Category Archives: Player

Happy Birthday IM Paul Littlewood (18-i-1956)

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

BCN wishes Happy Birthday to Paul Littlewood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roll of Honour

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

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

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

A. Howard Williams, Martyn J. Corden, Paul E. Littlewood and A. Jonathan Mestel
A. Howard Williams, Martyn J. Corden, Paul E. Littlewood and A. Jonathan Mestel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the summer he gave up teaching and joined Phillips & Drew (stockbrokers). He now lives with his wife and family in the wilds of Essex.

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

Paul gives a simultaneous display in Letchworth.

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

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Happy Birthday FM Jonah Willow (30-xii-2002)

FM Jonah Willow, UKCC Terafinal 2018, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
FM Jonah Willow, UKCC Terafinal 2018, Courtesy of John Upham Photography

Happy Birthday FM Jonah Willow

Jonah B Willow was born in Nottingham on Monday, December 30th 2002. Jacob was the most popular boy’s name in 2002. “Lose Yourself” by Eminem was number one.

Jonah has a chess playing sister, Hambel, who plays for Newcastle-under-Lyme, West Nottingham, Staffordshire CA and Nottinghamshire CA.

Jonah’s first recorded graded standard play tournament was the 2010 Delancey UK Chess Challenge Terafinal and his first recorded rapidplay event was the Nottingham Rapidplay in 2011.

Jonah Willow at the 2012 UKK Terafinal. Courtesy of John Upham Photography
Jonah Willow at the 2012 UKK Terafinal. Courtesy of John Upham Photography

Jonah’s first published standard play grade was 96D in January of 2012 :

Jonah's ECF grading progress
Jonah’s ECF grading progress

Jonah has represented West Nottingham, 4NCL Wood Green, Nottinghamshire CA and Syston (Leicester).

FIDE rating profile for FM Jonah B Willow from Megabase 2020
FIDE rating profile for FM Jonah B Willow from Megabase 2020

It is a little curious as to the reason for the rating profile to halt at the end of 2018 since Jonah has played plenty of FIDE rated games since. Compare the above with :

FIDE rating for FM Jonah Willow from fide.com
FIDE rating for FM Jonah Willow from fide.com

Jonah has plus scores against : Mike Surtees, Peter Svidler (!), Richard Pert, Peter Shaw, Ranesh Ratnesan, Shreyas Royal, Keith Arkell and Ameet Ghasi to name but a few.

With the white pieces Jonah is a committed 1.e4 player but he has scored 83% with 1.Nc3!

Jonah plays the unusual Chekhover Variation (4.Qxd4) in the 2…d6 Sicilian : this is an interesting alternative and is discussed by GM Ben Finegold :

and

GM Varuzhan Akobian :

Jonah plays the Four Knights game with white.

As the second player he plays the Accelerated Dragon and the Modern Benoni.

He has his own Twitch TV channel.

On chess.com he is JonahWillow and his highest chess.com rating has been 2863 on April 5th 2020.

FM Jonah Willow, UKCC Terafinal 2018, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
FM Jonah Willow, UKCC Terafinal 2018, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
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Happy Birthday to IM Vaidyanathan Ravikumar (26-xii-1959)

IM Vaidyanathan Ravikumar
IM Vaidyanathan Ravikumar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Following that Ravi wrote a biographical work on Ulf Andersson :

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

and then

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

followed by

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

and most recently

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

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

Ravi is also India’s first vegan IM!

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

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

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

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

She became a Women’s International Master in 1992.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WIM Rita Atkins at the 2016 London Chess Conference  : The Didactics of Chess, Courtesy of John Upham Photography.
WIM Rita Atkins at the 2016 London Chess Conference : The Didactics of Chess, Courtesy of John Upham Photography.
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Happy Birthday IM Graeme Buckley (25-xii-1971)

IM Graeme Buckley, courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Graeme Buckley, courtesy of John Upham Photography

BCN sends best wishes to Graeme Buckley on his birthday.

Graeme Noel Buckley was born on Saturday, December 25th, 1971 in Wolverhampton, West Midlands.

His first chess club was Bushbury which is also known as Bilston Sports & Social Club Ltd. His father David is the long time club President.

Graeme’s first recorded games in Megabase 2020 were at the 1987 British Championship in Swansea were he scored a modest 4/11.

Graeme married IM Susan Lalic in Sutton, Surrey in 2001 and they reside in Sutton. They have two daughters, Lucy and Emma who attend Nonsuch High School for Girls following in the footsteps of their mother.

Graeme became a FIDE Master in 1994 and an International Master in 1995.

He has played for Midland Monarchs and Wood Green in 4NCL, Surrey CCA, Wimbledon 4NCL Guildford and Bushbury (in Wolverhampton)

According to ChessBase Graeme reached his highest FIDE rating in July 2003, aged 32 of 2420.

Graeme teaches chess in many Surrey Schools and in conjunction with Susan.

Graeme has been a director of Surrey County Chess Association for four years resigning in 2011.

Graeme was Southern Counties (SCCU) champion for the 2009-10 season

According to Easy Guide to the Queen’s Gambit Accepted, Cadogan, 1998 :

“Graeme Buckley caused a stir in his first year as a professional player securing his International Master title in a matter of months, quickly followed by his first grandmaster norm. More recently he has been involved in some major coaching projects. In 1996 he was manager of the English youth team, who achieved the impressive double of winning both the Glorney and Faber Cups.”

With the white pieces Graeme playa the Queen’s Gambit nowadays with Nf3 appearing before c4 having flirted with the Trompowski in the early days.

As the second player he plays the Sicilian Scheveningen, the King’s Indian and not the Queen’s Gambit Accepted despite authoring a book about it!

Multiple Choice by Graeme Buckley
Multiple Choice by Graeme Buckley
Easy Guide to the Queen's Gambit Accepted by Graeme Buckley
Easy Guide to the Queen’s Gambit Accepted by Graeme Buckley
Trends in the Trompovsky, Vol. 4
Trends in the Trompovsky, Vol. 4
IM Graeme Buckley, Surrey Open 2013, courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Graeme Buckley, Surrey Open, 2013, courtesy of John Upham Photography
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Remembering David Pritchard (19-x-1919 12-xii-2005)

David Parlett (lhs) & David Brine Pritchard (rhs) in 2005. Editors of Games & Puzzles magazine
David Parlett (lhs) & David Pritchard (rhs) in 2005. Editors of Games & Puzzles magazine

We remember David Pritchard who passed away on Monday, December 12th, 2005.

David Brine Pritchard was born on Sunday, October 19th, 1919. On this day the first US Distinguished Service Medal was awarded to a living female recipient, Anna Howard Shaw.

He was born in Wandsworth taking his mothers’  Winifred maiden name of Brine (as was customary in those days). His father was Arthur Pritchard (DoB : 4th January 1890) and he was the managing director of an Engineering Company. Arthur and Winifred married in Maidenhead, Berkshire in 1917.

At the time of the 1939 census David was a chiropodist and recorded as single and living in Munee Cottage, Main Street, Bedford. Main Street appears to have been renamed to Main Road which is in Biddenham. It is likely DBPs cottage was something like :

48 and 50 Main Road Biddenham, Bedford, Hertfordshire
48 and 50 Main Road Biddenham, Bedford, Hertfordshire

During the second world War David joined the Royal Air Force and was stationed in the Far East and following the war, he switched to intelligence work also for the RAF. He attained the rank of Squadron Leader and played much chess during this period of his life.

In 1950 David completed his first book : The Right Way to Play Chess, Elliot Right Way Books, 1950, ISBN 1-58574-046-2

The Right Way to Play Chess, Elliot Right Way Books, DB Pritchard, 1950.
The Right Way to Play Chess, Elliot Right Way Books, DB Pritchard, 1950.

(Ed : This was the first chess book of this article’s author and was thoroughly consumed!)

On page 224 of said book David wrote :

Chessplayers – and this must be whispered – are generally an egotistical, ill-mannered crowd. If they conformed to common rules of decorum these words would not have to be written

followed by

I once carried out a private survey at a well-known chess restaurant where a large number of ‘friendly’ games are always in progress. In less than 30 per cent of those observed was resignation made with a good grace. In two-thirds of the games the loser either knocked his king over, abruptly pushed the pieces into the centre of the board, started to set up the men for a fresh game, or got up and walked away without saying a word to his opponent.

He married Elaine Saunders in between January and March of 1952 in the Cheslsea Registry Office.

Elliot Right Way Books was an excellent choice of publisher for David and only 36 minutes by car from his new home in Godalming.

He won the Singapore Championship in 1954 and the Malaysian Championship in 1955.

Visiting https://www.chesshistory.com/winter/winter97.html you will find two images of David and Elaine playing chess in Singapore.

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

David was Southern Counties (SCCU) champion for the 1958-59 and 1965-66 seasons.

From the British Championships, 1959 in York we have this sparkling game with Frank Parr :

By now David had developed an  interest in chess variants and board games in general.

David was the  Chairman of the organising committee for the Battle of Britain Chess Tournament : he was runner-up in the first year to RF Boxall.

In 1970 he brought out his third book :  Begin Chess, David Pritchard, Elliot Right Way Books, 1952

Begin Chess by David Brine Pritchard, Elliot Right Way Books, 1970
Begin Chess by David Brine Pritchard, Elliot Right Way Books, 1970
Begin Chess by David Brine Pritchard, Elliot Right Way Books, 1970
Begin Chess by David Brine Pritchard, Elliot Right Way Books, 1970

David became President of British Chess Variants Society and wrote many books on variants and indoor games.

Here is an interview compiled by Hans Bodlaender about David’s Encyclopedia of Chess Variants :

Encyclopedia of Chess Variants, DB Pritchard, GAMES & PUZZLES PUBLICATIONS, 1994
Encyclopedia of Chess Variants, DB Pritchard, GAMES & PUZZLES PUBLICATIONS, 1994

Particularly interesting was this Q&A :

Do you think computers and the Internet will have effect on chess and on chess variants? If so, in what way?

I think that the Internet will inevitably introduce chess to more players but I forsee chess variants, because of their novelty, benefitting in particular from publicity on the net. I expect variants to gain more and more adherents in the future.

David was preparing a second edition before he passed away. This was completed and made available on-line by John Beasley.

The Pritchard family lived at Badgers Wood, Hascombe Road, Godalming, Surrey, GU8 4AA in an idyllic location :

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

and here is the exceptional interior with games room :

 

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

At the time of his passing he had five grand children.

From British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXVI (126, 2006), Number 2 (February), page 76 :

“David Brine Pritchard (19 x 1919 Streatham, London – 12 xiii 2005, London) has died following a fall . He was a strong amateur player and a successful author of books on chess and other games.

David Pritchard was a Squadron Leader in the RAF during the war and later rejoined it to work in intelligence. Whilst serving with the RAF he won the Malayan Chess Championships in 195, and he was also instrumental in the running the UK event known as Battle of Britain Tournament which attracted a strong field in its heyday and generated revenue for the RAF Benevolent Fund.

He was a dangerous. attacking played who scored a number of notable scalps in the British Championship including Penrose and Miles, without ever achieving the consistency required to challenge for the leading positions.  He won the Southern Counties championships in 1959 and 1966.

As an author, Pritchard’s most successful book was The Right Way to Play Chess (Elliott, 1950, with numerous reprints). which is still to be found for sale in many British bookshops.

He will also be remembered as a leading authority on chess variants : he was reported to be in the process of preparing a second edition of The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants (1994) at the time of his death. He was also a very good correspondence player, an inventor composer of chess puzzles of all sorts (some of which appeared in BCM) and his interest in Fairy chess dated back to the 1940s.

His wife Elaine Pritchard, the leading woman player of the 1950s and 1960s, and their daughter Wanda (who also played competitive chess) survive him. We send them our condolences on behalf of BCM and its readers.”

David Pritchard (19-x-1919 12-xii-2005), Passport photograph
David Pritchard (19-x-1919 12-xii-2005), Passport photograph

He was a leading member of Godalming Chess Club and played in the Surrey Border League.

The David Pritchard Shield from the Surrey Border League
The David Pritchard Shield from the Surrey Border League

Here is David’s Wikipedia entry

The Family Book of Games, DB Prichard, Brockhampton Press, 1994
The Family Book of Games, DB Prichard, Brockhampton Press, 1994
Popular Chess Variants, DB Pritchard, Batsford, 2000, ISBN 0713485787
Popular Chess Variants, DB Pritchard, Batsford, 2000, ISBN 0713485787
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Remembering Joseph Blake (03-ii-1859 11-xii-1951)

Joseph Henry Blake
Joseph Henry Blake

We remember English player Joseph Blake who passed away on Tuesday, December 11th, 1951.

Joseph Henry Blake was born on Thursday, February 3rd, 1859 in Farnborough, Hampshire. His parents were Joseph Denner and Eliza Blake (née Early). In 1871 Joseph (aged 12) had a brother Frank (aged 10), sisters Annie (8), Elizabeth S (7), Eliza E (1) and a servant, Kate Longman aged 18. The family lived in Lydia Cottage, Hewitts Road, Millbrook, South Stoneham, Hampshire.

According to the 1861 census Joseph was two years old and living with his parents and Frank in Rotten Row, Yeovil, Somerset.

In 1881 the family has upped sticks again and moved to 2 St. Lawrence Road, Saint Mary, Eastleigh, Hampshire. This address is also given as the South West Telegraph Office. Eliza was now the head of the household and a widower. Apart from Eliza E aged 11 everyone worked for the railway.

In 1891 Joseph had become Head of the Household (aged 32) and they had acquired a servant (Anna M Cornell) and a blacksmith (Francis Cornell) from Braintree in Essex.

In 1900 Joseph married Alice New in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. They lived at 24, Barton Road, Eastleigh, Hampshire. Tragically, Alice passed away in 1903.

Joseph Henry Blake
Joseph Henry Blake

By 1911 Joseph was 52 and had retained his career as a Railway Clerk. He lived at 33, Broomfield Road, Tolworth, Surrey :

33, Broomfield Road, Tolworth, Surrey
33, Broomfield Road, Tolworth, Surrey

He is recorded as the head of a household of one and a widower.

In 1939 Joseph was living at 10 Springfield Court, Springfield Road, Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey. He was now retired.

No doubt there would have been other addresses not captured by the census records.

According to The Encyclopedia of Chess, (Batsford, 1977), Harry Golombek OBE :

“A leading British player in the 1890s and for many years editor of the Games Section of the British Chess Magazine between the two world wars. Blake’s best tournament performance came at the age sixty-three when, at Weston-super-Mare in 1922, he came 1st ahead of Maróczy, Kostić, Sir George Thomas and Yates.

The remarkable feature about Blake’s chess career is that he retained his skill and his comprehension of the game for a much longer period that most chess players. This extended from 1887 when he was 1st at the Counties Chess Association tournament at Stamford ahead of Bird and Pollock, a performance he was to repeat in 1891 at Oxford, to 1909 when he tied with H. E. Atkins for first place in the British Championship, to 1923 when he won the Weston-super-Mare tournament, right into the 1930s when he was principal annotator for the British Chess Magazine.”

Chess Endings for Beginners, JH Blake, George Routledge First Edition (1900)
Chess Endings for Beginners, JH Blake, George Routledge First Edition (1900)

and according to The Encyclopedia of Chess (Robert Hale, 1970 & 1976), Anne Sunnucks :

“One of the leading British players at the end of the last century and the beginning of the present century. Born on 3rd February 1859. Represented England in the Anglo-American cable matches in 1902 and 1909. His best results were 1st in the Counties’ Chess Association Tournament 1887, ahead of Bird and MacDonnell; =1st with HE Atkins in the 1909 British Championship, but lost the play-off for the title; 1st at Weston-super-Mare 1922 ahead of Maroczy, Kostich, Sir George Thomas and Yates, and winner of the brilliancy prize for his game against Sir George Thomas; 2nd in the international correspondence chess tournament organised by Le Monde Illustre in 1895.

Blake was President of the Southern Counties Chess Association in 1911 and President of the Hampshire Chess Association from 1910-1912 and from 1927-1929. He was also Hon. Secretary of the City of London Chess Club for some years.”

According to Tim Harding in the excellent Correspondence Chess in Britain and Ireland, 1824-1987 :

Railway clerk Joseph Henry Blake, the leading English correspondence player of the 1890s; also a strong OTB amateur player. He was a regular contributor to British Chess Magazine from the 1880s to the late 1930s.

In British Chess Magazine, Volume XXXIX (39, 1919), Number 3 (March) we have the following from Julius du Mont : “I presume it relates more particularly to chess professionals in this country, at any rate, it does not seem to me that the jews hold rank amongst first-class amateurs in proportion to their numbers.

In London there are very few if any of the class of RC Griffith, GA Thomas, JH Blake, HG Cole, EG Sergeant, and many others to say nothing of the younger recruits , W.Winter and RHV Scott.”

From the 1949 British Chess Magazine (written by RN Coles) we have this :

JH Blake is Ninety

After an absence of ten years I looked in recently on the Kingston and Thames Valley Chess Club. There were many new faces and a number of familiar ones, among the latter one of rosy countenance, trim beard and twinkling eyes, none other than JH Blake, more vigorous than ever and attaining his 90th birthday on the 3rd February.

Twenty years ago in this same club I (RN Coles) was learning the game, now middle age approaches. Blake was an elderly man in those days, who had retired from all competitive play because of the strain it imposed; now, so far from showing the weight of years, he is back in competitive chess again.  He won the club championship last year and is in a fair way to repeating his victory this year. Of all the ‘Grand Old Men’ of chess, few have still been champions in their 90th year.

Older readers of the BCM will remember him as their Games Editor for many years, but few memories will cover the whole series of his successes beginning with a 1st at Stamford in 1887. Even 1922 must seem a distant year to the generation of today. That was the year that Maroczy and Kostic were invited to Weston-super-Mare to meet such rising young English masters as FD Yates and Sir George Thomas. And the first prize amongst those talented players was won by JH Blake, who had been born just when Morphy returned to England after his Paris Victory over Anderssen !

All readers of the BCM and all players everywhere will wish Britain’s oldest master continued health and increasing vigour, and those who knew him today will be surprised if he does not continue his attack for another decade at least.

Besides winning the first prize at Weston Blake also won the brilliancy prize with the following game : (#10,229)

British Chess Magazine, Volume LXXII (72, 1952), Number 2 (February), pp.44-46 contained an obituary with articles from MDB* :

*(Careful investigation by Richard James suggest that MDB is Mabel Dorothy Barker, JHB’s niece in 6th Cross Road.)

British Chess Magazine, Volume LXXII (72, 1952), Number 2 (February) pp. 44 - 46
British Chess Magazine, Volume LXXII (72, 1952), Number 2 (February) pp. 44 – 46
British Chess Magazine, Volume LXXII (72, 1952), Number 2 (February) pp. 44 - 46
British Chess Magazine, Volume LXXII (72, 1952), Number 2 (February) pp. 44 – 46

and EG Sergeant :

British Chess Magazine, Volume LXXII (72, 1952), Number 2 (February) pp. 44 - 46
British Chess Magazine, Volume LXXII (72, 1952), Number 2 (February) pp. 44 – 46
British Chess Magazine, Volume LXXII (72, 1952), Number 2 (February) pp. 44 - 46
British Chess Magazine, Volume LXXII (72, 1952), Number 2 (February) pp. 44 – 46

For more on this game and its often mis-reported continuation see this article from Edward Winter.

From Wikipedia :

“Joseph Henry Blake (3 February 1859, Farnborough, Hampshire – 11 December 1951, Kingston-upon-Thames) was an English chess master.

Blake won many tournaments played in England toward the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. He won at Stamford 1887, Oxford 1891 (joint), Brighton 1892, Cambridge 1893, and Salisbury 1898 (joint). He also took 5th at Manchester 1882, tied for 3-4th at Birmingham 1883 (Section B), took 4th at Bath 1884, tied for 6-8th at London 1889 (Henry Bird won), took 2nd at Cambridge 1890, tied for 3rd-4th at Woodhall Spa 1893, shared 2nd at Craigside 1895, took 3rd at Hastings (Amateur) 1895, took 2nd, behind Henry Ernest Atkins, at Bristol 1896, and won at Folkestone 1901.

He took 2nd in an international correspondence tournament organised by Le Monde Illustré in 1895, shared 1st in the 1909 British Championship in Scarborough but lost to Atkins the play-off, and shared 1st at London 1911. He was British correspondence champion in 1922.

Blake represented England in cable matches against the United States in 1902, 1909 and 1910.

His best achievement was victory, ahead of Géza Maróczy, George Alan Thomas, Fred Yates and Boris Kostić, at Weston-super-Mare 1922. He shared 2nd at London 1922 (Major Open), tied for 7-8th at Hastings International Chess Congress 1922/23 (Akiba Rubinstein won), took 2nd, behind Thomas, at London 1923, took 5th at Liverpool 1923 (Jacques Mieses won), tied for 7-8th at Hastings 1923/24 (Max Euwe won), tied for 6-7th at Weston-super-Mare 1924 (Euwe won), took 2nd, behind R.P. Michell, at London 1925, took 4th at London 1926 (Victor Buerger won), and tied for 7-9th at Weston-super-Mare 1926 (Euwe won).”

He is the author of Chess endings for beginners (London 1900).

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Best wishes FM Peter Batchelor (10-xii-1996)

FM Peter Batchelor at the 2014 British Championships, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
FM Peter Batchelor at the 2014 British Championships, Courtesy of John Upham Photography

Best wishes to FM Peter Batchelor on his birthday.

Peter J Batchelor was born on Tuesday, December 10th, 1996. “Breath” by The Prodigy was the UK Number One Single. His father is the player Guy Batchelor.

Peter’s first recorded rapidplay event was on the 17th of July 2005 in the Barnet Knights Under-9 tournament where he scored 4/6 and his first (!) standard play event was on August 20th 2005 being the British Land UK Terafinal which was not such a happy result.

His first published ECF grading was 56E in July 2006 at the age of ten with a rapidplay grading of 57A.

Peter played league chess in the Middlesex and London Leagues playing initially for Willesden & Brent and then with Wanstead & Woodford both with his father Guy.

Peter attended the Capital City Academy which is a “specialist sports and arts Academy in Willesden, North West London, in the borough of Brent.” He has returned there post-graduation to teach chess and run the school chess club.

Peter studied mathematics at the University of Warwick and now lives in London.

According to Ben Purton : “I captain Peter in the 4NCL chess league, he is one of the most professional and talented players on my squad. He is extremely smart and nice to be around. Peter would be an asset to any organisation in the future and any graduate scheme would be foolish not to take such a person on.

I have seen him grow in to one of the best U21 chess players in the UK and hope to see him gain his IM title soon.”

Peter became a FIDE Master in 2015 and, according to Felice and Megabase 2020 his peak FIDE rating was 2365 in December 2016.

FIDE rating profile for Peter Batchelor according to Megabase 2020
FIDE rating profile for Peter Batchelor according to Megabase 2020

Peter plays for Grantham Sharks in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL).

With the white pieces Peter plays the Queen’s Gambit and the Trompowsky Attack.

As the second player Peter plays the Classical variation of the Caro-Kann and the Alartortsev Variation.

On chess.com Peter plays under the nom de plume of Pbatch.

Peter Batchelor, 4NCL Final weekend, 2014, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
Peter Batchelor, 4NCL Final weekend, 2014, Courtesy of John Upham Photography

FM Peter Batchelor at the 2013 British Championships, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
FM Peter Batchelor at the 2013 British Championships, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
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Happy Birthday IM John Hawksworth (06-XII-1963)

IM John Crofton Hawksworth
IM John Crofton Hawksworth

We wish happy birthday to IM John Hawksworth born on Friday, December 6th, 1963.

John Crofton Hawksworth was “born in Brighton, England, in December 1963 to Robert Marshall Hawksworth and Norah Connor Hawksworth née Crofton. He was baptised at St Saviour’s Church of England church in Pimlico, London, in 1964.[1]”

This was written about John who was 15 just prior to the Spassky vs the BCF Junior Squad simultaneous display in 1979 :

“Bradford Grammar and Bradford. Rating 194. Yorkshire under-18 champion.”

He was awarded the IM title in 1986.

According to ChessBase his highest FIDE rating was 2370 in January, 1990 aged 27 which was the last year of serious competition at the 77th British Championships in Eastbourne.

He then pursued a highly successful career in the financial sector and is currently the Chief Economist for PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

IM John Crofton Hawksworth (standing,far left)
IM John Crofton Hawksworth (standing,far left)

IM John Crofton Hawksworth (standing, second from right)
IM John Crofton Hawksworth (standing, second from right)
At the Lloyds Bank Masters : Front (l-r) : Joel Benjamin, Ian Wells, Rear : Peter Morrish, Stewart Reuben, Richard Beville, Gary Senior, Richard Webb, John Hawksworth, Andrew King, Nigel Short, Mark Ginsburg, Daniel King, David Cummings, Erik Teichmann, John Brandford and Micheal Pagden
At the Lloyds Bank Masters : Front (l-r) : Joel Benjamin, Ian Wells, Rear : Peter Morrish, Stewart Reuben, Richard Beville, Gary Senior, Richard Webb, John Hawksworth, Andrew King, Nigel Short, Mark Ginsburg, Daniel King, David Cummings, Erik Teichmann, John Brandford and Micheal Pagden
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Happy Birthday GM Michael Adams (17-xi-1971)

GM Michael Adams
GM Michael Adams

We send best wishes to GM Michael Adams on his birthday, this day (November 17th) in 1971

Michael was Southern Counties (SCCU) champion in the 1996-97 season.

His Wikipedia entry is here

Michael Adams
Michael Adams

Michael, Tara and friend
Michael, Tara and friend
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