Pergamon Chess Magazine Launch

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Kevin Thurlow
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Pergamon Chess Magazine Launch

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Sat Jul 04, 2020 10:55 am

In about 1988/89, Pergamon bought "Chess" and there was a splendid sort of launch ceremony, including a big match between either South and North or South of London and North of London. Could someone remind me of roughly how many people played and the score? I want to check that the Civil Service vs Rest of England Match in 1927 was bigger!

When Paul Lamford mentioned this plan, I foolishly asked where he thought he would find anyone crazy enough to captain one of the sides. So I ended up trying to recruit players for the South, which involved ringing up every Club Secretary in Surrey, Kent, Sussex etc., with varying degrees of success.

I think Paul hoped Robert Maxwell, who unusually for those times was a millionaire and socialist, would turn up to show the flag, but instead I believe we got his daughter Ghislaine, who seemed to handle proceedings well. After Robert Maxwell's death a couple of years later, we never heard of her again.

David Sedgwick
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Re: Pergamon Chess Magazine Launch

Post by David Sedgwick » Sat Jul 04, 2020 12:03 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Sat Jul 04, 2020 10:55 am
In about 1988/89, Pergamon bought "Chess" and there was a splendid sort of launch ceremony, including a big match between either South and North or South of London and North of London. Could someone remind me of roughly how many people played and the score? I want to check that the Civil Service vs Rest of England Match in 1927 was bigger!
I have sent you a PM.

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MJMcCready
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Re: Pergamon Chess Magazine Launch

Post by MJMcCready » Sun Jul 05, 2020 2:27 pm

Ye olde north/south divide. I wonder if the east has played the west in London? Don't recall ever seeing it.

Jonathan Rogers
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Re: Pergamon Chess Magazine Launch

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:15 pm

MJMcCready wrote:
Sun Jul 05, 2020 2:27 pm
Ye olde north/south divide. I wonder if the east has played the west in London? Don't recall ever seeing it.
If such a match turned into Essex and Kent v Middlesex and Surrey it could have been very interesting!

John Townsend
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Re: Pergamon Chess Magazine Launch

Post by John Townsend » Sun Jul 05, 2020 5:22 pm

Very superficially, one might expect Middlesex and Surrey to have the edge in such a match, Jonathan. Or is it closer? Presumably, the time of the match would be important.

Essex would call on Penrose. I had the pleasure to meet him in a Essex v. Berks. county match on 27 January 1973. He made the journey to Reading. Needless to say he won. I was pleased that he was willing to talk a little about the game afterwards.

John Townsend
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Re: Pergamon Chess Magazine Launch

Post by John Townsend » Sun Jul 05, 2020 5:44 pm

As a postscript, I see from the SCCU bulletin archive that Dr. Penrose played on Board 2 that day. Board 1 was E. Klein. It sounds like a strong Essex team!

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Re: Pergamon Chess Magazine Launch

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Sun Jul 05, 2020 7:15 pm

apparently Penrose was only board two for Essex when they won the counts chs in 1958 (behind Dr Fazaekas), just two years before he beat Tal.

In 1988, when the above launch took place, Middlesex and Kent were the strongest, though this was only a year away from Middlesex v Essex in the final(1989). Generally I would tend to think that Essex would add more to Kent than Surrey would to Middlesex. (Also, I am biased!). But everything would depend on the time of the match, for sure.

Leonard Barden
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Re: Pergamon Chess Magazine Launch

Post by Leonard Barden » Sun Jul 05, 2020 8:13 pm

John Townsend wrote:
Sun Jul 05, 2020 5:44 pm
As a postscript, I see from the SCCU bulletin archive that Dr. Penrose played on Board 2 that day. Board 1 was E. Klein. It sounds like a strong Essex team!
Klein was British champion in 1951 and was top board in the England v Netherlands 1952 match. He drew his first game with Euwe when the ex-world champion won the exchange but then erred. Next morning the Sunday Times published a report of the match saying that Euwe had shown the difference between a grandmaster and an ordinary master.

Klein assumed that Alexander (who wrote a weekly Sunday Times column) had authored that report and telephoned Broadbent, who was the England captain, saying that he would not play in the second round ("They're all against me, Broadbent"). David Hooper substituted.

Actually it was all a misunderstanding by Klein.The offending paragraph and report were written by Bruce Hayden, who often did chess news reports for the Times and Sunday Times then.

I was doing my Oxford finals that summer so was not present, but was told the story by my friend Hooper.

The BCF subsequently banned Klein, I forget for how long, and he did not play a game for the next 20 years.

In 1972-73 Richard O'Brien was the Essex county captain and ambitious for success. He approached Klein who agreed to play on condition that he was top board ahead of Penrose. And so it happened as John Townsend states.

I had always admired Klein's playing style and his excellent writing in the book of the 1946 radio match against the USSR (where he drew one of his games against Keres on Board 2) so when I organised the London Chess Club 1973 invitational , with Bent Larsen as its star, I made a point of inviting Klein via O'Brien. He accepted, apparently hoping for a one to one with Larsen, won a couple of nice games against Kinlay and Goodman, but was outplayed by Keene.

I hand-wrote (literally) a booklet on the tournament where in the introduction I praised Klein extravagently in the hope that his comeback would continue, but he never played again.

Edward Winter's Chess Notes include a feature on Klein
https://www.chesshistory.com/winter/extra/klein.html including at the end some interesting personal memories by Klein's son.

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John Saunders
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Re: Pergamon Chess Magazine Launch

Post by John Saunders » Wed Aug 26, 2020 2:57 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Sat Jul 04, 2020 10:55 am
In about 1988/89, Pergamon bought "Chess" and there was a splendid sort of launch ceremony, including a big match between either South and North or South of London and North of London. Could someone remind me of roughly how many people played and the score? I want to check that the Civil Service vs Rest of England Match in 1927 was bigger!
From BCM, Late News, on the back cover of the May 1988 issue: "London — A planned 500 board match at the Barbican on March 20 [1988] to celebrate the London League centenary and the relaunch of Pergamon Chess was conducted over 280 boards in the end. North London beat South London 158½-121½. A large number of exhibitions and other events were conducted. The French film “Dangerous Moves” was shown three times."
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John Saunders
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Re: Pergamon Chess Magazine Launch

Post by John Saunders » Wed Aug 26, 2020 3:08 pm

I should have trusted BCM to report further in their next issue, which they duly did...
BCM, June 1988, page 260 wrote:Pergamon Chess — The Barbican in the City of London was the venue for a massive event to combine the relaunch of Chess with a match to celebrate the London League Centenary. This was played over 280 boards and won by North of the Thames 158½-121½ against South. A. D. Martin beat J. T. Farrand on top board.

There were many subsidiary events such as lectures by IMs Bob Wade, Nigel Davies and Malcolm Pein. Many simultaneous exhibitions were given, of which the one by Cathy Haslinger World U-14 Girl’s Champion attracted possibly the most attention. Paul Littlewood gave a blindfold simul on six boards, winning four and drawing against John Roycroft, editor of the studies magazine EG and our own Ken Whyld who was awarded the best game prize.

The French film “Dangerous Moves” with its moving death bed scene at the end was shown three times during the day and found a sympathetic audience, at least when your editor attended the afternoon showing.

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Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Pergamon Chess Magazine Launch

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Wed Aug 26, 2020 4:54 pm

Thanks John. It was an interesting event and a complete nightmare trying to get teams out before the days of internet...

It does confirm that Civil Service vs the Rest of England (although mainly Home Counties) in 1927 was bigger. This took place on the 22nd October 1927 and the Rest won comfortably by 297½-210½ at the Ministry of Health.

Nick Grey
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Re: Pergamon Chess Magazine Launch

Post by Nick Grey » Sat Aug 29, 2020 10:35 pm

I played. A phone call I think. Paul Littlewood was a highlight. As for Ghislaine we know about her now.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Pergamon Chess Magazine Launch

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Sun Aug 30, 2020 12:59 am

"I played. A phone call I think."

I made use of the BCF Yearbook and rang every club secretary in Kent, Surrey and Sussex and asked nicely if they would ask their club members if they would play, and then rang back for a progress report (which was sometimes, "Oops. I'd better do that"!) Early on I was apologising to Mick Croft for ringing him twice, and he pointed out he was Secretary for two clubs.

When the day arrived, someone transferred a few players from one team to another to make sure everyone got a game. It seemed to go well, which was a relief. Happily, a cheque arrived which covered the phone bill.

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