Tag Archives: Player

Birthday of Demis Hassabis CBE FRS FREng FRSA (27-vii-1976)

BCN wishes Happy Birthday to Demis Hassabis CBE FRS FREng FRSA (27-vii-1976)

From https://achievement.org/achiever/demis-hassabis-ph-d/ :

Demis Hassabis, the eldest of three, was born in London on July 27, 1976, to a Greek Cypriot father and a Chinese Singaporean mother.

(Originally his surname was spelt Hassapis and his brother George retained his.)

“Demis Hassabis was born in London, England. He is of both Greek and Chinese ancestry; his father came from Cyprus, his mother from Singapore. Demis and his family moved frequently as his father pursued a variety of business and creative ventures.

Demis was four years old when he saw his father and an uncle playing chess and asked them to teach him the game. He took to it quickly and was soon beating both of them. He showed a precocious aptitude for all games employing logic and strategy. ”

Demis Hassabis
Demis Hassabis

When 13 (in 1989) Demis achieved a FIDE rating of 2300 which, at the time, was the second highest rating for his age.  First highest was Judit Polgar.

Demis was SCCU Under-18 champion in 1989 and was presented with the “old Trophy” according to the SCCU report.

Lawrence Cooper, Demis Hassabis, Cathy Haslinger and Dharshan Kumaran in around 1986. Possibly at a Lloyds Bank event.
Lawrence Cooper, Demis Hassabis, Cathy Haslinger and Dharshan Kumaran in around 1986. Possibly at a Lloyds Bank event.

Demis was a Candidate Master and brother of George Hassapis.

Demis started off with Hampstead Junior Chess Club.

He then played for Barnet Knights, Queens College College Union and Finchley chess clubs.

Demis Hassabis courtesy of Cathy Rogers
Demis Hassabis courtesy of Cathy Rogers

According to Tryfon Gavriel :

Demis wrote a hit computer game called “The theme park”, that was at the top of the charts for six months and sold than more 3.5 million copies. He also did quite well in the 1997 Mind Sports Olympiad.

Demis Hassabis, IMMO KLINK/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
Demis Hassabis, IMMO KLINK/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES

Hassabis returned to academia to obtain his PhD in cognitive neuroscience from University College London (UCL) in 2009 supervised by Eleanor Maguire. He sought to find inspiration in the human brain for new AI algorithms.

Danny Gormally wrote (in March 2014) this :

“Demis Hassapis is a former chess prodigy who recently sold his company to Google for £400 million. Demonstrating that if you have the brainpower to be good at chess, you are far better off putting that intelligence to use in some other activity where you might actually get rewarded. Then in fairness, even most strong chess players aren’t as bright as Demis.”

Demis was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2018

In May 2021 Demis was cited by Dominic Cummings in his evidence to the  Commons Heath, and Science and Technology committees as having played an important contribution  to managing and understanding the PHE and NHS data during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK.

Here are his listed games

Birthday of FM Graham Lee (27-vii-1953)

Birthday of FM Graham David Lee (27-vii-1953)

FM Graham Lee 2282 v WIM Eva Jiretorn 2155 alongside WIM Regina Pokorna 2352 v WIM Christin Anderson 2173.
FM Graham Lee 2282 v WIM Eva Jiretorn 2155 alongside WIM Regina Pokorna 2352 v WIM Christin Anderson 2173.
FM Graham Lee, courtesy of Cathy Rogers
FM Graham Lee, courtesy of Cathy Rogers
Graham Lee (second from right) and a victorious Wood Green team. Trophy presented by Magnus Magnusson
Graham Lee (second from left) and a victorious Wood Green team. Trophy presented by Magnus Magnusson

Death Anniversary of WFM Jessica Gilbert (30-i-1987 26-vii-2007)

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.”

Interesting article by Alexander Barron

Here is Jessie’s entry from Chessgames.com

Here is Jessie’s extensive Wikipedia article.

Birthday of GM Julian Hodgson (25-vii-1963)

We send best wishes to GM Julian Hodgson on his birthday, this day July 25th in 1963.

Julian Michael Hodgson was born in Hammersmith, West London son of (Ronald) George Hodgson and Johanna Hodgson (née Birch).

Julian has claimed to be a descendent of George Jeffreys, 1st Baron Jeffreys and we are looking to establish this claim following further research.

Julian attended St. Paul’s School (See below) and then attended The University of Leicester for one year.

Julian married Lizette and David Norwood was his Best Man.

Julian and Lizette Hodgson
Julian and Lizette Hodgson

(Curiously both Felice and Gaige state Julian was born in Saint Asaph in Wales.)

Julian Hodgson
Julian Hodgson

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

“I think that the first time I saw Julian Hodgson in play was some four years ago in a London tournament. Upon my arrival Leonard Barden told him that he must now be careful how he played as Golombek was watching.

Julian and Nigel Short play Korchnoi in a simul. Leonard Barden observes.
Julian and Nigel Short play Korchnoi in a simul. Leonard Barden observes.

“Who”, enquired the twelve-year old Julian, “is Golombek?”

Neil Carr and Julian Hodgson at the 1976 Lloyds Bank Match by Telex, London - New York. From BCM, volume XCVI (96) Number 11 (August), Page 494. The venue was the Bloomsbury Hotel, London. Photo courtesy of Lloyds Bank.
Neil Carr and Julian Hodgson at the 1976 Lloyds Bank Match by Telex, London – New York. From BCM, volume XCVI (96) Number 11 (August), Page 494. The venue was the Bloomsbury Hotel, London. Photo courtesy of Lloyds Bank.

I felt grateful at the time that he did not say who or what is Golombek but I tell this story chiefly to show the cheerful insouciance with which Master Hodgson treated all comers whether chess masters or chess rabbits.

Julian playing Simon L Triggs. Event and photographer unknown
Julian playing Simon L Triggs. Event and photographer unknown

Julian astonishing maturity as a player has been impressive ever since at the age of ten, he won the Southern Counties Under 14 Championships in 1973. Since then he has acquired a host of such championships culminating in the British Under-21 Championship in 1977.

Streatham & Brixton becoming BCF National Club Champions in 1989. The team was Tony Kosten, Mark Hedben, Daniel King, Nigel Povah (Captain), Joe Gallagher and Julian Hodgson : quite a strong team !
Streatham & Brixton becoming BCF National Club Champions in 1989. The team was Tony Kosten, Mark Hedben, Daniel King, Nigel Povah (Captain), Joe Gallagher and Julian Hodgson : quite a strong team

Perhaps his most remarkable performance so far has been his equal 3rd in a strong challengers section at Hastings where he scored 7.5 out of 10. 1977 was a good year for him and here, from the Lloyds Bank Silver Jubilee Tournament of that year is his fine win over a strong opponent :

Here is his entry (written by Richard W O’Brien) in British Chess (Pergamon Press, 1983, Botterill, Levy, Rice and Richardson) :

“Following a series of excellent results Julian, at the tender age of 11, became the second youngest ever to play in an international tournament when he took part in the London Chess Club International Invitation tournament in September 1974. Only Reshevsky had been younger. Julian’s first opponent was Michael Woodhams, an Australian international who had just scored 15.5/18 in the recent Olympiad (Nice)

The following year he became the youngest player ever to win the London Amateur Championship. A year later he reached a grading of 200 (BCF), only Reshevsky, Pomar, Karpov and Kasparov had done so at an earlier age.

By now he was at St. Paul’s School, which was in the process of becoming one of the strongest chess playing schools in the country. In 1977 he shared first place with WN Watson (also St. Paul’s) in the British U21 Championship. Progress was however not as fast as had at one time been anticipated

It was at Ramsgate, late in 1980 before his first IM norm. A month later he finished second in the Hastings Challenger. Other good results followed in 1981. First he was selected for the Glorney Cup and shortly afterwards did well to come fourteenth in the British Championship (Morecambe). He represented England in the World Youth Team championships scoring 4/6. His second IM norm followed when he shared fifth place at Manchester in the same year. Good results in weekend congresses meant that he finished fourth in the Leigh Grand Prix. The year had finished with Julian needing a draw in the last round at Ramsgate to get his title. He lost and was to wait another 12 months to achieve his final norm.

The England Team from the 1990 Novi Sad Olympiad : John Nunn, Jon Speelman, Julian Hodgson, David Anderton OBE (Captain), Nigel Short, Michael Adams and Murray Chandler
The England Team from the 1990 Novi Sad Olympiad : John Nunn, Jon Speelman, Julian Hodgson, David Anderton OBE (Captain), Nigel Short, Michael Adams and Murray Chandler

When the final norm came it arrived out of the blue. With a score of 2.5/5 at Lewisham in November 1982 the chances seemed remote, 3.5/4 was required against a strong field and it even seemed doubtful whether he could actually play those he needed to play. He scored 2.5/3 and now had to play Jon Tisdall, who still had a chance of winning the tournament.

Julian finished second equal in the tournament behind Jim Plaskett who had beaten him earlier.

Julian Hodgson
Julian Hodgson

The next six weeks saw Julian come equal first in the Pergamon sponsored British Lightning championship, a highly creditable sixth in the Nightflight International at Brighton (equivalent to an IM rating) and second place yet again in the Hastings Challengers.

John Delaney plays Julian Hodgson at the Bath Zonal Tournament in 1987
John Delaney plays Julian Hodgson at the Bath Zonal Tournament in 1987

Earlier in 1983 he scored 6.5/9 at Lugano, probably Europe’s strongest ever Swiss (Swiss !) tournament, losing narrowly to Jan Timman.

Julian Hodgson. Event and photographer unknown.
Julian Hodgson. Event and photographer unknown.

He left Leicester University after just one year preferring to concentrate on chess.

FM Andrew Whiteley, IM Julian Hodgson and FM Byron Jacobs at Cappelle Le Grand, 1988. Photograph by Caroline Winkler
FM Andrew Whiteley, IM Julian Hodgson and FM Byron Jacobs at Cappelle Le Grand, 1988. Photograph by Caroline Winkler

He plays fairly regularly for Streatham & Brixton Chess Club which encouraged juniors for several years. Daniel King is another junior who also played frequently for Streatham. ”

This is what was written about Julian prior to the 1979 Spassky vs the BCF Junior Squad simultaneous display : “St Paul’s and Shepherds Bush. Rating 210. Standard London Amateur Champion at age 12, 1975.

Standard London under-18 champion, 1976. British under-21 co-champion, 1977. Youngest ever to beat two grandmasters in successive games, 1978.”

Julian Hodgson drawn by Rupert van der Linden
Julian Hodgson drawn by Rupert van der Linden

Julian was Southern Counties (SCCU) champion in the 1997-98 season.

Julian has claimed that he is a descended from the (in)famous “hanging judge” Jeffries !

Julian is the in-house chess teacher at Westminster School.

Here is his Wikipedia entry :

GM Julian Hodgson
GM Julian Hodgson

Aside from more formal achievements, he developed a sharp, relentless, attacking style of play and against lesser opponents this frequently resulted in devastating quick wins, earning him the epithet “Grandmaster of Disaster”.

Hans Ree plays Julian Hodgson at the Cannes Team Tournament, 1992
Hans Ree plays Julian Hodgson at the Cannes Team Tournament, 1992

Hodgson’s greatest legacy as a chess player may however lie in his resurrection of an almost forgotten opening system. The Trompowsky Attack (1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5) had floundered in the doldrums for many years, prior to his adoption and development of the opening. In interviews, he reveals that this was born out of laziness and a reluctance to learn established chess opening theory. It soon became his weapon of choice with the white pieces, leading to a surprising popularisation of the system, the spawning of a whole generation of devotees and ironically, a number of theoretical guides, containing a high quota of Hodgson’s own games and analysis. Indeed, his expert treatment of the system once prompted fellow grandmaster Joe Gallagher to write that it should be renamed the Hodgson–Trompowsky Attack, a view shared by many other masters. A chess journalist once wrote that Hodgson put the ‘romp’ into Trompowsky.

A related, but more obscure version of the system (1.d4 d5 2.Bg5), has been dubbed by some the Hodgson Attack and by others the Pseudo-Trompowsky or Queen’s Bishop Attack.

and

Julian, Dominic Lawson and Matthew Sadler
Julian, Dominic Lawson and Matthew Sadler
Chess Traveller's Quiz Book, Julian Hodgson, Cadogan Press, 1996, ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1857440300
Chess Traveller’s Quiz Book, Julian Hodgson, Cadogan Press, 1996, ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1857440300
Attack with Julian Hodgson, Book No.1
Attack with Julian Hodgson, Book No.1
Attack with Julian Hodgson, Book No.2
Attack with Julian Hodgson, Book No.2
Quick Chess Knockouts
Quick Chess Knockouts
Julian Hodgson drawn by Rupert van der Linden
Julian Hodgson drawn by Rupert van der Linden

Birthday of FM Marcus Harvey (24-vii-1996)

BCN wishes Happy Birthday to FM Marcus Ross Harvey born on this day (Wednesday, July 24th) in 1996. Killing Me Softly by the Fugees was top of the hit parade.

Marcus was born in Oxford and attended The Marlborough School, Woodstock, Oxfordshire and then (in 2014) at The University of Southampton he studied mathematics.

Originally playing for Bicester Marcus now represents Witney Chess Club in local leagues.

Marcus first played in the British Championship in 2011 (Sheffield).

Marcus Harvey at the 2013 King's Place Rapidplay, courtesy of John Upham Photography
Marcus Harvey at the 2013 King’s Place Rapidplay, courtesy of John Upham Photography

Originally playing for Oxford he now plays for Wood Green in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL) and Southampton University in the Southampton League.

Marcus playing IM Yang-Fan Zhou at the 2013 Delancey UKCC Terafinal at Loughborough Grammar School. Courtesy of John Upham Photography.
Marcus playing IM Yang-Fan Zhou at the 2013 Delancey UKCC Terafinal at Loughborough Grammar School. Courtesy of John Upham Photography.

In 2014 Marcus won the title of “Strat” (the overall Terafinal winner) of the 2014 Delancey UK Chess Challenge at Loughborough Grammar School.

Marcus Harvey at the 2013 Delancey UKCC Terafinal at Loughborough Grammar School, courtesy of John Upham Photography.
Marcus Harvey at the 2013 Delancey UKCC Terafinal at Loughborough Grammar School, courtesy of John Upham Photography.

Marcus has a FIDE rating of 2440 and an ECF grading of 240.

2014 Delancey UKCC Terafinal winner, Marcus Harvey at Loughborough Grammar School. Courtesy of John Upham Photography
2014 Delancey UKCC Terafinal winner, Marcus Harvey at Loughborough Grammar School. Courtesy of John Upham Photography

In 2018 he won the Witney Open outright with 4/5 and, in the same year, was runner-up to David Howell in the UK Blitz Open with 12.5/15 and a of 2589.

In 2019 he was =1st (with Mark Hebden) in the 4NCL Easter Open in Stevenage. Later that year Marcus was losing semi-finalist (to Gawain Jones) in the London Classic Blitz Knockout.

Marcus, on home ground, won the 43rd Kidlington Open in 2020 and followed this with and is the current 2020 English Online Blitz Champion beating IM Andrew Greet, FM Jonah Willow, IM Ameet Ghasi and IM Andrew Horton in the final.

In the Pro chess league he represents UK Lions.

Marcus Harvey's FIDE rating profile according to Megabase 2020
Marcus Harvey’s FIDE rating profile according to Megabase 2020

On 6th November 2019 we reported that Marcus had obtained his second International Master norm at the recent (October 2019) Hull 4NCL International Congress by scoring 4.5/9 with wins over IM Andrew Greet and IM Richard Palliser.

On July 17th 2021 Marcus was joint winner with IM Peter Roberson in the 1st Chessfest Decode Rapidplay with an impressive 6/6 and a TPR of 2911.

Marcus overcame Rory McLean, Theo Koury, Steven Coles, FM Alexis Harakis, CM Jonathan Pein and rapidplay / blitz specialist IM Ameet Ghasi to share first place.

Marcus enjoys playing the Smyslov-Larsen opening with white

and the classical French and the Nimzo-Indian Defence.

It is clear that Marcus is now easily of IM strength and surely is a strong candidate for England’s next Grandmaster.

FM Marcus Ross Harvey
FM Marcus Ross Harvey

Birthday of GM Anthony Kosten (24-vii-1958)

Birthday of GM Anthony Cornelis Kosten (24-vii-1958)

Tony was born in North Eastern Surrey, and eventually relocated to France where he now resides.

Tony is married to Gyongyver Kosten-Forintos, the daughter of Hungarian Grandmaster Győző Forintos.

Streatham & Brixton becoming BCF National Club Champions in 1989. The team was Tony Kosten, Mark Hedben, Daniel King, Nigel Povah (Captain), Joe Gallagher and Julian Hodgson : quite a strong team !
Streatham & Brixton becoming BCF National Club Champions in 1989. The team was Tony Kosten, Mark Hedben, Daniel King, Nigel Povah (Captain), Joe Gallagher and Julian Hodgson : quite a strong team

Here is his Wikipedia entry

Tony played for Lower Earley and played in the Berkshire League and for Streatham & Brixton in the National Club competition.

He was =3rd in the 1982 British Championship in Torquay (won by Tony Miles)

He was =2nd in the 1984 Robert Silk Young Masters.

He won the Berkshire Chess Association Quickplay title in 1985.

Tony was runner-up to Yuri Balashov at Minsk 1986.

He won Naujac 2000 with 7.5/9

Tony won many other events : See his Wikipedia entry for details.

Tony Kosten (fourth from left) at a NatWest Bank sponsored event
Tony Kosten (fourth from left) at a NatWest Bank sponsored event

Tony is the founder of chesspublishing.com, a subscription based web site specialising in cutting edge opening theory with many contributors.

He plays for Guildford in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL) is registered as a member of the French federation. He also plays for Schott Mainz in the German Team Championship.

According to Megabase 2020 his highest FIDE rating was 2551 in July 2002 at the age of 44.

With the white pieces Tony prefers the Ruy Lopez and Giuoco Piano with the English coming a close second.

With black Tony defends the Lopez and the Nimzo-Indian defence.

Tony Kosten
Tony Kosten
Winning Endgames, Crowood, 1987
Winning Endgames, Crowood, 1987
Winning with the Philidor, Batsford, 1992
Winning with the Philidor, Batsford, 1992
101 Tips to Improve your Chess, Batsford, 1996
101 Tips to Improve your Chess, Batsford, 1996
The Dynamic English, Gambit, 1999
The Dynamic English, Gambit, 1999

Death Anniversary of Sir George Thomas, 7th Baronet (14-vi-1881 23-vii-1972)

Death Anniversary of Sir George Alan Thomas, 7th Baronet (14-vi-1881 23-vii-1972)

Signature of GA Thomas from a Brian Reilly "after dinner" postcard from Hastings Christmas Congress, 1945-1946
Signature of GA Thomas from a Brian Reilly “after dinner” postcard from Hastings Christmas Congress, 1945-1946

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

“British international master, born in Constantinople (previously Byzantium and currently Istanbul : Ed.) His mother (Lady Edith Margaret Thomas : Ed) was one of the strongest English women players, winner of the first Ladies tournament at Hastings 1895.

(Ed : his father was Sir George Sydney Meade Thomas)

Thomas was an all-round athlete who excelled at tennis, hockey and badminton as well as chess. He captained the English badminton team and was All England Badminton Singles champion from 1920 to 1923.”

Sir George Alan Thomas : "During his playing career, he won 78 national titles in the United Kingdom and a further 12 French titles; he also competed in 29 out of 30 English internationals, winning 50 matches in the process."
Sir George Alan Thomas : “During his playing career, he won 78 national titles in the United Kingdom and a further 12 French titles; he also competed in 29 out of 30 English internationals, winning 50 matches in the process.”

Here is an excellent article (albeit stating GT was a Grandmaster and was president of the British Chest Federation!) from the National Badminton Museum.

“Thomas won the British chess championship twice, in 1923 and 1934 and represented England in the Olympiads of 1927 where he tied with Norman Hansen for the best score – 80% on board 3, 1930, 1931, 1935, 1937 and 1939.

Passenger list from RMS Alacantra showing Sir George Thomas arriving at Buenos Aires on September 19th, 1939
Passenger list from RMS Alacantra showing Sir George Thomas arriving at Buenos Aires on September 19th, 1939
Entry for Sir George Thomas from above image.
Entry for Sir George Thomas from above image.

In international tournaments his greatest successes were 1st at Spa (ahead of Tartakower) and =1st at Hastings 1934/5 (tied with Euwe and Flohr, ahead of Capablanca and Botvinnik).

Sir George Thomas, British Chess Champion, Southsea Congress, 1923 Photograph by Gilbert N Fulcher, Southsea
Sir George Thomas, British Chess Champion, Southsea Congress, 1923 Photograph by Gilbert N Fulcher, Southsea

He was known for his keen sense of sportsmanship and for his ability to encourage and inspire younger players. He served for many years on the BCF Junior selection committee and was for a time Games Editor of the British Chess Magazine. FIDE awarded him the titles of international master (1950) and International Judge (1952). (article by Ray Keene)”

British chess champion Sir George Thomas playing at the Annual British Chess Federation Championship in Yarmouth, England, July 11th 1935. (Photo by Harry Todd/Fox Photos/Getty Images)
British chess champion Sir George Thomas playing at the Annual British Chess Federation Championship in Yarmouth, England, July 11th 1935. (Photo by Harry Todd/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Thomas with the White pieces was predominantly a Ruy Lopez devotee.

With the Black pieces against 1.e4 he defended the Lopez and the Queen’s Gambit Declined was his favourite versus 1.d4

From The Encyclopedia of Chess (Robert Hale 1972 and 1976) by Anne Sunnucks :

“International Master (1950), International Judge (1952) and British Champion in 1923 and 1934. All England Badminton Singles Champion, All England Badminton Doubles Champion, Wimbledon tennis player and county hockey player.

Sir George Thomas was born in Constantinople on 14th June 1881. His mother, Lady Thomas, won the first ever ladies’ tournament, which was held in conjunction with the Hastings International Chess Tournament of 1895.

He learned the moves at the age of 4, and as a boy met many of the world’s leading players, including Steinitz, Lasker, Tchigorin and Pillsbury, in his mother’s drawing-room.

Apart from serving as a subaltern in the Army during the 1914-1918 war, Sir George has devoted his life to sport. He played tennis at Wimbledon, played hockey for Hampshire, captained the English Badminton team and was All England Badminton Singles Champion from 1920-1923 and doubles champion nine times.

Sir George Thomas And Brian Reilly Sir George Thomas (left), leader of the British chess team, playing Irishman Brian Reilly at the Easter Chess Congress, Margate, April 24th 1935. (Photo by Harry Todd/Fox Photos/Getty Images)
Sir George Thomas And Brian Reilly
Sir George Thomas (left), leader of the British chess team, playing Irishman Brian Reilly at the Easter Chess Congress, Margate, April 24th 1935. (Photo by Harry Todd/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Sir George played chess for England regularly from 1910 to 1939. He played for the British Chess Federation in the Chess Olympiads of 1927,1930, 1931, 1933, 1935, 1937 and 1939, and captained the team which withdrew from the Buenos Aires Olympiad in 1939 on the out-break of war.

A Brian Reilly "after dinner" postcard from Margate 1936.
A Brian Reilly “after dinner” postcard from Margate 1936.
The Grand Hotel, Cliftonville, Margate. Venue for the Margate tournaments.
The Grand Hotel, Cliftonville, Margate. Venue for the Margate tournaments.

His first appearance in the British Championship was in he came 2nd. He also came 2nd in 192l and in 1923 won the first time, thus becoming British Chess Champion and
Badminton Champion in the same year. Sir George’s best performance was at Hastings 1934-1935, when he came =1st. In the last round he needed only a draw against R. P. Michell to come lst, ahead of Euwe, Capablanca, Flohr and Lilienthal, but he lost and had to be content with sharing lst prize with Euwe and Flohr.

Nice Masters, 1931. Standing : Daniel Noteboom, Abraham Baratz, George Renaud (Organiser), John J O'Hanlon, Marcel Duchamp, Brian Reilly (winner), Seated : Eugene Znokso-Borovsky,, Arpad Vajda, Sir George Thomas, Jacques Mieses, Stefano Roselli del Turco, Jacob Adolf Seitz. British Chess Magazine, 1931, page 201
Nice Masters, 1931. Standing : Daniel Noteboom, Abraham Baratz, George Renaud (Organiser), John J O’Hanlon, Marcel Duchamp, Brian Reilly (winner), Seated : Eugene Znokso-Borovsky,, Arpad Vajda, Sir George Thomas, Jacques Mieses, Stefano Roselli del Turco, Jacob Adolf Seitz. British Chess Magazine, 1931, page 201

During his career he has beaten Botvinnik, Flohr and and drawn with Nimzowitsch, Rubinstein and Capablanca. He been noted for his sportsmanship and for his interest in and encouragement of young players.

Partie d'échecs Sir Georges Thomas, le célèbre joueur d'échecs britannique, jouant contre sa plus jeune adversaire âgée de 8 ans, à Londres, Royaume-Uni le 24 octobre 1934. (Photo by Keystone-FranceGamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Partie d’échecs
Sir Georges Thomas, le célèbre joueur d’échecs britannique, jouant contre sa plus jeune adversaire âgée de 8 ans, à Londres, Royaume-Uni le 24 octobre 1934. (Photo by Keystone-FranceGamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Since his retirement until the last few years, Sir George continued to attend tournaments as a spectator.

He is the author of The Art of Badminton, published in 1923.

The Art of Badminton
The Art of Badminton

He died on 23rd July 1972 in a London nursing home.”

Here is Part II of GM Matthew Sadler’s appreciation of Sir George.

Most interestingly we have this this splendid article from Neil Blackburn (SimaginFan) on chess.com

Here is his Wikipedia entry

Sir George Alan Thomas (14-vi-1881 23-vii-1972)
Sir George Alan Thomas (14-vi-1881 23-vii-1972)

and here is Part III of Matthew Sadler’s article

Sir George Alan Thomas
Sir George Alan Thomas

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

“English player. International Master (1950), International Arbiter (1952), British champion 1923 and 1934. His mother, who taught him chess, was winner of one of the first women’s tournaments, Hastings 1895, He played in more than 80 tournaments and achieved his best result at Hastings 1934-5 (about category 9), when he scored +6-1—2 to share first prize with Euwe and Flohr ahead of Botvinnik and Capablanca. Thomas played in seven Olympiads from 1927 to 1939, and in the first the highest percentage score was made by him ( + 9=6) and the Dane Holgar Norman-Hansen (1899- ) (+11=2—2). A leading English player for more than 25 years, Thomas fought many battles at the famous City of London club, winning 16 of the annual championships from 1913-14 to 1938-9. In his sixty-ninth year he gave up competitive chess when, after a hard game, ‘the board and men began to swim before my eyes,’ He continued his active interest in junior events and his visits, now as a spectator, to chess events.

A man of few words, imperturbable, of fine manners. Sir George Thomas was respected throughout the chess world for his sportsmanship and impartiality, and his opinion was often sought when disputes arose between players. The inheritor of both a baronetcy and private means, he
devoted his life to games and sports. Besides his chess he was a keen hockey player, a competitor in international lawn tennis (reaching the last eight at Wimbledon on one occasion), and winner of about 90 badminton titles, notably the All-England men’s singles championship which he won four times, from 1920 to 1923.”

Birthday of IM Nigel Povah (17-vii-1952)

BCN wishes IM Nigel Edward Povah all the best on his birthday, July 17th in 1952.

Nigel Povah, from Knightmare, Volume 2 (1976-77) drawn by Chris Jones.
Nigel Povah, from Knightmare, Volume 2 (1976-77) drawn by Chris Jones.

Nigel was born in Wandsworth, London.

He became a FIDE Master in 1980, an International Master in 1983 and an International Correspondence Master in 1983. He became England’s 7th ICCF GM in 1989. His predecessors were :

210048 Markland, Peter Richard ENG GM 1984
210060 Penrose, Dr. Jonathan ENG GM 1983
210178 Webb, Simon ENG GM 1983
210011 Clarke, Peter Hugh ENG GM 1980
210029 Hollis, Adrian Swayne ENG GM 1976
210062 Richardson, Keith Bevin ENG GM 1975

Nigel has been Southern Counties (SCCU) champion for the 1974-75 and 1975-76 seasons.

Nigel Povah, circa 1979
Nigel Povah, circa 1979

Nigel has played for Streatham & Brixton Club (see the Andrew Martin video below) and was part of this very strong London club which developed many original opening ideas.

Nigel was a strong opening theoretician and developed ideas in the Sicilian Lasker-Pelikan, Sveshnikov and English Openings amongst others.

Knightmare magazines are a valuable source of information about the club and it’s members.

Below we have the game Berg-Povah, Wijk aan Zee, 1979 annotated by Streatham & Brixton team mate, IM Andrew Martin :

Nigel continues to play for Guildford in the Surrey League and in the Surrey Border League as well as Guildford in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL).

Nigel started the highly successful 4NCL teams sponsored by his company Guildford A&DC (Assessment & Development Consultants) and the 4NCL team(s) are now run by Roger Emerson and Julien Shepley having taken a back seat since June 2017.

His peak rating was 2385 in January 1980 aged 28.

Nigel is married to Gill and has a daughter Lucy and a son, Jonathan.

In recent times Nigel has been playing more nationally and internationally and and has become a specialist in the Accelerated London System (with 2.Lf4) and is a regular on the International veterans circuit.

Here is an article written by Richard W. O’Brien from British Chess, Pergamon Press, 1983 :

“Nigel Povah was for the majority of the seventies a chess professional. He mixed playing with teaching in various schools and also coached individuals. He is a BCF qualified coach. Danny King (our second youngest international master) and the late Ian Wells were two who clearly benefited from his teachings.

On the playing front he won numerous congresses including Hammersmith 1970, Paignton 1974, LARA 1974, Evening Standard 1974, LARA(again) 1978 and Charlton 1979. In 1975 he won the SCCU Championship and again in 1976. He first played in international tournaments in 1973 when as one of the weaker players in the tournament he produced excellent annotations for the bulletin, even for the games he lost. These were the first signs of becoming a chess writer. To date he has shared first place in four international tournaments Robert Silk 1976, Malta 1976, Malta(again) 1979 and Wijk aan Zee Master Reserves 1979. It can be seen that 1979 was a good year. He also shared 4th place in the British Championship and represented
England at senior level against Denmark in the same year.

His road to the lM title has been long and hard. On several occasions he got close to the norm requirement just to fail. At Lloyds Bank in 1978 and 1980 and Lewisham 1981 he got the necessary three norms. Had he then ceased playing (with an Elo of 23751 he would automatically have had the lM title confirmed at Lucerne in 1982. He however continued playing and became the victim of some complicated and, with respect, unfair FIDE regulations, and his title was delayed until 1983. Clearly had the General Assembly met between January 1982 and June 1982 he would have been awarded the title at least a year earlier!

He has written several books-Chess Training published by Faber, English:Four Knights Batsford, How to Play the English Batsford and was co-author of Sicilian: Lasker-Pelikan Batsford. These last three Batsford publications indicate his interest in current theory. Two of the games which follow- v Berg (see 16…Rb8) and v Speelman (see 12 NgS)certainly confirm this. The Streatham and Brixton club owe much to Nigel Povah in becoming one of the strongest clubs in the country. At one time an average second division side (London league) they have since won the league and been in contention more than once. For several years he was one of the main three organisers at the club and even today still continues to play for them and is currently their National Club match-captain although he now lives some twenty miles away in Guildford.

In 1979 he organised the First Regency International at Ramsgate. In conjunction with Ian Josephs (sponsor) and Bob Wade (controller) this has become a highly successful annual event.

Now married, his wife Gill presented him with a daughter Lucy shortly after the completion of the Regency International in 1982.

He now works for ICL as training consultant and limits his over the board chess to club chess for Streatham.

He has recently taken up postal chess and in 1983 after competing in the BPCF Jubilee he became a correspondence International Master.

He has a BSc in Psychology and an MSc in Occupational Psychology.”

Streatham & Brixton becoming BCF National Club Champions in 1989. The team was Tony Kosten, Mark Hedben, Daniel King, Nigel Povah (Captain), Joe Gallagher and Julian Hodgson : quite a strong team !
Streatham & Brixton becoming BCF National Club Champions in 1989. The team was Tony Kosten, Mark Hedben, Daniel King, Nigel Povah (Captain), Joe Gallagher and Julian Hodgson : quite a strong team

According to Chess Training : “Two of his pupils were members of England’s victorious 4-man team in the World Under-16 team event.”

Here is his Wikipedia entry :

Sicilian Lasker-Pelikan
Sicilian Lasker-Pelikan
Chess Training : Nigel Povah
Chess Training : Nigel Povah
English : Four Knights
English : Four Knights
How to play the English Opening
How to play the English Opening
Assessment Centres and Global Talent Management
Assessment Centres and Global Talent Management
IM Nigel Povah, courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Nigel Povah, courtesy of John Upham Photography