John K Shaw was born on Wednesday, October 16th, 1968. On this day Americans Tommie Smith (gold 19.83 WR) and John Carlos (bronze) famously give the Black Power salute on the 200m medal podium during the Mexico City Olympics to protest racism and injustice against African-Americans.
John was born in Irvine, North Ayrshire in Scotland.
He became a FIDE Master in 1994 at the age of 26. Five years later in 1999 he became an International Master and finally a Grandmaster in 2006 at the age of 38.
He won the Scottish Championship in 1995 (with IM Steve Mannion and GM Colin McNab), outright in 1998 and in 2000 with AJ Norris.
Not that many years previously (1988) John had a rating of 1700 at the age of 19 and therefore he falls into that rather rare category of GMs who were not strong players as juniors.
According to Felice and Megabase 2020 his peak FIDE rating was 2506 in January of 2002.
John’s FIDE federation is Scotland and is currently ranked fifth in that country.
He acquired his three GM norms at Gibraltar 2003, Calvia Olympiad 2004 and 4NCL Season 2005/6.
According to ChessBase (in 2005) :
“IM John Shaw has written two books for Everyman Chess and co-edited Experts vs. the Sicilian. He has represented Scotland on many occasions, recently in the Olympiad in Calvià, where he obtained his second GM-norm. As John has once had 2500 in Elo, it is his hope that he will complete his Grandmaster title in 2005 with a third GM-norm.
Together with Jacob, John constitutes two thirds of the new chess publisher Quality Chess Europe which has published Experts vs. the Sicilian by ten different authors and Learn from the Legends – Chess Champions at their Best by Romanian GM Mihail Marin.”
John plays / has played for 4NCL Alba and his peak ECF grading was 240B in July 2009.
With the white pieces almost exclusively plays 1.e4 and the Ruy Lopez, Exchange Variation.
As the second player John has a wide repertoire versus 1.e4 essaying the Sicilian La Bourdonnais (Löwenthal) and against 1.d4 the Slav is the weapon of choice.
A writer of chess books, John is the Chief Editor of the publishing house Quality Chess and has written the following (amongst others) :
Michael Thomas Hennigan was born on October 8th, 1970 in Hammersmith, London. His mother’s name was Donnelly.
Michael attended the City of London School.
Michael became World Under-18 Youth Champion in 1988 in Aguadilla (Puerto Rico).
He became a FIDE Master in 1990 and an International Master title in 1991 and in the same year was British Under-21 Champion at Eastbourne and was British Champion in 1993 in Dundee beating Dharshan Kumaran in the play-off.
In 1995 he was 1st= in the Arnold Cup in Gausdal with Igor Rausis
His peak FIDE rating (according to Felice and Megabase 2020) was 2465 in July 1994 at the age of 24.
He played for North West Eagles in the Four Nations Chess League.
Michael married WIM Rita Zimmersmann and settled in London. Rita subsequently became Rita Atkins.
Michael stopped playing in 2010 but has recently in 2020 started playing online chess on the chess.com platform.
BCN wishes IM Andrew Greet best wishes on his birthday.
Andrew Nicholas Greet was born on Friday, October 5th, 1979 in the cathedral city of Truro, Cornwall and has resided in St. Austell, Cornwall. “Message in a Bottle” by The Police held the number one spot in the UK singles chart (three weeks in total).
Andrew attended Truro School leaving in 1998.
Andrew became a FIDE Master in 2004 and an International Master in 2005. His peak rating (according to Felice and Megabase 2020) was 2456 in April 2016 at the age of 37.
Andrew was British Under-18 Champion in 1996 at the age of 16 sharing the title with Oliver Rosten & Rohan Churm. In 1998 Andrew won the title outright.
From 1998 – 2001 had a break from chess to study Psychology at The University of Kent in Canterbury.
In 2005 he scored a record breaking 11/11 in the Four Nations League playing for Hillsmark Kingfisher. By now, Andrew had moved to Glasgow and had changed his FIDE federation from England to Scotland.
Andrew was joint winner (with Simon Knott) of the Southend Open in 2006.
In April 2009 Andrew joined Quality Chess in Sales and Marketing which led to the position of editor.
Preparing for David would have been fairly straightforward as he played almost the same opening with white and black playing 1.g3 (and less frequently, 1.d4) and the Modern Defence although his did flick the Modern Benoni into the mix every now and then.
As well as moving to Oxford for University he was =1 at the 1988 (fifth) NatWest Young Masters with 6/9 (along with Adams and Kudrin) securing a GM norm :
In 1990 David became the first Grandmaster to play in the annual Varsity match. This was the 108th such encounter and David played on board one against Jeremy P Sharp of Downing College, Cambridge. David first played in the 107th match in 1989 on board two below James Howell. David played one more time in 1991 scoring 2/3 from his three appearences.
According to FIDE David is registered with Andorra which appropriately (for DN) has Catalan as its national language. David has yet to win the Andorran Championship. He first played in the Andorran Open in 2011 and came close to winning in 2013 with 7/9. Since 2017 David has not played in a FIDE rated event.
As a writer David wrote a chess column for The Daily Telegraph and has written :
From Wikipedia :
“David Robert Norwood (born 3 October 1968) is an English businessman who runs an investment fund that finances spin-off companies from Oxford University science departments. He is also a chess grandmaster, chess writer, former captain of the English chess team and now represents Andorra at chess.”
“The son of an electrician, Norwood graduated with a history degree from Keble College, Oxford University in 1988 before joining city investment bank Banker’s Trust in 1991.”
“Norwood cofounded Oxford Sciences Innovation, a £600m investment company dedicated to funding deep science from Oxford University, and was its CEO from 2015 to 2019. Formerly he was founder of IP Group plc, a fund that invested in spinoffs from Oxford University’s Chemistry department, in exchange for 50% of the revenues from the licensing of the department’s intellectual property.
In 2017, Norwood donated £1.9M to Keble College’s future hub for innovation at Oxford University.”
From The Times of London, November 20th, 2008 by Ian King, Business Editor :
“Entrepreneur David Norwood swaps City for sun, sea and writing
David Norwood resigned all his directorships yesterday and is heading to a tiny island in the Bahamas, where he will write the novel
One of the City’s best-known entrepreneurs resigned all his directorships yesterday – to move to a desert island, where he plans to become a writer.
David Norwood, a former chief executive of the stockbrokers Evolution and Beeson Gregory, resigned from the boards of a number of companies, including Oxford Advanced Surfaces, ORA Capital, Oxeco and Plus-listed Green Chemicals. He has also given up his role as special projects director at IP Group, the intellectual property commercialisation company, which he started eight years ago and floated on AIM in 2003. Shares of all five companies fell after the news was released.”
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
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.
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.
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.
ln order to illustrate my chess career to date, I shall therefore pick out examples of barriers which I managed to break through.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 :
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.
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).”
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.
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.
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, 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 (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, Jon (1997). Jon Speelman’s Best Games. B.T. Batsford (London, England). 240 pages. ISBN 978-0-7134-6477-1.
Speelman, Jon (2008). Jon Speelman’s Chess Puzzle Book. Gambit Publications Ltd. 143 pages. ISBN 978-1-904600-96-1.
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
We wish IM Richard Palliser all the very best on his birthday
Richard Julian David Palliser was born September 18th in 1981 in Birmingham, West Midlands. His mother’s maiden name was Hyde.
He became a FIDE Master in 2000 and an International Master in 2001.
His peak FIDE rating (according to Felice and Megabase 2020) was 2482 in July 2012 at the age of 31.
In 1995 Richard was joint British U13 Champion together with David Hodge and Richard S. Jones.
Palliser was joint British Rapidplay Chess Champion in 2006. He writes regularly for ChessMoves and “Everyman Chess” who also employ him as an editor and advisor.
Richard represents in matches 4NCL White Rose, York RI, Yorkshire CA, and ‘Eagle and Child’
According to “Play 1.d4!” :
“is an international master and recipient of a special British Chess Federation young player’s award for achievement. In addition to being a very active tournament and match player he also writes regularly for CHESS magazine and other periodicals and is noted for his theoretical knowledge and analytical ability.”
According to “tango!” :
“His debut book Play 1.d4! was very well received by critics and the chess public alike”
His handle on the Internet Chess Club is “worcester”.
With the White pieces Richard plays 1.d4(!) and the Queen’ Gambit, Exchange Variation is the main weapon of choice.
As the second player Richard plays the Sicilian Najdorf and the King’s Indian Defence.
Richard is Editor of “CHESS” and has authored a number of publications :
Palliser, Richard (2005). Tango! A Dynamic Answer to 1 d4. Everyman Chess. ISBN 1-85744-388-8.
Palliser, Richard (2006). Beating Unusual Chess Openings. Everyman Chess. ISBN 1-85744-429-9.
Palliser, Richard (2006). Starting Out: Closed Sicilian. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-414-8.
Palliser, Richard (2007). Starting Out: Scilian Najdorf. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-601-2.
Palliser, Richard (2007). Starting out: the Colle. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-527-5.
Palliser, Richard; Kosten, Tony; Vigus, James (2008). Dangerous Weapons: Flank Openings. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-583-1.
Palliser, Richard (2008). Starting out: d-pawn attacks. The Colle-Zukertort, Barry and 150 Attacks. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-578-7.
Palliser, Richard (2009). Starting Out: the Trompowsky Attack. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-562-6.
Palliser, Richard; Williams, Simon; Vigus, James (2010). Dangerous Weapons: The Dutch. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-624-1.
We wish happy birthday to WGM Anya Sun Corke on her birthday.
Anya Sun Corke was born in California, USA on Wednesday, September 12th 1990.
In 2013, Anya graduated from Wellesley College summa cum laude with a B.A. in Russian and Philosophy
She became a woman’s Grandmaster in 2004.
He peak FIDE rating (according to Felice) was 2301 in October 2008.
With the white pieces Anya played the Queen’s Gambit and Trompowski Attack
As the second player Anya played the Sicilian Kan, French Rozentalis (3…Nc6) and the Grünfeld Defence.
Anya won outright the 2007 Budapest First Saturday FM tournament :
She gave up competitive chess in 2014.
An almost miniature from the 2006 British Championship :
From Wikipedia :
“Anya Sun Corke (born 12 September 1990 in California, USA) is an English chess player holding the title of Woman Grandmaster (WGM). She played for Hong Kong, where she was the top ranked chess player, until 2009.
Corke earned the WGM title with her performance in the 36th Chess Olympiad, playing for the Hong Kong men’s team.
She was the 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008 Hong Kong National Champion (for men and women), one of the youngest national champions ever at the age of 13 years and 9 months.
She was the British Junior Under-11 Champion in 2002 and the Under-12 Champion in 2003, the first girl to win either of these age groups. In 2004, she became joint British U-14 Champion.
In December 2004, she won the Asian Youth Girls U-14 Championship in Singapore.
In August 2005, she jointly won with Alisa Melekhina and Abby Marshall the second annual Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls under-19.
Corke represented the England Women’s team at the 2012 Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey, and the 2013 European Team Championship in Warsaw, Poland.
In 2013, she graduated from Wellesley College summa cum laude with a B.A. in Russian and Philosophy.
In 2014, she started a Ph.D. program in Slavic Languages and Literatures at Yale University.”
Lorin Alexander P D’Costa was born on Wednesday, September 5th 1984. “What’s Love Got To Do With It” by Tina Turner was number one in the UK singles chart. His mother’s maiden name was Antheunis.
According to Wikipedia : “Lorin is a masculine given name. The meaning of Lorin derives from a bay or laurel plant; of Laurentum (wreathed/crowned with laurel). Laurentum, in turn is from laurus (laurel), from the place of laurel trees, laurel branch, laurel wreath. Laurentum was also a city in ancient Italy.”
Lorin was born in Lambeth, London and became a FIDE Master in 2004 and an International Master in 2008.
His first ever BCF/ECF grading was 36D in July 1994 aged 10 but his grading very quickly improved :
His peak FIDE rating was 2485 in April 2009.
Lorin has the unique distinction of gaining the title of “Strat” four times for winning the UK Chess Challenge Terafinal in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003. Only four other players have won the title more than once : Peter Poobalasingam, Félix José Ynojosa Aponte, Marcus Harvey and Koby Kalavannan.
Lorin plays for Hendon in the London League and 4NCL Barbican in the Four Nations Chess League.
BCN remembers Joseph Blackburne (10-xii-1841 01-ix-1924)
The following (excerpts of) information were obtained via ancestry.co.uk / findmypast.co.uk:
Joseph Henry Blackburne was born on Friday, December 10th, 1841 in Chorlton, Manchester. His father was Joseph Blackburn (aged 23, a temperance reformer) and his mother was Ann Pritchard (aged 24). He had eight sons and five daughters.
His brother Frederick Pritchard Blackburn died on 11 October 1847 in Lancashire, Lancashire, when Joseph Henry was 5 years old.
His sister Clara was born on 4 November 1847 in Street, Lancashire, when Joseph Henry was 5 years old.
His half-sister Clara was born in 1848 in Manchester, Lancashire, when Joseph Henry was 7 years old.
His mother Ann passed away on 26 November 1857 in Manchester, Lancashire, at the age of 40.
His half-brother William Thomas was born on 17 June 1865 when Joseph Henry was 23 years old.
Joseph Henry Blackburne married Eleanor Driscoll on 10 December 1865 when he was 24 years old.
Joseph Henry Blackburne married Beatrice Lapham on 3 October 1876 when he was 34 years old.
His wife Beatrice passed away in January 1880 in St Olave Southwark, London, at the age of 26. They had been married 3 years.
Joseph Henry Blackburne married Mary Jane Fox in St Olave Southwark, London, on 16 December 1880 when he was 39 years old.
Joseph Henry Blackburne lived in Everton, Lancashire, in 1891.
According to Edward Winter in Chess Notes JHB lived at the following addresses :
16 Lucey Road, London SE, England (The Chess Amateur, October 1924, page 32 (address in 1879) and the 1881 British census (C.N. 4756)*).
116 Barkworth Road, Camberwell, London, England (1891 British census (C.N. 4756)*).
7 Whitbread Road, Lewisham, London, England (1901 British census (C.N. 4756)*).
45 Sandrock Road, Lewisham, London SE, England (Ranneforths Schach-Kalender, 1915, page 56, and Hastings Chess Club address list, 1922*).
According to chessgames.com :
“Joseph Henry Blackburne was born in Chorlton, Manchester. He came to be known as “The Black Death”. He enjoyed a great deal of success giving blindfold and simultaneous exhibitions. Tournament highlights include first place with Wilhelm Steinitz at Vienna 1873, first at London 1876, and first at Berlin 1881 ahead of Johannes Zukertort. In matchplay he lost twice to Steinitz and once to Emanuel Lasker. He fared a little better with Zukertort (Blackburne – Zukertort (1881)) and Isidor Gunsberg, by splitting a pair of matches, and defeating Francis Joseph Lee, ( Blackburne – Lee (1890) ). One of the last successes of his career was at the age of 72, when he tied for first place with Fred Dewhirst Yates at the 1914 British Championship.
In his later years, a subscription by British chess players provided an annuity of £100 (approximately £4,000 in 2015 value), and a gift of £250 on his 80th birthday.”
In 1923 he suffered a stroke, and the next year he died of a heart attack.”
From The Oxford Companion to Chess (OUP, 1984) by Hooper and Whyld :
“For more than 20 years one of the first six players in the world and for even longer the leading English born player. Draughts was the most popular indoor game in his home town, Manchester; he learned this game as a child and became expert in his youth.
He was about 18 when, inspired by Morphy’s exploits, he learned the moves of chess. In July 1861 he lost all live games of a match against the Manchester chess club champion Edward Pindar, but he improved so rapidly that he defeated Pindar three months later (-1-5=2—1), and in 1862 he became champion of the club ahead of Pindar and Horwitz.
Instructed by Horwitz, Blackburne became one of the leading endgame players of his time; and wishing to emulate the feats of L. Paulsen, who visited the club in November 1861, he developed exceptional skill at blindfold chess. He spent most of the 1860s developing his chess and toying with various occupations.
After winning the British championship, 1868-9, ahead of de vere, he became a full-time professional player.
Blackburne achieved excellent results in many tournaments: Baden-Baden 1870, third equal with Neumann after Anderssen and Steinitz; London 1872, second (+5-2) after Steinitz ahead of Zukertort; Vienna 1873, second to Steinitz after a play-off; Paris 1878, third after Winawer and Zukertort: Wiesbaden 1880, first equal with Englisch and Schwarz; Berlin 1881, first (+13=2 — 1), three points ahead of Zukertort, the second prize winner (Blackburne’s greatest achievement); London 1883, third after Zukertort and Steinitz; Hamburg 1885, second equal with Englisch, Mason, Tarrasch, and Weiss half a point after Gunsberg; Frankfurt 1887, second equal with Weiss after Mackenzie; Manchester 1890, second after Tarrasch; Belfast 1892, first equal with Mason; London 1892, second ( + 6-2) after Lasker; London 1893, first ( + 2=3).
He was in the British team in 11 of the Anglo-American cable matches, meeting Pillsbury on first board six times (+2-3 — 1), and he continued to play internationally until he was 72, long enough to meet the pioneer of the hypermodern movement Nimzowitsch, whom he defeated at St Petersburg 1914.
Blackburne had remarkable combinative powers and is remembered for his swingeing king’s side attacks, often well prepared but occasionally consisting of an ingenious swindle that would deceive even the greatest all his contemporaries. The tournament book of Vienna 1873 refers to him as ‘der schrwarze Tod [Black death] der Schachspieler’, a nickname that became popular.
His unflappable temperament also earned him the soubriquet “the man with the iron nerves’. Even so, neither his temperament nor his style was suited to set matches, in which he was rarely successful against world-class players. He had other chess talents: a problem composer, he was also a fast solver, allegedly capable of outpacing the great Sam Loyd. Blackburne earned his livelihood by means of simultaneous displays, for this purpose touring Britain twice-yearly, with a few breaks, for more than 50 years.
Before this time such displays were solemn affairs; Lowenthal, who would appear in formal dress and play for several hours in silence, was shocked when Blackburne turned up in ordinary clothes, chatting and making jokes as he played, and refreshing him self with whisky, (Blackburne confessed, however, that when fully absorbed in a game he never noticed whether he was drinking water instead,) Once, walking round the boards, he drained his opponent’s glass, saying when rebuked He left it en prise and I took it en passant‘
The illustrator Julius Hess depicted Blackburne in a New Yorker Staats Zeitung evening edition as sitting at a chesstable and beckoning: “Waitah! A whiskey and limejuice!”
He played his blindfold displays quickly, and with little sign of the stress that besets most blindfold players. Probably the leading blindfold expert of his time, he challenged Zukertort, a close rival in this field, to a match of ten games, played simultaneously, both players blindfold; but Zukertort declined. Many who knew and liked Blackburne subscribed to a fund which sustained him in his last years.
P. A. Graham, Mr Blackburne’s Games at Chess (1899) contains 407 games annotated by Blackburne and 28 three-movers composed by him.
A reprint, styled Blackburne*s Chess Games (1979), has a new introduction and two more games.
One of Blackburne’s contributions was the suggestion of using chess clocks rather than the archaic hourglasses.
Here follows a reproduction of an article from British Chess Magazine, Volume LXXX1 (1961), Number 12 (December), page 340-342 written by RN Coles entitled “Early Days of a Great Master” :
“The only record of how J. H. Blackburne first, entered the chess world is the one provided by P. Anderson Graham in the introduction to his collection of Blackburne’s games. This has all the ingredients of a romanticized version of the truth-the first casual games in a temperance hotel, then entry to the important Manchester Club and a series of victories over ever stronger opponents until at last Pindar, Champion of the Provinces, comes along, plays the unknown youth and is defeated.
Reference to C. H. Stanley’s column in the Weekly Guardian and Express helps to supply a more accurate version. Young Blackburne’s earliest interest was in problems and he submitted one to the Guardian and Express which appeared in January, 1861, only to be found by several solvers to be cooked, Then silence till May 11th, when the column carries a note:
J. H. B. Problems received with much pleasure…Shall be glad to see you at the Club.”
Here are a couple of published problems. For a complete listing see below.
Manchester Express, 1861
The Field, 1893
Not yet a member, clearly. Nevertheless, he contrived somehow to meet Pindar outside the club and played some games-with him (two scores appear in the Guardian and Express, July 20th), and a set-match of five up was then arranged, still played in private (Guardian and Express, August 3lst), which “was terminated by Mr. Pindar winning a clear victory, the score being Pindar 5, Blackburne 0” (one game was quoted in the July “B.C.M.” and another score can be found in the Guardian and Express, July 27th.
“A second match was agreed upon, level games to entitle either player to the victor’s palm. The result … is calculated positively, to startle the chess world. The first game was scored by Mr. Pindar; of the next seven, Blackburne won five and the two remaining were drawn. ‘At this point Mr. Pindar resigned the match.” (Guardian and Express, September 7th, with the score of a Blackburne win from this match quoted February 1st, 1962.)
Only now does Blackburne appear to have joined the Manchester Club, meeting such players as Stanley himself for the first time (Guardian and Express gives the score of a casual game, November 9th), though Stanley later claimed personally to have discovered the young prodigy.
In November, 1861, Paulsen visited the club and the score survives of a casual game in which he beat Blackburne, who played a Winawer Variation of the French Defence long before Winawer ever came on the-scene (Guardian and Express, December,1861); Paulsen concluded his visit with one of his celebrated ten-board blindfold displays and not unnaturally the young Blackburne eagerly took a board; his defeat is No.25O in his games collection. This so stimulated him that he himself tried blindfold play and by January 20th, 1862, was able to give his first display against four boards, winning them all (Guardian and Express, January 25th, with one of the scores). This he followed with seven games on February 8th,
winning five and losing two. (Guardian and Express, February 8th) and finally ten games on February 8th, winning five, losing two, and drawing three (Guardian and Express,February 15th, which quotes the score of one game in addition to No. 254 in his games).
Inter-club matches were something of a rarity in those days and were regarded as of considerable importance when they occurred; one such was the annual Manchester-Liverpool match and in 1862 Blackburne took part for the first time, being matched against Wellington, another young player of promise who seems to have got no further; as many games were played between opponents as time allowed and these two young men played three, all won by Blackburne. (Guardian and Express, February 22nd, which quotes the score of one game in addition to No. 138 in the collection).
During this spring the rivalry with Pindar was renewed in a third match for the first five wins and after eleven games the score stood at 4 each, with three drawn (Guardian and Express, March 15th, quoting the score of the eleventh game), but I cannot find who won the last game. Since Blackburne was hailed as club champion this season, one must suppose he was the victor.
Such was his first club season. ln June, 1862, he played in the London lnternational Tournament and from then on his chess career was public property.
To conclude, here is the score of the eleventh game of his third match with Pindar, a critical struggle in which his budding mastery appears at the-end. From an inferior opening he struggles into an equal ending but by a rash exchange of Rooks on the 36th move gives Pindar a clear advantage, which could have been held by 41. P-R4. Blackburne seizes on this omission like a real master to switch into a most accurately calculated queen ending.
and here is the original article:
Many juniors and beginners will know the Blackburne Shilling Gambit (or Kostić Gambit) in some circles known (named by Julian Hodgson) as the ‘Oh My God’:
There are variations named after Blackburne as follows :
The Blackburne Attack in the Four Knights is
and the Blackburne Variation of the Dutch defence is
and a popular line in the Queen’s Gambit
are attributed to Blackburne in the literature.
According to The Encyclopedia of Chess (Batsford, 1977) by Harry Golombek :
“British grandmaster and highly successful tournament player who was one of the most prominent masters of the nineteenth century. He did not learn to play chess until the age of nineteen, but his natural gifts soon brought him into the front rank of British players, and in 1868 he abandoned his business interests and adopted chess as a profession.
Blackburne’s international tournament career spans an impressive fifty-two years from London 1862 to St. Petersburg 1914 – a total of 53 events in which he played 814 games, scoring over 62%. Although he rarely won international events, he generally finished in the top half of the table and his fierce competitive spirit coupled with his great combinative ability earned the pleasant nickname of ‘the Black Death’.
His most notable successes were =1st with Steinitz at Vienna 1873 (Blackburne lost the play-off match), 1st at Berlin 1881 ahead of Paulsen, Schallopp, Chigorin, Winawer and Zukertort, and 2nd to Tarrasch at Manchester 1890.
Blackburne won the BCA Championship in 1868 and for many years was ranked as Britain’s foremost player. In 1914 – at the age of 72 – he shared first place at the BCF congress in Chester.
In match play his success was mixed. He defeated Bird in 1888 (+4-1) and Gunsberg in 1881 (+7-4=3) but lost a second match to Gunsberg in 1886 (+2-5=6). He lost to Lasker (+0-6=4) in 1892 and was defeated heavily twice by Steinitz : in 1862/3 (+1-7=2) and in 1876 (+0-7=0), the latter of these matches being for the World Championship.
Blackburne excelled at blindfold play and in simultaneous exhibitions, which provided a major portion of his income. He died in Lewisham, a much respected veteran of eighty-three.”
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