Happy Birthday, Leonard

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David Sedgwick
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Happy Birthday, Leonard

Post by David Sedgwick » Thu Aug 20, 2009 11:02 am

Many happy returns to Leonard Barden, who is 80 years old today.

Geoff Chandler
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Re: Happy Birthday, Leonard

Post by Geoff Chandler » Thu Aug 20, 2009 12:41 pm

Many Happy Returns Mr Barden.

I've just finished reading the Wikipdia page dedicated to you.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonard_Barden

It appears to be one of the most accurate accounts of a chess player
that I have seen on 'Wiki'. and is very revealing.

British Chess owes you a great deal and will always be in your debt.

A retired columnist I know (who was 35 years at the helm) is currently putting
together the best of his columns in a book.

I was wondering if such a mammoth task had crossed your mind.

And mammoth is the correct term as you are the world's longest running
daily chess columnist.

It would be an accurate account of chess history covering, and correct
me if I wrong (I've lost count), at least 18 World Championship matches,
+50 British Championships and plotting the rise of all the top English players
whose careers you help nourish and encourage.

Have a wonderful day Mr. Barden and thank you.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Happy Birthday, Leonard

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Thu Aug 20, 2009 12:48 pm

A youthful 80 year old in every sense!

Many more happy years, Leonard :D
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

John Moore
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Re: Happy Birthday, Leonard

Post by John Moore » Thu Aug 20, 2009 6:39 pm

Leonard, many happy returns - and long may your column continue and, also, your contributions to this Forum.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Happy Birthday, Leonard

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Thu Aug 20, 2009 6:53 pm

HIPY PAPY BTHUTHDTH THUTHDA BTHUTHDY

(Just thought I'd keep today's literary quotes theme going.)

Simon Brown
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Re: Happy Birthday, Leonard

Post by Simon Brown » Thu Aug 20, 2009 9:05 pm

Yes, Happy Birthday Leonard. If anyone claims to have made a bigger contribution to British chess over so many years, I wouldn't believe them.

Simon

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Happy Birthday, Leonard

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Fri Aug 21, 2009 8:32 am

Sorry it's late - but same from me. Keep up the good work!
"Kevin was the arbiter and was very patient. " Nick Grey

Leonard Barden
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Re: Happy Birthday, Leonard

Post by Leonard Barden » Fri Aug 21, 2009 10:15 am

Thanks, dear friends, for your kind words.

For Mr Chandler-my books Guardian Chess Book, Play Better Chess, Leonard Barden's Chess Puzzles and Batsford Chess Puzzles all contain substantial column material.

In truth, birthdays don't inspire me very much. The milestone now is 28 September 2013.

My first Guardian column was 8 September 1955 after my predecessor Julius du Mont had a stroke. I have never missed a week since so this is now the world's longest continuous running chess column, almost 54 years to date.

Herman Helms, the legendary Dean of American chess, wrote a weekly column in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle from October 1893 till March 1955, but with a break from 1907-11. Allowing for that, his column ran for around 58 years, which I consider the current world longevity record for a chess column with or without a break. (Just to anticipate dissent from Worcestershire, TEW Widdows's column had an approximate six-week break every summer).

Helms's world record would be surpassed if both the Guardian column and myself survive intact till September 2013. It's possible, though not very likely.

I feel rather mean about trying to usurp Helms's record, since he once helped to feed me. In the years around the end of World War II, the impression got around in the US that the Brits were going hungry. Helms's response was to send his friend du Mont large food hampers three or four times a year. The hampers included tins of ham, which du Mont didn't like, so he passed them over to me. My family was poor, but the tins were spacious and my mother's culinary expertise meant that we fed on them for several weeks.

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John Saunders
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Re: Happy Birthday, Leonard

Post by John Saunders » Fri Aug 21, 2009 11:03 am

Happy birthday, Leonard. You are the first chess journalist that I ever read when I was a kid in the mid-1960s and I still look forward to your take on the chess world every week - the one fixed point in an ever-changing chess universe. I've been a chess writer for more than ten years myself and am starting to feel pretty ancient. I sometimes struggle to make my writing sound upbeat but you still manage to write original, positive, challenging articles every week - and you've been doing it 45 years longer than I have. As the youngsters say, "respect". I kiss your hand, Don Leonardo.
Personal Twitter @johnchess / Personal Website http://www.saund.co.uk / Britbase http://www.britbase.co.uk

Geoff Chandler
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Re: Happy Birthday, Leonard

Post by Geoff Chandler » Fri Aug 21, 2009 2:12 pm

Hi Mr Barden,

I use the term 'Mr' out of respect, I was always taught to be polite
to my elders.

(though on The Corner I call you Lenny and Mr.Winter is Teddy- but
that is The Corner - utter nonsense - it pays well - but it's nonsense really).

If you think it too formal and we converse again then I shall refrain.

I have those books you mentioned.

The Guardian Chess Book. is highly thought of in Scotland.
Both GM Paul Motwani and IM Dougie Bryson have mentioned the inflience it
had on their early years both in their writings and infront of a demo board.

It's the section on 'Method Chess' which formed the backbone of their rep,
and I'm sure for many other players, for years.

Re:Column History.
I was thinking of something akin to Larry Evans 'Chess Beat' which has 300 columns.
(a terrible layout but very interesting reading).

I thought such an acheivement should merit such a book.
Teddy, sorry. Mr Winter, is always stating, quite rightly so, that our game
is littered with myth and specualtion.

You are a large part of Britsh Chess History covering 5 decades.
It would be good to have another book one could trust and quote
written by someone who was actually there.

A daunting task and it was a selfish though not unnatural thought.
I enjoy reading a good chess book.

PS:
You can call me Chandler, Geoff, Loon, Idiot...anything but please not Geoffrey.

My Mum called me Geoffrey usually as a prelude to a thick ear.

Jonathan Rogers
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Re: Happy Birthday, Leonard

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Fri Aug 21, 2009 2:35 pm

For what it is worth, I'm sure that Helms would have been quite happy that someone whom he knew and fed, and who now keeps his memory alive, should usurp his record. So go for it! (Or rather "stay with it"!)

Andrew Farthing
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Re: Happy Birthday, Leonard

Post by Andrew Farthing » Sat Aug 22, 2009 8:03 am

Leonard Barden wrote: For Mr Chandler-my books Guardian Chess Book, Play Better Chess, Leonard Barden's Chess Puzzles and Batsford Chess Puzzles all contain substantial column material.
Geoff Chandler wrote:The Guardian Chess Book. is highly thought of in Scotland. Both GM Paul Motwani and IM Dougie Bryson have mentioned the influence it had on their early years both in their writings and in front of a demo board.
I agree, it's a great little book, but for my money, Play Better Chess is one of the best books ever written for the not-quite beginner. It was a coffee-table book in the sense that it was a big, attractive hardback, but the contents were unusually meaty for a production of that kind. There was a section on openings which took the 'method chess' approach from The Guardian Chess Book somewhat further, plus terrific chapters on great players and their style and tips for the practical player. Victor Korchnoi provided a generous introduction, but his praise is fully justified.

If anyone comes across a copy, I urge you to snap it up!

Best wishes for your 80th, Leonard.

Andrew

Simon Spivack
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Re: Happy Birthday, Leonard

Post by Simon Spivack » Sun Aug 23, 2009 2:56 pm

I, too, offer my belated congratulations.

Leonard has always been modest about his contributions to the game. As a dominant, indeed possibly the major, figure in English junior chess over a number of decades Leonard has often been involved in the donations of books. Not all of which were publishers' remainders. As well as an early contribution to the Wade library (something I learnt from the man who moved the carload of books to Bob), Leonard once (indeed possibly more than once) arranged for a highly promising player (who later became an IM) to receive a free subscription to a Soviet chess magazine. I myself was given a copy of Bernard Cafferty's excellent book of Spassky's best games.

I do have one question out of curiosity. Many will recall the scene in the film A bridge too far of a senior officer asking a dying colleague: "why did you always carry an umbrella, I knew you wanted me to ask, which was why I never gave you the satisfaction?" The response from the mortally wounded man was that he could "never remember the password", the umbrella was his way of identifying himself as an Englishman. This serves as an umbrella to my question. Why was a promising junior given the nickname Rosebud? I could never get the allusion to Citizen Kane, if allusion there was. This youngster's play was wild and sliding, but I can't believe in that explanation. :-)

Leonard Barden
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Re: Happy Birthday, Leonard

Post by Leonard Barden » Sun Aug 23, 2009 3:35 pm

To be historically accurate: I didn't, as far as I recall, donate books to Bob's library. What did occur was that Batsford bought , for a modest amount, my handwritten but very comprehensive openings database (some 50 looseleaf volumes) after I decided to stop writing books on theory. The database went to Bob who was able to pass on its material to those Batsford authors who could decipher my handwriting.

He didn't acquire all the volumes as I kept a few and had previously given the Caro-Kann files to Spassky as a thank you for the very long taped interview he gave me at Hastings 1965-66, which I wrote up for Chess Life after he became world champion, and which was included in Bernard Cafferty's Spassky book. The intention was that Boris would be prepared to the hilt for Petrosian's Caro-Kann in the 1966 match, and indeed I recognised the opening of the first 1966 match game as a line from my files. Unfortunately Petrosian neutralised it at the board.

The 'rosebud' reference baffles me and I've no idea to whom it refers.

Simon Spivack
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Re: Happy Birthday, Leonard

Post by Simon Spivack » Sun Aug 23, 2009 3:51 pm

Leonard Barden wrote:To be historically accurate: I didn't, as far as I recall, donate books to Bob's library. What did occur was that Batsford bought , for a modest amount, my handwritten but very comprehensive openings database (some 50 looseleaf volumes) after I decided to stop writing books on theory. The database went to Bob who was able to pass on its material to those Batsford authors who could decipher my handwriting.
Thank you for the explanation.
Leonard Barden wrote:The 'rosebud' reference baffles me and I've no idea to whom it refers.
As I don't wish to cause the player concerned any embarrassment, perhaps I could send a private message to you with his name. I was told this at a junior tournament in the 1970s. Possibly you were misheard by my source, which would explain everything. Because of its quirkiness, I am reasonably confident of what was said to me. It's a strange one.

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