RIP John Littlewood

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John Saunders
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RIP John Littlewood

Post by John Saunders » Wed Sep 16, 2009 11:51 am

I've just heard the desperately sad news that John Littlewood died this morning, aged 78.

I'll be posting something on the BCM website later today.
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LozCooper

Re: RIP John Littlewood

Post by LozCooper » Wed Sep 16, 2009 11:53 am

Very sad news.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: RIP John Littlewood

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:08 pm

Had the pleasure of his company in a weekend meet for NW juniors back in 1983.

His love of the game and enthusiasm to help us all in our chess improvement shone through.

RIP :(
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Re: RIP John Littlewood

Post by Paul McKeown » Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:21 pm

I played him just once, but it was obvious that he was both a gentleman and someone with an enormous love of the game. He will be missed.
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Kevin Thurlow
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Re: RIP John Littlewood

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:23 pm

Paul McKeown wrote:I played him just once, but it was obvious that he was both a gentleman and someone with an enormous love of the game. He will be missed.
yes - same here.
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Leonard Barden
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Re: RIP John Littlewood

Post by Leonard Barden » Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:27 pm

At Hastings 1961-2 John, then 'LittleTal' , gave Botvinnik some anxious moments, marched his king up the board to beat me in the middle game, and won his miniature against Bisguier. A wonderful man, full of enthusiasm, kindness and energy.

A Bisguier-JE Littlewood, Hastings 1961-2

1 d4 d5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 c4 Bg4 4 cxd5 Bxf3 5 gxf3 Qxd5 6 e3 e5 7 Nc3 Bb4 8 Bd2 Bxc3 9 bxc3 cxd4 10 cxd4 Nf6 11 Rb1 0-0 12 Be2 Rfe8 13 0-0 Rad8 14 a4 Rd6 15 e4 Qh5 16 d5 Nd4 17 Rxb7 Nxe4 18 Bf4 Rg6+ 19 Bg3 Nc3 20 Qd3 Ncxe2+ 21 Kh1 Qh3 22 Rfb1 Rxg3 23 fxg3 Nxg3+ 0-1

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John Saunders
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Re: RIP John Littlewood

Post by John Saunders » Wed Sep 16, 2009 1:51 pm

There is a Wikipedia entry on JEL at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Littl ... _player%29 but I would advise fellow journos to proceed with caution as there is at least one error in it. John played in two Olympiads, not three, according to Olimpbase (which I think is right) - 1962 and 1972.

Re Hastings 1961/62: John started with a win against Svetozar Gligoric - who, according to the Nov/Dec 1961 ChessMetrics rating list was 10th or 11th in the world at the time with a rating of 2722. I was going to suggest that this would be like a modern-day IM beating someone of Grischuk's strength but then noticed that John Littlewood was ranked as high as 155th in the world in July 1962 - so he was arguably better than a modern IM in terms of strength. ChessMetrics gives him a TPR of 2538 for 1961/62 Hastings.

John played in five Hastings Premiers and (I think) 19 British Championships - best score 7½ in 1962 and nearest to winning the championship in 1969 - if he had won against Frank Parr in the last round (he had a big plus at one stage), he would have tied first with Penrose.
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Re: RIP John Littlewood

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:05 pm

I still remember him beating Sadler at the British in 1990. Not to mention McShane in the 4NCL in early 1999 :shock:

So yes, at his best I would have thought that he would have equated in stature to the current day candidates for our Olympiad team - it's surprising that he didn't play in Olympiads more often. I didn't know him well myself, but he was obviously a fine man in all respects. RIP

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Re: RIP John Littlewood

Post by Ian Lamb » Wed Sep 16, 2009 3:40 pm

yes very sad News RIP John Littlewood

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John Saunders
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Re: RIP John Littlewood

Post by John Saunders » Wed Sep 16, 2009 5:13 pm

I've just posted an obit on the BCM website - http://www.bcmchess.co.uk. There will be more in the October BCM.

This morning I had only just finished working on John's 'Littlewood's Choice' article for the next 'ChessMoves' (I help the printer to typeset the diagrams for his column) when Malcolm Pein told me that he had died. John had sent copy to the ECF at about 8pm last night so he was enjoying his chess to the last. John sounds his usual cheerful, upbeat self in his last column. It starts "It's great to see Nigel Short back on his best form, so how about a nostalgic trip to his historic match against Kasparov..." and he then annotates the 8th game of the match where Short came close to recording a win.

I first came across John in about 1974 when I was playing for Cambridgeshire against Lancashire in the County Championship semi-final, somewhere in the Midlands. Seeing our team arrive together - we were a bunch of scruffy, long-haired students for the most part - John exclaimed for all to hear: "This lot are too young! Send them away!". But it was just his playful way of teasing us (no doubt he was reminded of his own students at the college where he taught). Didn't do him any good - we won.
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Ben Purton
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John Littlewood

Post by Ben Purton » Wed Sep 16, 2009 8:55 pm

Really sad news today, Sarah lost to him at British and he has like drawn with Symslov etc , Hope he died peacefully and that Paul and family are OK.

Ben
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John Saunders
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Re: RIP John Littlewood

Post by John Saunders » Fri Sep 18, 2009 11:36 pm

I received this message from Paul Littlewood this afternoon...
Paul Littlewood wrote: Dear John,

My Dad's funeral will take place on Thursday 24th September at 3pm at St Helen's Crematorium, Rainford Road, ST HELENS, WA10 6DF ( 01744 677406 )

This will be followed by a reception, to which all are invited, at Holland Hall Hotel, Lafford Lane, UPHOLLAND, Lancs.. WN8 0QZ http://www.hollandhallhotel.co.uk ( 01695 624426 )

Family flowers only but donations in lieu of flowers to ARLAP please.... http://www.arlap.org.uk

I would be grateful if you could pass this on to as many relevant people as you can.

Best wishes,

Paul
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Re: RIP John Littlewood

Post by David Robertson » Sun Sep 20, 2009 10:17 pm

I include below, for the attention of those concerned, a personal appreciation of John Littlewood from his most frequent adversary, John Carleton. Having sat at the adjacent board for many of their encounters over the years, I can attest to their enormous shared respect and love for the game. For what it is worth, my own (lesser) tribute can be found within the forum.

http://www.atticuschess.org.uk/

Ars longa, vita brevis

David

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