Tag Archives: British

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.

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 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 Tramner 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, Oliver Chataway and Eileen. Eileen lived in Acton then.

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!

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.

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.

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! ”

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 Francis 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.

Birthday of IM Richard Palliser (18-ix-1981)

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.

Richard Palliser
Richard Palliser

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.”

IM Richard Palliser at the King's Place  Rapidplay, 2013.
IM Richard Palliser at the King’s Place Rapidplay, 2013.

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”.

IM Richard Palliser
IM Richard Palliser

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.

IM Richard Palliser and IM Jovanka Houska, British Championships, 2019
IM Richard Palliser and IM Jovanka Houska, British Championships, 2019

Richard is Editor of “CHESS” and has authored a number of publications :

Play 1.d4 !, Batsford, 2003
Play 1.d4 !, Batsford, 2003

Palliser, Richard (2005). Tango! A Dynamic Answer to 1 d4. Everyman Chess. ISBN 1-85744-388-8.

Tango! A Dynamic Answer to 1 d4
Tango! A Dynamic Answer to 1 d4

Palliser, Richard (2006). Beating Unusual Chess Openings. Everyman Chess. ISBN 1-85744-429-9.

Beating Unusual Chess Openings
Beating Unusual Chess Openings

Palliser, Richard (2006). Starting Out: Closed Sicilian. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-414-8.

Starting Out: Closed Sicilian
Starting Out: Closed Sicilian

Palliser, Richard (2007). Starting Out: Scilian Najdorf. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-601-2.

Starting Out: Scilian Najdorf
Starting Out: Scilian Najdorf

Palliser, Richard (2007). Starting out: the Colle. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-527-5.

Starting out: the Colle
Starting out: the Colle
The Complete Chess Workout, Everyman, 2007
The Complete Chess Workout, Everyman, 2007

Palliser, Richard; Kosten, Tony; Vigus, James (2008). Dangerous Weapons: Flank Openings. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-583-1.

Dangerous Weapons: Flank Openings
Dangerous Weapons: Flank Openings

Palliser, Richard (2008). Starting out: d-pawn attacks. The Colle-Zukertort, Barry and 150 Attacks. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-578-7.

Starting out: d-pawn attacks
Starting out: d-pawn attacks

Palliser, Richard (2009). Starting Out: the Trompowsky Attack. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-562-6.

Starting Out: the Trompowsky Attack
Starting Out: the Trompowsky Attack

Palliser, Richard; Williams, Simon; Vigus, James (2010). Dangerous Weapons: The Dutch. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-624-1.

Dangerous Weapons: The Dutch
Dangerous Weapons: The Dutch
Dangerous Weapons  : The Caro-Kann, Everyman, 2010
Dangerous Weapons : The Caro-Kann, Everyman, 2010
The Complete Chess Workout II, Everyman, 2012
The Complete Chess Workout II, Everyman, 2012
IM Richard Palliser
IM Richard Palliser

Birthday of WGM Anya Sun Corke (12-ix-1990)

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.

FIDE rating profile of WGM Anya Sun Corke
FIDE rating profile of WGM Anya Sun Corke

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 :

Budapest First Saturday FM Tournament, 2007
Budapest First Saturday FM Tournament, 2007

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.[1]

Corke earned the WGM title with her performance in the 36th Chess Olympiad, playing for the Hong Kong men’s team.[2][3]

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[4] and the Under-12 Champion in 2003,[5] the first girl to win either of these age groups. In 2004, she became joint British U-14 Champion.[6]

In December 2004, she won the Asian Youth Girls U-14 Championship in Singapore.[7]

In August 2005, she jointly won with Alisa Melekhina and Abby Marshall the second annual Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls under-19.[8]

Corke represented the England Women’s team at the 2012 Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey,[9][10] and the 2013 European Team Championship in Warsaw, Poland.[11]

In 2013, she graduated from Wellesley College summa cum laude with a B.A. in Russian and Philosophy.[12][13]

In 2014, she started a Ph.D. program in Slavic Languages and Literatures at Yale University.”

WGM Anya Sun Corke
WGM Anya Sun Corke

Death Anniversary for IM Imre König (09-ii-1901 09-ix-1992)

Death Anniversary for IM Imre König (09-ii-1901 09-ix-1992)

From The Anglo-Soviet Radio Chess Match by E.Klein and W.Winter :

“Born in 1901 in Hungary when it still belonged to the old pre-World War I Austria, spent most of his life in Vienna, where he became a promising player at an early age. After World War I and the various geographical adjustments in the map of Europe, he became Yugoslav by nationality and represented that country three times in international team tournaments.

He has competed in a great number of international tournaments, some of them in this country, where he has lived since 1938. He won the Premier Reserves at Hastings, 1938, in a strong international field, finished fourth and fifth with the late Landau at Bournemouth, 1939, and shared first and second prizes with Milner-Barry in the National Chess Centre tournament, 1939. His last performance was in the London International Tournament, 1946, where he shared fourth, fifth and sixth places with Sir George Thomas and Gerald Abrahams. He is now a professional player.

König’s special strength lies in the openings, of which he has a deep knowledge.”

Imre König
Imre König

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

“International Master (1951). Born in Kula, Hungary (now Serbia). König became a Yugoslav citizen when the territory in which he lived was ceded to Yugoslavia after the First World War. In 1938 he emigrated to England and became a naturalised British subject in 1949. He found that the English climate affected his health and in 1953 went to live in the USA.

König learnt to play chess when he was 10. In 1920, while studying at Vienna University, he met Spielmann, Tartakover and Réti, and became became interested in the hypermodern school of chess, which they represented.

He played for Yugoslavia in the chess Olympiads of 1931 and 1935 and came 2nd in the Yugoslav national tournament of 1922. His results in international tournaments include =4th at Bournemouth 1939; =4th at London 1946 and 2nd at Hastings 1948-49. These results do not do justice to his strength as a player. He was handicapped by a poor temperament for tournament chess, which prevented him from achieving greater success in the international field.

A chess professional, König was a first-class teacher of the game (Anne was a student of his), as well as being a leading theoretician. He is author of The Queen’s Indian Defence (Pitman, 1947) and Chess from Morphy to Botvinnik (Bell, 1951).”

From The Encyclopedia of Chess (Batsford, 1977) by Harry Golombek :

“An international master since 1951, born at Gyula in Austro-Hungary. After the first world war König became a Yugoslav citizen and represented that country in the Olympiads of 1931 and 1935. He emigrated to England in 1938 and was naturalised in 1949. Since 1953 he has resided in the USA. Tournament results include 2nd prize at Hastings 1948/9. His publications include a monograph on the Queen’s Indian Defence, London 1947, and a longer work, Chess from Morphy to Botvinnik, London, 1951 ”

Hooper & Whyld are silent on König for some strange reason.

From Wikipedia :

“Imre König (Koenig) aka Mirko Kenig (Sept 2, 1901, Gyula, Hungary – 1992, Santa Monica, California) was a Hungarian chess master.

He was born in Gyula, Hungary, and also lived in Austria, England and the USA during the troubled times between the two world wars.

In 1921, he took 2nd in Celje. In 1920s König played in several tournaments in Vienna; he was 3rd in 1921, 14th in 1922 (Akiba Rubinstein won), 3rd-4th in 1925, 4-5th in 1926 (Rudolf Spielmann won), and 3rd-5th in 1926. He took 12th in Rogaška Slatina (Rohitsch-Sauerbrunn) in 1929. The event was won by Rubinstein. In 1929/30, he took 7th in Vienna (Hans Kmoch and Spielmann won). In 1931, he took 4th in Vienna (Albert Becker won). In 1936, he tied for 6-7th in Novi Sad (Vasja Pirc won). In 1937, he tied for 2nd-4th in Belgrade (Vasilije Tomović won).

Mirko Kenig represented Yugoslavia in the 4th Chess Olympiad at Prague 1931 (+5 –1 =2), the 6th Chess Olympiad at Warsaw 1935 (+5 –2 =8),[2] and in 3rd unofficial Chess Olympiad at Munich 1936 (+7 –4 =7).”

“In 1938, Imre König emigrated to England. In 1939, he tied for 4-5th in Bournemouth (Max Euwe won), and shared 1st with Philip Stuart Milner-Barry in Hampstead. In 1946, he took 4th in London. In 1948/49, he took 2nd, behind Nicolas Rossolimo, in the Hastings International Chess Congress.

In 1949, he became a naturalized British citizen. However, in 1953 he moved to the United States.

König was awarded the International Master title in 1951.”

Queen's Indian Defence, König, Pitman, 1947
Queen’s Indian Defence, König, Pitman, 1947
Chess from Morphy to Botwinnik by Imre König
Chess from Morphy to Botwinnik by Imre König
The Right Way to Play Chess
The Right Way to Play Chess
Imre König by John Donaldson
Imre König by John Donaldson

Death Anniversary of Elijah Williams (08-ix-1854)

Death Anniversary of Elijah Williams (08-ix-1854)

We note today (September 8th) in 1854 marks the passing of Elijah Williams.

We are not aware of verified image / likeness of Elijah Williams. Possibly the archives of Bristol based newspapers would help?

Here is an excellent article by Neil Blackburn (aka SimaginFan)

From Wikipedia :

“Elijah Williams (7 October 1809 – 8 September 1854) was an eminent British chess player of the mid-19th century. He was the first president of the Clifton Chess Club, and publisher of a book of games from the Divan Club. His most notable result was at the 1851 London tournament, in which he defeated the celebrated British player Howard Staunton in the play-off for third place.

He was accused by Staunton of taking an average of 2½ hours per move during some matches, a strategy thought to cause opponents to lose their focus on the match. According to Staunton, following a particularly dilatory performance by Williams in the London 1851 tournament, a 20-minute per turn time limit was adopted for standard play the next year. However other sources contradict this viewpoint and indeed it was not uncommon for Staunton to attribute his losses to the intolerable dilatory play of his opponents. Staunton is quoted as remarking while playing against Williams, ‘… Elijah, you’re not just supposed to sit there – you’re supposed to sit there and think!'”

“In The Complete Chess Addict by Mike Fox and Richard James he was dubbed “the Bristol Sloth” due to his alleged extreme slowness. This sobriquet inspired a musical tune “The Bristol Sloth” by guitarist Leo Kottke (who also applied the term ‘sitzkrieg’ in describing Williams’ playing style).

Williams died in London, a victim of the 1854 Broad Street cholera outbreak.”

Birthday of IM Yang-Fan Zhou (08-ix-1994)

We send best wishes to IM Yang-Fan Zhou on his birthday.

Yang-Fan George Zhou was born on Thursday, September 8th, 1994 in Wandsworth, London. His mother’s maiden name was Yang. “Parklife” by Blur was number one in the UK Singles chart.

He attended Whitgift School, Croydon (founded by John Whitgift in 1596) and then Churchill College, The University of Cambridge.

Here is an article from the Guardian which included
“The Whitgift 13-year-old recently won the Coulsdon Premier with 8.5/9, gaining nearly 100 world rating points which will make him England’s highest ranked under-18 after Howell in the July FIDE list.”

He became a FIDE Master in 2009 and an International Master in 2011.

Yang-Fan claimed the title of UK Chess Challenge “Strat” in 2011 for winning the Terafinal outright.

IM Yang-Fan Zhou at a Wellington College Training Event in 2014, courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Yang-Fan Zhou at a Wellington College Training Event in 2014, courtesy of John Upham Photography

He scored 9/9 in the 2011 e2e4 Brighton Masters Closed tournament, including beating the two grandmasters (Keith Arkell and Alexander Cherniaev) in the tournament.

In 2012 he won the Hong Kong International Open

His peak FIDE rating was 2486 in October 2013 at the age of 19.

FIDE Rating Profile of IM Yang-Fan Zhou
FIDE Rating Profile of IM Yang-Fan Zhou

In 2014 Yang-Fan Zhou represented Cambridge in the annual Varsity match (the 132nd) and played on top board drawing with David Zakarian.

Yang-Fan Zhou plays board one in the 2014 Varsity Match, courtesy of John Upham Photography
Yang-Fan Zhou plays board one in the 2014 Varsity Match, courtesy of John Upham Photography

and this article from Leonard Barden

IM Yang-Fan Zhou at the Big Slick Tournament, June 2013. Courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Yang-Fan Zhou at the Big Slick Tournament, June 2013. Courtesy of John Upham Photography

Birthday of GM Michael Stean (04-ix-1953)

We send best wishes to GM Michael Stean on his birthday,

Michael Francis Stean was born Michael Francis Stein on Friday, September 4th, 1953 in Pancras, London. His mother’s maiden name was Feldman. Michael has a brother, Howard.

Michael Stean
Michael Stean

He attended Latymer Upper School and Cambridge University.

His early chess days were spent at Richmond Junior Chess Club.

He became an International Master in 1975 and England’s third (OTB) Grandmaster in 1977 winning £2,500 from the Jim Slater Foundation.

His peak FIDE rating was 2540 in January 1979.

His mother (Jean) presented a trophy to the Marlow Congress (now the Berks and Bucks Congress) which became the Mrs. Jean Stean Cup.

Tony Miles and Michael Stean at the FIDE Zonal in Amsterdam, 1978. (Source: http://gahetna.nl)
Tony Miles and Michael Stean at the FIDE Zonal in Amsterdam, 1978. (Source: http://gahetna.nl)

According to British Chess (Pergamon, 1983) by Botterill, Levy, Rice and Richardson :

“Stean was educated at Cambridge University, He was equal first in the British Championship, Clacton, 1974, although only 4th in the playoff. He has been an important member of Korchnoi’s team for the last 5 years, and this perhaps has been responsible more than anything for the rounding out and maturing of his style from the sharp tactical play of the early 1970s to the solid positional GM (especially with the White pieces) of today.

Korchnoi, Stean and Keene try out matching vests and T-shirts from The University of Sussex sports centre, Falmer, East Sussex. It is likely that the yellow one was only worn for this press photo shoot.
Korchnoi, Stean and Keene try out matching vests and T-shirts from The University of Sussex sports centre, Falmer, East Sussex. It is likely that the yellow one was only worn for this press photo shoot.

Stean is a fine author; Simple Chess and the Sicilian Najdorf are both excellent books.

Michael Stean at the 1977 Lord John Cup
Michael Stean at the 1977 Lord John Cup

Temperamentally he is generally pleasant, good humoured and self confident, although he suffers from intermittent poor health which might help to explain his at times erratic results.”

According to Chessgames.com :

“Michael Francis Stean was born on the 4th of September 1953 in London, England. He finished 3rd at the 1973 World Junior Chess Championships behind Alexander Beliavsky and Tony Miles. Awarded the IM title in 1975 and the GM title in 1977 (The third Englishman to attain the title after Miles and Keene).

He finished 1st= in the 1974 British Championship but lost the play-off. He played on 5 English Olympiad teams from 1974 – 1983 and has won 1st prizes at Vrsac 1979, Smederevska Palanka 1980 and Beer Sheba 1982.

A specialist in Opening Theory he served as one of Viktor Korchnoi’s seconds in the 1977 – 1981 period. He is the author of Simple Chess, an introduction to chess strategy.”

Mchael Stean, Hastings 1972-1973. Source : British Chess Magazine, Volume 93, Number 2, page 53
Mchael Stean, Hastings 1972-1973. Source : British Chess Magazine, Volume 93, Number 2, page 53
The Robert Silk Fellowship Tournament, Canterbury, 1973. Source : British Chess Magazine, Volume 93, Number 5, page 192
The Robert Silk Fellowship Tournament, Canterbury, 1973. Source : British Chess Magazine, Volume 93, Number 5, page 192
Post-banquet photograph - left to right : Harry Golombek, Andras Adorjan, Danny Wright, Brian Eley, Michael Stean, D. Silk, Robert Silk, AK Henderson. The Robert Silk Fellowship Tournament, Canterbury, 1973. Source : British Chess Magazine, Volume 93, Number 5, page 192
Post-banquet photograph – left to right : Harry Golombek, Andras Adorjan, Danny Wright, Brian Eley, Michael Stean, D. Silk, Robert Silk, AK Henderson. The Robert Silk Fellowship Tournament, Canterbury, 1973. Source : British Chess Magazine, Volume 93, Number 5, page 192

Harry Golombek wrote this about Michael in a 1980 Dataday chess diary :

“The fact that he has sprung up into second place among English players as regards Elo ratings demonstrates the considerable advance Michael Stean has made in the course of a year.

Korchnoi vs Stean at the Philips & Drew Masters of 1980. The game was drawn in 19 moves.
Korchnoi vs Stean at the Philips & Drew Masters of 1980. The game was drawn in 19 moves.

In the 1978 diary I wrote that it would not be long before he gained the grandmaster title since he already possessed one norm of the title. The forecast proved to be correct as he duly acquired the title a few months after I wrote the prophecy.

He had though to take two more bites at the cherry before he managed to gain the required norms since the tournaments in which he played were not long events. They were Montilla in August 1977 where he came third below Gligoric and Kavalek and the Lord John Cup Tournament in London in September 1977 where he was equal 2nd with Quinteros and Mestel, first place being occupied by the Czechoslovak grandmaster, Hort.

Jan Timman plays Michael Stean at the 1978 Amsterdam FIDE Zonal. The Dutch GM won in 39 moves.
Jan Timman plays Michael Stean at the 1978 Amsterdam FIDE Zonal. The Dutch GM won in 39 moves.

Before that he had assisted Keene in seconding Korchnoi in his candidates match versus Polugayevsky and had done this to such effect that Korchnoi asked him and Keene to act as his seconds at his final match in the Candidates at Belgrade and later on still at the World Championship match against Karpov in the Philippines.

Nigel Short, Lubomir Kavalek and Michael Stean
Nigel Short, Lubomir Kavalek and Michael Stean

He also played successfully in Yugoslavia in 1977 (equal 2nd at Virovitica and equal 2nd at Bar). In 1978 he was 3rd at Beersheba below Korchnoi but head of Keene. Five points out of nine at the very strong Swiss System tournament at Lone Pine was followed by an excellent equal 4th with Miles at the tournament at Las Palmas. He has shown that he not only possesses the title of grandmaster but also plays like one.

Michael Stean (far right) at an unknown event
Michael Stean (far right) at an unknown event

A good example in the following game (Stean-Sax) against one of the joint first prize winners at the Las Palmas event. It was awarded the prize for the best game :”

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

“English player, International Grandmaster (1977). At Nice 1974, in the first of his several Olympiads, he won the brilliancy prize for his game against
Browne.

Since then he has had several good results: Montilia 1976, equal second with Kavalek and Ricardo Calvo (1943— ) after Karpov; Montilia 1977, third (-1-3 = 6)after Gligoric and Kavalek ahead of R. Byrne, Taimanov, and Andersson; London 1977. second (+4=4—1) equal with Mestel and Quinteros after Hort ; Vrsac 1979, first (+ 8=5—1); Smederevska Palanka 1980, first (+7-6); Beersheba 1982, first, Stean was one of Korchnoi’s seconds in the world championship cycles of 1977-8 and 1980-1, and the two became close friends.

In particular Stean provided help with the openings, a subject on which he specialises. He published a book on the Najdorf variation of the Sicilian defence in 1976, and Simple Chess, a guide to the understanding of positional ideas, in 1978.”

GM Michael Stean
GM Michael Stean

From Wikipedia :

“Michael Francis Stean (born 4 September 1953) is an English chess grandmaster, an author of chess books and a tax accountant.

Michael Stean chats with David Levy at the London Chess Classic
Michael Stean chats with David Levy at the London Chess Classic

The game below (Stean-Browne) was the first winner of the World Brilliancy Prize established in 1974 by Isador Samuel Turover. The value of the prize was $1,000.”

See Michael Stean’s Wikipedia entry for more

Video Chess Event (See caption below)
Video Chess Event (See caption below)
Video Chess Caption
Video Chess Caption

In 1983 at the height of his powers Michael left the chess work and became a tax accountant. He is now a senior partner at RSM UK.

Mchael Stean, tax accountant
Mchael Stean, tax accountant
Michael Francis Stean
Michael Francis Stean
Simple Chess by Michael Stean
Simple Chess by Michael Stean
Sicilian Najdorf by Michael Stean
Sicilian Najdorf by Michael Stean
Simple Chess by Michael Stean
Simple Chess by Michael Stean

Birthday of GM Stephen Gordon (04-ix-1986)

We wish Stephen Gordon all the best on his birthday, this day (September 4th) in 1986.

Stephen John Gordon was born on Thursday, September 4th 1986 in Oldham, Lancashire where he has lived since.

He attended The Blue Coat School in Oldham

He became a FIDE Master in 2004, an International Master in 2006 and a Grandmaster in 2009.

In 2012 he shared first place with Gawain Jones in the British Championships in North Shields.

2012 British Championships part crosstable
2012 British Championships part crosstable

According to Felice his peak FIDE rating was 2556 in September 2012 at the age of 26.

Crosstable from the 2013 Budapest First Saturday GM Tournament
Crosstable from the 2013 Budapest First Saturday GM Tournament

Stephen plays for 3Cs in the Manchester Chess League and for Wood Green in the London League and for 4NCL 3Cs in the Four Nations Chess League.

Stephen Gordon at the final 4NCL weekend in 2014. Courtesy of John Upham Photography
Stephen Gordon at the final 4NCL weekend in 2014. Courtesy of John Upham Photography

With the White pieces Stephen almost always plays 1.d4 aiming for a Queen’s Gambit and other main lines.

As the second player, Stephen plays the Sicilian Najdorf and the Nimzo-Indian Defence.

From Wikipedia :

“Stephen J. Gordon (born 4 September 1986) is an English chess grandmaster.

In September 2004 he took a break from his A-level studies at The Blue Coat School, Oldham to compete in the thirteenth Monarch Assurance Isle of Man International.

In 2005, while still a FIDE Master, he finished 6th in the British Championships ahead of a Grandmaster and several International Masters.

At the EU Individual Open Chess Championship held at Liverpool in 2006, he led the tournament after eight rounds and finished a very creditable (joint) second, a half point behind winner Nigel Short and level with Luke McShane among others.

Probably his best result to date however, was second place in the 2007 British Championship, narrowly losing his share of the lead in the final round. In previous rounds, he defeated both tournament victor Jacob Aagaard and previous champion Jonathan Rowson.

By 2008, his rating had reached grandmaster level, although the title itself had not yet been secured. At the British Championship in Liverpool, he almost repeated his performance of the previous year, by taking a share of third place. He was the British under-21 Champion each consecutive year between 2005 and 2008. He became a grandmaster on 1 August 2009.

He has been one of the co-presenters of the chess podcast The Full English Breakfast since its inaugural show in October 2010.”

Stephen Gordon at The Plough Public House in 2014 for the annual Drunken Knights vs Wood Green London League match. Courtesy of John Upham Photography
Stephen Gordon at The Plough Public House in 2014 for the annual Drunken Knights vs Wood Green London League match. Courtesy of John Upham Photography

For more see Wiki Entry for Stephen Gordon

GM Stephen Gordon, courtesy of John Upham Photography
GM Stephen Gordon, courtesy of John Upham Photography