Whatever happened to R. Chernikeeff?

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Gerard Killoran
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Whatever happened to R. Chernikeeff?

Post by Gerard Killoran » Tue Jan 12, 2016 3:04 pm

John Saunders at Britbase is looking for missing games from the British Championships at Worcester 1931.

http://www.saund.co.uk/britbase/pgn/193 ... iewer.html

I came across this game from a promising 13 year old member of the Imperial Chess Club. Apart from a couple of junior and club games he seems to have disappeared from the chess world after playing in the Christmas Tournament of the London Chess League 1933/4 (The Times 8 Jan. 1934).

Who was he and what happened to him?


Richard James
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Re: Whatever happened to R. Chernikeeff?

Post by Richard James » Tue Jan 12, 2016 3:58 pm

Rostislav Chernikeeff married Jean A R Francis in Kensington, London in Q1 1940.

Jean appears on electoral rolls in Kensington up to 1957 with no sign of Rostislav (although I did find a lady called Poppy Cocke living round the corner!).

From the London Gazette 22 October 1982, a bankruptcy notice:

CHERNIKEEFF, Rostislav, otherwise known as Rustislava Teherikeese, John Drummond, John Edward Gordon, John Wilfred Barker and John E. Barker of 98 Munster Road, London S.W.6, occupation unknown lately of 66 Gloucester Mews, London W.2 and formerly of 46 Hornton Street, London W.2, lately a BUSINESS CONSULTANT.

Court—HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE. No. of Matter—1612 of 1975. Date of Order—27th July 1982. Nature of Order made—Bankrupt's discharge refused.

From a genealogy message board:


Help! could anyone help me please? I am seeking information regarding my family of `Chernikeeff` grandfather Capt. Vassili Chernikeeff of the Russian Navy begining of century came to england 1922. thanks, Steven

Hi again - a little more background. I am the son of Rostislav Chernikeeff and have quite a bit of information - the original patents (which I would happily donate to a serious naval museum) and have visited Vladimir and seen my Grandfathers original house (green in colour).

I also have a print out of his Naval record (in Russian) - it seems (I never met him regretfully) that he was a brilliant engineer but an awful businessman.

Hello - no unfortunately my Father was VERY secretive and non-communicative about his family. I have found relatives in Kiev, Ukraine and Australia but that's about it.

I have found that my Father did have other children (a complete surprise to me!!!) but again, no information.

It would be nice to hear from anyone about anything about my family but I search in isolation at the moment. Thanks for your reply.

Steven Chernikeeff

PS I should clarify that he DID have brothers, I believe two, and a sister. I have searched for many years but to no avail.

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Gerard Killoran
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Re: Whatever happened to R. Chernikeeff?

Post by Gerard Killoran » Tue Jan 12, 2016 5:09 pm

He seems to be our man. I'd guess that he gave up chess, as the war, marriage - in 1940 - and his 'business' activities would have kept him fully occupied.

Brian Denman
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Re: Whatever happened to R. Chernikeeff?

Post by Brian Denman » Tue Jan 12, 2016 10:38 pm

I enclose a couple of games from the BCF Congress at Worcester.



Roger de Coverly
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Re: Whatever happened to R. Chernikeeff?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jan 12, 2016 11:33 pm

Brian Denman wrote: [Black "Jackson, EM."]
The late EM Jackson, famously used by Bill Hartston in his spoof on Ritson Morry's style of annotation.

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John Saunders
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Re: Whatever happened to R. Chernikeeff?

Post by John Saunders » Tue Jan 12, 2016 11:59 pm

Many thanks to Gerard and Brian - I have now included the additional/updated game scores to what appears on BritBase, and also added complete crosstables of the events.

http://www.saund.co.uk/britbase/pgn/193 ... iewer.html

P.S. To Roger - 'the late EM Jackson of Hastings' meme was probably only 'famous' amongst those of us who read Dragon many moons ago. I've a vague feeling that there was an instance of 'life imitating art' when WRM referred to 'the late EM Jackson of Hastings' in an article after the Hartston spoof had been published, possibly in a copy of BCM around 1972/73 but I've not been able to track it down. It was not the last time WRH wrote about WRM by any means - the obit he wrote about him for the Independent is another example of a chess player failing to observe the 'de mortuis nil nisi bonum' principle.
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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Whatever happened to R. Chernikeeff?

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Wed Jan 13, 2016 12:04 am

Jackson was also referenced the spoof game annotation in Hartston's book "Soft Pawn".
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Whatever happened to R. Chernikeeff?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Jan 13, 2016 12:16 am

John Saunders wrote:I've a vague feeling that there was an instance of 'life imitating art' when WRM referred to 'the late EM Jackson of Hastings'
Hartston claimed all the notes were genuine. The Jackson at Hastings note is on pages 75 and 76 of the March 1970 edition of the BCM, in which Ritson claims to have played the Modern Benoni long before Tal or Hromadka. It's quite impossible to read those 1970 articles with a straight face. In fact many if not all of the Hartston extracts are from that March 1970 magazine.

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John Saunders
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Re: Whatever happened to R. Chernikeeff?

Post by John Saunders » Wed Jan 13, 2016 1:04 am

At last, the game that the world has waited 77 years to see can be shared with a wider public...



The Birmingham Daily Post referred to this as a 'slashing attack by Morry'.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Whatever happened to R. Chernikeeff?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Jan 13, 2016 1:16 am

John Saunders wrote:
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 b5
So not just the Benoni in 1938, but also the Benko ( or Volga if you prefer)

Playing through it quickly, it was by no means obvious what was happening, but admirably chaotic in a style that would defy positional annotation.

Brian Denman
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Re: Whatever happened to R. Chernikeeff?

Post by Brian Denman » Wed Jan 13, 2016 10:12 pm

Perhaps I could ask John about the Rhodes v Cross game played at Worcester. The main score is from the Glasgow Herald from which it is clear that White had a lost position on move 30. As regards the BCM of 1931, does it just gives moves 27-30 and then state that White won? I was wondering if the BCM gave a table of overall results for the Major Open, which confirmed that Rhodes lost. That would resolve the apparent contradiction.

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John Saunders
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Re: Whatever happened to R. Chernikeeff?

Post by John Saunders » Thu Jan 14, 2016 1:13 am

Apologies, Brian, my mistake. Just to confirm, Black did win the game Rhodes-Cross. The concluding comment after Black's 30th move in BCM was "and wins" (not "and White won" - these words appear elsewhere on the page appended to another game - my eye must have been drawn to them as I was typing). I have applied a correction.

If you navigate to http://www.saund.co.uk/britbase/pgn/193 ... iewer.html and page down, you can see that the Major Open crosstable confirms that Cross (Black) won against Rhodes.
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Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Whatever happened to R. Chernikeeff?

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Thu Jan 14, 2016 12:42 pm

I assume I'm not the only reader wishing it had been Cross-Rhodes?

Brian Denman
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Re: Whatever happened to R. Chernikeeff?

Post by Brian Denman » Thu Jan 14, 2016 3:07 pm

John, thanks for your notes on the Rhodes v Cross game. A few years ago I found a newspaper (perhaps The Field), which gave the players' individual results round by round for the 1931 Worcester congress. I copied down the opponents for the four players with a Sussex connection viz E M Jackson, H G Rhodes, C A S Damant and Vera Menchik. I thus found Broadbent v Rhodes was played in round 2 (11/8), Menchik v Golombek in round 4 (13/8), Znosko-Borovski v Menchik in round 7 (17/8), Damant v Bonham in round 7 (17/8) and Rhodes v Golombek in round 8 (18/8). Unfortunately I now see that I have written down Jackson v Reeve twice in rounds 7 and 8. Jackson must have played Reeve and Cross in those two rounds and I was wondering if you could consult the 1931 BCM to see if it gives any clue as to which opponent Jackson played first. I believe that Eugene Znosko-Borovski had a second name of Alexandrovich. The young player H T Reeve of Oriel College, Oxford, ought to have easily accessible Christian names, but these do not seem to readily appear on the Ancestry website. I wrote a short biography about E M Jackson (mentioned above regarding W Ritson Morry), on the Hastings CC website several years ago, but unfortunately the links for the games have been broken.

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Re: Whatever happened to R. Chernikeeff?

Post by Richard James » Thu Jan 14, 2016 3:42 pm

A possible - and rather tragic - biography for H T Reeve:

Harold Talbot Reeve, born in 1908 (birth registered Q3 in Hendon), living in Willesden in 1911, the son of a cashier (1911 census)/bookkeeper (HTR's probate record), lived in Isleworth, just up the road from me. Was a lecturer in Borough Road College (in Isleworth), then went into academic administration, holding posts in Warwickshire and the West Riding of Yorkshire before becoming Assistant Director of Education for the Isle of Wight. He was found burnt to death in his lodgings in Newport IOW in February 1941 (the press gave his age as 34 which seems incorrect: he was actually 32), having apparently fainted and fallen onto the fire.

H T Reeve was playing chess for Wakefield in the late 1930s (source: Yorkshire Chess History website) so this fits in with his post in the West Riding. The age also ties in with his being at Oriel College Oxford in 1931.

I can't find anyone else named H T Reeve born at about that time but confirmation would be welcome.

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