Tag Archives: British

Death Anniversary of GM Anthony Miles (23-iv-1955 12-xi-2001)

We remember one of the most innovative and best loved English players of all time, Tony Miles.

From British Chess (Pergamon Press, 1983) by Bernard Cafferty :

“If one had to forecast at the start of the 1970s the British chess would have a player in the next decade who would win the World Junior Championship, make plus score against Soviet players in his first years of play against them, and beat such household names as Geller, Bronstein, Larsen, Gligoric, Smyslov, Spassky and Karpov…one would have been called a romantic dreamer.

English chess grandmaster Tony Miles (1955 - 2001), UK, 6th May 1973. (Photo by Hoare/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
English chess grandmaster Tony Miles (1955 – 2001), UK, 6th May 1973. (Photo by Hoare/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

If one had gone further and said that the same grandmaster X would become only the second British player this century to beat a reigning world champion, and that as Black in an irregular opening (1 e4 a6 2 d4 b5) then incredulity would indeed have been a fitting reaction.

Yet all this has come to pass; all the above is fact not fiction, reality not a day dream. Who is grandmaster X? Where did he develop?

Anthony John Miles was born on the 23rd April, 1955, in Birmingham (his birthplace is incorrectly marked (Ed: as London) on the map in Elo’s book on ratings.) He learned the moves at the age of five, became seriously interested in the game at the age of nine or ten, and almost straight away won the Birmingham Primary Schools Championship.

English chess grandmaster Tony Miles (1955 - 2001), UK, 15th May 1973. (Photo by Adam/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
English chess grandmaster Tony Miles (1955 – 2001), UK, 15th May 1973. (Photo by Adam/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

In 1965 he joined the Birmingham Chess club and the following year became a pupil at King Edward School (KES) (the alma mater of other strong British players, such as Hugh Alexander and Malcolm Barker, runner-up to Ivkov in the inaugural World Junior Championship held at Birmingham in 1951.)

Tony Miles
Tony Miles

At the Birmingham Club he met strong opposition (another grandmaster-to-be, the postal player Keith Richardson was a member there for a time) since the club’s four teams were all in the higher divisions of the local league. Yet Tony’s school work meant that he could not be called a frequent attender at the club – he turned up for league matches and the club championship, but rarely for skittles except in the summer.

Tony Miles and possibly (?) Peter Clarke at Birmingham 1973
Tony Miles and possibly (?) Peter Clarke at Birmingham 1973

Soon he was playing in the Second Division, by 1968 he was in the First Division, and in the 1969-70 season he was on top board for one of the Club’s three teams in the top Division.

Tony made his debut in the BCF Congress at Oxford, 1967, where he was equal 11th in the under-14 Boys Championship won by another rising star, John Nunn. Strangely enough when Tony won this title the following year at Bristol Nunn was 3rd equal!

The Edgbaston player was also a regular competitor in the annual Easter Congress held in the same suburb of Birmingham where he lived.

Tony Miles
Tony Miles

The breakthrough to national status came when he was a sixth-former at KES. At the BCF Congress, Blackpool,
1971, he won the under-2l Championship (with Nunn and Jon Speelman equal 2nd and the same year made his international debut in a junior tournament at Nice which he won ahead of various prominent players including the Swiss Hug who was to win the World Junior championship some 4 months later!

Tony Miles and unknown opponent
Tony Miles and unknown opponent

In the 1971-72 Birmingham and District League season he set up a scoring record, mainly on top board, that may never be equalled (9.5 out of 10).

Tony Miles
Tony Miles

During these school years Tony was a rather taciturn teenager (perhaps to be expected in an only child) but he never fitted in with the conventional image of chessplayer as weedy bookworm.

Tony being presented with the trophy in the photograph below
Tony being presented with the trophy in the photograph below

He always had a fine physique, played rugger at school and later became keen on squash and skiing as a means of keeping fit, though he is the first to admit that he can be rather lethargic (especially in the mornings!)

Tony Miles
Tony Miles

At the time I knew one of his teachers professionally, and heard the occasional report that he was not always up to the best academic standards of KES. My reaction must have seemed heresy at the time, but subsequent events in the post-Fischer era have confirmed that the ability to play chess to international standard may lead to a more worthwhile career than being a run-of-the-mill university graduate.

Tony Miles at Hastings
Tony Miles at Hastings

A sign of Tony’s growing understanding of the finer points of the game came when he strolled into the Birmingham Club the day after the first game of the Spassky-Fischer match and pointed out (correctly as was shown later) the reason why Fischer had made his famous Bxh2 sacrifice/oversight.

Tony Miles & Bill Hartston admire a Rolls-Royce
Tony Miles & Bill Hartston admire a Rolls-Royce

International recognition came in 1973 when he finished 2nd to Romanishin in the European Junior Championship at Groningen, and Second to Belyavsky in the World Junior at Teeside, as well as sharing 4-6th place in the British Championship at Eastbourne at only the second attempt. His first game to be published round the world was his victory over Bisguier in the Birmingham Easter tournament which he won ahead of Adorjan and Bisguier in the same year.

England plays Italy at Haifa 1976. Miles played Tatai, Keene played Toth, Hartston played Grinza and Mestel played Micheli
England plays Italy at Haifa 1976. Miles played Tatai, Keene played Toth, Hartston played Grinza and Mestel played Micheli

The main event of 1974, a break-through for British chess, was the World Junior Championship played in August in sub-tropical Manila. Here he played one of his finest games, against Kochiev, to take the title with a round to spare, thereby becoming lnternational Master. Tony’s physical strength showed up to good effect here, not just lasting out the 4 weeks in the baking humidity but coping with the huge load of luggage (on the outward journey huge cases full of Chess Player, Informator and the like; on the return journey this load reinforced with prizes and souvenirs!).

Tony Miles at Wijk aan Zee 1976. Korchnoi was first. Photo taken by Brian or Freddy Reilly
Tony Miles at Wijk aan Zee 1976. Korchnoi was first. Photo taken by Brian or Freddy Reilly

Gaining the title brought regular invitations to tournaments which could not be fitted in well with the demands of his maths course at Sheffield University. In the summer of 1975 he gave up the course after two years, while the University authorities showed their recognition of his distinction at chess by the award of an honorary MA degree.

Tony Miles in relaxed mood
Tony Miles in relaxed mood

Once free to concentrate wholeheartedly on his true calling he took the grandmaster title in a rush. The first norm came with first prize, August, 1975, at the London Chess Fortnight ahead of Adorjan, Sax and Timman.

Tony Miles
Tony Miles

Hastings 1975-76 was not too good a result, but only a few weeks later he was on his way to a great triumph despite
forced late acceptance of the invitation to the USSR due to lack of finance. He got his visa just in time and went to snowy Dubna, a scientific centre near Moscow, to achieve that most difficult feat – a GM norm in a Soviet tournament ahead of eight GM’s and others
just as strong.

Tony Miles plays Tony Miles : see full caption below
Tony Miles plays Tony Miles : see full caption below
Caption for above photograph
Caption for above photograph

Thus Tony Miles became the first official British grandmaster (the title dates officially only from 1949, so excluding the likes of Staunton, Blackburne and Burn) and took the £5000 Slater prize for the first British GM to add to the £1000 prize for victory in the 1975 Cutty Sark series of weekend and other tournaments. The availability of sponsorship, it goes without saying, has done much to encourage Tony on his chosen path as a chess professional, a far from easy vocation that demands will-power and strong nerves to be successful.

Tony Miles : See full caption below
Tony Miles : See full caption below
Full caption for above photograph
Full caption for above photograph
Accompanying letter for above photograph
Accompanying letter for above photograph

1977 confirmed that here was a genuine grandmaster with first prizes at the Amsterdam IBM and Biel tournaments, and second prize behind Karpov
at the first of the new series of Super grandmaster tournaments (Tilburg, Holland.)

Tony Miles in pensive mood
Tony Miles in pensive mood

After his Promotion to the ranks of grandmaster Tony, with his usual directness, said that the only thing left to achieve was to have a crack at Karpov. (His fans might react by saying that there were other mountains to climb such as first place at Hastings and in the British Championship, but then Karpov has not achieved the first either, and only became Soviet Champion after he had taken the world title!)

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)

The first chance for this ‘crack’ came with their meeting in the super tournaments at Tilburg and Bugojno, as well as in the 1977 BBC2 TV Master Game’ The
results went much in favour of the (slightly) older man. Tony had to wait till January, 1980 before he could celebrate a victory over Fischer’s successor.

Peter Sowray watching Tony Miles at the Lloyds Bank Masters. Sir Jeremy Morse watches.
Peter Sowray watching Tony Miles at the Lloyds Bank Masters. Sir Jeremy Morse watches.

By this time Tony had failed in his first bid to get to a title match with the Russian when he fell away after a good start in the 1979 Riga Interzonal (the
second stage of the three-part qualifying cycle). It is a pity that our leading professional in Britain still has to accept so many invitations merely to make a
decent living. As Botvinnik has commented, some properly directed study and training at home may be preferable to too frequent public appearances at the board.

Tony Miles and ? at a Benedictine International in Manchester
Tony Miles and Sergey Kudrin at a Benedictine International in Manchester

What sort of person and player is Tony Miles? He has become a more outgoing person in recent years, and has even overcome his legitimate aversion to
media representatives who attempt to interview him without any background in the game.

Tony Miles
Tony Miles

His style has also gone through various changes. At first he was purely a 1 e4 player with a penchant for tricky Nc6 variations of the Four Knights. This repertoire brought him a string of wins, but once he began meeting masters regularly he had to change his repertoire to include the flank openings and 1 d4 as well as the Sicilian Defence. Some notable contributions to opening theory include Bf4 against the Oueen’s Indian, the defence 1…b6, perhaps now 1…a6.

Tony Miles, now playing under the US flag
Tony Miles, now playing under the US flag

Yet his real strength is not in the openings, and he rarely scores quick knockouts. His strength lies in the ability to play a wide variety of positions, to have the patience to play on when there is nothing special in the position and then to recognize the crisis (sometimes more psychological than positional). At this point his fitness and energy tell. It is significant that one of his best wins in the Dubna tournament came in a queen and pawn ending that demanded great patience and technical ability.

10th April 1980: Tony Miles (left) plays 14-year-old Nigel Short in the opening match of the Phillips and Drew Chess Tournament at County Hall, London. (Photo by Wesley/Keystone/Getty Images)
10th April 1980: Tony Miles (left) plays 14-year-old Nigel Short in the opening match of the Phillips and Drew Chess Tournament at County Hall, London. (Photo by Wesley/Keystone/Getty Images)

As readers of his weekly column will know he loves to analyse ever more deeply, and seems happier here than in taking intuitive decisions. In the play of the first British grandmaster we see a confirmation of the fact that modern competitive chess is more of a sport (Denksport as the Germans have it) than
an art, more a bitter struggle of strong personalities than an orthodox game.
Bernard Cafferty

In British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXII (122, 2002), Number 1 (January) pp. 6-13 appeared this wonderful obituary from John Saunders with contributions from Bernard Cafferty, Colin Crouch, Jon Levitt and Malcolm Hunt :

British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXII (122, 2002), Number 1 (January) pp. 6-13
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXII (122, 2002), Number 1 (January) pp. 6-13
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXII (122, 2002), Number 1 (January) pp. 6-13
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXII (122, 2002), Number 1 (January) pp. 6-13
Tony Miles at Tilburg 1985
Tony Miles at Tilburg 1985
Tony Miles at Tilburg 1985
Tony Miles at Tilburg 1985
Tony Miles at Tilburg 1985
Tony Miles at Tilburg 1985
By Bogaerts, Rob / Anefo - Interpolisschaaktoernooi Tilburg; Miles (met rugklachten) ligt op massagetafel te wachten op zijn tegenstanderDutch National Archives, The Hague, Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau (ANeFo), 1945-1989,Auteursrechthebbende Nationaal Archief, Nummer toegang 2.24.01.05 Bestanddeelnummer 933-4181, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23134281
By Bogaerts, Rob / Anefo – Interpolisschaaktoernooi Tilburg; Miles (met rugklachten) ligt op massagetafel te wachten op zijn tegenstanderDutch National Archives, The Hague, Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau (ANeFo), 1945-1989,Auteursrechthebbende Nationaal Archief, Nummer toegang 2.24.01.05 Bestanddeelnummer 933-4181, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23134281
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXII (122, 2002), Number 1 (January) pp. 6-13
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXII (122, 2002), Number 1 (January) pp. 6-13
Tony receives an award from ?
Tony receives the Leigh Grand Prix award from ?
Tony receives an award from ? and David Anderton OBE
Tony receives the Leigh Grand Prix award from ? and David Anderton OBE
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXII (122, 2002), Number 1 (January) pp. 6-13
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXII (122, 2002), Number 1 (January) pp. 6-13
Tony playing under the Union flag
Tony playing under the Union flag
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXII (122, 2002), Number 1 (January) pp. 6-13
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXII (122, 2002), Number 1 (January) pp. 6-13
Tony Miles reflecting on an adjourned position. Courtesy of Stephanie Bureau.
Tony Miles reflecting on an adjourned position. Courtesy of Stephanie Bureau.
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXII (122, 2002), Number 1 (January) pp. 6-13
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXII (122, 2002), Number 1 (January) pp. 6-13
Tony : always popular with the ladies at a Lloyds Bank event
Tony : always popular with the ladies at a Lloyds Bank event
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXII (122, 2002), Number 1 (January) pp. 6-13
British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXII (122, 2002), Number 1 (January) pp. 6-13
Tony at a Lloyds Bank event with Ray Keene, Yasser Seirawan and Vassily Smyslov
Tony at a Lloyds Bank event with Ray Keene, Yasser Seirawan and Vassily Smyslov

From The Oxford Companion to Chess, (OUP, 1984 & 1994), Hooper & Whyld :

“English-born player, International Grandmaster (1976). While an undergraduate he entered and won by a margin of one and a half points the World Junior Championship, Manila 1974. The following year his university, Sheffield, awarded him an honorary MA degree for his chess achievements, and he left without completing his studies, to become a chess professional. The successes came quickly; London 1975, first (+6=3-1); Amsterdam 1976, first equal with Korchnoi; Amsterdam 1977, first (+7=7-1); Biel 1977, first (+ 8=6-l); Tilburg 1977, second (+5:4-2), after Karpov, ahead of Hort and Hübner; Tilburg 1978, third (+4=4-3) equal with Dzindzichashvili and Hübner, after Portisch and Timman; London 1980, first (+6=5-2) equal with Andersson and Korchnoi; Las Palmas 1980, first (+6=5) equal with Geller and Petrosian; Baden-Baden 1981, first (+6=7) equal with Ribli, ahead of Korchnoi; Porz Koln l98l-2, second (+8=l-2), behind Tal, ahead of Hort; Biel 1983, first (+5=6), shared with Nunn; Tilburg 1984, first (+5=6), ahead of Belyavsky, Ribli, and Hübner; Portoroz-Ljubljana 1985, first (+4=6-l) equal with Portisch and Ribli; and Tilburg 1985, first (+6=5-3) equal with Hübner and Korchnoi.

Tony making a getaway !
Tony making a getaway !

Around this time Miles began to feel the strain of ten years at the top. He was the first British player of modern times who could be seen as a possible challenger for the world title, and in the late 1970s he was well clear of his British rivals. However, largely inspired by Miles’s success, a new generation,led by Short, was in pursuit, and by the mid 1980s Miles was no longer top board in the Olympiad side. Successes became fewer, his marriage ended, and his confidence was weakened.

Tony enjoyed flamboyant shirts
Tony enjoyed flamboyant shirts

Determined to make a new start, he transferred his allegiance to the USA in 1987, and immediately shared first place with Gulko, who won the play-off, in the US Open Championship.

Tony Miles
Tony Miles

The move was not a lasting success. Miles had indifferent results and was not selected for the US Olympiad team in 1988. He had maintained a home in Germany and commuted to play in the Bundesliga and by 1990 he was spending an increasing proportion of his time in Europe. His confidence began to return, and with it more victories. He was first in two Swiss system events, Rome 1990, ahead of Barayev, Chernin, Smyslov etc, and Bad Worishofen 1990 (shared), and at Biel 1990 was equal
third (+3=9-2) alter Karpov and Andersson.”

Tony Miles
Tony Miles

From Wikipedia :
“Personal life

Miles was an only child, born 23 April 1955 in Edgbaston, a suburb of Birmingham, and attended King Edward’s School, Birmingham.[1][2] He was married and divorced twice, and had no children.[1] Miles’ first wife was Jana Hartston, who had previously been married to William Hartston.[2]

Early achievements in chess
He learned the game of chess early in life and made good progress nationally, taking the titles of British under-14 Champion and under-21 Champion in 1968[1] and 1971,[3][4] respectively.

In 1973, Miles won the silver medal at the World Junior Chess Championship at Teesside, his first important event against international competition. Both he and compatriot Michael Stean defeated the tournament winner Alexander Beliavsky, but were unable to match the Soviet player’s ruthlessness in dispatching lesser opponents. Miles went on to win this prestigious title the following year in Manila, while a mathematics undergraduate of the University of Sheffield.[1][2]

Taking the decision to pursue the game professionally, Miles did not complete his studies, but, in 1975, was awarded an MA by the University in respect of his chess achievements.[2]

Further career highlights
In 1976, Miles became the first UK-born, over-the-board chess grandmaster, narrowly beating Raymond Keene to the accolade.[2] The naturalised, German-born Jacques Mieses was awarded the GM title in 1950, while Keith Bevan Richardson had been awarded the GM title for correspondence chess earlier in 1975. For his achievement, Miles won a £5,000 prize, put up by wealthy businessman and chess backer Jim Slater.[1][2]

Miles had a string of good results in the late 1970s and 1980s. He matured into a world class player and won games against high calibre opponents, such as former World Chess Champions Vasily Smyslov, Mikhail Tal and Boris Spassky.

In 1980 at the European Team Championship in Skara, he beat reigning World Champion Anatoly Karpov with Black, using the extremely unorthodox opening 1. e4 a6!?, the St. George Defence. It is often said that Miles learned the line from offbeat openings enthusiast Michael Basman, but in his book Play the St. George, Basman asserts there is no truth to this. Miles beat Karpov again three years later in Bath in a game that was part of the BBC’s Master Game series, but it was shown only by the (co-producing) German television network, due to a BBC technicians’ strike at the time of broadcast.

Miles won the British Championship just once, in 1982 when the event was held in Torquay. His prime time as a chess player was the mid-1980s. On 20 May 1984 in Roetgen (Germany), Miles set a European record in blind simultaneous chess with 22 games (+10−2=10);[5] this record was not broken until 2009. On the January 1984 Elo rating list, he ranked No. 18 in the world with a rating of 2599. One of his best results occurred at the Tilburg tournament in 1984, where, from a strong field, he emerged sole winner by a clear margin of one and one-half points. The following year, he tied for first at the same event with Robert Hübner and Viktor Korchnoi, playing several of his games while lying face down on a table, having injured his back.[6]

The result was controversial, as many of Miles’ opponents felt they were distracted by the unusual circumstances. A string of good performances culminated in a good showing on the January 1986 Elo rating list, where he climbed to a best-ever position of World No. 9 with a rating of 2610. During this period, there was considerable rivalry with Nunn over who was the United Kingdom’s best player, the two protagonists regularly leapfrogging each other in the world rankings. Nigel Short and Speelman soon added to the competition, as the English national squad entered its strongest period.

Never able to qualify out of the Interzonal stages into the Candidates’ series, Miles eventually lost the race to become the first British Candidate when Short did so in 1985. However, he retained top board for England at the Thessaloniki and Dubai Olympiads of 1984 and 1986, helping the team to silver medals at each.

Against Garry Kasparov, Miles had little success, not winning a game against him, and losing a 1986 match in Basel by the score of 5½–½. Following this encounter, Miles commented “I thought I was playing the world champion, not a monster with a thousand eyes who sees everything” (some sources alternatively quote Miles as having the opinion that Kasparov had 22 or 27 eyes).

Miles on a stretcher with back pain, playing in Tilburg (1985)
After he was hospitalised because of a mental breakdown in late 1987, Miles moved to the United States. He finished last in the 1988 U.S. Championship, but continued to play there and had some good results. In 1991, he played in the Championship of Australia, but eventually moved back to England and began to represent his native country again. He was equal first at the very strong Cappelle-la-Grande Open in 1994, 1995, and 1997, and caused a shock at the PCA Intel Rapid Chess Grand Prix in London in 1995, when he knocked out Vladimir Kramnik in the first round and Loek van Wely in the second. His bid to win the event was finally halted in the semifinal by English teammate Michael Adams.

There were four notable victories at the Capablanca Memorial in Cuba (1994, 1995, 1996, and 1999). Miles also tied for first in the 1999 Continental Open in Los Angeles with Alexander Beliavsky, Ľubomír Ftáčnik and Suat Atalık. His last tournament victory was the 2001 Canadian Open Chess Championship in Sackville, New Brunswick.

Miles entered and played at the 2001 British Championship in Scarborough, but withdrew before the final round, apparently because of ill health. His final two games before his death were short draws in the Four Nations Chess League. Miles played in an extraordinary number of chess events during his career, including many arduous weekend tournaments.

The Miles Variation (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.Bf4) in the Queen’s Indian Defence is named after him.”

Of course there are numerous articles about Tony for example :

Vlastimil Hort Remembers Tony Miles

Hort stories: Wrong place wrong time

Chess Corner – Original Maverick: Remembering Tony Miles

Britain’s first chess grandmaster, he paved the way for today’s international competitors

Tony Miles 1955-2001

Kingpin

Tony Miles (1955-2001) by Edward Winter

How Anthony Miles beat a World Champion (Karpov-Miles, Skara 1980)

Lawrence Trent plays Tony Miles in 2001 at the British Championships in Scarborough
Lawrence Trent plays Tony Miles in 2001 at the British Championships in Scarborough
It's Only Me, edited by Geoff Lawton
It’s Only Me, edited by Geoff Lawton
Tony Miles : England's Chess Gladiator, Ray Keene, 2006
Tony Miles : England’s Chess Gladiator, Ray Keene, 2006
Tony Miles : England's Chess Gladiator, Ray Keene, 2006
Tony Miles : England’s Chess Gladiator, Ray Keene, 2006
A Tony Miles memorial
A Tony Miles memorial

Death Anniversary of Fred Dewhirst Yates (16-i-1884 11-xi-1932)

We remember Fred Yates who passed (or, at least was recorded as passing) on Friday, November 11th, 1932.

Fred (not Frederick) Dewhirst (not Dewhurst) was born in Birstall, Leeds on Wednesday, January 16th 1884, the same year as Harry S Truman and Eleanor Roosevelt.

An obituary appeared in Volume LII (52, 1932), Number 12 (December), pp.525-528 of the British Chess Magazine by PW Sergeant :

“The chess world has had many heavy bereavements during the year which is coming to an end; but to the British section of it there has been no bereavement like the last, which robbed it of F.D.Yates, when still in the prime of his chess career. The circumstances of his end were tragic. On the night of Tuesday, November 8th, he gave a very successful exhibition at Wood Green, only dropping one half-point in 16 games. On the following night he was in the company of a chess friend until fairly late, and then went back to his room in Coram Street, Bloomsbury. He was never seen alive again. It was not until Friday morning that anxiety was felt at Coram Street as to what he might be doing; for he was in the habit of secluding himself for many hours at a stretch when busy with work.

 

Fred Dewhirst Yates
Fred Dewhirst Yates

On Friday, however, when no answer could be got to knocks on the door of his room, which was locked, and a smell of gas was noticed, the door was at last broken open, and he was found dead in bed.

It came out at the inquest before the St. Pancras coroner on November 15 that , though the gas-taps in the room were securely turned off, there had been an escape from what a gas companies official described as an obsolete type of fitting attached to the meter in the room. The meter, it appears, was on the floor, and the fitting must have been accidentally dislodged. A verdict was recorded of Accidental Death; and the coroner directed that the gas-pipes from the room should remain in the custody of the court. The body was conveyed to Leeds for burial on the morning of November 16.

So prematurely passed away one who may with justice be called one of the finest exponents of British chess, and an international master whose strength was recognised all over the world.

 

Fred Yates as drawn by WH Cozens for BCM
Fred Yates as drawn by WH Cozens for BCM

Frederick Dewhurst (sic) was born at Birstall, near Leeds, on January 16, 1884. He did not develop his chess power very young, at the B.C.F. congress at the Crystal Palace in 1907 only playing in the Second Class, though he then won first prize in one of the two sections. At Tunbridge Wells next year he tied for fourth place in a section of the First Class. He was admitted to the British Championship at Scarborough in 1909 (in which year he was Yorkshire Champion), and there tied with Blackburne for fourth and fifth prizes, after HE Atkins, JH Blake, and W. Ward.

In the same event at Oxford in 1910 he again tied with Blackburne, but this time for second and third prizes, Atkins being first, though losing in his individual encounter with Yates. In 1911, at Glasgow, Yates still further improved his position, this time tieing with Atkins for first place; but in the tie-match Atkins won somewhat easily.

Atkins stood down for the first time at Richmond in 1912; but the success of RC Griffith left Yates second, in company with the late HG Cole. At last in 1913, Yates gained his ambition, and at Cheltenham won the British Championship with the fine score of 9 out of a possible 11, 1.5 points above J. Mahood and 2 above Blackburne. In the ruined Congress at Chester in 1914 he tied for first place with Blackburne; and, as Blackburne was unable to play a deciding match, Yates won his second championship.

Fred Dewhirst Yates, Jacoby Archive
Fred Dewhirst Yates, Jacoby Archive

Since the War he gained the title again in 1921, 1926, 1928 and 1931, thus making a record of six championships, second only to Atkin’s record of nine (ed : in 1969 at the Rhyl Congress Jonathan Penrose OBE was to surpass Atkin’s record by one.)

Yate’s six victories were gained in sixteen attempts In addition must be mentioned his success in the Hastings tournament, in the New Year of 1921, for holders of the British Championship only.

Fred Yates
Fred Yates

His other successes in this country, including his two wins in the in the Anglo-American cable match, in 1910-11, need not detain us; for limitations of space demand that we shall come to Yates as an international master. His first essay was at Hamburg in 1910, on the invitation of the German Chess Federation. Though he did badly, only getting one win in 16 games, the win was a remarkable effort, at the expense of no less a celebrity than Dr. Tarrasch.

At Pistyan two years later he did a little better. He had to wait until after the War for a third attempt; but it will be best to give what we believe to be a full record of his performances in international event:- (to be added).

These lists, however, furnish no just view of the strength of Yates’s play, which always was most fully exhibited against the leading competitors in tournaments. Among his triumphs must be noted his particularly his wins against Alekhine at Hastings, 1922, and Carlsbad 1923 (a brilliancy prize game); against Euwe, Scarborough, 1928; against Nimzowitsch , Carlsbad, 1929; against Bogoljuboff, London, 1922, and Baden-Baden, 1925; against Tartakover, Hastings and Kecskemet, 1927; against Kmoch and Rubinstein, Budapest, 1926; against Spielmann and Vidmar, San Remo, 1930; and his draws with Alekhine and Capablanca at New York, 1924. The harder the opposition, the better his play. Conversely, against what should have proved easier opponents he was apt. at times, to show less of his skill. In this, of course, he was not peculiar, even among the experts.

Generally speaking, however, he was a remarkably tenacious player, who would not abandon a game while there was the slightest chance of a win or a draw. This was not due to mere obstinacy, as may sometimes have appeared, but to the depth of his vision, which gained for him among the German commentators the title of ein tiefe Denker(ed : a deep thinker) – no small testimony from those from whom it came. With a robuster physique there is no knowing to what a position he might have attained in the chess world. The late Amon Burn always had the highest opinion of is powers, and always pointed out, too, the handicap under which a player labours who has to report the events in which he takes part – equivalent, he would say, to giving the other competitors Pawn and move!

Yates was unfortunate in embracing professionalism in an era when the rewards were becoming less and less, and finally reached a stage when they scarcely provided the means of a bare existence. He was a fine simultaneous player, whose exhibitions always delighted by their combination of speed, precision and flashes of brilliance.

As commentator he was very good indeed, and his contributions, especially to The Manchester Guardian, where noted alike for their accuracy and for a sense of style.

He had a journalistic training, outside chess. He was not, in fact, ‘a mere chessplayer’, in spite of his intense devotion to the game. It was his extreme reticence which gave such an impression to all but those whom he admitted to intimacy. They at least knew his widespread interest in other things; and W. Winter’s recent tribute to him in the Guardian in no way exaggerates his charm as a companion among those who knew him best. To them his loss is one which cannot be replaced.”

An Appeal

No doubt all chessplayers in England will have read with sorrow of the death of F.D.Yates at the early age of 46, and more especially will the circumstances of it be a shock to many.

An inquest was held, as has already been reported, and was attended by his two sisters, who have practically no means, as was the case of Yates himself. Certain chessplayers who attended the funeral agreed to make themselves responsible for the funeral expenses, but as the body was removed to Birstall in Yorkshire for burial in the family grave, the expenses were considerably heavier than was anticipates and, with the money owing to the landlady, comes to a total of £51 2s and 0d.

The Gravestone of FD Yates, courtesy of Matthew Sadler
The Gravestone of FD Yates, courtesy of Matthew Sadler

We feel quite sure that when our readers know, they will like to show their last recognition of the value which F.D.Yates was to English chess by giving a donation towards the sum.

The London Chess League, whose finances are not in a very satisfactory state, as in the case of most chess concerns, has agreed to donate £3 towards this. Their president has given £1 1s 0d., and one or two other members have promised donations. We shall be happy to receive any contributions towards this fund, and will give acknowledgment in future issues.”

Here is an in-depth article by Edward Winter in Chess Notes on the circumstances of FDYs death.

Here is a more modern article by Matthew Sadler

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

“English player. British Champion 1913,1914,1921,1926,1928, and 1931, Around 1909 he gave up his profession in accountancy to become a chess professional. Of the many international tournaments in which he competed from Hamburg 1910 to Hastings 1931—2 he made his best results in the B Final, Kecskemet 1927, first (+4=2-1) equal with Tartakower, and at San Remo 1930, the strongest tournament of the year, when he came fifth after Alekhine,, Nimzowitsch, Rubinstein, and Bogoljubow ahead of Spielmann,
Vidmar, and Tartakower.

A tenacious player, he could be a dangerous opponent. In tournament play he defeated most of the greatest masters of his time on one occasion or another, and among these victories were two defeats of Alekhine (Hastings 1922, Carlsbad 1923), and three defeats of Bogoljubow (London 1922, Baden-Baden 1925, Scarborough 1927) and Rubinstein (London 1925, Moscow 1925, Budapest 1926), A careful and conscientious writer, he conducted a chess column in the Yorkshire Post, was chess correspondent of the Manchester Guardian , and wrote three books (see foot of article) in collaboration with William Winter (1898-1955).

Games Played In the World's Championship Match between Jose Paul Capablanca and Alexander Alekhine, FD Yates and W, Winter, 1928, Printing Craft Limited
Games Played In the World’s Championship Match between Jose Paul Capablanca and Alexander Alekhine, FD Yates and W, Winter, 1928, Printing Craft Limited
Games Played in the World's Championship Match between Alexander Alekhine (Holder of the Title) and E D Bogoljubow (Challenger), Printing Craft Limited, 1930, FD Yates and W. Winter
Games Played in the World’s Championship Match between Alexander Alekhine (Holder of the Title) and E D Bogoljubow (Challenger), Printing Craft Limited, 1930, FD Yates and W. Winter

A leak from a faulty gas pipe connection killed Yates while he was asleep. His book One-hundred- and-one of My Best Games of Chess was published in 1934.”

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

“International Master and British Champion in 1913, 1914, 1921, 1926, 1928 and 1931.

Born in Birstall, near Leeds in Yorkshire, on 16th January 1884, Yates was 25 before he played in the British Championship for the first time. In 1909, having won the Yorkshire Championship, his entry was accepted for the British Championship at Scarborough, and he tied with Blackburne for 4th prize. The following year he again tied with Blackburne, this time for 2nd prize, and in 1911 he tied with Atkins for 1st prize but lost the play-off for the title. In 1913, he succeed in winning the British Championship for the first time.. During his career he competed in the British Championship 16 times and won the title on six occasions.

In International tournaments his record did not do him justice as far as his final placings were concerned. However, in studying his performance in detail, his wins were often against the strongest players and his losses against those at the bottom of the tables. This was particularly apparent in the results of the 1926 Budapest tournament.

Cross Table for Budapest 1926
Cross Table for Budapest 1926

During the course of his career, Yates beat practically every contemporary Grandmaster, with the exception of Lasker and Capablanca. His victory over Alekhine at Carlsbad 1923 came at the end of a combination 18 moves deep and won the brilliancy prize, while his victory over Vidmar at San Remo in 1930 was described by Alekhine as the finest game played since the war.

Other outstanding wins were against Bogoljubow at London 1922, against Rubinstein at Budapest 1926, against Tartakover at Hastings 1927, against Euwe at Scarborough 1928 and against Nimzowitsch at Scarborough 1929. The stronger the opposition the better Yates played.

His losses against weaker players may well have been due to ill-health and lack of necessary stamina to play consistently throughout a long tournament. He was continually troubled by a hacking cough and could not afford to carry out the medical advice that he should go to the Riviera for a cure.

He was a professional chess player at a time when it was difficult to make a livelihood out of chess and he was often handicapped by having to report an event in which he was playing. A number of his contemporaries believed that, had he lived in different circumstances his talent would have placed him among the contenders for the World Championship.

For some years Yates ran the chess column for The Manchester Guardian. He was co-author with Winter of Modern Master Play and of books on the Capablanca vs Alekhine and Alekhine v. Bogoljubov World Championship matches.

Modern Master Play, FD Yates and W. Winter, 1930
Modern Master Play, FD Yates and W. Winter, 1930

Yates had a great number of interests apart from chess and had a very versatile mind which enabled him to talk on a wide range of subjects. He was extremely modest and rarely kept the scores of his games and never submitted them to the press.

He died in tragic circumstances, On 11th November 1932, he was found dead in his bedroom from gas poisoning. At the inquest it was established that there was a faulty connection in the gas meter in his room and a verdict of accidental death was returned.”

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

“A British master. Yates trained as an accountant but in 1909 abandoned this career in favour of chess and journalism. In 1911 he tied for first prize with Atkins in the British Championship losing the play-off match. Two years later he won the event – the first of six such victories (1913, 1914, 1921, 1926, 1928 and 1931).

In international tournaments Yate’s results were generally mediocre, but he was capable on occasion of defeating the strongest opposition and his victims included Alekhine, Reti, Bogoljubow, Tartakower, Rubinstein, Euwe, Nimzowitsch and Vidmar. He was a regular competitor at the Hastings Christmas Congresses, winning in 1920/1 and finishing in 3rd place on four occasions: 1923/4, 1924/5, 1926/7 and 1929/30.

Yates was for many years the chess correspondent of The Manchester Guardian and, in addition, wrote Modern Master Play, London, Philadelphia 1929 (with W. Winter as co-author) and books of the 1927 Capablanca-Alekhine, London 1928, and the 1929 Alekhine-Bogoljubow World Championship matches, London, 1930.

He died from being accidentally asphyxiated in his rooms by a faulty gas connection.”

From Wikipedia : (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Yates_(chess_player))

“Yates almost won the British Championship in 1911, when he tied for first place with Henry Atkins, but lost the play-off. He went on to secure the title in 1913, 1914, 1921, 1926, 1928 and 1931

Despite considerable domestic success, his record in international tournaments did not do him justice. Often the winner against his strongest opponents, he would then lose to those at the bottom of the table. This was particularly apparent at the Budapest tourney of 1926.

His lack of consistency was attributed to poor health and loss of stamina. A constant hacking cough went unchecked, as his funds did not stretch to a holiday in warmer climes; the advice given by his doctor. He was also subjected to journalistic pressures, frequently reporting on the tournaments in which he was playing. Yet, dedicating himself to the playing side of chess would have earned him insufficient sums to make a living. A number of his contemporaries believed that his talent could have placed him among the world championship contenders, had his circumstances been different. Nevertheless, in his time, he defeated most of his illustrious adversaries, the most notable exceptions being Emanuel Lasker and José Raúl Capablanca. His victory against Alexander Alekhine at Karlsbad in 1923 won the brilliancy prize, while his win against Milan Vidmar at San Remo in 1930 was described by Alekhine as the finest game played since the war.”

As a journalist he was the chess columnist of The Manchester Guardian and with William Winter, the co-author of Modern Master Play (1929). He wrote accounts of two world championship encounters; those between Capablanca and Alekhine, and Alekhine and Bogoljubow.

In team competition, he played at the first, third and fourth Olympiads, representing the ‘British Empire’ team. On each occasion, he made a plus score and at London 1927, earned a team bronze medal/

His life ended prematurely, when a leaking gas pipe caused him to asphyxiate during his sleep.

According to the inscription on Yates’ gravestone,[7] his birth name was actually Fred Dewhirst Yates. However, throughout his chess career he was known by the name at the head of this article or simply as F.D. Yates, both of which featured in his posthumously published, part-biographical, ‘My Best Games’ Collection.

Here is an interesting discussion of Posthumous publications, part 1. by Michael Clapham

Letter to BCM from WH Watts of Printing Craft Limited announcing the publication of One-Hundred-and-one of my Best Games of Chess, by F. D. Yates, London 1934.
Letter to BCM from WH Watts of Printing Craft Limited announcing the publication of One-Hundred-and-one of my Best Games of Chess, by F. D. Yates, London 1934.
One-Hundred-and-one of my Best Games of Chess, by F. D. Yates, London 1934.
One-Hundred-and-one of my Best Games of Chess, by F. D. Yates, London 1934.
One Hundred and One of My Best Games of Chess, FD Yates
One Hundred and One of My Best Games of Chess, FD Yates

Birthday of IM Alan Merry (08-xi-1996)

BCN send Birthday greetings to IM Alan Merry

Alan Baxter Merry was born on Friday, November 8th, 1996 in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk. His mother’s maiden name is Guymer. Alan has a younger brother James Clayton Merry (born 1999). James is also registered with Suffolk CCA but have never had a published grading or rating.

FIDE rating profile for IM Alan Merry
FIDE rating profile for IM Alan Merry
Crosstable for Purley Big Slick International, 2013
Crosstable for Purley Big Slick International, 2013

He became a FIDE Master in 2013 and an International Master in 2016. His peak rating according to Felice was 2396 in July 2016. However this has been surpassed and according to MegaBase 2020 it is 2460 in June 2018 at the age of 22.

Alan won the 2014 Golders Green Open with a convincing 5.5/6 :

Part crosstable for 2014 Golders Green Open
Part crosstable for 2014 Golders Green Open

and has won further events since including the Kingsley Healthcare Great Yarmouth Congress in 2018.

IM Alan Merry at the 2019 Basingstoke 4NCL Congress
IM Alan Merry at the 2019 Basingstoke 4NCL Congress

Alan plays for Suffolk County Chess Association and in 4NCL started with Anglian Avengers, then the ADs and finally moving to Barbican in the 2015/16 season. His current ECF grading is 237A for standard-play and 236A for rapid-play. His FIDE standard play rating is 2427.

Alan has a plus score against : James Jackson, Ravi Haria, John Nunn, Peter Sowray, James Adair, Matthew Wadsworth, Jack Rudd and Simon Williams to name but a few.

With the white pieces Alan has a varied repertoire favouring (unusually) the Four Knights game.

As the second player he champions the French Winawer and the Modern Benoni.

IM Alan Merry
IM Alan Merry

Birthday of IM Gary Quillan (07-xi-1970)

Best wishes to IM Gary M Quillan on his birthday, this day (November 7th) in 1970.

Garry Quillan
Garry Quillan

Death Anniversary of Jacob Sarratt (?-?- 1772 06-xi-1819)

We remember Jacob Henry Sarratt who died 201 years ago today (November 6th) in 1819.

Chess historians will, of course, be familiar with JHS but the name is (probably) not well known outside these exalted circles.

Possibly his most obvious contribution to chess in England was in 1807 when he influenced the result of games that ended in stalemate. You may not know that in England prior to 1807 a game that ended in stalemate was recorded as a win for the party who was stalemated. JHS was able to encourage various major chess clubs so that the result be recorded as a draw. Much endgame theory would be different if it wasn’t for JHS !

Outside of chess, JHS was an interesting chap :

The content below has been copied (and we have corrected a number of typos along the way) from http://www.edochess.ca/batgirl/Sarratt.html

Also, http://billwall.phpwebhosting.com/articles/Sarratt.htm is worthy of consultation.

“Jacob Henry Sarratt, born in 1772, worked primarily as schoolmaster but was much better known for his advocations which, of course, included chess.

After Philidor’s death, Verdoni (along with Leger, Carlier and Bernard – all four who co-authored Traité Théorique et Pratique du jeu des Echecs par une Societé d’ Amateurs) was considered one of the strongest players in the world, especially in England. Verdoni had taken Philidor’s place as house professional at Parsloe’s. He mentored Jacob Sarratt until he died in 1804. That year Sarratt became the house professional at the Salopian at Charing Cross in London and most of his contemporaries considered him London’s strongest player.

There he claimed the title of Professor of Chess while teaching chess at the price of a guinea per game.

By any measure Surratt was not a particularly strong player, but he was able to maintain the illusion that he was by avoiding the stronger players as he lorded over his students who didn’t know better.

Sarratt’s most important contribution to chess was that he mentored William Lewis who in turn mentored Alexander McDonnell.

Surratt had a strange notion that chess culminated in the 16th century and that everything since then had been a step backwards. This odd notion had a positive side. Philidor was the darling of the English chess scene. Almost all books at that time were versions of, or at least based on, Philidor’s book. Surratt at least kept open the possibility that there were ideas beyond those of Philidor.

In 1808, true to his role as a teacher, Surratt published his Treatise on the Game of Chess, a book that mainly concentrated on direct attacks on the king which he lifted from the Modense writers.

He translated several older writers whom he admired (though his translations are not considered particularly good):
The Works of Damiano, Ruy Lopez and Salvio in 1813.
The Works of Gianutio and Gustavus Selenus in 1817.

In 1921 a posthumous edition of his Treatise, A New Treatise on the Game of Chess, was published. This copy covered the game of chess as a whole and was designed for the novice player. It also contained a 98 page analysis of the Muzio Gambit

In addition to his chess books, Surratt also published
[i]History of Man in 1802,
A New Picture of London[/i] in 1803
He translated Three Monks!!! from French in 1803 and Koenigsmark the Robber from German in 1803.

His second wife, Elizabeth Camillia Dufour, was also a writer. In 1803 (before they were married, which was 1804), she published a novel called Aurora or the Mysterious Beauty.

They were married the following year. His first wife had died in 1802 at the age of 18. Both his wives were from Jersey.

Contrary to what one might expect, Sarratt has been described tall, lean and muscular and had even been a prize-fighter at one point. He had also bred dogs for fighting. He was regarded as a very affable fellow and very well-read but with limited taste (Ed : surely this applies to everyone ?)

William Hazlitt, in his essay On Coffee-House Politicians wrote:

[Dr. Whittle] was once sitting where Sarratt was playing a game at chess without seeing the board… Sarratt, who was a man of various accomplishments, afterwards bared his arm to convince us of his muscular strength…
Sarratt, the chess-player, was an extraordinary man. He had the same tenacious, epileptic faculty in other things that he had at chess, and could no more get any other ideas out of his mind than he could those of the figures on the board. He was a great reader, but had not the least taste. Indeed the violence of his memory tyrannised over and destroyed all power of selection. He could repeat [all] Ossian by heart, without knowing the best passage from the worst; and did not perceive he was tiring you to death by giving an account of the breed, education, and manners of fighting-dogs for hours together. The sense of reality quite superseded the distinction between the pleasurable and the painful. He was altogether a mechanical philosopher.”

Somewhere along the way there must have come about a complete reversal of his fortunes because Surratt died impoverished in 1819, leaving his wife destitute. But the resilient Elizabeth Sarratt was able to support herself by giving chess lessons to the aristocracy of Paris.

She must have been very well liked. In 1843 when she herself became old and unable to provide for herself, players from both England and France took up a fund to help her out. She lived until 1846.

From The Oxford Companion to Chess (OUP, 1984 & 1992) by Hooper & Whyld :

Reputedly the best player in England from around 1805 until his death. As a young man he met Philidor. Subsequently he developed his game by practice with a strong French player Hippolyte du Rourblanc (d. 1813), with whom he had a long friendship dating from 1798, and with Verdoni, Sarratt’s first important contribution to the game was in connection with the laws of chess: he persuaded the London club, founded in 1807, to accept that a game ending in stalemate should be regarded as a draw and not as a win for the player who is stalemated. He became a professional at the Salopian coffee house at Charing Cross, London,

Nos. 39-41, Charing Cross and the Timber Yard
Nos. 39-41, Charing Cross and the Timber Yard

and in 1808 wrote his Treatise on the Game of Chess.

Treatise on the Game of Chess by JH Sarratt, 1808
Treatise on the Game of Chess by JH Sarratt, 1808

This, largely a compilation from the work of the Modenese masters, advocated that players should seek direct attack upon the enemy king, a style that dominated the game until the 1870s. An Oxford surgeon, W. Tuckwell, wrote that he learned chess ‘from the famous Sarratt, the great chess teacher, whose fee was as a guinea a lesson’. Lewis, who played many games with Sarratt from 1816, wrote in 1822 (after he had met both Deschapelles and Bourdonnais) that Sarratt was the most finished player he had ever met, Sarratt translated the works of several early writers on the game, making them known for the first time to English readers: The Works of Damiano, Ruy Lopez and Selenus (1813) and The Works of Gianutio and Gustavus Selenus (1817).

He died impoverished on 6 Nov. 1819 after a long illness during which he was unable lo earn a livelihood by teaching. Instead he wrote his New Treatise on the Game of Chess published posthumously in 1821, This is the first book to include a comprehensive beginner’s section: in more than 200 pages Sarratt teaches by means of question and answer. Another feature is a 98-page analysis of the Muzio gambit :

Had it been Sarratt’s ambition to become a chess professional there would have been scant opportunity during the lifetime of Philidor and Verdoni. A tall, lean, yet muscular man, sociable and talkative, he seems in his younger days to have had interests of a different kind, among them prize fighting and the breeding of fighting dogs. Hazlitt, who met Sarratt around 1812 wrote ‘He was a great reader, but had not the least taste. Indeed the violence of his memory tyrannised over and destroyed all power of selection. He could repeat Ossian by heart, without knowing the best passage from the worst.’

Sarratt’s early publications were History of Man (1802): translations of two Gothic novels, The Three Monks!!! (1803), from the French of Elisabeth Guénard (Baronne de Méré) , and Koenigsmark the Robber (1803), from the German of R. E. Raspe; A New Future of London (1803), an excellent guide that ran to several editions, the last in 1814, When war broke out with France in 1803 Sarratt became, for a short period, a lieutenant in the Royal York Mary-le-Bone Volunteers and published Life of Bonaparte * a propaganda booklet detailing Napoleon’s alleged war crimes, and warning of the desolation that would follow if he were to invade.

Not long after the birth of his second child in 1802 Sarratt’s wife died and in 1804 he married a Drury Lane singer, Elisabeth Camilla Du four. Tt would be difficult to find a more accomplished, a more amiable, or a happier couple than Mr and Mrs Sarratt’ – Mary Julia Young, Memoirs of Mrs Crouch (1806), Mrs Sarratt too was a writer contributing tales to various journals and publishing Aurora or the Mysterious Beauty (1803), a translation of a French novel. She survived her husband until 1846, ending her days giving chess lessons to the aristocracy in Paris. In 1843 Louis-Philippe and many players from England and France subscribed to a fund on her behalf. ”

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

“Self-styled ‘Professor of Chess’, Sarratt was the first professional player to teach the game in England. He was the author of a A Treatise on the Game of Chess, The (1808), The Works of Damiano, Ruy Lopez and Salvio (1813), The Works of Gianutio and Gustavas Selenus (1817) and a New Treatise on the Game of Chess (1821).

There is no record of Sarratt’s date or place of birth, He began his career as a schoolmaster and later taught chess at Tom’s Coffee House, Cornhill, London, and at the London Chess Club, and was in his day considered to be the strongest player in London.”

From The Encyclopedia of Chess (Batsford, 1983), Harry Golombek OBE :

“Leading English player of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Famed in his day as a teacher and author. Sarratt adopted the title of ‘Professor of Chess’, His writings include A Treatise on the Game of Chess, London 1808, The Works of Damiano, Ruy Lopez and Salvio (1813).

Sarratt is usually credited with introducing into England the Continental practise of counting a game ending in stalemate as a draw. (RDK)”

Some games by Jacob Henry Sarratt:

Birthday of IM Philip Morris (05-xi-1957)

We wish IM Philip J Morris all the best on his birthday, this day (November 5th) in 1967.

Phil plays regularly for Beckenham & Charlton Chess Club in the London Chess League and has played for Invicta Knights Maidstone in the Four Nations League.

Birthday of IM Gavin Wall (05-xii-1968)

Best Wishes to IM Gavin Wall on this birthday, this day (December 5th) in 1968. Gavin is an Irish International Master whose peak rating (according to Chessbase) was 2413 at the age of 35.

IM Gavin Wall
IM Gavin Wall

IM Gavin Wall
IM Gavin Wall

Birthday of IM Gary Lane (04-xi-1964)

We send birthday wishes “down under” to IM Gary Lane on his birthday.

Teresa Needham and Gary Lane
Teresa Needham and Gary Lane

Gary William Lane was born this day (November 4th) in 1964 in Paignton, Devon.

IM Gary Lane
IM Gary Lane

Gary lived in Brixham, Devon and attended Churston Ferrers Grammar School (also in Brixham) leaving in 1983.

Gary became a FIDE Master in 1984 and an International Master in 1987 and won the Commonwealth Chess Championship in 1988. According to Felice and Megabase2020 his peak FIDE rating was 2464 in July 2001 aged 37.

IM Gary Lane
IM Gary Lane

This was written about Gary aged 14 prior to the 1979 Spassky vs the BCF Junior Squad simultaneous display :

“Churston Grammar and Paignton. Rating 173. BCF Junior squad U-14 co-champion, 1978.”

Gary Lane and Michael Adams
Gary Lane and Michael Adams

In 2004 won the Australian Championship and was voted Player of the Year. According to Sharpen Your Chess Tactics Gary is a well-known trainer, and has been involved in coaching some of England and Australia’s top junior players.

IM Gary Lane at British Chess Championships 2013, courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Gary Lane at British Chess Championships 2013, courtesy of John Upham Photography

Gary and friends at the NatWest Bank Young Masters
Gary and friends at the NatWest Bank Young Masters

From Wikipedia :

“Gary William Lane (born 4 November 1964) is a professional chess player and author. He became an International Master in 1987 and won the Commonwealth Chess Championship in 1988. He has written over thirty books on chess, including Find the Winning Move, Improve Your Chess in 7 Days and Prepare to Attack. There have been translations in French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. In the 1980s the ITV documentary “To Kill a King” was screened nationwide in Great Britain.It featured a young Michael Adams and Lane. This feature is shown regularly at chess film festivals.”

IM Gary Lane
IM Gary Lane

“After his marriage to Woman International Master Nancy Jones, he moved to Australia, winning the Australian Chess Championship in 2004. He won the 2005 Oceania Chess Championship and represented Oceania at the Chess World Cup 2005.

He has also represented Australia in the 2002, 2004, and 2006 Chess Olympiads.[2] In the 2004 Olympiad he helped Australia score a 2–2 draw with his former country England, scoring a decisive win over Nigel Short.[3] He has been a chess coach for England or Australia at the World Junior and also European Junior championship for over a decade[when?].”

Gary Lane & family at the London Chess Classic, courtesy of John Upham Photography
Gary Lane & family at the London Chess Classic, courtesy of John Upham Photography

“In 2012 he won the George Trundle Masters in Auckland, New Zealand with a score of 7/9,[4] and the NZ South Island Championships in Dunedin, with a score of 8/9.[5] He was unbeaten in both events.

In 2015 at the Australian tournament the Doeberl Cup he beat Loek van Wely the reigning Dutch Champion and one of the world’s leading players. [6] He played the Closed Sicilian which he has also written about in two books. In 2016 he came =1st at George Trundle Masters in Auckland, New Zealand with a score of 7/9,[7] and followed this up with =1st place scoring 8/9 at the NZ South Island Championships in Canterbury.[8] He did not lose any games in the two events. At the 2nd Fiji International Open Chess Tournament Lane dominated the event winning with the perfect score of 7/7.[9] A score of 9/9 and clear first place was the result at the 1st Fiji International Rapid Open.[10]

Lane is a supporter of Torquay United F.C. [11]”

Peter Wells, Gary Lane, John Emms and David Norwood
Peter Wells, Gary Lane, John Emms and David Norwood

Jon Manley as editor of Kingpin Magazine wrote a spoof version of Gary’s Agony Aunt column

Gary has written almost 30 chess books :

(1990) The C3 Sicilian: Analysis and Complete Games. The Crowood Press. ISBN 978-1-852233-18-1.

(1990) The C3 Sicilian: Analysis and Complete Games. The Crowood Press. ISBN 978-1-852233-18-1., Gary Lane
(1990) The C3 Sicilian: Analysis and Complete Games. The Crowood Press. ISBN 978-1-852233-18-1., Gary Lane

Lane, Gary (1991). The Ruy Lopez for the Tournament Player. Batsford. ISBN 978-0-713468-12-0.

Lane, Gary (1991). The Ruy Lopez for the Tournament Player. Batsford. ISBN 978-0-713468-12-0.
Lane, Gary (1991). The Ruy Lopez for the Tournament Player. Batsford. ISBN 978-0-713468-12-0.

Lane, Gary (1992). Winning with the Closed Sicilian. Batsford. ISBN 978-0-713469-72-1.

Lane, Gary (1992). Winning with the Closed Sicilian. Batsford. ISBN 978-0-713469-72-1.
Lane, Gary (1992). Winning with the Closed Sicilian. Batsford. ISBN 978-0-713469-72-1.

Lane, Gary (1993). Winning with the Bishop’s Opening. Batsford. ISBN 978-0-713471-13-7.

Lane, Gary (1993). Winning with the Bishop's Opening. Batsford. ISBN 978-0-713471-13-7.
Lane, Gary (1993). Winning with the Bishop’s Opening. Batsford. ISBN 978-0-713471-13-7.

Lane, Gary (1993). Winning with the Scotch. Henry Holt. ISBN 0-8050-2940-0.

Lane, Gary (1993). Winning with the Scotch. Henry Holt. ISBN 0-8050-2940-0.
Lane, Gary (1993). Winning with the Scotch. Henry Holt. ISBN 0-8050-2940-0.

Lane, Gary (1994). Beating the French. Batsford. ISBN 978-0-713473-90-2.

Lane, Gary (1994). Beating the French. Batsford. ISBN 978-0-713473-90-2.
Lane, Gary (1994). Beating the French. Batsford. ISBN 978-0-713473-90-2.

Lane, Gary (1994). Winning with the Fischer-Sozin Attack. Batsford. ISBN 978-0-713475-80-7.

Lane, Gary (1994). Winning with the Fischer-Sozin Attack. Batsford. ISBN 978-0-713475-80-7.
Lane, Gary (1994). Winning with the Fischer-Sozin Attack. Batsford. ISBN 978-0-713475-80-7.

Lane, Gary (1995). Blackmar–Diemer Gambit. Batsford Chess Library / An Owl Book / Henry Holt and Company. ISBN 0-8050-4230-X.

Lane, Gary (1995). Blackmar–Diemer Gambit. Batsford Chess Library / An Owl Book / Henry Holt and Company. ISBN 0-8050-4230-X.
Lane, Gary (1995). Blackmar–Diemer Gambit. Batsford Chess Library / An Owl Book / Henry Holt and Company. ISBN 0-8050-4230-X.

Lane, Gary (1996). A Guide to Attacking Chess. B.T.Batsford Ltd. ISBN 0-7134-8010-6.

Lane, Gary (1996). A Guide to Attacking Chess. B.T.Batsford Ltd. ISBN 0-7134-8010-6.
Lane, Gary (1996). A Guide to Attacking Chess. B.T.Batsford Ltd. ISBN 0-7134-8010-6.

Lane, Gary (1997). The Grand Prix Attack: attacking lines with f4 against the Sicilian. Batsford. ISBN 0-8050-2940-0.

Lane, Gary (1997). The Grand Prix Attack: attacking lines with f4 against the Sicilian. Batsford. ISBN 0-8050-2940-0.
Lane, Gary (1997). The Grand Prix Attack: attacking lines with f4 against the Sicilian. Batsford. ISBN 0-8050-2940-0.

Lane, Gary (1999). Victory in the Opening. Sterling Pub Co Inc. ISBN 9780713484274.

Lane, Gary (1999). Victory in the Opening. Sterling Pub Co Inc. ISBN 9780713484274.
Lane, Gary (1999). Victory in the Opening. Sterling Pub Co Inc. ISBN 9780713484274.

Lane, Gary (2000). The Vienna Game. Everyman Chess. ISBN 0-8050-2940-0.

Lane, Gary (2000). The Vienna Game. Everyman Chess. ISBN 0-8050-2940-0.
Lane, Gary (2000). The Vienna Game. Everyman Chess. ISBN 0-8050-2940-0.

Lane, Gary (2001). The Ultimate Colle. Sterling Pub Co Inc. ISBN 9780713486865.

Lane, Gary (2001). The Ultimate Colle. Sterling Pub Co Inc. ISBN 9780713486865.
Lane, Gary (2001). The Ultimate Colle. Sterling Pub Co Inc. ISBN 9780713486865.

Lane, Gary (2001). The Ultimate Closed Sicilian. Batsford. ISBN 978-0-713486-87-2.

Lane, Gary (2001). The Ultimate Closed Sicilian. Batsford. ISBN 978-0-713486-87-2.
Lane, Gary (2001). The Ultimate Closed Sicilian. Batsford. ISBN 978-0-713486-87-2.

Lane, Gary (2003). Ideas Behind the Modern Chess Openings: Attacking With White. Batsford. ISBN 9780713487121.

Lane, Gary (2003). Ideas Behind the Modern Chess Openings: Attacking With White. Batsford. ISBN 9780713487121.
Lane, Gary (2003). Ideas Behind the Modern Chess Openings: Attacking With White. Batsford. ISBN 9780713487121.

Lane, Gary (2003). Find the Checkmate. Batsford. ISBN 0-8050-2940-0.

Lane, Gary (2003). Find the Checkmate. Batsford. ISBN 0-8050-2940-0.
Lane, Gary (2003). Find the Checkmate. Batsford. ISBN 0-8050-2940-0.

Lane, Gary (2004). The Bishop’s Opening Explained. Batsford. ISBN 0-7134-8917-0.

Lane, Gary (2004). The Bishop's Opening Explained. Batsford. ISBN 0-7134-8917-0.
Lane, Gary (2004). The Bishop’s Opening Explained. Batsford. ISBN 0-7134-8917-0.

Lane, Gary (2004). ‘Find the Checkmate. Batsford. ISBN 978-0-713488-61-6.
Lane, Gary (2004). Playing Chess: Step by Step. Mud Puddle Books. ISBN 978-1-594120-55-8.

Lane, Gary (2004). Playing Chess: Step by Step. Mud Puddle Books. ISBN 978-1-594120-55-8.
Lane, Gary (2004). Playing Chess: Step by Step. Mud Puddle Books. ISBN 978-1-594120-55-8.

Lane, Gary (2005). Ideas Behind Modern Chess Openings: Black. Batsford. ISBN 9780713489507.
Lane, Gary (2005). The Scotch Game Explained. Batsford. ISBN 0-7134-8940-5.

Lane, Gary (2005). The Scotch Game Explained. Batsford. ISBN 0-7134-8940-5.
Lane, Gary (2005). The Scotch Game Explained. Batsford. ISBN 0-7134-8940-5.
Lane, Gary (2006). The Ruy Lopez Explained. Batsford. ISBN 0-7134-8978-2.
Lane, Gary (2006). The Ruy Lopez Explained. Batsford. ISBN 0-7134-8978-2.

Lane, Gary (2007). Improve Your chess In 7 Days. Batsford. ISBN 978-0-7134-9050-3.

Lane, Gary (2007). Improve Your chess In 7 Days. Batsford. ISBN 978-0-7134-9050-3.
Lane, Gary (2007). Improve Your chess In 7 Days. Batsford. ISBN 978-0-7134-9050-3.

Lane, Gary (2008). The Greatest Ever Chess Tricks and Traps. Everyman Chess. ISBN 9781857445770.

Lane, Gary (2008). The Greatest Ever Chess Tricks and Traps. Everyman Chess. ISBN 9781857445770.
Lane, Gary (2008). The Greatest Ever Chess Tricks and Traps. Everyman Chess. ISBN 9781857445770.

Lane, Gary (2009). Sharpen Your Chess Tactics in 7 Days. Batsford. ISBN 9781906388287.

Lane, Gary (2009). Sharpen Your Chess Tactics in 7 Days. Batsford. ISBN 9781906388287.
Lane, Gary (2009). Sharpen Your Chess Tactics in 7 Days. Batsford. ISBN 9781906388287.

Lane, Gary (2011). Prepare to Attack. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1857446500.

Lane, Gary (2011). Prepare to Attack. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1857446500.
Lane, Gary (2011). Prepare to Attack. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1857446500.

Lane, Gary (2013). Gary Lane’s Chess Puzzle Book. e+books. ISBN 978-1-927179-14-7.

Lane, Gary (2013). Gary Lane's Chess Puzzle Book. e+books. ISBN 978-1-927179-14-7.
Lane, Gary (2013). Gary Lane’s Chess Puzzle Book. e+books. ISBN 978-1-927179-14-7.
IM Gary Lane, courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Gary Lane, courtesy of John Upham Photography

Death Anniversary of Reginald Broadbent (03-viii-1906 29-x-1988)

We remember Reginald Broadbent who passed away on October 29th 1988.

Reginald Joseph Broadbent was born on Friday, August 3rd 1906 (the year of the San Francisco earthquake) in Durban, South Africa. His father was Joseph Edward Broadbent (born 1879) who married Alice Cook on January 4th, 1930 in Durban.

According to the 1911 Isle of Man Census (FindMyPast, Richard James; thanks!) the Broadbent family (sans father) stayed at a guest house in Onchan on the night of February 2nd 1911. Reg (aged 4) was a boarder together with mother Alice (33), brother Roland (1) and sister Laura (4). Since Reg and Laura are both recorded as 4 years old it is reasonable to suppose that they were born as twins. We think that Reg had an additional sibling who had passed away and that the name is not recorded. Reassuringly Steve Mann agrees with this conclusion.

He married Catherine H Broadbent (born 19th September 1895) and were recorded as living (in 1939) in “Cheadle and Gately”, Cheshire. His profession was as a “Telephone Traffic Superintendent, Class II, Post Office Telephones” which was a a civil service occupation. Catherine carried out “unpaid domestic duties”.

They resided at 72, South Park Road, Gatley, Cheshire :

72, South Park Road, Gatley, Cheshire. SK8 4AN
72, South Park Road, Gatley, Cheshire. SK8 4AN

According to Steve Mann in his excellent Yorkshire Chess web site :

“At some time in 1946 or 1947, Broadbent moved down south to live in the general vicinity of East Grinstead, at Far End, Limes Estate, Felbridge, 2 miles NW of East Grinstead, and later at Southway, Priory Road, Forest Row, 3 miles SE of East Grinstead”

The British Chess Magazine, Volume CVIII (108, 1988), #12 (December), p. 553 records this brief death announcement :

“Reginald J. Broadbent, British Champion 1948 and 1950 died on October 29 at the age of 82. He was a member of Manchester and Bradford Chess Clubs in his day, and was famous for his remarkable record in Anglo-Dutch matches.

After he moved to London around 1950 he was less free to play due to his senior post with the Post Office. A fuller notice will appear next month.”

As advertised in the British Chess Magazine, Volume CIX (109, 1989), #1 (January), p. 27 we have :

“Reginald Broadbent (3 viii 1906-29x 1988) was born at Durban and was British Champion in 1948 and 1950. In the latter content he actually won his last six games in a row to reach a score of 8.5 points, ahead of Klein, Penrose and Milner-Barry. He was often spoken of as “playing himself into form” in the first half of a contest as his work as a civil servant (the GPO) did not allow him the chance to practise regularly against strong opposition.

He was a member of the Manchester and Bradford clubs before the war when he built up a fine record in Anglo-Dutch matches and Northern Counties champion on many occasions.

Brian Reilly recalls that Broadbent was selected for the BCF Olympiad side in 1954, but was forced to turn down the invitation due to the exacting nature of his work in London, and thereafter his main connection with the game was a chess column in a West of England newspaper. He was a subscriber to BCM right up to his death.”

With the white pieces Broadbent was a die-hard 1.e4 player who allowed the Marshall Attack against the Ruy Lopez.

As the second player RJB defended the Nimzo-Indian Defence and played Open games.

Here is one of his best games :

For an element of déjà vu here is RJBs obituary from the 1989 – 1990 BCF Yearbook, page 14 :

(The Yearbook editor was Brian Concannon and it would appear standard practise, at the time, not to credit or attribute sources for obituaries.)

BCF Yearbook, 1989-1990, page 14
BCF Yearbook, 1989-1990, page 14

A detailed biography may be found here