Category Archives: Biographies

Happy Birthday IM Craig Pritchett (15-I-1949)

IM Craig William Pritchett
IM Craig William Pritchett
IM Craig William Pritchett
IM Craig William Pritchett

We send birthday wishes to IM Craig Pritchett who was born this day, January 15th in 1949.

IM Craig William Pritchett
IM Craig William Pritchett

Here is his Wikipedia entry

IM Craig Pritchett (right) with Leonard Barden and Stewart Reuben
IM Craig Pritchett (right) with Leonard Barden and Stewart Reuben

From The Encyclopedia of Chess by Harry Golombek :

Scottish international master and teacher. Prtichett, probably the strongest native-born Scottish player since the days of Captain Mackenzie in the nineteenth century, has represented Scotland with success in five Olympiads : 1966, 1970, 1972, 1974 and 1976. He has also played for Scotland in the Students Olympiads of 1968, 1969 and 1970.

Pritchett playing Karpov at Nice 1974.
Pritchett playing Karpov at Nice 1974.

His first individual success was in the European Junior Championship in Groningen 1969/70 where he came -3rd with Belyavsky. At Decin (Czechoslovakia) 1974 he came 1st in the Masters B section.

He obtained the first part of an international master norm at the Nice Olympiad in 1974 where he scored 60% on top board. In 1975 he again achieved a master norm at the strong Pula Zonal tournament where he came -7th/14.

IM Craig Pritchett (right) at the Aaronson Masters
IM Craig Pritchett (right) at the Aaronson Masters

He was chess correspondent of the Glasgow Herald and author of The Sicilian Scheveningen, Batsford, London, 1977. (article by Harry Golombek)

The Sicilian Scheveningen
The Sicilian Scheveningen
Nimzo Indian 4 e3 Nimzowitsch Hubner & Taimanov Variations
Nimzo Indian 4 e3 Nimzowitsch Hubner & Taimanov Variations
Chess for Rookies
Chess for Rookies
Steinitz Move by Move
Steinitz Move by Move
Play the English
Play the English
Heroes of Classical Chess
Heroes of Classical Chess
Great Chess Romantics
Great Chess Romantics
Starting Out : Sicilian Scheveningen
Starting Out : Sicilian Scheveningen

Remembering James Mason (19-XI-1849, 15-I-1909)

James Mason
James Mason

We remember James Mason who passed away on this day, January 15th, 1909.

James Mason (19-XI-849, 15-I-1909)
James Mason (19-XI-849, 15-I-1909)

Here is his Wikipedia entry

From The Oxford Companion to Chess by David Hooper & Ken Whyld :

James Mason (19-XI-849, 15-I-1909)
James Mason (19-XI-849, 15-I-1909)

One of the world’s best half-dozen players in the early 1880s, journalist. He was born in Kilkenny, Ireland, and adopted the name James Mason (his real name is not known) when he and his family emigrated to the USA in 1861. He became a boot-black in New York, frequenting a Hungarian calc where he learned chess. Coming to the notice of J. G. Bennett of the New York Herald he was given a job in the newspaper’s offices, a start in life that both suited his literary aspirations and gave him the chance to study the game; and in 1876 he made his mark, winning first prizes at the fourth American Chess Congress, Philadelphia, and in the New York Clipper tournament, and defeating the visiting master Bird in match play (411=4-4), Settling in England In 1878 he drew a match with Potter (+5=11— 5) in 1879, and at Vienna 1882, the strongest tournament held up to that time, he took third prize (+17=12-5) after the joint winners Steinitz and Winawer.

This was his finest achievement, but he had some other good tournament results; London 1883 (won by Zukertort), equal fifth; Nuremberg 1883, third after Winawer and Blackburne; Hamburg 1885, second equal with Blackburne, Englisch, Tarrasch, and Weiss after Gunsberg; Manchester 1890 (won by Tarrasch), equal fifth; and Belfast 1892, first equal with Blackburne. Fond of drink, Mason is alleged to have lost many games when in a ‘hilarious condition’. ‘A jolly good fellow first and a chess-player afterwards’ he never fulfilled the promise of his first years in England, Instead he wrote books on the game, in excellent style, notably two popular textbooks. The Principles of Chess in Theory and Practice (1894) and The Art of Chess (1895): both ran to several editions. Another of his books. Social Chess (1900), contains many short and brilliant games.

James Mason (19-XI-849, 15-I-1909)
James Mason (19-XI-849, 15-I-1909)

From The Encyclopedia of Chess by Harry Golombek :

A British master of Irish birth, Mason emigrated in early youth to the USA before settling in England in 1878. In America he won matches against Delmar, Martinez, Bird etc, ; In England he beat Mackenzie and drew with Potter, remaining unbeaten in match-play. He played in most of the important tournaments of the eighties and nineties, but the first prize he won on his début at the Philadelphia congress 1876 remained his only victory.

James Mason (19-XI-849, 15-I-1909)
James Mason (19-XI-849, 15-I-1909)

His best results were the third prizes at Vienna 1882 (behind Steinitz and Winawer), Nuremberg 1883 and Amsterdam 1889; =2nd at Hamburg 1885 and =3rd at Bradford 1888; also his 7th place in the great New York 1889 tournament. He wrote The Principles of Chess, London 1894, The Art of Chess, London 1895, compiled a collection of brilliancies in a series Social Chess, London 1900, and was co-author with Pollock of the 1895/6 tournament book. (Article by William Hartston).

The Art of Chess
The Art of Chess
The Principles of Chess
The Principles of Chess
James Mason in America
James Mason in America

Remembering William Ritson Morry, (05-IX-1910, 08-I-1994)

William Ritson Morry
William Ritson Morry

We remember William Ritson Morry who passed away on January 8th, 1994.

Here is an obituary from the Midland Counties Chess Union

William Ritson Morry
William Ritson Morry

Here is an in-depth article from William Hartston in The Independent

William Ritson Morry
William Ritson Morry

From The Encyclopedia of Chess by Harry Golombek :

Midlands organiser and player who was a chess professional and journalist. As a player his best performances were an =2nd in the British Championship 1936 and an = 3rd in 1951.

In the international field his best results have been an =3rd with List in the Major Open A section of the Nottingham congress of 1936 and =1st with Milner-Barry in the Premier Reserrves A at the Hastings congress 1946/7. He has played for England in international matches against the Netherlands (thrice) and against Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia.

A keen and accomplished correspondence player, he had the title of British Postal Master on account of his winning the British Correspondence Championship in 1943.

But it is as tournament and congress organiser that he is best known. He founded the Birmingham Junior League in 1930 and has organised thirty-four Birmingham congresses. He conceived the idea of a junior world championship and in 1951 he held the first World Junior Championship tournament at Birmingham (won by Borislav Ivkov). In the same yearhe was awarded the title of FIDE judge. He has also had much to do with the organisation of the Hastings Christmas chess congresses in the 1970s.

He has written much for British chess magazines and was the co-author along with the late W. R. Mitchell  of Tackle Chess, London, 1967.

William Ritson Morry
William Ritson Morry
William Ritson Morry
William Ritson Morry
William Ritson Morry
William Ritson Morry
Tackle Chess by William Ritson Morry
Tackle Chess by William Ritson Morry

Remembering Harry Golombek OBE, (01-03-1911, 07-I-1995)

Death Anniversary of Harry Golombek OBE, (01-03-1911, 07-I-1995)
Death Anniversary of Harry Golombek OBE, (01-03-1911, 07-I-1995)

We remember Harry Golombek OBE who passed away on this day (January 7th) in 1995.

Here is HGs entry from Hooper & Whyld (The Oxford Companion to CHESS) :

English player and author. International Master (1950), International Arbiter (1956). In 1945 Golombek became chess correspondent of The Times, and about a year later decided to become a professional chess-player. He won the British Championship three times (1947, 1949, 1955) and played in nine Olympiads from 1935 la 1962, An experienced arbiter and a good linguist, supervisor of many important tournaments and matches, he served for 30 years on the FIDE Commission that makes, amends, and arbitrates upon The laws and rules of chess. His many books include Capablancas Hundred Best Games (1947), The World Chess Championship 1948 (1949), Réti’s Best Games of Chess (1954), and A History of Chess (1976).

Death Anniversary of Harry Golombek OBE, (01-03-1911, 07-I-1995)
Death Anniversary of Harry Golombek OBE, (01-03-1911, 07-I-1995)

Here is his Wikipedia entry

Harry married his long time nurse, Noel Frances Judkins in January 1988 and they had one son : Oliver Golombek-Judkins who is a successful Somerset based veterinary surgeon.

and here is a fascinating insight into HGs Bletchley Park days.

Harry Golombek OBE, (01-03-1911, 07-I-1995)
Harry Golombek OBE, (01-03-1911, 07-I-1995)

The World Chess Championship by Harry Golombek
The World Chess Championship by Harry Golombek
The Game of Chess by Harry Golombek
The Game of Chess by Harry Golombek
Capablanca's 100 Best Games of Chess by Harry Golombek
Capablanca’s 100 Best Games of Chess by Harry Golombek

Remembering Elaine Zelia Pritchard, née Saunders (07-01-1926, 07-01-2012)

Elaine Zelia Pritchard, née Saunders (07-01-1926, 07-01-2012)
Elaine Zelia Pritchard, née Saunders (07-01-1926, 07-01-2012)

We remember Elaine Zelia Pritchard, née Saunders who passed away on January 7th, 2012.

From The Encyclopedia of Chess, Edited by Harry Golombek :

“International Woman master and British Woman champion 1939, 1946, 1956 and 1965, she was a girl prodigy with perhaps the most natural talent for the game of any British-born woman.She was playing competitive chess at the age of seven and was only ten when she won the FIDE Girls Open chess championship (under-21) in London in 1936, winning eleven out of twelve games played.

British Girl Champion (under-18) 1936-8 she won the British Women’s Championship in 1939 at the age of thirteen. Winning the title on three more occasions she hardly ever had a bad result in the event but, by profession a teacher, she did not always have the time to devote to the game.

Her best international results were 2nd in the Western European Zonal Women’s tournament in 1957 (the year she gained the Woman master title), and two 3rd places in Paignton and Havering 1967. She represented the B.C.F. in Women’s Olympiads at Emmen 1957, Skopje 1972, Medellin in 1974 and Haifa 1976. (H.G.)”

The following obituary by James Pratt appeared in the February 2012 issue of British Chess Magazine :

“Via Godalming Chess Club we learn of the death of International Woman Master, Elaine Pritchard (née Dorée Elaine Zelia Saunders ) (7 i 1926 Brentford – 7 i 2012 Gloucester). British Lady Champion in 1939, 1946, 1956 and 1965, she became an IWM in 1957. A child prodigy, she won the World Girls Under 21s at the age of ten and first captured the British Ladies title at the outbreak of WWII. Mrs Pritchard wrote two books, Chess for Pleasure and The Young Chess Player. She was an occasional BCM contributor. Her last published grade was in 2003. She was an Honorary Life Member of the ECF.”

and here courtesy of Edward Winter is an excellent article on chess prodigies including many scanned photographs of Elaine.

and here is an obituary for the ECF written by Stewart Reuben

and here is her Wikipedia entry

and some more photographs.

and finally a discussion of Elaine on the English Chess Forum.

Chess for Pleasure by Elaine Pritchard
Chess for Pleasure by Elaine Pritchard
The Young Chess Player by Elaine Pritchard
The Young Chess Player by Elaine Pritchard

Remembering IM William Winter (11-IX-1898, 18-XII-1955)

William Winter (11-IX-1898, 18-XII-1955)
William Winter (11-IX-1898, 18-XII-1955)
William Winter (11-IX-1898, 18-XII-1955)
William Winter (11-IX-1898, 18-XII-1955)

We remember William Winter who passed away on December 18th, 1955.

From The Encyclopedia of Chess, Edited by Harry Golombek :

International Master and twice British Champion (1935 and 1936), Winter was an excellent illustration of Réti’s thesis that players tend to be opposite over the board to their character in real life. Over the board he was classical, scientific and sober; away from the board he was revolutionary, moved by his emotions (he contrived to be both a fervent Communist and a staunch patriot), and more often than not, drunk.

His university career, where he read law, coincided with the First World War and, after a brief interruption for military service he returned to Cambridge where in 1919 he became university champion and defeated R. H. V. Scott (a strong player who won the British Championship in 1920) in a match by 4-2. On the strength of this he was invited to play in the Hastings Victory tournament of 1919 where, however, he did badly, coming 11th out of 12.

William Winter (11-IX-1898, 18-XII-1955)
William Winter (11-IX-1898, 18-XII-1955)

After an interval during which he feverntly persued a political career to such an extent as to incur a six-months prison sentence for sedition (Winter always denied the sedition
and said that the charge was trumped-up one), he took up the career of chess professional. The life suited him since it enabled him to lead the kind of Bohemian existence that pleased his artistic temperament. It should be mentioned that he was a nephew of Sir James Barrie and would have fitted in well on one of his uncle’s plays.

As a player he was eminently sound and, being an apostle of Tarrasch, a fine clear strategist. But he was lacking in tactical ability and his poor health and his way of life interfered with his consistency and impaired his stamina. But he had a number of fine victories over great players (Bronstein, Nimzowitsch and Vidmar for example).

He played in four Olympiads: Hamburg 1930 (scoring 76.7% on 4th board), Prague 1931 (58.8% on 4th board), Folkestone 1933 (59.1% on 3rd board) and Warsaw 1935 (41.7% on 1st board). He was selected to play at Stockholm in 1937 but, having “lost” his passport three times. he was refused a fresh one by the authorities.

William Winter (11-IX-1898, 18-XII-1955)
William Winter (11-IX-1898, 18-XII-1955)

His best international individual results were =6th at London 1927, and =5th at Lodz 1935.

His career as a chess journalist (he wrote for the Manchester Guardian and the Daily Worker) was somewhat impeded and spoilt by his Bohemian ways, be he wrote some excellent works on chess : Chess for Match Players, London, 1936;

Chess for Match Player
Chess for Match Player

Kings of Chess, London, New York 1954; Modern Master Play in collaboration with F. D. Yates), London, Philadelphia 1929.

Kings of Chess
Kings of Chess
The World Chess Championship 1951
The World Chess Championship 1951
William Winter (11-IX-1898, 18-XII-1955)
William Winter (11-IX-1898, 18-XII-1955)

Remembering Harold Maurice Lommer (18-XI-1904, 17-XII-1980)

Harold Maurice Lommer (18-XI-1904, 17-XII-1980)
Harold Maurice Lommer (18-XI-1904, 17-XII-1980)

We remember Harold Maurice Lommer who passed away on December 17th, 1980.

From The Oxford Companion to Chess by David Hooper Ken Whyld :

International Judge of Chess Compositions (1958), International Arbiter (1962), International Master for Chess Compositions (1974), the greatest British study composer. Born in Islington of German parentage, he moved to Switzerland when he was four and returned to England 18 years later.
Inspired in his youth by the Saavedra study, he
became the leading specialist on promotion tasks, and in 1933 was the first to show allumwandlung in a study, which Rinck had declared was impossible. Lommer also showed in studies six consecutive promotions to rooks (1935) and a minimal with concurrent promotions to queen, bishop, and knight. (For another task record see star-flights.) After the Second World War he became proprietor of a Soho club, where players and composers often met; in 1949 the club organized a small international tournament, won by bernstein, Lommer retired in 1961 and went to live in Valencia, where he died.

In 1939 Lommer and the English player Maurice A. Sutherland (d.1954), who backed the project, published 1,234 Modern End-game Studies. In 1975 Lommer compiled a sequel, 1,357 End-game Studies. These two collections, catholic in taste, made by a composer who was above all an artist, have become standard works. Besides his studies, the best of which are in these books, he composed fairy problems.

1234 Modern End-Game Studies
1234 Modern End-Game Studies
1357 End-Game Studies
1357 End-Game Studies
Harold Maurice Lommer (18-XI-1904, 17-XII-1980)
Harold Maurice Lommer (18-XI-1904, 17-XII-1980)

Remembering Horatio Caro (05-VII-1862, 15-XII-1920)

Horatio Caro (05-VII-1862, 15-XII-1920)
Horatio Caro (05-VII-1862, 15-XII-1920)

We remember Horatio Caro who passed away on December 15th, 1920.

From Wikipedia :

Horatio Caro (5 July 1862 – 15 December 1920) was an English chess master.

Caro was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, England,[1] but spent most of his chess career in Berlin, Germany. He played several matches. In 1892, he drew with Curt von Bardeleben (+2 –2 =2), lost to Szymon Winawer (+2 –3 =1). In 1897, he lost to Jacques Mieses (+3 –4 =3). In 1903, he drew with Bardeleben (+4 –4 =0). In 1905, he won against Moritz Lewitt (+4 –3 =5).

In tournaments, he won in Berlin (1888, 1891, 1894, 1898 (jointly), and 1903). He also took 10th at Berlin 1883, took 4th at Berlin 1887, tied for 2nd-3rd at Nuremberg 1888, took 3rd at Berlin 1889, took 2nd at Berlin 1890.

He took 3rd at Berlin 1894, took 9th at Berlin 1897, took 17th at Vienna 1898, took 4th at Berlin 1899, tied for 6-7th at Berlin 1902, tied for 11-12th at Coburg 1904, tied for 7-8th at Barmen 1905, took 9th at Berlin 1907, tied for 3-5th at Berlin 1908, and took 4th at Berlin 1911.

Caro died in London at age 58.[1]

His claim to fame is linked to the opening Caro-Kann Defence (B12), which he analysed along with Marcus Kann and jointly published about on the German journal Bruederschaft in 1886.[2]

According to Richard James :

He spent most of his life in Germany. Page 353 of the Jubiläums-Ausgabe (1926) of Kagans Neueste Schachnachrichten (yes, I also read Edward Winter’s Chess Notes) claims that he lived in Frankfurt up to his 22nd year and in Berlin from 1882 onwards (arithmetic fail). Some sources claim, incorrectly, that he died in Berlin.

His death was registered in Mile End Old Town. In the 1911 census there are a lot of Caros in St George in the East, just the other side of the Commercial Road from Mile End Old Town, from their first names clearly Jewish. There’s also Blanche Caro, a 65-year-old Polish born widow, described as a furrier, in hospital in Mile End Old Town.

It seems possible that Horatio was visiting relations in London when he died, and may well have been buried in Berlin not in London. The name Horatio doesn’t sound very Jewish, though. Does anyone else know anything about his background, and indeed why he was born in Newcastle? I’ll see what else I can find and post again later unless anyone more knowledgeable beats me to it.

There is extensive discussion from the same above source.

Happy Birthday IM Brandon Clarke (14-XII-1995)

IM Brandon GI Clarke
IM Brandon GI Clarke

Happy Birthday Wishes to IM Brandon GI Clarke born on this day (December 14th), 1995.

Brandon was a chess scholar at Wellington College, Berkshire and was part of the strongest school / college team to play in the National Schools competition for many years that included James Holland, Felix Jose Ynojosa-Aponte, Alexander Galliano, Latefah Meesam-Sparkes, Akash Jain, Adrian Archer-Lock and latterly William Foo and Richard Zhu. Despite being easily the strongest team they were denied the title by the age handicaping rules.

He became an International Master in early 2019 and plays much chess in Australia, New Zealand and England having lived in the USA for some time after leaving Wellington College.

Aged 24 Brandon has achieved his highest FIDE rating of 2445 and it shows every sign of increasing.

Brandon won the 2019 Major Open in Torquay with 8.5/9 as an IM, plays for Australia Kangaroos in the Pro Chess League.

IM Brandon GI Clarke
IM Brandon GI Clarke

Happy Birthday WGM Dr. Jana Bellin (09-XII-1947)

WGM Dr. Jana Bellin
WGM Dr. Jana Bellin

Happy birthday WGM Dr. Jana Bellin on this day (December 9th) in 1947.

From Wikipedia :

Jana Bellin (née Malypetrová; born 9 December 1947) is a British, formerly Czechoslovak chess player. She was awarded the Woman International Master chess title in 1969 and the Woman Grandmaster title in 1982.[1]

Jana with Sheila Jackson to her left
Jana with Sheila Jackson to her left

Bellin was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia. She was the Czech Women’s Champion in 1965 and 1967 under her maiden name of Malypetrová.[2] After her marriage to William Hartston she moved to England in 1970[2] and won the British Women’s Championship in 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977 (after a play-off), and 1979.[3] She has fifteen appearances in the Women’s Chess Olympiads, representing Czechoslovakia in 1966 and 1969 and England thirteen times from 1972 through 2006, seven times on first board.[4] At the Olympiad she earned individual silver medals in 1966 and 1976, a team bronze medal in 1968 with the Czechoslovakian team, and a team silver in 1976 with England.[4]

Jana the simul giver
Jana the simul giver

Bellin is a medical doctor specialising in anaesthetics, and works in intensive care at Sandwell General Hospital, West Bromwich, England.[5]

She is also Chairman of the FIDE Medical Commission,[6] which supervises drug testing of chess players.[7]

Bellin was married first to International Master William Hartston, then to Grandmaster Tony Miles,[1][3] and after that to International Master Robert Bellin. She and Bellin have two sons: Robert (born 1988) and Christopher (born 1991).[citation needed]

Dr. Jana Bellin
Dr. Jana Bellin

She is the granddaughter of thrice Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia, Jan Malypetr.[citation needed] and cousin of author and human rights campaigner Jiří Stránský.

WGM Dr. Jana Bellin
WGM Dr. Jana Bellin