Chess history trivia

Historical knowledge and information regarding our great game.
John Townsend
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Re: Chess history trivia

Post by John Townsend » Thu Sep 03, 2020 3:56 pm

Who was the first player in the Oxford - Cambridge university matches who suffered from blindness?

John Upham
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Re: Chess history trivia

Post by John Upham » Thu Sep 03, 2020 4:36 pm

John Townsend wrote:
Thu Sep 03, 2020 3:56 pm
Who was the first player in the Oxford - Cambridge university matches who suffered from blindness?
Last edited by John Upham on Thu Sep 03, 2020 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Tim Harding
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Re: Chess history trivia

Post by Tim Harding » Thu Sep 03, 2020 4:46 pm

John Townsend wrote:
Thu Sep 03, 2020 3:56 pm
Who was the first player in the Oxford - Cambridge university matches who suffered from blindness?
P. Hart-Dyke (Cambridge 1893, 1894, 1895) is the first I am sure of; do you know of an earlier?

The earliest Oxford blind player may have been T. H. Tylor (1919, 1920, 1921 and 1922) but perhaps there was someone in the pre-war series?
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John Townsend
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Re: Chess history trivia

Post by John Townsend » Thu Sep 03, 2020 5:31 pm

Yes, indeed, Tim. Percyvall Hart Dyke, of King's College, Cambridge, was the first, according to P. W. Sergeant's A century of British chess, page 300.
Last edited by John Townsend on Thu Sep 03, 2020 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

John Townsend
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Re: Chess history trivia

Post by John Townsend » Thu Sep 03, 2020 7:12 pm

After looking at John Venn's Alumni Cantabrigienses, I see I gave the wrong birth details for Dyke above. It seems he was born on 27 October 1871. He died on 25 June 1922. He was a good cricketer and also played bridge - presumably, the auction variety.

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MJMcCready
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Re: Chess history trivia

Post by MJMcCready » Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:45 am

Have we ever had a titled player who had a glass eye which once fell out during a match, rolled across the board and knocked his opponent's king over, allowing him to claim victory?

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Re: Chess history trivia

Post by John Moore » Fri Sep 04, 2020 12:45 pm

MJMcCready wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:45 am
Have we ever had a titled player who had a glass eye which once fell out during a match, rolled across the board and knocked his opponent's king over, allowing him to claim victory?
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MJMcCready
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Re: Chess history trivia

Post by MJMcCready » Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:38 pm

An amusing, if implausible, excuse for mistakes made during a game could be that a mistake made on the queenside occurred because the left eye is a glass eye, thus vision on the queenside is impaired slightly but to then claim a mistake made on the kingside is due to the right eye also being a glass eye, thus vision of the kingside is also impaired would perhaps save yourself from further reference to mistakes made, although in truth the excuse is more likely to be taken in jest. Apologies if that's slightly off topic but even after 20 years or so, I still find it highly amusing when I saw an American police officer reprimanding someone who caused an accident, who claimed he had a glass eye then pointed out which one it was, then struggling to defend himself further reiterated he had a glass eye but pointed to the right, to which the policeman remarked with great amusement that the accident was caused because you have two glass eyes, which is perhaps not the most convincing excuse.

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John Saunders
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Re: Chess history trivia

Post by John Saunders » Sun Oct 04, 2020 4:34 pm

Here's your starter for ten, fingers on buzzers...

Who went through 11 rounds of a British Chess Championship without winning a single game with White... and finished first by a clear point?
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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Chess history trivia

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Sun Oct 04, 2020 4:44 pm

Something tells me this is probably from the days when it was an all-play-all.

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John Saunders
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Re: Chess history trivia

Post by John Saunders » Sun Oct 04, 2020 5:34 pm

IM Jack Rudd wrote:
Sun Oct 04, 2020 4:44 pm
Something tells me this is probably from the days when it was an all-play-all.
Not sure why you would think this, Jack. Messrs. Atkins and Yates used to be lethal with White and more than once achieved a clean sweep. Winter managed just the one win with White when he took the title in 1936 but others managed at least two, and usually four or five.

A further clue is that the same player who won the Championship without a single white win also went winless with White the previous year and on that occasion tied for first, only to lose out in a tie-breaker.
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Nick Ivell
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Re: Chess history trivia

Post by Nick Ivell » Sun Oct 04, 2020 5:55 pm

Hartston? Morecambe 1975?

Leonard Barden
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Re: Chess history trivia

Post by Leonard Barden » Sun Oct 04, 2020 5:59 pm

Took me a shamefully long time to work out, but Hartston was winless with White in both 1974, when he was part of the seven-way tie on 7/11 after which Botterill won the play-off, and in 1975, when he was first by a point.

I see Nick defeated me in a photo-finish...

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Re: Chess history trivia

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Oct 04, 2020 6:27 pm

John Saunders wrote:
Sun Oct 04, 2020 5:34 pm
A further clue is that the same player who won the Championship without a single white win also went winless with White the previous year and on that occasion tied for first, only to lose out in a tie-breaker.
As we know it was Hartston. I suppose it may have been a style thing, using his experience of playing board 1 or 2 for England to be super solid with White. At Morecambe in 1975 he was given Black in rounds 5 and 6 and again in rounds 8 and 9.

At the time Hedgehog systems weren't widely understood, so the opening of his game with Simon Webb at Clacton in 1974 looked far too passive. That was one of his three wins. 7/11 was the score to make the 7 way play off.

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John Saunders
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Re: Chess history trivia

Post by John Saunders » Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:08 pm

I was quite surprised when I stumbled on this curiosity. Was Hartston known for his strength with Black? Roger provides a plausible theory to explain this phenomenon. Looking at Hartston's games on Big Database 2020 (admittedly not the most reliable or comprehensive statistical source), Hartston lost with Black to Hort on 8 January 1975 about halfway through the Hastings Premier and then his recorded games (including the remainder of the Hastings tournament, the Master Game tournament, the British Championship and the early rounds of the Teeside International in September) don't feature a single white win (either by his opponent or him) for a sequence of 32 games until 10 September 1975 when he lost with Black to Hort again. During those 32 games, Black won 12 games, of which Hartston himself won 8.

Link to a crosstable of the 1975 British Championship: https://www.saund.org.uk/britbase/pgn/1 ... iewer.html

Link to a crosstable of the 1974 British Championship: https://www.saund.org.uk/britbase/pgn/1 ... iewer.html
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