Category Archives: 4NCL

Birthday Greetings GM David Howell (14-xi-1990)

GM David Howell at the 2014 British Championships in Aberystwyth, courtesy of John Upham Photography
GM David Howell at the 2014 British Championships in Aberystwyth, courtesy of John Upham Photography

BCN sends Birthday greetings to David Howell on this day.

David Wei Lang Howell was born in Eastbourne, East Sussex on Wednesday 14th of November 1990. His parents are Martin and Angeline Howell (née Choo).

David Howell faces Andrew Whiteley whilst Jimmy Adams records the moves
David Howell faces Andrew Whiteley whilst Jimmy Adams records the moves

An unknown jumble sale (Eastbourne?) provided the Howell family with a chess set.

David learnt the moves from Martin, his father and rapidly improved and he joined Sussex Junior Chess Association and he began representing his county in EPSCA matches and other competitions.

In Torquay in 1998 whilst Nigel Short and Susan Lalic were busy winning the main championships David made his mark by winning the British Under-8 Championship, an event that had started only ten years beforehand.

A trip to Scarborough in 1999 yielded both the Under-9 and Under-10 championships.

Barry Martin, David Howell and Julian Hodgson unveil a blue plaque in honour of Howard Staunton
Barry Martin, David Howell and Julian Hodgson unveil a blue plaque in honour of Howard Staunton

Sponsorship from now dissolved software company JEB (Hove) enabled David to be coached by Glenn Flear.

David Howell, London Chess Classic, 2013, courtesy of John Upham Photography
David Howell, London Chess Classic, 2013, courtesy of John Upham Photography

David became a FIDE Master at the age of ten years, nine months and 26 days. He became an International Master aged 13 years, 2 months and 22 days.

Finally the Grandmaster title came at 16 years, 1 month and 22 days.

The FIDE rating profile for David Howell according to MegaBase 2020
The FIDE rating profile for David Howell according to MegaBase 2020

David’s rise has been well documented both here and here and therefore we will not attempt to improve on these sources.

David was Southern Counties (SCCU) champion for the 2010-11 season sharing with Danny Gormally.

David Howell, British Championships, 2013, Round 11, courtesy of John Upham Photography
David Howell, British Championships, 2013, Round 11, courtesy of John Upham Photography

With the white pieces David is a firm believer in 1.e4 but he has played (and continues to do so) 1.Nf3, 1.c4 and 1.d4 and he has scored 89% over nineteen games with. 1.g3

Like Sheila Jackson and Susan Lalic David was a big fan of the Sicilian Alapin but nowadays the Moscow and Rossolimo variations.

As the second player David prefers open games and has played the closed Ruy Lopez and the Marshall Attack. David also employs the Berlin Defence.
Defending against the Queen’s pawn David is less varied and plumps for the Grünfeld defence most of the time. On critical occasions David will use the Caro-Kann as a winning weapon.

So, a wide repertoire with both the white and black pieces and therefore not easy to prepare for: a very modern player!

GM David Howell
GM David Howell

David has plus scores against Mark Hebden, Peter Wells, Nick Pert, Simon Williams, Jonathan Speelman, Nigel Short and almost all of his fellow British GMs except for Gawain Jones, Michael Adams and Luke McShane.

David started his 4NCL career with Invicta Knights with a FIDE rating of 1432 in May 1999. By 2001 he was playing for Nigel Johnson and his Slough team. In 2004 the inevitable occurred and David transferred (as is common) to either cash rich Wood Green or Guildford. In fact it was Guildford on this occasion. In 2009 David moved to Pride & Prejudice. 2012 saw David playing for Wood Green Hillsmark. In 2015 he switched to Cheddleton and remained with them until 2019 finally returning to Guildford in 2020.

David Howell at the 2014 London Chess Classic, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
David Howell at the 2014 London Chess Classic, Courtesy of John Upham Photography

In November 2021 David took part in the 108-player FIDE Grand Prix event in Riga and after nine round he lying equal third on 6.5 with with Alireza Firouja and Fabiano Caruana. He eventually finished on 7/11 with a TPR of 2764.

Here is a tough struggle from that event:

David regularly hosts chess24 commentary of major tournaments, such as the 2020/21 Candidates.

GM David Howell vs IM Eddie Dearing, Drunken Knights vs Wood Green, June 2014, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
GM David Howell vs IM Eddie Dearing, Drunken Knights vs Wood Green, June 2014, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
 Save as PDF

It’s Only Me! : Remembering Tony Miles (23-iv-1955 12-xi-2001)

GM Anthony John Miles
GM Anthony John Miles

We remember one of the most innovative and best loved English players of all time, Tony Miles.

Tony's signature from a presentation copy of European Team Championship 1973. The event was the Anglo-Dutch match of October 1977 at Elvetham Hall
Tony’s signature from a presentation copy of European Team Championship 1973. The event was the Anglo-Dutch match of October 1977 at Elvetham Hall

From British Chess (Pergamon Press, 1983) by Bernard Cafferty :

“If one had to forecast at the start of the 1970s the British chess would have a player in the next decade who would win the World Junior Championship, make plus score against Soviet players in his first years of play against them, and beat such household names as Geller, Bronstein, Larsen, Gligoric, Smyslov, Spassky and Karpov…one would have been called a romantic dreamer.

English chess grandmaster Tony Miles (1955 - 2001), UK, 6th May 1973. (Photo by Hoare/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
English chess grandmaster Tony Miles (1955 – 2001), UK, 6th May 1973. (Photo by Hoare/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

If one had gone further and said that the same grandmaster X would become only the second British player this century to beat a reigning world champion, and that as Black in an irregular opening (1 e4 a6 2 d4 b5) then incredulity would indeed have been a fitting reaction.

Yet all this has come to pass; all the above is fact not fiction, reality not a day dream. Who is grandmaster X? Where did he develop?

Anthony John Miles was born on the 23rd April, 1955, in Birmingham (his birthplace is incorrectly marked (Ed: as London) on the map in Elo’s book on ratings.) He learned the moves at the age of five, became seriously interested in the game at the age of nine or ten, and almost straight away won the Birmingham Primary Schools Championship.

English chess grandmaster Tony Miles (1955 - 2001), UK, 15th May 1973. (Photo by Adam/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
English chess grandmaster Tony Miles (1955 – 2001), UK, 15th May 1973. (Photo by Adam/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

In 1965 he joined the Birmingham Chess club and the following year became a pupil at King Edward School (KES) (the alma mater of other strong British players, such as Hugh Alexander and Malcolm Barker, runner-up to Ivkov in the inaugural World Junior Championship held at Birmingham in 1951.)

Tony Miles
Tony Miles

At the Birmingham Club he met strong opposition (another grandmaster-to-be, the postal player Keith Richardson was a member there for a time) since the club’s four teams were all in the higher divisions of the local league. Yet Tony’s school work meant that he could not be called a frequent attender at the club – he turned up for league matches and the club championship, but rarely for skittles except in the summer.

Tony Miles and possibly (?) Peter Clarke at Birmingham 1973
Tony Miles and possibly (?) Peter Clarke at Birmingham 1973

Soon he was playing in the Second Division, by 1968 he was in the First Division, and in the 1969-70 season he was on top board for one of the Club’s three teams in the top Division.

Tony made his debut in the BCF Congress at Oxford, 1967, where he was equal 11th in the under-14 Boys Championship won by another rising star, John Nunn. Strangely enough when Tony won this title the following year at Bristol Nunn was 3rd equal!

The Edgbaston player was also a regular competitor in the annual Easter Congress held in the same suburb of Birmingham where he lived.

Tony Miles
Tony Miles

The breakthrough to national status came when he was a sixth-former at KES. At the BCF Congress, Blackpool,
1971, he won the under-2l Championship (with Nunn and Jon Speelman equal 2nd and the same year made his international debut in a junior tournament at Nice which he won ahead of various prominent players including the Swiss Hug who was to win the World Junior championship some 4 months later!

Tony Miles and unknown opponent
Tony Miles and unknown opponent

In the 1971-72 Birmingham and District League season he set up a scoring record, mainly on top board, that may never be equalled (9.5 out of 10).

Tony Miles
Tony Miles

During these school years Tony was a rather taciturn teenager (perhaps to be expected in an only child) but he never fitted in with the conventional image of chessplayer as weedy bookworm.

Tony being presented with the trophy in the photograph below
Tony being presented with the trophy in the photograph below

He always had a fine physique, played rugger at school and later became keen on squash and skiing as a means of keeping fit, though he is the first to admit that he can be rather lethargic (especially in the mornings!)

Tony Miles
Tony Miles

At the time I knew one of his teachers professionally, and heard the occasional report that he was not always up to the best academic standards of KES. My reaction must have seemed heresy at the time, but subsequent events in the post-Fischer era have confirmed that the ability to play chess to international standard may lead to a more worthwhile career than being a run-of-the-mill university graduate.

Tony Miles at Hastings
Tony Miles at Hastings

A sign of Tony’s growing understanding of the finer points of the game came when he strolled into the Birmingham Club the day after the first game of the Spassky-Fischer match and pointed out (correctly as was shown later) the reason why Fischer had made his famous Bxh2 sacrifice/oversight.

Tony Miles & Bill Hartston admire a Rolls-Royce
Tony Miles & Bill Hartston admire a Rolls-Royce

International recognition came in 1973 when he finished 2nd to Romanishin in the European Junior Championship at Groningen, and Second to Belyavsky in the World Junior at Teeside, as well as sharing 4-6th place in the British Championship at Eastbourne at only the second attempt. His first game to be published round the world was his victory over Bisguier in the Birmingham Easter tournament which he won ahead of Adorjan and Bisguier in the same year.

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

The main event of 1974, a break-through for British chess, was the World Junior Championship played in August in sub-tropical Manila. Here he played one of his finest games, against Kochiev, to take the title with a round to spare, thereby becoming lnternational Master.

The 1974 World Junior Chess Champion is Anthony John Miles (England), a 19-year old student at Sheffield University. Tony won the title in Manila with a round to spare. A full report, with games by Bernard Cafferty - who was Miles' second  - will appear in our October issue.
The 1974 World Junior Chess Champion is Anthony John Miles (England), a 19-year old student at Sheffield University. Tony won the title in Manila with a round to spare. A full report, with games by Bernard Cafferty – who was Miles’ second – will appear in our October issue.

Tony’s physical strength showed up to good effect here, not just lasting out the 4 weeks in the baking humidity but coping with the huge load of luggage (on the outward journey huge cases full of Chess Player, Informator and the like; on the return journey this load reinforced with prizes and souvenirs!).

Tony Miles at Wijk aan Zee 1976. Korchnoi was first. Photo taken by Brian or Freddy Reilly
Tony Miles at Wijk aan Zee 1976. Korchnoi was first. Photo taken by Brian or Freddy Reilly

Gaining the title brought regular invitations to tournaments which could not be fitted in well with the demands of his maths course at Sheffield University. In the summer of 1975 he gave up the course after two years, while the University authorities showed their recognition of his distinction at chess by the award of an honorary MA degree.

Tony Miles in relaxed mood
Tony Miles in relaxed mood

Once free to concentrate wholeheartedly on his true calling he took the grandmaster title in a rush. The first norm came with first prize, August, 1975, at the London Chess Fortnight ahead of Adorjan, Sax and Timman.

Tony Miles
Tony Miles

Hastings 1975-76 was not too good a result, but only a few weeks later he was on his way to a great triumph despite
forced late acceptance of the invitation to the USSR due to lack of finance. He got his visa just in time and went to snowy Dubna, a scientific centre near Moscow, to achieve that most difficult feat – a GM norm in a Soviet tournament ahead of eight GM’s and others
just as strong.

Tony Miles plays Tony Miles : see full caption below
Tony Miles plays Tony Miles : see full caption below
Caption for above photograph
Caption for above photograph

Thus Tony Miles became the first official British grandmaster (the title dates officially only from 1949, so excluding the likes of Staunton, Blackburne and Burn) and took the £5000 Slater prize for the first British GM to add to the £1000 prize for victory in the 1975 Cutty Sark series of weekend and other tournaments. The availability of sponsorship, it goes without saying, has done much to encourage Tony on his chosen path as a chess professional, a far from easy vocation that demands will-power and strong nerves to be successful.

Tony Miles : See full caption below
Tony Miles : See full caption below
Full caption for above photograph
Full caption for above photograph
Accompanying letter for above photograph
Accompanying letter for above photograph

1977 confirmed that here was a genuine grandmaster with first prizes at the Amsterdam IBM and Biel tournaments, and second prize behind Karpov
at the first of the new series of Super grandmaster tournaments (Tilburg, Holland.)

Tony Miles in pensive mood
Tony Miles in pensive mood

After his Promotion to the ranks of grandmaster Tony, with his usual directness, said that the only thing left to achieve was to have a crack at Karpov. (His fans might react by saying that there were other mountains to climb such as first place at Hastings and in the British Championship, but then Karpov has not achieved the first either, and only became Soviet Champion after he had taken the world title!)

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

The first chance for this ‘crack’ came with their meeting in the super tournaments at Tilburg and Bugojno, as well as in the 1977 BBC2 TV Master Game’ The
results went much in favour of the (slightly) older man. Tony had to wait till January, 1980 before he could celebrate a victory over Fischer’s successor.

Peter Sowray watching Tony Miles at the Lloyds Bank Masters. Sir Jeremy Morse watches.
Peter Sowray watching Tony Miles at the Lloyds Bank Masters. Sir Jeremy Morse watches.

By this time Tony had failed in his first bid to get to a title match with the Russian when he fell away after a good start in the 1979 Riga Interzonal (the
second stage of the three-part qualifying cycle). It is a pity that our leading professional in Britain still has to accept so many invitations merely to make a
decent living. As Botvinnik has commented, some properly directed study and training at home may be preferable to too frequent public appearances at the board.

Tony Miles and ? at a Benedictine International in Manchester
Tony Miles and Sergey Kudrin at a Benedictine International in Manchester

What sort of person and player is Tony Miles? He has become a more outgoing person in recent years, and has even overcome his legitimate aversion to
media representatives who attempt to interview him without any background in the game.

Tony Miles
Tony Miles

His style has also gone through various changes. At first he was purely a 1 e4 player with a penchant for tricky Nc6 variations of the Four Knights. This repertoire brought him a string of wins, but once he began meeting masters regularly he had to change his repertoire to include the flank openings and 1 d4 as well as the Sicilian Defence. Some notable contributions to opening theory include Bf4 against the Oueen’s Indian, the defence 1…b6, perhaps now 1…a6.

Tony Miles, now playing under the US flag
Tony Miles, now playing under the US flag

Yet his real strength is not in the openings, and he rarely scores quick knockouts. His strength lies in the ability to play a wide variety of positions, to have the patience to play on when there is nothing special in the position and then to recognize the crisis (sometimes more psychological than positional). At this point his fitness and energy tell. It is significant that one of his best wins in the Dubna tournament came in a queen and pawn ending that demanded great patience and technical ability.

10th April 1980: Tony Miles (left) plays 14-year-old Nigel Short in the opening match of the Phillips and Drew Chess Tournament at County Hall, London. (Photo by Wesley/Keystone/Getty Images)
10th April 1980: Tony Miles (left) plays 14-year-old Nigel Short in the opening match of the Phillips and Drew Chess Tournament at County Hall, London. (Photo by Wesley/Keystone/Getty Images)

As readers of his weekly column will know he loves to analyse ever more deeply, and seems happier here than in taking intuitive decisions. In the play of the first British grandmaster we see a confirmation of the fact that modern competitive chess is more of a sport (Denksport as the Germans have it) than
an art, more a bitter struggle of strong personalities than an orthodox game.
Bernard Cafferty

In British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXII (122, 2002), Number 1 (January) pp. 6-13 appeared this wonderful obituary from John Saunders with contributions from Bernard Cafferty, Colin Crouch, Jon Levitt and Malcolm Hunt :

British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXII (122, 2002), Number 1 (January) pp. 6-13
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXII (122, 2002), Number 1 (January) pp. 6-13
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXII (122, 2002), Number 1 (January) pp. 6-13
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXII (122, 2002), Number 1 (January) pp. 6-13
Tony Miles at Tilburg 1985
Tony Miles at Tilburg 1985
Tony Miles at Tilburg 1985
Tony Miles at Tilburg 1985
Tony Miles at Tilburg 1985
Tony Miles at Tilburg 1985
By Bogaerts, Rob / Anefo - Interpolisschaaktoernooi Tilburg; Miles (met rugklachten) ligt op massagetafel te wachten op zijn tegenstanderDutch National Archives, The Hague, Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau (ANeFo), 1945-1989,Auteursrechthebbende Nationaal Archief, Nummer toegang 2.24.01.05 Bestanddeelnummer 933-4181, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23134281
By Bogaerts, Rob / Anefo – Interpolisschaaktoernooi Tilburg; Miles (met rugklachten) ligt op massagetafel te wachten op zijn tegenstanderDutch National Archives, The Hague, Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau (ANeFo), 1945-1989,Auteursrechthebbende Nationaal Archief, Nummer toegang 2.24.01.05 Bestanddeelnummer 933-4181, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23134281
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXII (122, 2002), Number 1 (January) pp. 6-13
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXII (122, 2002), Number 1 (January) pp. 6-13
Tony receives the Leigh Grand Prix award from Malcolm Wood (Chief Executive)
Tony receives the Leigh Grand Prix award from Malcolm Wood (Chief Executive)
Tony receives the 1984 Leigh Grand Prix award from Dr. A Kent, Malcolm Wood (Chief Executive) and David Anderton OBE
Tony receives the 1984 Leigh Grand Prix award from Dr. A Kent, Malcolm Wood (Chief Executive) and David Anderton OBE
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXII (122, 2002), Number 1 (January) pp. 6-13
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXII (122, 2002), Number 1 (January) pp. 6-13
Tony playing under the Union flag
Tony playing under the Union flag
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXII (122, 2002), Number 1 (January) pp. 6-13
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXII (122, 2002), Number 1 (January) pp. 6-13
Tony Miles reflecting on an adjourned position. Courtesy of Stephanie Bureau.
Tony Miles reflecting on an adjourned position. Courtesy of Stephanie Bureau.
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXII (122, 2002), Number 1 (January) pp. 6-13
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXII (122, 2002), Number 1 (January) pp. 6-13
Tony : always popular with the ladies at a Lloyds Bank event
Tony : always popular with the ladies at a Lloyds Bank event
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXII (122, 2002), Number 1 (January) pp. 6-13
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXII (122, 2002), Number 1 (January) pp. 6-13
Tony at a Lloyds Bank event with Ray Keene, Yasser Seirawan and Vassily Smyslov
Tony at a Lloyds Bank event with Ray Keene, Yasser Seirawan and Vassily Smyslov

From The Oxford Companion to Chess, (OUP, 1984 & 1994), Hooper & Whyld :

“English-born player, International Grandmaster (1976). While an undergraduate he entered and won by a margin of one and a half points the World Junior Championship, Manila 1974. The following year his university, Sheffield, awarded him an honorary MA degree for his chess achievements, and he left without completing his studies, to become a chess professional. The successes came quickly; London 1975, first (+6=3-1); Amsterdam 1976, first equal with Korchnoi; Amsterdam 1977, first (+7=7-1); Biel 1977, first (+ 8=6-l); Tilburg 1977, second (+5:4-2), after Karpov, ahead of Hort and Hübner; Tilburg 1978, third (+4=4-3) equal with Dzindzichashvili and Hübner, after Portisch and Timman; London 1980, first (+6=5-2) equal with Andersson and Korchnoi; Las Palmas 1980, first (+6=5) equal with Geller and Petrosian; Baden-Baden 1981, first (+6=7) equal with Ribli, ahead of Korchnoi; Porz Koln l98l-2, second (+8=l-2), behind Tal, ahead of Hort; Biel 1983, first (+5=6), shared with Nunn; Tilburg 1984, first (+5=6), ahead of Belyavsky, Ribli, and Hübner; Portoroz-Ljubljana 1985, first (+4=6-l) equal with Portisch and Ribli; and Tilburg 1985, first (+6=5-3) equal with Hübner and Korchnoi.

Tony making a getaway !
Tony making a getaway !

Around this time Miles began to feel the strain of ten years at the top. He was the first British player of modern times who could be seen as a possible challenger for the world title, and in the late 1970s he was well clear of his British rivals. However, largely inspired by Miles’s success, a new generation, led by Short, was in pursuit, and by the mid 1980s Miles was no longer top board in the Olympiad side. Successes became fewer, his marriage ended, and his confidence was weakened.

Tony enjoyed flamboyant shirts
Tony enjoyed flamboyant shirts

Determined to make a new start, he transferred his allegiance to the USA in 1987, and immediately shared first place with Gulko, who won the play-off, in the US Open Championship.

Tony Miles
Tony Miles

The move was not a lasting success. Miles had indifferent results and was not selected for the US Olympiad team in 1988. He had maintained a home in Germany and commuted to play in the Bundesliga and by 1990 he was spending an increasing proportion of his time in Europe. His confidence began to return, and with it more victories. He was first in two Swiss system events, Rome 1990, ahead of Barayev, Chernin, Smyslov etc, and Bad Worishofen 1990 (shared), and at Biel 1990 was equal
third (+3=9-2) alter Karpov and Andersson.”

Tony Miles
Tony Miles

Lajos Portisch and Tony Miles
Lajos Portisch and Tony Miles

From Wikipedia :
“Personal life

Miles was an only child, born 23 April 1955 in Edgbaston, a suburb of Birmingham, and attended King Edward’s School, Birmingham.[1][2] He was married and divorced twice, and had no children.[1] Miles’ first wife was Jana Hartston, who had previously been married to William Hartston.[2]

Tony with friends at a Lloyds Bank event
Tony with friends at a Lloyds Bank event

Early achievements in chess
He learned the game of chess early in life and made good progress nationally, taking the titles of British under-14 Champion and under-21 Champion in 1968[1] and 1971,[3][4] respectively.

Tony with short hair
Tony with short hair

In 1973, Miles won the silver medal at the World Junior Chess Championship at Teesside, his first important event against international competition. Both he and compatriot Michael Stean defeated the tournament winner Alexander Beliavsky, but were unable to match the Soviet player’s ruthlessness in dispatching lesser opponents. Miles went on to win this prestigious title the following year in Manila, while a mathematics undergraduate of the University of Sheffield.[1][2]

Tony faces Jonathan Mestel at the Philips & Drew Masters
Tony faces Jonathan Mestel at the Philips & Drew Masters

Taking the decision to pursue the game professionally, Miles did not complete his studies, but, in 1975, was awarded an MA by the University in respect of his chess achievements.[2]

Tony in slightly less formal attire
Tony in slightly less formal attire

Further career highlights
In 1976, Miles became the first UK-born, over-the-board chess grandmaster, narrowly beating Raymond Keene to the accolade.[2] The naturalised, German-born Jacques Mieses was awarded the GM title in 1950, while Keith Bevan Richardson had been awarded the GM title for correspondence chess earlier in 1975. For his achievement, Miles won a £5,000 prize, put up by wealthy businessman and chess backer Jim Slater.[1][2]

Tony and friends at a Lloyds Bank event
Tony and friends at a Lloyds Bank event

Miles had a string of good results in the late 1970s and 1980s. He matured into a world class player and won games against high calibre opponents, such as former World Chess Champions Vasily Smyslov, Mikhail Tal and Boris Spassky.

Post mortem analysis with Tony and Garry Kasparov
Post mortem analysis with Tony and Garry Kasparov

In 1980 at the European Team Championship in Skara, he beat reigning World Champion Anatoly Karpov with Black, using the extremely unorthodox opening 1. e4 a6!?, the St. George Defence. It is often said that Miles learned the line from offbeat openings enthusiast Michael Basman, but in his book Play the St. George, Basman asserts there is no truth to this. Miles beat Karpov again three years later in Bath in a game that was part of the BBC’s Master Game series, but it was shown only by the (co-producing) German television network, due to a BBC technicians’ strike at the time of broadcast.

Tony in Olympiad play with Jan Timman
Tony in Olympiad play with Jan Timman

Miles won the British Championship just once, in 1982 when the event was held in Torquay. His prime time as a chess player was the mid-1980s. On 20 May 1984 in Roetgen (Germany), Miles set a European record in blind simultaneous chess with 22 games (+10−2=10);[5] this record was not broken until 2009. On the January 1984 Elo rating list, he ranked No. 18 in the world with a rating of 2599. One of his best results occurred at the Tilburg tournament in 1984, where, from a strong field, he emerged sole winner by a clear margin of one and one-half points. The following year, he tied for first at the same event with Robert Hübner and Viktor Korchnoi, playing several of his games while lying face down on a table, having injured his back.[6]

Tony and ? at a Lloyds Bank Masters. Stewart Reuben applauds.
Tony and ? at a Lloyds Bank Masters. Stewart Reuben applauds.

The result was controversial, as many of Miles’ opponents felt they were distracted by the unusual circumstances. A string of good performances culminated in a good showing on the January 1986 Elo rating list, where he climbed to a best-ever position of World No. 9 with a rating of 2610. During this period, there was considerable rivalry with Nunn over who was the United Kingdom’s best player, the two protagonists regularly leapfrogging each other in the world rankings. Nigel Short and Speelman soon added to the competition, as the English national squad entered its strongest period.

Tony about to play Vladimir Kramnik
Tony about to play Vladimir Kramnik

Never able to qualify out of the Interzonal stages into the Candidates’ series, Miles eventually lost the race to become the first British Candidate when Short did so in 1985. However, he retained top board for England at the Thessaloniki and Dubai Olympiads of 1984 and 1986, helping the team to silver medals at each.

Tony plays Glenn Lambert during the 1976 BCF Congress in Portsmouth. Photo courtesy of Tony Williams
Tony plays Glenn Lambert during the 1976 BCF Congress in Portsmouth. Photo courtesy of Tony Williams

Against Garry Kasparov, Miles had little success, not winning a game against him, and losing a 1986 match in Basel by the score of 5½–½. Following this encounter, Miles commented “I thought I was playing the world champion, not a monster with a thousand eyes who sees everything” (some sources alternatively quote Miles as having the opinion that Kasparov had 22 or 27 eyes).

Miles on a stretcher with back pain, playing in Tilburg (1985)
After he was hospitalised because of a mental breakdown in late 1987, Miles moved to the United States. He finished last in the 1988 U.S. Championship, but continued to play there and had some good results. In 1991, he played in the Championship of Australia, but eventually moved back to England and began to represent his native country again. He was equal first at the very strong Cappelle-la-Grande Open in 1994, 1995, and 1997, and caused a shock at the PCA Intel Rapid Chess Grand Prix in London in 1995, when he knocked out Vladimir Kramnik in the first round and Loek van Wely in the second. His bid to win the event was finally halted in the semifinal by English teammate Michael Adams.

There were four notable victories at the Capablanca Memorial in Cuba (1994, 1995, 1996, and 1999). Miles also tied for first in the 1999 Continental Open in Los Angeles with Alexander Beliavsky, Ľubomír Ftáčnik and Suat Atalık. His last tournament victory was the 2001 Canadian Open Chess Championship in Sackville, New Brunswick.

Miles entered and played at the 2001 British Championship in Scarborough, but withdrew before the final round, apparently because of ill health. His final two games before his death were short draws in the Four Nations Chess League. Miles played in an extraordinary number of chess events during his career, including many arduous weekend tournaments.

The Miles Variation (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.Bf4) in the Queen’s Indian Defence is named after him.”

Tony started his chess writing career in around 1978 with a series of high quality annotated tournament bulletins of the top events of the period most of which he competed in himself.  For example:

Tilburg 1978, Tony Miles & Jonathan Speelman, Master Chess Publications, 1978
Tilburg 1978, Tony Miles & Jonathan Speelman, Master Chess Publications, 1978
Riga Interzonal 1979, AJ Miles & J Speelman, Batsford, 1979, ISBN 0 7134 3429 5
Riga Interzonal 1979, AJ Miles & J Speelman, Batsford, 1979, ISBN 0 7134 3429 5
Rio de Janeiro Interzonal 1979, AJ Miles & M.Chandler, Batsford, 1979, ISBN 0 7134 3427 9
Rio de Janeiro Interzonal 1979, AJ Miles & M.Chandler, Batsford, 1979, ISBN 0 7134 3427 9
Buenos Aires 1979. AJ Miles, The Chess Player, ISBN 0 906042 31 3
Buenos Aires 1979. AJ Miles, The Chess Player, ISBN 0 906042 31 3
47th USSR Championships 1979, AJ Miles, The Chess Player, 1979, ISBN 0 906042 32 1
47th USSR Championships 1979, AJ Miles, The Chess Player, 1979, ISBN 0 906042 32 1
Chess from Square One, AJ Miles, Harper Collins, November 1979, ISBN 0713511168
Chess from Square One, AJ Miles, Harper Collins, November 1979, ISBN 0713511168
European Team Championship Skara 1980, AJ Miles, The Chess Player, ISBN 0 906042 33X
European Team Championship Skara 1980, AJ Miles, The Chess Player, ISBN 0 906042 33X

Of course there are numerous articles about Tony for example :

Vlastimil Hort Remembers Tony Miles

Hort stories: Wrong place wrong time

Chess Corner – Original Maverick: Remembering Tony Miles

Britain’s first chess grandmaster, he paved the way for today’s international competitors

Tony Miles 1955-2001

Kingpin

Tony Miles (1955-2001) by Edward Winter

How Anthony Miles beat a World Champion (Karpov-Miles, Skara 1980)

Lawrence Trent plays Tony Miles in 2001 at the British Championships in Scarborough
Lawrence Trent plays Tony Miles in 2001 at the British Championships in Scarborough
It's Only Me, edited by Geoff Lawton
It’s Only Me, edited by Geoff Lawton
Tony Miles : England's Chess Gladiator, Ray Keene, 2006
Tony Miles : England’s Chess Gladiator, Ray Keene, 2006
Tony Miles : England's Chess Gladiator, Ray Keene, 2006
Tony Miles : England’s Chess Gladiator, Ray Keene, 2006
A Tony Miles memorial
A Tony Miles memorial
Tony's signature from a presentation copy of Pachman's Decisive Games from Anglo-German match of February 1979 at Elvetham Hall
Tony’s signature from a presentation copy of Pachman’s Decisive Games from Anglo-German match of February 1979 at Elvetham Hall
 Save as PDF

Remembering David Welch (30-x-1945 09-xi-2019)

David Welch, photograph by John Upham
David Welch, photograph by John Upham

Just over two years ago today we learnt the sad news that popular longtime Arbiter and Organizer David Welch had passed away at the age of 74 after a long illness : he was being cared for in The Royal Liverpool Hospital. The funeral took place at Landican Crematorium, Arrowe Park CH49 5LW at 12 noon on Friday 6th December. Following the funeral, the wake took place at the Grove House Hotel, Grove Road, Wallasey CH44 4BT.

David was born on Tuesday, October 30th 1945 in Brampton, Chesterfield, Derbyshire and attended Chesterfield Grammar School (see below).

He played for Wallasey Chess Club for many years having initially been a member of Liverpool Chess Club.

David attended Queens’ College, Cambridge reading Natural Sciences (Chemistry) and (according to John Swain) David served Cambridge University Chess Club as Junior Treasurer, Librarian and Bulletin Editor.

In 1968 David and Peter Purland started teaching at the same Liverpool school (Liverpool College) on the same day and continued their friendship from there. David also ran the college scout troop.

In the same year David joined Liverpool Chess Club and became a leading light fairly early on.

David Welch (30-x-1945 09-xi-2019), photograph by John Upham at 2012 4NCL
David Welch (30-x-1945 09-xi-2019), photograph by John Upham at 2012 4NCL

David became a BCF arbiter in the early 1970s eventually becoming the BCFs Chief Arbiter and then the ECFs Chief Arbiter and was heavily involved in many British Championships around the country.

David was curator of ECF equipment for some time and personally funded much of the BCFs and ECFs early equipment stock.

He became a FIDE International Arbiter as early as 1977 and was awarded the FIDE International Organizer title in 2010.

In 2007 David received the ECF Presidents Award from Gerry Walsh. Here is the citation in full (from the 2008 ECF Yearbook) :

“David Welch started chess organisation early being captain of the Chesterfield Grammar School team that played both in the school’s league and in the local adult league. He joined the Liverpool Chess Club after leaving University in 1968 and has held various posts with them , he is now their President. He set-up the Liverpool Chess Congress in about 1978.

Additionally, he was the director of the Liverpool Chess Congress. Although now defunct this was in its day the largest junior event in the UK (perhaps even the world) having 2000 entrants at the time of Spassky-Fisher (sic). He has also been involved in the Liverpool city of culture initiative.

He had also had a considerable involvement with the ECF. He is the the Merseyside representative to the ECF. He has been helping run the British Championships since 1981; starting at one of the arbiting team he has been Director/Manager of the congress since 2005. He has been Chief Arbiter of the Federation since about 1992. He also does the arbiting at a number of congresses and is, in particular, the Chief Arbiter of the 4NCL.”

David Welch receives FIDE Arbiter Award
David Welch receives FIDE Arbiter Award

David shared the exact same date of birth as long time friend and fellow arbiter, Peter Purland.

Here is an excellent tribute from John Saunders

Here is a tribute from Liverpool College

in 2016 David received recognition from FIDE for his long service as an International Arbiter. David was the third English arbiter to receive the honour, following Stewart Reuben and Gerry Walsh in 2014.

We send our condolences to all of his many family and friends.

David Welch, photograph by John Upham
David Welch, photograph by John Upham
 Save as PDF

Happy Birthday GM John Shaw (16-10-1968)

GM John Shaw, courtesy of John Upham Photography
GM John Shaw, courtesy of John Upham Photography

BCN offers birthday greetings to GM John Shaw

John K Shaw was born on Wednesday, October 16th, 1968 in Irvine, North Ayrshire, Scotland.

On this day Americans Tommie Smith (gold 19.83 WR) and John Carlos (bronze) famously give the Black Power salute on the 200m medal podium during the Mexico City Olympics to protest racism and injustice against African-Americans.

He became a FIDE Master in 1994 at the age of 26. Five years later in 1999 he became an International Master and finally a Grandmaster in 2006 at the age of 38.

He won the Scottish Championship in 1995 (with IM Steve Mannion and GM Colin McNab), outright in 1998 and in 2000 with AJ Norris.

Not that many years previously (1988) John had a rating of 1700 at the age of 19 and therefore he falls into that rather rare category of GMs who were not strong players as juniors.

According to Felice and Megabase 2020 his peak FIDE rating was 2506 in January of 2002.

FIDE Rating profile for GM John Shaw
FIDE Rating profile for GM John Shaw

John’s FIDE federation is Scotland and is currently ranked fifth in that country.

In 2005 John was interrogated by ChessBase upon his return from Gibraltar.

He acquired his three GM norms at Gibraltar 2003, Calvia Olympiad 2004 and 4NCL Season 2005/6.

According to ChessBase (in 2005) :

“IM John Shaw has written two books for Everyman Chess and co-edited Experts vs. the Sicilian. He has represented Scotland on many occasions, recently in the Olympiad in Calvià, where he obtained his second GM-norm. As John has once had 2500 in Elo, it is his hope that he will complete his Grandmaster title in 2005 with a third GM-norm.

Together with Jacob, John constitutes two thirds of the new chess publisher Quality Chess Europe which has published Experts vs. the Sicilian by ten different authors and Learn from the Legends – Chess Champions at their Best by Romanian GM Mihail Marin.”

John plays / has played for 4NCL Alba and his peak ECF grading was 240B in July 2009.

With the white pieces almost exclusively plays 1.e4 and the Ruy Lopez, Exchange Variation.

As the second player John has a wide repertoire versus 1.e4 essaying the Sicilian La Bourdonnais (Löwenthal) and against 1.d4 the Slav is the weapon of choice.

A writer of chess books, John is the Chief Editor of the publishing house Quality Chess and has written the following (amongst others) :

starting out : the ruy lopez
starting out : the ruy lopez
starting out : the queen's gambit
starting out : the queen’s gambit
Quality Chess Puzzle Book
Quality Chess Puzzle Book
The King's Gambit
The King’s Gambit
Playing 1.e4
Playing 1.e4
Grandmaster versus Amateur by John Shaw
Grandmaster versus Amateur by John Shaw
Experts on the Anti-Sicilian (Grandmaster Repertoire Series)
Experts on the Anti-Sicilian (Grandmaster Repertoire Series)
 Save as PDF

Best Wishes IM Michael Hennigan (08-x-1970)

IM Michael T Hennigan, photo by Cathy Rogers
IM Michael T Hennigan, photo by Cathy Rogers

We send best wishes to IM Michael Hennigan.

Michael Thomas Hennigan was born on October 8th, 1970 in Hammersmith, London. His mother’s name was Donnelly.

Michael attended the City of London School.

Michael became World Under-18 Youth Champion in 1988 in Aguadilla (Puerto Rico).

He became a FIDE Master in 1990 and an International Master title in 1991 and in the same year was British Under-21 Champion at Eastbourne and was British Champion in 1993 in Dundee beating Dharshan Kumaran in the play-off.

In 1995 he was 1st= in the Arnold Cup in Gausdal with Igor Rausis

His peak FIDE rating (according to Felice and Megabase 2020) was 2465 in July 1994 at the age of 24.

He played for North West Eagles in the Four Nations Chess League.

Michael married WIM Rita Zimmersmann and settled in London. Rita subsequently became Rita Atkins.

Michael stopped playing in 2010 but has recently in 2020 started playing online chess on the chess.com platform.

Michael is a Senior Director with FTI Consulting

With the white pieces Michael used to be an e4 player but in 2020 has switched to 1.g3 to get back into the swing of things.

As the second player he plays the Sicilian Four Knights and the King’s Indian Defence.

Stuart Conquest vs Michael Hennigan at 4NCL,, photo by Meri Grigoryan
Stuart Conquest vs Michael Hennigan at 4NCL,, photo by Meri Grigoryan
 Save as PDF

Best Wishes IM Andrew Greet (05-x-1979)

IM Andrew Greet
IM Andrew Greet

BCN sends IM Andrew Greet best wishes on his birthday.

Andrew Neil Greet was born on Friday, October 5th, 1979 to Brian and Janet Greet (née) Neal in the cathedral city of Truro, Cornwall and has resided in St. Austell, Cornwall.

“Message in a Bottle” by The Police held the number one spot in the UK singles chart (three weeks in total). Andrew has a brother David who played as a junior.

Andrew attended Truro School leaving in 1998.

Andrew became a FIDE Master in 2004 and an International Master in 2005. His peak rating (according to Felice and Megabase 2020) was 2456 in April 2016 at the age of 37.

Andrew was British Under-18 Champion in 1996 at the age of 16 sharing the title with Oliver Rosten & Rohan Churm. In 1998 Andrew won the title outright.

From 1998 – 2001 had a break from chess to study Psychology at The University of Kent in Canterbury.

In 2005 he scored a record breaking 11/11 in the Four Nations League playing for Hillsmark Kingfisher. By now, Andrew had moved to Glasgow and had changed his FIDE federation from England to Scotland.

Andrew was joint winner (with Simon Knott) of the Southend Open in 2006.

In April 2009 Andrew joined Quality Chess in Sales and Marketing which led to the position of editor.

In 2010 Andrew became Scottish Champion outright.

In 2017 won outright the Dundee grandmaster tournament : here is the story of the tournament.

In 2018 he played board one for Scotland in the 43rd Olympiad in Batumi.

Andrew is a successful martial artist specialising in a a discipline known as Brazilian Jiujitsu, which is a form of grappling.

Here is an article (by Dave Regis) concerning a simultaneous display at Exeter Chess Club in 2010

From britishchess.co.uk :

“He has a very friendly personality which works well when coaching, and he has coached England juniors on foreign trips.”

Andrew has written a number of publications as follows :

Play the Ruy Lopez, Andrew Greet, Everyman, 2007
Play the Ruy Lopez, Andrew Greet, Everyman, 2007
Dangerous Weapons 1.e4 e5, Andrew Greet, John Emms & Glenn Flear, Everyman, 2008
Dangerous Weapons 1.e4 e5, Andrew Greet, John Emms & Glenn Flear, Everyman, 2008
Starting Out : The Accelerated Dragon, Andrew Greet, Everyman, 2008
Starting Out : The Accelerated Dragon, Andrew Greet, Everyman, 2008
Beating Unusual Chess Defences to 1.e4, Andrew Greet, Everyman, 2011
Beating Unusual Chess Defences to 1.e4, Andrew Greet, Everyman, 2011
Play the Queen's Indian, Everyman, Andrew Greet
Play the Queen’s Indian, Everyman, Andrew Greet
IM Andrew Greet
IM Andrew Greet
 Save as PDF

Happy Birthday GM David Norwood (03-x-1968)

IM David Norwood at the 1988 Oakham Young Masters. Photo by Steven Stepak
IM David Norwood at the 1988 Oakham Young Masters. Photo by Steven Stepak

We wish David Norwood all the best on his birthday,

David Robert Norwood was born in Farnworth, Bolton, Greater Manchester on October 3rd 1968. His mother’s maiden name was Mellor and his father was an electrician.

Mary Hopkin was still UK number one with “Those were the days” and would remain at number one for six weeks in total.

David Norwood
David Norwood

David read history at Keble College, Oxford before pursuing a successful business career (see below).

David became an International Master in 1985 and a Grandmaster in 1989 and his peak FIDE rating (Felice and Megabase 2020) was 2545 in July 1994 at the age of 26.

GM David Norwood
GM David Norwood

David has a score of +2 against Viswanathan Anand, +1 against Neil McDonald, +2 against Keith Arkell and +2 against Mark Hebden.

Preparing for David would have been fairly straightforward as he played almost the same opening with white and black playing 1.g3 (and less frequently, 1.d4) and the Modern Defence although his did flick the Modern Benoni into the mix every now and then.

As well as moving to Oxford for University he was =1st at the 1988 (fifth) NatWest Young Masters with 6/9 (along with Adams and Kudrin) securing a GM norm :

Crosstable for 1988 NatWest Young Masters
Crosstable for 1988 NatWest Young Masters
IM David Norwood at the 1988 NatWest Young Masters. Photo by Tom Elek
IM David Norwood at the 1988 NatWest Young Masters. Photo by Tom Elek

In 1990 David became the first Grandmaster to play in the annual Varsity match. This was the 108th such encounter and David played on board one against Jeremy P Sharp of Downing College, Cambridge. David first played in the 107th match in 1989 on board two below James Howell. David played one more time in 1991 scoring 2/3 from his three appearences.

IM David Norwood at the 1991 Varsity Match. Henry Gerald Mutkin (organiser and sponsor) is seated.
IM David Norwood at the 1991 Varsity Match. Henry Gerald Mutkin (organiser and sponsor) is seated.

According to FIDE David is registered with Andorra which appropriately (for DN) has Catalan as its national language. David has yet to win the Andorran Championship. He first played in the Andorran Open in 2011 and came close to winning in 2013 with 7/9. Since 2017 David has not played in a FIDE rated event.

One of David’s most important claims to fame was being the Best Man at the wedding of Julian and Lizette Hodgson.

A powerful Unisys personal computer being present to Bolton-born GM David Norwood by Alva Rodger (centre), general manager of Unisys banking district ad Dr Brian Bailey, managing director of Infolink, a credit referencing agency.
A powerful Unisys personal computer being present to Bolton-born GM David Norwood by Alva Rodger (centre), general manager of Unisys banking district ad Dr Brian Bailey, managing director of Infolink, a credit referencing agency.

David is an active director of Genomics Plc, and 4D Pharma Plc, both companies operate in the biomedical sector.

David Norwood
David Norwood

Here is a detailed article about David from the Oxford alumni pages.

 

As a writer David wrote a chess column for The Daily Telegraph and The Economist (London) and he has written the following books :

The Usbourne Book of Chess Puzzles, David Norwood, 1992
The Usbourne Book of Chess Puzzles, David Norwood, 1992
Winning with the Modern, David Norwood, B.T. Batsford Ltd., London, 1994
Winning with the Modern, David Norwood, B.T. Batsford Ltd., London, 1994
The Modern Benoni, David Norwood, Cadogan, 1994
The Modern Benoni, David Norwood, Cadogan, 1994
Grandmaster Meets Chess Amateur, Steve David and David Norwood, 1995
Grandmaster Meets Chess Amateur, Steve David and David Norwood, 1995
The Usbourne Guide to Advanced Chess, David Norwood, 1995
The Usbourne Guide to Advanced Chess, David Norwood, 1995
Chess Super-Talent, David Norwood, Batsford, September 1995, ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0805042238
Chess Super-Talent, David Norwood, Batsford, September 1995, ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0805042238

From Wikipedia :

“David Robert Norwood (born 3 October 1968) is an English businessman who runs an investment fund that finances spin-off companies from Oxford University science departments. He is also a chess grandmaster, chess writer, former captain of the English chess team and now represents Andorra at chess.”

“The son of an electrician, Norwood graduated with a history degree from Keble College, Oxford University in 1988 before joining city investment bank Banker’s Trust in 1991.”

Peter Wells, Gary Lane, John Emms and David Norwood
Peter Wells, Gary Lane, John Emms and David Norwood

“Norwood cofounded Oxford Sciences Innovation, a £600m investment company dedicated to funding deep science from Oxford University, and was its CEO from 2015 to 2019. Formerly he was founder of IP Group plc, a fund that invested in spinoffs from Oxford University’s Chemistry department, in exchange for 50% of the revenues from the licensing of the department’s intellectual property.

In 2017, Norwood donated £1.9M to Keble College’s future hub for innovation at Oxford University.”

From The Times of London, November 20th, 2008 by Ian King, Business Editor :

“Entrepreneur David Norwood swaps City for sun, sea and writing

One of the City’s best-known entrepreneurs resigned all his directorships yesterday – to move to a desert island (in the Bahamas)  where he plans to become a writer.

IM David Norwood and IM Aldo Haik (France) taking a drink at the bar during Cappelle-Le-Grande, 1988. Photograph by Caroline Winkler
IM David Norwood and IM Aldo Haik (France) taking a drink at the bar during Cappelle-Le-Grande, 1988. Photograph by Caroline Winkler

David Norwood, a former chief executive of the stockbrokers Evolution and Beeson Gregory, resigned from the boards of a number of companies, including Oxford Advanced Surfaces, ORA Capital, Oxeco and Plus-listed Green Chemicals. He has also given up his role as special projects director at IP Group, the intellectual property commercialisation company, which he started eight years ago and floated on AIM in 2003. Shares of all five companies fell after the news was released.”

GM David Norwood
GM David Norwood
 Save as PDF

Birthday Greetings GM Jonathan Speelman (02-x-1956)

GM Jonathan Speelman at 4NCL in 2014, courtesy of John Upham Photography
GM Jonathan Speelman at 4NCL in 2014, courtesy of John Upham Photography

We wish GM Jonathan Speelman all the best on his birthday.

Jonathan Simon Speelman was born on Tuesday, October 2nd, 1956 in Marylebone, London. His mother’s maiden name was Freeman. In March 2002 Jon and Lindsey Thomas were married in Camden, Greater London. They have a non-chess playing son, Lawrence who studied Ancient Languages at The University of Chicago.

Jonathan attended St. Paul’s School, London and then Worcester College, Oxford and read mathematics.

He became an International Master in 1978 (England’s tenth) and a Grandmaster in 1980 (England’s fifth) and achieved a peak FIDE rating of 2645 at the age of 32 in July 1988.

Jon is a Life Member of King’s Head Chess Club and has helped them organise a number of tournaments including the NatWest Young Masters where he has adjudicated the winner of the Best Game Prize.

Currently, Jon plays for Wood Green in Four Nations Chess League and in the London League and maintains an ECF grade of 245.

Jon is the chess correspondent for The Observer and The Independent.

With the white pieces Jon prefers 1.Nf3 and against 1…Nf6 to follow with c4 and d4. Interestingly, if black plays 1…d5 then Jon plays an early king-side fianchetto.

As the second player Jon prefers the Smyslov Caro-Kann, the Nimzo-Indian and Queen’s Indian defences.

His record against contemporary players is impressive :

Nigel Short : +5
Murray Chandler : +4
Jonathan Mestel : +4
John Nunn : +3
James Plaskett : +4
Mark Hebden : +7
Tony Miles : +1
Tony Kosten : +3
Daniel King : +2

Jon Speelman and Nigel Short at the start of their 1989 Candidates match. Jon won 3.5 - 1.5
Jon Speelman and Nigel Short at the start of their 1989 Candidates match. Jon won 3.5 – 1.5

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

“Having been asked to contribute an article on myself to this book I have decided to concentrate almost exclusively on my ‘relationship with chess’, but first quickly summarize my life.

JS
JS

Born on 2nd October 1956 I went to a ‘Nursery School’ whose name I forget. Then to Arnold House School followed by St. Paul’s School. I had a ‘Year off’ from January to October, 1976, when I went up to Worcester College, Oxford, where I studied mathematics. In 1977 I left Oxford with a 2nd degree. Since then I have been a professional chess player.

I was taught chess at the age of 6 by my cousin on Boxing Day, 1962. Then as now, I was an inquisitive person and the idea of a ‘complicated and difficult game’ interested me. Sadly my first game of chess ended in checkmate in four moves; but I persevered and soon became more competent.

JS at the London based Philips & Drew Kings tournament
JS at the London based Philips & Drew Kings tournament

I have always seen life to some in terms of barriers. There are things which one can do easily and which one finds difficult or almost impossible. For any given task the transition from one state to the other is not as smooth. One builds up energy and finally is able to succeed for the first time. After that the task becomes successively easier: Partly because one is aware that one can succeed.

Jonathan Speelman without glasses
Jonathan Speelman without glasses

ln order to illustrate my chess career to date, I shall therefore pick out examples of barriers which I managed to break through.

Jonathan was an early follower of fashion
Jonathan was an early follower of fashion

Until a few Years ago there were few titled players in Great Britain. But recently, thanks largely to a change of emphasis in organisation, several players have broken through to obtain international titles. This is not only because British players have become stronger – which they undoubtedly have – but also because they have received opportunities which were previously denied them.

JS at the London Robert Silk Fellowship invitational tournament
JS at the London Robert Silk Fellowship invitational tournament

I first started seriously to contemplate becoming an international master in 1977. Previously, I had of course aspired to this but without really investigating the mechanics of obtaining norms. In August, 1977 England sent a team to the World Student Team Championships in Mexico City. We came third: a year later we were to win the event (though on that occasion it was a World Under 26 Team Championship). On our return there was an invitation tournament in London: the ‘Lloyds Bank Silver Jubilee’. Although I was rather tired after Mexico I decided to play and to my surprise, I obtained an IM norm with a round to spare. It all seemed rather easy. I drew with six strong players including GM Torre and four IM’s and beat three weaker ones.

Grandmaster Uses PressTel Chessbox to Play Long Distance Chess. Jonathan Speelman the UK Grandmaster is pictured here deciding his next move in a computer chess game against five simultaneous opponents. Players exchanged moves online via the ChessBox club on PressTel, BTs videotex service.
Grandmaster Uses PressTel Chessbox to Play Long Distance Chess. Jonathan Speelman the UK Grandmaster is pictured here deciding his next move in a computer chess game against five simultaneous opponents. Players exchanged moves online via the ChessBox club on PressTel, BTs videotex service.

In December, 1977 I played for the first time in the Annual Grandmaster Tournament at Hastings. I was very pleased to ‘shut up shop’, abandoning any pretensions to an exciting style to score one win, one loss and – wait for it – twelve draws; but 7/14 was sufficient for another international master norm.

These two events left me with twenty three games of norm, one less than the required minimum. Early in 1978 I played in a tournament in London but failed to get my final leg. It was in April that year that I had my next chance at the famous Lone Pine Tournament in California. I have already stressed the importance of barriers. It was in round one of the Lone Pine tournament that I broke through another important one – that of beating a grandmaster.

JS was a frequent giver of simultaneous displays
JS was a frequent giver of simultaneous displays

Nowadays (and here I hear myself sounding like an old man!) the strongest young players (under twenty-six) beat international masters quite regularly and indeed grandmasters from time to time. ‘In my day’ this was not so much the case. Titled foreign players could still come over to pillage weekend tournaments; and succeed much of the time! When one of them lost to homegrown talent it was news.

IM Jonathan Speelman vs IM Simon Webb at the 1978 British Championships in Ayr, Courtesy of John Upham
IM Jonathan Speelman vs IM Simon Webb at the 1978 British Championships in Ayr, Courtesy of John Upham

I first started to play regularly against grandmasters in my first Hastings tournament, which I mentioned previously. Of course, I had played grandmasters before, but at Hastings seven of the fourteen games were against them. I scored there six draws and a loss to the tournament winner, Dzindzihashvili.

Julian Hodgson and Jonathan Speelman prepare to play each other at their own home via CEEEFAX. This was organised by Peter Andrews of BBC Chess Club and was the first match of its kind.
Julian Hodgson and Jonathan Speelman prepare to play each other at their own home via CEEEFAX. This was organised by Peter Andrews of BBC Chess Club and was the first match of its kind.

In round one of Lone pine I was White against Bent Larsen of Denmark. Given that one is going to beat a strong grandmaster (l hadn’t even beaten a weak one) then White against Larsen is quite a good chance. Although he is an extremely strong player, Larsen loses quite a lot of games to much weaker opponents and wins an enormous number against them as well, with not many draws. I was fortunate in obtaining a nice position from the opening and won a good game. That is one of the games I have chosen.

JS receives one of many awards
JS receives one of many awards

After beating Larsen the rest of the tournament was rather an anti-climax for me. I drew some games, then lost in successive rounds to Browne and Biyiasas. Needing a win to reach fifty per cent the chance of my final norm, I clawed my way to victory in a dreadful game against a young American P. Whitehead. Two short draws in the final two rounds brought me the title.

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

Some years ago the British Championship really was the Championship of Britain. But in the early seventies there was a decline as several of the strongest players did not enter. In the last two years the decline has been halted and then reversed by the sponsorship of stockbrokers Grievson Grant. In 1979 two of our four Grandmasters, Miles and Nunn, competed in the British Championship at Chester and there were no fewer than six International Masters; indeed Nigel Short succeeded in obtaining his first IM norm there.

JS plays Alexander Khalifman during the SWIFT World Cup in Reykjavik, 1991. The game was drawn
JS plays Alexander Khalifman during the SWIFT World Cup in Reykjavik, 1991. The game was drawn

I first competed in the British Championship at Brighton in 1972. After a good start, beating Michael Basman in the first round and drawing with Craig Pritchett in the second, I lost to Haygarth in round three. Thereafter, I found it incredibly difficult to win games. My old British Chess Magazine reminds me that I succeeded in winning in round nine, but that was the only one after round one. I finished with 4.5/11.

JS, Jana Bellin and Nigel Short in a publicity shoot outside Simpsons in the Strand
JS, Jana Bellin and Nigel Short in a publicity shoot outside Simpsons in the Strand

A year later at Eastbourne I was still finding it hard to win games. Again I finished with 4.5/11. By Clacton, 1974 I had improved. A loss in the last round to the eventual winner Botterill left me a point behind the seven (!) who had to play off for the title.

I competed at Morecambe, 1975 and Portsmouth, 1976, missing only Brighton, 1977 when the students team was in Mexico. By Ayr, 1978 I was probably one of the favourites along with Jonathan Mestel, who ran away with the tournament in Portsmouth,
1976, George Botterill, the defending champion, and some others.

Jonathan shows off his all seeing four eyes
Jonathan shows off his all seeing four eyes

In fact I won at Ayr. I played quite well throughout. ln the last round half a point ahead of Mestel I played a quick draw with Webb but was lucky when Mestel could only draw with Clarke. Of course winning the British was a big breakthrough for me. But I feel that the most important psychological change came in 1974 when I started to discover that it is possible to win games in the British Championship.

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

Since late 1978 I have made no dramatic breakthrough but have, I believe, almost imperceptibly made the change from a ‘medium’ to a ‘strong’ international master.

Jonathan Speelman telephones good news
Jonathan Speelman telephones good news

I’ve selected three games to go with this article. The one with Larsen I’ve already mentioned. Mihaljcisin-Speelman I like as a game in which I played very actively as Black.

The game against Biyiasis is a good ‘rough and tumble’ not free from errors of course – but wouldn’t that be boring?

To find out more about JSs chess career we suggest you read his autobiography :

Speelman, Jon (1997). Jon Speelman's Best Games. B.T. Batsford (London, England). 240 pages. ISBN 978-0-7134-6477-1.
Speelman, Jon (1997). Jon Speelman’s Best Games. B.T. Batsford (London, England). 240 pages. ISBN 978-0-7134-6477-1.

which contains many heavily annotated games.

 

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

“British Champion in 1978, Speelman played at Mexico City later that year in the English team that won (ahead of the USSR) the world’s first youth teams (under-26) championship.

(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

Two good performances in 1980, as score of +5=5-3 to share fourth place in the category 13 London tournament and a second place (+6=7) at Maribor, brought him the title of International Grandmaster (1980). His subsequent achievements include : Dortmund 1981, first (+5=6) equal with Ftacnik and Kuzmin; Hastings 1981-2, second equal with Smyslov after Kupreichik; and London 1982, category 14, +2=10-1 to share fourth place. An excellent analyst, Speelman has written several books, among them Best Chess Games 1970-1980 (1982).”

GM Jonathan Speelman
GM Jonathan Speelman

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

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

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

He qualified for two Candidates Tournaments:

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

Jonathan Speelman in happy mood
Jonathan Speelman in happy mood

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

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

Jonathan Speelman and Daniel King share headphones at the 2013 FIDE Candidates event in London
Jonathan Speelman and Daniel King share headphones at the 2013 FIDE Candidates event in London
Tilburg 1978, Tony Miles & Jonathan Speelman, Master Chess Publications, 1978
Tilburg 1978, Tony Miles & Jonathan Speelman, Master Chess Publications, 1978
Riga Interzonal 1979, AJ Miles & J Speelman, Batsford, 1979, ISBN 0 7134 3429 5
Riga Interzonal 1979, AJ Miles & J Speelman, Batsford, 1979, ISBN 0 7134 3429 5

Speelman, Jonathan (1981). Analysing the Endgame. Batsford (London, England). 142 pages. ISBN 978-0-7134-1909-2.

Speelman, Jonathan (1981). Analysing the Endgame. Batsford (London, England). 142 pages. ISBN 978-0-7134-1909-2.
Speelman, Jonathan (1981). Analysing the Endgame. Batsford (London, England). 142 pages. ISBN 978-0-7134-1909-2.

Speelman, Jonathan (1981). Endgame Preparation. B.T. Batsford (London, England). 177 pages. ISBN 978-0-7134-4000-3.

Speelman, Jonathan (1981). Endgame Preparation. B.T. Batsford (London, England). 177 pages. ISBN 978-0-7134-4000-3.
Speelman, Jonathan (1981). Endgame Preparation. B.T. Batsford (London, England). 177 pages. ISBN 978-0-7134-4000-3.

Speelman, Jon (1982). Best Chess Games, 1970-80. Allen & Unwin (London, England; Boston, Massachusetts). 328 pages. ISBN 978-0-04-794015-6.

Speelman, Jon (1982). Best Chess Games, 1970-80. Allen & Unwin (London, England; Boston, Massachusetts). 328 pages. ISBN 978-0-04-794015-6.
Speelman, Jon (1982). Best Chess Games, 1970-80. Allen & Unwin (London, England; Boston, Massachusetts). 328 pages. ISBN 978-0-04-794015-6.

Speelman, Jon; Livshits, August (1988). Test Your Endgame Ability. BT Batsford (London, England). 201 pages. ISBN 0-7134-5567-5

Speelman, Jon; Livshits, August (1988). Test Your Endgame Ability. BT Batsford (London, England). 201 pages. ISBN 0-7134-5567-5
Speelman, Jon; Livshits, August (1988). Test Your Endgame Ability. BT Batsford (London, England). 201 pages. ISBN 0-7134-5567-5

Speelman, Jon (1992). New Ideas in the Caro-Kann Defence. BT Batsford (London, England). 155 pages. ISBN 0-7134-6915-3.

Speelman, Jon (1992). New Ideas in the Caro-Kann Defence. BT Batsford (London, England). 155 pages. ISBN 0-7134-6915-3.
Speelman, Jon (1992). New Ideas in the Caro-Kann Defence. BT Batsford (London, England). 155 pages. ISBN 0-7134-6915-3.

Speelman, Jonathan; Tisdall, Jon; Wade, Bob. (1993). Batsford Chess Endings. B.T. Batsford (London, England). 448 pages. ISBN 978-0-7134-4420-9.

Speelman, Jonathan; Tisdall, Jon; Wade, Bob. (1993). Batsford Chess Endings. B.T. Batsford (London, England). 448 pages. ISBN 978-0-7134-4420-9.
Speelman, Jonathan; Tisdall, Jon; Wade, Bob. (1993). Batsford Chess Endings. B.T. Batsford (London, England). 448 pages. ISBN 978-0-7134-4420-9.

Speelman, Jon (1997). Jon Speelman’s Best Games. B.T. Batsford (London, England). 240 pages. ISBN 978-0-7134-6477-1.

Modern Defence. Everyman, 2000
Modern Defence. Everyman, 2000

Speelman, Jon (2008). Jon Speelman’s Chess Puzzle Book. Gambit Publications Ltd. 143 pages. ISBN 978-1-904600-96-1.

Speelman, Jon (2008). Jon Speelman's Chess Puzzle Book. Gambit Publications Ltd. 143 pages. ISBN 978-1-904600-96-1.
Speelman, Jon (2008). Jon Speelman’s Chess Puzzle Book. Gambit Publications Ltd. 143 pages. ISBN 978-1-904600-96-1.
Jonathan Speelman
Jonathan Speelman
 Save as PDF

Happy Birthday IM Tom Rendle (29-ix-1986)

IM Tom Rendle, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Tom Rendle, Courtesy of John Upham Photography

Best wishes to IM Tom Rendle on his birthday.

Thomas Edward Rendle was born on Monday, September 29th 1986. “Stuck with You” by Huey Lewis and the News was the UK’s number one single.

Tom was born in Hastings, East Sussex and his mother’s maiden name is Jefferies. Tom resides in Hastings.

Tom attended Bede’s School, Sussex and then St. Leonard’s College.

Tom Rendle aged 11 by David Crump
Tom Rendle aged 11 by David Crump

Tom studied physics at The University of Warwick and has two brothers, Tim and James and a sister Theresa.

Tom became a FIDE Master in 2004. In 2006 he became an International Master and achieved a peak rating (according to Felice) in July 2007 of 2416 at the age of 21. Tom has one Grandmaster norm.

 

Tom Rendle, sponsored by local printing company, FDM. Courtesy of Gary Lane
Tom Rendle, sponsored by local printing company, FDM. Courtesy of Gary Lane

Tom has played for 4NCL Grantham Sharks, Hammersmith (in the London League), Drunken Knights (in the London League), West London and Sandhurst (in the Surrey Border and Berkshire Leagues).

His first ECF grade to appear on the grading web site was 82A in July 1994 (however it could be earlier than that) at the age of 7 :

ECF Grading Progress of Tom Rendle
ECF Grading Progress of Tom Rendle

Tom played in the World U12 Championship won by Teimour Radjabov and his first major success was scoring 7.5/10 in the 2001 Smith and Williamson Young Masters. He became Hampshire Champion in 2001 with 5/6 and won the 2004 Rosny Sous Bois tournament with 7/9 and a TPR of 2568. He was runner-up in the Paignton Open of 2005 followed by runner-up in the Coulsdon Christmas tournament of 2005.

Tom’s GM norm was earnt at Gibraltar 2007.

Tom Rendle in 2011
Tom Rendle in 2011

Tom has his own popular YouTube Channel

With the white pieces Tom is almost exclusively an e4 player but he has flirted with Bird’s Opening many times. Having shared accommodation with Gawain Jones there are signs of influence in the choice of the Grand Prix Attack.

As the second player Tom plays both the Winawer and the Classical French and is a noted expert on the Classical Dutch and Dutch in general.

IM Tom Rendle at the King's Place Rapidplay, 2013, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Tom Rendle at the King’s Place Rapidplay, 2013, Courtesy of John Upham Photography

From Wikipedia :

“Thomas Edward Rendle (born 29 September 1986) is a British FIDE International Master chess player and coach. Rendle became an International Master in June 2006 and is part way towards becoming a Grandmaster, with one GM Norm.

IM Tom Rendle
IM Tom Rendle

He gained an interest in chess at an early age, and soon entered chess tournaments, gaining success in his age categories (such as becoming Mini Squad Under 7s Champion, England Under 11 Champion).[citation needed] He was put on top board for the England under 11 team and won the Sussex Under 18 Championships, whilst still under 12.”

In 1998 Rendle played Garry Kasparov in the BT Wireplay Challenge 1998. In 2005 he was a coach for England’s team at the 1st FIDE World Schools Championship in Halkidiki, Greece and in 2006 he coached with the England Team at the European Youth Chess Championships in Montenegro.

Rendle currently works as a chess coach, both online and face-to-face. He is a regular coach of England Juniors.”

IM Tom Rendle, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Tom Rendle, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
 Save as PDF

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

IM Richard Palliser
IM Richard Palliser

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

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

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

Richard Palliser
Richard Palliser

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

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

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

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

According to “Play 1.d4!” :

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

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

According to “tango!” :

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

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

IM Richard Palliser
IM Richard Palliser

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beating Unusual Chess Openings
Beating Unusual Chess Openings

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

Starting Out: Closed Sicilian
Starting Out: Closed Sicilian

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

Starting Out: Scilian Najdorf
Starting Out: Scilian Najdorf

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

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

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

Dangerous Weapons: Flank Openings
Dangerous Weapons: Flank Openings

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

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

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

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

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

Dangerous Weapons: The Dutch
Dangerous Weapons: The Dutch
Dangerous Weapons  : The Caro-Kann, Everyman, 2010
Dangerous Weapons : The Caro-Kann, Everyman, 2010
The Complete Chess Workout II, Everyman, 2012
The Complete Chess Workout II, Everyman, 2012
The Iron English, Richard Palliser & Simon Williams, Everyman Chess, 2020, ISBN-13 : 978-1781945803
The Iron English, Richard Palliser & Simon Williams, Everyman Chess, 2020, ISBN-13 : 978-1781945803
IM Richard Palliser
IM Richard Palliser
 Save as PDF