Tag Archives: History

Smyslov on the Couch

Smyslov on the Couch
Smyslov on the Couch

Smyslov on the Couch : Genna Sosonko

Gennadi Borisovich Sosonko
Gennadi Borisovich Sosonko

 

Genna Sosonko emigrated from the USSR to the Netherlands in 1972.  For the past 20 years or so he’s made a career out of writing essays and books about chess in the Soviet Union, and interviewing many of the leading players from that period.

This, following on from books about Bronstein and Korchnoi, which will be reviewed later, is the third of a series of memoirs. Whereas Bronstein and Korchnoi were strong personalities who had controversial careers, Smyslov was a much more balanced character.

The word most associated with Smyslov is ‘harmony’. He sought harmony in his chess games, always seeking the most harmonious placing of his pieces. He was also a talented opera singer:  harmony again.

In the first part of this book, Sosonko introduces us to his friend. The life of a chess player in the Soviet Union must have been a mixed blessing. While you were living in a totalitarian regime, chess was valued and its exponents respected – as long as they toed the party line. Smyslov, we learn, was a man of profound and sincere religious convictions: a member of the Russian Orthodox church. Beyond that, he was also, rather unexpectedly, interested in all things paranormal. He seemed to believe in astrology and the prophecies of Nostradamus, and was convinced that chess originated on Atlantis. It always intrigues me how many strong chess players, who excel at thinking rationally over the chessboard, have totally irrational views on other subjects.

Perhaps it was this fatalism, the belief that everything in his life was pre-ordained, which enabled Smyslov to ‘go with the flow’ during his chess career.

At the end of this part, we have eight pages of photographs, before moving onto part 2

Now we turn the clock back to the 1953 Candidates Tournament, and, specifically, this game, from round 26.

The tournament was approaching its end: Smyslov was leading but Bronstein still had a chance to win the prize of a title match against Botvinnik. The Soviet authorities instructed Bronstein to play for a draw, which, as you can see, he did, choosing the Exchange Variation of the Ruy Lopez, long before Fischer rehabilitated it as a winning try.

Bronstein never forgot this, and, nearly half a century later, published an article about match fixing in the 1953 Candidates Tournament which angered the usually placid Smyslov. Bronstein’s article and Smyslov’s reply both appear here.

Sosonko then moves on to discuss, in more general terms, the Soviet Chess School, offering revealing insights as to what life was like for grandmasters from the USSR.

The final third of the book returns to Smyslov, and is based on conversations with the great man during the last eight years of his life: from 2002 to 2010. I’ll have a lot more to say about this when I review Sosonko’s memoirs of Bronstein and Korchnoi, but I’m not sure how much this adds to our knowledge of Smyslov, or how much he would have wanted to be remembered for his declining years.

If you’ve read any of Sosonko’s other writing you’ll know that he writes well, and, very often, poignantly. He tends to throw in a lot of cultural references, which you might find helpful, but, on the other hand, you might just think is showing off. Me: I enjoyed the musical references but mentions of Russian literature often mean nothing to me.

It’s not quite true that there’s no chess in the book: there’s just one game, played when he was 14, which, although Sosonko doesn’t mention it, is spookily similar to the Famous Game Rotlewi-Rubinstein.

If you’re looking for a book that will improve your rating, then, you’ll want to look elsewhere. If you want to know more about Smyslov as a person, you’ll probably enjoy the first third of the book. If you’re interested in the history of chess in the Soviet Union, particularly in the years following the Second World War, you might want to read the second part, but you’ll need to bear in mind that the author is an compiler of memoirs and anecdotes, not a historian. It’s the final section that leaves me with mixed feelings. A moving testimony of the final years of a much loved and respected champion, or just voyeurism? I’m in two minds: maybe you should read the book and decide for yourself.

 

Richard James, Twickenham 15 April 2020

Richard James
Richard James

Book Details :

  • Paperback : 199 pages
  • Publisher: Limited Liability Company Elk and Ruby Publishing House (5 Nov. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 5950043324
  • ISBN-13: 978-5950043321
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.1 x 19.8 cm

Official web site of Elk and Ruby

Smyslov on the Couch
Smyslov on the Couch

Remembering Joseph Edmund Peckover (15-xi-1896 – 16-iv-1982)

We remember Joseph Edmund Peckover (15-xi-1896 – 16-iv-1982)

From The Encyclopedia of Chess by Anne Sunnucks :

Born in London on the 15th November 1896, Peckover has lived in New York since 1921. He has composed about 70 endgame studies :

JE Peckover , 1st Prize, Problem 1958 – 59 Award July 1960.

Here is his Wikipedia entry

Here is his entry on chesscomposers.com

Death Anniversary of Joseph Peckover (15-xi-1896 16-iv-1982)

Death Anniversary of Joseph Edmund Peckover (15-xi-1896  16-iv-1982)

From The Encyclopedia of Chess by Anne Sunnucks :

Born in Hampstead, London to Henry Joseph Peckover and Louisa Jane Micklewright on the 15th November 1896, Peckover has lived in New York since 1921. He has composed about 70 endgame studies :

JE Peckover , 1st Prize, Problem 1958 – 59 Award July 1960.

Here is his Wikipedia entry

Here is his entry on chesscomposers.com

Remembering Herbert Trenchard (08-ix-1857 15-iv-1934)

Herbert William Trenchard
Herbert William Trenchard

BCN remembers Herbert William Trenchard (08-ix-1857 15-iv-1934)

From Wikipedia :

“Herbert William Trenchard (8 September 1857, Thorncombe – 15 April 1934, London) was an English chess master.

He took 11th and tied for 4-5th in London in 1886, shared twice 3rd at Cambridge 1890 and Oxford 1891, tied for 4-5th at Brighton 1892, took 2nd at London 1892 (B tourn), tied for 3rd-4th at Woolhall Spa 1893, and took 3rd at London 1896,[1]

He also participated at Vienna 1898 (Kaiser-Jubiläumsturnier, Siegbert Tarrasch and Harry Pillsbury won) and took 19th place there.[2][3]”

Here is a fascinating article about the National Liberal Club Chess Circle

from the chess column of the Essex Times, 22 April 1905
from the chess column of the Essex Times, 22 April 1905

Remembering Rev. Charles Edward Ranken (05-i-1828 12-iv-1905)

Death Anniversary of Rev. Charles Edward Ranken (05-i-1828 12-iv-1905)
Death Anniversary of Rev. Charles Edward Ranken (05-i-1828 12-iv-1905)

Remembering Rev. Charles Edward Ranken (05-i-1828 12-iv-1905)

From The Encyclopedia of Chess by Harry Golombek :

“A leading member of the formidable band of reverends who played such a strong role in early Victorian English chess, he is described as ‘one of the writing rather than the fighting clergy in chess’ in P. W. Sergeant’s Century of British Chess. Though he learnt chess at an early age’ he made his first really earnest study of the game when he was an undergraduate at Wadham College, Oxford 1847-50, in particular devoting himself to a theoretical study of Staunton’s Handbook, which he rightly regarded as a great landmark in chess literature.

On leaving Oxford he competed in the provincial section at London l85l where he came second to Boden.
In 1867 he became vicar of Sandford-on-Thames and lived at Oxford where, in collaboration with Lord Randolph Churchill (Winston’s father), he founded the Oxford University Chess Club
and became its first President.

Resigning his living at Sandford in 1871, he went to live at Malvern where he stayed till his death. He played in many of the congresses organized by the Counties Chess Association, his best result being 1st in the first class section at Malvern 1872 with a score of 12 points, followed by two other reverends, Thorold 11.5 and Wayte 10.5. It was at this congress that he brought about a reconciliation between Staunton and Löwenthal who had been estranged for a considerable time.

He played in the Yizayanaqaram tournament at London 1883 and started well but his health gave way after the first week and he divided fifth place with G. H. D. Gossip.
His chief importance during the later stages of his chess career was as a writer, first as editor of the Chess Player’s Chronicle in 1877 and later as a member of the staff of the British Chess Magazine in which he wrote on many aspects of chess but specialized in analysis (of the openings, middle-game and the endings)’ In 1889 he published, in collaboration with E. Freeborough, Chess Openings Ancient and Modern. (London)’ ( H’G’)

Chess Openings Ancient and Modern 1889
Chess Openings Ancient and Modern 1889

The Ranken Variation is a good line for White in the Four Knights Opening, analysed in the Chess Players Chronicle, 1879 by

The Chess Player's Chronicle
The Chess Player’s Chronicle
first president of the Oxford University Chess Club.”

Death Anniversary of Rev. Charles Ranken (05-i-1828 12-iv-1905)

Death Anniversary of Rev. Charles Edward Ranken (05-i-1828 12-iv-1905)From The Encyclopaedia of Chess by Harry Golombek :

A leading member of the formidable band of reverends who played such a strong role in early Victorian English chess, he is described as ‘one of the writing rather than the fighting clergy in chess’ in P. W. Sergeant’s Century of Britsh Chess. Though he learnt chess at an early age’ he made his first really earnest study of the game when he was an undergraduate at Wadham College, Oxford 1847-50, in particular devoting himself to a theoretical study of Staunton’s Handbook, which he rightly regarded as a great landmark in chess literature.

On leaving Oxford he competed in the provincial section at London l85l where he came second to Boden.
In 1867 he became vicar of Sandford-on-Thames and lived at Oxford where, in collaboration with Lord Randolph Churchill (Winston’s father), he founded the Oxford University Chess Club
and became its first President.

Resigning his living at Sandford in 1871, he went to live at Malvern where he stayed till his death. He played in many of the congresses organized by the Counties Chess Association, his best result being 1st in the first class section at Malvern 1872 with a score of l2 points, followed by two other reverends, Thorold 11.5 and Wayte 10.5. It was at this congress that he brought about a reconciliation between Staunton and Löwenthal who had been estranged for a considerable time.

He played in the Yizayanaqaram tournament at London 1883 and started well but his health gave way after the first week and he divided fifth place with G. H. D. Gossip.
His chief importance during the later stages of his chess career was as a writer, first as editor of the Chess Player’s Chronicle in 1877 and later as a member of the staff of the British Chess Magazine in which he wrote on many aspects of chess but specialized in analysis (of the openings, middle-game and the endings)’ In 1889 he published, in collaboration with E. Freeborough, Chess Openings Ancient and Modern. (London)’ ( H’G’)

Chess Openings Ancient and Modern 1889
Chess Openings Ancient and Modern 1889

The Ranken Variation is a good line for White in the Four Knights Opening, analysed in the Chess Players Chronicle, 1879 by Ranken first president of the Oxford University Chess Club.

Remembering Henry Bird (14-vii-1830 11-iv-1908)

Henry Edward Bird
Henry Edward Bird

BCN remembers Henry Edward Bird who passed away this day, April 11th in 1908.

From The Oxford Companion to Chess by David Hooper & Ken Whyld :

“English player, accountant. He played in 13 strong tournaments, with erratic results; his best achievements were: Vienna 1873, a tie with L. Paulsen for fifth place; Paris 1878, fourth place shared with Mackenzie; Manchester 1890. third prize shared with Mackenzie after Tarrasch and Blackburne. He also played in numerous minor tournaments, notably tying with Gunsberg for first prize at London 1889. His most important match was against Steinitz in 1866 for the first to win eleven games. He was adjudged the loser when he was
called to the USA on business, the score standing +5 = 5—7 in favour of his opponent. This was a creditable result in the circumstances, for he played each game after a day’s work (Steinitz, however, was not so strong a player as he later became.) In 1886 Bird drew a match with Burn(+ 9—9). One of the most ingenious tacticians of his time, Bird played in the attacking style prevalent in his youth. He usually chose openings that were regarded as bizarre, although many of them, e.g. the Dragon Variation, have since gained acceptance.

Henry Edward Bird (14-vii-1830 11-iv-1908)
Henry Edward Bird (14-vii-1830 11-iv-1908)

Bird was probably the best known and longest serving habitue of the London coffee-house known as Simpson’s Divan. ‘A rosy-cheeked, blue-eyed, fair-headed boy’, he first attended around 1846 and was a constant visitor for more than 50 years, after which he was described as ‘majestic in stature, in girth, in the baldness of his great head, less majestic in the litter of tobacco ash upon his waistcoat … with a pleasant smiling countenance’. He suffered from gout which eventually so incapacitated him that he was largely confined to his home for the last years of his life.

Besides writing booklets on railway finance he wrote several books on chess. They are not without interest although the content is sometimes inaccurate and often disorganized. Bird’s Modern Chess and Chess Masterpieces (1887) contains more than 200 games, about half of them his own. Chess History and Reminiscences (1893) contains an account of contemporary players and chess affairs.

Chess History and Reminiscences
Chess History and Reminiscences
Henry Edward Bird, from Megabase 2020
Henry Edward Bird, from Megabase 2020

Bird-Mason New York 1876 French Defence, Exchange Variation :

For this game Bird was awarded the BRILLIANCY PRIZE.

Bird (RHS, sitting) and contemporaries
Bird (RHS, sitting) and contemporaries

The Bird Attack is variation in the Italian opening strongly advocated by Stamma and no less strongly by Biro. In May 1843 saint-Amant played it against Staunton in their first match and five years later Bird adopted the variation, playing it in many tournaments, notably with fair success at Vienna 1882, London 1883, and Nuremberg 1883.

The Bird Defence, a reply to the Spanish opening given in the first edition of Bilguer’s Handbuch, 1843. Pioneered by Bird, e.g. against Anderssen in 1854, and used on occasion by grandmasters such as Tarrasch, Spielmann, and Spassky, this defence has not gained wide acceptance.

The Bird Opening, sometimes called the Dutch Attack by analogy with the Dutch Defence. In 1873, after an absence of six years from chess, Bird played a match with Wisker. ‘Having forgotten familiar openings, I commenced adopting KBP for first move, and finding it led to highly interesting games out of the usual groove, I became partial to it. ’ Bird had also forgotten unfamiliar openings, for
1 f4 (given by Lucena) had been played by Bourdonnais, Williams, and others of that period. However Bird’s consistent adoption of the move led to its becoming a standard opening, although
never popular.

From Wikipedia :

Henry Edward Bird (Portsea in Hampshire, 14 July 1830 – 11 April 1908) was an English chess player, and also an author and accountant. He wrote a book titled Chess History and Reminiscences, and another titled An Analysis of Railways in the United Kingdom.

Although Bird was a practicing accountant, not a professional chess player, it has been said that he “lived for chess, and would play anybody anywhere, any time, under any conditions.”

At age 21, Bird was invited to the first international tournament, London 1851. He also participated in tournaments held in Vienna and New York City. In 1858 he lost a match to Paul Morphy at the age of 28, yet he played high-level chess for another 50 years. In the New York tournament of 1876, Bird received the first brilliancy prize ever awarded, for his game against James Mason.

In 1874 Bird proposed a new chess variant, which played on an 8×10 board and contained two new pieces: guard (combining the moves of the rook and knight) and equerry (combining the bishop and knight). Bird’s chess inspired José Raúl Capablanca to create another chess variant, Capablanca Chess, which differs from Bird’s chess only by the starting position.

It was Bird who popularized the chess opening now called Bird’s Opening (1.f4), as well as Bird’s Defense to the Ruy Lopez (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nd4). Bird’s Opening is considered sound, though not the best try for an opening advantage. Bird’s Defense is regarded as slightly inferior, but “trappy”.

According to Edward Winter Bird lived at these addresses :

  • 5 Heygate Street, London SE, England (The Chess Monthly, October 1887, page 35).
  • 16 Chetwode Road, Upper Tooting, London SW, England (Chess Amateur, April 1908, page 190).
Chess Novelties
Chess Novelties
H.E. Bird : A Chess Biography with 1,198 Games
H.E. Bird : A Chess Biography with 1,198 Games

Remembering CGM Keith Richardson (02-ii-1942 10-iv-2017)

CGM Keith Richardson
CGM Keith Richardson

BCN remembers CGM Keith Richardson who passed away on Monday, April 10th, 2017.

Keith Bevan Richardson was born in Nottingham, on Monday, February 2nd 1942. On this day : The LA Times urges security measures against Japanese-Americans and US auto factories switch from commercial to war production.

Keith’s parents were Arthur (30) and Hilda May (née Nicholls, 25). He married Sandra Sowter on the 11th of September 1971 in Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire. They had two children, Neil and Ian. They lived at 19, The Ridings in Camberley, Surrey.

Sadly, Keith was diagnosed in the 1990s with Parkinson’s disease and became unwell whilst playing in a chess tournament in Cannes in April 2017 and passed away on the 10th of May 2017. Keith was 75. He continued to actively play chess into his final year.

CGM Keith Richardson
CGM Keith Richardson

Keith was the Treasurer of the Friends of Chess during the period known the English Chess Explosion (late 1970s and 1980s).

Keith received the ECF President’s Award in 2015 for services to the management of the BCF Permanent Invested Fund (PIF) together with Dr. Julian Farrand and Ray Edwards.

From CHESS, Volume 41 (1975), Numbers 729-730 (September), pp. 380 the news of Keith’s success was initially reported:

“BRITAINS’ FIRST CHESS GRAND MASTER

The first grand master title to be won by a British player has been achieved in the field of correspondence chess by Keith B. Richardson, aged 33, of Camberley.

The title of Correspondence Chess grand master is awarded by the lnternational correspondence Chess Federation. Keith Richardson fulfilled the norm by sharing third place in the final of the 7th World Correspondence Chess Championship with a score of 11 points from 16 games. The tournament began in February 1972 and results of the last adjudicated games were recently announced making J. V. Estrin U.S.S.R. first with l2 points; J. Boey Belgium scored 11.5; K. B. Richardson G.B. and Dr. V. Zagorovski U.S.S.R. 11.

There are only 25 Correspondence Chess Grand masters throughout the world.”

This was followed in the next month’s issue by a correction and more depth in CHESS, Volume 41 (1975), Numbers 731-732 (October), pp. 30-31:

“K. B. Richardson, though the first Britain to become a grand master by play was preceded by Comins Mansfield as grandmaster of problem composition, a title he gained in 1972. Our report last month did not make this clear.

Keith B. Richardson was born 2 April 1942 and was educated at Nottingham High School. At 16, he passed Grade 8 in Royal
Schools of Music at pianoforte. At Durham University, he obtained a B.A. in French and German and was awarded the University Palatinate (equal to a ‘blue’) in cricket and fives. He could have become a professional cricketer or a concert pianist but
made his career instead with Barclays Bank which brought him to London and a home in Camberley, Surrey, where he has settled down with his wife, Sandra (from Sutton Coldfield!). They now have two baby sons, Neil aged three years and Ian who is only two months old – both born since the final of the 7th World Correspondence Chess Championship began.

CGM Keith Richardson (from a Barclays Bank publicity article)
CGM Keith Bevan Richardson (from a Barclays publicity article)

Keith’s other interests include bridge and squash. He plays squash for his bank and is Secretary of the London Squash League. As a young chess player, Keith won the Notts. under l4 Championship, held the Notts. under l8 Championship for four years and the Notts. Championship for two years and was British Junior Champion in 1962. In 1963, he was Durham County Champion and joint winner of the British Universities’ Championship which he won outright the following year. He was twice captain of the British Universities Students’ Olympiad team. He held the Midlands Championship (Forrest Cup) for three years and was joint London Champion and London Banks’ Champion in 1970 but has been content to hold the latter title since then and concentrate on correspondence chess.

Keith Richardson at the 1963 Niemeyer Under-21 Tournament in Groningen. The forerunner of the European Junior Championship
Keith Richardson aged 20 at the 1963 Niemeyer Under-21 Tournament in Groningen. The forerunner of the European Junior Championship
Niemeyer Under-21 Tournament, Groningen 1963. The forerunner of the European Junior Championship.
Niemeyer Under-21 Tournament, Groningen 1963. The forerunner of the European Junior Championship.
Under the watchful eye of Mr. Niemeijer, Coen Zuidema and Keith Richardson play a quickie on the board, which served as an honorary prize. Source : Groningen 25 Jaar Europees Schaak Internationale Toernooien 1963 -1987, ISBN 90 9001 500 0
Under the watchful eye of Mr. Niemeijer, Coen Zuidema and Keith Richardson play a quickie on the board, which served as an honorary prize. Source : Groningen 25 Jaar Europees Schaak Internationale Toernooien 1963 -1987, ISBN 90 9001 500 0

In 1964, Keith Richardson was runner up for the British Correspondence Chess Championship and at the same time won a Master Class tournament of the lnternational Correspondence Chess Federation (I.C.C.F.) which qualified for a place in the World C.C. Championship semi-final. He came second in the 1965-67 semi-final and tried again in the 1968-71 event which he won. At the same time, he was representing Great Britain on Board 5 in the 1965-67 I.C.C.F. Olympiad Preliminary and on Board 4 in the 1968-71 event. His score of 5 points from 7 games helped the British team to win its section in the 1968-71 Preliminary and qualify for a place in the I.C.C.F. Olympiad Final which started in 1972. When Keith began play in the World C.C. Championship Final involving l6 tames, he was also asked to take Board 3 in the Olympiad Final involving another 9 games.

He accepted – a mistake which might possibly have cost him the World C.C. Championship! His next assault on the World title will be in 1979 and in the meantime he plans to play in the next I.C.C.F. Olympiad Preliminary and write a book on the 7th World C.C. Championship.

In this position, with Black in Zugzwang, the game went for adjudication (after more than three years’ play, a very necessary evil):

“In order to substantiate White’s claim for a win, it was necessary to submit three pages of analysis proving that every possible move loses for Black. If the knight moves, White’s king claims an entry. If Black moves the bishop along the a7-g1 diagonal, White plays Ba5. If the Black bishop moves on the d8-a5 diagonal, White plays Bd4 : KBR”

The game was adjudicated a win for White. This was only defeat inflicted upon the new World Champion.

CGM Keith Richardson in 1975
CGM Keith Richardson in 1975

This article was followed (with some glee no doubt) by an article in  British Chess Magazine, Volume LIXIV (95, 1975), Number 12 (December), page 526 as follows:

“Keith B. Richardson recently became the third British player to receive a grandmaster title (the other two both in 1972, are Comins Mansfield for chess composition’ and R.W. Bonham’ correspondence grandmaster of the blind). The title of Correspondence Chess Grandmaster is awarded by the International Correspondence  Chess Federation  (ICCF) and Keith Richardson fulfilled the norm by sharing third place in the final of the 7th World Correspondence Championship. Leading scores in the tournament (February 1972 – Summer 1975): 1. Y. Estrin (USSR) 12/16; J.Boey (B) 11.5; 3-4 K.B. Richardson (ENG), V. Zagorovsky (USSR) 11; etc.

Keith, born 2nd April1942, was educated at Nottingham High School and Durham University-. He won the Nottinghamshire U-14 Championship, held the Notts U-18 championship for four years, the senior Notts  Championship for two years and was British Junior Champion in 1962. In 1963, he was  Durham County Champion and joint winner of the British Universities Championship  which he won outright the following year. He was twice captain of the British team in Students Olympiads.

Keith Richardson from BCM, 1984, page 545
Keith Richardson from BCM, 1984, page 545

In 1964 Keith left university to make a career with Barclays Bank.  In the same year he was runner-up in the British Correspondence Championship and won an ICCF master tournament which qualified him for a place in the World Championship final. He came second in the 1965-7 semi-final, tried again, and won the 1968-71 event thus gaining entry to the 7th final.

Keith Richardson lives in Surrey at Camberley. He is married and has two baby sons – both born since the final of the 7th World Correspondence Championship began. At present he is writing a book on the 7th Championship and, for a change playing some OTB (over-the-board) chess in the London League for the Athenaeum club, to which he makes a great contribution – it is a marvellous feeling to know  that the player next to you (on your side!) is a grandmaster.

Keith Richardson playing for BCM Dragons in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL, courtesy of John Upham Photography.
Keith Richardson playing for BCM Dragons in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL, courtesy of John Upham Photography.

The following three games are – Keith’s best from  the -championship. In them he defeats three of the five Russians in the
tournament (his overall score against the Russians was 3.5/5 – a wonderful achievement.”

and here is the printed version of the above report:

British Chess Magazine, Volume LIXIV (95, 1975), Number 12 (December), page 526
British Chess Magazine, Volume LIXIV (95, 1975), Number 12 (December), page 526
British Chess Magazine, Volume LIXIV (95, 1975), Number 12 (December), page 527
British Chess Magazine, Volume LIXIV (95, 1975), Number 12 (December), page 527

From The Encyclopaedia of Chess by Hooper & Whyld :

“English player. International Correspondence Chess Grandmaster (1975), bank manager. Around 1961 Richardson decided that over-the- board play, which had brought him some successes as a. junior, would interfere with his professional career and he took to postal chess instead. His best performance in this field was his sharing of third place with Zagorovsky after Estrin and Boey in the 7th World Correspondence Championship, 1968-71. ”

In October 1984 Keith took part in the A. E. Axelson Memorial tournament organised by the Swedish CC Committee and with fifteen grandmasters was one of the strongest CC tournaments in history.  Keith finished in 11th place ahead of Boey.

In 1991 Jonathan Berry wrote a potted biography in  Diamond Dust, International Chess Enterprises, ISBN 1-879479-00-1 as follows :

“Camberley, Surrey, England. Born 2 April 1942. Married with two sons. Bank Manager.

He was British Under-21 Champion in 1962. At Groningen 1962/63, he was placed 2nd in the European Junior Championship. At Bristol 1967 he was equal 5th in the British Championship.

In CC, he gained the IMC in 1968, GMC in 1975. In CC WCh VII, he won the semi-final with 9.5/12, and placed =3rd in the final, 11/16. In CC WCh X, he again tied for third in the final with 10/15. Playing board 3 for Britain in OL-VIII, finals, 1972-76, he scored 7.5/9, the highest score on any board. He won the Prefors Memorial, 1976-1980, 9.5.12”

1976-1980 Prefors Memorial
1976-1980 Prefors Memorial

Keith was a founding member of Camberley Chess Club in 1972.

A one-day tournament (The Keith Richardson Memorial) in memory of Keith was started in 2017 and has been held four times in total being played on-line for the first time in 2021.

Ken Coates presents Clive Frostick with the trophy for the 2019 Keith Richardson Memorial Tournament.
Ken Coates presents Clive Frostick with the trophy for the 2019 Keith Richardson Memorial Tournament.

From Chessgames.com :

“Keith Bevan Richardson was born in Nottingham, England. Awarded the IMC title in 1968 and the GMC title in 1975, he finished 3rd= in the World Correspondence Championships of 1975 and 1984.”

Here are his games from chessgames.com

An obituary from Ray Edwards / ECF.

Here is an excellent biography by Peter Rust from the web site of the Hamilton Russell Cup

Barclay’s Bank pay tribute to Keith on the corporate site.

Here is an entry from the Belgian chess history web site.

Death Anniversary of CGM Keith Richardson (02-ii-1942 10-iv-2017)

BCN remembers CGM Keith Richardson who passed away on Monday, April 10th, 2017.

Keith Bevan Richardson was born in Nottingham, on Monday, February 2nd 1942. On this day : The LA Times urges security measures against Japanese-Americans and US auto factories switch from commercial to war production.

Keith’s parents were Arthur (30) and Hilda May (née Nicholls, 25). He married Sandra Sowter on the 11th of September 1971 in Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire. They had two children, Neil and Ian. They lived at 19, The Ridings in Camberley, Surrey.

Sadly, Keith was diagnosed in the 1990s with Parkinson’s disease and became unwell whilst playing in a chess tournament in Cannes in April 2017 and passed away on the 10th of May 2017. Keith was 75. He continued to actively play chess into his final year.

CGM Keith Richardson
CGM Keith Richardson

Keith was the Treasurer of the Friends of Chess during the period known the English Chess Explosion (late 1970s and 1980s).

Keith received the ECF President’s Award in 2015 for services to the management of the BCF Permanent Invested Fund (PIF) together with Dr. Julian Farrand and Ray Edwards.

From CHESS, Volume 41 (1975), Numbers 729-730 (September), pp. 380 the news of Keith’s success was initially reported:

“BRITAINS’ FIRST CHESS GRAND MASTER

The first grand master title to be won by a British player has been achieved in the field of correspondence chess by Keith B. Richardson, aged 33, of Camberley.

The title of Correspondence Chess grand master is awarded by the lnternational correspondence Chess Federation. Keith Richardson fulfilled the norm by sharing third place in the final of the 7th World Correspondence Chess Championship with a score of 11 points from 16 games. The tournament began in February 1972 and results of the last adjudicated games were recently announced making J. V. Estrin U.S.S.R. first with l2 points; J. Boey Belgium scored 11.5; K. B. Richardson G.B. and Dr. V. Zagorovski U.S.S.R. 11.

There are only 25 Correspondence Chess Grand masters throughout the world.”

This was followed in the next month’s issue by a correction and more depth in CHESS, Volume 41 (1975), Numbers 731-732 (October), pp. 30-31:

“K. B. Richardson, though the first Britain to become a grand master by play was preceded by Comins Mansfield as grandmaster of problem composition, a title he gained in 1972. Our report last month did not make this clear.

Keith B. Richardson was born 2 April 1942 and was educated at Nottingham High School. At 16, he passed Grade 8 in Royal
Schools of Music at pianoforte. At Durham University, he obtained a B.A. in French and German and was awarded the University Palatinate (equal to a ‘blue’) in cricket and fives. He could have become a professional cricketer or a concert pianist but
made his career instead with Barclays Bank which brought him to London and a home in Camberley, Surrey, where he has settled down with his wife, Sandra (from Sutton Coldfield!). They now have two baby sons, Neil aged three years and Ian who is only two months old – both born since the final of the 7th World Correspondence Chess Championship began.

CGM Keith Richardson (from a Barclays Bank publicity article)
CGM Keith Bevan Richardson (from a Barclays publicity article)

Keith’s other interests include bridge and squash. He plays squash for his bank and is Secretary of the London Squash League. As a young chess player, Keith won the Notts. under l4 Championship, held the Notts. under l8 Championship for four years and the Notts. Championship for two years and was British Junior Champion in 1962. In 1963, he was Durham County Champion and joint winner of the British Universities’ Championship which he won outright the following year. He was twice captain of the British Universities Students’ Olympiad team. He held the Midlands Championship (Forrest Cup) for three years and was joint London Champion and London Banks’ Champion in 1970 but has been content to hold the latter title since then and concentrate on correspondence chess.

Keith Richardson at the 1963 Niemeyer Under-21 Tournament in Groningen. The forerunner of the European Junior Championship
Keith Richardson aged 20 at the 1963 Niemeyer Under-21 Tournament in Groningen. The forerunner of the European Junior Championship
Niemeyer Under-21 Tournament, Groningen 1963. The forerunner of the European Junior Championship.
Niemeyer Under-21 Tournament, Groningen 1963. The forerunner of the European Junior Championship.

In 1964, Keith Richardson was runner up for the British Correspondence Chess Championship and at the same time won a Master Class tournament of the lnternational Correspondence Chess Federation (I.C.C.F.) which qualified for a place in the World C.C. Championship semi-final. He came second in the 1965-67 semi-final and tried again in the 1968-71 event which he won. At the same time, he was representing Great Britain on Board 5 in the 1965-67 I.C.C.F. Olympiad Preliminary and on Board 4 in the 1968-71 event. His score of 5 points from 7 games helped the British team to win its section in the 1968-71 Preliminary and qualify for a place in the I.C.C.F. Olympiad Final which started in 1972. When Keith began play in the World C.C. Championship Final involving l6 tames, he was also asked to take Board 3 in the Olympiad Final involving another 9 games.

He accepted – a mistake which might possibly have cost him the World C.C. Championship! His next assault on the World title will be in 1979 and in the meantime he plans to play in the next I.C.C.F. Olympiad Preliminary and write a book on the 7th World C.C. Championship.

In this position, with Black in Zugzwang, the game went for adjudication (after more than three years’ play, a very necessary evil):

“In order to substantiate White’s claim for a win, it was necessary to submit three pages of analysis proving that every possible move loses for Black. If the knight moves, White’s king claims an entry. If Black moves the bishop along the a7-g1 diagonal, White plays Ba5. If the Black bishop moves on the d8-a5 diagonal, White plays Bd4 : KBR”

The game was adjudicated a win for White. This was only defeat inflicted upon the new World Champion.

CGM Keith Richardson in 1975
CGM Keith Richardson in 1975

This article was followed (with some glee no doubt) by an article in  British Chess Magazine, Volume LIXIV (95, 1975), Number 12 (December), page 526 as follows:

“Keith B. Richardson recently became the third British player to receive a grandmaster title (the other two both in 1972, are Comins Mansfield for chess composition’ and R.W. Bonham’ correspondence grandmaster of the blind). The title of Correspondence Chess Grandmaster is awarded by the International Correspondence  Chess Federation  (ICCF) and Keith Richardson fulfilled the norm by sharing third place in the final of the 7th World Correspondence Championship. Leading scores in the tournament (February 1972 – Summer 1975): 1. Y. Estrin (USSR) 12/16; J.Boey (B) 11.5; 3-4 K.B. Richardson (ENG), V. Zagorovsky (USSR) 11; etc.

Keith, born 2nd April1942, was educated at Nottingham High School and Durham University-. He won the Nottinghamshire U-14 Championship, held the Notts U-18 championship for four years, the senior Notts  Championship for two years and was British Junior Champion in 1962. In 1963, he was  Durham County Champion and joint winner of the British Universities Championship  which he won outright the following year. He was twice captain of the British team in Students Olympiads.

Keith Richardson from BCM, 1984, page 545
Keith Richardson from BCM, 1984, page 545

In 1964 Keith left university to make a career with Barclays Bank.  In the same year he was runner-up in the British Correspondence Championship and won an ICCF master tournament which qualified him for a place in the World Championship final. He came second in the 1965-7 semi-final, tried again, and won the 1968-71 event thus gaining entry to the 7th final.

Keith Richardson lives in Surrey at Camberley. He is married and has two baby sons – both born since the final of the 7th World Correspondence Championship began. At present he is writing a book on the 7th Championship and, for a change playing some OTB (over-the-board) chess in the London League for the Athenaeum club, to which he makes a great contribution – it is a marvellous feeling to know  that the player next to you (on your side!) is a grandmaster.

Keith Richardson playing for BCM Dragons in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL, courtesy of John Upham Photography.
Keith Richardson playing for BCM Dragons in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL, courtesy of John Upham Photography.

The following three games are – Keith’s best from  the -championship. In them he defeats three of the five Russians in the
tournament (his overall score against the Russians was 3.5/5 – a wonderful achievement.”

and here is the printed version of the above report:

British Chess Magazine, Volume LIXIV (95, 1975), Number 12 (December), page 526
British Chess Magazine, Volume LIXIV (95, 1975), Number 12 (December), page 526
British Chess Magazine, Volume LIXIV (95, 1975), Number 12 (December), page 527
British Chess Magazine, Volume LIXIV (95, 1975), Number 12 (December), page 527

From The Encyclopaedia of Chess by Hooper & Whyld :

“English player. International Correspondence Chess Grandmaster (1975), bank manager. Around 1961 Richardson decided that over-the- board play, which had brought him some successes as a. junior, would interfere with his professional career and he took to postal chess instead. His best performance in this field was his sharing of third place with Zagorovsky after Estrin and Boey in the 7th World Correspondence Championship, 1968-71. ”

In October 1984 Keith took part in the A. E. Axelson Memorial tournament organised by the Swedish CC Committee and with fifteen grandmasters was one of the strongest CC tournaments in history.  Keith finished in 11th place ahead of Boey.

In 1991 Jonathan Berry wrote a potted biography in  Diamond Dust, International Chess Enterprises, ISBN 1-879479-00-1 as follows :

“Camberley, Surrey, England. Born 2 April 1942. Married with two sons. Bank Manager.

He was British Under-21 Champion in 1962. At Groningen 1962/63, he was placed 2nd in the European Junior Championship. At Bristol 1967 he was equal 5th in the British Championship.

In CC, he gained the IMC in 1968, GMC in 1975. In CC WCh VII, he won the semi-final with 9.5/12, and placed =3rd in the final, 11/16. In CC WCh X, he again tied for third in the final with 10/15. Playing board 3 for Britain in OL-VIII, finals, 1972-76, he scored 7.5/9, the highest score on any board. He won the Prefors Memorial, 1976-1980, 9.5.12”

1976-1980 Prefors Memorial
1976-1980 Prefors Memorial

Keith was a founding member of Camberley Chess Club in 1972.

A one-day tournament (The Keith Richardson Memorial) in memory of Keith was started in 2017 and has been held four times in total being played on-line for the first time in 2021.

Ken Coates presents Clive Frostick with the trophy for the 2019 Keith Richardson Memorial Tournament.
Ken Coates presents Clive Frostick with the trophy for the 2019 Keith Richardson Memorial Tournament.

From Chessgames.com :

“Keith Bevan Richardson was born in Nottingham, England. Awarded the IMC title in 1968 and the GMC title in 1975, he finished 3rd= in the World Correspondence Championships of 1975 and 1984.”

Here are his games from chessgames.com

An obituary from Ray Edwards / ECF.

Here is an excellent biography by Peter Rust from the web site of the Hamilton Russell Cup

Barclay’s Bank pay tribute to Keith on the corporate site.

Here is an entry from the Belgian chess history web site.