Category Archives: Biographies

Happy Birthday FM David Cummings (24-i-1961)

IM David H Cummings
IM David H Cummings

Birthday of FM David H Cummings (24-i-1961)

David Cummings (front, second from right) at a Lloyds Bank event
David Cummings (front, second from right) at a Lloyds Bank event

This was written about David who was 18 just prior to the 1979 Spassky vs the BCF Junior squad simultaneous display :

“Varndean and Brighton. Rating 207. British men’s championship finalist, 1977. First Danish junior international championship, 1978.”

At the Lloyds Bank Masters : Front (l-r) : Joel Benjamin, Ian Wells, Rear : Peter Morrish, Stewart Reuben, Richard Beville, Gary Senior, Richard Webb, John Hawksworth, Andrew King, Nigel Short, Mark Ginsburg, Daniel King, David Cummings, Erik Teichmann, John Brandford and Micheal Pagden
At the Lloyds Bank Masters : Front (l-r) : Joel Benjamin, Ian Wells, Rear : Peter Morrish, Stewart Reuben, Richard Beville, Gary Senior, Richard Webb, John Hawksworth, Andrew King, Nigel Short, Mark Ginsburg, Daniel King, David Cummings, Erik Teichmann, John Brandford and Micheal Pagden

David was joint (with PG Large) Southern Counties (SCCU) champion in the 1979-80 season.

IM David H Cummings
IM David H Cummings
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Best Wishes IM Adam C Taylor (23-i-1998)

IM Adam C Taylor at the 2019 Keith Richardson Memorial. Courtesy of John Upham Photography.
IM Adam C Taylor at the 2019 Keith Richardson Memorial. Courtesy of John Upham Photography.

We send best wishes to IM Adam C Taylor on his birthday.

Adam Christopher Taylor was born on Friday, January 23rd, 1998 in Colchester, Essex. Adam has a sister, Nathalie Leanne Taylor who also plays and studied History & Economics at The University of York. His mother Deborah was always supportive during his chess career.

He attended The Gilberd School, Colchester until 2014 and then Colchester Sixth Form College and currently resides in Colchester.

ECF grading profile for IM Adam C Taylor
ECF grading profile for IM Adam C Taylor

Adam’s first recorded rapidplay event was the Basildon Junior Congress resulting in a published grade of 34D and his first graded standard play event was the 2009 London Junior Under-12 Championships and his first published standard-play grading was 73E.

In that same year at Torquay Adam won the British Under-12 title sharing with Radha Jain.

Adam C Taylor at the 2013 UK Chess Challenge Terafinal. Courtesy of John Upham Photography
Adam C Taylor at the 2013 UK Chess Challenge Terafinal. Courtesy of John Upham Photography

Adam made his first 4NCL appearance in May 2012 for SC Stars followed by Anglian Avengers. In 2018 the lure of the big lights of Division One beckoned and Wood Green became Adam’s team now playing for Wood Green Monarchs in the Online 4NCL championship.

In 2017 Adam scored an impressive 6/9 (and =2nd) when he travelled to Greece to play in the Heraklion 1st Capablanca Memorial.

The Hastings Open in 2018 saw an excellent =7th with 6.5/10.

Adam’s IM title was ratified in June of 2019 in Baku and currently (January 2021) holds a FIDE standard play rating of 2347 and an ECF standard play rating of 2260A. His highest ECF standard play grading was 230A in July 2019. We expect this to be exceeded once OTB play resumes.

Battersea Chess Club celebrated Adams’s title in style with this article written by Leon Watson

FIDE rating profile for IM Adam C Taylor from MegaBase 2020.
FIDE rating profile for IM Adam C Taylor from MegaBase 2020.

Adam has played for Bury St. Edmunds and Manningtree and now Battersea in the London League and Wood Green in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL) and has made many appearances in the UKCC Terafinal.

Adam is known as Tayip99 on chess.com and as AdamTaylor2301 on LiChess.com and regularly streams on Twitch and other platforms.

Adam C Taylor, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
Adam C Taylor, Courtesy of John Upham Photography

On the 13th of September 2019 Adam became the sole director of MakingGrandmasters Limited which lists on its web site a number of leading young English players engaging in coaching such as Matthew Wadsworth, Ravi Haria and Daniel Fernandez to name but a few.

One of Adam’s more notable students is Guildford Chess Club member Jessica Mellor who, in 2018, won Gold in the Under-11 category of the European Schools Championship.

With the white pieces Adam favours a Reti/English set-up where c4 quickly follows a king side fianchetto. Here is a typical game of Adam’s with the white against a strong opponent :

With the black pieces Adam essays the Berlin Defence and the Sicilian Najdorf as well as the Benko Gambit and Nimzo-Indian Defence.

IM Adam C Taylor, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Adam C Taylor, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
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Happy Birthday IM Paul Littlewood (18-i-1956)

IM Paul Littlewood. Source : British Chess, Pergamon Press, 1983.
IM Paul Littlewood. Source : British Chess, Pergamon Press, 1983.

BCN wishes Happy Birthday to Paul Littlewood

Paul Edwin Littlewood was born on Wednesday, January 18th, 1956 in Skegness, East Lindsey, Lincolnshire. His parents were John and Jean Littlewood (née) Hadwick. Paul’s chess playing uncle was Norman Littlewood.

John and Paul on Skegness beach circa 1958. Kindly supplied by Paul Littlewood. George and Ringo are out of shot !
John and Paul on Skegness beach circa 1958. Kindly supplied by Paul Littlewood. George and Ringo are out of shot !
John, Jenny and Paul Littlewood, circa 1962. Kindly supplied by Paul Littlewood.
John, Jenny and Paul Littlewood, circa 1962. Kindly supplied by Paul Littlewood.

Paul attended Glenburn Comprehensive School in Skelmersdale from 1967 and then read Natural Sciences at Christ’s College, Cambridge from 1974.

Paul played badminton for Lancashire and Cambridge and, in 1971, won the English Schools Mixed Championship when he was 15 years old.

Paul and family receive a chess lesson from John following John's win in the 1972 Southport Open
Paul and family receive a chess lesson from John following John’s win in the 1972 Southport Open

On leaving University Paul taught science at Southbrook Comprehensive, Daventry. Four years later Paul became a dealer at Phillips & Drew and followed this as an Executive Director at Goldman Sachs. Stays at Lehman Brothers and JP Morgan were followed by a change of direction and since then Paul has been director of various food supply companies retiring in 2014.

Paul is married (3rd November 2006) to (his second wife) Fiona and lives in St. Albans, Hertfordshire.

PEL won the ECF President’s Award in 2007 and from the 2008 ECF Yearbook we have the following citation :

“International Master and accomplished bridge player. From British Chess champion (1981) Paul has presided over the 4NCL as chairman during its most successful period. When he became chairman over ten years ago the league consisted of two divisions and 32 teams. The league has now expanded to four divisions and a total of 72 teams. Most of England’s juniors play 4NCL. During this time 4NCL became one of the strongest leagues in Europe, at one time boasting a Division 1 rivalling the Bundesliga in strength in the top matches.

Paul has demonstrated the sound judgement of Solomon when dealing with league disputes and has drawn on his business acumen, honed during a successful career in the City with Goldman Sachs to make 4NCL the financially stable and expanding league it is today.”

Roll of Honour

  • British U18 Champion 1972
  • British U21 Champion 1975
  • British Champion 1981
  • As a junior represented England in Glorney Cup
  • International Master 1980

From British Chess (Pergamon Press, 1983) by Botterill, Levy. Rice and Richardson we have this article from Richard W. O’Brien :

“Paul Littlewood was destined to become a strong player from birth. His father John was for some time one of the strongest players in the country and represented England on many occasions. His uncle Norman was for a few years not far behind. Paul, however, has surpassed them both and has become the first in the family to reach IM status. (Ed: JEL was very much worthy of the IM title but insufficient events of the right type held him back).

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

All three are essentially attacking players. There have been times in recent years when play at the Hastings Premier has become dull. However, Paul one of the English representatives at the last three tournaments, was certainly not to blame. (His game against Brito of Brazil which follows is a striking example of this).”

Coached by his father, Paul became British U18 champion in 1972 and three years later became British U21 champion.

Clearly more interested in an academic career he went up to Cambridge and then followed his father into the teaching profession. Opportunities to play in strong tournaments were thus very limited. These opportunities, however, were grasped in both hands. Three times in thirteen months between August 1978 and August 1979 he obtained an IM norm and thus the title.

Partial crosstable for the Lloyds Bank Open, 1978
Partial crosstable for the Lloyds Bank Open, 1978

The first caused a sensation as it was totally unexpected. He shared first place at Lloyds Bank ahead of several grandmasters including Shamkovich, who was the first grandmaster he ever defeated.

Leonid Shamkovich plays Paul Littlewood during the 1978 Lloyds Bank Masters. Paul won the game.
Leonid Shamkovich plays Paul Littlewood during the 1978 Lloyds Bank Masters. Paul won the game.

Eight months later Aaronson Masters was won and then came the final norm, also at Lloyds Bank.

Tournaments abroad were limited although he represented England students. He did play at Kringsja (2nd equal) in 1978 and Borovo where he scored 6.5.13 finishing ahead of 3 GMs.

In 1981 came his finest achievement – winning the British Championship with a massive 9/11.

Partial crosstable from the 1981 British Championship in Morecambe
Partial crosstable from the 1981 British Championship in Morecambe

His father who was also competing in the championship was as proud as could be and deservedly so (he also coached Sheila Jackson who retained her British Ladies Championship that year). His excellent all round play took him to the title and only once during the tournament did he stand worse. His endgame play was so good that CHESS even published an article solely on these endings.

Paul Littlewood and friends during the 1978 Lloyds Bank Masters
Paul Littlewood and friends during the 1978 Lloyds Bank Masters

Duties at school in Daventry meant he was, in February 1982, unable to take part in the zonal at Marbella. This followed an excellent Hastings when as British Champion he made a plus score – a rare event indeed.

IM Paul Littlewood during filming for the "Trick of the Mind" series from Derren Brown
IM Paul Littlewood during filming for the “Trick of the Mind” series from Derren Brown

In the summer he gave up teaching and joined Phillips & Drew (stockbrokers). He now (ed : this was in 1983) lives with his (first) wife Sue and family in the wilds of Essex (Billericay).

IM Paul Littlewood, event and photographer unknown
IM Paul Littlewood, event and photographer unknown

Paul gives a simultaneous display in Letchworth.

Chess Tactics, Paul Littlewood, Crowood Chess Library, 1991
Chess Tactics, Paul Littlewood, Crowood Chess Library, 1991

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Remembering William Ritson Morry (05-ix-1910 08-i-1994)

William Ritson Morry (05-ix-1910 08-i-1994)
William Ritson Morry (05-ix-1910 08-i-1994)

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

(A point of detail : It is incorrect, but many do, to write WRM hyphenated. His first name was William, his middle name was Ritson and his surname was Morry. He chose to use his middle name and was known by his friends as Ritson. Maybe this was because he father was also William Morry?)

WRM was born in the Wirral on Monday, September 5th 1910 and his father  was William Doughty Morry (born 16th July 1877). William was a sub-postmaster and seller of fancy goods. His mother was Norah Morry (née Holloway) who undertook “unpaid domestic duties”.

Ritson attended Friars School, Bangor (established in 1557) along with BH Wood. BHW was one year and three months older than WRM so it is entirely possible that they had met.

In the 1939 register he is recorded as being a solicitor with his own practice and was living at 294 Walmley Road, Royal Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire with his parents : he was 29 years old.

294 Walmley Road, Royal Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire, B76, 2PL
294 Walmley Road, Royal Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire, B76, 2PL

In 1940 WRM married Nellie Cooper in Sutton Coldfield.

In 1943 WRM was mentioned in the London Gazette several times:

WRM appears in the London Gazette in 1943.
WRM appears in the London Gazette in 1943.

It would appear that this was the start of his first bankruptcy proceedings..

WRM was, by now, living at “Lyndon”, Coleshill Road, Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire :

Lyndon, Coleshill Road, Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire
Lyndon, Coleshill Road, Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire

and in the same year on September 30th he was officially made bankrupt as recorded in the London Gazette, order number 195. This notice was repeated in the Edinburgh Gazette of the same year.

On the 8th of June 1944 he was recorded as being struck-off the list of solicitors under the Solicitors Acts of 1932 to 1941. It was determined that WRM had engaged in “fraudulent conversion of clients money”

Birmingham Daily Post 30 October 1945
Birmingham Daily Post 30 October 1945

For more on this see the excellent Chess in the Courts by Edward Winter.

In 1954 WRM sued BH Wood for libel over a letter BHW sent to Henry Golding of the Monmouthshire County Chess Association warning him of WRMs financial history. Here is a summary of the action :

The Birmingham Post, July 15th, 1954
The Birmingham Post, July 15th, 1954

In 1983 WRM was living at Flat 2, 53, Mayfield Road, Moseley, Birmingham, West Midlands and recorded as a Retired Chess Journalist. Elsewhere he was recorded as a freelance chess and cricket journalist.

57, Mayfield Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 9HT
57, Mayfield Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 9HT

and, unfortunately, in this year he made another appearance in the London Gazette (2nd September 1983) having been made bankrupt.

London Gazette, 2nd September 1983
London Gazette, 2nd September 1983

However, despite these unfortunate life events WRMs contribution to chess goes above and beyond them as he won the BCF President’s Award in 1984.

From British Chess Magazine, Volume CXIV (114, 1994), Number 2 (February), pp. 98 – 99 we have this obituary from Bernard Cafferty:

W Ritson Morry – a Tribute

That great chess character, known to everybody simply as Ritson, has left us in the fullness of years, coincidentally during the first Hastings Congress he missed for decades.

William Ritson Morry (5 ix 1910-8 i 1994) was a player, organiser, writer, arbiter and occasional sponsor of tournaments whose life touched so many aspects of chess that it is hard to know where to begin.

William Ritson Morry (05-ix-1910 08-i-1994)
William Ritson Morry (05-ix-1910 08-i-1994)

Ritson was educated in North Wales at the same school as BH Wood. Both were at Birmingham University at the same time, after which Ritson trained as a solicitor. As early as 1930 he founded the Birmingham Junior League, and a little later wrote a chess column for a time for a local newspaper, though Ritson is hardly the first person you think of as someone who would hit deadlines consistently. He was equal second in a rather unrepresentative British Championship of 1936 and equal third in 1951. An unfortunate incident in the mid-1940s led to him being struck off, whereupon he became a chess professional, who eked out a precarious living for the last 48 years of his life. Yet, I never heard him complain, for he was able to immerse himself in chess full time, and what could be better than that?

William Ritson Morry playing Baruch Harold Wood at the British Championships in Blackpool from 1956
William Ritson Morry playing Baruch Harold Wood at the British Championships in Blackpool from 1956

He ran a series of newsletters, which hardly covered their expenses and produced and British Championship and Hastings bulletins for many years. 1951 was a significant year in his life, for he gained the FIDE Arbiter title (he was always an expert on the rules and many of the conventions we all play to were codified by him, or under his guidance). Later on Ritson, a great raconteur, was the life and soul of the show in Hastings which, along with the Warwickshire chess team and Erdington CC, was the great love of his life.

Aberystwyth Chess Congress 1955, W Ritson Morry and KL Gardiner, En Passant Chess Publications, 1955
Aberystwyth Chess Congress 1955, W Ritson Morry and KL Gardiner, En Passant Chess Publications, 1955

At times he seemed to run Hastings almost single-handed in the Frank Rhoden era. In fact GM Vasyukov went back to Moscow in 1966 and wrote that Ritson Morry was the only controller to be seen in the morning, afternoon and evening sessions of play. I recall that Ritson was amused when I told him of this, but did not demur. To show that there was life in the old dog, he organised a series of Birmingham international tournaments in the 1970s at which Tony Miles got much of his early experience.

Tackle Chess by William Ritson-Morry & W Melville Mitchell
Tackle Chess by William Ritson-Morry & W Melville Mitchell

One such tournament was financed by him alone, on the basis of the sale of a piece of land in Sutton Coldfield where a change of planning status had led to a windfall profit.

 

Hastings Chess Congress 1955-56, RG Wade & W. Ritson Morry, En Passant Chess Publications
Hastings Chess Congress 1955-56, RG Wade & W. Ritson Morry, En Passant Chess Publications

He also saved Hastings in late 1974,by giving a partial guarantee when another sponsor reduced his contribution. A few years later the Inland Revenue made him bankrupt when they could not get their piece of the action out of the deal. Doubtless Ritson thought that the money had gone to a worthier cause. I must not fail to mention his love of gambling or his erudition. Many is the time when you could have an exposition from him of the law of England, the practice of the courts and the police, or the political news of the day.

William Ritson Morry (05-ix-1910 08-i-1994)
William Ritson Morry (05-ix-1910 08-i-1994)

He was deeply immersed in local Labour Party politics in Birmingham and was a friend of football referee, ‘rainmaker’ Dennis Howell, one-time Minister for Sport. Ritson also played a great deal of postal chess, winning the British title in 1943. His book on the game written in conjunction with a Birmingham schoolmaster Mel Mitchell is a very instructive one, and he also wrote many reports and amusing articles for BCM, particularly one on of the failings of the Elo rating system regulations.

Here is a game Ritson won against the veteran German GM at the London Easter congress of 1940:

Bernard wrote about WRM a year later for the centenary edition of the programme for the Hastings International Congress :

“‘Ritson’ as we all knew him was an institution in British Chess, active as a player, writer,  organiser, drafter of rules and well-known for his skill as a raconteur, Educated in North Wales, he spent the rest of his life, from university days onwards, in Birmingham, but the Hastings Congress was very close to his heart.  He played in a number of pre-war events, and also a few post-war, but by the time of the Frank Rhoden revival of the mid-1950s he was firmly in the saddle organising the post-Christmas traditional event. In fact I recall how perturbed Frank Rhoden was when the news came that Ritson might emigrate to the West Indies.  It was not clear then how he could be replaced, for he supervised the morning, afternoon and evening sessions at the Sun Lounge (his favourite venue) and later at the Falaise Hall when the congress was still of such a size that we could all, including the Premier, be fitted into one room.

William Ritson-Morry
William Ritson Morry

Ritson also did game commentaries for some years and produced a bulletin for at least three decades. He was greatly encouraging of younger talent and the objective historian has to recall the indignation he felt when players like Tony Miles and Nigel Short were not happy with the restraints imposed by financial stringency.

Hastings bench memorial bench for William Ritson Morry
Hastings bench memorial bench for William Ritson Morry

In his declining years Ritson was still a regular until his illness of late 1993, and a fixture at the “gate” where the public paid their entrance money at the Cinque Ports Hotel. The choice of word is deliberate as a visit to the dogs and the bookmaker was one of his rare pleasures outside chess.  Best of all, however, one recalls him telling his fund of stories and reminisces to anyone who cared to listen. His voice, alas, has been stilled, and we are left to recall his selfless devotion to chess and, in particular, to the Hastings Congress.

Here is an obituary from the Midland Counties Chess Union

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

William Ritson Morry (05-ix-1910 08-i-1994)
William Ritson Morry (05-ix-1910 08-i-1994)

Here is a biography from the Midland Counties  Chess Union newsletter from 1994.

From The Encyclopaedia 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 Reserves A at the Hastings congress 1946/7. He has played for England in international matches against the Netherlands (thrice) and against Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia.

William Ritson Morry talking about Malik Mir Sultan Kahn
William Ritson Morry talking about Malik Mir Sultan Kahn

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 year he 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.

William Ritson Morry (05-ix-1910 08-i-1994)
William Ritson Morry (05-ix-1910 08-i-1994)

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.

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Remembering GM Harry Golombek OBE (01-iii-1911 07-i-1995)

Harry Golombek, OBE (from the rear cover of A History of Chess)
Harry Golombek, OBE (from the rear cover of A History of Chess)
Signature of H Golombek from a Brian Reilly "after dinner" postcard from Southsea 1951.
Signature of H Golombek from a Brian Reilly “after dinner” postcard from Southsea 1951.

We remember Harry Golombek OBE who passed away on Saturday, January 7th, 1995.

The Amersham Advertiser of Wednesday, 18th January 1995, on page 6, reported, “His funeral was due to be held as 12.30pm (today), at Chilterns Crematorium, Whielden Lane, Amersham.” (Thanks Steve Mann!).

Harry Golombek was born on Wednesday, March 1st, 1911 in Lambeth, London and his parents were Barnet (Berl) Golombek (Golabek) (1878-1943) and Emma Golombek (née Sendak) (1883-1967).

The Polish word Golabek translates to “small dove” in English.

Barnet was a “Dealer of gas fittings” and was 33 when Harry was born and Emma was 26. Both of his parents were born in Zambov which is in the Lomza Gubernia region of the Kingdom of Poland which existed from 1867 – 1917. Their nationalities are both recorded as Russian in the 1911 UK census.  we don’t know (as yet) when Barnet and Emma settled in the UK.

Harry had a brother Abraham (born in 1906) and a sister Rosy born in 1908. The family lived in 200b, Railton Road, Herne Hill. Lambeth.

200b, Railton Road, Herne Hill, Lambeth, SE24 0JT
200b, Railton Road, Herne Hill, Lambeth, SE24 0JT

He is a recorded with a service number of 992915 as being a member of The Royal Regiment of Artillery in 1939 and was discharged as having reached the age limit in 1956 aged 45 and one day.

Harry Golombek's record of discharge in 1956 from the Army.
Harry Golombek’s record of discharge in 1956 from the Army.

Harry married his long time nurse, Noel Frances Judkins (1941 – 2011) in January 1988 and they had (born in 1992) one son : Oliver Golombek-Judkins  BVSc MRCVS who is a successful Somerset based veterinary surgeon. The marriage was recorded in the district of Kensington & Chelsea.

37, Albion Crescent, Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire, HP8 4ET : the home of Harry Golombek OBE
37, Albion Crescent, Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire, HP8 4ET : the home of Harry Golombek OBE

The date of probate was 22 Mar 1995 and the executor of HGs will was David Anderton OBE.

In 1966 Harry became an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), Civil division awarded in the 1966 Queen’s Birthday (rather than New Years) Honours list.

The citation read simply :

Harry Golombek. For services to Chess : He was the first UK person to be so honoured.

Hastings memorial bench for Harry Golombek OBE
Hastings memorial bench for Harry Golombek OBE, Courtesy of John Upham Photography

The Harry Golombek memorial bench at St Giles Churchyard, Chalfont St Giles in Buckinghamshire. Photogra[h courtesy of Geoff Chandler.
The Harry Golombek memorial bench at St Giles Churchyard, Chalfont St Giles in Buckinghamshire. Photograph courtesy of Geoff Chandler.
The Harry Golombek memorial bench at St Giles Churchyard, Chalfont St Giles in Buckinghamshire. Photogra[h courtesy of Geoff Chandler.
The Harry Golombek memorial bench at St Giles Churchyard, Chalfont St Giles in Buckinghamshire. Photograph courtesy of Geoff Chandler.
In 1985 Harry was awarded the long overdue (but Honorary) title of Grandmaster by FIDE.

Harry was Southern Counties (SCCU) Champion in the 1955-56 and 1963-64 seasons.

Harry was in 1974-82 a FIDE Zonal President and from 1978-96 he was the FIDE Permanent Fund Administrator.

Sadly, he never received the Presidents Award for Services to Chess from either the BCF or ECF : maybe a posthumous award is long overdue?

Harry Golombek, aged 20, becomes the youngest winner of the Surrey Challenge Cup in 1931. British Chess Magazine 1931, September, page 419.
Harry Golombek, aged 20, becomes the youngest winner of the Surrey Challenge Cup in 1931. British Chess Magazine 1931, September, page 419.

Here (from British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXXII (132), 2011, Number 3 (March), pp.150-154 is an affectionate collection of memories from Bernard Cafferty :

“In recalling four decades of knowing the GOM of 20th century English chess, one has to stress the ‘English’ aspect. The ‘Harry’ part of his name was much more significant than the Polish surname, and, though he was the most cosmopolitan of men, who fitted into any milieu, my abiding memory of him always throws up the quirks that are the sign of an Englishman. I wonder how many of my readers recall the classic English actors Naunton Wayne and Basil Radford, whose main preoccupation in their films was…. getting to know the latest cricket score from Lords or The Oval.

Harry Golombek. Source : The Anglo-Soviet Radio Chess Match
Harry Golombek. Source : The Anglo-Soviet Radio Chess Match

Indeed, Harry was a long-time member of Surrey Cricket Club, and once, when he came back from being an arbiter at an international tournament in Tenerife, his main comment to me was not about the event or the players, but rather that the volcanic rock of the Atlantic island made for brackish water, so that one could not get…. a decent cup of tea!

Left to right Baruch H Wood, Philip Stuart Milner-Barry, Vera Menchik (playing in the women's world championship (held concurrently with the 1939 Buenos Aires Olympiad) which she won with 17 wins and 2 draws), Sir George Thomas, Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander and Harry Golombek. England withdrew after their preliminary group due to the outbreak of war despite qualifying for the top final. Thanks to Leonard Barden
Left to right Baruch H Wood, Philip Stuart Milner-Barry, Vera Menchik (playing in the women’s world championship (held concurrently with the 1939 Buenos Aires Olympiad) which she won with 17 wins and 2 draws), Sir George Thomas, Conel Hugh O’Donel Alexander and Harry Golombek. England withdrew after their preliminary group due to the outbreak of war despite qualifying for the top final. Thanks to Leonard Barden

I first met Harry in the early 1950s when I was a teenage student keen on chess and accordingly spent my meagre pocket money on a day out in Manchester to watch the Counties Final match between Lancashire and the all-conquering Middlesex side of those years. Harry and I were about the only spectators. He was there reporting for The Times. I recall that the top board game was between the veterans William Winter and WA Fairhurst. The game duly appeared in the BCM with Harry’s notes, for he was the long-serving Games Editor of that august publication.

Players at the 1946 British Championships in Nottingham : Back (from left to right): Gabriel Wood, Reginald Broadbent, Philip Milner-Barry, Andrew RB Thomas, Baruch H Wood. Front (from left to right): Bob Wade, Frank Parr, William Winter, Robert Combe, Hugh Alexander, Harry Golombek, Gerald Abrahams.. Photograph : BritBase
Players at the 1946 British Championships in Nottingham : Back (from left to right): Gabriel Wood, Reginald Broadbent, Philip Milner-Barry, Andrew RB Thomas, Baruch H Wood. Front (from left to right): Bob Wade, Frank Parr, William Winter, Robert Combe, Hugh Alexander, Harry Golombek, Gerald Abrahams.. Photograph : BritBase

Perhaps I may enter a belated correction to “Who’s Who” here. Some editions stated that he was editor of BCM after the Second World War. Not so. His stint in the editorial chair was 1938-40, after which he was called up, initially being assigned to the Royal Artillery. Perhaps that is a sign of the speciality of the Services – fitting a square peg in a round hole – but he was swiftly transferred to the Intelligence Corps, perhaps at the behest of Hugh Alexander who knew that Harry had studied German at his London grammar school in Camberwell and then at London University.

The Judges / Arbiters from the 1953 Zurich Candidates tournament : Harry Golombek, Alois Nagler and Alex Crisovan
The Judges / Arbiters from the 1953 Zurich Candidates tournament : Harry Golombek, Alois Nagler and Alex Crisovan

Clearly, under the conditions of 1940, a linguist was just what was needed to make up the team of mathematicians, cryptographers and such like who were tasked with breaking the secrecy of German coded messages.

The BCF Team at the Amsterdam Olympiad 1954. Left to right : Barden, Clarke, Penrose, Wade, Golombek (board three) and Alexander
The BCF Team at the Amsterdam Olympiad 1954. Left to right : Barden, Clarke, Penrose, Wade, Golombek (board three) and Alexander

I once mentioned the misunderstanding over the “Who’s Who” entry to Brian Reilly. He laughed it off, saying that it was almost certainly the abiding fault of HG – not taking Brian’s repeated advice to fit a new typewriter ribbon!

Harry Golombek and Gordon Crown in around 1946-47.
Harry Golombek and Gordon Crown in around 1946-47.

I could relate to that since Harry’s handwritten game scores, written in pencil and descriptive notation, were very hard to decipher, a real scribble that only the man himself could make sense of. When I asked him why he did not use algebraic notation, he commented that he wrote for so many English-language outlets: The Times, The Times Weekend Supplement, Observer and chess book publishers like Bells and Penguin who knew their audiences of those years were supporters of the Pawn to King’s Knight Three school. In fact, Harry commented, he had made more money out of his Penguin book The Game of Chess than from all his other extensive book authorship and journalism.

The Game of Chess, Harry Golombek, 1954, Penguin Books
The Game of Chess, Harry Golombek, 1954, Penguin Books

and the paperback version :

The Game of Chess, Harry Golombek, 1954, Penguin Books
The Game of Chess, Harry Golombek, 1954, Penguin Books

Moreover, it took him about three whole days to assemble the documents and papers to enable him to fill in his income tax form.

Harry Golombek simultaneous display at Hull Chess Club. Year and photographer unknown
Harry Golombek simultaneous display at Hull Chess Club. Year and photographer unknown

That reminds me that, when he was in his final years, and in an old person’s rest home, he arranged for his extensive library to be transferred in many large tea chests from his house in Chalfont St Giles, Bucks, to the St Leonards address where I had worked for the BCM for the last 12 years and which had recently been vacated as a result of Murray Chandler deciding to transfer BCM operations to London. I had the task, arranged with The Friends of Chess and the BCF, to do a sort-out and preliminary catalogue of his books and magazines which Harry was bequeathing to the BCF to form the nucleus of a National Chess Library. That would be a pleasant enough task, but it was prolonged into many weeks by having to decant the valuable chess material from the tea chests, much of it covered in dust and even spiders’ webs, from the many financial and other papers to do with his financial affairs. It was then that I first learned what a ‘tip sheet’ was, and it was not until stockbroker David Jarrett, BCF Hon Treasurer, came down for a visit that the dross amongst the many papers was separated from the gold and passed to Harry’s executor David Anderton.

Harry Golombek contemplates his options after White (JH Donner) played 9.a3 in the 1952 Anglo-Dutch Match. Donner won in 33 moves and the game was BCM #11,074
Harry Golombek contemplates his options after White (JH Donner) played 9.a3 in the 1952 Anglo-Dutch Match. Donner won in 33 moves and the game was BCM #11,074

Reverting to the cup of tea story, the first time I got to know Harry well was at the British Championship at Leicester in 1960. Many of the participants were lodged in University accommodation near the venue. Every evening, after play had finished, a number of us got together for a chat over a cup of tea in the accommodation unit’s kitchen. There Harry would regale us with stories from his many visits abroad, particularly to Moscow for the world title matches involving Botvinnik. Harry had formed many interesting views on Soviet society. Amongst the stories he told was of the all-pervasive dead hand of the bureaucracy. He was used to filing his reports on the match in English at the Central Post Office. One day, a clerk behind the grille, told him he could not accept it, since the regulations stated that all outgoing material had to be in Russian.

Harry Golombek, Stanley Sedgwick, Brian Reilly and DJ Morgan in the garden of Brian Reilly. Photo probably taken by Freddy Reilly.
Harry Golombek, Stanley Sedgwick, Brian Reilly and DJ Morgan in the garden of Brian Reilly. Photo probably taken by Freddy Reilly.

With his logical mind, and not appreciating the discipline and associated bureaucracy which the rulers tried to impose on Soviet society, Harry commented that “Yesterday, I submitted in English and it was accepted”, at which the clerk drew herself up to her full height and stated firmly: “Yesterday was yesterday, today is today”. Harry’s considered views included these: Communism would never be made to work properly in Russia, since the Russians lack the requisite discipline. “They should have tried it on the Germans. They might have made it work”. He once commented that when he went to Germany in the decade or so after the war, he was aware that some of those whom he met had been strong supporters of Nazism: “If they had had their way, they would have turned me into a bar of soap!”. I got a benefit from Harry being in Moscow. I wanted to get a copy of Chigorin’s collected games by Grekov, a very rare item. Harry duly promised to seek one out on his next visit to Moscow and a second-hand copy of this fine book came to me through the post some weeks later. No charge to me, of course.

Harry Golombek in play against Borislav Ivkov, Hastings 1955/6.
Harry Golombek in play against Borislav Ivkov, Hastings 1955/6.

Harry played a big role in drawing up the Rules of Chess as they applied to post-1945 competitive play. He served on the appropriate FIDE commission for decades and always argued that too precise a codification limited the discretion of the arbiter to apply a common sense solution to a concrete set of circumstances. Alas, that sensible approach has been moved away from in recent times, especially with the introduction of quick-play finishes and associated fine points about time limits.

Kick Langeweg plays Hugh Alexander in the Anglo-Dutch Match of October 7th , 1961. Peter Clarke (right) is playing Johan Teunis Barendregt and Harry Golombek observes
Kick Langeweg plays Hugh Alexander in the Anglo-Dutch Match of October 7th , 1961. Peter Clarke (right) is playing Johan Teunis Barendregt and Harry Golombek observes

A final shrewd comment from Harry, based on his Moscow experience: “In 1917, the new Bolshevik regime claimed that they were abolishing all titles, privilege and so on. The result? Forty years later they have the most class-conscious society I have encountered.” One proof of this might be given – the Soviet internal passport system, one point of which required the holder (and for a long time no peasant was allowed such an identity document – who, then, could claim that the Tsar had abolished serfdom in the middle of the 19th century?) to state his/her ethnic origin: Russian, Ukrainian, Kalmyk, Armenian, Jew and so on. The Western mind boggles… ”

Harry Golombek during a team event, Jonathan Penrose on the adjacent board.
Harry Golombek during a team event, Jonathan Penrose on the adjacent board.

We leave the final word in reminiscences of Golombek to his near-neighbour in Chalfont St Giles, Barry Sandercock :

” Harry was a very interesting man to talk to and liked to talk about the early days when he played against some of the great players. He was also very knowledgeable on many subjects, the arts, music etc. I played him when he gave a simul at Gerrards Cross in 1955 (Jan.21st} and managed a draw after 3 hours play. I remember, the local paper once wrote an article about him, calling him an ex-world champion. I got a letter published where I pointed out that he was an ex-British Champion not ex-world champion. I hope he didn’t see that!”

Harry Golombek awaits the start of the game during an Anglo team match.
Harry Golombek awaits the start of the game during an Anglo team match.

“To finish, a characteristic Golombek game, with his own notes. I (Ed) have selected one of the games from his victorious British Championship playoff match against Broadbent in 1947. It is characteristic of him in many ways. The game features a typically smooth positional build-up, from his beloved English Opening, played with the Nh3 development plan, which was a particular favourite of his. The notes are also very typically Golombek – concentrating in the main on verbal explanations, with relatively few variations, but also characterised by occasionally extreme dogmatism in his assessments, such as the notes to moves 1, 2 and 6, for example. The game and notes were published in the December 1947 issue of The British Chess Magazine.”

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

“Harry Golombek is a Londoner, He was born in 1911, and learned chess when twelve years of age. He is another of those who went through the mill of the British Boys’ Championship, winning it in 1926. He has played in most English international tournaments, and has represented Great Britain in team tournaments. In the London International Tournament, 1946, he came fifth.

A graduate of London University, he served in the Foreign Office during the war, but has since retired to the country (Chalfont St. Giles). His literary activities include 50 Great Games of Modern Chess

Fifty Great Games of Modern Chess, Harry Golombek,
Fifty Great Games of Modern Chess, Harry Golombek,

Legend, according to James Pratt, has it that HG wrote the book without the aid of a chess set!

and Capablanca’s Hundred Best Games.

Capablanca's 100 Best Games of Chess, H. Golombek, Bell and Sons, London, 1947
Capablanca’s 100 Best Games of Chess, H. Golombek, Bell and Sons, London, 1947

He reports chess tournaments for The Times, and edits The Times Weekly chess column.

The World Chess Championship 1954
The World Chess Championship 1954

His chess is perhaps not inspired and lacks the spark of enterprise, but he is a solid player on the whole and is apt to hold the best to a draw.”

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

“English player and author. International Master (1950), International Arbiter (1954), honorary Grandmaster (1985). In 1945 Golombek became chess correspondent of The Times, a position he held until 1989. Also in 1945 he decided to become a professional chess-player.

The World Chess Championship 1957, Macgibbon & Kee, H. Golombek
The World Chess Championship 1957, Macgibbon & Kee, H. Golombek

He won the British Championship three times (1947, 1949, 1955) and was equal first in 1959 but lost the play-off (to Jonathan Penrose) and played in nine Olympiads from 1935 to 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 Capablanca’s Hundred Best Games (1947),

The World Chess Championship 1948 (1949),

The World Chess Championship by Harry Golombek
The World Chess Championship by Harry Golombek

Réti’s Best Games of Chess (1954),

Réti's Best Games of Chess, Harry Golombek, Bell, 1954
Réti’s Best Games of Chess, Harry Golombek, Bell, 1954

and A History of Chess (1976).”

Chess : A History, H. Golombek, Putnam, London, New York, 1976
Chess : A History, H. Golombek, Putnam, London, New York, 1976

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

“International Master and International Chess Judge. British Champion in 1947, 1949 and 1955. Captained the British Chess Federation team for many years in Chess Olympiads. In the 1972 Olympiad, captained the BCF women’s team. Chess author and chess correspondent of The Times since 1945 and the Observer since 1955. British Chess Federation to FIDE.

Post-banquet photograph - left to right : Harry Golombek, Andras Adorjan, Danny Wright, Brian Eley, Michael Stean, D. Silk, Robert Silk, AK Henderson. The Robert Silk Fellowship Tournament, Canterbury, 1973. Source : British Chess Magazine, Volume 93, Number 5, page 192
Post-banquet photograph – left to right : Harry Golombek, Andras Adorjan, Danny Wright, Brian Eley, Michael Stean, D. Silk, Robert Silk, AK Henderson. The Robert Silk Fellowship Tournament, Canterbury, 1973. Source : British Chess Magazine, Volume 93, Number 5, page 192

Born in London on 1st March 1911, Golombek learned to play chess at the age of 12 and in 1929 won the London Boy’s Championship. Two years later he became the youngest player to win the Surrey Championships. After graduating in languages at London University, Golombek devoted his full time to chess, apart from the way years, when served in the army and at the Foreign Office, and was awarded the OBE for his services to the game in 1966. He was the editor of the British Chess Magazine from 1938 to 1939 and for many years served as its games editor. He is now its overseas news editor. In his capacity as International Chess Judge, he has acted as judge in World Championship matches since 1954.

Two thirds of the BCF team for the 1964 Tel Aviv Olympiad. : Owen Hindle, Michael Franklin, Harry Golombek and Michael Haygarth
Two thirds of the BCF team for the 1964 Tel Aviv Olympiad. : Owen Hindle, Michael Franklin, Harry Golombek and Michael Haygarth

He has competed in a number of international tournaments, his best results being 1st at Antwerp 1938, 1st at Leeuwarden 1947, 1st at Baarn 1948 and -4th with Barcza, Foltys and Gliogoric at Venice 1949. in 1951, he represented the British Chess Federation in the Zonal tournament at Bad Pyrmont and came 5th, qualifying for the Interzonal. ”

Harry Golombek, Peter Wells, Ray Keene, Leonard Barden and henry Mutkin take part in the obligatory "Staring at the board" posed picture during the 1985 Varsity Match
Harry Golombek, Peter Wells, Ray Keene, Leonard Barden and Henry Mutkin take part in the obligatory “Staring at the board” posed picture during the 1985 Varsity Match

His publications include : Capablanca’s 100 Best Games of Chess (1947); World Chess Championship 1948 (1949); Pocket Guide to the Chess Openings (1949);

A Pocket Guide to the Chess Openings, RC Griffith and H Golombek Bell & Sons, 1949
A Pocket Guide to the Chess Openings, RC Griffith and H Golombek Bell & Sons, 1949

Hastings Tournament 1948-1949 (1949);

Hastings Tournament 1948-1949, H Golombek and W Ritson Morry, En Passant, 1949
Hastings Tournament 1948-1949, H Golombek and W Ritson Morry, En Passant, 1949

Southsea Tournament 1949 (1949); Prague 1946 (1950);

Prague 1946, H Golombek, CHESS, Sutton Coldfield, 1950
Prague 1946, H Golombek, CHESS, Sutton Coldfield, 1950
Prague 1946, H Golombek, CHESS, Sutton Coldfield, 1950
Prague 1946, H Golombek, CHESS, Sutton Coldfield, 1950

Budapest 1952 (1952);

Budapest 1952, H. Golombek, British Chess Magazine, 1952
Budapest 1952, H. Golombek, British Chess Magazine, 1952

50 Great Games of Modern Chess (1952); Reti’s Best Games of Chess (1954); 22nd USSR Championship (1956);

22nd USSR Championship, H. Golombek, British Chess Magazine, (1956)
22nd USSR Championship, H. Golombek, British Chess Magazine, (1956)

World Chess Championship 1957 (1957); Modern Opening Chess Strategy (1959);

Modern Opening Chess Strategy, H, Golombek, Macgibbon & Kee, London (1960)
Modern Opening Chess Strategy, H, Golombek, Macgibbon & Kee, London (1960)

and a translation of The Art of the Middle Game by P. Keres and A. Kotov.

He enjoys classical music and has been known to be successful on the Stock Exchange.”

A reasonable enquiry might be : “What did Harry write about himself?” Well, according to

The Encyclopaedia of Chess (Batsford, 1977)

The Encyclopaedia of Chess
The Encyclopaedia of Chess

we have :

“British international master, three times British champion and the first person to figure in that country’s Honours List on account of his services to chess. Golombek was born in London and lived there till the Second World War. Educated as Wilson’s Grammar School and the University of London, he became London Boy Champion in 1929 and London University Champion 1930-3. By this time he was part of a trio of the leading players in England, the other two being Alexander and Milner-Barry. (Ed : It is curious that HG does not mention William Winter : maybe they were not like minded souls?)

Harry Golombek OBE
Harry Golombek OBE

His best result in the British championship before the Second World War was -2nd with EG Sergeant, 1/2 a point below Alexander at Brighton 1938. In that year he won first prize in a small international tournament at Antwerp ahead of Koltanowski. In 1938 too he became editor of the British Chess Magazine and occupied this post till he entered the army in 1940.

Harry Golombek OBE
Harry Golombek OBE

Before the war he had already played in three International Team Tournaments (or Olympiads as they subsequently became called) at Warsaw 1935, Stockholm 1937 and Buenos Aires 1939.

Morris (Moses) Sobkowski, Anatoly Karpov and Harry Golombek
Morris (Moses) Sobkowski, Anatoly Karpov and Harry Golombek

After the Buenos Aires event he went onto play in an international tournament at Montevideo where he came second to the World Champion, Alexander Alekhine.

Brian Reilly, Ray Keene, George Botterill, Anatoly Karpov, Harry Golombek and Viktor Korchnoi
Brian Reilly, Ray Keene, George Botterill, Anatoly Karpov, Harry Golombek and Viktor Korchnoi

In the war he served first in the Royal Artillery, from 1940-1 and then, for the rest of the war, in the Foreign Office at Bletchley Park, employed (like Alexander, Milner-Barry and quite a number of other chess-players) in code breaking.

John Nunn, Adrian Hollis and Harry Golombek posing for the obligatory "staring at the board" picture for the 19?? Varsity Match sponsored by Lloyds Bank
John Nunn, Adrian Hollis and Harry Golombek posing for the obligatory “staring at the board” picture for the 19?? Varsity Match sponsored by Lloyds Bank

After the war he made chess and writing about the game his livelihood, becoming Times Chess Correspondent in 1945 and Observer Chess Correspondent in 1955. As a player he had a consistently good record in the British Championship, coming in the prize list on fourteen out of eighteen occasions he competed in the event. He was British Champion at Harrogate 1947, Felixstowe 1949 and Aberystwyth 1955.

Harry Golombek OBE
Harry Golombek OBE

Here is HGs win against his old friend PS Milner-Barry from Aberystwyth 1955 :

Harry Golombek OBE plays Sir Philip Stuart Milner-Barry OBE
Harry Golombek OBE plays Sir Philip Stuart Milner-Barry OBE

He represented England in six more Olympiads, Helsinki 1952, Amsterdam 1954, Moscow 1956, Munich 1958, Leipzig 1960 and Varna 1962.

Harry Golombek OBE
Harry Golombek OBE

His best individual international results were first prizes at small tournaments in Leeuwarden 1947, Baarn 1948 and Paignton 1950 (above Euwe and Donner); =4th with O’Kelly at Beverwijk 1949, =4th with Barcza, Foltys and Gligoric at Venice 1949, and 5th at the European Zonal tournament at Bad Pyrmont 1951, thereby becoming the first British player to have qualified for the Interzonal. He was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday List in 1966.

Harry Golombek, Norman Fishlock-Lomax and Denis Victor Mardle at the Stevenson Memorial Tournament at Bognor Regis, 1969 (?)
Harry Golombek, J. Norman Fishlock-Lomax and Denis Victor Mardle at the 11th RHS Stevenson Memorial Tournament at Bognor Regis, 1964. Source : BCM, 1964, May, pag2 126.

A founding member of the FIDE Commission for the Rules of Chess, he became a FIDE International Judge and as such officiated at six World Championship matches. He was also chief arbiter at a FIDE Candidates tournament, at an Interzonal and two European Team Championship finals, etc. When the FIDE President, Dr Euwe, had to return home from Reykjavik before the 1972 Spassky-Fischer match got started. Golombek represented FIDE in Iceland and did much to ensure that the match took place and that it continued to be played.

Harry gave more than the average number of simultaneous displays in this career. For the photograph below Leonard Barden provided the following caption :

“Harry was invited because it was the 50th anniversary of his victory in the London Boys 1929 a success which he often referred to in his Times column. There were seven 30-board simuls that day, the top three being England Juniors v USSR (Spassky, Vasyukov, Kochiev) where Spassky had the worst simultaneous result of his career. No 4 was by Murray Chandler, Harry was No5 and the others by Whiteley and Rumens. The juniors who played the Russians were personally invited.”

Harry was invited because it was the 50th anniversary of his victory in the London Boys 1929 a success which he often referred to in his <em>Times</em> column. There were seven 30-board simuls that day, the top three being England Juniors v USSR (Spassky, Vasyukov, Kochiev) where Spassky had the worst simultaneous result of his career. No 4 was by <a href="http://britishchessnews.com/2020/04/04/happy-birthday-gm-murray-graham-chandler-mnzm-04-iv-1960/">Murray Chandler</a>, Harry was No5 and the others by <a href="http://britishchessnews.com/2020/07/07/bcn-remembers-im-andrew-whiteley-09-vi-1947-07-vii-2014/">Whiteley</a> and <a href="http://britishchessnews.com/2020/07/08/remembering-fm-david-edward-rumens-23-ix-1939-08-vii-2017/">Rumens</a>. The juniors who played the Russians were personally invited.
Harry was invited because it was the 50th anniversary of his victory in the London Boys 1929 a success which he often referred to in his Times column. There were seven 30-board simuls that day, the top three being England Juniors v USSR (Spassky, Vasyukov, Kochiev) where Spassky had the worst simultaneous result of his career. No 4 was by Murray Chandler, Harry was No5 and the others by Whiteley and Rumens. The juniors who played the Russians were personally invited.

A prolific writer and translator of books on the game, he has had some thirty-five books published on various aspects of chess. Among them are : Capablanca’s Best Games of Chess, London, New York 1947; Reti’s Best Games of Chess, London 1954; New York 1975;  The Game of Chess, London 1954; Modern Opening Chess Strategy, London 1959; A History of Chess, London, New York 1976.

Harry Golombek OBE
Harry Golombek OBE

From British Chess (Pergamon Press, 1983),  Botterill, Levy, Rice and Richardson,  we have this rather brief biography :

“Thee times British Champion (Harrogate 1947, Felixstowe 1949, Aberystwyth 1955) and the first person to figure on the Honours List for services to Chess. He has represented England in 9 Olympiads. A FIDE International Judge and Arbiter has has officiated at 6 World Championship matches. He is chess correspondent of The Times and a prolific writer and translator”

Here is his brief Wikipedia entry

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

Bill Hartston wrote this excellent obituary published in The Independent.

A recent article from Andre Schultz of Chessbase.

Edward Winter has written this interesting article last updated in December 2020 despite announcing self-dormancy in March 2020.

Here we have  a selection of publications not already mentioned above :

Southsea Chess Tournament, Harry Golombek, En Passant, 1949
Southsea Chess Tournament, Harry Golombek, En Passant, 1949
B.C.M. Quarterly, number 3: 4th Candidates Tournament 1959, Golombek, Harold, 19??.
B.C.M. Quarterly, number 3: 4th Candidates Tournament 1959, H. Golombek, 19??.
B.C.M. Quarterly, number 6: 1930 Scarborough International Tournament, Golombek, Harold, 1962.
B.C.M. Quarterly, number 6: 1930 Scarborough International Tournament, H. Golombek,, 1962.
Chess, Harry Golombek and Hubert Phillips, HG & G Witherby, 1959
Chess, Harry Golombek and Hubert Phillips, HG & G Witherby, 1959
Instructions to Young Chess Players, Harry Golombek, The Brompton Library, 1966
Instructions to Young Chess Players, Harry Golombek, The Brompton Library, 1966
Fischer v Spassky, the World Chess Championship, 1972, Harry Golombek, Times Newspapers, 1973
Fischer v Spassky, the World Chess Championship, 1972, Harry Golombek, Times Newspapers, 1973
The Laws of Chess and Their Interpretations, H. Golombek, Pitman Publishing, 1976
The Laws of Chess and Their Interpretations, H. Golombek, Pitman Publishing, 1976
Improve Your Chess, Harry Golombek, Pitman, 1976
Improve Your Chess, Harry Golombek, Pitman, 1976
The Best Games of C.H.O'D. Alexander, 1976
The Best Games of C.H.O’D. Alexander, 1976
A Dataday Chess Diary for 1979 with a foreword from Harry Golombek
A Dataday Chess Diary for 1979 with a foreword from Harry Golombek
B.C.M. Classic Reprints, number 20: World Chess Championship 1948, Golombek, Harold, 01-03-1982 (1949). ISBN 978-0-900846-35-9.
B.C.M. Classic Reprints, number 20: World Chess Championship 1948, Golombek, Harold, 01-03-1982 (1949). ISBN 978-0-900846-35-9.
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Remembering WIM Elaine Pritchard (née Saunders) (07-i-1926 07-i-2012)

Dorée Elaine Zelia Saunders
Dorée Elaine Zelia Saunders
Signature of Elaine Saunders from a Brian Reilly "after dinner" postcard from Hastings Christmas Congress, 1945-1946
Signature of Elaine Saunders from a Brian Reilly “after dinner” postcard from Hastings Christmas Congress, 1945-1946

We remember Elaine Pritchard who passed away on Saturday, January 7th, 2012.

Dorée Elaine Zelia Saunders was born on Thursday, January 7th, 1926. Her father was Henry de Beaufort Saunders (b. 7 Aug 1900, Folkestone, Kent d. Between Jul 1989 and Sep 1989) and her mother was Dorée Nellie Irene Dudley (b. 3 May 1900, d. 9 Jun 1970)

In the 1939 register Henry is listed as a Garage proprietor who had “retired through incapacitation”. He is recorded as a Air Raid Precautions Warden who was also a first aider. His wife is listed as undertaking “unpaid domestic duties”. The record for Elaine is blanked out with “This Record Officially Closed” meaning that they believe that she might still be alive. They are listed as residing at The George & Dragon Hotel in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.

The George and Dragon Hotel, High Street, West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire , HP14 3AB
The George and Dragon Hotel, High Street, West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire , HP14 3AB

She was taught chess by her father and then her early trainer was Charles Dealtry Locock who lived with the family in the hotel above.

Elaine aged 10 playing her father Henry de Beaufort Saunders
Elaine aged 10 playing her father Henry de Beaufort Saunders

She married David Pritchard on Friday March 7th 1952 in the Chelsea Registry Office. Elaine was living at Wylderne, Bridge Street, Great Kimble, Aylesbury HP17 9TW. At the time of their marriage David was a Flight Lieutenant.

Elaine and David had a daughter, Wanda H Zelia Pritchard on March 21st 1958. She became Wanda Dakin who was also a chess player. Wanda attended Guildford High School for Girls and then Royal Holloway College, Egham.

In their later years Elaine and David lived at Badgers Wood, Hascombe Road, Godalming, Surrey, GU8 4AA :

Badgers Wood, Hascombe Road, Godalming, Surrey, GU8 4AA
Badgers Wood, Hascombe Road, Godalming, Surrey, GU8 4AA

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

“Chesswise I seem already to have lived an alarmingly long time, the era of Capablanca and Alekhine back across the war years was another world. The three games I have chosen belong to three distinctly different periods in these fifty years – the juvenile long-ago, the most elderly present and the middle when I was playing tolerably well and was awarded the WIM title.

My father, assisted by a 2d. (= almost 1p) book of rules from Smiths, taught me the moves at somewhere round the age of five. We were rescued by the problemist CD Locock who noticed me playing in a girls’ tournament two years later. It was he who brought me up on a diet of the Scotch, the Evans and any gambit that was going. We analysed them in some depth – for those days – and my severe task-master made me copy out long columns of dubious lines. He also made me his guinea-pig for his Imagination in Chess and it is small wonder that I still find it hard to resist a sacrifice, and much of my undoing comes from premature sorties such as f4 and Qh5.

Miss Elaine Saunders, the girl chess champion playing in the annual WW White Memorial Tournament in Sevenoaks. on June 25th 1939. Source : https://www.chessmarginalia.com/miss-elaine-saunders/
Miss Elaine Saunders, the girl chess champion playing in the annual WW White Memorial Tournament in Sevenoaks. on June 25th 1939. Source : https://www.chessmarginalia.com/miss-elaine-saunders/

In retrospect he must have been a brilliant teacher. Starting in 1936 a succession of girls’ titles came my way including the FIDE under-21, and in 1939 the British Ladies at the age of 13. It is hard to assess how strong or weak one was at the time because there has been such a marked improvement in the standard of play among women over recent years. At all events, those pre-war years were happy ones, especially away from chess which took second place to horses and more physical pastimes.

Thirteen Years Old Chess Champion Elaine Saunders, of Twickenham has entered for next months British Ladies' Championship. Source : The People, July 23rd, 1939.
Thirteen Years Old Chess Champion Elaine Saunders, of Twickenham has entered for next months British Ladies’ Championship. Source : The People, July 23rd, 1939.

The incident which received the most publicity was the ‘affair Alekhine’. Most of the pre-war giants were kindly if a little condescending towards me but the new World Champion – he had just regained the title from Euwe – showed me no mercy. He took on 30 Kent players at the Charing Cross Hotel and after 5 hours demolished all except myself. The ending was equal. He stood over our board and glowered. ‘Give the child a draw’, said someone in Russian in the audience, which despite them mid-night hour were everywhere on chairs and even under tables. ‘I know what I am doing’ came the reply, and of course he did. I lost.

At 13 the world changed. I almost gave up chess. There were no celebrations after that Ladies Championship. The foreign masters packed their bags for home; we packed them for exile in Buckinghamshire and filling sandbags.

My saddest personal loss of the war was Vera Menchik, perhaps the strongest lady player of all time.

Leaving university with a poor, but lightning degree in French, I was employed by the Foreign Office and spent the next few years in London. While at college I had won the Notts County Championship and like to remember my last game on top board for county against the great HE Atkins, so many times British Champion, making his final appearance for Leicestershire.

I forsook women’s events and achieved probably my best results, finishing equal 3rd in the London Championship final, having beaten David Hooper with an Allgaier Gambit, and qualifying for the British Championship at Buxton in a section which included L. Barden, V. Berger and DB Pritchard.

Marrying David in 1952, we went to the Far East for three years and on our return I made a come-back to women’s chess and won the title at Blackpool in 1956. I was consequently despatched to the Western Zonal in Venice and finished equal 2nd with Lazaravic. This qualified me for the Interzonal, but my daughter Wanda arrived (March 21st 1958) before I could get to the starting post. Meanwhile with Eileen Tranmer we represented the BCF in the first women’s Olympiad in Emmen in 1957 where we finished 7th. The Finals went well for me and included a draw against Rubtsova, the then world champion. The results of the two tournaments were sufficient for me to be awarded the IWM title. My BCF grading at that time was 200 and has gone down ever since!

Friedl Rinder (Germany) plays Elaine Pritchard at the Havering Women's Tournament in Romford on August 25th 1967. Tournament was won by Nona Gaprindashvilli Mandatory Credit: Photo by ANL/Shutterstock (1876414a)
Friedl Rinder (Germany) plays Elaine Pritchard at the Havering Women’s Tournament in Romford on August 25th 1967. Tournament was won by Nona Gaprindashvilli
Mandatory Credit: Photo by ANL/Shutterstock (1876414a)

And so some 20 years on and still a teacher, we reach the final period, that of comparative dotage. Notwithstanding, I have been fortunate enough to have played in the last four Olympiads at Skopje, Medellin, Haifa and Buenos Aires, twice as captain of the team. It was, of course, pleasurable to win a silver medal at Haifa, despite the fact that the East European bloc was missing. The last of the three games comes from Haifa at a crucial stage. Playing for a team has always seemed more fun.

Also in my dotage belong two books, Chess for Pleasure

Chess for Pleasure by Elaine Pritchard
Chess for Pleasure by Elaine Pritchard

and The Young Chess Player (Faber) and organisation of girl’s chess, particularly the Faber Cup”

The Young Chess Player by Elaine Pritchard
The Young Chess Player by Elaine Pritchard

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

“International Woman Master (1957) and British Woman Champion in 1939, 1946, 1956 and 1965.

Rowena Bruce and Elaine Saunders at Nottingham 1946 where they tied for 1st place. Elaine won the play-off with 2.5/3. Courtesy of Keverel Chess.
Rowena Bruce and Elaine Saunders at Nottingham 1946 where they tied for 1st place. Elaine won the play-off with 2.5/3. Courtesy of Keverel Chess.

Elaine Pritchard was, as a child, one of the few girl prodigies in the history of the game. She was taught the moves by her father when she was 5.5 and started to play in tournaments at the age of 7. When she was 10 years old, she won an under-21 girls’ tournament sponsored by FIDE and at the age of 13 won the British Ladies Championship for the first time.

She is married to David Pritchard, ex-Southern Counties Champion and Malayan Champion in 1955, when she was stationed with the RAF in Singapore, who tells of how when he first met her, when she was about 7, she was unable to reach the far side of the board.

Her successes in more recent years include 2nd in the Western European Women’s Zonal Tournament of 1957 and 6th in the same event at Arenys de Mar in 1966; 3rd at Havering 1967 and 3rd at Paignton 1967. She played for the British Chess Federation team in the First Women’s Chess Olympiad at Emmen in 1957.”

From The Encyclopaedia 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.)”

Elaine did not merit mention by Hooper & Whyld it would appear.

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.

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Happy Birthday to IM Vaidyanathan Ravikumar (26-xii-1959)

IM Vaidyanathan Ravikumar
IM Vaidyanathan Ravikumar

Vaidyanathan Ravikumar (“Ravi” to his friends) was born in Paramakudi, Ramanathapuram, Tamil Nadu, India on Saturday, December 26th, 1959. On this day Nelson Rockefeller announced that he would not seek the Republican Party nomination for 1960.

Ravi credits his father N. Vaidyanathan for help with his early chess development.

An early image of Vaidyanathan Ravikumar from page 81 of Ulf Andersson's Decisive Games
An early image of Vaidyanathan Ravikumar from page 81 of Ulf Andersson’s Decisive Games

In 1978 Ravi won the Asian Junior Championships in Tehran and was awarded the International Master title as a consequence. Ravi was India’s second International Master : Manuel Aaron was the first in 1961.

"Ravi" at the 2013 UKCC Terafinal at Loughborough Grammar School, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
“Ravi” at the 2013 UKCC Terafinal at Loughborough Grammar School, Courtesy of John Upham Photography

His earliest recorded game in Megabase 2020 was from the 3rd of September 1978 and was from the World Under-20 Championships in Graz, Austria. The event was won by Sergei Dolamatov and Ravi finished =25th on 6.5/13. The following year (Norway, 1979) Ravi improved to =12th with 7.5/13 and the title was won by Yasser Seirawan. James Plaskett was =3rd.

Ravi at the UKCC Southern Gigafinal 2014 at the Rivermead Leisure Centre, Reading. Courtesy of John Upham Photography
Ravi at the UKCC Southern Gigafinal 2014 at the Rivermead Leisure Centre, Reading. Courtesy of John Upham Photography

By now ( 1979) Ravi had graduated from The University of Madras with a degree in commerce and relocated to England seeking more playing opportunities. He played in his first Lloyd’s Bank Open in 1979.

Ravi and IM Andrew Martin providing the commentary for the 2015 British Championships in Warwick. Courtesy of John Upham Photography
Ravi and IM Andrew Martin providing the commentary for the 2015 British Championships in Warwick. Courtesy of John Upham Photography

Ravi made his first appearance for India in an Olympiad at Valetta, Malta 1980. In 1981 he was runner-up to Bjarke Sahl in the 6th North Sea Cup followed by a creditable equal 10th in the 68th British Championships at Morecambe won by Paul Littlewood. In round eight he played this attractive game against Daniel King. Notes by PC Griffiths :

IM Vaidyanathan Ravikumar v. Vassily Smyslov, Lloyds Bank Open, round 6, 30th August 1981. The game was drawn in 33 moves.
IM Vaidyanathan Ravikumar v. Vassily Smyslov, Lloyds Bank Open, round 6, 30th August 1981. The game was drawn in 33 moves.

In 1982 Ravi scored a creditable =3rd at the 1982 British Championships (Mile’s year) in Torquay including wins over Basman, Muir and Plaskett :

Cross table for the 1982 British Championship in Torquay
Cross table for the 1982 British Championship in Torquay

1983 included an excellent win over James Tarjan at the Lloyds Bank Open but Danny King got revenge for his 1981 defeat!

Ravi at the closing ceremony of the 2014 British Championships at Aberystwyth. Courtesy of John Upham Photography
Ravi at the closing ceremony of the 2014 British Championships at Aberystwyth. Courtesy of John Upham Photography

Ravi’s second Olympiad appearance for India came at Thessaloniki, Greece in 1984. This year provided Ravi’s highest FIDE rating of 2415 in January.

IM Vaidyanathan Ravikumar and friends at the 1990 NatWest Young Masters
IM Vaidyanathan Ravikumar and friends at the 1990 NatWest Young Masters

Ravi continued to be active as a player until 2000 when he started a career in coaching. He was the National Coach of the Emirates for eight years and has accompanied the ECF junior chess team to World Youth Chess Championships in 2014, held in Al Ain, UAE.

Ravi at the 2014 British Championships at Aberystwyth. Courtesy of John Upham Photography
Ravi at the 2014 British Championships at Aberystwyth. Courtesy of John Upham Photography

According to Spectrum Chess Calculation : “He is an experienced chess coach and provides chess coaching in 10 schools in Hertfordshire”

His first book was Karpov’s Best Games, Chess Check, 1984.

Following that Ravi wrote a biographical work on Ulf Andersson :

Ulf Andersson's Decisive Games, IM Vaidyanathan Ravikumar, Peja International, 1985.
Ulf Andersson’s Decisive Games, IM Vaidyanathan Ravikumar, Peja International, 1985.

and then

Play the Benko Gambit, Vaidyanathan Ravikumar, Pergamon Press, 1991
Play the Benko Gambit, Vaidyanathan Ravikumar, Pergamon Press, 1991

followed by

The Closed Sicilian, Vaidyanathan Ravikumar, Tournament Chess, 1993
The Closed Sicilian, Vaidyanathan Ravikumar, Tournament Chess, 1993
Chess Tactics Quiz Book, Chess Check, Vaidyanathan Ravikumar, 2004
Chess Tactics Quiz Book, Chess Check, Vaidyanathan Ravikumar, 2004

and most recently

Spectrum Chess Calculation, Vaidyanathan Ravikumar, Chess Check, 2011
Spectrum Chess Calculation, Vaidyanathan Ravikumar, Chess Check, 2011

There were also works on Anatoly Karpov and Jan Timman as well as works on the Caro-Kann Defence.

Ravi is also India’s first vegan IM!

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Seasons and Birthday Greetings to WIM Rita Atkins (25-xii-1969)

WIM Rita Atkins, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
WIM Rita Atkins, Courtesy of John Upham Photography

BCN wishes Happy Birthday (and seasonal greetings) to WIM Rita Atkins (25-xii-1969)

Rita Zimmersmann was born on Thursday, December 25th 1969 in Hungary.

She became a Women’s International Master in 1992.

Her peak FIDE rating according to Felice was 2225 in January 1998 aged 29, however according to MegaBase 2020 her peak rating was 2280 in July 1992 aged 23.

Rita has played for the Cambridgeshire CCA and 4NCL Blackthorne Russia.

Rita’s first recorded game in Megabase 2020 was runner-up the 5th Schoeneck Under-18 Girl’s Open with 5.5/7.

In 1990 she was =runner-up with 6/9 in the Aarhus Women’s tournament.

She was =1st in the Budapest Women’s IM tournament securing a norm.

Crosstable for the 1991 Budapest IM Women's tournament
Crosstable for the 1991 Budapest IM Women’s tournament

In 1992 she became Hungarian Women’s champion with 8/11 :

Crosstable for 1992 Hungarian Women's Championship
Crosstable for 1992 Hungarian Women’s Championship

With the white pieces Rita both 1.e4 and 1.d4 playing open Sicilians, the Trompowsky Attack and the Accelerated London System.

As the second player she plays the Sicilian Four Knights, the Modern Benoni and recently, the Czech System.

WIM Rita Atkins, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
WIM Rita Atkins, Courtesy of John Upham Photography

In 1997 Rita relocated to England and played in her first 4NCL weekend for Slough. She married IM Michael Hennigan and settled in London.

By 2014 Rita had transferred to Blackthorne in the Four Nations Chess League and had become Rita Atkins.

In the last few years Rita has become active in the field of chess education and has combined her interests of mathematics and chess especially in the teaching of children. She has presented at various London Chess Conferences and works with John Foley within ChessPlus.

WIM Rita Atkins at the 2016 London Chess Conference  : The Didactics of Chess, Courtesy of John Upham Photography.
WIM Rita Atkins at the 2016 London Chess Conference : The Didactics of Chess, Courtesy of John Upham Photography.
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