John Eric Littlewood was born in Sheffield on Wednesday, September 16th 1931. His mother’s maiden name was Wheeldon. He last resided in the WN8 postal area of Skelmersdale, Lancashire.
He became a FIDE Master in 1989 at the age of 58. According to Felice his peak FIDE rating was 2395 in January 1980. However, it is almost certain that it would have been higher than that, in the 1960s and 1970s.
He coached his son Paul who became British Champion in 1981. His brother Norman was also a very strong player.
From “Chess Coaching” :
John Littlewood is a National Coach and the Director of Junior Chess to the British Chess Federation. He is a FIDE Master with national and international playing experience, and is an established chess write, translator and journalist.
From “Learn Chess 2”
“A British Master, formerly Northern Counties Champion and currently (1984) a National Coach for the British Chess Federation. John Littlewood has played for England in several international tournaments, including two Olympiads”
John Was Northern Counties Chess Union (NCCU) Champion in 1971, 1972, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1981 : a record seven times !
John won the Appleby-Frodingham Chess Club tournament in 1962 with 3.5/5 :
and then, in the same year came 3= in the British Championships with 7.5/11 :
and in 1969 in Rhyl John was unfortunate not to share the title with Dr. Jonathan Penrose after losing to Frank Parr in the final round :
John won the Southport Open in 1972 and the picture below was taken shortly afterwards :
John won the Chorley tournament of 1977 with 7/9
JEL won the British Chess Federation’s President’s Award in 2000.
In 2006 John won the BCF Veterans / Seniors title for the first time repeating the feat in 2008 sharing with George Dickson.
With the White pieces John almost exclusively played 1.e4 favouring the Wormald Attack, Open Sicilians and the Rossolimo variation.
As the second player John played the Closed Ruy Lopez, the Sicilian Dragon and the Grünfeld defence.
In the following video IM Andrew Martin discusses the game Bisguier – Littlewood, 1962.
Rather than reinventing an already round wheel we reproduce the following ten page tribute in the October 2009 issue of British Chess Magazine. The tribute is by John Saunders :
Lorin Alexander P D’Costa was born on Wednesday, September 5th 1984. “What’s Love Got To Do With It” by Tina Turner was number one in the UK singles chart. His mother’s maiden name was Antheunis.
According to Wikipedia : “Lorin is a masculine given name. The meaning of Lorin derives from a bay or laurel plant; of Laurentum (wreathed/crowned with laurel). Laurentum, in turn is from laurus (laurel), from the place of laurel trees, laurel branch, laurel wreath. Laurentum was also a city in ancient Italy.”
Lorin was born in Lambeth, London and became a FIDE Master in 2004 and an International Master in 2008.
His first ever BCF/ECF grading was 36D in July 1994 aged 10 but his grading very quickly improved :
His peak FIDE rating was 2485 in April 2009.
Lorin has the unique distinction of gaining the title of “Strat” four times for winning the UK Chess Challenge Terafinal in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003. Only four other players have won the title more than once : Peter Poobalasingam, Félix José Ynojosa Aponte, Marcus Harvey and Koby Kalavannan.
Lorin plays for Hendon in the London League and 4NCL Barbican in the Four Nations Chess League.
We note the passing today (August 22nd) in 1870 of William Lewis of the Lewis Counter Gambit.
From The Oxford Companion to Chess (OUP, 1984) by Hooper & Whyld :
“English player and author. He left his native Birmingham as a young man and worked for a time with a merchant in London. He learned much of his chess from Sarratt, a debt that was not repaid.
Around 1819 he was operator of the Turk, meeting all-comers successfully. With Cochrane he visited Paris in 1821, received odds of pawn and move from Deschapelles, and defeated him in a short match (+ 1=2), Lewis had already begun to write and of the more useful books he published around this time were translations of Greco and Carrera which appeared in 1819 and 1822 respectively. Although he considered Sarratt’s A Treatise on the Game of Chess (1808) a poorly written book, Lewis published a second edition in 1822 in direct competition with Sarratt’s last book, published in 1821 by his impoverished widow, (In 1843 many Englishmen contributed to a fund for Mrs Sarratt in her old age, Lewis’s name is not on the subscription list,}
In 1825 Bourdonnais visited England. Lewis recalled that they played about 70 games, and according to Walker seven of them constituted a
match which Lewis lost (+2—5). With no significant playing achievements to his credit Lewis acquired such a high reputation that a correspondent writing to the weekly magazine Bell’s Life in 1838 was moved to call him grandmaster.
From 1825 he preserved this reputation by the simplest means: he declined to play on even terms. In the same year he opened a club where he gave lessons at half a guinea each. McDonnell and Walker were among his pupils. Speculating unwisely on a piano-making patent, Lewis went bankrupt in 1827, and the club closed. After three precarious years of teaching chess (rich patrons were becoming fewer) Lewis became actuary of the Family Endowment Society and enjoyed financial security
for the rest of his life.
Circumstances now made it possible for him to concentrate on his writing and he published his two most important works: Series of Progressive Lessons (1831) and Second Series of Lessons (1832), both republished with various revisions. Lewis continued to write but gradually withdrew from other chess activities; his last notable connection with chess was as stakeholder for the Morphy-Lowenthal match of 1858.
Lewis’s Lessons contain extensive analyses of many opening variations, examined in the closeness of his study. Subsequent writers, notably Lasa, were influenced by these books, but more on account of the form than the content, which, adequate for the 1830s, were soon out of date.
Around 1840 writers no longer worked in isolation (a circumstance Lewis found unavoidable) and new positional ideas were being shaped. Because Lewis failed to assimilate these his judgements were faulty, and his voluminous Treatise on the Game of Chess (1844) was out of date when published.
Industrious rather than inventive, he made only one innovation, the Lewis Counter-Gambit; but it had no practical value in 1844, for simpler defences had already been discovered. Lewis’s work commands respect, but he is more aptly described as the last and one of the best of the ‘old’ writers than the first of the new, a more fitting description for Jaenisch and the authors of Bilguer’s Handbuch. ”
From The Encyclopedia of Chess (Robert Hale, 1970 & 1976) by Anne Sunnucks :
Chess theoretician, teacher, author and one of the leading players in England in the nineteenth century.
William Lewis was born in Birmingham on 9th October 1787. As a young man he went to London and took chess lessons from JH Sarratt. Within a short time he was making chess his principal means of livelihood.
In 1819 he was engaged as the player concealed in the chess-playing automaton, ‘The Turk’, when it was exhibited in London. In 1825 he opened some chess rooms in St. Martin’s Lane in London, where he taught chess. Among his pupils was Alexander McDonnell. After going bankrupt in 1827, the chess rooms were closed, and Lewis decided to put his lessons into a book. He soon became a highly-successful writer, His Chessboard Companion published in 1838 ran into nine editions, and his Series of Progressive Lessons of the Game of Chess has been described as one of the landmarks in the history of the game. This book included some completely new analyses of various chess openings and later formed the basis of the Handbuch des Schachspiels. Lewis also translated the work of Greco and Stamma and was author of The Elements of Chess (1882), Fifty Games of Chess (1832) and Chess for Beginners (1835).
Towards the end of his life, Lewis rarely played chess, and his last public appearance in chess circles was 12 before he died, when he acted at stake-holder in the match between Morphy and Lowenthal in 1858. He died on 22nd August 1870.
“Author of The Chessboard Companion, London, 1838, and several other popular works on chess (including translations of Greco and Stamma). Lewis was also a leading chess teacher – his most famous pupil was Alexdander McDonnell – and for a time he ran chess rooms in St. Martin’s Lane. In 1819 he operated the chess-playing automaton ‘The Turk’ when it was exhibited in London. The Lewis Counter-Gambit is 1.P-K4, P-K4; 2.B-B4 B-B4; 3.P-QB3,P-Q5!?”
From “Chess : A History” by Harry Golombek there are two references to WL on pages 98 and 123 alluded to above.
“William Lewis (1787–1870) was an English chess player and author, nowadays best known for the Lewis Countergambit and for being the first player ever to be described as a Grandmaster of the game.
Born in Birmingham, William Lewis moved as a young man to London where he worked for a merchant for a short period. He became a student of chess player Jacob Sarratt, but in later years he showed himself to be rather ungrateful towards his teacher. Although he considered Sarratt’s Treatise on the Game of Chess (1808) a “poorly written book”, in 1822 Lewis published a second edition of it three years after Sarratt’s death in direct competition with Sarratt’s own superior revision published posthumously in 1821 by Sarratt’s poverty-stricken widow. In 1843, many players contributed to a fund to help the old widow, but Lewis’ name is not on the list of subscribers.
Around 1819 Lewis was the hidden player inside the Turk (a famous automaton), meeting all-comers successfully. He suggested to Johann Maelzel that Peter Unger Williams, a fellow ex-student of Sarratt, should be the next person to operate inside the machine. When P. U. Williams played a game against the Turk, Lewis recognised the old friend from his style of play (the operator could not see his opponents) and convinced Maelzel to reveal to Williams the secret of the Turk. Later, P. U. Williams himself took Lewis’ place inside the machine.
Lewis visited Paris along with Scottish player John Cochrane in 1821, where they played with Alexandre Deschapelles, receiving the advantage of pawn and move. He won the short match (+1 =2).”
“Lewis’ career as an author began at this time, and included translations of the works of Greco and Carrera, published in 1819 and 1822 respectively.
He was the leading English player in the correspondence match between London and Edinburgh in 1824, won by the Scots (+2 = 2 -1). Later, he published a book on the match with analysis of the games. In the period of 1834–36 he was also part of the Committee of the Westminster Chess Club, who played and lost (−2) the match by correspondence with the Paris Chess Club. The other players were his students McDonnell and Walker, while the French line up included Boncourt, Alexandre, St. Amant and Chamouillet. When De La Bourdonnais visited England in 1825, Lewis played about 70 games with the French master. Seven of these games probably represented a match that Lewis lost (+2 -5).
Lewis enjoyed a considerable reputation as a chess player in his time. A correspondent writing to the weekly magazine Bell’s Life in 1838 called him “our past grandmaster”, the first known use of the term in chess. Starting from 1825 he preserved his reputation by the same means that Deschapelles used in France, by refusing to play anyone on even terms. In the same year Lewis founded a Chess Club where he gave lessons to, amongst others, Walker and McDonnell. He was declared bankrupt in 1827 due to bad investments on a patent for the construction of pianos and his chess club was forced to close. The next three years were quite difficult until in 1830 he got a job that assured him of solid financial security for the rest of his life. Thanks to this job, he could focus on writing his two major works: Series of Progressive Lessons (1831) and Second Series of Progressive Lessons (1832). The first series of the Lessons were more elementary in character, and designed for the use of beginners; the second series, on the other hand, went deeply into all the known openings. Here, for the first time we find the Evans Gambit, which is named after its inventor, Capt. Evans.
The works of Lewis (together with his teacher Sarratt) were oriented towards the rethinking of the strictly Philidorian principles of play in favour of the Modenese school of Del Rio, Lolli and Ponziani. When he realised that he could not give an advantage to the new generation of British players, Lewis withdrew gradually from active play (in the same way that Deschapelles did after his defeat against De La Bourdonnais).
After his retirement he wrote other chess treatises, but his isolation prevented him from assimilating the positional ideas of the new generation of chess-players. For this reason, Hooper and Whyld in their Oxford Chess Companion describe the last voluminous work of Lewis, A Treatise on Chess (1844), as already “out of date when published”.”
“Malcolm Pein’s contribution to English Chess is well known. He is CEO of Chess in Schools and Communities, has been largely involved in the organisation of the London Chess Classic and is currently the ECF’s Delegate to FIDE and International Director. On top of all that he is also an IM, writes the ‘Daily Telegraph’ Chess Column, and edits CHESS Magazine.”
Malcolm is also owner (and a director) of the London Chess Centre (a company incorporated on May 1st 1997) which has relocated to 44, Baker Street, former home of the British Chess Magazine retail premises. This was purchased from Stephen Lowe and Shaun Taulbut in 2010 when the leasehold on the Euston Road premises expired. Another director is Henry Gerald Mutkin who is the main organiser of the annual Varsity match.
On the “glorious twelfth” of August we celebrate the birthday of one of England’s most popular chess players and writers, IM Bill Hartston.
William Roland Hartston was born in Willesden, Middlesex on Tuesday, August 12th, 1947. His father was William Hartston, a significant member of the Royal College of Physicians who was married to Mary Rowland. Bill has a sister.
He studied at the City of London School and then studied mathematics at Jesus College, Cambridge and graduated with a BA in 1968 and an MA in 1972, but did not complete his PhD on number theory.
While studying for his PhD at Cambridge, Hartston developed an intricate system for balancing an entire chess set on top of a single rook. Here is an article with an explanation letter from Bill.
Bill married Dr. Jana Malypetrova in January, 1970 in Cambridge. In 1978 Bill married Elizabeth Bannerman, also in Cambridge and from that marriage he had two sons, James and Nicholas.
Bill became an International Master in 1972 and his highest FIDE rating was 2485 in January 1979.
With the white pieces Bill almost exclusively played 1.e4 and the Ruy Lopez.
With the black pieces Bill played the Sicilian Taimanov and the Czech Benoni.
Bill is a self-proclaimed follower of Prof. AJ Ayer (See the Acknowledgements in “Soft Pawn”) Clint Eastwood and Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.
Bill was the chess correspondent of The Independent and The Mail on Sunday. He was also a regular presenter and commentator for television. He worked with Jeremy James on the BBC’s Master Game.
Bill is an industrial psychologist.
Curiously the 1984 edition of the usually reliable The Oxford Companion to Chess by Hooper and Whyld does not have an entry for the twice British Champion : was this simply an oversight ? Jana is also not mentioned.
Bill wrote about himself in British Chess (Pergamon, 1983) :
“To summarise more than 20 years of playing competitive chess in a few hundred words is an impossible task. My attitude to the game has changed a great deal, especially in recent times, but I have always enjoyed and felt at home in the tense and lively atmosphere of chess tournaments, whether as a competitor, spectator or journalist.
I consider myself lucky to have been a ‘promising junior’ just at the time when chess was beginning to be taken seriously as a sport in England. The English team consisted mainly of amateurs and there were clear opportunities for anyone willing to work at the game. As a result of the changing attitudes to the game in this country, the development between 1965, when I first played for the national team, and 1975 was far greater than in any other decade. One statistic which I have always found personally amusing is that I progressed from youngest player in 1967 for the Clare Benedict tournament to become the oldest in the 1971 team. From promising junior to veteran in four years = is this a record ?
Since my second British Championship win in 1975, I have been writing more and playing less. I always realised that I was not going to become a sufficiently strong player to be happy just wandering round the tournament circuit, but giving up chess entirely is, of course, unthinkable. I believe now that the time is ripe for chess to be presented to far wider audiences and I like to think that some of what I do will help in that aim. If the Master Game television series and “Soft Pawn” cannot sell chess to the masses then nothing will.”
“Hartston played hardly at all during the period from my last entry of him in the 1977 diary and that little, though respectable, was hardly the performance of an active master. His equal 3rd to 5th at the big Aaronson’s Masters Tournament (a swiss system event with 72 players) did not really affect his rating and indeed he finished up without changing his Elo rating at all.
Nevertheless, this glimpse of his true powers was impressive as can be seen in the following game which was played in the 6th round of the Aaronson tournament.”
From The Encyclopedia of Chess(Robert Hale, 1970 & 1976) by Anne Sunnucks :
“International Master (1972) and British Champion (1973) William Hartston was born in London on the 12th August 1947. He was taught to play chess by his father when he was seven and five years later joined Enfield Chess Club. His results in junior events included 1st in the London Boys’ Under 16 Championship and 2nd in the British Boys’ Under 15 Championship in 1962 and =2nd in the British Boys Under 18 Championship in 1963.
In 1965, Hartston made his first appearance in the British Championship and came =5th. In the same year he won the Ilford and Paignton Premier tournaments. Playing on board 3 for England in the 1966 Olympiad. Hartston scored the best result of any British player, 66.7%. In the Olympiad of 1970, he had the best overall score on board 3, 12.5 out of 16 and in the Olympiad of 1972 he won the prize for the 3rd best score on board 2, 12.5 out of 18. In 1972 he narrowly failed to qualify for the Interzonal tournament, when he came 3rd in the Zonal tournament at Vranjacka Banja.”
“British International Master and twice British Champion. Hartston was born in London and his early chess was played there., where he became London Boy (Under-16 Champion in 1962.
He was educated at the City of London School and Jesus College, Cambridge, where he took a degree in mathematics.
It soon became clear that he was one of the leading young players in England and a rivalry developed between him and Raymond Keene in which first one and then the other obtained the upper hand.
After a number of near misses he won the British Championship at Eastbourne in 1973 and again at Morecambe in 1975.
Internationally he has already had a distinguished career and has been especially good and consistent in his representation of England at the Olympiads. At Havana in 1966 he scored 66.7% on board 3 but did not play at Lugano in 1968. Again on board 3 at Siegen in 1970 he obtained the best score on board 3 with 78.1%. At Skopje 1972 he fulfilled the second norm of the international master title with 12.5 points out of 18 on second board. Playing on first board at Nice 1974 he attained 52.7% and had a most meritorious and well fought draw with the World Champion, Karpov.
He achieved a breakthrough in the field of international tournament chess when he came third in a strong Premier tournament at Hastings 1972/3
and in 1973 he scored a first at Alicante.
His best tournament result came three years later when he won 1st prize at Sarajevo 1976.
His style of play is sound and competent in all the spheres of the game. That he can be brilliant when necessary he demonstrated his beautiful brilliancy game against the Finnish grandmaster Westerinen at Allicante in 1973. He has a fine, broad knowledge of the openings and has written a number of articles and books on that theme.
A lucid and entertaining writer, he has also appeared with success in BBC Television chess programmes.
Among his chief works are :
The Benoni, London, 1969 The Grunfeld Defence, London, 1971 The Best Games of CHO’D Alexander (with H. Golombek), Oxford, 1976.”
In modern times Bill has made regular appearances with World Cluedo champion, Josef Kollar on Channel Four’s Gogglebox with a pair of painted breasts as background.
BCN sends Best Wishes to CM David Anderton OBE on his 80th birthday (02-viii-1941)
In the 1977 New Years Honours List, Civil Division, David was awarded the OBE. The citation read simply : “For services to Chess”
David William Anderton was born in the district of Walsall, Staffordshire, West Midlands. His mother’s maiden name was Coltart and David continues to reside in Walsall.
David is married to Margaret.
David is an Honorary Life Vice-President of the English (formerly British) Chess Federation.
“David won the ECF President’s Award in 2009 following his stepping down as ECF legal expert. This is the citation from the 2010 ECF Yearbook :
“As this is Gerry Walsh’s last year as President it was considered appropriate that he be allowed to choose someone receive the award. Gerry has worked with David for all his time with BCF and ECF and has selected him due to his tireless and selfless devotion to both the BCF and ECF over many years.
Most of you will know David and will agree that this is a well deserved award. It is fair to state that David’s assistance over the years has been invaluable and that without it many areas of the Federation would have found it difficult, if not impossible to operate.
Since my election David has been a constant friend and confidante. He has invariable given sound advice throughout my term of office. It was John Wickham who rang me and suggested that due to my length of tenure, a special award might be in order.
After years of selfless and generous devotion serving as ECF President, International Director, Captain of the England Team and legal adviser, this seems to be a fitting tribute.
David’s advice both legal and general, has been invaluable in such matters as the John Robinson legacy and the change of name from BCF to ECF Limited, and I certainly hope that this advice will continue.
David is a FIDE Candidate Master (CM).
With the White pieces David exclusively plays 1.d4 aiming for a Queen’s Gambit and main lines.
With Black David plays the Winawer and the Classical French plus the Lenningrad Dutch.
Death Anniversary of WFM Jessica Laura Corey Gilbert (30-i-1987 26-vii-2007)
From Find A Grave by by Peterborough K:
“Professional Chess Player. A native of Croydon, England, Gilbert became the youngest person ever to win the Women’s World Chess Federation Master Title.
A talented chess player since the age of 8, she also won the Women’s World Amateur Championship when she represented England in 1999 at the age of 11.
In a career that spanned over seven years she played in over 153 matches in such events as the Gibtelcom Chess Festival, the 7th European Championship, Ilsan 1st, 37th Chess Olympiad, Hastings Chess Congress, Hastings Master Op, Coventry Op, and the Gausdal Byggern Masters.
On July 26, 2006, while in Pardubice, Czech Republic, to play in the Czech Open, she mysteriously fell to her death from the balcony of her room on the eighth floor of the Hotel Labe. Gilbert was only 19 years old.”
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