Blackpool 1944

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Kevin Thurlow
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Blackpool 1944

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Wed Mar 09, 2016 3:40 pm

I would like to see the cross-table for the above event (won by David Hooper), or failing that a list of the players would be useful.

I am putting some of his annotated games on a database (to make them freely available) and his handwriting is sometimes a bit unclear!

Any help would be appreciated.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Blackpool 1944

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Wed Mar 09, 2016 4:22 pm

I vaguely recall, from looking at old volumes, that CHESS magazine had some reportage on it?

There was a nine move miniature (Hirst v Lockwood) from the tourney which can be found in some databases.
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Richard James
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Re: Blackpool 1944

Post by Richard James » Wed Mar 09, 2016 5:39 pm

Yes, there's a report, scores and a few games in CHESS October 1944.

The games were: Wahltuch 1:0 Gurnhill, Rhodes 1:0 Abrahams, Mieses 0:1 Wahltuch and Rhodes 0:1 Gurnhill.

Final scores in the Premier: DV Hooper 3½, VL Waltuch 3, G Abrahams, CR Gurnhill and HG Rhodes all 2½, and, sadly, J Mieses 1.

Hooper drew on Monday, won on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and lost on Friday. The report gives the number of points scored by each player in each round but not a cross-table. If Kevin could tell me the order in which Hooper played his games it may be possible to construct a cross-table from the available information.

There's no one called Hirst or Lockwood in any of the First Class tournaments, nor among the prizewinners in the Second Class, Third Class or Junior tournaments. There are, however, references in the report to a Major Open section, but the results seem to have been omitted.

"DV Hooper, hope of the South and credited with deep positional insight, brings brightness into the congress in the shape of a bevy of beautiful girls. They have eyes for none but this fair-haired young athlete, square-shouldered and fresh-complexioned, who looks least like a chess player and yet is to prove himself the master of them all."

Meanwhile, on the next page, LW Barden, a 13-year-old Croydon schoolboy, plays as a last minute substitute for Surrey against Middlesex, drawing his game against DM Morrah.

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Re: Blackpool 1944

Post by Richard James » Wed Mar 09, 2016 6:00 pm

Constructing the cross-table from the information available proved to be a simple logic puzzle.

H W A G R M
Hooper x 1 ½ 0 1 1 3½
Wahltuch 0 x 1 1 0 1 3
Abrahams ½ 0 X 1 0 1 2½
Gurnhill 1 0 0 x 1 ½ 2½
Rhodes 0 1 1 0 X ½ 2½
Mieses 0 0 0 ½ ½ X 1

R1
R beat W
G drew M
A drew H

R2
R beat A
W beat G
H beat M

R3
W beat M
H beat R
A beat G

R4
G beat R
H beat W
A beat M

R5
R drew M
G beat H
W beat A

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Blackpool 1944

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Wed Mar 09, 2016 6:07 pm

Hirst v Lockwood was definitely in *a* CHESS magazine, even if not that particular issue.
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Blackpool 1944

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Wed Mar 09, 2016 8:38 pm

Thanks!

The first game I have is Hooper - Mieses (Budapest Gambit!), then Gurnhill (which I could not read) and Rhodes.

From the way it is annotated, it seems Hooper beat Gurnhill, but I have not got the games on Chessbase yet.

When I have done that, I'll say more. I may be back with more questions on other events later...

David H played for Redhill for many years and regularly corresponded with Fred Andrews (Chairman), who kept a lot of material. When Fred lost interest in chess he passed a lot of historical material to me, later, Surrey CCA auctioned off more (on his behalf), and then Fred's son passed more over on Fred's death (aged 99). I have time at last to sort through some of this. There are many pages of hand-written material, and it is not easy to read! Some of the notes are quite revealing, not the more formal notes used in publications.

Tim Harding
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Re: Blackpool 1944

Post by Tim Harding » Wed Mar 09, 2016 9:52 pm

On the British Newspaper Archive I did a search for "Blackpool and chess" in 1944, finding no game scores or results but a few mentions of the event.
Apparently Hooper lived in Wells, Somerset, at this time, and was the current Somerset champion as well as the British Correspondence Champion (Wells Journal, 4 August).
The dates of the Congress were Monday 17 to Saturday 22 July.
The Hastings and St Leonards Observer, 22 July, says the congress was held in the Public Library and was controlled by J[ohn] T[homson] Boyd.
It also says that there were more than 100 competitors in the various sections.
It names the six players in the Major: P.C. Hoad, T. H. Robertson, P. E. Collier (Leicester), H. Rappaport, L. C. Dewing and Dr K. A. Hirsch.
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David McAlister
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Re: Blackpool 1944

Post by David McAlister » Thu Mar 10, 2016 9:57 am

The crosstables for both the Premier and the Major are at page 202 of the 1944 British Chess Magazine. The relevant volume of Di Felice also gives both, giving the BCM as the source. The crosstable for the Major is also given in Chess (November 1944, Volume X at page 25).

The Premier crosstable given in BCM/di Felice does not tally with the construction by Richard James (the report etc. referred to is actually in the September, not October 1944 issue of chess - so that means it can be found in Volume IX). The BCM crosstable gives what appears to be each player's number in the draw, so hopefully this extra information will assist Richard to resolve the contradictions. Here's the crosstable, slightly re-formatted and omitting the players' place of residence (eg Hooper - Wells).

Code: Select all

                       1  2  3a 3b 3c 6  Total
1  D.V. Hooper (4)     x  0  =  1  1  1   3.5
2  V.L. Wahltuch (3)   1  x  0  1  0  1   3.0 
3a G. Abrahams (6)     =  1  x  0  0  1   2.5
3b C. R. Gurnhill (1)  0  0  1  x  1  =   2.5
3c H.G. Rhodes (5)     0  1  1  0  x  =   2.5
6  J. Mieses (2)       0  0  0  =  =  x   1.0
The Gurnhill-Hooper game is given at page 206 of the 1944 BCM and is said to have been played in the third round, which again does not tally with Richard’s construction of the round-by-round results. Here’s the game, so no more deciphering of Hooper’s writing required.



It seems from the reports in Chess that Hooper was a late addition to the Premier and that Hirsch moved down to the Major. The colourful report by E.B. Chapman in Chess contains this passage about the Premier winner:

“D.V. Hooper, hope of the South and credited with deep positional insight, brings brightness into the congress in the shape of a bevy of beautiful girls. They have eyes for none but this fair-haired young athlete, square-shouldered and fresh-complexioned, who looks least like a chess player and yet is to prove himself the master of them all.”

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Blackpool 1944

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Thu Mar 10, 2016 12:08 pm

Thanks again!

David McAlister
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Re: Blackpool 1944

Post by David McAlister » Thu Mar 10, 2016 2:11 pm

Hirst-Lockwood was played at the Blackpool Whitsun Congress played 21-26 May 1945. There's a backstory to the game, as revealed in "A Blackpool Story" (Chess, Volume X, July 1945, page 165).

B. Hirst, his eyes and thoughts riveted on the pocket set in his hands, walked one day into the wrong room in his boarding-house. That evening an indignant landlady, obviously ignorant of the ways of chess-players, told him that he had been seen coming out of a lady's bedroom; and would he please pack up his belongings and leave. His appeals to reason proved quite unavailing and at 10-30 p.m. in war-crowded Blackpool, he had to start tramping the streets in search of fresh accommodation. After numerous fruitless enquiries, he found a place with a bed to spare but on one implied condition - "Would he make up a four at Solo Whist?" Delighted to have found a haven at last, he readily complied, to become more and more worried as two a.m., three a.m., four a.m. came and went and the game continued, but feeling disinclined to be responsible for breaking up the game. At last, shortly after six, he retired for the night. Next day at 9.30 he sat down to play his Congress game with an extremely muddled head and this is how it went: (No. 1927). B. Hirst, White, C.B. Lockwood, Black: 1.P-K4 P-K4; 2.Kt-KB3 Kt-QB3; 3.B-B4 KKt-K2; 4.Kt-B3 P-Q3; 5.KKt-Kt5 P-KR3; 6.BxPch K-Q2; 7.Q-Kt4ch K-K2; 8.Kt-Q5 mate.

The moves 7..Kt-B4 8.QxKt would appear to have been omitted and only then would have come 8...K-K2 9.Kt-Q5 mate.



Suffering from "an extremely muddled head" after a night of dealing with a Blackpool landlady on the warpath and insomniac whist players, one might have expected Hirst to lose quickly in the morning. It seems to me that either the storyteller was deliberately building up to a twist in the tale ending or it was Lockwood who had suffered the misfortunes attributed to his opponent.

My apologies to Richard James for repeating the colour piece he gave about Hooper from Chess in my earlier contribution - not quite sure how i managed to overlook/forget about it.

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John Saunders
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Re: Blackpool 1944

Post by John Saunders » Thu Mar 10, 2016 7:39 pm

I have seven more games from this tournament on my database. If you click where you see the ellipsis below, you can access all seven of them:

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Re: Blackpool 1944

Post by Richard James » Thu Mar 10, 2016 11:59 pm

Two games from CHESS September 1944 p188.

I'm not entirely sure that the round numbers are correct as I was unable to reconstruct a full pairing table from the information available, but CHESS claimed that Wahltuch-Gurnhill and Rhodes-Abrahams (see John's post above) were played in round 2, Mieses-Wahltuch in round 3 and Rhodes-Gurnhill in round 4.





A small point: Wahltuch's middle name is given as Lionel in some sources but a quick BMD check confirms that Leonard is correct.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Blackpool 1944

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Mar 11, 2016 12:07 am

Richard James wrote: but CHESS claimed
BH Wood and his magazine were perhaps never the most reliable source.

From a social and historical context, why was the event able to take place? Perhaps by August 1944, the end of the war was in sight and maybe travel and holiday restrictions had been relaxed. The context suggest it was an unofficial British Championship, or at the very least a "holiday" tournament.

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Re: Blackpool 1944

Post by John Saunders » Fri Mar 11, 2016 1:58 am

I found daily reports of the tournament in the Manchester Guardian and the round numbers were exactly as I had them in the PGN file.

Last round pairings (first named had White): Wahltuch 1-0 Hooper (QP opening, Hooper played 3...Bf5); Gurnhill 1-0 Abrahams (Ruy Lopez, Black tried something irregular); Mieses ½-½ Rhodes (Sicilian). Played on 21 July 1944.

In the first round Mieses was Black against Gurnhill and played a Sicilian. In the fourth round Wahltuch was White against Abrahams.

Unfortunately the Manchester Guardian didn't give any game scores.

Re round numbers: I'm not quite sure what the difficulty was in understanding these. But perhaps people need to be aware that Berger pairings have not always been fixed as they are today. The all-play-all pairing system used for pre-1950s(?) BCF/British tournaments seems to have been slightly different from the modern one. I wrote something about this on Britbase recently.

The MG suggested that it was an NCCU event - only the second since Liverpool 1923...
Manchester Guardian, 17 July 1944 wrote:The committee of the Northern Counties Chess Union showed a year ago the confidence that all reasonable chess players have always had in the favourable progress of the war when they set to work to organise the congress that starts to-day. This, incidentally, is the second Northern Counties Chess Congress in twenty-one years, the first having been played at Liverpool in 1923.
Some interest is lent to this tournament by the fact that the veteran Jaques Mieses, the winner of the Liverpool Tournament in 1923, is once again playing in the Premier. In 1923 he was already a doyen of German, chess. Indeed, he was a master of high rank far back in the days of Steinitz, Lasker, and Pillsbury, and is the sole survivor of the great Hastings Tournament of 1895, having survived the winner of that tournament by forty years Ten years ago, when hard on seventy, he was driven from Germany at approximately the same date that the Germans decided that they could live better without Einstein and other great names that had enriched their land. Mieses has been sufficiently resilient to continue, in exile, to play very fine chess and will undoubtedly do so this week.
Manchester readers will further be interested to learn that that very strong Manchester player Victor Wahltuch, ex-champion of the North of England, who also played in the Premier at Liverpool in 1923, is playing at Blackpool. The same tournament includes Gerald Abrahams, who made his chess tournament debut in 1923 at Liverpool; H. G. Rhodes, more than once champion of Liverpool and Lancashire; Gurnhill, ex-champion of Sheffield and of Yorkshire: and Hirsch. late of Vienna.
There will also be a number of minor tournaments, in which an aggregate of nearly one hundred players will be playing.
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Gordon Cadden
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Re: Blackpool 1944

Post by Gordon Cadden » Fri Mar 11, 2016 10:44 am

Richard James wrote:Yes, there's a report, scores and a few games in CHESS October 1944.

The games were: Wahltuch 1:0 Gurnhill, Rhodes 1:0 Abrahams, Mieses 0:1 Wahltuch and Rhodes 0:1 Gurnhill.

Final scores in the Premier: DV Hooper 3½, VL Waltuch 3, G Abrahams, CR Gurnhill and HG Rhodes all 2½, and, sadly, J Mieses 1.

Hooper drew on Monday, won on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and lost on Friday. The report gives the number of points scored by each player in each round but not a cross-table. If Kevin could tell me the order in which Hooper played his games it may be possible to construct a cross-table from the available information.

There's no one called Hirst or Lockwood in any of the First Class tournaments, nor among the prizewinners in the Second Class, Third Class or Junior tournaments. There are, however, references in the report to a Major Open section, but the results seem to have been omitted.

"DV Hooper, hope of the South and credited with deep positional insight, brings brightness into the congress in the shape of a bevy of beautiful girls. They have eyes for none but this fair-haired young athlete, square-shouldered and fresh-complexioned, who looks least like a chess player and yet is to prove himself the master of them all."

Meanwhile, on the next page, LW Barden, a 13-year-old Croydon schoolboy, plays as a last minute substitute for Surrey against Middlesex, drawing his game against DM Morrah.
Jacque Mieses was 79 years old age when he competed at Blackpool 1944. He had one of the longest careers of any Master. After the war he gave many simultaneous displays in South Wales. He would have been in his eighties.

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