British Championship Chester 1914

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Gerard Killoran
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British Championship Chester 1914

Post by Gerard Killoran » Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:49 am

Tim Harding has said elsewhere that Chester 1914 was under reported due to the outbreak of war. Roger Paige had 20 of the games in his collection and in addition, here are four that I've managed to find. Are there any more out there?








Brian Denman
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Re: British Championship Chester 1914

Post by Brian Denman » Mon Aug 17, 2015 9:12 am

Gerald, I have seven more games played by Lean and one game from the British Ladies' Championship. I am not sure, however, about transferring all these games into the Forum. Do you input them one by one, which seems arduous, or do you know of a way to list a group of games on to the website? Otherwise I shall need to send you a pgn file.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: British Championship Chester 1914

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Aug 17, 2015 9:18 am

Brian Denman wrote:Otherwise I shall need to send you a pgn file.
If you have a pgn file, open it as a text file (Notepad is one method). Then copy and paste the text to a new forum message or reply. Once done, highlight each game individually and click the pgn button ( on the right next to "Font colour")

Brian Denman
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Re: British Championship Chester 1914

Post by Brian Denman » Mon Aug 17, 2015 10:19 am

Thanks for this, Roger, but I am afraid that I cannot still get this to work. The only text file that I have is Word, which probably would not work. Otherwise I could enter the eight games individually, but that also has not worked because after I saved a draft, I could not later find what I had saved. Sorry.

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Re: British Championship Chester 1914

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Aug 17, 2015 10:27 am

Brian Denman wrote: The only text file that I have is Word, which probably would not work.
If you have any version of Windows, you should have Notepad. But Word should work, just start Word, then navigate to where in your directory structure the pgn files are stored and open them.

It's just "how to use a computer to do something marginally clever".

Brian Denman
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Re: British Championship Chester 1914

Post by Brian Denman » Mon Aug 17, 2015 11:03 am

Thanks for your help, Roger. I hope that people can make sense of this!









[Event "British Championship, Chester"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "1914.08.21"]
[Round "11"]

Roger de Coverly
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Re: British Championship Chester 1914

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Aug 17, 2015 11:24 am

How good do we think these people were?
Take the following position from Lean v Shumer. It's White to move and fail to spot the threat (or analyse it correctly)


White played Rhe1 and lost a piece to .. d5, the points being that the pawn reaches d4 with tempo after .. N(d4)xb3 and attempts to undermine the d5 square with Bxf6 Qxf6, still don't allow Nd5 because Bxd2 is check.

Had White played the equally waiting move Kb1, he would have been OK because Nd5 is now available as a resource if necessary.

I notice that Lean lost to Yates who also (later) beat Alekhine and played in tournaments alongside Capablanca and other top players of the 1920s.

Chessmetrics ranked Yates at 30th in the world in 1914, but getting on for 300 points below Lasker. ( I don't trust the absolute values of chessmetrics, but the relative values presumably are correct)

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Gerard Killoran
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Re: British Championship Chester 1914

Post by Gerard Killoran » Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:47 pm

One reason for posting the games was to help John Saunders complete the Britbase site, especially as more sources are becoming available online through http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.u ... tAdditions and elsewhere. So do email John with anything you have in pgn format with sources etc.

Chester 1914 was obviously a weaker British Championship than usual without such strong amateurs as Atkins, Michell or Wainwright. Lean would have been better placed in the Major. Unfortunately there will always be a publication bias where short decisive games where one player plays badly will get in the papers, when long draws where both players play well won't. In fact very few draws ever got in the papers - or even the specialist magazines. Another problem in judging games of the era is that there were odd time controls, (e.g. in 1908 the first time control came after just 20 moves) and players had to spend far longer over their openings due to the lack of theory compared to today.

Brian Denman
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Re: British Championship Chester 1914

Post by Brian Denman » Mon Aug 17, 2015 3:04 pm

Standards have of course risen enormously in chess. Richard Edward Lean (1867-1937) was a very exciting player in that he liked gambits and attacking. Unfortunately his play was not always sound and his games were often short, whether he won or lost. For those who have read Bruce Hayden's 'Cabbage Heads and Chess Kings', they may recall a chapter headed 'The Man who Saved the Muzio', who was R E Lean.
He won the Sussex Championship in 1912 and 1922, but life was not always happy for him. He tried to become a chess professional at a time when there was not much money in the game and he himself was probably not good enough to do this. As a result he suffered the effects of poverty.

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John Saunders
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Re: British Championship Chester 1914

Post by John Saunders » Mon Aug 17, 2015 4:55 pm

Inspired once again by Gerard's timely post, and Brian's very welcome contributions, I have been busily putting together a page on Britbase with these games from the 1914 British Championship...

http://www.saund.co.uk/britbase/pgn/191 ... iewer.html

(Technical note: I include 'blanks' or 'stubs' where no game score has been found for a pairing, to enable crosstables to be generated, give clues for people to take up research, etc, but you can flick through the file quickly to find games with moves by mouse-clicking on the f3 square on the viewer (which is of of course the very splendid creation of forum member Paolo Casaschi))

We currently have 30 of the possible 66, and I have found and appended 20 of the 66 games played in that year's Major Open, won by George Shories with the remarkable score of 10½/11. Not bad considering the pressure he must have been under, as a German citizen (real name Georg Schories) playing in England after war had been declared. Below the game viewer you will find a crosstable of the tournament and also a paragraph or two from Philip Sergeant's A Century of British Chess which helps to put the tournament into context. Amongst other things, Sergeant explains how the unfortunate (and blameless) winner of the Major Open (who had in fact been resident in the country for quite some time) was soon to be interned as a civilian POW.

Rather more amusingly, one of the 1914 Chester participants, who was looking at his games on a pocket set in the local park, was arrested as a suspected spy, but later released by a chess-loving police inspector.

My thanks to Gerard, Brian and also Roger Paige for his excellent contribution.
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Richard James
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Re: British Championship Chester 1914

Post by Richard James » Mon Aug 17, 2015 5:35 pm

So what exactly were Yates's first names? The Yorkshire Chess History website suggests he should be referred to as Fred Dewhirst, not Frederick Dewhurst Yates.

His name is only given as Fred (no middle name) in his official birth and death records and in the 1891 and 1901 censuses. The parish record for his death gives Frederick Dewhirst. His mother's maiden name was Ada Ellen Dewhirst so if we want to give him a middle name at all it is clearly Dewhirst, and Dewhurst is undoubtedly incorrect. It seems like it was some sort of semi-official name which he himself liked to use as he was generally referred to as FD Yates in chess publications.

Confusion between full and shortened forms of first names was common at the time. My grandfather, for instance, was Tom on his birth and death records, but Thomas on both his marriage records. He was also Tom on his court record (when he was imprisoned for sacrilege). In census records he was variously Tom, Thomas and Harry (his middle name, by which he was sometimes known within the family).

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John Saunders
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Re: British Championship Chester 1914

Post by John Saunders » Mon Aug 17, 2015 6:44 pm

Use of (what are usually regarded as) shortened first names can certainly be confusing when researching family history. I recall searching an online database (probably ancestry dot com) for a 20th century person called Tony and failing to find him under 'Anthony' or 'Antony' - I only tried 'Tony' as an afterthought but that turned out to be the name his birth was indeed registered under.

I remembering seeing the Yates anomaly on the Yorkshire chess history page some time ago, deciding I needed to do something, but then promptly forgot all about it. Thanks for the reminder: I've now changed all instances of Yates's name on Britbase to 'Frederick Dewhirst Yates'. Can't quite bring myself to use the shortened form of his forename. After all, another great Fred from Yorkshire was Frederick Sewards Trueman, wasn't he? :D
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Gordon Cadden
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Re: British Championship Chester 1914

Post by Gordon Cadden » Mon Aug 17, 2015 7:30 pm

Frederick Dewhurst according to Jeremy Gaige. Yates was destitute at the time of his death, owing his Landlady £51 2s. 0d. A considerable sum of money in 1932. Suicide was the most likely cause of his death, but this was never proven.

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Gerard Killoran
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Re: British Championship Chester 1914

Post by Gerard Killoran » Mon Aug 17, 2015 9:04 pm

I've now moved on to 1912 and 1913, and there's plenty out there to be found.

Just to revisit the point I made above about time controls, 20 was still the first time control at Richmond 1912 where the Reverend F. E. Hamond was the unlucky victim. It seems he had made his 20th move but wasn't able to press his clock quickly enough. 20...Ne7 was an error, allowing 21. d4-d5 with advantage.


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Re: British Championship Chester 1914

Post by Gerard Killoran » Mon Aug 17, 2015 10:09 pm

It's also nice to learn that R. E . Lean was Richard Edward Lean.

S. W. Billings who played at Richmond 1912 and Chester 1914 was tragically killed in WW1 and his full name was Samuel Walter Billings.

From the 'Record of service of solicitors and articled clerks with His Majesty's forces, 1914-1919 by Solicitors' War Memorial Fund'

https://archive.org/details/recordofserviceo00soli

SAMUEL WALTER BILLINGS.

Admitted April 1902. Practised at Cheltenham. Served as a Private in Universities and Public Schools Batt. Royal Fusiliers. Died Jan. 3, 1916, of wounds received in action the previous day.
Last edited by Gerard Killoran on Mon Aug 17, 2015 10:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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