John F Adams

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Matt Mackenzie
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John F Adams

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Mon Sep 06, 2021 2:18 pm

Anyone on here know anything about this apparent British postal chess player and correspondence IM?

One reason I ask is that he was born on 4th Sept 1921, which would now make him a centenarian were he still alive.
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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: John F Adams

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Mon Sep 06, 2021 2:32 pm

He is listed on the ICCF site here:

https://www.iccf.com/player?id=210001

Was awarded the IM (International Correspondence Chess Master) title in 1976.
Was rated 2318 in 1992. It says 34 games, but currently "inactive".

Where do you get his birth date from? I presume from chessgames.com?

https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessplayer?pid=119301

Stumbled across an interesting list here (on a wiki, looks like it was originally in German?):

https://second.wiki/wiki/liste_englischer_schachspieler

Yes, it is a (translated) mirror of the German Wikipedia page here:

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_eng ... achspieler

Looks like you are more likely to find biographical pages on chess players on the German Wikipedia than the English Wikpedia (which draws the line differently), for example, the late Keith Richardson is here:

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_Ric ... chspieler)

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John Saunders
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Re: John F Adams

Post by John Saunders » Mon Sep 06, 2021 3:26 pm

This is very interesting but I think somebody somewhere has got his wires crossed (and I'm hoping that somebody isn't me)...

I think the correspondence IM is/was called James (or more familiarly Jim) F Adams. Not to be confused with the better known and younger Jimmy Adams, of course (who, more formally, is James B Adams). When I edited the club bulletin for Mitcham Chess Club in the 1990s, I read something JF Adams wrote for the December 1994 issue of CHESS Magazine. I can't locate a copy of that right now (can someone else dig it out?) but at the time I saw mention of the fact that he had been a member of Mitcham CC himself back in the 1940s/1950s. So I made contact with him and persuaded him to write something for the Mitcham bulletin (which I have been able to locate). It refers to him throughout as Jim Adams and his status as a correspondence IM. He stopped playing OTB chess for Mitcham in the late 1960s but in his 1995 article for the Mitcham bulletin he said that he had recently joined Sutton CC. (I checked old grading lists but didn't find a likely match.) He came along to our AGM around this time but that was the only time I met him in the flesh.

So that leaves me wondering how all these references show him as "John" when I like to think I have found plenty of evidence for him being called "Jim". Of course, it only takes one person with a voice of authority to decide he's called "John" and the rest will follow, as I know only too well. I have been that voice of authority myself a couple of times, and got it wrong. :oops: And, if he turns out to have been called John Adams all along... well, you can call me Jim Saunders.

Perhaps Tim Harding will know...
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Re: John F Adams

Post by John Saunders » Mon Sep 06, 2021 3:34 pm

P.S.

Here's something that strongly corroborates my "Jim" thesis...

https://forum.chesstalk.com/forum/chess ... otes/page4
Online Forum, 2014 wrote:The other quote is a retirement from correspondence chess because of the encroachment of computers. The writer is Jim Adams.

I thought at first it might be the famous Jimmy Adams (b. 1947). He is best known as an author/translator/compiler of books on chess openings such as the Poisoned Pawn, Schliemann Counter-Gambit, Richter-Veresov and Trompowsky, as well as historical tournaments such as Paris 1900, Baden-Baden 1925, Dresden 1926, Bled 1931, Moscow 1935 and 1936. He has also produced books on a number of Soviet grandmasters: Karpov, Boleslavsky, Flohr and Kotov. His acclaimed books Mikhail Chigorin: The Creative Chess Genius (1987) and Johannes Zukertort: Artist of the Chessboard (1989) are about to be reissued and he is currently assembling a collection of games and writings of the little-known Hungarian chess revolutionary and forerunner of the Hypermodern movement, Gyula Breyer, who once famously proclaimed: “After 1 e4 White’s game is in its last throes!”

But the letter states that the author had been playing correspondence chess for 57 years – five years before Jimmy Adams was born! It was published in CHESS, March 1999, on page 41 and expressed how many of us felt at the time about computers taking over the game:

Whatever Happened to Human Effort?

I am giving up postal chess after 57 years for the reason that, like Jonathan Penrose and recently Nigel Short, I am increasingly disturbed over the increase in the use of computers in correspondence play. It is impossible to prove but one has the feeling that many opponents see nothing wrong in using a machine and I see no pleasure in having to bash one’s brains out against a computer. I am happy in the knowledge that I won my FIDE IM title long before dedicated chess computers were ever heard of. I shudder to think of the proliferation in the use of computers in a competition like the World CC Championship. I don’t wonder that Penrose objects.

Unfortunately, this is the sort of thing against which it is impossible to legislate. The BCCA has banned their use but it doesn’t mean a thing.

The latest monstrosity is where Kasparov plays a match against another GM and both are allowed to use computers whilst the game is in progress. To me, this is absolutely shocking. Dr. Nunn admits to the use of computers in the compilation of one of his books and I see that even ordinary annotators use a programme like Fritz to assist with their notes to a game. What happened to human effort?

Anyway, I have about five postal games left in progress and when they are finished I will call it a day.

Jim Adams
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Re: John F Adams

Post by John Saunders » Mon Sep 06, 2021 3:42 pm

P.P.S.

Could be James Frederick Adams, born c 1922, died 27 July 2013, Worcester Park, Surrey. And he could be the same James F Adams, born 4 September 1922, occupation telephone operator, living with his probable parents at 52 Broadway Gardens, Mitcham, Surrey, at the time of the September 1939 census.

The day and month tally with what Chessgames dot com have but not the year. In this case I suspect chessgames might be right as a lot of d.o.b.'s were fudged in the 1939 census by parents trying to stop their sons getting called up. How do I know that? Because I have noticed a lot of inaccurate years for people in that census - and because my maternal grandfather did exactly that in the hope that my uncles wouldn't get called up. In Jim Adams' case, making him 17 rather than 18 could have made a huge difference.
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Re: John F Adams

Post by John Saunders » Mon Sep 06, 2021 4:25 pm

I notice that Gaige's Chess Personalia has an entry for...
Chess Personalia wrote:Adams, John F (ENG)
[d.o.b.] 04-09-1921
IMC, 1976
BC, p. 11-16
The 'BC' is a reference to the book British Chess by Botterill, Levy, Rice & Richardson, 1983. I don't have that book - perhaps someone could look up the reference. Could be the source of the 'John' thesis?

I feel I can now state quite categorically that Gaige, ICCF, etc, have it wrong and that his name was James Frederick Adams as I have found photos of him and his family on Ancestry dot com and they match my memory of him and a 1958 photo which I have found online.

The ICCF need to be informed to amend their record and I shall post something on chess games dot com. His d.o.b. was indeed 4 September 1921 (and not as given in the 1939 census) and we can be confident that his d.o.d. was as given in the BMD records - 27 July 2013.
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Re: John F Adams

Post by Richard James » Mon Sep 06, 2021 5:09 pm

John Saunders wrote:
Mon Sep 06, 2021 4:25 pm

The 'BC' is a reference to the book British Chess by Botterill, Levy, Rice & Richardson, 1983. I don't have that book - perhaps someone could look up the reference. Could be the source of the 'John' thesis?
British Chess provides a brief chess autobiography and three games (in one of which he plays white against the 'Caso-Kann Defence') but his name is only given as J. F. Adams, with a date of birth 4.9.1921.

This is one of the better chapters in a curate's egg of a book.

I'm afraid this doesn't help with the 'John' thesis, though.

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Re: John F Adams

Post by John Saunders » Mon Sep 06, 2021 5:43 pm

Richard James wrote:
Mon Sep 06, 2021 5:09 pm
British Chess provides a brief chess autobiography and three games (in one of which he plays white against the 'Caso-Kann Defence') but his name is only given as J. F. Adams, with a date of birth 4.9.1921.

I'm afraid this doesn't help with the 'John' thesis, though.
It helps to the extent of eliminating the book from our enquiries, as they say on all the cop shows. Thanks for looking it up, Richard. It leaves me wondering what Gaige's source for "John" was. I wonder if it was amended in the privately-published 2nd edition of which only Edward Winter seems to have a copy.

Chessgames dot com has been very prompt in making an amendment.
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Re: John F Adams

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Mon Sep 06, 2021 8:43 pm

Fascinating. I wonder which A. Corish that is in the photo?

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Re: John F Adams

Post by Richard James » Mon Sep 06, 2021 9:08 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
Mon Sep 06, 2021 8:43 pm
Fascinating. I wonder which A. Corish that is in the photo?
Aidan Corish (now Upminster)? I played him in the Slater-Kennington Cup in 1970: he was still active pre-lockdown.

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Re: John F Adams

Post by Gerard Killoran » Mon Sep 06, 2021 11:46 pm

Another photo of Adams and Corish can be found here:

https://photoarchive.merton.gov.uk/coll ... ess-trophy

The same site has this splendid photo of Sir George Thomas giving a simul:

https://photoarchive.merton.gov.uk/coll ... chess-club

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Re: John F Adams

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Tue Sep 07, 2021 1:19 pm

Well thanks for all the (prompt) replies! Looks like another bit of English chess history has been cleared up 8)
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Re: John F Adams

Post by JustinHorton » Tue Sep 07, 2021 7:17 pm

Jim Adams wrote: Dr. Nunn admits to the use of computers in the compilation of one of his books and I see that even ordinary annotators use a programme like Fritz to assist with their notes to a game. What happened to human effort?
The computers were better, and more accurate annotations were produced for readers by using them
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Re: John F Adams

Post by Gerard Killoran » Tue Sep 07, 2021 7:37 pm

Gerard Killoran wrote:
Mon Sep 06, 2021 11:46 pm
Another photo of Adams and Corish can be found here:

https://photoarchive.merton.gov.uk/coll ... ess-trophy

The same site has this splendid photo of Sir George Thomas giving a simul:

https://photoarchive.merton.gov.uk/coll ... chess-club
Another photo of Thomas from the same event:

Norwood News - Friday 10 March 1939 p14.png
Norwood News - Friday 10 March 1939 p14.png (619.94 KiB) Viewed 170 times

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Re: John F Adams

Post by Tim Harding » Tue Sep 07, 2021 8:57 pm

Having been away for a couple of days and only reading this thread now, I think it is conclusively proved that the first name of CC-IM J. F. Adams was James and I shall correct this in my database. That letter to CHESS would seem to settle the matter and the Adams photo in the book "British Chess" is clearly the same man in the first photo with Corish.
I don't recall ever seeing forenames for him printed in CC publications, only his initials.
On the ICCF rating database they still have John Frederick which was probably a mistake somebody no longer alive made long ago.
It would be the responsibility of the English delegate to ICCF to ask for this to be corrected.
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