Official web site of Thinkers Publishing

The Grandmaster Mindset
The Grandmaster Mindset