Mystery Scot Champion

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James Plaskett
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Mystery Scot Champion

Post by James Plaskett » Wed Nov 30, 2016 6:54 pm

Does anyone have an explanation for how a Scottish guy from Elgin won the 1946 British Championship in Nottingham?
Robert Combe won a 12 player all play all, ahead of C H O´D Alexander, Abrahams, Milner-Barry, Winter, Golombek and Wade.
Wade actually finishing last!

And then he disappeared into the ethers. :shock:

Who the heck was this guy?
How the heck did he pull it off?

I´ve heard he was a solicitor who studied GM games of an evening.

Anybody have more info, please?? :wink:
Last edited by James Plaskett on Wed Nov 30, 2016 8:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Barry Sandercock
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Re: Mystery Scot Champion

Post by Barry Sandercock » Wed Nov 30, 2016 7:08 pm

Yes. He won the British in 1946. If you google Robert Combe chess, you will get some information on him.

James Plaskett
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Re: Mystery Scot Champion

Post by James Plaskett » Wed Nov 30, 2016 7:17 pm

Astonishing result!

btw, I see that in Winter´s Wikipedia entry they write he was the only ex-British chess champion to have served time in jail.

But, if they ever collar Brian Eley...

Brian Towers
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Re: Mystery Scot Champion

Post by Brian Towers » Wed Nov 30, 2016 11:52 pm

James Plaskett wrote:Does anyone have an explanation for how a Scottish guy from Elgin won the 1946 British Championship in Nottingham?
Robert Combe won a 12 player all play all, ahead of C H O´D Alexander, Abrahams, Milner-Barry, Winter, Golombek and Wade.
Wade actually finishing last!

And then he disappeared into the ethers. :shock:

Who the heck was this guy?
Obviously a Russian mole sent to spy on the cream of British intelligence who then blew his cover by beating them all.
Ah, but I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now.

Geoff Chandler
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Re: Mystery Scot Champion

Post by Geoff Chandler » Thu Dec 01, 2016 12:45 am

Alas he also holds the record for the shortest ever loss in an Olympiad.

Robert Forbes Combe vs Wolfgang R Hasenfuss Folkestone (1933)



White resigned. Apparently he was knackered from analysing an adjourned game.

He should have played on for a few more moves to escape the record books.
I also have also seen games where White won after losing the piece

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Mystery Scot Champion

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Dec 01, 2016 1:20 am

James Plaskett wrote:Does anyone have an explanation for how a Scottish guy from Elgin won the 1946 British Championship in Nottingham?
Perhaps the opposition weren't as good as their reputations. He could have had a less stressful war than some of his opponents.

A year later, another wild card player finished third

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_Crown

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Mystery Scot Champion

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Thu Dec 01, 2016 2:50 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
James Plaskett wrote:Does anyone have an explanation for how a Scottish guy from Elgin won the 1946 British Championship in Nottingham?
Perhaps the opposition weren't as good as their reputations. He could have had a less stressful war than some of his opponents.

A year later, another wild card player finished third

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_Crown
Following the footnotes on the wikipedia entry on Combe took me to this page http://www.chessscotland.com/history/bi ... /combe.htm which gives the cross table of the 1946 British. Interesting G Wood, who came second, is not exceptionally well known either. It's possible that Golombek, Alexander et al were out of practice having had to devote their energies elsewhere in the preceding year.

The biography suggests it was a combination of professional commitments and ill health (he was only 39 when he died) that prevented Combe from playing more frequently although the war years must have cost him opportunities as well. In that respect he could possibly be seen as a lost talent similar to Gordon Crown.
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Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Mystery Scot Champion

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Thu Dec 01, 2016 8:41 am

"Robert Forbes Combe vs Wolfgang R Hasenfuss Folkestone (1933)"

In those days, adjourned games were played the next morning (I think) and he had a game lasting well over 100 moves, so when he turned up for the afternoon round, he was a bit shattered...

Mike Gunn
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Re: Mystery Scot Champion

Post by Mike Gunn » Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:14 am

I asked exactly the same question of David Pritchard (of chess variants fame) a number of years ago, I.e. Who was this guy Combe? I had bought a copy of the tournament book in a 2nd hand shop and noticed that either David was playing or helped with the production of the tournament book. He said: we didn't have a clue who he was - he just turned up and won
...

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Mystery Scot Champion

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:41 am

Mike Gunn wrote:I asked exactly the same question of David Pritchard (of chess variants fame) a number of years ago, I.e. Who was this guy Combe?
Here's his game against one of the better known players of that era.



In a position more or less equal, Alexander walked into a tactical trick 20 Rxd6 which according to a brief engine analysis, he could easily have avoided .



Usually it's juniors who appear from nowhere and win tournaments. The surprise value is that no one is familiar with the style of play.

NickFaulks
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Re: Mystery Scot Champion

Post by NickFaulks » Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:42 am

Mike Gunn wrote: He said: we didn't have a clue who he was - he just turned up and won
...
We can only imagine what the ACP would say if he did that today.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Mystery Scot Champion

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Thu Dec 01, 2016 1:48 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:"Robert Forbes Combe vs Wolfgang R Hasenfuss Folkestone (1933)"

In those days, adjourned games were played the next morning (I think) and he had a game lasting well over 100 moves, so when he turned up for the afternoon round, he was a bit shattered...
His reported comment afterwards - "the positional layout was perfect, it was just spoiled by a tactical circumstance".

I suppose that is one way of putting it :D
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

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Joey Stewart
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Re: Mystery Scot Champion

Post by Joey Stewart » Thu Dec 01, 2016 10:25 pm

Matt Mackenzie wrote:
His reported comment afterwards - "the positional layout was perfect, it was just spoiled by a tactical circumstance".

I suppose that is one way of putting it :D
That would make a great quote for a book on the french.
Lose one queen and it is a disaster, Lose 1000 queens and it is just a statistic.

James Plaskett
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Re: Mystery Scot Champion

Post by James Plaskett » Thu Dec 22, 2016 12:32 am

A photo of an almost uniquely dapper R.G.Wade accompanying the above report of Combe...

Interesting also to hear thoughts on how the men of Blechley may have lost touch with the game somewhat...

I guess the simplest explanation is that, you know, "once in a blue moon..."

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