Malcolm Barker.

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Neil Blackburn
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Malcolm Barker.

Post by Neil Blackburn » Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:00 am

Morning everyone. Quick request for any information that anyone may have on Malcolm Barker, the Birmingham chess player. Thanks in advance for your help!! Neil.

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JustinHorton
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Re: Malcolm Barker.

Post by JustinHorton » Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:51 am

There's a certain amount of material one can glean simply by Googling with other search terms - is it possible to say what you know at the moment, so that people know what gaps need filling in?
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Malcolm Barker.

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:59 am

JustinHorton wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:51 am
There's a certain amount of material one can glean simply by Googling with other search terms
A Google search for Malcolm Barker chess comes up with the usual chess biographic information about his brief career in top level chess in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

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JustinHorton
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Re: Malcolm Barker.

Post by JustinHorton » Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:00 am

One thing you might not have is his mention in the 1949 London Chess Bulletin, cited here. He may be in BH Wood's so-called History of Chess, perhaps in a section on the 1951 World Junior Championship.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

James Pratt
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Re: Malcolm Barker.

Post by James Pratt » Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:18 am

He gave up chess because of all the smoking. He won the Over 70s World Left-Handed Golf Championship (no joke) and I had brief correspondence with him about ten years ago. He may no longer be with us, of course, but was then living in England ...

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JustinHorton
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Re: Malcolm Barker.

Post by JustinHorton » Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:24 am

James Pratt wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:18 am
He won the Over 70s World Left-Handed Golf Championship
2005 and 2006
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

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JustinHorton
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Re: Malcolm Barker.

Post by JustinHorton » Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:29 am

Don't know if this is likely to be him
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

Neil Blackburn
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Re: Malcolm Barker.

Post by Neil Blackburn » Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:12 am

Brilliant! Thanks Justin. Will get to work this afternoon. Also if anyone with access to the ancestry sites has 5 minutes to spare and could take a look for me, I would be greatly indebted 😁👍

Richard James
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Re: Malcolm Barker.

Post by Richard James » Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:23 am

Neil Blackburn wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:12 am
Brilliant! Thanks Justin. Will get to work this afternoon. Also if anyone with access to the ancestry sites has 5 minutes to spare and could take a look for me, I would be greatly indebted 😁👍
Hi Neil

I've already had a look on ancestry sites and elsewhere. The golf club is near Chalfont St Giles (where Harry Golombek used to live). I have an address for a Malcolm Neil Barker (according to Britbase this is his full name) living in Chalfont St Giles with his wife Rita. There's also an appropriate marriage record in Yorkshire in 1957. So it looks like the former chess player and the left-handed golfer may be the same person.

It's quite possible John Saunders has more information.

I can always do searches on Ancestry/Findmypast: if you ever want anything do get in touch.

Leonard Barden
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Re: Malcolm Barker.

Post by Leonard Barden » Sun Oct 27, 2019 1:06 pm

So Malcolm Barker is apparently still with us, then.

This is the player who won the British U18 championship three years running, starting in 1949 when he was ahead of Jonathan Penrose.

His talent and success was probably one of the reasons for Ritson Morry organising the first ever junior world championship at Birmingham 1951, where Barker's silver medal behind Borislav Ivkov (who was already then of grandmaster strength) included a win over another rising star, Bent Larsen.

Barker's near-miss was also part of the inspiration for another ex-King Edward's pupil, Tony Miles, to actually win the World Junior in 1974.

How far have our expectations descended since then! On another thread in this Forum posters have been busy praising an English player in the 2019 world junior who managed to total 3/10 plus a point bye.

I only met Malcolm Barker in 1953, when he was living in Brussels and played fourth board for the England team in the first (unofficial) students olympiad held in that city. He had little contact with the rest of us (Peter Clarke, Neil McKelvie and myself) as he used to cycle in to the tournament from his home. His score if I recollect right was around 50 per cent and he was clearly rusty. I think that was his last serious tournament.

However, my main point is this. Malcolm Barker is a serious historical figure in English chess, the pioneer who was the first English junior to score a major success in a global junior championship.

I suggest the ECF honour that long ago achievement, and perhaps help to raise the sights and ambitions of its modestly performing 2019 juniors , by offering to make Malcolm Barker an honorary member or an honorary vice-president.

Neil Blackburn
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Re: Malcolm Barker.

Post by Neil Blackburn » Sun Oct 27, 2019 2:04 pm

Wow. Thanks guys - you are just brilliant. Busy doing newspaper searches, and popped back to see what may have come in.
@Richard James - please do!! I have a Birmingham address in Birmingham of 38, Salisbury Road, if that helps. Father as a brass worker, I think - not tech minded enough to skip across pages!! Too old. Will go take a photo at some point - it is 25 minutes down the road.
Would be most grateful.
@ Mr. Barden. Many thanks!! Had not yet seen a mention of that event, so will look in to it. Indeed, as someone who - as you know - tries to give 'forgotten' chess players attention, I am with you 100%.
Have been asked by another historian to look into this subject, as he is researching another player in the 1951 event - equally forgotten nowadays - and although I don't do these big research projects nowadays, this one caught my eye. Will do my best with the available time and resources, and hopefully be able to produce an article worthy of the subject matter, but need all the help I can get!!!
Looking to visit King Edward's School to look at their archives, for example, time permitting.
Many thanks guys - will try to repay any kindnesses if I am able so to do.
Again my humble thanks and gratitude to all who take the time to help.

Leonard Barden
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Re: Malcolm Barker.

Post by Leonard Barden » Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:00 pm

Why don't you find out the address in Chalfont St Giles, try to interview Malcolm himself personally or via telephone or email, and ask for his memories of those years? Many would be interested, and it would be historically valuable.

Neil Blackburn
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Re: Malcolm Barker.

Post by Neil Blackburn » Sun Oct 27, 2019 4:24 pm

Leonard Barden wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:00 pm
Why don't you find out the address in Chalfont St Giles, try to interview Malcolm himself personally or via telephone or email, and ask for his memories of those years? Many would be interested, and it would be historically valuable.
Just got an address from Richard James that may be worth looking in to. Lots of stuff coming and going on this topic through various media, but will try to sit down on Monday, put everything together, and see what I can do. Hopefully Mr. Barker is still with us and I will be able to make contact.
I will be back here in a couple of days - got to go to bed to get up early for work once dinner is sorted!!
Speak soon, everyone, with a big thankyou. all round.

Andy Stoker
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Re: Malcolm Barker.

Post by Andy Stoker » Sun Oct 27, 2019 5:57 pm

Although a former King Edward's pupil (near contemporaneous with Miles) I can add little - just over a decade later, I don't remember him being mentioned. Just two possible angles:
# 38 Salisbury Road Birmingham is a substantial dwelling and it might be misleading to think of his "brass worker" father as a manual labourer or artisan (though the school at that point was "Direct Grant" and fees may not have been payable)
# the teacher who looked after the chess club - at least later - had, I think, just arrived at the school prior to 1951 and is still active now, though long-retired, of course. I am not in direct contact but could try to contact him via the school should this be of interest...
... but clearly, talking to the man himself is the first line to try

Neil Blackburn
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Re: Malcolm Barker.

Post by Neil Blackburn » Sun Oct 27, 2019 6:46 pm

Thanks Andy. Trying to get in touch with the school at the moment. Any information you could offer would be greatfully received.. Indeed, will try to get hold of the man himself by post asap. Cheers
Neil.

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