Whatever happened to R. Chernikeeff?

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John Saunders
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Re: Whatever happened to R. Chernikeeff?

Postby John Saunders » Thu Jan 14, 2016 5:06 pm

Yes, Harold Talbot Reeve is right - this is confirmed by Jeremy Gaige's booklet on the Varsity matches. I already had the full name in my notes but my (Varsity) right hand doesn't always know what my (British Championship) left hand is doing (and vice versa)!

Reeve played in four Varsity matches, two of them on board one. In 1930 he was the man who won his Cantab opponent's queen on move 11. Coincidentally, the same disaster had befallen the Cantab board one the previous year, when Gerald Abrahams had also won Milner-Barry's queen. Both ill-fated consorts had occupied the same square - g3. The 1929 cheapo had been a fork, that of 1930 a pin. Alexander told the story in Chess Treasury of the Air and I mentioned it in a CHESS article some time ago.

Alexander, Chess Treasury of the Air, Penguin, 1966, p232 wrote:"In two successive years the Cambridge top board lost his queen in the opening, on the same square, g3. In [1929], Milner-Barry with his Q on g3 played 0-0; and about one second later a shattering bang announced the fact that the exuberant Abrahams had played Ne2+; and in [1930], RL Mitchell (no doubt remembering this disastrous castling) played f2-f4 when his queen was on g3; whereupon Black played Bh4 pinning the queen on the king."


[Event "Varsity Oxford-Cambridge"]
[Site "City of London CC"]
[Date "1929.03.23"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Milner-Barry, P Stuart"]
[Black "Abrahams, Gerald"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C29"]
[PlyCount "34"]
[EventDate "1929.03.23"]
[EventType "team"]
[EventRounds "1"]
[EventCountry "ENG"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. f4 d5 4. fxe5 Nxe4 5. Qf3 Nc6 6. Nxe4 Nd4 7. Qc3 dxe4 8.
Ne2 Nc6 9. Ng3 Bb4 10. Qe3 O-O 11. c3 Ba5 12. Nxe4 Re8 13. d4 Nxd4 14. Bd3 Rxe5
15. Qg3 Rxe4+ 16. Bxe4 Qe7 17. O-O Ne2+ 0-1

[Event "Varsity Oxford-Cambridge"]
[Site "City of London CC"]
[Date "1930.03.22"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Mitchell, Ronald Langley"]
[Black "Reeve, Harold Talbot"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B02"]
[PlyCount "22"]
[EventDate "1930.03.22"]
[EventType "team"]
[EventRounds "1"]
[EventCountry "ENG"]

1. e4 Nf6 2. Nc3 d5 3. exd5 Nxd5 4. Qf3 e6 5. Bc4 Nb6 6. Bb3 c5 7. d3 Nc6 8.
Nge2 Be7 9. Ne4 O-O 10. Qg3 Kh8 11. f4 Bh4 0-1

Reeve-Jackson, 1931, was played in round 8 (source: Manchester Guardian). I have updated the BritBase with all the data provided here, many thanks to Richard and Brian.
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Brian Denman
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Re: Whatever happened to R. Chernikeeff?

Postby Brian Denman » Fri Jan 15, 2016 4:02 pm

Thanks for the information about the Reeve v Jackson game, John. If the Jackson v Cross game ever comes to light it will be in round 7.

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Gerard Killoran
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Re: Whatever happened to R. Chernikeeff?

Postby Gerard Killoran » Sat Jan 16, 2016 5:47 pm

Richard James wrote:A possible - and rather tragic - biography for H T Reeve:

Harold Talbot Reeve, born in 1908 (birth registered Q3 in Hendon), living in Willesden in 1911, the son of a cashier (1911 census)/bookkeeper (HTR's probate record), lived in Isleworth, just up the road from me. Was a lecturer in Borough Road College (in Isleworth), then went into academic administration, holding posts in Warwickshire and the West Riding of Yorkshire before becoming Assistant Director of Education for the Isle of Wight. He was found burnt to death in his lodgings in Newport IOW in February 1941 (the press gave his age as 34 which seems incorrect: he was actually 32), having apparently fainted and fallen onto the fire.


Sad though this story certainly is, I can't help but be reminded of one of Harry Graham's Ruthless Rhymes:

Billy, in one of his nice new sashes,
Fell in the fire and was burnt to ashes;
Now, although the room grows chilly,
I haven’t the heart to poke poor Billy.

Graham, Harry (as “Col. D. Streamer”). Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes. New York: R. H. Russell 1901

Steven Chernikeeff
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Re: Whatever happened to R. Chernikeeff?

Postby Steven Chernikeeff » Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:06 am

Gerard Killoran wrote:He seems to be our man. I'd guess that he gave up chess, as the war, marriage - in 1940 - and his 'business' activities would have kept him fully occupied.


My father (Rostislav Chernikeeff) died in 2009 aged 92 and I have no idea why he stopped playing Chess. He did tell me he was a 'Junior Chess champion' but that looks like a very long stretch of the imagination. :)

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David Shepherd
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Re: Whatever happened to R. Chernikeeff?

Postby David Shepherd » Tue Apr 04, 2017 1:34 pm

Steven, sorry to disagree but the fact that he was playing in a section of the British Championships, playing good chess against adults and having games published in the press suggests to me that it is in fact no stretch of the imagination to suggests that he was a "Junior Chess champion", the very fact that the question that started the thread was asked over eighty years after the game was played should give you some indication that it is likely to be true.

I suspect you looked at the link and saw that he was in one of the lower section. However each section is relatively small and there are many famous names in the tournament, also he was still relatively young when the tournament was played. I am not a chess historian but as I say to me it is no stretch of the imagination to suggest that he would have been winning junior tournaments.


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