Category Archives: 4NCL

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
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Happy Returns IM Angus Dunnington (09-viii-1967)

IM Angus Dunnington
IM Angus Dunnington

BCN wishes Happy Returns to IM Angus Dunnington (09-viii-1967)

Angus James Dunnington was born in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, his mother’s maiden name was Townend.

He has lived in Castleford, West Yorkshire and most recently in Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire.

Angus became a FIDE Master in 1990 and an International Master in 1991.

Angus has been a recipient of a Chess Journalists of America award and was chess correspondent for The Yorkshire Post. He has been an Olympiad trainer.

Angus has played for 4NCL White Rose and his peak FIDE rating was 2450 in January 1996, aged 29.

He won Toulouse 1993 with 6.5/9, we was first equal (3) in the London Agency tournament on 1997 with 6/9, we was equal first in the 1999 Hampstead IM tournament with 6.5/9.

As White Angus prefers a Reti style double fianchetto, the King’s Indian Attack and also the Queen’s Gambit and is an expert on the Catalan and KIA.

As Black Angus essays the Modern Defence most of the time.

His most recent ECF grading was 212E in 2005 and was 232A in 1996.

In 2018 after a lengthy absence Angus made a welcome return to the Scottish Championship Open with a strong =3rd place.

IM Angus Dunnington, photograph by Gisbert Jacoby
IM Angus Dunnington, photograph by Gisbert Jacoby

Here is his Wikipedia entry

The Ultimate King's Indian Attack, 1993
The Ultimate King’s Indian Attack, 1993
Pawn Power !, 1994
Pawn Power !, 1994
Winning with the Catalan, 1997
Winning with the Catalan, 1997
Easy Guide to the Reti Opening
Easy Guide to the Reti Opening
101 Winning Chess Strategies, 1999
101 Winning Chess Strategies, 1999
Winning Unorthodox Openings, 2000
Winning Unorthodox Openings, 2000
Mastering the Middlegame, 2001
Mastering the Middlegame, 2001
Chess Psychology, 2003
Chess Psychology, 2003
Nimzo-Indian Rubinstein: Complex Lines with 4e3, 2004
Nimzo-Indian Rubinstein: Complex Lines with 4e3, 2004
Blunders and How to Avoid Them, 2004
Blunders and How to Avoid Them, 2004
IM Angus Dunnington, photograph by Cathy Rogers
IM Angus Dunnington, photograph by Cathy Rogers
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Happy Birthday IM-elect Marcus Harvey (24-vii-1996)

Marcus Harvey at the 2013 Hastings International Congress, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
Marcus Harvey at the 2013 Hastings International Congress, Courtesy of John Upham Photography

BCN wishes Happy Birthday to IM-elect Marcus Ross Harvey born on this day (Wednesday, July 24th) in 1996. Killing Me Softly by the Fugees was top of the hit parade.

Marcus was born in Oxford and attended The Marlborough School, Woodstock, Oxfordshire and then (in 2014) at The University of Southampton he studied mathematics.

Originally playing for Bicester Marcus now represents Witney Chess Club in local leagues.

Marcus first played in the British Championship in 2011 (Sheffield).

Marcus Harvey at the 2013 King's Place Rapidplay, courtesy of John Upham Photography
Marcus Harvey at the 2013 King’s Place Rapidplay, courtesy of John Upham Photography

Originally playing for Oxford he now plays for Wood Green in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL) and Southampton University in the Southampton League.

Marcus playing IM Yang-Fan Zhou at the 2013 Delancey UKCC Terafinal at Loughborough Grammar School. Courtesy of John Upham Photography.
Marcus playing IM Yang-Fan Zhou at the 2013 Delancey UKCC Terafinal at Loughborough Grammar School. Courtesy of John Upham Photography.

In 2014 Marcus won the title of “Strat” (the overall Terafinal winner) of the 2014 Delancey UK Chess Challenge at Loughborough Grammar School.

Marcus Harvey at the 2013 Delancey UKCC Terafinal at Loughborough Grammar School, courtesy of John Upham Photography.
Marcus Harvey at the 2013 Delancey UKCC Terafinal at Loughborough Grammar School, courtesy of John Upham Photography.

Marcus has a FIDE rating of 2440 and an ECF grading of 240.

2014 Delancey UKCC Terafinal winner, Marcus Harvey at Loughborough Grammar School. Courtesy of John Upham Photography
2014 Delancey UKCC Terafinal winner, Marcus Harvey at Loughborough Grammar School. Courtesy of John Upham Photography

In 2018 he won the Witney Open outright with 4/5 and, in the same year, was runner-up to David Howell in the UK Blitz Open with 12.5/15 and a of 2589.

In 2019 he was =1st (with Mark Hebden) in the 4NCL Easter Open in Stevenage. Later that year Marcus was losing semi-finalist (to Gawain Jones) in the London Classic Blitz Knockout.

Marcus, on home ground, won the 43rd Kidlington Open in 2020 and followed this with and is the current 2020 English Online Blitz Champion beating IM Andrew Greet, FM Jonah Willow, IM Ameet Ghasi and IM Andrew Horton in the final.

In the Pro chess league he represents UK Lions.

Marcus Harvey's FIDE rating profile according to Megabase 2020
Marcus Harvey’s FIDE rating profile according to Megabase 2020

On 6th November 2019 we reported that Marcus had obtained his second International Master norm at the recent (October 2019) Hull 4NCL International Congress by scoring 4.5/9 with wins over IM Andrew Greet and IM Richard Palliser.

On July 17th 2021 Marcus was joint winner with IM Peter Roberson in the 1st Chessfest Decode Rapidplay with an impressive 6/6 and a TPR of 2911.

Marcus overcame Rory McLean, Theo Koury, Steven Coles, FM Alexis Harakis, CM Jonathan Pein and rapidplay / blitz specialist IM Ameet Ghasi to share first place.

Over the 19th – 23rd August  2021 Marcus played in the Wood Green Invitational round-robin event at Oddfellows Hall, Stafford.

Marcus scored 6/9 and secured his second International Master Norm and  a TPR of 2532.

<img class=” wp-image-18696″ src=”http://britishchessnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/untitled_wgi.jpg” alt=”Wood Green Invitational Round-Robin event at Oddfellows Hall, Stafford. August Bank Holiday Weekend, 2021″ width=”654″ height=”229″ /> Wood Green Invitational Round-Robin event at Oddfellows Hall, Stafford. August Bank Holiday Weekend, 2021

Over the August Bank Holiday weekend of 2021 Marcus played in the Northumbrian Masters  GM Tournament at the splendid Marriott MetroCentre, Gateshead scoring 6/9 and TPR of 2559 and earing his fourth IM norm. His standard play rating of 2451 (September 2021) is sufficient and now only requires the next FIDE Congress to ratify the IM title.

Marcus enjoys playing the Smyslov-Larsen opening with white

and the classical French and the Nimzo-Indian Defence.

It is clear that Marcus is now easily of IM strength and surely is a strong candidate for England’s next Grandmaster.

FM Marcus Ross Harvey
FM Marcus Ross Harvey
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Happy Birthday GM Tony Kosten (24-vii-1958)

Tony Kosten
Tony Kosten

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

Tony was born in North Eastern Surrey, and eventually relocated to France where he now resides.

Tony is married to Gyongyver Kosten-Forintos, the daughter of Hungarian Grandmaster Győző Forintos.

Streatham & Brixton becoming BCF National Club Champions in 1989. The team was Tony Kosten, Mark Hedben, Daniel King, Nigel Povah (Captain), Joe Gallagher and Julian Hodgson : quite a strong team !
Streatham & Brixton becoming BCF National Club Champions in 1989. The team was Tony Kosten, Mark Hedben, Daniel King, Nigel Povah (Captain), Joe Gallagher and Julian Hodgson : quite a strong team

Tony played for Lower Earley Chess Club in the Berkshire League and for Streatham & Brixton in the National Club competition.

He was =3rd in the 1982 British Championship in Torquay (won by Tony Miles)

He was =2nd in the 1984 Robert Silk Young Masters.

He won the Berkshire Chess Association Quickplay title in 1985.

Tony was runner-up to Yuri Balashov at Minsk 1986.

He won Naujac 2000 with 7.5/9

Tony won many other events : See his Wikipedia entry for details.

Tony Kosten (fourth from left) at a NatWest Bank sponsored event
Tony Kosten (fourth from left) at a NatWest Bank sponsored event

Tony is the founder of chesspublishing.com, a subscription based web site specialising in cutting edge opening theory with many contributors.

He plays for Guildford in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL) is registered as a member of the French federation. He also plays for Schott Mainz in the German Team Championship.

According to Megabase 2020 his highest FIDE rating was 2551 in July 2002 at the age of 44.

With the white pieces Tony prefers the Ruy Lopez and Giuoco Piano with the English coming a close second.

With black Tony defends the Lopez and the Nimzo-Indian defence.

Here is his Wikipedia entry

Tony Kosten
Tony Kosten
Winning Endgames, Crowood, 1987
Winning Endgames, Crowood, 1987
Winning with the Philidor, Batsford, 1992
Winning with the Philidor, Batsford, 1992
101 Tips to Improve your Chess, Batsford, 1996
101 Tips to Improve your Chess, Batsford, 1996
The Dynamic English, Gambit, 1999
The Dynamic English, Gambit, 1999
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Happy Birthday IM Robert Bellin (30-vi-1952)

IM Robert Bellin, courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Robert Bellin, courtesy of John Upham Photography

BCN sends IM Robert Bellin best wishes on his birthday, this day (the 30th of June) in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

His first tournament that appears in MegaBase 2020 was the British Under-14 championship.

He was 1st= in the Islington U18 tournament in 1970 with Sergio Mariotti ahead of Michael Stean, John Nunn and a very young Tony Miles

Robert Bellin (middle row, second from left))
Robert Bellin (middle row, second from left))

Robert was awarded the IM title in 1977. He was outright British Champion in 1979 in Chester having tied first equal (with six others) in 1974 in Clacton. The play-off was won by George Botterill.

From the BCF 1979-80 Year Book of Chess : Robert Bellin, the new British Champion, explains the secret to the Mayor of Chester (?) and to David Anderton, BCF President
From the BCF 1979-80 Year Book of Chess : Robert Bellin, the new British Champion, explains the secret to the Mayor of Chester (?) and to David Anderton, BCF President

His best international success was in 1981 in Shanghai coming clear first overall.

His highest Elo rating of 2440 was achieved in 1980 at the age of 28.

Robert Bellin with Leonard Barden and Stewart Reuben at the 1978 Aaronson Masters in London
Robert Bellin with Leonard Barden and Stewart Reuben at the 1978 Aaronson Masters in London

Robert plays for 4NCL Cheddleton.

He was a member of the Under-65 seniors world championship winning team in 2019.

Robert is married to WGM Dr. Jana Bellin and they have two sons.

IM Robert Bellin
IM Robert Bellin
Robert Bellin, British Champion, CHESS, Volume 45, Numbers 827-28, page 27.
Robert Bellin, British Champion, CHESS, Volume 45, Numbers 827-28, page 27.

The Classical Dutch
The Classical Dutch
Winning with the Dutch
Winning with the Dutch
Test Your Positional Play
Test Your Positional Play
Queen's Pawn : Veresov System
Queen’s Pawn : Veresov System
Mastering the King's Indian Defence
Mastering the King’s Indian Defence
London System Repertoire
London System Repertoire
Trompowski Opening and Torre Attack
Trompowski Opening and Torre Attack
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Happy Birthday IM Matthew Wadsworth (27-vi-2000)

FM Matthew J Wadsworth
FM Matthew J Wadsworth

BCN wishes IM Matthew Wadsworth Happy Birthday this day (June 27th) in 2021.

Previously we reported :

IM Matthew Wadsworth, one of England’s most promising young players, has earned his first Grandmaster norm from his excellent performance in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL). Matthew, who is twenty, has a current FIDE standard play rating of 2413 and is ranked 34th amongst the active players in England (by FIDE rating) earning his FM title in 2016 and IM title in 2019.

Matthew could leapfrog to Grandmaster status with further norms and by increasing his live rating to 2500. The IM title was ratified at the FIDE Congress, 2nd quarter PB 2019, 27-30 June, Baku, Azerbaijan when his live rating had topped 2400.

Matthew with father Jim at the 2012 Surrey Congress
Matthew with father Jim at the 2012 Surrey Congress

Matthew’s first ECF grade was 66A in 2007 (aged 7) and he played for Maidenhead in local leagues, St. Pirans’s School and then Reading School.

Matthew at the 2013 British Championships in Torquay
Matthew at the 2013 British Championships in Torquay

Matthew is reading Economics at Queen’s College, Cambridge and rows for the college team.

Matthew joined 4NCL at an early age and played for AMCA (Andrew Martin Chess Academy) soon rising the ranks to the AMCA first team and he currently represents the Guildford 2 team in Division One of the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL). Matthew’s 4NCL results for the 2018-19 season were :

1. Fodor, Tamas Jr, draw
2. Ashton, Adam G, win
3. Gonda, Laszlo, draw
4. Kulon, Klaudia, win
5. Holland, James P, win
6. Stewart, Ashley, win
7. Ledger, Andrew J, win
8. Plat, Vojtech, loss
9. no game
10. Jackson, James P, win
11. no game

giving a performance of 7/9

Matthew at the 2014 British Championships in Aberystwyth
Matthew at the 2014 British Championships in Aberystwyth

One of the undoubted highlights of Matthews 2018 chess year was his draw with Oxford domiciled GM Hou Yifan, three times Women’s World Champion from China during the annual Varsity match, Matthew representing Cambridge.

Recently Matthew has joined forces with IM Adam C Taylor, IM Ravi Haria and others to form makinggrandmasters.com

FM Matthew J Wadsworth
FM Matthew J Wadsworth

In 2021 Matthew supported Guildford Chess Club in its 125th Anniversary event by being part of the simultaneous display team:

IM Matthew Wadsworth at the Guildford Chess Club 125th Anniversary event on September 11th, 2021. Courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Matthew Wadsworth at the Guildford Chess Club 125th Anniversary event on September 11th, 2021. Courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Matthew Wadsworth at the Guildford Chess Club 125th Anniversary event on September 11th, 2021. Courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Matthew Wadsworth at the Guildford Chess Club 125th Anniversary event on September 11th, 2021. Courtesy of John Upham Photography
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Best Wishes GM Dr. Jonathan Mestel (13-iii-1957)

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

Best wishes to GM Dr. Jonathan Mestel on his birthday

Early Years

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

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

Growing Up

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

MGS and Beards

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

Mathematics

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

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

Marriage

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

Bridge

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

Jonathan noted:

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

Serious Chess & Prize Money

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

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

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

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

First British Championship

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

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

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

International Events

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

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

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

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

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

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

First IM Norm

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

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

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

British Champion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beating the Russians

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

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

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

When is a Norm not a Norm?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quite a good day!

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

So quite a good day all in all!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jonathan Mestel
Jonathan Mestel

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

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

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

Jonathan Mestel
Jonathan Mestel

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

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

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

Olympiads and Team Events

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

Solving and Composition

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are a few examples:

Firstly a prize winning study…

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

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

White to Play
and Draw

SOLUTION

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

and another study:

and another:

and

and

and now a problem:

Jonathan Mestel
British Chess Magazine, 2007

#3, 7+6

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

Here is his staff page from Imperial College, London

and his personal page may be found here

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

Here is his Wikipedia entry

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Happy Birthday IM Richard Pert (22-i-1981)

IM Richard Pert
IM Richard Pert

Happy Birthday IM Richard Pert (22-i-1981)

IM Richard Pert
IM Richard Pert

Nick and Richard Pert
Nick and Richard Pert
Nick and Richard Pert
Nick and Richard Pert
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Happy Birthday GM Nick Pert (22-i-1981)

GM Nick Pert
GM Nick Pert

We send birthday wishes to GM Nick Pert born this day (January 22nd) in 1981.

Jeremy Morse, Adam Hunt, Nick Pert and Nigel Short at the Lloyds Bank Masters
Jeremy Morse, Adam Hunt, Nick Pert and Nigel Short at the Lloyds Bank Masters

Nick won the Southern Counties (SCCU) championship for the 2016-17 season sharing with Richard Bates.

Nick and Richard Pert
Nick and Richard Pert

Here is Nick’s Wikipedia entry

Nick and Richard Pert
Nick and Richard Pert

GM Nick Pert
GM Nick Pert
GM Nick Pert
GM Nick Pert
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Happy Birthday GM Neil McDonald (21-i-1967)

GM Neil McDonald
GM Neil McDonald

We send birthday wishes to GM Neil McDonald born on this day (January 21st) in 1967.

Neil McDonald
Neil McDonald
Neil McDonald
Neil McDonald

From Wikipedia :

Neil McDonald (born 21 January 1967) is an English chess grandmaster and a player on the international chess circuit. He is an English Chess Federation coach,[1] who has trained many of the country’s strongest junior players. McDonald is a regular coach of the English junior team and was Head Coach of the English Chess Federation team at the Greece World Schools Championship in 2013.[2] He regularly escorts blind and partially sighted chess players to international World Championship events and is also a chess writer.

McDonald authored the French Defence monthly updates on chesspublishing.com from October 1999 until March 2009,[3] 1 e4 … updates from November 2009 until January 2010,[4] 1 e4 … from June 2014 until February 2015[5] and returned to 1 e4 … in March 2017 until January 2018.[6]

Neil shared first place in the 1986 GLC Masters with Jonathan Levitt, was outright first at the Elekes Memorial, 1995, first at The Leinster IM Tournament in Dublin, 1997, and other tournaments since. Neil plays for Wood Green in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL).

He became an International Master in 1986 and was awarded the Grandmaster title in 1996.

McDonald obtained his FIDE Trainer qualification in 2016.[7]

Neil is a prolific and successful author, most recently with “Coach Yourself

Coach Yourself : A Complete Guide to Self Improvement at Chess
Coach Yourself : A Complete Guide to Self Improvement at Chess

but also thirty eight titles for Chess Press, BT Batsford Ltd. and Everyman Chess Books.

Modern Defence. Everyman, 2000
Modern Defence. Everyman, 2000
GM Neil McDonald
GM Neil McDonald
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