At Last! The 1961 Grading List...

Historical knowledge and information regarding our great game.
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John Saunders
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At Last! The 1961 Grading List...

Post by John Saunders » Thu Aug 27, 2015 12:49 pm

Something I found amongst my own digital archives a day or two ago... the 1961 Grading List, as published by the British Chess Federation and reproduced in BCM in January 1962:

http://www.saund.co.uk/rgs/pdfs/viewer. ... nglist.pdf

It has all the names of English and Welsh players down to 6b, which is the equivalent of 153 to 160. As such it constitutes a hefty proportion of the entire chess population in 1961, as players of lower strength were much less likely to have a published grade than they are today (minor events and lower divisions of leagues often went ungraded). I have included a decode for the old grading formula at the end. (1a = 241-248, 1b = 233-240, etc, etc)

I've corrected the odd typo, though I imagine there will still be others as yet undetected.

It should provide a nostalgic browse for half an hour or so. Before anyone asks, no, I haven't got a list for any other years.
Last edited by John Saunders on Thu Aug 27, 2015 1:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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E Michael White
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Re: At Last! The 1961 Grading List...

Post by E Michael White » Thu Aug 27, 2015 1:50 pm

John Saunders wrote: ....... down to 7b, which is the equivalent of 153 to 160. ......
Not that it matters but are you sure about that?
Wasn't 6b = 153-160 and 7b = 137-144.

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John Saunders
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Re: At Last! The 1961 Grading List...

Post by John Saunders » Thu Aug 27, 2015 1:54 pm

Thanks. Typo for 6b. Edited.
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stevencarr

Re: At Last! The 1961 Grading List...

Post by stevencarr » Thu Aug 27, 2015 2:29 pm

Quick, possibly morbid , question. Is Dave Rumens still alive?

Barry Sandercock
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Re: At Last! The 1961 Grading List...

Post by Barry Sandercock » Thu Aug 27, 2015 3:08 pm

Yes, and looking fine. I was talking to him at the British at Warwick.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: At Last! The 1961 Grading List...

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Thu Aug 27, 2015 3:12 pm

Why has he seemingly given up on chess, I wonder? Plenty in his age group still playing.....
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

stevencarr

Re: At Last! The 1961 Grading List...

Post by stevencarr » Thu Aug 27, 2015 3:27 pm

Barry Sandercock wrote:Yes, and looking fine. I was talking to him at the British at Warwick.
That's good to know. I always enjoyed the games he got published.

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Re: At Last! The 1961 Grading List...

Post by David Robertson » Thu Aug 27, 2015 3:27 pm

Nice trip back in the time machine there. Plenty of MCCU names I recall from my schooldays. 1961 is a bit early for me. But from hazy memory, reinforced by benchmarking against players I beat, or played above in the county team, my grade by late teens was 4b. But never 4a. I think John Carleton, and maybe David Adams, reached 4a as juniors. Nothing much has changed :-)

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Re: At Last! The 1961 Grading List...

Post by Simon Brown » Thu Aug 27, 2015 3:44 pm

Matt Mackenzie wrote:Why has he seemingly given up on chess, I wonder? Plenty in his age group still playing.....
Last time I saw him, about three years ago, he was coaching a large group of kids, but hadn't played for ages.

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Re: At Last! The 1961 Grading List...

Post by Richard James » Thu Aug 27, 2015 3:45 pm

I have this in the Chess Palace, along with similar lists from other years if anyone's interested. I'm not sure offhand whether any of them went down this far, though.

Good to see it here, and good that quite a lot of names on the list are still active in chess, one of whom has already posted on this thread.

Interesting to see that CG Butcher was playing for Wimbledon. Interesting also, from a local perspective, that Richmond Community Centre had an active club at the time. There was also an active club there for a few years in the early 80s.

A few random corrections:

JR Cook (4a) should be JR Cooke

J Tennent-Smith (4a) should be J Tennant-Smith

RG Benians (5b) should be FRG Benians (local knowledge - he was Frank Raymond G Benians (1917-89))

VA Hammond (6b)'s club should presumably be Ealing rather than Easling

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Re: At Last! The 1961 Grading List...

Post by MartinCarpenter » Thu Aug 27, 2015 6:00 pm

I was slightly surprised David wasn't there somewhere actually. Roelof Westra is the other person I can think of but I'm not sure when (if? - apologies if he's native!) he came to England.

The NCCU isn't very well represented in terms of numbers, so maybe their lists were quite patchy.

Don't know anything about the York players on the list but J. M. Myers was clearly rather useful.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: At Last! The 1961 Grading List...

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Thu Aug 27, 2015 6:15 pm

Yes, there don't seem to be any players from the Lancaster/Morecambe area in the NCCU listed.

Even though there was a busy chess scene locally by that time, with a few strong players.
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

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Re: At Last! The 1961 Grading List...

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Aug 27, 2015 6:36 pm

Matt Mackenzie wrote:Yes, there don't seem to be any players from the Lancaster/Morecambe area in the NCCU listed.
Qualification for the list would have been 30 games in two seasons. With very few Congresses, it would be relying on club and county internal competitions, local leagues and county matches to make up the numbers. If no-one collected and processed results of a local league, there wouldn't be any players included.

Perhaps we are looking for reminiscences from those on these old lists as to how much chess they had to play in order to qualify. Counties with perhaps a single figure count on the grading list were nevertheless able to field 20 and sometimes 50 board teams.

Barry Sandercock
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Re: At Last! The 1961 Grading List...

Post by Barry Sandercock » Sat Aug 29, 2015 3:38 pm

This list brings back some memories. So many names of people I played. Not many of them still around, sadly.

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Re: At Last! The 1961 Grading List...

Post by Brian Towers » Sun Aug 30, 2015 9:40 am

Interesting to see the name D.G. Springgay under the 3a category. I wonder if he was the same Dave Springgay who was the first British Hexagonal Chess champion in 1976.
Ah, but I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now.

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