'The Famous Eccles'

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JustinHorton
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Re: 'The Famous Eccles'

Post by JustinHorton » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:00 pm

Geoff Chandler wrote: the 'Moscow Variation' by Leonard Pickett, pub 1977.

https://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/Book ... 2BL%2BM%2B
Moscow?
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"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

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Richard Bates
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Re: 'The Famous Eccles'

Post by Richard Bates » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:24 pm

JustinHorton wrote:
Geoff Chandler wrote: the 'Moscow Variation' by Leonard Pickett, pub 1977.

https://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/Book ... 2BL%2BM%2B
Moscow?
Presumably in his haste, Geoff has included the wrong link.

https://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/Book ... ortby%3D17

Geoff Chandler
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Re: 'The Famous Eccles'

Post by Geoff Chandler » Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:23 pm

Thanks Richard, and correct I googled L.Picket + Chess book and images.
This was the first one I saw. The covers are very similar.

This thread is turning into a Goon Show. It will soon become more famous that 'the famous Eccles.'

Here is my own copy of the book.

Image

Page 18. right hand column, note after 18.B-B4! (OEN) in the Hasin (sic) - Kilevit game
played in Moscow 1974. 'The famous Eccles'.

I'm going through it looking for other Goon Show characters or sentences that may have been buggered up.

It may have intended to read something like: "The famous Eccles player 'Dick Brown' says this is the greatest move of all time."
(it's not and don't go looking for a Dick Brown on the ECF grading list. I've pulled that name from thin air.)

Roger de Coverly
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Re: 'The Famous Eccles'

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:30 pm

Geoff Chandler wrote: Page 18. right hand column, note after 18.B-B4! (OEN) in the Hasin (sic) - Kilevit game
played in Moscow 1974. 'The famous Eccles'.
It's a position where both Queens are left en prise for a move or two, but cannot be taken because of mates.
What relationship this has to the town near Manchester, the cake named after it or one of the better known Goon characters is unclear.

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JustinHorton
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Re: 'The Famous Eccles'

Post by JustinHorton » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:25 pm

I'm not doing very well in finding out much information about Mr Pickett. I guess he may well be no longer available for enquiries, though presumably some forum readers could tell us about him.
Last edited by JustinHorton on Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 'The Famous Eccles'

Post by Geoff Chandler » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:30 pm

I fear Len Picket may have passed away.

Found this on here:

George Szaszvari wrote Thu Oct 21, 2010.


http://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php ... 120#p42216

"Yes, the affable Norman Oliver, famous for enjoying a few pints, was part of a most interesting group
of friendly and garrulous Lewisham chessplayers that included Tony Swift and Len Pickett. These three
often collaborated on openings research, much of it pretty good considering they were amateur club
players, which Tony Gillam published in Nottingham. Their famous work on the DERLD (delayed exchange
ruy lopez deferred) was special... e.g., I was at a London weekend swiss tournament in which IGM
Pachman was totally crushed on the black side by someone simply following analysis published in the
DERLD book, and recall a quote that the GM, a famous openings theoretician himself, vowed never to
play 1...e5 in reply to 1.e4 again... at least against an English player!

It is an odd feeling to find all these old friends kicking the bucket in the last few years, but I guess
that we'll all be meeting up again sooner or later in another realm..."

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JustinHorton
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Re: 'The Famous Eccles'

Post by JustinHorton » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:36 pm

Geoff Chandler wrote:I fear Len Picket may have passed away.

Found this on here:

George Szaszvari wrote Thu Oct 21, 2010.


http://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php ... 120#p42216

"Yes, the affable Norman Oliver, famous for enjoying a few pints, was part of a most interesting group
of friendly and garrulous Lewisham chessplayers that included Tony Swift and Len Pickett. These three
often collaborated on openings research, much of it pretty good considering they were amateur club
players, which Tony Gillam published in Nottingham. Their famous work on the DERLD (delayed exchange
ruy lopez deferred) was special...
Pretty sure I remember seeing that.

If this literary mystery can't be solved, here's another: I'm thinking we'll never know what beginner's book Len Deighton was working from when writing one of the most celebrated of spy novels.
"Do you play chess?"
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: 'The Famous Eccles'

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:39 pm

JustinHorton wrote:I'm not deing very well in finding out much information about Mr Pickett.
He was a Lewisham player. If you Google for "Len Pickett Lewisham", he's mentioned on this forum in a thread about the London YMCA club.

As a author, he was perhaps best known for a book on the Delayed Exchange Ruy Lopez. That's a system where you don't take immediately on move 4, but retreat to a4, only to take on about move 6.

Here's his grading profile showing that he last played towards the end of the 1990s.
http://ecfgrading.org.uk/new/menu.php?f ... de=117115L

At his best, he was 190 to 200 rather than in the 170s.

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Re: 'The Famous Eccles'

Post by Geoff Chandler » Wed Jul 12, 2017 8:08 pm

Hi Justin,

It appears you have been busy yourself trying to solve the Len Dighton mystery.

I see you asked a friend of the source.

http://deightondossier.blogspot.co.uk/2 ... known.html


""There was a chess club in a basement in Soho. In the Samson stories I used it to depict a Polish gathering place -
which was another club elsewhere - and combined them into one. I am not a chess player but I was there frequently
and got to know the members. It was close to St Martins Art School where I was every day and to Moor Street where I lived.
From someone there I bought a book about chess for beginners and many of the quotes came from that book."

I asked Len, but he didn't recall the book. Hope that helps."

Andy Stoker
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Re: 'The Famous Eccles'

Post by Andy Stoker » Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:46 pm

I suspect it's one of those phrases of its time and "you had to be there" to appreciate it. I think it has something of the air of "The Great Stupendo", "Batman strikes again", "Hey Presto", "The Real McCoy" etc.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: 'The Famous Eccles'

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:55 pm

"The Famous Eccles" was definitely a Goon Show character (played by Spike Milligan), and Len Pickett was a renowned Lewisham player, as was Tony Swift, also of Redhill. LP did produce a few opening pamphlets I recall. I suspect we need the assistance of Stewart Reuben, from whichever cruise ship he is now occupying...

Kevin Williamson
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Re: 'The Famous Eccles'

Post by Kevin Williamson » Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:28 pm

Perhaps the phrase simply means that a chaotic situation has been reached, in a similar way to how this Famous Eccles & Miss Freda Thing song ends up:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ng9qv22M60g

Paul Cooksey
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Re: 'The Famous Eccles'

Post by Paul Cooksey » Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:30 pm

I quite like the Goon show idea. But maybe the author intended to call the very powerful bishop Ecclesia or similar and the 20th century equivalent of spellcheck - type-setting I suppose - substituted Eccles.

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John Clarke
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Re: 'The Famous Eccles'

Post by John Clarke » Thu Jul 13, 2017 1:04 pm

I was personally acquainted with Len Pickett for a few years in the 1970s. We were connected with a SE London chess-playing circle that also included Tony Swift, Norm Oliver, Bob Pentecost, Hilary Thomas and some Charlton members as well, notably the Hannans and Mike Phillips. Australian master Max Fuller used to drift in and out as well.

Len’s rating at the time was, I believe, around the 180 mark. Not really of a standard to be writing opening monographs, I’d have thought, but evidently that didn’t bother Mr Gillam. Age most likely somewhere in the 30-35 range, though it was hard to tell. No idea what he did for a crust, if anything. His circumstances gave the appearance of being fairly hand-to-mouth.

He was gregarious enough all right, but had an unfortunate way of becoming “persona non grata” with people. I was at Bob P’s place late one night, late ’75 or early ’76, when Len knocked at the door, asking to be put up, as he’d just been chucked out of wherever he was living before. He ended up staying at Bob’s for quite a while. (Tony Swift had been a resident there as well, a year or two prior. Bob’s “HQ” was something of a chess-players’ caravanserai, though on a much lesser scale than the Hannans’ and not nearly as well-appointed or organised.)

Some years ago I posted on a guestbook (now seemingly defunct) on the Charlton chess club’s website. It prompted a response from Tony S giving such updates as he could, but Len wasn’t among them. Tony himself appears lately to have dropped off the ECF gradings site. (Not that that means much; it could just be lack of activity; and they have been known to include deceased players in the past.)

As for Len’s use of the “Famous Eccles”, goodness knows why. He doesn’t strike me in hindsight as the type to listen to or appreciate the Goons. But I can say he was a bit given at times to verbal flights of fancy. One hard-to-forget annotation of his, to a rook sacrifice, went: “the rumble of chariots with double overload!”.
"The chess-board is the world ..... the player on the other side is hidden from us ..... he never overlooks a mistake, or makes the smallest allowance for ignorance."
(He doesn't let you resign and start again, either.)

Geoff Chandler
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Re: 'The Famous Eccles'

Post by Geoff Chandler » Thu Jul 13, 2017 1:54 pm

Thanks John,

"“...the rumble of chariots with double overload!” a line even Reinfeld shied away from. It's brilliant.

On page 32 he give this mate as a possible finish to Browne v Quinteros, Wilk ann Zee 1974.



"...and the black monarch dies alone in the desert under the fire of the surrounding heavy armour."

They don't write them like that anymore. These days we get computer bile ending with 20.Re1#
Chess annotations have been politically corrected!

I also have the other book 'The Rossolimo Variation' no juicy looking notes in that one.

I have been in touch with Tony Gillam who printed and published the books( yes it is a a very long shot.) waiting on a reply.

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