Category Archives: Organiser

Minor Pieces 52: Wilfred Hugh Miller Kirk

Wilfred Hugh Miller Kirk was perhaps Richmond Chess Club’s strongest player between 1925 and 1937, as well as playing an important administrative role in the club.

Wilfred was born in Culmstock, Devon on 18 May 1877, where Teddington novelist, market gardener and chess player RD Blackmore also lived for a time. His family were originally from London,  but his father was working in Devon as a Schools Inspector at the time of his birth. The family later returned to London, where young Wilfred joined the Civil Service on leaving school. He would remain there for his entire working life.

In 1899 he married 20 year old Mabel Ellen Gannaway. Wilfred and Mabel had four children, Talbot (1902), Beatrice (1903), Evelyn (1907) and Ruby (1908).

We hear of him as a chess player for the first time only in 1904, at the age of 27, when he took part in the Second Class B section of the inaugural British Championships at Hastings. He did pretty well for a newcomer to competitive chess, finishing in third place, just half a point behind the joint winners.

The following year he took part in the Kent Open Amateur 2nd Class A tournament, held that year at Crystal Palace, where he shared first place with his old rival WT Dickinson.

Shortly afterwards, leaving his wife and two young children at home, he crossed the channel to Ostend, where a mammoth tournament was taking place. The master event had no less than 36 entrants, with a complex group structure, and, below that, there were two amateur sections which attracted a number of British participants. Wilfred played in the Amateur B section, scoring a very respectable 11/17.

He didn’t take part in another tournament until 1908, when he again played in the Kent congress, that year held in Sevenoaks. This time Wilfred was promoted to the 1st Class Open Section 2. He found 1st class competition a lot tougher than the 2nd class, scoring only 1½/6, The leading scores in this section were Harold Godfrey Cole (5), Kate Belinda Finn and Percy Rawle Gibbs (4½). Miss Finn wasn’t the only (fishy) lady in the section: Mrs Frances Dunn Herring brought up the rear on 1/6.

Although he wasn’t very active in tournament play at the time, he was very much involved in Civil Service chess. He may well have been playing for the Local Government Board before his first tournament, and, when the Civil Service Chess League was founded in 1904 he was appointed to the post of Secretary.

When the British Championships were held in Richmond in 1912 he returned to the fray. This time he was in the 1st Class Amateurs B section, and, from the result, it was clear that he was a lot stronger now than a few years earlier.

The British Chess Magazine (October 1912) remarked that Mr. W. H. M. Kirk (Putney) is a well-known fine player in the Civil Service League, but does not play much otherwise. With work and family commitments, it was understandable that he wouldn’t have had much time for tournament play.

Unfortunately the only game of his from this event that appears to be extant was his only defeat. For all games in this article, click on any move for a pop-up window.

Kirk took part in the Surrey Championship that year, where he finished in first place with a score of 4½/5. This time we do have one of his wins, which his opponent, a dentist usually known as Frank St J Steadman, generously submitted to the British Chess Magazine. It was published in their December 1912 issue.

Wilfred entered the 1st Class Open in the 1913 Kent & Sussex Congress but had to withdraw before the start of the tournament. However, he did play in the Major Open section of the 1913 British Championship, making a respectable showing in a strong tournament.

Here’s a loss against the German born but English resident Georg Schories, a regular Major Open competitor whose nationality precluded his participation in the championship.

In this photograph of the competitors in this section, Kirk is the good looking youngish man (he was now 35) standing second on the left. He doesn’t look very happy, does he? But then they rarely did in those days.

And then World War 1 intervened. The Civil Service Chess League continued in 1915, but then stopped for the duration, only resuming in 1919.

The British Championships were also suspended, again resuming with a Victory Congress at Hastings in August that year. The British title itself wasn’t awarded, the top section being a semi-international event with visiting stars Capablanca and Kostic taking the first two places, well ahead of Sir George Thomas and Yates. The Major Open went to Edward Guthlac Sergeant, and, below that were three parallel First Class sections. Kirk was in the C section, finishing in first place, beating, amongst others, future World Champion Max Euwe. The enforced break had done nothing to dull his chess strength.

Again, his only loss, against Irish champion John James O’Hanlon, is the only one of his games from this event I’ve been able to locate.

In 1919 he also entered the City of London Chess Club Championship: the only time he took part in this prestigious event. He finished in 6th place with 6/11 behind Sir George Thomas, a clear winner on 9½, Michell, Walker, EG Sergeant and Blake, whom he beat in this game: a notable scalp.

Throughout much of his life, Wilfred Kirk seemed to move house every two or three years. He had previously lived in Putney and Wimbledon, but by this time had moved to North London, playing for Hampstead Chess Club and winning the Middlesex Championship in 1920. He had also moved departments in the Civil Service, from the Local Government Board to the Ministry of Health.

Then, in Autumn 1925, he moved to Richmond, living in several addresses in Richmond and Twickenham in the following 12 years or so. He wasted no time in joining Richmond Chess Club, but, in his first match, was only playing on Board 3.

Richmond Herald 28 November 1925

He also entered the Surrey Championship, in 1926 regaining the title he had previously won 14 years earlier.

As an able administrator he was soon appointed secretary of his new club, as reported here, where, on top board, he was successful against our old friend George Archer Hooke.

Richmond Herald 20 November 1926

His addresses at this point included 17 The Barons, St Margarets in 1927 and 27 Richmond Hill in 1928.

In the 1928-29 season Kirk swept the board, winning not just the club championship (you’ll see PGL Fothergill in 3rd place: he only seemed to play in internal competitions rather than club matches), but the handicap tournament (one wonders how the scores were calculated) and the prize for the best percentage score in matches.

Richmond Herald 30 March 1929

That summer he took part in a Living Chess game against Reginald Pryce Michell at Asgill House in Richmond to raise money for the local hospital.

Richmond Herald 22 June 1929

Wilfred was very much involved in charitable endeavours of all sorts, promoting chess at the Star and Garter Home for disabled ex-Servicemen, donating money to a fund for distressed miners, and, later in life. helping at a local home for the blind.

That summer, by then in his 50s,  he unexpectedly received an invitation to take part in the British Championship, held that year in Ramsgate.

Wilfred was a very effective player top level club opposition, but here, against mostly master standard opponents, he was rather out of his depth.

He lost in 19 moves to Gerald Abrahams: a game which attracted some attention at the time. Abrahams, rather typically, played a speculative sacrifice which Kirk should have accepted, but instead declined it and resigned the next move.

Here’s his draw against future Scottish champion and bridge designer William Albert Fairhurst.

In this group photograph, Kirk is standing on the left next to the permanently disheveled William Winter.

That year there was a merger between Richmond and Kew chess clubs, who, however, continued to meet at both venues on different days of the week. Kirk now had a serious rival in Kew star Ronald George Armstrong, about whom more in a future Minor Piece.

Meanwhile, in 1933, Kirk’s service to chess in the Civil Service was marked by a presentation.

A History of Chess in the English Civil Service (Kevin Thurlow)

This 1934 match must have been a surprise result.

Richmond Herald 21 April 1934

Richmond & Kew were a second division team, playing in the Beaumont Cup, while Kingston, who had won the Surrey Trophy two years earlier, were a genuine first division team. Unfortunately, they lost to Battersea in the final of the Alexander Cup.

Armstrong must have been very pleased with his draw against Michell, while Kirk also shared the point with (Richard) Nevil Coles, who later became a celebrated chess author and who beat me in a Richmond v Guildford Surrey Trophy match in 1972.

Richmond Herald 06 April 1935

In the 1934-35 season Kirk won the club championship while Armstrong took the handicap shield: they gave a tandem simul at the end of season prizegiving.

Richmond Herald 10 April 1937

It was the same story in 1937, with Kirk taking the club  championship for the sixth time with a 100% score, and Armstrong again preferring the handicap shield. Wilfred was now entitled to hold the cup in perpetuity, but generously returned it for future years. I wonder what happened to it.

At this point, though, Wilfred Kirk retired from the Civil Service, spending some time travelling round Europe playing chess before moving, like many retired chess players of the time, to Hastings.

However, he competed in the 1938 British Championships in Brighton, now down in the First Class B section, where he shared first place on 7/11, winning this miniature.

He was soon involved in administration again, both at Hastings Chess Club, and with their annual tournament. He also found time to compete in the 1938-39 event, sharing second place in the Premier Reserves C section.

He also threw himself into county chess, here losing to another former Civil Service player Bernard Henry Newman Stronach.

Hastings and St Leonards Observer 15 April 1939

By now the world was at war again, but Hastings managed to arrange their annual tournament that winter, with Kirk taking part in the Premier.

In this game he held the tournament winner Frank Parr to a draw, sacrificing a knight for a perpetual check.

Although it was no longer possible to run formal competitions, Hastings Chess Club remained active during the war, with friendly matches against local rivals Eastbourne and Bexhill.

His opponent in this game, George Edward Anslow, a Gas Company clerk, was a member of both Eastbourne and Hastings Chess Clubs for many years. He beat me in a 1974 friendly match between Hastings and Richmond & Twickenham Chess Clubs.

Frederick William (Fred) Boff, whom he defeated in this game, seems to have been an interesting character both on and off the chessboard.

He was still very active locally as the war finally came to an end, and was involved in the administration of the 1945-46 Hastings Congress as Treasurer and Assistant Secretary. In June that year, still playing regularly in club events, he was taken ill with appendicitis. The operation, sadly, proved unsuccessful.

Hastings and St Leonards Observer 22 June 1946

There’s more information in this pen picture from Kevin Thurlow’s book on chess in the English Civil Service.

A History of Chess in the English Civil Service (Kevin Thurlow)

Wilfred Hugh Miller Kirk, then, was a strong player (2261 at his peak according to EdoChess) and a highly efficient administrator. He seems to have  been well respected at work and was also devoted to various charitable causes.

His family life, though, wasn’t happy.

In the 1901 census we see Wilfred and Mabel, only recently married, and living in Pimlico.

They soon moved south of the river, the births of their first three children being registered in Wandsworth, and the youngest in Balham.

By 1911 the family had split up. Wilfred was living on his own in Streatham, a Second Division Clerk in the Civil Service. Mabel didn’t appear to be around. Talbot, Beatrice and Evelyn (aged 9, 7 and only 4) were boarding at a school in Wimbledon, while 2-year-old Ruby was living with Wilfred’s mother in Battersea.

Then, in 1914, Mabel filed a petition for judicial separation. She was represented by her solicitor, PR Gibbs, who, I’d imagine, was the same Percy Rawle Gibbs who had played Wilfred at Sevenoaks in 1908.

Mabel’s petition, citing eight addresses, mostly in the Wandsworth area, at which they lived during their marriage, listed dates and places, from 1906 onwards, when and where Wilfred had assaulted her, and treated her with coldness and neglect. He had punched her on her body and head, thrown her against the furniture and onto the floor, grabbed her by the collar and dragged her upstairs. Wilfred denied the charges of cruelty, claiming that Mabel had become mentally deranged and assaulted him violently, and he was only acting in self-defence. On other occasions she had become hysterical and behaved in an ill tempered and unreasonable manner, causing him to lose his temper.

It was also revealed that, from late 1910, she had been a patient at St Luke’s Hospital: she was probably still there at the time of the 1911 census.

The separation was granted, with Mabel having custody of the two older children and Wilfred the two younger children. Would a man who had assaulted his wife, even with provocation, be given custody of two young girls today?

Was he a violent and abusive wife beater whose behaviour had driven his wife to the lunatic asylum, or a good man who found it difficult to cope with his wife’s mental health problems? I don’t know: I wasn’t there and it’s far from me to pass judgement.

The ramifications continued for a decade (the papers are available online at ancestry.co.uk).

The 1921 census found Wilfred now living in Islington with Evelyn and Ruby, who were both at school. Mabel and Beatrice, now an art student, were the other side of London, in South Norwood. Meanwhile, Talbot had emigrated to the USA, where he married in 1927 and had two sons, Fred (1928-76) and Jack (1929-67).

His marriage didn’t last and he returned to England. The 1933 Electoral Roll shows Mabel, Talbot and Beatrice sharing a house right by Hampstead Heath.

Then, in 1934, Wilfred sued Mabel for divorce on the grounds of adultery.

Richmond Herald 03 February 1934

Well, I don’t know. In September that year he married Olive Emily Holmes. Was he committing adultery as well? Again, I wasn’t there.

What happened to the rest of his family? Talbot remarried in 1941 in Brentford, at some point moving to Yorkshire, where he died in 2006 at the extraordinary age of 104.

Beatrice never married: by 1939 she was working as a typist in the Ministry of Food, and died in Hastings at the age of 78.

Evelyn married young, in 1926, to a man almost twice her age, George Arthur Tomlinson, who seems to have been a mechanical engineer working at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington. They lived with Wilfred for a time after the marriage before moving to North London where two sons, Brian (1928) and Robin (1930) were born. George died in 1944, but Evelyn, like her brother, lived a long life, dying in Bath at the age of 96.

Ruby married in 1939, like Evelyn to a much older man: a divorcee with the impressive name Bernard de Lerisson Cazenove. She had no children and, again like Evelyn, lived into her 90s: she was 91 when she died in Warwickshire.

The report of Wilfred’s cremation leaves some questions unanswered. You might have wondered why the local paper mentioned that he left a son, but failed to note his daughters.

Hastings and St Leonards Observer 22 June 1946

At the cremation, Talbot, Evelyn and Ruby were there, but there was no mention of Beatrice as a chief mourner. Did the paper forget her? Or had they become estranged?

Talbot, Dolly and Sylvia sent flowers, but who were Dolly and Sylvia? There were also flowers from Eric, Brian and Robin. Brian and Robin were his grandsons, but who was Eric? And why wasn’t Evelyn included? Her second marriage, in 1948, would be to Ernest (Vokes), not to Eric. Or was ‘Eric’ a misreading of ‘Evelyn’?

There’s one further family tragedy to report.

Worthing Gazette 26 April 1950

This is Wilfred and Mabel’s grandson Robin taking his own life in 1950, at the age of 19.

Had he inherited mental health problems from his mother? Impossible to tell, of course.

Although Wilfred Hugh Miller Kirk was a formidable club player and respected administrator, it seems that his family life was unsettled (moving house every couple of years) and unhappy. I can only hope that the game of chess brought him some comfort.

 

Sources:

ancestry.co.uk

findmypast.co.uk

British Newspaper Library

Wikipedia

BritBase (John Saunders)

EdoChess (Kirk’s page here)

chessgames.com (Kirk’s page here)

British Chess Magazine 1912

A History of Chess in the English Civil Service (Kevin Thurlow: Conrad Press)

The City of London Chess Club Championship (Roger Leslie Paige: Publish & be Damned)

Hastings & St Leonards Chess Club website (Brian Denman article here)

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Richmond Junior Chess Club 1975-2006: Part 3

By 1986 I’d developed some strong views about education and how they related to chess.

Something else happened as well. I was sitting in my London office one Feburary day wondering how I was ever going to be able to leave a job with no prospects of promotion or doing anything else when the phone rang.

It was my old friend Mike Fox, calling from Birmingham. “This phone call will change your life”, he said. And it did.

He’d been commissioned by Faber & Faber to write a book about chess trivia and invited me to join him as co-author. This would become The Complete Chess Addict (1987) and later The Even More Complete Chess Addict (1993), as well as the Addicts’ Corner column in CHESS which ran for 14 years. I decided that I could make as much money in less time by working freelance, while having time to help Mike with researching and writing the book and having more time to develop RJCC.

In order to improve Richmond Junior Club the first thing I wanted was to be able to find out everything I could about how every member of the club played chess, so that I could provide individual advice to all children and parents.

My view also was that, when teaching younger children and, more generally, less experienced players, everything we did had to happen for a very specific reason. I didn’t want to provide random lessons demonstrating random brilliant games to a random collection of children. Nor did I want to push children into doing too much too soon: using clocks and scoresheets and taking part in external tournaments before they were ready.

What I did (some of this was explained last time) was this:

  • I split the club into two sections: a morning group lasting two hours for primary school children, and an afternoon group lasting three hours for secondary school children, to which stronger primary school players would also be invited.
  • I introduced an internal grading system which was revised every few weeks, including all internal games (excluding blitz) so that I could select teams objectively in order of strength and identify when morning group players were ready to move up to the afternoon group. This included a very crude but reasonably effective measure to avoid grading deflation, based on the principle that, at any point, our members will either be improving or stationary.
  • Although I’d been collecting scoresheets of games played in our tournaments and training days for almost a decade, I now collected all afternoon group games (excluding blitz again) and played through them myself at home. There was no need to collect games played in the morning group as they were played at a lower level and usually decided by the number of pieces left en prise.

Beyond that, I wanted to ensure that our members would be able to try out a wide range of different openings, play games at different time controls, and play different opponents every week.

The primary school age children in our morning group were divided into divisions according to their internal grade. When new members joined we’d do a quick assessment. If they were obviously beginners they’d start in the lowest division. If we already knew about them because they’d played in one of our tournaments we’d already have given them a grade so would be able to put them in the correct division. Otherwise, we’d give them a quick friendly game against a player in a middle division and see how they got on.

I also used the same divisional system in schools for many years to ensure that children played different opponents of a similar strength to themselves every week (until the divisions were changed). This system also catered for the fact that some children played fast and would get through several games in one session while others played slowly and would only play one game. I found this worked much better than a Swiss tournament where everyone played one game a week and children who had finished their games would sometimes interfere with the games still in progress.

Every few weeks, by which time some of the faster and more regular attenders would have played most of the other players in their division, we ran the results through the grading program and restarted the divisions, with the most successful players gaining promotion.

We knew that if we taught children opening principles and then left them to their own devices many games would start with boring Giuoco Pianissimos or Spanish Four Knights, which, because they led to closed positions with few opportunities for pawn breaks, were only superficially good for less experienced players.

So we developed a system which would enable children in this group to experience a range of different openings and position types. Our first rule was that all games in the morning group would start with the moves 1. e4 e5. Over the course of the year (September to July) we’d  work through the major open games, starting with simple Four Knights type positions and gradually moving through to the King’s Gambit and (the favourite of many of our members) the Danish Gambit. We’d give a short introductory talk before the games started and expect players to start the game with the moves displayed on the demonstration board.

Ray Keene’s column in the Times always provided a simple tactical puzzle on Saturdays to encourage readers to compete for a prize, and we’d display this on the demo board so that children could attempt to solve it as they arrived. We’d go through the solution in front of the whole class before introducing them to the opening of the week.

We also wanted to ensure that children were introduced to clocks and scoresheets at the appropriate time in their chess development to prepare them for promotion to the afternoon group. As each of these adds a level of complexity to an already difficult game we wanted to do them one at a time, so players in the second division were asked to play their games on clocks (30 minutes per player per game) and, when they reached the top division they were required to notate their games (down to the last five minutes) as well.

For some of our members, the Morning Group was all they wanted and they’d drop out after a year or two. But others would be ambitious to play competitively and move up to the Afternoon Group, which was designed, in the first instance, for players of round about 1000 to 1500 strength. We assumed that, at that point, they’d move on to bigger and better things, but, as our system developed, we were attracting players up to getting on for 2000 strength.

In order to give our Afternoon Group members the chance to try out a wide range of different openings we developed a system involving games using set openings.

It took a few years for this to be fully implemented, but what we did was to divide all the major openings into ten groups, featuring one group every half term. We built a three-year cycle, with some groups happening every year, some twice in three years and some once in three years.

We also wanted to provide a range of different time limits. For younger players up to about 1500 who tend to play fast there’s no real need for slower games, while we also decided that anything less than 10 minutes per player would lead to too many blunders. So our main termly structure eventually looked like this:

  1. Freestyle 30 minute games (3 games in the 3 hour session)
  2. Coach and play – introductory lesson on the openings to be played over the next few weeks followed by two 45 minute games, consulting the opening books
  3. 10 minute blitz tournament (in groups with promotion/relegation) with opening variation picked out of the ‘hat’)
  4. 30 minute games (3 games in the 3 hour session) using the set openings
  5. Freestyle 10 minute blitz tournament (in groups with promotion/relegation)

Over the year we’d run 12 sessions with 3 30-minute games (at first in groups of 4 (quad tournaments) or 6 (Scheveningen system tournaments) – six freestyle and 6 with set openings. All games would be recorded down to the last five minutes and all scoresheets would be handed it. We used duplicate scoresheets for this purpose so that they all had a copy of their games to take home. I’d then play through all the games again at home, and, once ChessBase became available I’d enter them all into a database.

We’d also run 11 sessions with 10-minute games (as many as they could play in the time available), five freestyle and six with set openings.

We’d run 6 Coach and Play sessions to introduce the openings to be played in the next rapid and blitz sessions.

We also ran one simultaneous display a term. Sometimes we’d use visiting masters, sometimes our own coaches, members of our parent chess club or former RJCC members. We considered these a vital part of our programme for several reasons:

  • They promoted chess as an adult game, not just a game for young children
  • They gave our members the chance to meet and play against titled players
  • They forced our members to slow down and think while the simul giver was going round the room moving on the other boards

Other weeks were filled up with activities such as training games at slower time limits, endgame practice and puzzle solving, while the last week of each term gave our members the chance to enjoy chess variants such as Exchange (Bughouse) and Kriegspiel.

The idea was that each week would have one activity, which would vary from week to week. Very different from the way most junior clubs run, with two activities (lesson and game) a week and the same structure most weeks.

If you want to use our methods, our stationery (now rebranded as Chess Heroes rather than RJCC) is available to download here and here while our opening books (recently updated slightly to include the currently popular London System) can be downloaded here.

Coincidentally, several other important things happened at about this time.

A local primary school, Sheen Mount, appointed a new Headteacher, Jane Lawrence, who was passionate about introducing all her pupils to chess, teaching them the moves and giving them the chance to play competitively at school every day. Many of her pupils joined Richmond Junior Club, and, as you’ll see, two of them, Richard Bates and Tom Hinks-Edwards, went on to become International Masters.

Ray Cannon, whom I vaguely knew from the London chess circuit, brought his young son Richard along to the club. Ray was (and still is) an excellent chess coach and his views on chess teaching were (and still are) very similar to mine, and he soon started to play a vital role in the club, helping with the Afternoon Group as well as spending his Sundays visiting tournaments and passing on the results of our members so that I could incorporate them in our internal grading list.

The other player who played an invaluable part in our successes for many years was Gavin Wall, later an IM, one of our early members who, on returning from University joined our coaching team, working mostly in the Morning Group. Gavin and Ray were both integral to the club for many years: I can’t thank them enough.

Over the next few years we again became very strong, and the system we used in the Afternoon Group undoubtedly played its part.

As it happened, the summer of 1986 witnessed our first ever British Champion when Irfan Nathoo took the national Under 9 title.

Richmond Informer 14 August 1986

Here’s a game from later in the year. To play through this or any other game in this article click on any move and a pop-up window will appear.

With our new system in place we were able to promote the club in the local press, announcing an exciting season ahead.

Middlesex Chronicle 04 September 1986

We were actively looking for sponsorship at this point. We received donations from two local charities at various times, and here we found sponsorship from the Richmond branch of Midland Bank.

Richmond Informer 04 June 1987

We were also competing successfully in team competitions against other London junior clubs. Barnet Knights, of course, are still going strong today.

 

Richmond Informer 13 August 1987

One of our new members was a talented Scottish junior, Jonathan Rowson, who had moved from Aberdeen into the same road as me. He used to come round to my house for a game after school, but sadly for us he didn’t stay in the area very long.

In this game from one of our monthly quad tournaments, he demonstrated his class by outplaying Richard Bates in a pawn ending.

During this period I was doing a lot of private tuition. Jonathan was by no means the only one of our members who would visit my house for lessons, either on a regular or an occasional basis. Judging from both individual and team results it must have had some effect on them.

By 1989 Sheen Mount players were making names for themselves on the national stage. Here are future IM Richard Bates and Tom Davey playing for England’s Primary Schools team in a match against Scotland.

Richmond Informer 16 June 1989

 

Also in June 1989 we were invited to play a match against a visiting team from Arizona. As we had so many strong players by now we split our players into three teams and played a four-way match.

Here’s Richard Cannon’s game against the American board 1.

By the summer of 1989 it was time to move. The church in central Richmond where we met was being redeveloped so we had to find new premises. Richmond & Twickenham Chess Club moved to London Welsh Rugby Club, while Richmond Junior Club found a new home in a large Victorian house in East Twickenham, where we’d meet for more than 15 years.

Richmond Informer 29 September 1989

We also set up a separate group for older children enabling us to enter teams in the Thames Valley League. We played our home matches in Friday evening sessions and scheduled our away matches, as far as possible, during the school holidays.

Jane Lawrence was now running Richmond teams in the English Primary Schools Chess Association inter-area competitions, with players from schools around the Borough taking part. Andrew Bamford, like many of the players in these teams, was a member of Richmond Junior Club.

Richmond Informer 20 April 1990

In this game from our 1990 Under 11 Championship a speculative sacrifice proved successful.

Wanting to provide top level coaching for our strongest players, we appointed GM Daniel King as our club professional in 1990. We were also able to enter a third team in the Thames Valley League.

Richmond Informer 14 September 1990

 

In just a few years since 1986 the club had made tremendous progress, and we were able to bill ourselves, without fear of contradiction, as ‘England’s leading club for young players’. This is Chris A Baker, who hasn’t played competitively for a long time, not to be confused with long-standing Richmond & Twickenham Chess Club member Chris B Baker, who was also a pupil at Hampton School, or indeed IM Chris W Baker.

Middlesex Chronicle 20 June 1991

In this game Tom had the chance to play a Greek Gift sacrifice against an opponent with insufficient experience of the French Defence.

And here’s Chris Baker, beating one of his regular rivals in a club game.

Every summer during this period the parents of our stronger players got together to book accommodation for the British Championships. From 1991 onwards we were rewarded with successes like these:

1991 Richard Bates U14 shared, Luke McShane U9

1992 James Clifford/Luke McShane U14 Andrew Bamford U11

1993 Tom Hinks-Edwards U16 shared

One of our favourite simul givers at the time was Ukrainian IM Petr Marusenko, a regular visit to Hastings (he’s there again this year) who would drop in to visit us after the congress.

In this game James Clifford outplayed him in the ending.

Richard Bates, now at Tiffin School, continued to be successful in 1992, and was rated one of the world’s top players of his age.

Kingston Informer 31 January 1992

 

But by that time we had a new member whose feats would outshine even Richard’s. This was Luke McShane, who, at the age of only 8, took the World Under 10 Championship in 1992.

Newcastle Journal 14 July 1992

Luke scored victories against future stars such as Bacrot, Aronian and Grischuk in this event. He was perhaps fortunate to escape from lost positions in the first two of these games, but here’s his win against the Russian representative.

In January 1993 we were privileged to host a junior team from Kiev (now Kiiv), whose top players were, as you might imagine, very strong. We arranged four events: a simul given by Daniel King, a match against a team from Richmond & Twickenham Chess Club, a match against a Richmond Junior Club team and a match against a junior team representing the Southern Counties Chess Union, which included three RJCC players.

Another of our very strong players, Aleksandar Trifunovic, great nephew of Grandmaster Petar Trifunovic, scored an exciting win on board three of the RJCC v Kiev match. His opponent here is now an American IM.

Richard Bates scored a win and a draw against the top two Kiev players. He drew with Spartak Vysochin, now a grandmaster, in the RJCC match and won this game from the SCCU Juniors match.

As a result of his performance in the World Junior Championship, Luke was given the opportunity to play a game against Garry Kasparov, in London to discuss the arrangements for his forthcoming World Championship match against Nigel Short.

Richmond Informer 05 March 1993

Here’s the game.

In May 1993, buoyed by these successes, we were asked to be involved in the Richmond Chess Initiative, which, in essence, did very much what Chess in Schools & Communities is doing now, but on a local rather than national level.

Richmond Informer 14 May 1993

Children would learn all the right moves, but would they play them in the right order? You’ll find out in the next part of the history of Richmond Junior Chess Club.

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is an excellent tribute from John Saunders

Here is a tribute from Liverpool College

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

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

David Welch, photograph by John Upham
David Welch, photograph by John Upham
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Best Wishes IM Susan Lalic (28-x-1965)

IM Susan Lalic
IM Susan Lalic

BCN wishes IM Susan Lalic Happy Birthday

Susan Kathryn Walker was born on Thursday, October 28th, 1965 in Chatham, Kent. Her mother’s maiden is / was Bacon. She has a brother, Stephen.

She attended Nonsuch High School for Girls from 1977 to 1984.

Susan married Keith Arkell in 1986 and then Bogdan Lalic in Lewes, East Sussex in 1994 and finally Graeme Buckley in Sutton in 2001.

With Bogdan she had a son, Peter D, who is a strong player in his own right.

There are ten players in MegaBase 2020 whose surname is Lalic.

She became a Woman’s FIDE Master in 1986, Woman’s International Master in 1987, Woman’s Grandmaster in 1988 and an International Master in 1996.

Susan Walker
Susan Walker

According to Felice and Megabase 2020 Susan achieved a peak rating of 2405 in January 1997 at the age of 29.

From the Praxis Bath Zonal Tournament of 1987. Susan Walker is at the rear on the left.
From the Praxis Bath Zonal Tournament of 1987. Susan Walker is at the rear on the left.

Susan has played in the Four Nations Chess League for Slough, Wood Green and Guildford and her most recent games in MegaBase 2020 are from 2012.

Keith Arkell, Susan Walker and Jeremy Morse at the Lloyds Bank Masters
Keith Arkell, Susan Walker and Jeremy Morse at the Lloyds Bank Masters

She is five-time British Women’s Champion: 1986, 1990–1992, and 1998 and has represented England in nine Olympiads.

LK Semenova vs Susan Walker at the 1984 Women's Olympiad
LK Semenova vs Susan Walker at the 1984 Women’s Olympiad

Susan is very active is Surrey junior chess and teaches in many schools.

IM Susan Lalic at a Surrey Megafinal
IM Susan Lalic at a Surrey Megafinal

With the White pieces Susan is almost exclusively an e4 player (preferring the Scotch Game) but curiously (and why not you might ask) she has employed The Polish Opening more than once with success. She is well-known for employing the Sicilian Alapin as her main weapon against the Sicilian Defence.

As the second player she defends the Caro-Kann, Larsen-Spassky, Smyslov and the Classical Variations and the Nimzo-Indian Defence.

WFM Helen Milligan vs Susan Arkell
WFM Helen Milligan vs Susan Arkell

Susan Lalic and friends
Susan Lalic and friends

From Wikipedia :

“Susan Kathryn Lalic (née Walker; born 28 October 1965) is an English chess player, holding both International Master (IM) and Woman Grandmaster (WGM) titles. She is five-time British Women’s Chess Champion: 1986, 1990–1992, and 1998.[2]

Lalic has played for England nine times in Chess Olympiads, from 1984 to 2000, inclusive. From 1986 to 1998, she played on the top board.[3]

Lalic was educated at Nonsuch High School for Girls from 1977 to 1984, and has been married in the past to Keith Arkell and then to Bogdan Lalić. Currently she is married to International Master Graeme Buckley.[4][5]

Highest rating from 1987-2012 is 2356(within 133 games)[6]”

Susan Lalic and friends, rear, second from left.
Susan Lalic and friends, rear, second from left
Your Chess Questions Answered by Susan Lalic,, 1999
Your Chess Questions Answered by Susan Lalic,, 1999
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Congratulations Kevin Staveley, BEM

Kevin Staveley, BEM at the 2015 British Championships in Warwick courtesy of John Upham Photography
Kevin Staveley, BEM at the 2015 British Championships in Warwick courtesy of John Upham Photography

BCN offers Kevin Staveley the warmest congratulations on being awarded the British Empire Medal in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

The citation reads : “For services to Chess in Wales”

Kevin Charles Staveley was born on December 30th 1955 in Pontypridd, Mid Glamorgan, Wales and has resided in Treorchy, Glamorgan, Wales. Currently he lives in Cwmparc, Rhondda.

He is a member of Newport Chess Club.

Kevin is Home Director for the Welsh Chess Union and many times Tournament Director of the British Chess Championships.

Kevin is ECF Manager of the British Chess Championships and is Director of the South Wales International Chess Festival, Bridgend and the South Wales Megafinal to name but a few.

He became a FIDE International Arbiter in 1991 and a FIDE International Organiser in 2013.

Kevin is editor of the Welsh Chess Union Yearbook.

Kevin is keen to encourage young players to become arbiters.

Kevin Staveley, BEM at the 2014 British Championships in Aberystwyth courtesy of John Upham Photography
Kevin Staveley, BEM at the 2014 British Championships in Aberystwyth courtesy of John Upham Photography
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Happy Birthday FM Kevin O’Connell (28-viii-1949)

Kevin O'Connell at the London Chess Conference, 2016, courtesy of John Upham Photography
Kevin O’Connell at the London Chess Conference, 2016, courtesy of John Upham Photography

BCN wishes happy birthday to FM Kevin O’Connell (28-viii-1949)

Kevin J O'Connell
Kevin J O’Connell

Kevin John O’Connell was born on Sunday, August 28th 1949 in London.

Kevin attended Ilford County High School and The University of Essex followed by an MSc in Sports Sciences at The University of Essex.

The Batsford Chess Yearbook
The Batsford Chess Yearbook

According to The Games of Robert J. Fischer :

“Kevin is an Essex county player and bulletin editor”.

Kevin J O'Connell
Kevin J O’Connell

According to How to Play the Sicilian Defence :

“Kevin O’Connell is editor of the FIDE Chess Yearbook, author of many other chess books and chess columnist of London’s Evening News

From the Praxis Bath Zonal Tournament of 1987. Kevin J O'Connell is fourth from right
From the Praxis Bath Zonal Tournament of 1987. Kevin J O’Connell is fourth from right

Harry Golombek wrote in The Observer Magazine (about The Batsford Chess Yearbook 1975/6) :

“O’Connell has done his work extremely well and I found all the contents interesting”

Kevin O'Connell at the Lloyds Bank Open in 1977. Photograph courtesy of Lloyds Bank.
Kevin O’Connell at the Lloyds Bank Open in 1977. Photograph courtesy of Lloyds Bank.

 

and Leonard Barden wrote (of the same book) :

“Book of the year…this reviewer admits to consulting it more frequently than any other book on his shelf”

Kevin makes a telephone call
Kevin makes a telephone call

Kevin was coach (they lived in the same road in Suffolk) to GM Nick Pert and IM Richard Pert

Kevin became a FIDE Master in 2006 and his peak rating (according to Felice) was 2360 in July 1993 at the age of 44.

From the Praxis Bath Zonal Tournament of 1987. Kevin J O'Connell is third from left
From the Praxis Bath Zonal Tournament of 1987. Kevin J O’Connell is third from left

Kevin became a FIDE International Arbiter (IA) in 1998. He is the FIDE Delegate for the Republic of Ireland and is Honorary Chairman and Secretary of the FIDE Chess in Education Commission (EDU). He is also a FIDE Senior Trainer.

Kevin O'Connell at the London Chess Conference, 2016, courtesy of John Upham Photography
Kevin O’Connell at the London Chess Conference, 2016, courtesy of John Upham Photography

Here is his Wikipedia entry

The Games of Robert J. Fischer, Robert Wade and O'Connell, Batsford 1972, 2nd ed. 1972, reprinted 1973, First limp edition 1981, Reprinted 1985, 1981, 1989, Second edition (The Complete Games of Bobby Fischer) 1992
The Games of Robert J. Fischer, Robert Wade and O’Connell, Batsford 1972, 2nd ed. 1972, reprinted 1973, First limp edition 1981, Reprinted 1985, 1981, 1989, Second edition (The Complete Games of Bobby Fischer) 1992
The Batsford Chess Yearbook
The Batsford Chess Yearbook
The Batsford Chess Yearbook 1975/6
The Batsford Chess Yearbook 1975/6
The Complete Games of World Champion Anatoly Karpov
The Complete Games of World Champion Anatoly Karpov
The Complete Games of World Champion Anatoly Karpov
The Complete Games of World Champion Anatoly Karpov
How to Play the Sicilian Defence, Batsford, 1978
How to Play the Sicilian Defence, Batsford, 1978
Oxford Encyclopedia of Chess Games, Volume 1 1485-1866., OUP, 1981
Oxford Encyclopedia of Chess Games, Volume 1 1485-1866., OUP, 1981
Oxford Encyclopedia of Chess Games, OUP, 2009
Oxford Encyclopedia of Chess Games, OUP, 2009
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Happy 92nd Birthday Leonard Barden (20-viii-1929)

Leonard Barden (Linda Nylind of the Guardian)
Leonard Barden (Linda Nylind of the Guardian)

Ninety-two today is Leonard William Barden, born Tuesday, August 20th, 1929.

His mother’s maiden was Bartholomew and she became Elise EM Barden when she married Leonard’s father who was William C Barden (a dustman) and in 1939 they lived at 89, Tennison Road, Croydon.

89, Tennison Road, Croydon
89, Tennison Road, Croydon

From The Encyclopedia of Chess (Batsford, 1977) by Harry Golombek OBE:

“British Master and joint British Champion 1954. Barden was born in Croydon and learned to play at his school, Whitgift, which became a frequent producer of fine players.

In 1946 he tied for first place in the London Boys Championship and in the following year he tied with Jonathan Penrose for first place in the British Boys Championship, but lost the play-off.

In 1952 he came first at Paignton ahead of the Canadian Grandmaster Yanofsky and he reached his peak in 1954 when , after tieing for first place with the Belgian Grandmaster O’Kelly de Galway at Bognor, he tied for for first place in the British Championship at Nottingham with A. Phillips. The play-off was drawn and so the players became joint champions.

Alan Phillips and Leonard Barden are joint British Champions of 1954 in Nottingham, photographer unknown
Alan Phillips and Leonard Barden are joint British Champions of 1954 in Nottingham, photographer unknown

He played for the BCF in four Olympiads from 1952 to 1962 and then abandoned competitive chess, applying all his energies to writing (he is chess correspondent of the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Evening Standard and the Field, and has written many books on the game.

He has also developed two special interests, in junior chess and in grading, working with utmost persistence and energy in both of these fields.

Leonard authored a series of articles on what was to become the Yugoslav Attack versus the Sicilian Dragon. Source : British Chess Magazine, Volume LXXXIII, Number 7 (July), page 208
Leonard authored a series of articles on what was to become the Yugoslav Attack versus the Sicilian Dragon. Source : British Chess Magazine, Volume LXXXIII, Number 7 (July), page 208

Amongst his best works are : a A Guide to Chess Openings, London, 1957; The Ruy Lopez, Oxford, 1963; The King’s Indian Defence, London, 1968.”

Disappointingly  Sunnucks Encyclopedia does not mention Barden at all and and surprisingly Hooper and Whyld’s usually excellent Oxford Companion only from a connection with Jim Slater.

Leonard Bardens’ Evening Standard column ends after 63 Years

Signature of LW Barden from a Brian Reilly "after dinner" postcard from Southsea 1951.
Signature of LW Barden from a Brian Reilly “after dinner” postcard from Southsea 1951.

Here is an in-depth article from Edward Winter

Leonard Barden’s Blunder Theory from Kingpin Magazine

54-Year-Old Chess Record established in 2009

From Wikipedia :

“Leonard William Barden (born 20 August 1929, in Croydon, London) is an English chess master, writer, broadcaster, organizer and promoter. The son of a dustman, he was educated at Whitgift School, South Croydon, and Balliol College, Oxford, where he read Modern History.

Travel Chess 2nd January 1951: British chess champions Jonathan Penrose and Leonard Barden ponder over a portable travel game in a restaurant. (Photo by Walter Bellamy/Express/Getty Images)
Travel Chess
2nd January 1951: British chess champions Jonathan Penrose and Leonard Barden prepare their openings over breakfast in the Yelton Hotel before the 9.30 am round start at Hastings 1950-51. (Photo by Walter Bellamy/Express/Getty Images)

He learned to play chess at age 13 while in a school shelter during a World War II German air raid. Within a few years he became one of the country’s leading juniors.[1] He represented England in four Chess Olympiads. Barden played a major role in the rise of English chess from the 1970s. As a chess columnist for various newspapers, his column in London’s Evening Standard is the world’s longest-standing chess column.

Leonard Barden (seated, second from right)
Leonard Barden (seated, second from right) Before Botvinnik’s 1981 Pergamon Press clock simul against England juniors, the final competitive event of the Patriarch’s career.
Standing: Stuart Conquest, Neil Dickenson. Gary Lane, Alan Byron,
Daniel King, John Hawksworth, Pergamon editor.
Seated: Julian Hodgson, Byron Jacobs, Mikhail Botvinnik, Leonard Barden, Bernard Cafferty.

In 1946, Barden won the British Junior Correspondence Chess Championship, and tied for first place in the London Boys’ Championship. The following year he tied for first with Jonathan Penrose in the British Boys’ Championship, but lost the playoff.

Barden finished fourth at Hastings in 1951–52. In 1952, he won the Paignton tournament ahead of the Canadian future grandmaster Daniel Yanofsky. He captained the Oxfordshire team which won the English Counties championship in 1951 and 1952.

Leonard William Barden (20-xiii-1929)
Barden making a move at Southend 1955.

In the latter year he captained the University of Oxford team which won the National Club Championship, and he represented the university in the annual team match against the University of Cambridge during his years there. In 1953, he won the individual British Lightning Championship (ten seconds a move).

Leonard Barden, First Holder of the British Lightning Championship title played at the Ilford Congress between May 22nd and May 25th, 1953
Leonard Barden, First Holder of the British Lightning Championship title played at the Ilford Congress between May 22nd and May 25th, 1953

(ed: the above event was “won” by Dr. PM List with 15.5/18 but he was not allowed the title. Leonard together with AY Green and KR Smith scored 13/18 and won the play-off).

The following year, he tied for first with the Belgian grandmaster Albéric O’Kelly de Galway at Bognor Regis, was joint British champion, with Alan Phillips, and won the Southern Counties Championship.

Leonard Barden vs Victor Korchnoi, Leipzig Olympiad, 1960
Leonard Barden vs Victor Korchnoi, Leipzig Olympiad, 1960

He finished fourth at Hastings 1957–58, ranked by chessmetrics as his best statistical performance. In the 1958 British Chess Championship, Barden again tied for first, but lost the playoff match to Penrose 1½–3½.

Leonard Barden (centre) with Raaphi Persitz, JB Sykes, OI Galvenius and DM Armstrong, Ilford, May, 1953
Leonard Barden (centre) with Raaphi Persitz, JB Sykes, OI Galvenius and DM Armstrong, Ilford, May, 1953

LWB observes analysis between David Rumens and Murray Chandler from Brighton 1980
LWB observes analysis between David Rumens and Murray Chandler from Brighton 1980. Photograph courtesy of John Upham.

He represented England in the Chess Olympiads at Helsinki 1952 (playing fourth board, scoring 2 wins, 5 draws, and 4 losses), Amsterdam 1954 (playing first reserve, scoring 1 win, 2 draws, and 4 losses), Leipzig 1960 (first reserve; 4 wins, 4 draws, 2 losses) and Varna 1962 (first reserve; 7 wins, 2 draws, 3 losses). The latter was his best performance by far.

Leonard Barden (left) and Murray Chandler display the Lloyds Bank Trophy which the 19-year old New Zealander won ahead of 3 Grandmasters and 10 International Masters for his finest international success up to 1979. in the Lloyds Bank Masters
Leonard Barden (left) and Murray Chandler display the Lloyds Bank Trophy which the 19-year old New Zealander won ahead of 3 Grandmasters and 10 International Masters for his finest international success up to 1979. in the Lloyds Bank Masters

Barden has a Morphy number of 3, having drawn with Jacques Mieses in the Premier Reserves at Hastings 1948–49. Mieses drew with Henry Bird in the last round of Hastings 1895, and Bird played a number of games with Paul Morphy in 1858 and 1859.

Neil Carr (front right)
England’s under-12 junior teams finished first and second in the international Eumig Cup, 1981.
Front row: Peter Morrish (organiser), Jimmy Hockaday, Darren Lee, Neil Fox, Neil Carr. Second row: James Howell, Stuart Conquest, Teresa Needham. Far right: LB.

In 1964, Barden gave up most competitive chess to devote his time to chess organisation, broadcasting, and writing about the game. He has made invaluable contributions to English chess as a populariser, writer, organiser, fundraiser, and broadcaster.

Leonard Barden
Leonard Barden at Bob Wade’s 80th birthday party, 2001.

He was controller of the British Chess Federation Grand Prix for many years, having found its first sponsor, Cutty Sark. He was a regular contributor to the BBC’s Network Three weekly radio chess programme from 1958 to 1963. His best-known contribution was a consultation game, recorded in 1960 and broadcast in 1961, where he partnered Bobby Fischer against the English masters Jonathan Penrose and Peter Clarke. This was the only recorded consultation game of Fischer’s career. The game, unfinished after eight hours of play, was adjudicated a draw by former world champion Max Euwe. Barden gave BBC television commentaries on all the games in the 1972 world championship. From 1973 to 1978 he was co-presenter of BBC2’s annual Master Game televised programme.

Julian and Nigel Short play Korchnoi in the Evening Standard 1976 simul. Leonard Barden observes.
Julian and Nigel Short play Korchnoi in the Evening Standard 1976 simul. Leonard Barden observes.

As of 2021, his weekly columns have been published in The Guardian for 65 years and in The Financial Times for 46 years. A typical Barden column not only contains a readable tournament report, but is geared toward promoting the game. His London Evening Standard column, begun in summer 1956, is now the world’s longest running daily chess column by the same author, breaking the previous record set by George Koltanowski in the San Francisco Chronicle. Koltanowski’s column ran for 51 years, 9 months, and 18 days, including posthumous articles.”

Leonard Barden (Linda Nylind of the Guardian)
Leonard Barden (Linda Nylind of the Guardian)

Leonard wrote this on the English Chess Forum in 2021 :

“I retired after Ilford 1964 when I finished a poor last in the England Olympiad team qualifier, returned at Hammersmith 1969 (equal 2nd behind Keene) and then played around 6-8 weekenders a year until 1972. My overall performance level between early 60s and early 70s dropped from around 225 to 215 BCF, so I wasn’t encouraged to pursue the comeback further.”

Leonard was Southern Counties (SCCU) champion in the 1953-54 season.

Leonard Barden, Stewart Reuben and Michael Franklin at the 1978 Aaronson Masters
Leonard Barden, Stewart Reuben and Michael Franklin at the 1978 Aaronson Masters

Leonard reveals this as his best game :

Leonard has authored or co-authored a number of highly regarded books, most of which are highly instructional to this day:

A Guide to Chess Openings (1957),

A Guide to Chess Openings
A Guide to Chess Openings

How Good Is Your Chess? (1957),

How Good is Your Chess ?
How Good is Your Chess ?

Chess (1959),
Introduction to Chess Moves and Tactics Simply Explained (1959),

An Introduction to Chess Moves and Tactics Simply Explained
An Introduction to Chess Moves and Tactics Simply Explained

Modern Chess Miniatures (with Wolfgang Heidenfeld, 1960),
Erevan 1962 (1963),
The Ruy Lopez (1963),

The Ruy Lopez
The Ruy Lopez

The Guardian Chess Book (1967),

The Guardian Chess Book
The Guardian Chess Book

An Introduction to Chess (1967),

An Introduction to Chess
An Introduction to Chess

The King’s Indian Defence (1969),

The King's Indian Defence
The King’s Indian Defence

Chess: Master the Moves (1977),
Guide to the Chess Openings (with Tim Harding, 1977),

Guide to the Chess Openings
Guide to the Chess Openings

Leonard Barden’s Chess Puzzle Book (1977) (a collection of his Evening Standard columns),

Leonard Barden's Chess Puzzle Book
Leonard Barden’s Chess Puzzle Book

The Master Game (with Jeremy James, 1979),

The Master Game
The Master Game

How to Play the Endgame in Chess (1979),

How to Play The Endgame in Chess
How to Play The Endgame in Chess

Play Better Chess (1980),

Play Better Chess
Play Better Chess

Batsford Chess Puzzles (2002),

Batsford Chess Puzzles
Batsford Chess Puzzles

One Move and You’re Dead (with Erwin Brecher, 2007) : Can you supply an image?

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Happy Birthday IM Malcolm Pein (14-viii-1960)

IM Malcolm Pein at the 2019 British Championships in Torquay, courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Malcolm Pein at the 2019 British Championships in Torquay, courtesy of John Upham Photography
Malcolm Pein signature
Malcolm Pein signature

BCN sends IM Malcolm Pein best wishes on his 61st birthday.

IM Malcolm Pein at the King's Place Rapidplay 2013, photograph courtesy of John Upham
IM Malcolm Pein at the King’s Place Rapidplay 2013, photograph courtesy of John Upham

Malcolm Bernard Pein was born in Liverpool (South). South Lancashire and his mother’s maiden name is Max. (Gaige, Felice and chessgames.com all incorrectly have Malcolm L. Pein).

Malcolm Pein
Malcolm Pein

This was written about Malcolm aged 19 just prior to the 1979 Spassky vs the BCF Junior Squad simultaneous display :

” London University and Liverpool, Rating 199. British under-18 co-champion, 1977. Currently No.1 player for London University.”

Malcolm hard at work
Malcolm hard at work

Malcolm studied Chemical Engineering at University College, London entering in September 1978. He won The University of London championship in February 1979. The runner-up was John Upham also from UCL.

He became an International Master in 1986 and is a FIDE Delegate (for England) and an International Director.

Malcolm’s peak rating was 2450 in January 1992 at the age of 32.

Malcolm Pein (third from right) and a victorious Wood Green team. Trophy presented by Magnus Magnusson
Malcolm Pein (third from right) and a victorious Wood Green team. Trophy presented by Magnus Magnusson

With the white pieces Malcolm prefers the Queen’s Gambit almost exclusively with 1.e4 rarely seeing the light of day scoring 62%

As the second player, Malcolm champions the Pirc, Modern and Grunfeld defences scoring 49% which MegaBase 2020 claims is “above average”.

Malcolm plays for 4NCL Wood Green and Liverpool.

IM Malcolm Pein at the Bristol heat of the British Blitz Qualification event in 2019
IM Malcolm Pein at the Bristol heat of the British Blitz Qualification event in 2019

In addition to his newspaper column and magazine editorial, Malcolm has written a number of chess books and booklets, including :

Grunfeld Defence (Batsford, 1981) – ISBN 978-0713435948
Grunfeld Defence (Batsford, 1981) – ISBN 978-0713435948
Blumenfeld Defence [with Jan Przewoznik] (Everyman, 1991) – ISBN 978-0080371337
Blumenfeld Defence [with Jan Przewoznik] (Everyman, 1991) – ISBN 978-0080371337
Daily Telegraph Guide to Chess (Batsford, 1995) – ISBN 978-0713478143
Daily Telegraph Guide to Chess (Batsford, 1995) – ISBN 978-0713478143

The Exchange Grunfeld [with Adrian Mikhalchishin] (Everyman, 1996) – ISBN 978-1857440560]

Nigel Short's Chess Skills (1989) (was ghost written by Malcolm)
Nigel Short’s Chess Skills (1989)(was ghost written by Malcolm)

Malcolm won the ECF President’s Award in 2017:

“Malcolm Pein’s contribution to English Chess is well known. He is CEO of Chess in Schools and Communities, has been largely involved in the organisation of the London Chess Classic and is currently the ECF’s Delegate to FIDE and International Director. On top of all that he is also an IM, writes the ‘Daily Telegraph’ Chess Column, and edits CHESS Magazine.”

IM Malcolm Pein at the London Chess Classic 2013, photograph courtesy of John Upham
IM Malcolm Pein at the London Chess Classic 2013, photograph courtesy of John Upham

Malcolm is also owner (and a director) of the London Chess Centre (a company incorporated on May 1st 1997) which has relocated to 44, Baker Street, former home of the British Chess Magazine retail premises. This was purchased from Stephen Lowe and Shaun Taulbut in 2010 when the leasehold on the Euston Road premises expired. Another director is Henry Gerald Mutkin who is the main organiser of the annual Varsity match.

Here is his Wikipedia entry

Malcolm has a son, Jonathan who is a strong player and he resides in London, NW7.

In 2021 Malcolm stood as an alternative to Mike Truran in the contested election for CEO. On October 9th 2021 following “detailed and amicable discussions”  with Mike a away forward was agreed and Malcolm agreed to remain as International Director of the ECF and Mike remained as CEO.

Here is his Developing Chess web site.

Jonathan and Malcolm Pein at the 2016 Michael Uriely Memorial Tournament
Jonathan and Malcolm Pein at the 2016 Michael Uriely Memorial Tournament
Malcolm Pein & Dominic Lawson
Malcolm Pein & Dominic Lawson
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Happy Birthday IM Nigel Povah (17-vii-1952)

IM Nigel Povah, courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Nigel Povah, courtesy of John Upham Photography

BCN wishes IM Nigel Edward Povah all the best on his birthday, July 17th in 1952.

Nigel Povah, from Knightmare, Volume 2 (1976-77) drawn by Chris Jones.
Nigel Povah, from Knightmare, Volume 2 (1976-77) drawn by Chris Jones.

Nigel was born in Wandsworth, London.

He became a FIDE Master in 1980, an International Master in 1983 and an International Correspondence Master in 1983. He became England’s 7th ICCF GM in 1989. His predecessors were :

210048 Markland, Peter Richard ENG GM 1984
210060 Penrose, Dr. Jonathan ENG GM 1983
210178 Webb, Simon ENG GM 1983
210011 Clarke, Peter Hugh ENG GM 1980
210029 Hollis, Adrian Swayne ENG GM 1976
210062 Richardson, Keith Bevin ENG GM 1975

Nigel has been Southern Counties (SCCU) champion for the 1974-75 and 1975-76 seasons.

Nigel Povah, circa 1979
Nigel Povah, circa 1979

Nigel has played for Streatham & Brixton Club (see the Andrew Martin video below) and was part of this very strong London club which developed many original opening ideas.

Nigel was a strong opening theoretician and developed ideas in the Sicilian Lasker-Pelikan, Sveshnikov and English Openings amongst others.

Knightmare magazines are a valuable source of information about the club and it’s members.

Below we have the game Berg-Povah, Wijk aan Zee, 1979 annotated by Streatham & Brixton team mate, IM Andrew Martin :

and here is the game in full:

Nigel continues to play for Guildford in the Surrey League and in the Surrey Border League as well as Guildford in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL).

Nigel started the highly successful 4NCL teams sponsored by his company Guildford A&DC (Assessment & Development Consultants) and the 4NCL team(s) are now run by Roger Emerson and Julien Shepley having taken a back seat since June 2017.

His peak rating was 2385 in January 1980 aged 28.

Nigel is married to Gill and has a daughter Lucy and a son, Jonathan.

In recent times Nigel has been playing more nationally and internationally and and has become a specialist in the Accelerated London System (with 2.Lf4) and is a regular on the International veterans circuit.

In 2021 Nigel is a leading light in the preparations for Guildford Chess Club’s 125th Anniversary celebrations.

Here is an article written by Richard W. O’Brien from British Chess, Pergamon Press, 1983 :

“Nigel Povah was for the majority of the seventies a chess professional. He mixed playing with teaching in various schools and also coached individuals. He is a BCF qualified coach. Danny King (our second youngest international master) and the late Ian Wells were two who clearly benefited from his teachings.

On the playing front he won numerous congresses including Hammersmith 1970, Paignton 1974, LARA 1974, Evening Standard 1974, LARA(again) 1978 and Charlton 1979. In 1975 he won the SCCU Championship and again in 1976. He first played in international tournaments in 1973 when as one of the weaker players in the tournament he produced excellent annotations for the bulletin, even for the games he lost. These were the first signs of becoming a chess writer. To date he has shared first place in four international tournaments Robert Silk 1976, Malta 1976, Malta(again) 1979 and Wijk aan Zee Master Reserves 1979. It can be seen that 1979 was a good year. He also shared 4th place in the British Championship and represented
England at senior level against Denmark in the same year.

His road to the lM title has been long and hard. On several occasions he got close to the norm requirement just to fail. At Lloyds Bank in 1978 and 1980 and Lewisham 1981 he got the necessary three norms. Had he then ceased playing (with an Elo of 23751 he would automatically have had the lM title confirmed at Lucerne in 1982. He however continued playing and became the victim of some complicated and, with respect, unfair FIDE regulations, and his title was delayed until 1983. Clearly had the General Assembly met between January 1982 and June 1982 he would have been awarded the title at least a year earlier!

He has written several books-Chess Training published by Faber, English:Four Knights Batsford, How to Play the English Batsford and was co-author of Sicilian: Lasker-Pelikan Batsford. These last three Batsford publications indicate his interest in current theory. Two of the games which follow- v Berg (see 16…Rb8) and v Speelman (see 12 NgS)certainly confirm this. The Streatham and Brixton club owe much to Nigel Povah in becoming one of the strongest clubs in the country. At one time an average second division side (London league) they have since won the league and been in contention more than once. For several years he was one of the main three organisers at the club and even today still continues to play for them and is currently their National Club match-captain although he now lives some twenty miles away in Guildford.

In 1979 he organised the First Regency International at Ramsgate. In conjunction with Ian Josephs (sponsor) and Bob Wade (controller) this has become a highly successful annual event.

Now married, his wife Gill presented him with a daughter Lucy shortly after the completion of the Regency International in 1982.

He now works for ICL as training consultant and limits his over the board chess to club chess for Streatham.

He has recently taken up postal chess and in 1983 after competing in the BPCF Jubilee he became a correspondence International Master.

He has a BSc in Psychology and an MSc in Occupational Psychology.”

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

According to Chess Training : “Two of his pupils were members of England’s victorious 4-man team in the World Under-16 team event.”

Here is his Wikipedia entry :

Sicilian Lasker-Pelikan
Sicilian Lasker-Pelikan
Chess Training : Nigel Povah
Chess Training : Nigel Povah
English : Four Knights
English : Four Knights
How to play the English Opening
How to play the English Opening
Assessment Centres and Global Talent Management
Assessment Centres and Global Talent Management
IM Nigel Povah, courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Nigel Povah, courtesy of John Upham Photography
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Happy Birthday IM Lawrence Cooper (16-vii-1970)

IM Lawrence Hugh Cooper, photograph from Cathy Rogers
IM Lawrence Hugh Cooper, photograph from Cathy Rogers

BCN wishes Happy Birthday to IM Lawrence Cooper (16-vii-1970)

Lawrence was born in Stone, Staffordshire and attend Walton High School, Stafford.

Lawrence Cooper, Demis Hassabis, Cathy Haslinger and Dharshan Kumaran in around 1986. Possibly at a Lloyds Bank event.
Lawrence Cooper, Demis Hassabis, Cathy Haslinger and Dharshan Kumaran in around 1986. Possibly at a Lloyds Bank event.

He became a FIDE Master in 1989 and then an International Master in 2001.

Lawrence was awarded the FIDE International Organiser title in 2011 and the FIDE Arbiter title in 2016.

Tim Dickinson and Lawrence Cooper at the 2012 London Chess Classic, Olympia
Tim Dickinson and Lawrence Cooper at the 2012 London Chess Classic, Olympia

His peak rating was 2430 in January 1988.

Lawrence plays for Wood Green in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL)  plus Newport (Shropshire), Stafford, Bushbury and Worcestershire CCA in other competitions.

Lawrence Cooper (centre with trophy) being presented with 1992 BCF Counties Championship trophy by WIM Cathy Forbes. Others in the group include Michael Gough, Alan A Smith, Gerald Acey, Mike P Townsend, Malcolm Armstrong, Martin Costley, Alan Crombleholme, Graeme N Buckley, Paul Wallace, Mark A . Wheeler, Dave Carless, Darren P Wheeler, Keith Thompson, Ralph MA Allen and Graham Smith
Lawrence Cooper (centre with trophy) being presented with 1992 BCF Counties Championship trophy by WIM Cathy Forbes. Others in the group include Michael Gough, Alan A Smith, Gerald Acey, Mike P Townsend, Malcolm Armstrong, Martin Costley, Alan Crombleholme, Graeme N Buckley, Paul Wallace, Mark A . Wheeler, Dave Carless, Darren P Wheeler, Keith Thompson, Ralph MA Allen and Graham Smith
Full caption in image below
Full caption in image below
Full caption for above 1986 BCF Junior Squad group photograph
Full caption for above 1986 BCF Junior Squad group photograph

 

IM Lawrence Cooper, photography by Fiona Steil-Antoni
IM Lawrence Cooper, photography by Fiona Steil-Antoni
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