Stuart Milner-Barry, Messenger & Chess Player

Historical knowledge and information regarding our great game.
MJMcCready
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Re: Stuart Milner-Barry, Messenger & Chess Player

Post by MJMcCready » Mon May 16, 2016 12:23 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
MJMcCready wrote: but I can't find any info about which league it played in before that
Bletchley entered one team in the Bucks county league from "before my time" until the early 1980s. The deal was that they played all their matches in Aylesbury except possibly those against Aylesbury teams. Change of venue arrangements at Aylesbury meant there was no longer the space for guest matches.
Interesting, they were also playing in the Beds league long before that.

From 1974
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David McAlister
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Re: Stuart Milner-Barry, Messenger & Chess Player

Post by David McAlister » Mon May 16, 2016 2:11 pm

In the 1953/54 BCF Yearbook, the entry for Buckinghamshire Chess Association (pages 92-94) includes a list of 12 affiliated clubs. One of these is Bletchley Chess Club, whose Hon. Secretary is given as R.G. Love of 7 Drayton Road, Bletchey. The said Love is also separately listed as the Hon. Secretary of North Bucks League.

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Re: Stuart Milner-Barry, Messenger & Chess Player

Post by AustinElliott » Mon May 16, 2016 10:10 pm

Gordon Cadden wrote:The Bletchley chess team that played Oxford University on 2nd. December, 1945. 1. C.H.O'D Alexander 2. H. Golombek 3. Dr J.M. Aitken 4. Dr I.J. Good 5. N.A. Perkins 6. Sgt. Jacobs (US Army) 7. Sgt. Gilbert 8. M.A. Chamberlain 9. P.J. Hilton 10. W.R. Cox 11. D. Rees 12. Lt. A. Levinson (US Army) We know that Alexander and Golombek were involved with breaking the enigma code, but what about the other chess players on this list.
Given the well-known affinity of chess, maths and puzzles I would assume every person on the list was a cryptanalyst/code breaker of some variety.

There would have been a bunch of different 'huts' at BP working on Enigma, as different German services (army, navy, airforce, Reich Chancellery, diplomatic service etc.) would have used different code books, though all would have encoded the messages using the Enigma machine. Breaking the code meant somehow deducing the code setting used that day, so every codebook/daily code necessitated a different code-breaking team, and consequently Bletchley P needed a lot of cryptanalysts. The Naval Enigma story is the famous one, partly due to the importance of the U-boat war, partly because the German Navy codes were the hardest to break. The German Navy and esp. the U-boat arm were far more careful about their code procedures than the Wehrmacht operators, and the U-boats eventually switched to an Enigma machine with an extra coding rotor, which was thus that much harder to crack.

Coming back to the chess players, I dare say all are identifiable by a bit of Googling - e.g, a search with 'Jacobs American mathematician Bletchley chess', or something like that, reveals Sgt Jacobs of the U.S. army. Similarly Lieut Arthur Levenson, who worked in Welchman and Milner-Barry's Hut Six.

MJMcCready
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Re: Stuart Milner-Barry, Messenger & Chess Player

Post by MJMcCready » Tue May 17, 2016 6:32 am

David McAlister wrote:In the 1953/54 BCF Yearbook, the entry for Buckinghamshire Chess Association (pages 92-94) includes a list of 12 affiliated clubs. One of these is Bletchley Chess Club, whose Hon. Secretary is given as R.G. Love of 7 Drayton Road, Bletchey. The said Love is also separately listed as the Hon. Secretary of North Bucks League.
ty

MJMcCready
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Re: Stuart Milner-Barry, Messenger & Chess Player

Post by MJMcCready » Tue May 17, 2016 6:33 am

AustinElliott wrote:
Gordon Cadden wrote:The Bletchley chess team that played Oxford University on 2nd. December, 1945. 1. C.H.O'D Alexander 2. H. Golombek 3. Dr J.M. Aitken 4. Dr I.J. Good 5. N.A. Perkins 6. Sgt. Jacobs (US Army) 7. Sgt. Gilbert 8. M.A. Chamberlain 9. P.J. Hilton 10. W.R. Cox 11. D. Rees 12. Lt. A. Levinson (US Army) We know that Alexander and Golombek were involved with breaking the enigma code, but what about the other chess players on this list.
Given the well-known affinity of chess, maths and puzzles I would assume every person on the list was a cryptanalyst/code breaker of some variety.

There would have been a bunch of different 'huts' at BP working on Enigma, as different German services (army, navy, airforce, Reich Chancellery, diplomatic service etc.) would have used different code books, though all would have encoded the messages using the Enigma machine. Breaking the code meant somehow deducing the code setting used that day, so every codebook/daily code necessitated a different code-breaking team, and consequently Bletchley P needed a lot of cryptanalysts. The Naval Enigma story is the famous one, partly due to the importance of the U-boat war, partly because the German Navy codes were the hardest to break. The German Navy and esp. the U-boat arm were far more careful about their code procedures than the Wehrmacht operators, and the U-boats eventually switched to an Enigma machine with an extra coding rotor, which was thus that much harder to crack.

Coming back to the chess players, I dare say all are identifiable by a bit of Googling - e.g, a search with 'Jacobs American mathematician Bletchley chess', or something like that, reveals Sgt Jacobs of the U.S. army. Similarly Lieut Arthur Levenson, who worked in Welchman and Milner-Barry's Hut Six.
That must have been one of the very strongest teams in the country.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Stuart Milner-Barry, Messenger & Chess Player

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Tue May 17, 2016 8:31 am

"There would have been a bunch of different 'huts' at BP working on Enigma, as different German services (army, navy, airforce, Reich Chancellery, diplomatic service etc.) would have used different code books, though all would have encoded the messages using the Enigma machine. Breaking the code meant somehow deducing the code setting used that day, so every codebook/daily code necessitated a different code-breaking "

They were working on other codes/ciphers as well, even Japanese ones I believe.

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Re: Stuart Milner-Barry, Messenger & Chess Player

Post by Tim Harding » Tue May 17, 2016 5:13 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:They were working on other codes/ciphers as well, even Japanese ones I believe.
Especially the Geheimschreiber - a kind of teleprinter machine used by German High Command. The Colossus computer was developed to help deal with that.

I think some of the work on Japanese codes was done in India, at least to do with the Burma campaign.
Tim Harding
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Author of 'British Chess Literature to 1914', Joseph Henry Blackburne: A Chess Biography', and 'Eminent Victorian Chess Players'
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MJMcCready
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Re: Stuart Milner-Barry, Messenger & Chess Player

Post by MJMcCready » Wed May 18, 2016 5:04 am

Tim Harding wrote:
Kevin Thurlow wrote:They were working on other codes/ciphers as well, even Japanese ones I believe.
Especially the Geheimschreiber - a kind of teleprinter machine used by German High Command. The Colossus computer was developed to help deal with that.

I think some of the work on Japanese codes was done in India, at least to do with the Burma campaign.
s

No wonder we couldn't win WW2. Couldn't the government have said 'Look there's no way we can change the outcome but if we can give our best chess players some opening theory to work on, then at least we've achieved something.

Alan McGowan
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Re: Stuart Milner-Barry, Messenger & Chess Player

Post by Alan McGowan » Fri May 20, 2016 1:11 pm

The excellent Bletchley Park web site has a roll of honour. Search by name for anybody who worked there; the information is reasonably detailed - position, hut number, etc.
http://rollofhonour.bletchleypark.org.uk/search/

I sent detailed information about the Bletchley CC v Oxford match to the site some time ago, thinking it might be added to their archive.
Other chess players at Bletchley were N.A. Perkins and Dr J. M. Aitken, the latter with a 'find' named after him - 'Aitkenismus'.
http://www.chessscotland.com/history/bi ... aitken.htm
http://www.chessscotland.com/history/bi ... erkins.htm

Alexander was permitted to play in a tournament in Yugoslavia in 1952, probably because Yugoslavia had broken away from the Eastern Bloc, Tito having fallen out with Stalin (or, perhaps, it was the other way round).

Much has appeared in the Canadian press about Bill Tutte, who spent many years at the University of Waterloo (Ontario). I have never yet seen any references to him playing chess.

Historian, Chess Scotland

MJMcCready
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Re: Stuart Milner-Barry, Messenger & Chess Player

Post by MJMcCready » Wed May 25, 2016 7:12 am

Tim Harding wrote:
Kevin Thurlow wrote:They were working on other codes/ciphers as well, even Japanese ones I believe.
Especially the Geheimschreiber - a kind of teleprinter machine used by German High Command. The Colossus computer was developed to help deal with that.

I think some of the work on Japanese codes was done in India, at least to do with the Burma campaign.
I suppose after working on endgame theory for most of the day, a few minutes work on codes/ciphers must have been a relaxing way to wind down the working day.

Neil Graham
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Re: Stuart Milner-Barry, Messenger & Chess Player

Post by Neil Graham » Thu May 26, 2016 6:53 pm

The obituary on Jane Fawcett from today's Telegraph mentions Sir Stuart

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/obituaries/2 ... -obituary/

MJMcCready
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Re: Stuart Milner-Barry, Messenger & Chess Player

Post by MJMcCready » Fri May 27, 2016 7:14 am

Richard James wrote:
E Michael White wrote:
Gordon Cadden wrote:The Bletchley chess team that played Oxford University on 2nd. December, 1945. 1. C.H.O'D Alexander 2. H. Golombek 3. Dr J.M. Aitken 4. Dr I.J. Good 5. N.A. Perkins 6. Sgt. Jacobs (US Army) 7. Sgt. Gilbert 8. M.A. Chamberlain 9. P.J. Hilton 10. W.R. Cox 11. D. Rees 12. Lt. A. Levinson (US Army) We know that Alexander and Golombek were involved with breaking the enigma code, but what about the other chess players on this list.
It's possible that M A Chamberlain was too, as the person mentioned in this link:-
(National Archives)

It's also just possibly the same player I played called M A Chamberlain at Cheltenham Chess club in 1985, who was then aged about 65-70 I guess, which would make him 22-27 in 1942. He would have been rated approx 155-165 in 1985. Peter Farr might remember him.

Doesn't mean he was working for GC in the 1980s however. Same less common name, same initials so maybe the same person or maybe not ! He was notoriously difficult to pin down to play club championship games, whereas crypto analysts can usually remember dates and times of even dental appointments from years earlier. Also he didn't look like a crypto analyst !
The ECF Grading Database has a Mac A Chamberlain of Cheltenham whose last grade was 119E in 1999.

Malcolm Alfred Chamberlain (1919-1999), who might or might not have been the same person, was (also) a cricketer:

http://cricketarchive.com/Archive/Playe ... 90975.html

As his initials were MAC he may well have been known as Mac.
Could you please tell me the result of this match.

John McKenna
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Re: Stuart Milner-Barry, Messenger & Chess Player

Post by John McKenna » Tue May 31, 2016 12:48 am

Tim Harding wrote:
Kevin Thurlow wrote:They were working on other codes/ciphers as well, even Japanese ones I believe.
Especially the Geheimschreiber - a kind of teleprinter machine used by German High Command. The Colossus computer was developed to help deal with that.

I think some of the work on Japanese codes was done in India, at least to do with the Burma campaign.

A bigger Enigma -

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-36401663

(I may have something to add about Japanese WW II codes at a later date.)
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

Tim Harding
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Re: Stuart Milner-Barry, Messenger & Chess Player

Post by Tim Harding » Tue May 31, 2016 11:34 am

Interesting. It was Bill Tutte (mentioned above by Alan McGowan) who made the mathematical breakthrough that enabled the decoding of messages encoded by that machine to begin. A good BBC4 documentary a year or two ago about Bletchley dealt with this and had some film of him. For decades he could never speak about it but eventually he was made an FRS.
Tim Harding
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Gary Kenworthy

Re: Stuart Milner-Barry, Messenger & Chess Player

Post by Gary Kenworthy » Sun Aug 07, 2016 9:31 am

Chess Clubs in Bletchley

Having no home venue, but still having players, would require playing away matches in Aylesbury.(Buck League).
Due to County border layouts, it is easier for, historically, Bletchley to play in the Bedfordshire League. Bucks is best split into N Bucks and S Bucks because of the geography and topology.
The current home of “Milton Keynes and Open University chess club” is Walton Hall on the outskirts of Bletchley. It is the Open University.

During WW II every nearby stately home around here was crammed full of Army, Navy, Air Force and Civilian workers of GC&CS and ancillary staff, more than 8,000 personnel.
Asa Briggs, from Keighley, played an important role at GC&CS, within Bletchley Park (BP). Asa Briggs played a major role in selecting Walton Hall, for the site for the Open University.

If you look at the National Club board, around the edges, the first winners were Cheltenham Chess Club. (Also had a strong team in the 1950s).

During the War, the “Bletchley” chess club (players being dominated, if not all, by GC&CS), was most likely the strongest chess team ever assembled to-date, in the UK. See their matches versus Cambridge and Oxford Universities, in late 1944.

Note at this stage of these matches, that Hugh Alexander was working in Bedford.(see prior comments on Prof Scott on breaking Japanese and Soviet codes). (Hugh Alexander went to Bedford, prior to the Battle of the Bulge).

Note that BH Wood (part of the 1939 Olympiad team in Buenos Aires), was the editor of CHESS, a kind of King Pin of its day, with plenty of satire, cartoons and jokes. The fact that BH Wood published one of these matches, post the conclusion of the Battle of the Bulge, is a very interesting report. Especially with named faces and some in US uniform.
BH Wood Msc, had an important war time job in chemistry, but later, always had time for long letters from Jack Good etc.

However, talking recently to locals, they do remember, like subjects at the Wavendon station, (where he was based), that Soviet and American personnel came along and took photographs, and took away many files and photographs.
Then remember Churchill lost the election, but he still had the power for ordering the destruction of all machines and records at BP. (Station X). BTW: a neat play and a simple cipher on SIS (MI6) sections, like section IX (e.g. Kim Philby) and section XX. It also made it easy to openly camouflage it with the Y service. Like at Knockholt.

The was a massive difference between Morse based Enigma code breaking (Bombes= “ice cream”) and non-Morse – teleprinter traffic of Lorenz (Colossus).

BTW: As a linguist, Golombek knew the word ice cream in 13 different languages. (as per his obituary).

Regards (FM) Gary Kenworthy, Bletchley
Last edited by Gary Kenworthy on Sun Oct 09, 2016 8:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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