Chess-playing Fellows of Royal Society

Historical knowledge and information regarding our great game.
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Christopher Kreuzer
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Chess-playing Fellows of Royal Society

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Mon Mar 04, 2019 1:50 pm

Recalling this thread, which looked again at professors and other academics who are also known for playing chess, I noticed that Demis Hassabis was (last year) made a Fellow of the Royal Society (which is hugely impressive):

Demis Hassabis (Wikpedia)

Glad to see a good photo up there now (no need to use mine from the World Championships last year!).

I suspect there is a good deal of overlap between professors and FRS, but it is rare for FRS to not be professors (as far as I am aware).

Maybe the first AI professor is not too far away... :mrgreen:

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JustinHorton
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Re: Chess-playing Fellows of Royal Society

Post by JustinHorton » Mon Mar 04, 2019 2:27 pm

"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

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Roger Lancaster
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Re: Chess-playing Fellows of Royal Society

Post by Roger Lancaster » Mon Mar 04, 2019 3:59 pm

One name I don't think I've seen mentioned in this forum, although he's sufficiently well-known that this is probably due to lack of rigour on my part, is that of Dr Jacob Bronowski, a polymath probably best remembered for "The Ascent of Man" and a member inter alia of the Royal Society of Literature. I recall playing him in, I think, 1963 or 1964 when I was too young and naïve to have heard of him. Older team-mates evidently knew of his reputation and were suitably impressed when I emerged with a draw. Dr Bronowski died in 1974. I hesitate to assess his playing strength, and possibly others will have relevant data, but would guess at 170 or higher.

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Re: Chess-playing Fellows of Royal Society

Post by David Sedgwick » Mon Mar 04, 2019 4:20 pm

Roger Lancaster wrote:
Mon Mar 04, 2019 3:59 pm
One name I don't think I've seen mentioned in this forum, although he's sufficiently well-known that this is probably due to lack of rigour on my part, is that of Dr Jacob Bronowski, a polymath probably best remembered for "The Ascent of Man" and a member inter alia of the Royal Society of Literature. I recall playing him in, I think, 1963 or 1964 when I was too young and naïve to have heard of him. Older team-mates evidently knew of his reputation and were suitably impressed when I emerged with a draw. Dr Bronowski died in 1974. I hesitate to assess his playing strength, and possibly others will have relevant data, but would guess at 170 or higher.
He gave his name to the Bronowski Trophy Competition, in which you captained the Insurance team once upon a time.

https://bronowskitrophy.wordpress.com/

Edit: If you do a search by entering "Bronowski" in the box at the top right, you will find several references to the Competition and one or two to the man himself, in a thread about Bletchley Park.

Roger Lancaster
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Re: Chess-playing Fellows of Royal Society

Post by Roger Lancaster » Mon Mar 04, 2019 4:27 pm

David Sedgwick wrote:
Mon Mar 04, 2019 4:20 pm

He gave his name to the Bronowski Trophy Competition, in which you captained the Insurance team once upon a time.

https://bronowskitrophy.wordpress.com/

Edit: If you do a search by entering "Bronowski" in the box at the top right, you will find several references to the Competition and one or two to the man himself, in a thread about Bletchley Park.
David, I'd forgotten that but you're absolutely right. Once upon a time, indeed.

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JustinHorton
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Re: Chess-playing Fellows of Royal Society

Post by JustinHorton » Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:11 pm

Which reminds me, Alan Turing may not have been a very good player, especially compared to some of the Bletchley Park people, but he did play, and made some contributions in the field of computer chess. He was a Fellow.

I wonder if Jonathan Mestel, like many other players, learned the moves from his father, Leon Mestel FRS.
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David Gilbert
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Re: Chess-playing Fellows of Royal Society

Post by David Gilbert » Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:37 pm

Well if anyone is playing at Southend this Easter they might bump into the congenial Jeremy Brockes who was elected to the Royal Society in 1994 and has taken to playing chess following his retirement as Professor of Structural & Molecular Biology (basically salamander regeneration) at UCL.

Jeremy has moved from a starting grade of around 120 to 140 in the most recent grading list. He’s a regular at Adam Raoof’s Hammersmith events and was prolific last November, winning the Preston Minor and was one of the runners-up in the 1825 section of the 4NCL International in Telford.

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Re: Chess-playing Fellows of Royal Society

Post by IanCalvert » Sun Jul 28, 2019 1:03 pm

"Bill", W.T.Tutte of Bletchley Park and University of Ontario, the great graph theorist and code-braker, gives Bletchley Park at least 2.

Historically has any other organisation done better?

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Re: Chess-playing Fellows of Royal Society

Post by Tim Harding » Tue Jul 30, 2019 12:23 pm

Let's not forget Nobel laureate Sir Robert Robinson (1886-1975) who was mentioned in the old thread linked from the first post of this one.

Shortly after WW2 Robinson was offered the presidency of the International Correspondence Chess Association (precursor of ICCF) but declined and B. H. Wood took it on.
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John Upham
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Re: Chess-playing Fellows of Royal Society

Post by John Upham » Tue Jul 30, 2019 12:44 pm

Whilst I was attending The University of Sussex to complete my D.Phil in Chemical Physics I was lucky to meet

Sir John Warcup "Kappa" Cornforth Jr. FRS (amongst other honours)

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cornforth
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J T Melsom
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Re: Chess-playing Fellows of Royal Society

Post by J T Melsom » Tue Jul 30, 2019 1:30 pm

John Cornforth had a brief spell playing for Wycombe Wanderers - I didn't realise he was an FRS.

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Re: Chess-playing Fellows of Royal Society

Post by John Upham » Tue Jul 30, 2019 1:53 pm

J T Melsom wrote:
Tue Jul 30, 2019 1:30 pm
John Cornforth had a brief spell playing for Wycombe Wanderers - I didn't realise he was an FRS.
John Cornforth (born 7 October 1967 is a former Wales international football player and is now a coach, most recently Head Coach at English League Two side Torquay United. Originally from Whitley Bay in the north-east of England, Cornforth and his family have been settled in Devon for some time.
There are at least two John Cornforths in the world.
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Gordon Cadden
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Re: Chess-playing Fellows of Royal Society

Post by Gordon Cadden » Mon Aug 12, 2019 4:27 pm

Roger Lancaster wrote:
Mon Mar 04, 2019 3:59 pm
One name I don't think I've seen mentioned in this forum, although he's sufficiently well-known that this is probably due to lack of rigour on my part, is that of Dr Jacob Bronowski, a polymath probably best remembered for "The Ascent of Man" and a member inter alia of the Royal Society of Literature. I recall playing him in, I think, 1963 or 1964 when I was too young and naïve to have heard of him. Older team-mates evidently knew of his reputation and were suitably impressed when I emerged with a draw. Dr Bronowski died in 1974. I hesitate to assess his playing strength, and possibly others will have relevant data, but would guess at 170 or higher.
Dr Bronowski was famous for his " Ascent of Man" Television Series, and of course, a chess player. He is buried in the old part of Highgate Cemetery, London. I was astonished how easy it was, to find his grave. As you enter the old part of Highgate Cemetery, from Highgate Hill, his grave is right in front of the entrance.

Gordon Cadden
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Re: Chess-playing Fellows of Royal Society

Post by Gordon Cadden » Mon Aug 12, 2019 4:36 pm

In London during the 18th century, it was the Fellows of the Royal Academy that established the Chess Club, in St James Street. They employed one Francois Andre Danican Philidor as their chess coach, bringing him over from Paris, for the Season.
It was George Atwood who insisted on games being recorded, but sadly, against the great Philidor, they played him at Odds.

John McKenna
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Re: Chess-playing Fellows of Royal Society

Post by John McKenna » Mon Aug 12, 2019 6:30 pm

... If the weather is too cold or too rainy, I take refuge in the Regency Café. I like to watch the games of chess. The best chess players in the world are in Paris, and the best players in Paris are in the Regency Café. Here, in Rey's establishment, they battle it out--Legal the Profound, Philidor the Subtle, Mayot the Solid. One sees the most surprising moves and hears the stupidest remarks. For one can be an intelligent man and a great chess player, like Legal, but one can also be a great chess player and a fool, like Foubert and Mayot...
http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks07/0700101h.html
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

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