Chess history trivia

Historical knowledge and information regarding our great game.
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Gerard Killoran
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Re: Chess history trivia

Post by Gerard Killoran » Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:01 pm

The answer is
Michell.jpg
Michell.jpg (342.49 KiB) Viewed 1562 times

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Chess history trivia

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:03 pm

Oh, I thought the words looked a bit familiar! BCM wrote a slightly scathing review of the book, saying something like, "The author has made the most of his subject", implying that our hero was not deserving of a games collection.

David McAlister
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Re: Chess history trivia

Post by David McAlister » Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:41 am

The review of "R. P. Michell, a Master of British Chess" referred to was actually in CHESS (April 1947, page 213). Here it is in full:
Britain is far from the top of the chess tree, and there must be a hundred British players with better justification of a book of their games than Michell. Mr. du Mont's graceful pen has made the most of his subject. The price of the book is so extraordinarily high that one feels some appeal is being made to sentiment.
Despite that hatchet job, the magazine had no hesitation in then treating its readers to an extract from the book - Michell's fine win with the black pieces against Bogolujubow at Margate 1923. Michell finished 2nd equal in a field of eight in that tournament alongside Bogolujubow, Alekhine and Muffang, and ahead of Reti in 6th. Grunfeld was first.

The review in the April 1947 BCM at page 114 by R. C. Griffiths is altogether kinder - and in my own view much closer to the mark. I wouldn't part with my own copy of the book. Here is the BCM review, again in full.
No one can quarrel at the title of master, after perusing the thirty-six games, with lucid notes and diagrams; there is also an excellent photograph. I doubt whether any five of our British experts of the last quarter of a century could produce such a collection of masterpieces as here are assembled.

The wonder is that Michell never won the British Championship though he came near to it on one than more occaasion. In the biography I note there is no mention of his prowess at croquet, at which his wife, too, was an adept.

The collection of games includes wins from such players as M. Euwe, R. Reti, E. D. Bogolujubow, H. E. Atkins, F. D. Yates, E. Colle, C. H. O'D. Alexander and others. Our only severe criticism is that, owing to the war the production of the book has been so delayed, and that the publishers find it necessary to charge 10s. 6d.

I hope chess players will not be deterred from buying it on this account, for every game will give pleasure to the connoisseur. Any chess player would be proud to have produced even half of such masterpieces during his career.

NickFaulks
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Re: Chess history trivia

Post by NickFaulks » Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:52 am

David McAlister wrote:The review of "R. P. Michell, a Master of British Chess" referred to was actually in CHESS (April 1947, page 213). Here it is in full:
Britain is far from the top of the chess tree, and there must be a hundred British players with better justification of a book of their games than Michell. Mr. du Mont's graceful pen has made the most of his subject. The price of the book is so extraordinarily high that one feels some appeal is being made to sentiment.
Despite that hatchet job, the magazine had no hesitation in then treating its readers to an extract from the book - Michell's fine win with the black pieces against Bogolujubow at Margate 1923. Michell finished 2nd equal in a field of eight in that tournament alongside Bogolujubow, Alekhine and Muffang, and ahead of Reti in 6th. Grunfeld was first.
I wonder whether CHESS could have named the hundred British players capable of topping Michell's performance at Margate 1923. Presumably there was something personal going on.

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Gerard Killoran
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Re: Chess history trivia

Post by Gerard Killoran » Thu Jul 20, 2017 3:03 pm

At Margate 1923, Michell was a 50 year old amateur who beat Bogolyubov and Reti - and also drew with Alekhine. These were three of the world's top 10, full-time professionals and also much younger men. If it happened today it would cause a sensation.

If we take the Edo ratings http://www.edochess.ca/players/p1233.html as a measure of relative strength, Michell was rated in the top 10 in Britain and the top 100 in the world for much of his chess career. At Shrewsbury 1906, Michell came clear second behind Atkins in the British Championships and was second again, this time behind Yates, at Edinburgh 1926. He then tied for second behind Sultan Khan at Ramsgate 1929 and behind Thomas at Chester 1934. Four time runner-up!

If anything Michell deserved a bigger book, but it was published in an (earlier) era of austerity.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Chess history trivia

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Thu Jul 20, 2017 6:01 pm

"The review of "R. P. Michell, a Master of British Chess" referred to was actually in CHESS (April 1947, page 213). "

oops - I accidentally "misspoke". Apologies to BCM.

"I wonder whether CHESS could have named the hundred British players capable of topping Michell's performance at Margate 1923. Presumably there was something personal going on."

Quite possibly - BH Wood wasn't afraid to speak his mind!

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Gerard Killoran
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Re: Chess history trivia

Post by Gerard Killoran » Sat Jul 22, 2017 12:13 pm

Oops from me too. I think Michell was runner up five times in British Championships

Shrewsbury 1906 1. Atkins 2. Michell
Crystal Palace 1907 1. Atkins 2=. Michell
Edinburgh 1926 1. Yates 2. Michell
Ramsgate 1929 1. Sultan Khan 2=. Michell
Chester 1934 1. Thomas 2=. Michell

carstenpedersen
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Re: Chess history trivia

Post by carstenpedersen » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:44 pm

While idly flicking through BCM 1975 I stumbled on a report about the first Lone Pine tournament. The comments to the game Kushnir - Evans claims that it was the first win by a woman against a GM since before WW2, presumably alluding to Menchik. As the GM title didn't become official until 1950 you could say it was the first ever!

Sounds incredible and even more remarkable that Gaprindashvili wasn't the first to do so - Kushnir also beat Bilek in the same tournament for good measure. I did find a Gaprindashvili win against Kurajica from 1973 but according to Chessgames.com he didn't become a GM until '74.

Does anyone know of any earlier than this?

As Gaprindashvili's win in '77 was definitely the first GM tournament won by a woman it appears Lone Pine was rather important in the history of women's chess.

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Gerard Killoran
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Re: Chess history trivia

Post by Gerard Killoran » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:32 pm

Sonia Graf beat Gideon Ståhlberg at the Jockey Club Tournament, La Plata 1944

http://www.schachversand.de/d/detail/buecher/9638.html

According to Chessmetrics, Ståhlberg was ranked #3 in the world for 5 different months between the February 1948 rating list and the July 1948 rating list

http://www.chessmetrics.com/cm/CM2/Play ... 0000010100

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Chess history trivia

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:08 pm

Though the very first Lone Pine tournament was earlier than that - 1971 or '72?

1975 may have been the first where a significant number of GMs (certainly from outside the US) participated.
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carstenpedersen
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Re: Chess history trivia

Post by carstenpedersen » Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:50 am

Matt Mackenzie wrote:Though the very first Lone Pine tournament was earlier than that - 1971 or '72?

1975 may have been the first where a significant number of GMs (certainly from outside the US) participated.
I never knew that but you're right. 1975 was the first one where international title norms were possible, there were 4 previous tournaments but they were only 7 rounds.

From Wikipedia (if that's allowed here!), summary of the first 4, some very respectable fields but '75 does appear to be when it went big.
  • year date roundsparticipants AveElo Score Winner
    1971 March 14–20 7 33 2190 6 Larry Evans (United States)
    1972 March 12–18 7 35 2262 6 Svetozar Gligorić (Yugoslavia)
    1973 March 18–24 7 48 2322 6 Arthur Bisguier (United States)
    1974 March 24–30 7 53 2310 6 Walter Browne (United States)

John Townsend
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Re: Chess history trivia

Post by John Townsend » Fri Oct 20, 2017 7:39 pm

It's time for another question.

Which famous British chess player died at 5 Brunswick Villas, St. John's Wood?

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Gerard Killoran
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Re: Chess history trivia

Post by Gerard Killoran » Sat Oct 21, 2017 12:54 am

William Lewis?

John Townsend
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Re: Chess history trivia

Post by John Townsend » Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:58 am

Right you are, Gerard. Lewis (1787-1870) was a central figure in British chess for a long time. Does anyone know of any books about his life and/or his games?

John Upham
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Re: Chess history trivia

Post by John Upham » Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:27 pm

Apparently, and this is news to me, WL was allegedly the first player to be described as a Grandmaster of the game. Maybe they meant Grand Master?

Anyone know more about this ?
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