We send birthday wishes to IM George Steven Botterill born on this day (January 8th) in 1949.
Here is his Wikipedia page
and here is his academic page
We send best wishes to GM Luke James McShane on his birthday, this day (January 7th) in 1984.
Here is Luke’s Wikipedia entry
Happy Birthday to 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 Enimem was number one.
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’s first published standard play grade was 96D in January of 2012 :
Jonah has represented West Nottingham, 4NCL Wood Green, Nottinghamshire CA and Syston (Leicester).
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 :
Jonah has plus scores against : Mike Surtees, 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 :
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.
BCN sends best wishes to Graeme Buckley on his birthday.
Graeme Noel Buckley 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!
Best Wishes to IM David Eggleston on his birthday.
David James Eggleston was born on Tuesday, December 22nd 1987 in Sunderland, County Durham to Ian and Janet Eggleston (née Robson). David has a brother, Thomas A, also born in 1987 who plays chess to a high standard (2178 in 2020). Thomas also plays for Durham City and for 4NCL North East England.
There is one game in Megabase between the brothers from round 5 of the Durham Open in 2003 which resulted in a 13 move draw. They shared the 1st prize with 4/5.
David currently resides in Durham and plays for Durham City in the North East League and for Cheddleton in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL).
David became a FIDE Master in 2007 and an International Master in 2013.
According to ChessBase David’s peak FIDE rating was 2434 aged 26 in December 2013. However, this could easily be surpassed.
With the white pieces David is a staunch e4 player playing open Sicilians, the Italian Game and 3.Nc3 versus the French and the Caro-Kann.
As the second player David plays the Najdorf and the Nimzo-Indian Defence.
David has one book, published in July 2014 : Hacking up the King published by Mongoose Press :
Happy Birthday Wishes to IM Brandon George I Clarke born on this day (December 14th), 1995. “Earth Song” by Michael Jackson was the UK Number One single.
In the 2003 London Junior Championships he was =13 with 4/7
In July 2004 he secured his first published standard play grading of 84D and 62D for rapid play. His first recorded rapid play tournament was on the 4th of October 2003 being the Mini Squad Under 8s. In this event he beat a certain Jamie Horton who had a grading of 45D at the time.
In 2006 Brandon won outright the London Under 12 title with 7.5/9. Marcus Harvey was a runner-up. This situation was repeated one year later.
In 2009 Brandon won the LJCC Under-16 title this time with Akash Jain as runner-up. His TPR for a score of 5/6 was 199.
Brandon was a chess scholar at Wellington College, Berkshire and was part of the strongest school / college team to play in the National Schools competition for many years that included James Holland, Felix Jose Ynojosa-Aponte, Alexander Galliano, Latefah Meesam-Sparkes, Akash Jain, Adrian Archer-Lock and latterly William Foo and Richard Zhu. Despite being easily the strongest team they were denied the title by the antiquated age handicapping rules.
He became an International Master in early 2019 and plays much chess in Australia, New Zealand and England having lived in the USA for some time after leaving Wellington College.
Aged 24 Brandon has achieved his highest FIDE rating of 2445 and it shows every sign of increasing.
With the White pieces Brandon is almost exclusively an e4 player with occasional forays with the Queen’s pawn. Against the Najdorf he prefers 6.Bg5 and allows the Marshall against the Ruy Lopez.
As the second player he plays the Najdorf and the King’s Indian Defence most of the time.
Brandon has his own YouTube Channel.
On Chess.com he plays under the handle of Biranidun with a blitz rating of 2847.
In January 2019 Brandon scored a very impressive victory in the 126th (!) New Zealand Open. “The 2019 126th New Zealand Open is part of the 126th New Zealand Congress and is a 9-round Swiss event being held at the Waipuna Conference Centre in Auckland from 14-22 January 2019.”
Brandon made a welcome return to the UK and comfortably won the 2019 Major Open in Torquay with 8.5/9 as an IM.
Brandon plays for Australia Kangaroos in the Pro Chess League.
The ECF grading web site shows his only club to be Littlethorpe (in Leicestershire) although Brandon played for Warwickshire Select in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL).
We remember FM Peter Clarke who passed away on Thursday, December 11th, 2014 whilst living at Chapel House, Bude, Cornwall, EX23 9SQ
Peter Hugh Clarke was born on Saturday, March 18th 1933 in West Ham, London. His mother’s maiden name was Ekblom.
From The Modest Master of Morwenstow by James Pratt (sadly, as yet, unpublished) :
“Peter Hugh Clarke was born in London on 18th March, 1933. At the age of eight or nine he taught himself the game from ‘The Book of Knowledge’ and played friendly games with his cousin, who was about a year older. Peter’s father supported his game for many years. PHC was a student at St. Bonaventures School and London University. World War II, and its even longer aftermath, robbed him of a number of playing opportunities. It is surprising that he had no childhood heroes, although later the play of Botvinnik, Keres and Smyslov impressed him.”
From British Chess (Pergamon, 1983) written by George Botterill :
Chess correspondent of The Sunday Times, Clarke played for England in the Olympiads of 1954, 56, 58, 60, 62, 66 and 68. He has never won the British Championship but has come 2nd on 5 occasions.
A fine writer. His best books are Mikhail Tal’s Best Games of Chess
and Petrosian’s Best Games of Chess 1946-1963 both published by Bell.
The most remarkable thing about Clarke’s chess career was they way in which he became transformed, in about 1968-9, into the most drawish of players. In British tournaments he has become notorious for correct but dull solidity.”
Peter was Southern Counties (SCCU) Champion for the 1945-55 season.
From BCM / ECF :
“FIDE and British Master P.H. Clarke will be best remembered as biographer to Tal and to Petrosyan, but he was so much more. The young Clarke played for Ilford CC in the London League and for Essex at county level. Doing national service he was to learn the Russian that was to so shape his writings.
For a brief period in the late 1950s, and early sixties, he was the number two player in England, ahead of the vastly more experienced Alexander and Golombek. He played, of course, below Jonathan Penrose, a partnership that bore fruit when preparing openings; latterly they both became Correspondence Grandmasters.”
“At the British Championships itself he finished second on his first appearance; he was to tie for silver medal on no less than five occasions, appearing, almost without a break for thirty years, a run that ended in 1982. He represented the BCF – as it then was – in eight Olympiads, playing on top board in 1966.
The Clarke family moved to the West of England in the late Sixties. PHC played in thirteen WECU Championships, and lost only twice. As a player he could be cautious, agreeing too readily to draws. Accuracy and respect meant more to him than ambition. The biographer became a journalist as illness cut short his playing career. In his time he beat Larsen, Penrose and Szabo.
In 1962 he married BH Wood’s daughter, Peggy. They had three daughters. In 1975 my mother happened across Peter and Peggy on Morecambe prom. ‘Never’ she was later to tell me, ‘have I seen a couple more in love.'”
We are grateful to James Pratt to allow us to quote from the the sadly unpublished “Modest Master from Morwenstow” as follows :
PHC by John Littlewood :
“Peter had a relatively short career at the top and it is interesting to comment on his style. In essence, his great strength lay in positional understanding which backed-up his defensive skills rather than helped his ability to create wins; in other words, he won games in which his opponents over-pressed or opted for dubious positional moves.
After doing well in English chess, he was perhaps pushed into international chess too early for him to develop his own personal creative style. Playing for England and meeting strong players, he tended towards a rather negative approach that may have been necessary for the team but was not good for his own personal progress, as shown when he later met English opponents who outstripped him in their positive will-to-win. His friendship with Penrose (a far stronger player) led to far too many draws which did neither of them any good.
To be fair, Peter was not an easy player to beat but, on the other hand, he was not too hard to draw against if you felt so inclined. His forte lay in his knowledge of the game and his excellent writing skills, where he was at his happiest; there is hardly a book of his that I haven’t enjoyed.”
Writing in BCM 04/64, John Littlewood called PHC a self-style non-tactician and disagreed with Clarke’s belief in the inner logic (‘I have made no mistakes and therefore my position is OK.’) of positions where tactics are to the fore.
PHC by Leonard Barden :
“Peter’s contribution to British Chess was important as a player and even more so as a writer. His best period was 1956-61. He, Penrose and myself used to stay in the same hotel during the British Championships and prepare and analyse together, although we played hard when actually paired. Peter was the solid man in the English team, gradually taking over the role of Golombek. It was important that we did reasonably well in this period which provided a bridge between the Alexander/Golombek era and the rise of Keene/Hartston.
Peter was always a good friend to me and his family gave me hospitality each year during the Ilford Congress. Peter’s books, especially the one about Tal, were real works of scholarship in an era where there were no computers to facilitate the job. He could have achieved more as a player if he had been able to concentrate fully on that, but the economic climate then was poor for professionals.”
PHC by Bernard Cafferty :
“Right up to that point of his illness in the 1980’s he had worthily defended the reputation of the older generation in the British Championship, as the last survivor, still active at that level, from the Penrose era. I first saw Peter at the 1951 British Championship at Chester and first played him at the 1952 Bristol Universities individual contest.
He left the University of London before taking his degree (study of chess rather taking over his life), but then had the good fortune to go on to study Russian while doing his National Service, around 1954-55. Or was he still in the Army when the Moscow 1956 Olympiad took place? He certainly did well there, perhaps less affected than other Westerners by the strangeness of the place that was just recovering slightly from the depths of Stalin’s baleful influence.
I do recall that for a couple of years Peter changed his cautious style. This was around 1957-58 when he scored one of his two wins against Penrose. Was it at Ilford? I remember that the game appeared with notes by B.H. Wood in ‘The Illustrated London News’ column.
I used to see Peter regularly at the Paignton and Hastings Congresses in the 1990’s but not in the last couple of years. His health seems restored.”
PHC by Ken Harman :
“I am very pleased to hear about your book about Peter Clarke; not sure I can contribute much as I wasn’t a friend of his so only knew him through seeing him and Margaret at chess tournaments. He was a quiet spoken gentleman who played such quiet positional chess that I would call it ‘monastic chess’. I think Clarke thought chess a search for spiritual truth, only to be found in the cloisters of spiritual truth, only to be found in the cloisters of contemplative life – ‘The Thomas Merton of Chess’, if you like. Of course, I have no idea if he was a spiritual man in real life but his chess always struck me as if he was reaching for heaven and found hell in a doubled pawn. He seemed like a nice man and I suspect his wife Margaret was the dominant one. I have his book on Mikhail Tal’s Best Games of Chess (Bell 1961) which is signed by him and may well have been his copy, because as you open the book – there is a small newspaper clipping and a photo of Clarke sellotaped which is rather unusual being that the book is about Tal, and not him. ”
PHC by Alan P. Borwell (ICCF Honorary President) :
“I first met Peter at the 1959 BCF Congress in York when I was a member of local organising committee and then at Paignton and when York played & won the National Club Championship in 1964/5.
In 1966 I played Peter in the British Chess Championship in last round in Sunderland.”
and from Wikipedia :
Peter Hugh Clarke (18 March 1933 – 11 December 2014) was an English chess player, who hold titles FIDE master (FM) and International Correspondence Chess Grandmaster (1980), FIDE International arbiter (1976), Chess Olympiad individual silver medal winner (1956).
Peter Clarke started playing chess at the age of six. He twice won the London Boys’ Chess Championship (1950, 1951). He was British Chess Championship multiplier participant where five times won silver medal.
Since 1959, Peter Hugh Clarke has been working as a chess journalist in the newspaper Sunday Times and magazine British Chess Magazine. He known as the biographical book’s author of Mikhail Tal (1961) and Tigran Petrosian (1964). Thanks to his good knowledge of Russian language, he translated the book about Vasily Smyslov in 1958. In 1963 he wrote a book 100 Soviet Chess Miniatures.
Peter Clarke played for England in the Chess Olympiads :
In 1954, at second reserve board in the 11th Chess Olympiad in Amsterdam (+2, =2, -3),
In 1956, at reserve board in the 12th Chess Olympiad in Moscow (+7, =5, -0) and won individual silver medal,
In 1958, at fourth board in the 13th Chess Olympiad in Munich (+2, =10, -3),
In 1960, at third board in the 14th Chess Olympiad in Leipzig (+4, =7, -3),
In 1962, at second board in the 15th Chess Olympiad in Varna (+3, =10, -2),
In 1964, at second board in the 16th Chess Olympiad in Tel Aviv (+2, =8, -2),
In 1966, at first board in the 17th Chess Olympiad in Havana (+2, =10, -1),
In 1968, at third board in the 18th Chess Olympiad in Lugano (+0, =7, -1).
Also he played for England in the World Student Team Chess Championship (1954, 1959)and in the Clare Benedict Chess Cup (1960-1961, 1963, 1965, 1967-1968) where won team silver medal (1960) and 4 bronze medals (1961, 1963, 1967, 1968).
In later years, Peter Clarke active participated in correspondence chess tournaments. In 1977, he won British Correspondence Chess Championship. In 1976, Peter Clarke was awarded the International Correspondence Chess Master (IMC) title and received the International Correspondence Chess Grandmaster (GMC) title four years later.