Birthday of WIM Heather S Richards (27-iii-1983)
Happy Birthday GM Harold James Plaskett born on this day (March 18th) in 1960
Here is his Wikipedia entry
Here are his games
Jim obtained his FM norm in 1980 according to Gino de Felice.
From Chessgames.com :
“Harold James (Jim) Plaskett was born in Dkeliha, Cyprus. He was awarded the IM title in 1981 and became a GM in 1985. Plaskett’s tournament results include first place at Plovdiv 1984 and a tie for second at Hastings 1984-85. He was British champion in 1990.”
James Plaskett almost became a millionaire
BCN remembers Reginald Bonham (known as “Bon”) who passed away, this day, March 16th in 1984 in Worcester, Worcestershire.
In 1970 New Years Honours, Civil Division he was awarded the MBE for “Services to the blind”. Interestingly, in 1992 his sister Mary also received an MBE for “Services to the blind” This is surely an unusual happening.
Reginald Walter Bonham was born on Wednesday, January 31st 1906 : the same day as the Ecuador–Colombia earthquake which measured 8.8 on the Richter Scale.
He was born in St. Neots, Huntingdonshire, Cambridgeshire.
In the 1911 census aged 5 he lived in the High Street, St. Neots with William R Bonham (father, master butcher, aged 45), Edith Mary Ann Bonham (mother, 38), Howard William Bonham (6), Maurice George Bonham (3) and Ernest Charles Bonham (1). The family had a servant / domestic duties assistant called Elise Annie Goss aged 18. The census did not record any disability for Reginald.
Reg, like others in his family, suffered from deficient eyesight and was therefore unable to attend a “mainstream” school.
From 1922 – 1925 he attended the Royal Worcester College for the Blind (originally Worcester College for the Blind Sons of Gentlemen) in Whittington Road, Worcester, WR5 2JX. The Headmaster (GC Brown) encouraged his chess and rowing talents and in 1926 he was sent up to St. Catherine’s College, Oxford to read mathematics.
Reginald was a highly competant rower, competing for his college and reaching the trial stage for the Oxford Varsity crew.
In 1934 Reg founded the Braille Chess Magazine.
In the 1939 census he was recorded as living at 4, St. Catherine’s Hill, Worcester, WR5 with his wife, Josephine Bonham (born 24th September 1904). Reginald was listed as being a Mathematics tutor at the Royal Worcester College for the Blind (originally Worcester College for the Blind Sons of Gentlemen) in Whittington Road, Worcester, WR5 2JX. The college is now named New College Worcester. Their home was around a mile from the College. Josephine was listed as carrying out “unpaid domestic duties”.
He taught a combination of Braille and mathematics and was an amateur thespian and keen bridge player.
Interestingly RWB in 1939 was an ARP (Air Raid Precautions) Warden and a St. John Ambulance volunteer for the College.
He was Worcester champion twenty times and four times Midlands champion winning the Birmingham Post Cup twice.
On June 6th 1947 Bonham played in Birmingham in a match between Great Britain and Czechoslovakia playing Ladislav Alster and won this attractive game :
In 1951 he founded the International Braille Chess Association (IBCA) and continued as its President for 23 years. The IBCA affiliated to FIDE in 1964. see http://www.schachkomet.de/ibcachp4.htm for historical detail.
He was Blind World Champion in 1958 and Correspondence Blind World Champion in 1957, 1959, 1961, 1964 (jointly) and 1966.
One of his students was broadcaster Peter White MBE who described Bon in his autobiography See it My Way
From British Chess Magazine, Volume XCII (92, 1972) Number 6 (June), page 216 we have this item in News in Brief :
“At the closing ceremony of the 4th Chess Olympiad for the Blind at Pula, Yugoslavia (April 6-18) the International Braille Chess Association awarded the title of Correspondence Grandmaster of the Blind to R.W. Bonham of Worcester, for having won the Postal Championship more than three times.”
From British Chess Magazine, Volume CIV (104, 1984) Number 5 (May), page 194 we have this obituary :
“We regret to announce the death in March of two early winners of the grandmaster title (the other was Comins Mansfield MBE).
R.W.Bonham (31 i 1906 – 16 iii 1984) died at Worcester, where he had long served as a Master at the Royal Worcester College for the Blind. In the 1950s he took part in the British Championship with success. Many older players will remember him fingering his special board before announcing his move and checking his clock with its markers outside the glass face.
He was also active in postal play, taking part in international events in the decade after the war when few British players ventured “into Europe”. A note in the 1972 BCM (page 216) records the award of the title Correspondence GM of the Blind by the International Braille Chess Association, so his omission from the recent book British Chess seems rather unfortunate.
Among the titles won by Reginald Bonham were British Correspondence Championship, shared in 1947 with J. Cairncross and shared in 1951 with E. Brown) and Midland Champion (1947 and 1950).
He was also (with Wormald) joint author of those fine little books Chess Questions Answered and More Chess Questions Answered.”
Sadly, RWB did not merit articles in Sunnucks or Golombek’s Encyclopedias or Hooper’s and Whyld’s Oxford Companion or, as mentioned previously, British Chess.
More information here.
The Braille Chess Association has this entry in its Hall of Fame.
Birthday of Stewart Reuben (14-iii-1939)
Here is his Wikipedia entry
His personal catchphrase is “If only I had been consulted eariler”
BCN remembers Richard Guy who passed away in Calgary, Alberta, Canada on Monday, March 9th, 2020 at the splendid age of 103.
Richard Kenneth Guy was born on Saturday, 30th September 1916. On this day construction on the Hell Gate Bridge in New York City was completed.
He was born in Nuneaton, Warwickshire to William Alexander Charles Guy and Augusta Adeline Guy (née Tanner). RKGs parents had married in the final quarter of 1915 in Solihull. William was headmaster of Atherstone Elementary School.
Richard attended Warwick School excelling in mathematics where he was a boarder and prefect. In December 1934 He obtained a County Major Scholarship for Mathematics provided by the Lord Kitchener Memorial Fund gaining his Northern Universities Higher School Certificate in July 1935.
He went up to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University in October 1935 graduating in 1938. Stephen Hawking was also an alumni of Caius College.
The 1939 register records Richard aged 23 living as a lodger in the Blower household of six at 436 Buxton Road, Stockport, Cheshire, England. This address has since been converted to residential flats. He was a teacher of mathematics in a local secondary school.
RAF and the Weather Years
During the second world war Richard saw non-combative service in the Royal Air Force working on forecasting the weather and improving the methodologies. This work was a critical component of the British war effort.
In the final quarter of 1940 Richard married Nancy Louise Thirian in Bingham, Nottingham. Nancy (in fact, she was known as Louise) was born in Islington in the third quarter of 1918 and passed away in 2010. They had three children and Michael JT Guy was also a significant mathematician.
According to Wikipedia : “In November 1942, Guy received an emergency commission in the Meteorological Branch of the Royal Air Force, with the rank of flight lieutenant. He was posted to Reykjavik, and later to Bermuda, as a meteorologist. He tried to get permission for Louise to join him but was refused. While in Iceland, he did some glacier travel, skiing, and mountain climbing, marking the beginning of another long love affair, this one with snow and ice.”
Teaching and Research
In August 1951 Richard relocated to Singapore and taught for ten years at The University of Malaya and following that he worked at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi. Finally, in 1965, he moved to Calgary and taught in the Mathematics Department at The University of Calgary. For fuller details of his extensive mathematical career see the many links at the foot of this article.
RKGs final address in England was 145 Sunderland Road, Forest Hill, London SE23 2PX:
Richard’s chess career was active whilst at Warwick School. As a boarder and prefect he played for the school “eight” in matches against teams such as Birmingham University and King Edward’s School, Birmingham.
Richard’s interest turned away from over-the-board play but he did find time to compete in the Major Open of the August 1946 British Championships in Nottingham. Only two game scores are known where he lost to Dr. Fazekas and Gordon Crown: both very strong opponents.
Chess Writing and Composing
The December 1947 edition of British Chess Magazine contains RKGs very first Endings column taking over from TR Dawson. The column was introduced thus:
“Mr RK Guy has kindly consented to take over the Endings Section. All communications should now be sent to him at 33 Westwood Park Forest Hill London SE23.” TRD went on to write:
“With this page I reluctantly terminate on health grounds some forty years of work in the Endings field, and my contributions to this corner of the British Chess Magazine. To the many readers of these pages, a Merry Christmas and steadily improving years.”
RKG was to edit this column until his final piece in June 1951. RKG wrote in the July 1951 column (now edited by HF Blandford): “My address after August will be University of Malaya, Singapore. I have enjoyed these few years, and am sorry to leave you, although you will be in capable hands. HFB is player and problemist, but his greatest love is for endings, and he has won many international prizes.”
RKG is known for almost 200 endgame studies.
This is study #53, page 57 from Test Tube Chess by AJ Roycroft:
The Field, 28 xii 1940
The win is by a white king march from the h-file onto the same file as the pawn, instead of the reverse!
(i) Why not 1.d8=Q. Because of 1…Rb8; 2.Qxb8 stalemate!
(ii) 4…Rf8 not on because of 5.Bxf8
and this one is study #148, page 106 of the same publication:
British Chess Magazine, x 1943
(i) 3…Kd3;4.Rd5+ Qd5;5.Sf4+ Ke4;6.Sxd5 Kxd5;7.h4 wins.
(ii) 4…Kd3;5.Rf3+ Kxd2;6.Se4+, or 5…Kd4;6.Sf5+.
(iii) 5…Kd5;6.Rd4+ Kxd4;7.Sf5+.
A lot of checks, but also a lot of play.
For more examples of RKGs work we recommend his AVRES database entry.
In 2020 John Beasley wrote: “Richard did not achieve the same renown in our field as he has in the field of recreational mathematics, but his studies are neat and many are also instructive, a point which he considered important. We have been the richer for his presence.”
Along with Hugh Blandford and John Roycroft, RKG was one of the inventors of the GBR code (Guy–Blandford–Roycroft code), a system of representing the position of chess pieces on a chessboard. Publications such as EG magazine use it to classify endgame types and to index endgame studies.
Here is an appreciation from John Beasley
RKGs entry on the AVRES database
RKGs entry on chesscomposers.blogspot.com
An Interview with a mathematician
An obituary from The Calgary Herald
A tribute from The University of Calgary
A tribute from A Periodical
A tribute from the American Mathematical Society
100th birthday tribute from the Mathematical Association of America
RKGs Wikipedia article