Tag Archives: 2021

Death Anniversary of A(lfred) Christopher Reeves (19-ii-1939 03-xii-2012)

BCN remembers Dr. A(lfred) Christopher Reeves who passed away on Monday, December 3rd, 2012 in St. Agnes, Cornwall. His probate record (#4073868) is dated December 3rd, 2012 being recorded in the Bristol registry.

Alfred Christopher Reeves was born in Wharfedale, Yorkshire on Sunday, February 19th, 1939. His mother’s name was Tomlin.

Alfred detested his first name to the extent that he asked people to call him Christopher and, when asked, told them that the A was for Arthur. For this reason much of the chess literature uses Arthur whereas public records use Alfred.

In British Chess Magazine, Volume 133 (2013), Number 1 (January), page 2 we have this obituary from James Pratt:

“Alfred Christopher Reeves (Leeds, 19 ii 1939 – St Agnes?, 3 xii 2012). Chris Reeves was a FIDE Master of Composition. He toyed with entering the priesthood but became a child psychotherapist. He started composing (“…my solace and diversion …”) in 1960, largely specialising in the orthodox two move field. Though not a prolific composer, his work was known worldwide.
He was Sub-Editor of The Problemist

From the The Encyclopaedia of Chess (Batsford, 1977), Harry Golombek OBE, John Rice writes:

“British problemist, output consists of skilfully constructed two-movers in the modern style.”

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

“Problem composer. Since 1960 he has composed about 70 modern-style two movers, and is considered to be one of the most talented British composers. His originality and technique enable him to build into tangible form what would be no more than a passing idea for most composers. He has edited the problem section of Correspondence Chess, and he controlled BCF tourneys and International Team matches.”

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

“I was born on February 19th, 1939, the second son of a doctor who practised in a busy Yorkshire coal-mining town. As a youngster I acquired a taste for chess problems as soon as I learnt the moves of the game.

I owe my initiation to the admirable column which DM Davey used to run in the weekly review The Tablet and to the enterprise of one of the masters of the boarding school to which I was sent when still quite young. Davey’s column catered for novice chess problemists like myself by conducting graded solving tournaments with modest handicaps.

These tournaments ran conveniently the length of the school term, just long enough to sustain a young person’s enthusiasm, The teacher in question used to put the week’s problem up on the school noticeboard and dozens of small schoolboys participated as a result. The Tablet column was not only a boon for beginners like me. It had a very discriminating band of solvers who were given ample space to express their views on each week’s problems. This had the additional effect of making it a popular forum for budding composers who need the stimulus and encouragement of audience response in what is, after all, a very solitary sort of pastime.

My fascination with chess problems soon diverted my energies away from the game itself. I was eight when I began solving. Another 13 years elapsed before I seriously tried my hand at composing. My immediate inspiration was the example of the then young trio of British composers, Barry Barnes, Michael Lipton and John Rice. Their latest work incorporating, try-play, and often exploiting complex patterns of relationships between mates, was regarded as unacceptably, ultramodern, in some quarters but found ready appreciation with the solvers of Davey’s column.

Other sorts of problems I had enjoyed; these I wanted to emulate. The powerful attraction their work had on me has made me chary ever since of the strictures of self-appointed guardians of chess problem ‘taste’, who suggest that the modern two-mover cannot hold the same interest for the solver as the more traditional type. It certainly did not have a negative effect on me.

Problem I was one of my earliest compositions, in fact the first to gain any sort of award. At the time I was a theological student destined for the priesthood. I recall having felt some scruples about indulging in the frivolous pastime of chess problem composition not that it prevented me from becoming thoroughly addicted!

I have found that a bad conscience makes a good chess problem, and the greatest spur for composition is the feeling that one should really be busy doing something else. The problem shows a duel between the white queen and the black knight on d5, each of whose eight possible moves feature as a unique defence against one of the white queen tries. Solvers have often found the key to this problem’ quite elusive.

Problem I

The Tablet, 30th June, 1962

3rd Honorary Mention BCPS Ring Tournament

White to play and mate in 2

1.Qa1?…Nc7!
1.Qa4?…Nb6!
1.Qb1?…N5b4!
1.Qc1?…Nc3!
1.Qe1?…Ne3!
1.Qf1?…N5f4!
1.Qg4?…Nf6!
1.Qg1?…Ne7!

Key! Qb3!

The 1960s were my golden period of problem composition. They were my solace and diversion as I passed by way of theological studies through an Oxford degree to the foothills of a different career from the one I had originally envisaged, not the ‘cure of souls’ but the management and treatment of emotionally disturbed children and their families. By the end of the decade I was
already engaged in working as a Child Psychotherapist. Since then I have found that human problems have tended to displace my former involvement with problems of the chess pieces. Whereas
between 1960 and 1970 I composed seventy problems, in the subsequent decade I could manage only a dozen more. The reason for this slowing down in production, however, has not only been the demands of personal, family and professional life.

As a composer I have concentrated almost exclusively on the orthodox two-move field, one which if not yet exhausted nevertheless presents a major challenge to the composer to find something new to say or some new way of saying it. It is no accident (though I admit to a slight feeling of regret) of heterodox problems has expanded enormously in the past few years.

Of my eighty or so problems, fifty have been honoured in tournaments, ten with First prizes, ten with other prizes and the rest with Honourable Mentions and Commendations. My ambition is to
reach a respectable century of compositions, though I being to wonder whether I shall ever make the mark. I would also like to reach the FIDE Master norm for problem composition. I have
had twenty of my problems included in the triennial FIDE Albums so far, a few of them joint compositions. Here again, however, my productivity (or lack of it) may eventually tell against me.

Still, the problemist must always keep the business of honours in perspective. Composing problems is an essentially private business. Your opponent is the power of the pieces, not a fellow sitting opposite Vou. Unlike the chess player, one can keep one’s defeats to oneself when one puts the pieces away after a fruitless evening pondering over a board, so it seems only fair that
one’s successes likewise should be modestly recorded.

By a coincidence two of the three problems which I have selected to round off this brief note about myself and my compositions are ones which got no recognition from the tournament judge
at the time, although I count them amongst my best works.

I have chosen a trio of problems all roughly on the same theme, namely, the four possible moves of the pawn from its starting square. In chess problem parlance this is called the BP4M* theme when applied to the Black pawn, and the Albino theme when applied to the White pawn.

II and III show two ways in which four mates can be provided to meet each of the BP4M moves, only to be changed in the next phase of play. In II, the change is between mates set before the key and those operative after it; in III, the change is more radical, involving the transfer of the WR from one position to another, thereby creating two separate but related (or ‘twin’) problems. Incidentally, a good way to begin to get a taste of what composing involves is to take a problem like III and try to express the theme in full (here the changed BP4M) without resorting to the twinning device.

My last example, IV, shows a duel between white and black pawns, with the four Albino tries being met by the four possible BP4M defences.

(* BP4M is BCNs replacement for a word starting with p now considered by some as offensive.).

Whilst the player may rejoice in a victory soundly accomplished I can think of few pleasures to compare with the satisfaction which comes from accomplishing the sort of task which IV entails, especially when one is fairly sure that it has not been successfully achieved before. For me, at all events, this is what two-mover chess problem composition is all about: its is the ‘art if the all-but-impossible’!”

Problem II

Die Schwalbe August, 1965

White to play and mate in 2

1…dxc6+ 2. Bxc6
1…d6 2.Nd5
1…d5 2.Qb4
1…dxe6 2.Bc8

Key 1.Qxe5! (2.exd7)

1…dxc6 2.Nxc6
1…d6 2.Qf6
1…d5 2.Qc7
1…dxe6 2.Qxe6
1…Rd5+ 2.Nd5

Problem III

1st Prize

Problemist Twin Tournament 1966-67

White to play and mate in 2

Problem IV

Probleemblad, May, 1965

White to play and mate in 2

Clearly Chris was a hugely popular figure in the problem world. Here is a collection of tributes from the BCPS.

Birthday of IM James Adair (09-xi-1992)

IM James Adair playing GM Hikaru Nakamura at the London Chess Classic 2014
IM James Adair playing GM Hikaru Nakamura at the London Chess Classic 2014

BCN wishes Happy birthday to IM James Adair.

James Robert Adair was born on Monday, November 9th in 1992 in Reading, Berkshire.

James attended Little Heath School, Tilehurst, Reading and joined Reading Chess Club and was an active player in the Berkshire League and in the Surrey Border League. His father Andrew took up chess to support James as a junior.

He then read Mathematics at The University of York and now is employed by Aviva plc (formerly Norwich Union Assurance) in the field of insurance.

James became a FIDE Master in 2012 and gained his International Master title in August 2014.

According to Felice his best FIDE rating was 2489 in December 2016. According to MegaBase 2020 it was 2492 in August 2018 at the age of 26.

James started his 4NCL career in the 2006/7 season with Conquistadors and then transferred to Guildford not long after. By 2010/11 James was playing for the bar loving Sambuca Sharks team. In 2011 James transferred to 4NCL White Rose as he had just started University in Yorkshire. He was also playing for York RI.

In 2009 he shared equal 1st (4.5/5) with Alexei Slavin in the Uxbridge Open, a sadly missed e2-e4 event. Since then James has had various tournament successes.

FIDE rating profile for IM James Adair
FIDE rating profile for IM James Adair

James has plus scores against : Peter Roberson, Jack Rudd, Richard Bates and Matthew Turner amongst others.

IM James Adair
IM James Adair

Birthday of GM Jonathan Speelman (02-xi-1956)

We wish GM Jonathan Speelman all the best on his birthday.

Jonathan Simon Speelman was born on Tuesday, October 2nd, 1956 in Marylebone, London. His mother’s maiden name was Freeman. In March 2002 Jon and Lindsey Thomas were married in Camden, Greater London. They have a non-chess playing son, Lawrence who studied Ancient Languages at The University of Chicago.

Jonathan attended St. Paul’s School, London and then Worcester College, Oxford and read mathematics.

He became an International Master in 1978 (England’s tenth) and a Grandmaster in 1980 (England’s fifth) and achieved a peak FIDE rating of 2645 at the age of 32 in July 1988.

Jon is a Life Member of King’s Head Chess Club and has helped them organise a number of tournaments including the NatWest Young Masters where he has adjudicated the winner of the Best Game Prize.

Currently, Jon plays for Wood Green in Four Nations Chess League and in the London League and maintains an ECF grade of 245.

Jon is the chess correspondent for The Observer and The Independent.

With the white pieces Jon prefers 1.Nf3 and against 1…Nf6 to follow with c4 and d4. Interestingly, if black plays 1…d5 then Jon plays an early king-side fianchetto.

As the second player Jon prefers the Smyslov Caro-Kann, the Nimzo-Indian and Queen’s Indian defences.

His record against contemporary players is impressive :

Nigel Short : +5
Murray Chandler : +4
Jonathan Mestel : +4
John Nunn : +3
James Plaskett : +4
Mark Hebden : +7
Tony Miles : +1
Tony Kosten : +3
Daniel King : +2

Jon Speelman and Nigel Short at the start of their 1989 Candidates match. Jon won 3.5 - 1.5
Jon Speelman and Nigel Short at the start of their 1989 Candidates match. Jon won 3.5 – 1.5

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

“Having been asked to contribute an article on myself to this book I have decided to concentrate almost exclusively on my ‘relationship with chess’, but first quickly summarize my life.

JS
JS

Born on 2nd October 1956 I went to a ‘Nursery School’ whose name I forget. Then to Arnold House School followed by St. Paul’s School. I had a ‘Year off’ from January to October, 1976, when I went up to Worcester College, Oxford, where I studied mathematics. In 1977 I left Oxford with a 2nd degree. Since then I have been a professional chess player.

I was taught chess at the age of 6 by my cousin on Boxing Day, 1962. Then as now, I was an inquisitive person and the idea of a ‘complicated and difficult game’ interested me. Sadly my first game of chess ended in checkmate in four moves; but I persevered and soon became more competent.

JS at the London based Philips & Drew Kings tournament
JS at the London based Philips & Drew Kings tournament

I have always seen life to some in terms of barriers. There are things which one can do easily and which one finds difficult or almost impossible. For any given task the transition from one state to the other is not as smooth. One builds up energy and finally is able to succeed for the first time. After that the task becomes successively easier: Partly because one is aware that one can succeed.

Jonathan Speelman without glasses
Jonathan Speelman without glasses

ln order to illustrate my chess career to date, I shall therefore pick out examples of barriers which I managed to break through.

Jonathan was an early follower of fashion
Jonathan was an early follower of fashion

Until a few Years ago there were few titled players in Great Britain. But recently, thanks largely to a change of emphasis in organisation, several players have broken through to obtain international titles. This is not only because British players have become stronger – which they undoubtedly have – but also because they have received opportunities which were previously denied them.

JS at the London Robert Silk Fellowship invitational tournament
JS at the London Robert Silk Fellowship invitational tournament

I first started seriously to contemplate becoming an international master in 1977. Previously, I had of course aspired to this but without really investigating the mechanics of obtaining norms. In August, 1977 England sent a team to the World Student Team Championships in Mexico City. We came third: a year later we were to win the event (though on that occasion it was a World Under 26 Team Championship). On our return there was an invitation tournament in London: the ‘Lloyds Bank Silver Jubilee’. Although I was rather tired after Mexico I decided to play and to my surprise, I obtained an IM norm with a round to spare. It all seemed rather easy. I drew with six strong players including GM Torre and four IM’s and beat three weaker ones.

Grandmaster Uses PressTel Chessbox to Play Long Distance Chess. Jonathan Speelman the UK Grandmaster is pictured here deciding his next move in a computer chess game against five simultaneous opponents. Players exchanged moves online via the ChessBox club on PressTel, BTs videotex service.
Grandmaster Uses PressTel Chessbox to Play Long Distance Chess. Jonathan Speelman the UK Grandmaster is pictured here deciding his next move in a computer chess game against five simultaneous opponents. Players exchanged moves online via the ChessBox club on PressTel, BTs videotex service.

In December, 1977 I played for the first time in the Annual Grandmaster Tournament at Hastings. I was very pleased to ‘shut up shop’, abandoning any pretensions to an exciting style to score one win, one loss and – wait for it – twelve draws; but 7/14 was sufficient for another international master norm.

These two events left me with twenty three games of norm, one less than the required minimum. Early in 1978 I played in a tournament in London but failed to get my final leg. It was in April that year that I had my next chance at the famous Lone Pine Tournament in California. I have already stressed the importance of barriers. It was in round one of the Lone Pine tournament that I broke through another important one – that of beating a grandmaster.

JS was a frequent giver of simultaneous displays
JS was a frequent giver of simultaneous displays

Nowadays (and here I hear myself sounding like an old man!) the strongest young players (under twenty-six) beat international masters quite regularly and indeed grandmasters from time to time. ‘In my day’ this was not so much the case. Titled foreign players could still come over to pillage weekend tournaments; and succeed much of the time! When one of them lost to homegrown talent it was news.

IM Jonathan Speelman vs IM Simon Webb at the 1978 British Championships in Ayr, Courtesy of John Upham
IM Jonathan Speelman vs IM Simon Webb at the 1978 British Championships in Ayr, Courtesy of John Upham

I first started to play regularly against grandmasters in my first Hastings tournament, which I mentioned previously. Of course, I had played grandmasters before, but at Hastings seven of the fourteen games were against them. I scored there six draws and a loss to the tournament winner, Dzindzihashvili.

Julian Hodgson and Jonathan Speelman prepare to play each other at their own home via CEEEFAX. This was organised by Peter Andrews of BBC Chess Club and was the first match of its kind.
Julian Hodgson and Jonathan Speelman prepare to play each other at their own home via CEEEFAX. This was organised by Peter Andrews of BBC Chess Club and was the first match of its kind.

In round one of Lone pine I was White against Bent Larsen of Denmark. Given that one is going to beat a strong grandmaster (l hadn’t even beaten a weak one) then White against Larsen is quite a good chance. Although he is an extremely strong player, Larsen loses quite a lot of games to much weaker opponents and wins an enormous number against them as well, with not many draws. I was fortunate in obtaining a nice position from the opening and won a good game. That is one of the games I have chosen.

JS receives one of many awards
JS receives one of many awards

After beating Larsen the rest of the tournament was rather an anti-climax for me. I drew some games, then lost in successive rounds to Browne and Biyiasas. Needing a win to reach fifty per cent the chance of my final norm, I clawed my way to victory in a dreadful game against a young American P. Whitehead. Two short draws in the final two rounds brought me the title.

At the Praxis British Zonal in February 1987 here at the roman baths. Murray Chandler, Jonathan Speelman, and Jonathan Mestel
At the Praxis British Zonal in February 1987 here at the roman baths. Murray Chandler, Jonathan Speelman, and Jonathan Mestel

Some years ago the British Championship really was the Championship of Britain. But in the early seventies there was a decline as several of the strongest players did not enter. In the last two years the decline has been halted and then reversed by the sponsorship of stockbrokers Grievson Grant. In 1979 two of our four Grandmasters, Miles and Nunn, competed in the British Championship at Chester and there were no fewer than six International Masters; indeed Nigel Short succeeded in obtaining his first IM norm there.

JS plays Alexander Khalifman during the SWIFT World Cup in Reykjavik, 1991. The game was drawn
JS plays Alexander Khalifman during the SWIFT World Cup in Reykjavik, 1991. The game was drawn

I first competed in the British Championship at Brighton in 1972. After a good start, beating Michael Basman in the first round and drawing with Craig Pritchett in the second, I lost to Haygarth in round three. Thereafter, I found it incredibly difficult to win games. My old British Chess Magazine reminds me that I succeeded in winning in round nine, but that was the only one after round one. I finished with 4.5/11.

JS, Jana Bellin and Nigel Short in a publicity shoot outside Simpsons in the Strand
JS, Jana Bellin and Nigel Short in a publicity shoot outside Simpsons in the Strand

A year later at Eastbourne I was still finding it hard to win games. Again I finished with 4.5/11. By Clacton, 1974 I had improved. A loss in the last round to the eventual winner Botterill left me a point behind the seven (!) who had to play off for the title.

I competed at Morecambe, 1975 and Portsmouth, 1976, missing only Brighton, 1977 when the students team was in Mexico. By Ayr, 1978 I was probably one of the favourites along with Jonathan Mestel, who ran away with the tournament in Portsmouth,
1976, George Botterill, the defending champion, and some others.

Jonathan shows off his all seeing four eyes
Jonathan shows off his all seeing four eyes

In fact I won at Ayr. I played quite well throughout. ln the last round half a point ahead of Mestel I played a quick draw with Webb but was lucky when Mestel could only draw with Clarke. Of course winning the British was a big breakthrough for me. But I feel that the most important psychological change came in 1974 when I started to discover that it is possible to win games in the British Championship.

Jonathan Simon Speelman (02-x-1956) as imagined by Roger Morgan, 1982
Jonathan Simon Speelman (02-x-1956) as imagined by Roger Morgan, 1982

Since late 1978 I have made no dramatic breakthrough but have, I believe, almost imperceptibly made the change from a ‘medium’ to a ‘strong’ international master.

Jonathan Speelman telephones good news
Jonathan Speelman telephones good news

I’ve selected three games to go with this article. The one with Larsen I’ve already mentioned. Mihaljcisin-Speelman I like as a game in which I played very actively as Black.

The game against Biyiasis is a good ‘rough and tumble’ not free from errors of course – but wouldn’t that be boring?

To find out more about JSs chess career we suggest you read his autobiography :

Speelman, Jon (1997). Jon Speelman's Best Games. B.T. Batsford (London, England). 240 pages. ISBN 978-0-7134-6477-1.
Speelman, Jon (1997). Jon Speelman’s Best Games. B.T. Batsford (London, England). 240 pages. ISBN 978-0-7134-6477-1.

which contains many heavily annotated games.

 

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

“British Champion in 1978, Speelman played at Mexico City later that year in the English team that won (ahead of the USSR) the world’s first youth teams (under-26) championship.

(from l-r) Jonathan Kinlay, Shaun Taulbut, Jonathan Speelman, David Goodman and Jonathan Mestel accepting 1st prize at the 1978 World U26 Student Olympiad in Mexico City
(from l-r) Jonathan Kinlay, Shaun Taulbut, Jonathan Speelman, David Goodman and Jonathan Mestel accepting 1st prize at the 1978 World U26 Student Olympiad in Mexico City

Two good performances in 1980, as score of +5=5-3 to share fourth place in the category 13 London tournament and a second place (+6=7) at Maribor, brought him the title of International Grandmaster (1980). His subsequent achievements include : Dortmund 1981, first (+5=6) equal with Ftacnik and Kuzmin; Hastings 1981-2, second equal with Smyslov after Kupreichik; and London 1982, category 14, +2=10-1 to share fourth place. An excellent analyst, Speelman has written several books, among them Best Chess Games 1970-1980 (1982).”

GM Jonathan Speelman
GM Jonathan Speelman

From Wikipedia :
A winner of the British Chess Championship in 1978, 1985 and 1986, Speelman has been a regular member of the English team for the Chess Olympiad, an international biennial chess tournament organised by FIDE, the World Chess Federation.

In 1989, he beat Kasparov in a televised speed tournament, and then went on to win the event.

In the April 2007 FIDE list, Speelman had an Elo rating of 2518, making him England’s twelfth-highest-rated active player.

He qualified for two Candidates Tournaments:

In the 1989–1990 cycle, Speelman qualified by placing third in the 1987 interzonal tournament held in Subotica, Yugoslavia. After beating Yasser Seirawan in his first round 4–1, and Nigel Short in the second round 3½–1½, he lost to Jan Timman at the semi-final stage 4½–3½.
In the following 1990–93 championship cycle, he lost 5½–4½ in the first round to Short, the eventual challenger for Garry Kasparov’s crown.
Speelman’s highest ranking in the FIDE Elo rating list was fourth in the world, in January 1989.

Jonathan Speelman in happy mood
Jonathan Speelman in happy mood

Writing
He has written a number of books on chess, including several on the endgame, among them Analysing the Endgame (1981), Endgame Preparation (1981) and Batsford Chess Endings (co-author, 1993).

Among his other books are Best Games 1970–1980 (1982), an analysis of nearly fifty of the best games by top players from that decade, and Jon Speelman’s Best Games (1997). Today he is primarily a chess journalist and commentator, being the chess correspondent for The Observer and The Independent and sometimes providing commentary for games on the Internet Chess Club.

Jonathan Speelman and Daniel King share headphones at the 2013 FIDE Candidates event in London
Jonathan Speelman and Daniel King share headphones at the 2013 FIDE Candidates event in London
Tilburg 1978, Tony Miles & Jonathan Speelman, Master Chess Publications, 1978
Tilburg 1978, Tony Miles & Jonathan Speelman, Master Chess Publications, 1978
Riga Interzonal 1979, AJ Miles & J Speelman, Batsford, 1979, ISBN 0 7134 3429 5
Riga Interzonal 1979, AJ Miles & J Speelman, Batsford, 1979, ISBN 0 7134 3429 5

Speelman, Jonathan (1981). Analysing the Endgame. Batsford (London, England). 142 pages. ISBN 978-0-7134-1909-2.

Speelman, Jonathan (1981). Analysing the Endgame. Batsford (London, England). 142 pages. ISBN 978-0-7134-1909-2.
Speelman, Jonathan (1981). Analysing the Endgame. Batsford (London, England). 142 pages. ISBN 978-0-7134-1909-2.

Speelman, Jonathan (1981). Endgame Preparation. B.T. Batsford (London, England). 177 pages. ISBN 978-0-7134-4000-3.

Speelman, Jonathan (1981). Endgame Preparation. B.T. Batsford (London, England). 177 pages. ISBN 978-0-7134-4000-3.
Speelman, Jonathan (1981). Endgame Preparation. B.T. Batsford (London, England). 177 pages. ISBN 978-0-7134-4000-3.

Speelman, Jon (1982). Best Chess Games, 1970-80. Allen & Unwin (London, England; Boston, Massachusetts). 328 pages. ISBN 978-0-04-794015-6.

Speelman, Jon (1982). Best Chess Games, 1970-80. Allen & Unwin (London, England; Boston, Massachusetts). 328 pages. ISBN 978-0-04-794015-6.
Speelman, Jon (1982). Best Chess Games, 1970-80. Allen & Unwin (London, England; Boston, Massachusetts). 328 pages. ISBN 978-0-04-794015-6.

Speelman, Jon; Livshits, August (1988). Test Your Endgame Ability. BT Batsford (London, England). 201 pages. ISBN 0-7134-5567-5

Speelman, Jon; Livshits, August (1988). Test Your Endgame Ability. BT Batsford (London, England). 201 pages. ISBN 0-7134-5567-5
Speelman, Jon; Livshits, August (1988). Test Your Endgame Ability. BT Batsford (London, England). 201 pages. ISBN 0-7134-5567-5

Speelman, Jon (1992). New Ideas in the Caro-Kann Defence. BT Batsford (London, England). 155 pages. ISBN 0-7134-6915-3.

Speelman, Jon (1992). New Ideas in the Caro-Kann Defence. BT Batsford (London, England). 155 pages. ISBN 0-7134-6915-3.
Speelman, Jon (1992). New Ideas in the Caro-Kann Defence. BT Batsford (London, England). 155 pages. ISBN 0-7134-6915-3.

Speelman, Jonathan; Tisdall, Jon; Wade, Bob. (1993). Batsford Chess Endings. B.T. Batsford (London, England). 448 pages. ISBN 978-0-7134-4420-9.

Speelman, Jonathan; Tisdall, Jon; Wade, Bob. (1993). Batsford Chess Endings. B.T. Batsford (London, England). 448 pages. ISBN 978-0-7134-4420-9.
Speelman, Jonathan; Tisdall, Jon; Wade, Bob. (1993). Batsford Chess Endings. B.T. Batsford (London, England). 448 pages. ISBN 978-0-7134-4420-9.

Speelman, Jon (1997). Jon Speelman’s Best Games. B.T. Batsford (London, England). 240 pages. ISBN 978-0-7134-6477-1.

Modern Defence. Everyman, 2000
Modern Defence. Everyman, 2000

Speelman, Jon (2008). Jon Speelman’s Chess Puzzle Book. Gambit Publications Ltd. 143 pages. ISBN 978-1-904600-96-1.

Speelman, Jon (2008). Jon Speelman's Chess Puzzle Book. Gambit Publications Ltd. 143 pages. ISBN 978-1-904600-96-1.
Speelman, Jon (2008). Jon Speelman’s Chess Puzzle Book. Gambit Publications Ltd. 143 pages. ISBN 978-1-904600-96-1.
Jonathan Speelman
Jonathan Speelman

Birthday of WFM Sarah Longson (née Hegarty) (02-x-1988)

We send best wishes to WFM Sarah Longson (née Hegarty) on her birthday this day, (October 2nd) in 1988.

From Sarah’s web site :

“I have played competitive chess since the age of 7 when I became UK U7 Girls Chess Champion and appeared on Blue Peter where I met the then world champion Garry Kasparov. Since then I have represented England in many international competitions and in 2013 won the British Ladies Championship.”

In 2016 Sarah and partner FM Alex Longson made a successful bid for ownership of the UK Chess Challenge which auctioned by the bankruptcy receiver of IM Mike Basman, the previous owner. Sarah and Alex have

WFM Sarah Longson
WFM Sarah Longson

Death Anniversary of WIM Eileen Tranmer (05-v-1910 26-ix-1983)

We remember WIM Eileen Betsy Tranmer who passed away on September 26th, 1983.

Eileen Tranmer
Eileen Tranmer

She was the first English woman to be awarded by FIDE the Woman’s International Master title in 1950.

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

Miss E. Tranmer was born in Scarborough, North Yorkshire in 1910, and learned chess at the age of six. She did not take it up seriously, however, until 1936. Under the tuition of W. Winter she has made notable progress, and her performances include a second prize in the British Correspondence Championship 1944, as well as first prize in one of the subsidiary tournaments at Hastings, 1945.

By profession Miss Tranmer is a musician and has played principal clarinet in the Scottish and Sadler’s Wells Orchestras.”

From British Chess Magazine, Volume CIII (103, 1983), Number 11 (November), page 482-83 (presumably written by Bernard Cafferty) :

“Eileen Tranmer died in hospital at Ticehurst on September 26th after a long illness. Born in Scarborough, May 5th 1910, she was a professional clarinet player and played in a number of prominent British orchestras till forced to retire by deafness.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by ANL/Shutterstock (3880870a) Miss Eileen Tranmer The British Women's Chess Champion Pictured Here Playing A Clarinet In The Orchestra While Appearing At The Theatre Royal Glasgow.
Mandatory Credit: Photo by ANL/Shutterstock (3880870a)
Miss Eileen Tranmer The British Women’s Chess Champion Pictured Here Playing A Clarinet In The Orchestra While Appearing At The Theatre Royal Glasgow.

One of the leading British players in the two decades after the war, Eileen won the British Ladies Championship in 1947, 1949 (with a 100% score), 1953 and 1961, and played in the British Championship at Buxton, 1950. Her international record was sparse, as was the case with nearly all English players of that period. Nevertheless, she made her mark in the 1949-50 first post-war Women’s World Championship where she finished 5-7th in a field of 16, beating Bykova, again, and finished 7th in the field of 16.

37th Hastings International Chess Congress, 1962. USA Ladies champion Lisa Lane (L) playing against British Champion Eileen Tranmer
37th Hastings International Chess Congress, 1962. USA Ladies champion Lisa Lane (L) playing against British Champion Eileen Tranmer

We are grateful to WCM Dinah Norman for sending us these memories :

“Eileen Tranmer was one of the best English chess lady players of her generation.

I only played her once at Oxford in an International Ladies Tournament held between 24 July and 1 August 1971. Eileen totally outplayed me and I lost the game.

Eileen was a member of Acton Chess Club where there were three active lady players at that time. They were Jean Rogers, Olive Chataway and Eileen. Eileen lived in Acton then.

Miss Eileen Tranmer The British Women's Chess Champion.
Mandatory Credit: Photo by ANL/Shutterstock (3880957a)
Miss Eileen Tranmer The British Women’s Chess Champion.
Miss Eileen Tranmer The British Women’s Chess Champion.

Eileen was a professional musician and had to stop playing when she became deaf which was dreadful for her.

In 1969 Eileen, Rowena Bruce and I were selected to play in the Ladies Chess Olympiad Team in Lublin, Poland. Sadly Eileen was taken ill just before the event so Rowena and I had to play all 13 rounds without a break. I was on Board 1 and at the end Rowena and I were exhausted and I had to withdraw from a tournament in the Czech Republic without playing a game. The food in Poland was awful so we said never again!

 

Miss Eileen Tranmer The British Women's Champion Chess Player Pictured Playing Some Of The Glasgow Ladies Chess Club At The Green's Playhouse Cafe Glasgow.
Mandatory Credit: Photo by ANL/Shutterstock (3880958a)
Miss Eileen Tranmer The British Women’s Champion Chess Player Pictured Playing Some Of The Glasgow Ladies Chess Club At The Green’s Playhouse Cafe Glasgow.
Miss Eileen Tranmer The British Women’s Champion Chess Player Pictured Playing Some Of The Glasgow Ladies Chess Club At The Green’s Playhouse Cafe Glasgow.

Eileen was very friendly with Harry Golombek. The expectation among the lady chess players was that they would get married but she never did. Harry did not drive and Eileen was very kind driving Harry and his elderly mother around.

Very sadly Eileen’s brother was killed in a car crash and after that Eileen suffered mental problems. Eileen lived near John and Jean Rogers and John said Eileen would turn up at their home in the middle of the night wanting to play chess.

At Hastings 1959-1960 : Yugoslavia's red-haired Milanka Lazarevic and Britain's Eileen Tranmer ran away with the Premier Reserves (afternoon event).
At Hastings 1959-1960 : Yugoslavia’s red-haired Milanka Lazarevic and Britain’s Eileen Tranmer ran away with the Premier Reserves (afternoon event).

The last time I saw Eileen was at Paignton. Her friend Olive Chataway brought her to Paignton and Eileen played in the bottom tournament and did badly. Eileen did not recognise myself or Rowena which was very sad.

 

Mandatory Credit: Photo by ANL/Shutterstock (4745287a) Miss Eileen Tranmer 43-year-old British Women's Chess Champion. Box 556. Miss Eileen Tranmer 43-year-old British Women's Chess Champion. Box 556.
Mandatory Credit: Photo by ANL/Shutterstock (4745287a)
Miss Eileen Tranmer 43-year-old British Women’s Chess Champion. Box 556.
Miss Eileen Tranmer 43-year-old British Women’s Chess Champion. Box 556.

Eileen later left Acton and moved to Tring. Eileen was a pleasant and modest person and was well liked. She had a good sense of humour.”

From the obituary in The Times of London we learn that her last few years were over-shadowed by an illness that preyed on her mind.

We take the following game from the August 1944 issue of BCM. The game was played in the BCCA Championship, and curiously enough there was an enquiry about that event to the BCF only a short while ago – a Georgian journalist wishes to quote that wartime performance as an early example of success by a woman in male chess company! ”

Gerald Abrahams in Not only Chess, wrote about Eileen (Chapter 18 : What Achilles Saw Among Women) as follows :

“To revert to the British Ladies, they were joined in the late 1930s by a very able pupil of Miss Menchik, the Yorkshire Clarinettist Eileen Tranmer; a woman whose chess I have seen to express some admirable qualities of mind and character. I had the privilege of watching her is Moscow in 1949-50, when, handicapped by influenza of a particularly virulent kind – what the Russians call “grippe” – she won some five or six consecutive games, to finish in the prize list of the new official Women’s World Championship. There had been two championships before, which Vera has won easily. Since Vera had unhappily perished in the Blitz, they looked at Moscow for her successor.”

Here is her Wikipedia entry

WIM Eileen Betsy Tranmer & WIM Rowena Mary Bruce at the 1946 Anglo-Soviet Radio Match
WIM Eileen Betsy Tranmer & WIM Rowena Mary Bruce at the 1946 Anglo-Soviet Radio Match

Death Anniversary of Hugh Blandford (24-i-1917 20-ix-1981)

BCN remembers Hugh Blandford who was a British composer.

Hugh Francis Blandford was born on Wednesday, January 24th in 1917 in South Stoneham, Hampshire, England.

On this day Ernest Borgnine was born and an earthquake measuring 6.3 in magnitude struck Anhui Province, China, causing 101 deaths.

Hugh’s father was the Rev Albert Francis Blandford and his mother was Alice Rhoda Crumpton Evans. Hugh had two younger brothers, Philip Thomas. and Evan Arthur.

The family moved to Jamaica and he spent his early childhood there until he was nine years old when they sailed from Kingston, Jamaica with his family to Bristol on board the SS Carare (Elders & Fyffes Line) :

Passenger Manifest (part) for SS Carare , 30th May 1926.
Passenger Manifest (part) for SS Carare , 30th May 1926.

His mother Alice Rhoda Crumpton passed away on 19 July 1964 in Minehead, Somerset, at the age of 79.

His father Rev Albert Francis passed away in December 1967 in Somerset at the age of 79.

He had three children during his marriage.

He died in Hatfield, Hertfordshire on Sunday, September 20th, 1981.

Blandford is also known for participating in defining the GBR (Guy, Blandford Roycroft) code.

In 1961 he was awarded the title of “International Judge of the FIDE for Chess Composition”

CM Bent wrote the following obituary in the British Chess Magazine, Volume CI (101, 1981), Number 12 (December), page 532 :

“The modest and self-effacing composer who formerly conducted our Studies column from 1951-1972 died in September. His work as a metallurgist and his family responsibilities allowed him to make periodical contributions over a long span and to offer us many of his own original compositions.

His style, as with his manner, was essentially quiet and it was a rarity for him to compose anything other than wins.

His last voluntary labour was to compile an index for E.G. of all studies published there to date. His loss to the world of of studies will be greatly felt.

The first prize winner below is a classic of exquisite refinement and matches the immaculate handwriting which was always such an elegant feature of his work”

Studies by Hugh Francis Blandford
Studies by Hugh Francis Blandford
Solutions to studies by Hugh Francis Blandford
Solutions to studies by Hugh Francis Blandford

See more of his compositions here from the arves.org database.

From The Encyclopedia of Chess by Anne Sunnucks :

“British study composer and FIDE Judge of Endgame Studies. Born on 24th January 1917. Since July 1951, Hugh Blandford has conducted the Endings Section of the British Chess Magazine. By profession a metallurgist, he was married and had two children. Of his 60 or more studies he was best known for the excelsior theme.”

From Wikipedia :

Hugh Francis Blandford (24 January 1917 – 20 September 1981) was a chess endgame composer born in Southampton, England.[1]
He spent several years of his childhood in Jamaica with his father, the Reverend Albert Francis (Frank) Blandford, a Minister in the Congregational church, his mother and two younger brothers, Evan Arthur and Philip Thomas Blandford. All three brothers then returned to England and attended Eltham College (the School for the Sons of Missionaries) in South-east London, while their parents remained in Jamaica. He married Marjorie Cox, whom he had worked with during the Second World War.

He played chess from his schooldays and as well as playing, also started to compose original chess endings. He became known in the field of chess endgame studies for a small but elegant body of compositions, expertly edited and published after Hugh’s death by his long-standing chess endings colleague, John Roycroft.[2]

1st Prize, Springaren 1949, White to move and win
1st Prize, Springaren 1949, White to move and win

Hugh Blandford was co-inventor with Richard Guy – and, later, with John Roycroft – of the Guy–Blandford–Roycroft code for classifying studies.[3] In July 1951 he began as the endgame study editor for the British Chess Magazine.[4][5] He was made an International Judge for Chess Composition[4] in 1961.[6]

A metallurgist, he continued to compose chess endgame studies until the end of his life, dying of a heart attack in early retirement in Hatfield, England, on 20 September 1981.