Category Archives: Player

Remembering FM John Littlewood (25-v-1931 16-ix-2009)

FM John Littlewood (25-v-1931 16-ix-2009) Source : BCM, 2009, October
FM John Littlewood (25-v-1931 16-ix-2009). Source : BCM, 2009, October

John Eric Littlewood was born in Sheffield on Wednesday, September 16th 1931. His mother’s maiden name was Wheeldon. He last resided in the WN8 postal area of Skelmersdale, West Lancashire.

He became a FIDE Master in 1989 at the age of 58. According to Felice (and ChessBase) his peak FIDE rating was 2395 in January 1980. However, it is certain that it would have been higher than that, in the 1960s and 1970s : more likely 2450 or possibly higher.

John, Jenny and Paul Littlewood, circa 1962. Kindly supplied by Paul Littlewood.
John, Jenny and Paul Littlewood, circa 1962. Kindly supplied by Paul Littlewood.

He coached his son Paul who became British Champion in 1981. His brother Norman was also a very strong player.

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 !

From “Chess Coaching” :

John Littlewood is a National Coach and the Director of Junior Chess to the British Chess Federation. He is a FIDE Master with national and international playing experience, and is an established chess writer, translator and journalist.

03-01-1962 37th Hastings International Chess Congress, 1962. World Champion Mikhail Botvinnik (R) playing against John Littlewood of England
03-01-1962 37th Hastings International Chess Congress, 1962. World Champion Mikhail Botvinnik (R) playing against John Littlewood of England

From “Learn Chess 2

“A British Master, formerly Northern Counties Champion and currently (1984) a National Coach for the British Chess Federation. John Littlewood has played for England in several international tournaments, including two Olympiads”

John Littlewood giving a simultaneous display
John Littlewood giving a simultaneous display

John wrote the “Test Your Chess” column in British Chess Magazine under the editorship of Murray Chandler

John Was Northern Counties Chess Union (NCCU) Champion in 1971, 1972, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1981 : a record seven times !

John with chess friends
John with chess friends

John won the Appleby-Frodingham Chess Club tournament in 1962 with 3.5/5 :

Appleby-Frodingham Tournament of 1962 crosstable
Appleby-Frodingham Tournament of 1962 crosstable

and then, in the same year came 3= in the British Championships with 7.5/11 :

Truncated crosstable from the 1962 British Championship in Whitby
Truncated crosstable from the 1962 British Championship in Whitby

and in 1969 in Rhyl John was unfortunate not to share the title with Dr. Jonathan Penrose after losing to Frank Parr in the final round :

Truncated crosstable of the British Championships of Rhyl 1969
Truncated crosstable of the British Championships of Rhyl 1969
John Littlewood at Hastings 1963-4. Still taken from Pathe news reel footage
John Littlewood at Hastings 1963-4. Still taken from Pathe news reel footage
John Littlewood playing Wolfgang Unzicker in round one of the 1969-70 Hastings International Congress
John Littlewood playing Wolfgang Unzicker in round one of the 1969-70 Hastings International Congress

John won the Southport Open in 1972 and the picture below was taken shortly afterwards :

John and family following winning the 1972 Southport Open. See the BCM article below for a full caption
John and family following winning the 1972 Southport Open. See the BCM article below for a full caption

John won the Chorley tournament of 1977 with 7/9

Chorley 1977 tournament crosstable
Chorley 1977 tournament crosstable

JEL won the British Chess Federation’s President’s Award in 2000.

FM John Littlewood at 4NCL courtesy of Helen Milligan
FM John Littlewood at 4NCL courtesy of Helen Milligan

In 2006 John won the BCF Veterans / Seniors title for the first time repeating the feat in 2008 sharing with George Dickson.

With the White pieces John almost exclusively played 1.e4 favouring the Wormald Attack, Open Sicilians and the Rossolimo variation.

As the second player John played the Closed Ruy Lopez, the Sicilian Dragon and the Grünfeld defence.

In the following video IM Andrew Martin discusses the game Bisguier – Littlewood, 1962.

Rather than reinventing an already round wheel we reproduce the following ten page tribute in the October 2009 issue of British Chess Magazine. The tribute is by John Saunders :

British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXIV (129), 2009, Number 10, October, page 536
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXIV (129), 2009, Number 10, October, page 536
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXIV (129), 2009, Number 10, October, page 537
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXIV (129), 2009, Number 10, October, page 537
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXIV (129), 2009, Number 10, October, page 538
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXIV (129), 2009, Number 10, October, page 538
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXIV (129), 2009, Number 10, October, page 539
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXIV (129), 2009, Number 10, October, page 539
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXIV (129), 2009, Number 10, October, page 540
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXIV (129), 2009, Number 10, October, page 540
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXIV (129), 2009, Number 10, October, page 541
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXIV (129), 2009, Number 10, October, page 541
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXIV (129), 2009, Number 10, October, page 542
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXIV (129), 2009, Number 10, October, page 542
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXIV (129), 2009, Number 10, October, page 543
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXIV (129), 2009, Number 10, October, page 543
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXIV (129), 2009, Number 10, October, page 544
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXIV (129), 2009, Number 10, October, page 544
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXIV (129), 2009, Number 10, October, page 545
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXIV (129), 2009, Number 10, October, page 545

A rather detailed article from Tartajubow on Chess II

Here is how news of his passing was received on the English Chess Forum

Here is an obituary from Leonard Barden in The Guardian

Here is an obituary published in The Times of London

Farewell to John Littlewood : The Lincolnshire Poacher

and, finally a history of JEL from the Yorkshire Chess Archives

FM John Littlewood (25-v-1931 16-ix-2009)
FM John Littlewood (25-v-1931 16-ix-2009)

Here is John’s Wikipedia entry

How to Play the Middle Game in Chess by John Littlewood, Collins, 1974
How to Play the Middle Game in Chess by John Littlewood, Collins, 1974
Chess Coaching by John Littlewood, The Crowood Press, 1991
Chess Coaching by John Littlewood, The Crowood Press, 1991
Learn Chess by Edward Penn and John Littlewood, Pitman House, 1980
Learn Chess by Edward Penn and John Littlewood, Pitman House, 1980
Learn Chess : Teacher's Book,  by Edward Penn & John Littlewood, Pitman House, 1980
Learn Chess : Teacher’s Book, by Edward Penn & John Littlewood, Pitman House, 1980
Learn Chess 2 by John Littlewood, Adam & Charles Black, 1984
Learn Chess 2 by John Littlewood, Adam & Charles Black, 1984
FM John Littlewood (25-v-1931 16-ix-2009)
FM John Littlewood (25-v-1931 16-ix-2009)

Happy Birthday WGM Anya Sun Corke (12-ix-1990)

WGM Anya Sun Corke
WGM Anya Sun Corke

We wish happy birthday to WGM Anya Sun Corke on her birthday.

Anya Sun Corke was born in California, USA on Wednesday, September 12th 1990.

In 2013, Anya graduated from Wellesley College summa cum laude with a B.A. in Russian and Philosophy

She became a woman’s Grandmaster in 2004.

Her peak FIDE rating (according to Felice) was 2301 in October 2008.

FIDE rating profile of WGM Anya Sun Corke
FIDE rating profile of WGM Anya Sun Corke

With the white pieces Anya played the Queen’s Gambit and Trompowski Attack

As the second player Anya played the Sicilian Kan, French Rozentalis (3.Nc3 Nc6) and the Grünfeld Defence.

Anya won outright the 2007 Budapest First Saturday FM tournament :

Budapest First Saturday FM Tournament, 2007
Budapest First Saturday FM Tournament, 2007

She gave up competitive chess in 2014.

An almost miniature from the 2006 British Championship :

From Wikipedia :

“Anya Sun Corke (born 12 September 1990 in California, USA) is an English chess player holding the title of Woman Grandmaster (WGM). She played for Hong Kong, where she was the top ranked chess player, until 2009.[1]

Corke earned the WGM title with her performance in the 36th Chess Olympiad, playing for the Hong Kong men’s team.[2][3]

She was the 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008 Hong Kong National Champion (for men and women), one of the youngest national champions ever at the age of 13 years and 9 months.

She was the British Junior Under-11 Champion in 2002[4] and the Under-12 Champion in 2003,[5] the first girl to win either of these age groups. In 2004, she became joint British U-14 Champion.[6]

In December 2004, she won the Asian Youth Girls U-14 Championship in Singapore.[7]

In August 2005, she jointly won with Alisa Melekhina and Abby Marshall the second annual Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls under-19.[8]

Corke represented the England Women’s team at the 2012 Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey,[9][10] and the 2013 European Team Championship in Warsaw, Poland.[11]

In 2013, she graduated from Wellesley College summa cum laude with a B.A. in Russian and Philosophy.[12][13]

In 2014, she started a Ph.D. program in Slavic Languages and Literatures at Yale University.”

WGM Anya Sun Corke
WGM Anya Sun Corke

Remembering Paul List (09-ix-1887 09-ix-1954)

Paul M List
Paul M List

Remembering Paul List (09-ix-1887 09-ix-1954)

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

“PM List was born in Memel, Lithuania in 1887. After living in Berlin for many years, where he was manager of the bridge and chess rooms in a well-known café-restaurant, he came to this country in 1936.

He has competed in many tournaments, local and international. He, too, failed to get into the prize list in the recent London International Tournament, but he is a resourceful player, particularly in defensive positions.

His best performance was Berlin, 1925 where he came first, ahead of Richter. Since he came to this country he has become an art dealer, but chess is still one of his foremost activities.”

Scene at London. From left to right - Seated : Fairhurst, List and Winter in play. Standing König and Sir George Thomas
Scene at London. From left to right – Seated : Fairhurst, List and Winter in play. Standing König and Sir George Thomas

Here is an article by Matthew Sadler on the 1954 British Lightning Championship won by List

Dr. Paul List (09-ix-1887 09-ix-1954). Source : The Anglo-Soviet Radio Chess Match.
Dr. Paul List (09-ix-1887 09-ix-1954). Source : The Anglo-Soviet Radio Chess Match.

Here is his (surprisingly brief) obituary from British Chess Magazine, Volume LXXIV (1954), Number 10 (October), page 324 :

“Dr. Paul List, the British Lightning Championship winner a year ago (though he could not hold the title because he was not a naturalised Briton), died in London at the age of 66. A player of master strength, Dr. List left his native Russia for Germany in the 1920’s, and began on his second exile in 1938 when sought refuge in this country from Germany.”

Item from Kington Times - Saturday 02 June 1951 regarding the visit of Dr. List
Item from Kington Times – Saturday 02 June 1951 regarding the visit of Dr. List

From The Illustrated London News in 1953 (by BH Wood) :

“Sixty-five-year-old Dr. (not of medicine) Paul List, the oldest competitor, who settled in Britain about 1937 and has been thinking of becoming naturalised ever since, finished with a marvellous fifteen-and-a-half points out of a possible eighteen”

Dr. Paul M. List. Source : https://www.kingpinchess.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/They-provided-their-own-heat1.jpg
Dr. Paul M. List. Source : https://www.kingpinchess.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/They-provided-their-own-heat1.jpg

Here is his Wikipedia entry

Remembering Elijah Williams (07-x-1809 08-ix-1854)

We note today (September 8th) in 1854 marks the passing of Elijah Williams.

We are not aware of a verified image / likeness of Elijah Williams. Possibly the archives of Bristol based newspapers would help?

From The Complete Chess Addict (Faber & Faber, 1987, page 147-8) by Mike Fox and Richard James :

“The most boring games of all time? We turn to the London tournament of 1851, and the interminable encounters between Elijah (The Bristol Sloth) Williams and the deservedly unknown James Mucklow (‘a player from the country’ says the tournament book sniffily).

Elijah introduced the concept of Sitzkrieg into chess : he’d sit there, taking two and a half hours on a single move until his opponent dropped from boredom. The tournament book records games in excess of twenty hours (one was adjourned after a whole day, at the twenty-ninth move). Mucklow (a much worse player) was no swifter, and when they got together it must have been like watching an oil painting. (‘Both players nearly asleep,’ recorded a drowsy secretary midway through one mind-grinding marathon.)

Howard Staunton’s commentary says it all : ‘Each…exhibits the same want of depth and inventive powers in his combinations, and the same tiresome prolixity in manoeuvring his men. It need hardly be said that the games, from first to last, are remarkable only for their unvarying and unexampled dullness”

Here is an excellent article by Neil Blackburn (aka SimaginFan)

From The Oxford Companion to Chess (OUP, 1983) by Hooper and Whyld :

“English player. A native of Bristol, from where he edited one of the earliest newspaper columns (Bath and Cheltenham Gazette, 1840-6), Williams gave up his job as an apothecary in 1844, moved to London, and attempted to earn a living at chess. In the London international tournament of 1851, a knock-out event, Williams defeated Lowenthal in the first round (4-2—1) but lost to Wyvill in the third and penultimate round (+3-4), He was awarded third prize after defeating Staunton (+4=1 — 3), He admired Staunton’s play and like several of his contemporaries adopted the positional style of the English school; but after this match the master never forgave his pupil, Williams played matches against Lowenthal in 1851 (+5 = 4-7), Horwitz in 1852 ( + 5 = 9—3), and Harrwitz in 1852 ( = 3—7),
and he again lost to Harrwitz in 1853.

In 1851 Williams won a handicap match against Staunton, who conceded a three-game start; of the games actually played Williams won four, drew three, and
lost six. When cholera broke out in London he posted a notice on his door offering preventive medication free. Supplies had run out when, feeling unwell, he left home for the last time; seized with violent pain when in the Strand he entered Charing Cross Hospital where he died of the disease two days later, leaving his wife and children destitute.

He wrote two books, Souvenir of the Bristol Chess Club (1846) and Horae Divanianae (1852). He also edited a chess column in The Field from Jan. 1853, when the magazine was founded, until his death.”

Souvenir of the Bristol Chess Club
Souvenir of the Bristol Chess Club

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

“A prominent British master of the mid-nineteenth century who was famed for the slowness of his play at a period when chess clocks for important competitions had not yet come into fashion. Williams was born in Bristol where he practised as an apothecary but soon became so attached to chess (he was president of the Bristol Chess Club and also conducted a chess-column in the Bath and Cheltenham Gazette (from 8 September 1840 to 21 October 1946) that he made the game his profession.

Abandoning Bristol for London where the life of a chess professional was considerably more profitable than in the provinces, he contested a number of matches with varying success; e.g. 1846 v. Kennedy (+4-2=0) and 1852 v. Horwitz (+5-3=9). In three matches v. Harrwitz he met with decisive reverses (a total of +2-17=8) but gained a curious triumph over Staunton in 1851. Although losing on games played by +4-6=3 Williams emerged a technical victor as the result of Staunton’s rash decision to offer starting odds of three games ! This match, however, produced much fine chess.

Williams also participated in the first international tournament at London 1851 where he took third prize behind Anderssen and Wyvill. An analysis of his games from the important events of 1851 reveals that Williams had developed a most sophisticated playing style, employing positional devices which were not to
become current for a further sixty years. While in London in 1852, Williams published a collection of games under the title of Horae Divanianae being a selection of 150 games by leading masters, most of which had been played at Simpson’s Divan. He wrote the chess-column for The Field, from 1853 to 1857.

He died in London at Charing cross Hospital of cholera on 8 September 1854. we emphasize this date since the usual date given is that of I September 1854. But we are indebted to Mr. Kenneth Whyld for the information about the correct date on the death certificate which also states he was forty-four when he died.
Up to now his date of birth was not known and was assumed to have been considerably earlier. (R.D.K.)”

Sunnucks is silent on EW for an unknown reason.

From Wikipedia :

“Elijah Williams (7 October 1809 – 8 September 1854) was an eminent British chess player of the mid-19th century. He was the first president of the Clifton Chess Club, and publisher of a book of games from the Divan Club. His most notable result was at the 1851 London tournament, in which he defeated the celebrated British player Howard Staunton in the play-off for third place.

He was accused by Staunton of taking an average of 2½ hours per move during some matches, a strategy thought to cause opponents to lose their focus on the match. According to Staunton, following a particularly dilatory performance by Williams in the London 1851 tournament, a 20-minute per turn time limit was adopted for standard play the next year. However other sources contradict this viewpoint and indeed it was not uncommon for Staunton to attribute his losses to the intolerable dilatory play of his opponents. Staunton is quoted as remarking while playing against Williams, ‘… Elijah, you’re not just supposed to sit there – you’re supposed to sit there and think!'”

Williams died in London, a victim of the 1854 Broad Street cholera outbreak.”

Happy Birthday IM Lorin D’Costa (05-ix-1984)

IM Lorin D'Costa. London Chess Classic 2014, courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Lorin D’Costa. London Chess Classic 2014, courtesy of John Upham Photography

Birthday of IM Lorin D’Costa (05-ix-1984)

Lorin Alexander P D’Costa was born on Wednesday, September 5th 1984. “What’s Love Got To Do With It” by Tina Turner was number one in the UK singles chart. His mother’s maiden name was Antheunis. He studied Dutch and Management at University College, London

According to Wikipedia : “Lorin is a masculine given name. The meaning of Lorin derives from a bay or laurel plant; of Laurentum (wreathed/crowned with laurel). Laurentum, in turn is from laurus (laurel), from the place of laurel trees, laurel branch, laurel wreath. Laurentum was also a city in ancient Italy.”

Lorin was born in Lambeth, London and became a FIDE Master in 2004 and an International Master in 2008.

His first ever BCF/ECF grading was 36D in July 1994 aged 10 but his grading very quickly improved :

BCF/ECF Grading Profile
BCF/ECF Grading Profile

His peak FIDE rating was 2485 in April 2009.

Lorin's FIDE Rating Profile
Lorin’s FIDE Rating Profile

Lorin has the unique distinction of gaining the title of “Strat” four times for winning the UK Chess Challenge Terafinal in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003. Only four other players have won the title more than once : Peter Poobalasingam, Félix José Ynojosa Aponte, Marcus Harvey and Koby Kalavannan.

Lorin plays for Hendon in the London League and 4NCL Barbican in the Four Nations Chess League.

IM Lorin D'Costa at the 2017 Michael Uriely Memorial Tournament
IM Lorin D’Costa at the 2017 Michael Uriely Memorial Tournament

Lorin was Southern Counties (SCCU) champion for the 2008-09 season.

Lorin became a Director of Lorinchess Ltd in March 2020 and currently resides in Wembley, Middlesex.

With the white pieces Lorin prefers the Queen’s Gambit but does also play 1.e4, 1.c4 and 1.Nf3 so a fairly wide repertoire.

As the second player Lorin prefers the Sicilian Kan and the Nimzo-Indian Defence.

Here is a convincing win against Ian Nepomniachtchi from Budva, 2009 :

IM Lorin D'Costa at the 2013 King's Place Rapidplay, courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Lorin D’Costa at the 2013 King’s Place Rapidplay, courtesy of John Upham Photography

In 2012 Lorin and Nick Murphy created Chess on Toast and published a series of introductory DVDs including :

Chess On Toast
Chess On Toast

Lorin has published several chess books including :

Who Dares Wins!, Everyman, 2010
Who Dares Wins!, Everyman, 2010
The Sicilian Scheveningen, Move by Move, Everyman, 2012
The Sicilian Scheveningen, Move by Move, Everyman, 2012
The Panov-Botvinnik Attack, Move by Move, Everyman, 2013
The Panov-Botvinnik Attack, Move by Move, Everyman, 2013
The Queen's Indian, Move by Move, Everyman, 2016
The Queen’s Indian, Move by Move, Everyman, 2016

and several Chessbase DVDs including :

The Giuoco Piano, Chessbase,  2013
The Giuoco Piano, Chessbase, 2013
Fritz Trainer : A Repertoire Against the Sicilian, 2015
Fritz Trainer : A Repertoire Against the Sicilian, 2015
IM Lorin D'Costa at GM Matthew Sadler at the 2017 Michael Uriely Memorial Tournament, courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Lorin D’Costa at GM Matthew Sadler at the 2017 Michael Uriely Memorial Tournament, courtesy of John Upham Photography

Happy Birthday IM Sam Collins (05-ix-1982)

IM Sam Collins courtesy of Sean Dwyer Photography (2015)
IM Sam Collins courtesy of Sean Dwyer Photography (2015)

BCN wishes Happy Birthday to IM Sam Collins (05-ix-1982)

Samuel E Collins was born on Sunday, September 5th, 1982 in Dublin, Republic of Ireland.

He attended Gonzaga College, Ranelagh, Dublin (founded in 1950) famously very active at chess and then studied at University College, Dublin (UCD).

Sam spent three years in London and one year in Japan where he found time to win their national championship.

Sam became a FIDE Master in 2003 and an International Master in 2004 and holds two GM norms.

His peak FIDE rating was 2495 in August 2014 at the age of 32.

According to chessgames.com :

“Collins won the Irish Championship twice, in 2002 and 2014, and the Japanese Championship in 2009.”

According to The Tarrasch Defence, move by move :

“Sam Collins is an International Master with two Grandmaster norms, and a former Irish and Japanese Champion, He has represented Ireland at seven Olympiads, winning an individual gold medal at Bled 2002. He has a wealth of teaching and writing experience, and has produced many books, DVDs and magazine articles on chess.”

According to An Opening Repertoire for White :

“Sam Collins is a chess writer who regularly contributes to Chess, British Chess Magazine, Chess Mail and Chess Today. He is a former Irish Champion and Olympic gold medal winner.”

Crosstable for Dublin City, 2007
Crosstable for Dublin City, 2007
Crosstable from Budapest First Saturday GM Tournament 2008
Crosstable from Budapest First Saturday GM Tournament 2008
The Irish Mail on Sunday, February 8th 2015
The Irish Mail on Sunday, February 8th 2015

With the white pieces Sam essays 1.e4 and prefers a main line Ruy Lopez when possible along with open Sicilians.

As the second players Sam enjoys the black side of a main line Ruy Lopez and main line Slavs.

Firstly an aperitif :

and then the main course :

Here is his Wikipedia entry

IM Sam Collins at the fourth 4NCL weekend in 2012
IM Sam Collins at the fourth 4NCL weekend in 2012

Here is Sam talking about his Alapin Sicilian DVD from GingerGM

An attacking repertoire for White by Sam Collins, Batsford, 2005.
An attacking repertoire for White by Sam Collins, Batsford, 2005.
Chess explained: The c3 Sicilian by Sam Collins, Gambit Publications, 2007.
Chess explained: The c3 Sicilian by Sam Collins, Gambit Publications, 2007.
The French Advance
The French Advance
The King's Indian Defence, move by move
The King’s Indian Defence, move by move
Karpov, move by move
Karpov, move by move
Understanding the Chess Openings
Understanding the Chess Openings
A Simple Chess Opening Repertoire for White
A Simple Chess Opening Repertoire for White
Know the Terrain Vol. 6
Know the Terrain Vol. 6
Gambit Busters, 2002
Gambit Busters, 2002
The Greatest Ever Chess Strategies
The Greatest Ever Chess Strategies

Happy Birthday GM Stephen Gordon (04-ix-1986)

GM Stephen Gordon, , courtesy of John Upham Photography
GM Stephen Gordon from the 2019 British Championships in Torquay, courtesy of John Upham Photography

We wish Stephen Gordon all the best on his birthday, this day (September 4th) in 1986.

Stephen John Gordon was born on Thursday, September 4th 1986 in Oldham, Lancashire where he has lived since.

He attended The Blue Coat School in Oldham

He became a FIDE Master in 2004, an International Master in 2006 and a Grandmaster in 2009.

In 2012 he shared first place with Gawain Jones in the British Championships in North Shields.

2012 British Championships part crosstable
2012 British Championships part crosstable

According to Felice his peak FIDE rating was 2556 in September 2012 at the age of 26.

Crosstable from the 2013 Budapest First Saturday GM Tournament
Crosstable from the 2013 Budapest First Saturday GM Tournament

Stephen plays for 3Cs in the Manchester Chess League and for Wood Green in the London League and for 4NCL 3Cs in the Four Nations Chess League.

Stephen Gordon at the final 4NCL weekend in 2014. Courtesy of John Upham Photography
Stephen Gordon at the final 4NCL weekend in 2014. Courtesy of John Upham Photography

With the White pieces Stephen almost always plays 1.d4 aiming for a Queen’s Gambit and other main lines.

As the second player, Stephen plays the Sicilian Najdorf and the Nimzo-Indian Defence.

From Wikipedia :

“Stephen J. Gordon (born 4 September 1986) is an English chess grandmaster.

In September 2004 he took a break from his A-level studies at The Blue Coat School, Oldham to compete in the thirteenth Monarch Assurance Isle of Man International.

In 2005, while still a FIDE Master, he finished 6th in the British Championships ahead of a Grandmaster and several International Masters.

At the EU Individual Open Chess Championship held at Liverpool in 2006, he led the tournament after eight rounds and finished a very creditable (joint) second, a half point behind winner Nigel Short and level with Luke McShane among others.

Probably his best result to date however, was second place in the 2007 British Championship, narrowly losing his share of the lead in the final round. In previous rounds, he defeated both tournament victor Jacob Aagaard and previous champion Jonathan Rowson.

By 2008, his rating had reached grandmaster level, although the title itself had not yet been secured. At the British Championship in Liverpool, he almost repeated his performance of the previous year, by taking a share of third place. He was the British under-21 Champion each consecutive year between 2005 and 2008. He became a grandmaster on 1 August 2009.

He has been one of the co-presenters of the chess podcast The Full English Breakfast since its inaugural show in October 2010.”

Stephen Gordon at The Plough Public House in 2014 for the annual Drunken Knights vs Wood Green London League match. Courtesy of John Upham Photography
Stephen Gordon at The Plough Public House in 2014 for the annual Drunken Knights vs Wood Green London League match. Courtesy of John Upham Photography

For more see Wiki Entry for Stephen Gordon

GM Stephen Gordon, courtesy of John Upham Photography
GM Stephen Gordon, courtesy of John Upham Photography

Best Wishes GM Michael Stean (04-ix-1953)

GM Michael Stean chats with ? at the 2014 Varsity Match. Courtesy of John Upham Photography
GM Michael Stean chats with ? at the 2014 Varsity Match. Courtesy of John Upham Photography

We send best wishes to GM Michael Stean on his birthday,

Michael Francis Stean was born Michael Francis Stein on Friday, September 4th, 1953 in Pancras, London. His mother’s maiden name is / was Jean Feldman. Michael has a brother, Howard.

Michael Stean
Michael Stean

He attended Latymer Upper School and Cambridge University.

His early chess days were spent at Richmond Junior Chess Club.

He became an International Master in 1975 and England’s third (OTB) Grandmaster in 1977 winning £2,500 from the Jim Slater Foundation.

His peak FIDE rating was 2540 in January 1979.

His mother (Jean) presented a trophy to the Marlow Congress (now the Berks and Bucks Congress) which became the Mrs. Jean Stean Cup.

Tony Miles and Michael Stean at the FIDE Zonal in Amsterdam, 1978. (Source: http://gahetna.nl)
Tony Miles and Michael Stean at the FIDE Zonal in Amsterdam, 1978. (Source: http://gahetna.nl)

According to British Chess (Pergamon, 1983) by Botterill, Levy, Rice and Richardson :

“Stean was educated at Cambridge University, He was equal first in the British Championship, Clacton, 1974, although only 4th in the playoff. He has been an important member of Korchnoi’s team for the last 5 years, and this perhaps has been responsible more than anything for the rounding out and maturing of his style from the sharp tactical play of the early 1970s to the solid positional GM (especially with the White pieces) of today.

Korchnoi, Stean and Keene try out matching vests and T-shirts from The University of Sussex sports centre, Falmer, East Sussex. It is likely that the yellow one was only worn for this press photo shoot.
Korchnoi, Stean and Keene try out matching vests and T-shirts from The University of Sussex sports centre, Falmer, East Sussex. It is likely that the yellow one was only worn for this press photo shoot.

Stean is a fine author; Simple Chess and the Sicilian Najdorf are both excellent books.

Michael Stean at the 1977 Lord John Cup
Michael Stean at the 1977 Lord John Cup

Temperamentally he is generally pleasant, good humoured and self confident, although he suffers from intermittent poor health which might help to explain his at times erratic results.”

According to Chessgames.com :

“Michael Francis Stean was born on the 4th of September 1953 in London, England. He finished 3rd at the 1973 World Junior Chess Championships behind Alexander Beliavsky and Tony Miles. Awarded the IM title in 1975 and the GM title in 1977 (The third Englishman to attain the title after Miles and Keene).

He finished 1st= in the 1974 British Championship but lost the play-off. He played on 5 English Olympiad teams from 1974 – 1983 and has won 1st prizes at Vrsac 1979, Smederevska Palanka 1980 and Beer Sheba 1982.

A specialist in Opening Theory he served as one of Viktor Korchnoi’s seconds in the 1977 – 1981 period. He is the author of Simple Chess, an introduction to chess strategy.”

Mchael Stean, Hastings 1972-1973. Source : British Chess Magazine, Volume 93, Number 2, page 53
Mchael Stean, Hastings 1972-1973. Source : British Chess Magazine, Volume 93, Number 2, page 53
The Robert Silk Fellowship Tournament, Canterbury, 1973. Source : British Chess Magazine, Volume 93, Number 5, page 192
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
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

Harry Golombek wrote this about Michael in a 1980 Dataday chess diary :

“The fact that he has sprung up into second place among English players as regards Elo ratings demonstrates the considerable advance Michael Stean has made in the course of a year.

Korchnoi vs Stean at the Philips & Drew Masters of 1980. The game was drawn in 19 moves.
Korchnoi vs Stean at the Philips & Drew Masters of 1980. The game was drawn in 19 moves.

In the 1978 diary I wrote that it would not be long before he gained the grandmaster title since he already possessed one norm of the title. The forecast proved to be correct as he duly acquired the title a few months after I wrote the prophecy.

He had though to take two more bites at the cherry before he managed to gain the required norms since the tournaments in which he played were not long events. They were Montilla in August 1977 where he came third below Gligoric and Kavalek and the Lord John Cup Tournament in London in September 1977 where he was equal 2nd with Quinteros and Mestel, first place being occupied by the Czechoslovak grandmaster, Hort.

Jan Timman plays Michael Stean at the 1978 Amsterdam FIDE Zonal. The Dutch GM won in 39 moves.
Jan Timman plays Michael Stean at the 1978 Amsterdam FIDE Zonal. The Dutch GM won in 39 moves.

Before that he had assisted Keene in seconding Korchnoi in his candidates match versus Polugayevsky and had done this to such effect that Korchnoi asked him and Keene to act as his seconds at his final match in the Candidates at Belgrade and later on still at the World Championship match against Karpov in the Philippines.

Nigel Short, Lubomir Kavalek and Michael Stean
Nigel Short, Lubomir Kavalek and Michael Stean

He also played successfully in Yugoslavia in 1977 (equal 2nd at Virovitica and equal 2nd at Bar). In 1978 he was 3rd at Beersheba below Korchnoi but head of Keene. Five points out of nine at the very strong Swiss System tournament at Lone Pine was followed by an excellent equal 4th with Miles at the tournament at Las Palmas. He has shown that he not only possesses the title of grandmaster but also plays like one.

Michael Stean (far right) at an unknown event
Michael Stean (far right) at an unknown event

A good example in the following game (Stean-Sax) against one of the joint first prize winners at the Las Palmas event. It was awarded the prize for the best game :”

From The Oxford Companion to Chess (OUP, 1984) by Hooper & Whyld :

“English player, International Grandmaster (1977). At Nice 1974, in the first of his several Olympiads, he won the brilliancy prize for his game against Browne.

Since then he has had several good results: Montilia 1976, equal second with Kavalek and Ricardo Calvo (1943— ) after Karpov; Montilia 1977, third (-1-3 = 6)after Gligoric and Kavalek ahead of R. Byrne, Taimanov, and Andersson; London 1977. second (+4=4—1) equal with Mestel and Quinteros after Hort ; Vrsac 1979, first (+ 8=5—1); Smederevska Palanka 1980, first (+7-6); Beersheba 1982, first, Stean was one of Korchnoi’s seconds in the world championship cycles of 1977-8 and 1980-1, and the two became close friends.

In particular Stean provided help with the openings, a subject on which he specialises. He published a book on the Najdorf variation of the Sicilian defence in 1976, and Simple Chess, a guide to the understanding of positional ideas, in 1978.”

GM Michael Stean
GM Michael Stean

From Wikipedia :

“Michael Francis Stean (born 4 September 1953) is an English chess grandmaster, an author of chess books and a tax accountant.

Michael Stean chats with David Levy at the London Chess Classic
Michael Stean chats with David Levy at the London Chess Classic

The game below (Stean-Browne) was the first winner of the World Brilliancy Prize established in 1974 by Isador Samuel Turover. The value of the prize was $1,000.”

See Michael Stean’s Wikipedia entry for more

Video Chess Event (See caption below)
Video Chess Event (See caption below)
Video Chess Caption
Video Chess Caption

In 1983 at the height of his powers Michael left the chess work and became a tax accountant. He is now a senior partner at RSM UK.

Apparently :

“A cross disciplinary tax partner, Michael’s experience spans both corporate and non-corporate taxation for clients spanning a wide range of companies (listed and private) as well as high net worth individuals. Areas of activity include advice on transactions and structures, dealing with enquiries conducted by the tax authorities and forensic tax services in tax disputes.

As a member of the large business and international tax sub-committee of the tax faculty of the Institute of ICAEW, Michael was an active contributor to the consultation and development of the so-called ‘GAAR’ (general anti-abuse rule) law enacted in 2013.

Formerly a professional chess grandmaster, Michael brings an analytical approach to the field of tax.”

Mchael Stean, tax accountant
Mchael Stean, tax accountant
Michael Francis Stean
Michael Francis Stean
Simple Chess by Michael Stean
Simple Chess by Michael Stean
Sicilian Najdorf by Michael Stean
Sicilian Najdorf by Michael Stean
Simple Chess by Michael Stean
Simple Chess by Michael Stean

Happy Birthday IM Joseph McPhillips (04-ix-1997)

IM Joseph McPhillips, UKCC Terafinal 2016, courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Joseph McPhillips, UKCC Terafinal 2016, courtesy of John Upham Photography

BCN says Happy Birthday to IM Joseph McPhillips (04-ix-1997)

Joe became a FIDE Master in 2015 and an International Master in 2018.

His peak FIDE rating is 2434 as at August 2019 and we predict it will increase.

FIDE rating profile of IM Joseph McPhillips
FIDE rating profile of IM Joseph McPhillips

In Joseph won outright the Kecskemet IM Tournament :

Kecskemet 2015 IM Tournament
Kecskemet 2015 IM Tournament

In 2016 Joseph won the Delancey UK Chess Challenge Terafinal to become a “Strat”* for the first time.

*Only Mike Basman knows what this means!

IM Joseph McPhillips, UKCC Terafinal 2016 Winner, courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Joseph McPhillips, UKCC Terafinal 2016 Winner, courtesy of John Upham Photography

Joseph plays for Bolton and for Wood Green in the Four Nations Chess League.

Joseph won outright the Budapest First Sunday IM tournament in 2018 :

Crosstable for Budapest First Sunday IM 2018
Crosstable for Budapest First Sunday IM 2018

With the white pieces Joseph prefers a main line Ruy Lopez and the Open Sicilian and he has recently started dabbling with 1.d4

As the second player Joseph employs the Classical French and the Queen’s Indian Defences.

IM Joseph McPhillips, UKCC Terafinal 2014, courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Joseph McPhillips, UKCC Terafinal 2014, courtesy of John Upham Photography

Happy Birthday IM Ezra Kirk (02-ix-1996)

IM Ezra Kirk, Hastings 2012-2013, courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Ezra Kirk, Hastings 2012-2013, courtesy of John Upham Photography

BCN wishes Happy Birthday to IM Ezra Kirk (02-ix-1996)

Ezra G Kirk was born on Monday, September 2nd 1996 in France.

Ezra Kirk, Sautron, 2007, Courtesy of Dominique Primel / Chessbase
Ezra Kirk, Sautron, 2007, Courtesy of Dominique Primel / Chessbase

Ezra attended Varndean College, Brighton and then the University of Bath to read Natural Sciences and is currently a Data Product Consultant at the Kubrick Group.

He edits chess books written by non-English speaking authors

Ezra became a FIDE Master in 2013 and an International Master in 2018

His peak rating is likely to be in the future but currently is 2445 in December 2018 aged 22.

Ezra plays for 4NCL Cheddleton in the Four Nations Chess League.

IM Ezra Kirk, Tours, 2020, Courtesy of Dominique Primel / Chessbase
IM Ezra Kirk, Tours, 2020, Courtesy of Dominique Primel / Chessbase

Here is one of Ezra’s best wins :

IM Ezra Kirk, Hastings 2012-2013, courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Ezra Kirk, Hastings 2012-2013, courtesy of John Upham Photography