Stuart Milner-Barry, Messenger & Chess Player

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

Post by Tim Harding » Sun Sep 11, 2016 8:09 pm

Gary Kenworthy wrote:I see that Tim Harding has written--
A Short History of the Chess Column in Nineteenth-Century English Periodicals
The article referred to was actually published (in 2009) in an academic journal entitled Victorian Periodicals Review.
In that I quote from a book written by Asa Briggs, but not in a specifically chess context. I don't say he played chess.
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Gary Kenworthy

Re: Stuart Milner-Barry, Messenger & Chess Player

Post by Gary Kenworthy » Sun Sep 11, 2016 9:33 pm

thanks Tim, helpful,
Could not find the match, so attempting to obtain one if there was, but now clear there is not within this particular publication.
But Asa Briggs is a very famous Victorian Historian, a chess player and seems well aware of the impact of chess journals and problem solving to the general population, and their striving for achievement.
My main point was he was striving for a thorough trawal, sifting and selecting talent from the masses. As per Churchill's earlier brief. Key personnel at Bletchley Park had humble beginnings, like being the son of a miner etc. Not everybody passing the 11+ was a failure, they can still have other chances from adult education. They did not have to come from well off society (Keighley's was hardly the most affulent area), they did not have to come from Oxbridge which was the only source in the initial trawal for Bletchley Park. [Also remember Cambridge produced nine known Soviet spies, as per Kim Philby stated, they got away with security vets because of their background and privilege. Their treason was mega huge- many folks lost their lives].

Walton Hall (where the Open University is based), was accommodation for Wrens working at Bletchley Park. Asa Briggs was a friend of Harold Wilson (poor upbringing in Huddersfield). Also connected with J B Priestly (ex Belle vue Boys Bradford, who is also connected with Lord Crowther-Hunt). Their goal was despite background, you were not written off, not to be overlooked, it was about selecting talent from whatever background and creating opportunities. Education was key. Finding new elite from the masses. (BTW : Foster was Bradford's most famous MP - the 1870 Education Act, passed by Parliament for the first universal primary education also came from Bradford minds).
Last edited by Gary Kenworthy on Sun Nov 27, 2016 9:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

Gary Kenworthy

Re: Stuart Milner-Barry, Messenger & Chess Player

Post by Gary Kenworthy » Sun Nov 27, 2016 9:35 am

Of members of the Bletchley Chess Club Team (GC&CS) Golf Club and Chess Society. Spare a thought for Board 3, John Macrae Aitken, e.g. From the Chess Scotland website { Mr Alan Gowan’s very helpful compilation.} Here with his doctorate title.

http://www.chessscotland.com/history/1958champ.htm

Aiken played an important part in the Battle of Britain. Aitkenismus, on operational security flaws. One of the best ways of obtaining cribs. However, today we more remember Hevriel. This is most likely when Gordon Welchman was showing Churchill around one day and said of Hevriel (The Hevriel tip) this man won the Battle of Britain. Also Aitken cannot be named in publications because he was very active post the Korean War. (He re-joined Hugh Alexander at Cheltenham in 1953 – Alan Turing being rendered useless with his security clearance gone. Then you are just history). (The case of the dog that did not bark in the night syndrome).

When there was a real threat of Invasion (Operation Sealion) up and down the country Home Guard units were formed. (Pure Dads Army experiences did happen. The scripts were based on true characters and some real events).
Bletchley Park Codebreakers were no exception. There was one important rule, do not stand next to the little Scotsman when there was bayonet training. High degree of risk as he fumbled with his kit.

However, Alan Turing was also to experience the wrath of the parade ground Sergeant the most. Turing thought of logic and division of labour. He was no bootie, doing squad bashing, he had more valuable things to do with his time. (Very logical, does not compute Captain, kind of Vulcan.). So, Alan Turing off to the guard house again. The going through the signed Kings Regulations is yet another story!!!

However in films like the Imitation Game, plus other films, you would see Alan Turing up against security (The head of Security was Kim Philby). But, this was far more important when the Korean War broke out. Can you guess Cheltenham ground to a halt? – worth a punt, a long term betting tip from me, for after I am dead and gone, a hundred years rule type of thing).

Imagine Dr Aitken’s face when he started seeing decrypts of the Soviet Cambridge Spy Ring. Kim Philby and then John Cairncross (that little Scotsmen in the Imitation Game film).

But, Imaging how Joe Stalin felt like, after hearing that his country was being invaded. (Operation Barbarossa). He had dismissed that part of the reports he had obtained from Kim Philby. Kim Philby was supplying pure Gold from Ultra. How different would the WWII have been?

However, Stalin was not alone. BP was supplying the British top brass sanitised Ultra material disguised as, our agent reports. So the Donkeys, who led the Lions syndrome, had such reports binned. Like the invasion of Norway, the Invasion of the Low Countries 10th May 1940. It was not till the Battle of Britain and eventually with the Navy with the sinking of the Bismarck that BP was fully accepted as vital.

Of Dr Aitken, the chess player.(see also posts about Lud Eagle). I played him in the penultimate round of the Lloyds Bank Masters, Guernsey October 1983. He tried so hard to win as Black. Could have been his swansong. He would have likely got my board 1 pairing in the last round, above at least 10 IMs (and a GM I believe). BTW: The Board 2 pairing next to me was an untitled N L Carr. Across several boards down there were R Bellin, H J Plaskett and foreign Masters etc.
So, I rate Dr J M Aitken as a much stronger player than what has been posted here.
I would like to have had a post mortem with him. However, there was an altercation and intervention from somebody else. It did not happen. Dr Aitken left the tournament hall shaking his fists. He died in Cheltenham. Look at the National Club board – see who is engraved as the first team winners of that competition.

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Re: Stuart Milner-Barry, Messenger & Chess Player

Post by Stewart Reuben » Mon Nov 28, 2016 3:39 pm

According to Harry Golombek, Kim Philby was not at Bletchley Park, at least in his time. Hugh Alexander interviewed him and said to Harry that there was somethong not quite right about that man.
I played Dr Aitken in Castle Bar in Ireland in 1967 and drew with him with the Black pieces. You can find, the not very inteersting game, on ChessBase. I fnished above him there, so by then he couldn't have been much over 2200.

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Re: Stuart Milner-Barry, Messenger & Chess Player

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Mon Nov 28, 2016 4:03 pm

He played at the BCF Senior Championships at Southport in 1983, not long before his death. IIRC his Grade was still circa 180.
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Re: Stuart Milner-Barry, Messenger & Chess Player

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Mon Nov 28, 2016 5:48 pm

I played Dr Aitken in the Guernsey Blitz event shortly before his death and managed to exchange down to an opposite coloured bishop ending, which he then proceeded to win. I ventured to suggest that I thought I should have drawn it and he gave a friendly chuckle and said it wasn't that easy. So he was certainly capable of playing better than 180 then!

Gary Kenworthy

Re: Stuart Milner-Barry, Messenger & Chess Player

Post by Gary Kenworthy » Mon Nov 28, 2016 7:21 pm

I knew the late Tony Sale--
http://www.codesandciphers.org.uk/virtu ... stdats.htm
Look at June 1940.

Then later I found something much simpler (under my nose).
https://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/calend ... ntyre.html

Are we really sure we know exactly how Mrs Philby died and Alan Turing died?

Look at the strength of the Bletchley chess Club team, with Aitken yet to achieve most of his Scottish titles, on board 3. When you are work busy you don't play well. 1967 Czech period / Middle east/ Israel? whereas, look again at the Scottish 1958 Table and tournament report again.
I remember of a Bradford chess club OTB player R J Broadbent who had to play-himself into the British Championship, he had little time to prepare, but don't play him in a later round.

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Re: Stuart Milner-Barry, Messenger & Chess Player

Post by Tim Harding » Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:49 pm

Philby did not leak Ultra material to the Soviets (he wasn't there) but Cairncross (the "Fifth Man") was for a time in a position to do so. Previously he had been working for Hankey in Whitehall.

A warning about German build-ups near the Soviet border prior to Barbarossa was (I believe, but writing from memory as I am abroad) supplied officially to the Russians and not by a spy.
Tim Harding
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Gary Kenworthy

Re: Stuart Milner-Barry, Messenger & Chess Player

Post by Gary Kenworthy » Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:18 pm

Try this from Wikipaedia - Kim Philby

""""Section IX was often known as Section D (SIS Sections used Roman numerals). Philby was originally a Section D officer and is so noted in a letter dated 24 September 1940 written by Lt. Col. Valentine Vivian, the head of Section V at that time. Under Section IX was the Statistical Research Centre War Office (a cover name), mobilised on September 1939 on the outbreak of war at War Station No X Bletchley Park, charged with breaking the German Enigma codes.[22] Philby provided Stalin with advance warning of Operation Barbarossa and of the Japanese intention to strike south at Singapore instead of attacking the USSR as Hitler had urged. The first was ignored as a provocation, but the second, when confirmed by the Russo-German journalist and spy in Tokyo, Richard Sorge, contributed to Stalin's decision to transport troops from the Far East in time for Georgy Zhukov to use them in the counteroffensive around Moscow.[10]

By September 1941, Philby was working for Section V of MI6, responsible for offensive counter-intelligence...."""

Section IX at Bletchley protected Section X of Bletchley. Section IX was also called Section D, and had the cover name above.

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Re: Stuart Milner-Barry, Messenger & Chess Player

Post by John Saunders » Fri Nov 20, 2020 1:26 am

Here's another little scoop for the forum. On page 1 of this thread, in 2015, Brian Denman was the first person to publish a digital version of the one extant game from the 12-board Oxford University vs Bletchley CC match on 2 December 1944. Until now that game, Golombek-Cornforth (board 2) had been the only game of this celebrated match to be published. We now have a second game score from the match, keyed in by Geoff Chandler today. Dr Aitken's scorebook didn't mention the occasion but it did have his opponent's name and the date so we know it's from the same match, played on board three...

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Re: Stuart Milner-Barry, Messenger & Chess Player

Post by John Saunders » Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:10 am

Having mentioned Hans Georg Schenk, who was Aitken's victim in the Oxford University v Bletchley match, here's another forum scoop...

Whilst the Bletchley CC team is rightly famous for playing a key role in saving the world from Nazi tyranny, Dr Schenk played a significant part in saving the academic career of the forum's most distinguished and venerable member. Or at least Schenk's wife Hazel did. With his permission, here's what Leonard told me a few days ago in his own words while we were discussing his performance during University week (the series of club matches that led to the annual Oxford v Cambridge match):
Leonard Barden in an email wrote:Spring 1950 was a good period for me as I also drew with Bogolyubov at Southsea (only to find that Penrose defeated him next day) but it was brought to a shuddering halt by the news that I had failed Latin in Responsions, a now long discarded first year exam, and had a note from Balliol that if I failed it again in the summer I might not be allowed to reside further. That summer I did Latin unseens every morning before breakfast and went to and paid for two crammers, one of them Hans Schenk's wife. Fortunately that did the trick....
... Deo gratias.
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Re: Stuart Milner-Barry, Messenger & Chess Player

Post by John Upham » Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:35 am

Thanks for posting this John and an interesting memory from Leonard.

If only Leonard would write his memoirs...

What an incredible source and tribute that would be,
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Re: Stuart Milner-Barry, Messenger & Chess Player

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Fri Nov 20, 2020 12:56 pm

Those of us who saw Sir Stuart at matches in his later life will recall that he usually wore a long grey over coat, a red (from memory) scarf and a hat. When I visited BP a few years ago, but after he died, I was in "his" hut which was set up as it would have been in those days. I turned to exit the room and was extremely surprised to see an old style coat stand, with his coat, scarf and hat upon it. I haven't mentioned this before as publishing this on the internet might attract thieves and souvenir hunters. But now it seems somebody has pinched the scarf, so I might as well publish it.

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Re: Stuart Milner-Barry, Messenger & Chess Player

Post by Neil Blackburn » Fri Nov 20, 2020 3:33 pm

Gordon Cadden wrote:
Fri Sep 25, 2015 12:29 pm
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.
At the risk of appearing self promoting - not my thing - I did an article on the Bletchley team.
https://www.chess.com/blog/simaginfan/b ... ss-history
Hope that helps. Cheers, Neil.

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Re: Stuart Milner-Barry, Messenger & Chess Player

Post by Neil Blackburn » Fri Nov 20, 2020 3:40 pm

John Saunders wrote:
Fri Nov 20, 2020 1:26 am
Here's another little scoop for the forum. On page 1 of this thread, in 2015, Brian Denman was the first person to publish a digital version of the one extant game from the 12-board Oxford University vs Bletchley CC match on 2 December 1944. Until now that game, Golombek-Cornforth (board 2) had been the only game of this celebrated match to be published. We now have a second game score from the match, keyed in by Geoff Chandler today. Dr Aitken's scorebook didn't mention the occasion but it did have his opponent's name and the date so we know it's from the same match, played on board three...

Big thank you from me for this. We also have the top board game from the CHESS report

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