Happy Birthday GM Murray Graham Chandler MNZM (04-iv-1960)
From The Oxford Companion to Chess by Hooper & Whyld :
“International Grandmaster (1983), a New Zealander who settled in England at the age of 15. subsequently playing for his adopted country in the Lucerne Olympiad, 1982. He scored +4=6 to share first prize at New York 1980, came second (+5=5 — 1) equal with Hort at Dortmund 1983, and scored +5 = 6 (a GM norm) to share first prize at Amsterdam 1983, a Swiss systemtournament. Chandler has edited the magazine Tournament Chess since its inception in 1982.”
“Murray Graham Chandler was born in Wellington, New Zealand. He was awarded the IM title in 1977 and the GM title in 1982. He was joint New Zealand Champion in 1975-76 (shared with Lev Isaakovich Aptekar and Ortvin Sarapu) and joint Commonwealth Champion in 1984. His best tournament results were 2nds at London 1984, London 1986 and Amsterdam 1987 and he has played both for New Zealand (1976-1980) and England (1982-86) in the Olympiads. He edited Tournament Chess for a time from 1981 onwards and as well as writing he became the managing director of Gambit Publications.
He was the organizer and winner of a large tournament, the Queenstown Classic in New Zealand in January 2006 and this tournament also incorporated the 113th New Zealand Championship making Chandler the New Zealand Champion for the second time. He won his third New Zealand title at the 115th New Zealand Championship (2008) which was held in Auckland where he currently resides.”
“A well known British player, editor of Chess (starting 1935) and chess correspondent of The Daily Telegraph and Illustrated London News. A FIDE judge, he has founded and conducted 21 annual chess festivals, notably at Whitby, Eastbourne and Southport.
Winner of a number of small and semi-international tournaments : Baarn 1947, Paignton 1954, Whitby 1963, Thorshavn 1967, and Jersey 1975.
Played for the BCF in the International Team Tournament at Buenos Aires 1939. His best tournament result was probably his equal second in the British Championship at London 1948.
Among his books are : Easy Guide to Chess, Sutton Coldfield 1942 et seq; World Championship Candidates Tournament 1953, Sutton Coldfield 1954. ”
Remembering Sir Philip Stuart Milner-Barry OBE (20-ix-1906 25-iii-1995)
Somewhat surprisingly there is no entry in either Hooper & Whyld or Sunnucks but (as you might expect) Harry Golombek OBE does not let us down :
“British master whose chess career was limited by his amateur status but whose abilities as a player and original theorist rendered him worthy of the title of international master.
Born at Mill Hill in London, he showed early promise and in 1923 won the British Boys Championship, then held at Hastings. He studied classics at Cambridge and developed into the strongest player there. At the university he was to meet C. H. O’D. Alexander with whom he played much chess.”
“Though nearly three years younger, Alexander exerted a strong influence over him and both players cherished and revelled in the brilliance of play in open positions.
On leaving the university went to work in the London Stock Exchange (LSE), but his heart was not in the work and he became chess correspondent of The Times in 1938.
By then along with Alexander and Golombek, he had become recognized as one of the three strongest young players in the country. Whilst not as successful as they were in tournaments as the British championship in which stamina was essential, he was a most formidable club and team match player, as he had already shown in 1933 hen he won the championship of the City of London Club ahead of R. P. Mitchell and Sir George Thomas.
He played in his first International Team tournament at Stockholm 1937 and was to play in three more such events : in 1939 at Buenos Aires where, on third board, he made the fine score of 4/5 ; in Helsinki 1952; and in Moscow 1956 where, again on third board, he was largely responsible for the team’s fine showing.
In 1940 he shared first prize with Dr. List in the strong tournament of semi-international character in London and then, like Alexander and (later) Golombek, helped in the Foreign Office code-breaking activities at Bletchley Park fr the duration of the Second World War. Staying in the Civil Service afterwards, he rose to the rank of Under-Secretary in the Treasury and was knighted for his services in 1975.
After the war, too, he had some fine results in the British championship, his best being second place at Hastings in 1953.
Though never at home in close positions, he was an outstanding strategist in the open game and it is significant that his most important contribution to opening theory was the Milner-Barry variation of the Nimzo-Indian Defence which is essentially as attempt to convert a close position into an open one (1.P-Q4, N-KB3; 2.P-QB4, P-K3; 3. N-QB3, B-N5; 4.Q-B2, N-B3).
An excellent though infrequent writer on the game, he wrote a fine memoir of C.H.O’D. Alexander in Golombeks and Hartston’s The Best Games of C.H.O’D. Alexander, Oxford, 1976.
“Sir Philip Stuart Milner-Barry was born in 1906. A true amateur, he worked in the British Civil Service and was never able to devote all his time to chess. He was part of the team that worked at Bletchley Park, alongside famed cryptanalyst and mathematician Alan Turing and British chess stalwarts Conel Hugh O’Donel Alexander and Harry Golombek, cracking the German Enigma codes. He worked for the Treasury after the War and in 1954 he was promoted to Assistant Secretary, and then to an under-secretary position.
He placed 2nd at Hastings 1953, played on four English Olympic squads from 1937 to 1956, and was chess correspondent for The Times. His name is also associated with a variation of the Nimzo-Indian Defence (1.d4 ♘f6 2.c4 e6 3.♘c3 ♗b4 4.♕c2 ♘c6), the Milner-Barry Gambit in the Advance French (1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4.c3 ♘c6 5. ♘f3 ♕b6 6.♗d3 cxd4 7.cxd4 ♗d7 8.0-0 ♘xd4 9.♘xd4 ♕xd4 10.♘c3) and the Milner-Barry variation in the Petroff Defence (1.e4 e5 2.♘f3 ♘f6 3.♘xe5 d6 4.♘f3 ♘xe4 5.♕e2 ♕e7 6.d3 ♘f6 7. ♗g5 ♘bd7).
Problemist and chronicler who lived in Norwich all his life. He edited the chess column of the Norwich Mercury from 1902 lo 1912, contributed many significant articles elsewhere, investigated a number of chess questions, and established the burial place of several great players and arranged the tending of their graves. He lived at only two addresses for 73 years, worked for the railway company for 53 years, and was a member of the Norfolk and Norwich chess dub for 61 consecutive years. Winner of the club championship in 1884, he did not compete again until 1933 and then won it three years in succession.
“Conel Hugh O’Donel Alexander was born in Cork, Ireland. Awarded the IM title in 1950 at its inception and the IMC title in 1970, he was British Champion in 1938 and 1956.
During the Second World War, he worked at Bletchley Park with Harry Golombek and Sir Philip Stuart Milner-Barry, deciphering German Enigma codes and later for the Foreign Office. Alexander finished 2nd= at Hastings (1937/38) tied with Paul Keres after Samuel Reshevsky and ahead of Salomon Flohr and Reuben Fine. He held Mikhail Botvinnik to an equal score (+1, -1) in the 1946 Anglo-Soviet Radio Match, and won Hastings (1946/47) while finishing equal first at Hastings (1953/54). He represented England on six Olympiad teams. Alexander was also an author of note. He passed away in Cheltenham in 1974.”
Prior to the second world war Alexander was employed by John Spedan Lewis in his Department store in Oxford Street. When he returned from Buenos Aires (“good air”) from the 1939 Olympiad he travelled aboard the RMS Alcantara. Here is the entry in the passenger list for September 19th, 1939 :
and here is Alexander’s entry in detail. Note that his occupation is described as “Drapery Manager” :
Hugh sailed from Buenos Aires, Argentina in September 1939 to arrive at Southampton September 19th 1939. The ship was the Alcantara operated by Royal Mail Lines Ltd hence the RMS Alcantara.
According to Wikipedia : “RMS Alcantara was a Royal Mail Lines ocean liner that was built in Belfast in 1926. She served in the Second World War first as an armed merchant cruiser and then a troop ship, was returned to civilian service in 1948 and scrapped in 1958. ”
Ports of the voyage were : Buenos Aires; Montevideo; Santos and Rio de Janeiro and Hugh’s official number was 148151 and he travelled 2nd class. His proposed destination residential address was
316, Rodney House, Dolphin Square, London, SW1
According to Wikipedia : “The proximity of Dolphin Square to the Palace of Westminster and the headquarters of the intelligence agencies MI5 (Thames House) and MI6 (Vauxhall Cross) has attracted many politicians, peers, civil servants and intelligence agency personnel as residents.”
From The Oxford Companion to Chess by Hooper & Whyld :
International Master (1950), International Correspondence Chess Master (1970). Born in Cork, he settled in England as a boy. In spite or because of his intense application at the board his tournament performances were erratic. From about 1937 to the mid 1950s he was regarded as the strongest player in Great Britain, although he won only two (1938, 1956) of the 13 British Chess Federation Championships in which he competed; he played for the BCF in six Olympiads from 1933 to 1958. Holding a senior post at the Foreign Office, he was not permitted to play in countries under Soviet control or influence; but when he did compete abroad he achieved only moderate results. His best tournament achievement was at Hastings 1937-8 when he was second (+4=5) equal with Keres after Reshevsky ahead of Fine and Flohr; but he is better remembered for his tie with Bronstein for first prize at Hastings 1953-4. He won his game against Bronstein in 120 moves after several adjournments, and the outcome became a kind of serial in the press, arousing great national interest in the game. Alexander was the author of several books on chess, notably Alekhine’s Best Games of Chess 1938-1945 (1949) and A Book of Chess (1973).
For many years the chess correspondent of The Sunday Times, The Spectator and the Evening News. There was probably no “chess name that was better known to the non-chess-playing element of the British public than that of Hugh Alexander. His victory over Russian Grandmaster David Bronstein at Hastings in 1953, after a struggle which lasted for 120 moves and took 13 hours, made chess front page news in the British press.
Born in Cork on 19th April 1909, Alexander picked up the game at prep school at the age of 8. In 1926 he won the Boy’s Championship, later to be recognised as the British Boy’s Championship, at Hastings. After coming down from Cambridge University, where he won the university championship four times, Alexander taught mathematics at Winchester College from 1932 to 1938. He later joined the Foreign Office.
One of the few British players who might have reached World Championship class if he had chosen to devote sufficient time to the game, Alexander was at his best when he faced a top class opponent.
During his chess career, he scored victories over two World Champions Botvinnik and Euwe, and he beat a number of other Grandmasters, international tournaments were all at Hastings where he came =2nd in 1938 with Keres, half a point behind Reshevsky and ahead of Fine and Flohr; 1st in 1947 and =1st with Bronstein in 1953. In 1951 tournament he came =5th.
His other hobbies included bridge, croquet and philately, He was the Author of Alekhine’s Best Games of Chess 1938-1945 (Bell), Chess (Pitman) and joint author with T.J. Beach of Learn Chess; A New Way for All (Pergamon Press); Fischer v. Spassky: Reykjavik 1972 (Penguin); A Book of Chess (Hutchinson) 1973; The Penguin Book of Chess Positions (Penguin) 1973. He died on 15th February 1974.
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.
In 1966 Harry became an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), Civil division awarded in the 1966 Birthday (rather than New Years) Honours list.
The citation read simply :
Harry Golombek. For services to 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).”
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 who is a successful Somerset based veterinary surgeon.
and here is a fascinating insight into HGs Bletchley Park days.
We remember Brian Patrick Reilly who passed away on December 29th, 1991.
Here is BPRs Wikipedia entry :
Brian Patrick Reilly (12 December 1901 in Menton, France – 29 December 1991 in Hastings, England) was an Irish chess Master, writer and magazine editor.
He was born at Menton on the French Riviera. The Irish connection goes back to his paternal grandfather, who came from Kells in County Meath.
When in his early twenties, Reilly joined his father’s firm in the pharmaceutical business. The company did very well, but was hit hard when Britain left the Gold standard system in the early 1930s. Reilly was interned in Vichy France during World War II. He returned to England after the war ended, and became a full-time chess editor and writer.
Reilly won the Nice Club championship in 1924. He shared 5th place at Hyères 1927 (Wilhelm Orbach won). He took 10th at Nice 1930 (Savielly Tartakower won). In 1931, Reilly won in Nice, and took 5th at Nice (Pentangular, Alexander Alekhine won). He tied for 4-6th at Margate 1935 (Samuel Reshevsky won). In 1935, he took 5th in Barcelona (Salo Flohr and George Koltanowski won), and tied for 5-7th in Rosas (Flohr won). In 1937, he took 4th in Nice (Quadrangular; Alekhine won). In 1938, he took 2nd, behind Karel Opočensky, in Nice.
Reilly represented Ireland in nine Chess Olympiads in 1935, and 1954–1968 (three times at first board). He was ‘exceedingly chuffed’ with a win against super-class U.S. Grandmaster Reuben Fine during the 6th Olympiad, Warsaw 1935. He won the Irish Championship in 1959 and 1960.
He was the editor of British Chess Magazine from 1949 to 1981, the longest-serving editor of that magazine. He actually purchased control of the magazine in the early 1950s, when it was in financial straits, and turned it into a profitable business.
From British Chess Magazine, Volume CI (101), Number 8 (August), pp 352 – 369 a conversation between B.P. Reilly and W.H. Cozens :
Luke McShane has made a welcome return to chess journalism as the columnist for The Spectator. At fifteen Luke provided a regular column for The Express on Sunday and, until recently, was a busy full-time trader at Goldman Sachs.
The first chess columnist for The Spectator was Conel Hugh O’Donnell Alexander who was followed by Raymond Keene who “retired” in 2019.
We look forward to original and interesting articles from Luke !
We focus on the British Chess Scene Past & Present !
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