INFO WANTED: 1979 British Championship Official Programme

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John Saunders
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INFO WANTED: 1979 British Championship Official Programme

Post by John Saunders » Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:22 am

Does anyone have a copy of the official programme for the 1979 (Chester) British Championships (or BCF Congress as it was referred to in those days)?

I'm pretty sure one was published as I have seen a newspaper reference to its existence. It was normal to receive a copy of a programme with list of competitors, prizes and regulations in that era. It was normally sent out to competitors by post before the event or perhaps placed on boards prior to round one of the tournament, so there should be a few of these documents out there somewhere, assuming I'm not the only elderly hoarder in our midst (I have copies of the 1969 and 1971 programmes, and also one I acquired of the 1955 programme).

Ideally I would like a scan of the whole document if it's not too much trouble but, failing that, scans of the regulations relating to each of the events, with particular reference to tie-breaks, and any other regulatory small print that is relevant. The 1979 British Championship proper was unique in that first place was decided by sum of opponents' scores (SOS or Buchholz). Hard evidence that I have seen so far (a list of junior champions as published in the 1979-80 Yearbook and the Guardian report published on the Monday after the tournament) points to SOS also being used to decide the champion where junior championships were tied - for the one and only time in the championship's history - but I am hoping the official programme may provide definitive evidence one way or the other.

One other thing - I don't have copies of CHESS magazine for 1979 to hand - could someone also have a look to see if tie-breaks at Chester 1979 are mentioned there in any detail.

Thanks in advance to anyone who can help with this. Incidentally I have transcribed full results and some crosstables of the 1979 congress and placed them on BritBase here if you are interested.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: INFO WANTED: 1979 British Championship Official Programme

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Feb 28, 2019 6:53 pm

John Saunders wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:22 am
I'm pretty sure one was published as I have seen a newspaper reference to its existence.
It's indirectly mentioned in the report in Chess (August 1979) where the writer (BHW himself presumably) observes that Miles, Cooper and Horner had been added to the printed list, but it was only known to most people on the first day.
John Saunders wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:22 am
One other thing - I don't have copies of CHESS magazine for 1979 to hand - could someone also have a look to see if tie-breaks at Chester 1979 are mentioned there in any detail.
According to the report in Chess, that there would be tiebreaks applied was only known at the start of the round 11. It was "at the request of sponsors". That meant advantage Bellin who had played Peter Large who finished with 7 points in the first round. The first round opponents of Nunn and Short had only made 4.

Otherwise it comments that the winners of the Under 18, Under 16 and Under 14 did so on Sum of Opponent's Scores.

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John Saunders
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Re: INFO WANTED: 1979 British Championship Official Programme

Post by John Saunders » Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:20 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 6:53 pm
John Saunders wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:22 am
I'm pretty sure one was published as I have seen a newspaper reference to its existence.
It's indirectly mentioned in the report in Chess (August 1979) where the writer (BHW himself presumably) observes that Miles, Cooper and Horner had been added to the printed list, but it was only known to most people on the first day.
John Saunders wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:22 am
One other thing - I don't have copies of CHESS magazine for 1979 to hand - could someone also have a look to see if tie-breaks at Chester 1979 are mentioned there in any detail.
According to the report in Chess, that there would be tiebreaks applied was only known at the start of the round 11. It was "at the request of sponsors". That meant advantage Bellin who had played Peter Large who finished with 7 points in the first round. The first round opponents of Nunn and Short had only made 4.

Otherwise it comments that the winners of the Under 18, Under 16 and Under 14 did so on Sum of Opponent's Scores.
That's very helpful - many thanks for going to the trouble of looking that information up.

The comment about the use of tie-breaks for the junior events tallies with what appeared in the yearbook and the Guardian. I am quite surprised that the use of the tie-break for the championship proper was only known to the competitors at the start of round 11. This must have caused some consternation. However, it doesn't quite square with what Peter Gibbs wrote in his column in the Birmingham Daily Post on 15 September 1979:
Peter Gibbs, Birmingham Daily Post, 15 September 1979 wrote:Many people at Chester who had not read the small print In the programme expected the traditional play-off match. However, the sponsors wanted to be able to announce an outright champion at the prize-giving ceremony and the tie-break by the sum of opponents' scores gave the title to Robert Bellin.
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Leonard Barden
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Re: INFO WANTED: 1979 British Championship Official Programme

Post by Leonard Barden » Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:56 am

My impression at the time was that the sponsors were rather aghast when they realised that they had shot themselves in the foot and prevented a 14-year-old playing off for the national championship.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: INFO WANTED: 1979 British Championship Official Programme

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Mar 01, 2019 8:19 am

John Saunders wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:20 am

The comment about the use of tie-breaks for the junior events tallies with what appeared in the yearbook and the Guardian. I am quite surprised that the use of the tie-break for the championship proper was only known to the competitors at the start of round 11. This must have caused some consternation. However, it doesn't quite square with what Peter Gibbs wrote in his column in the Birmingham Daily Post on 15 September 1979:
Peter Gibbs, Birmingham Daily Post, 15 September 1979 wrote:Many people at Chester who had not read the small print In the programme expected the traditional play-off match. However, the sponsors wanted to be able to announce an outright champion at the prize-giving ceremony and the tie-break by the sum of opponents' scores gave the title to Robert Bellin.
That makes more sense really. Perhaps BHW or his uncredited writer hadn't read the small print either.

As Leonard suggests, a three way play off between Nunn, Short and Bellin could have attracted a lot of attention. In those days following the precedent of the Hartston-Basman match following the 1973 tie and the tournament to split the 1974 Clacton 7, it would have been a separate event months later. At some stage the notion of a rapid-play playoff immediately after the prize giving as takes place now would have been introduced.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: INFO WANTED: 1979 British Championship Official Programme

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:01 am

Maybe ask the players concerned?

James Pratt
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Re: INFO WANTED: 1979 British Championship Official Programme

Post by James Pratt » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:20 pm

I have the programme of Chester 1979 and am happy to give it to John if he contacts me chessparrot@hotmail.com with contact details. I may also have an entry form which might appeal. The tie-split has a legacy: Nunn's dislike of the British Championship which he won at last in 1980 never to return. When he played at the ECF Aberystwyth recently it was in the Seniors..

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John Saunders
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Re: INFO WANTED: 1979 British Championship Official Programme

Post by John Saunders » Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:41 am

Many thanks, James. I’ll drop you a line.
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Re: INFO WANTED: 1979 British Championship Official Programme

Post by John Saunders » Thu Mar 21, 2019 1:01 pm

Thanks to James, who lent me the 1979 BCF congress programme, I have now been able to append a great deal more information about this tournament at BritBase...

http://www.saund.co.uk/britbase/pgn/197 ... iewer.html

As we suspected, the congress programme did indeed have a reference to tie-breaks in operation that year. Here is the text from the 1979 congress programme:
1979 BCF Congress Programme wrote:"TIE-BREAKING - TIES WILL BE BROKEN FOR ALL TITLES, PROMOTIONS, EXEMPTIONS ET CETERA. However, ties will not be broken for the determining of prize-monies, which in the event of any ties will be shared - save that the Sims Prize (British Championship) and Lander Prize (British Ladies Championship) cannot be shared and will be awarded in total to the respective Champions."
Elsewhere on the same page of the programme:
1979 BCF Congress Programme wrote:"FOR TIE-BREAKING PROCEDURES SEE SEPARATE NOTICE"
No copy of that separate notice is available but we know that that sum of opponents' scores (Buchholz) was used as the tie-break method.

I have added names of competitors in all sections, with their home locations (where available).

Perhaps more interesting is John Poole's short history of the BCF 1904-1979 which was included in the congress programme. He's very good on the dates when competitions were inaugurated, names of administrators, etc, and it may prove a useful reference work for various federation-related historical questions which get posed on the forum from time to time.
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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: INFO WANTED: 1979 British Championship Official Programme

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Thu Mar 21, 2019 1:12 pm

About that short history by John Poole - is there any indication what sources he used? Was it a combination of referring to earlier histories plus personal memory/records for the more recent years? Sometimes such inserts into programmes (or Yearbooks) are a summary of longer works, sometimes they are original works. While on the topic, might as well ask whether the ECF/BCF have ever produced an official history.

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Re: INFO WANTED: 1979 British Championship Official Programme

Post by John Saunders » Thu Mar 21, 2019 1:56 pm

Perhaps I should have explained that the 1979 article is effectively an early draft of what later became the more detailed 100-year history of the federation written by John Poole and Stewart Reuben to be found on the ECF website here: https://www.englishchess.org.uk/100-yea ... ederation/
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: INFO WANTED: 1979 British Championship Official Programme

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Mar 21, 2019 3:56 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 1:12 pm
About that short history by John Poole - is there any indication what sources he used?
You sometimes see a book on the second hand stalls titled "100 years of British Chess".
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Century-Britis ... B00085UDPO

It was published in the 1930s, so the BCF was a recent novelty.

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Re: INFO WANTED: 1979 British Championship Official Programme

Post by John Saunders » Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:12 pm

A Century of British Chess by Philip W Sergeant is an excellent source of information for all sorts of things, for example cross-tables of early British Championships, results of Varsity matches, etc (though there are a few typos and errors). However, as Roger says, the BCF was still quite a new entity when Sergeant's book was published in the mid-1930s so the authors would have had to look elsewhere for more modern data. I would guess that John Poole in the first instance (and later Stewart R) would have been more likely to consult old BCF Yearbooks plus BCM and CHESS magazines for facts and figures, and perhaps federation records, if there were any available or readily accessible.
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Mike Gunn
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Re: INFO WANTED: 1979 British Championship Official Programme

Post by Mike Gunn » Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:18 am

There is a history credited to (I think) Poole & Reuben in the centenary yearbook. Like they say "I'm on the train" and so can't give a precise reference.

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