Champions' Names

Historical knowledge and information regarding our great game.
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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Champions' Names

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Sun Oct 10, 2010 10:36 pm

John Saunders wrote:I stumbled on some more information about John Edward Richardson (1940 Boys' Champion) in CHESS magazine today...
CHESS, May 1944, p 113 wrote:A/B J. E. Richardson snatched four days in Johannesburg recently, scoring 1½-1½ in three games against the new Jo'burg champion Dr. Blieden.
CHESS, September 1944, p189 wrote:It is difficult to realise it is five [sic] years since Stowe schoolboy Jack Richardson won the last British Boys' Championship. In 1941, he confirmed this early promise by defeating Imre Konig, the Hungarian-born Yugoslav expert, in a six-game match. Now, A/B Richardson is serving on a destroyer in foreign waters. Post-war chess should find well to the fore.
'Jack' here is presumably the name he was known by, as opposed to his baptismal/birth certificate name of John?

Jon D'Souza-Eva

Re: Champions' Names

Post by Jon D'Souza-Eva » Sun Oct 10, 2010 11:51 pm

John Saunders wrote:I stumbled on some more information about John Edward Richardson (1940 Boys' Champion) in CHESS magazine today...
Great find. Richardson must have been a very strong player if he beat Konig in a match. It would be great if we could find evidence of him surviving the war, though if he did I'm surprised that he seems to have abandoned competitive chess.

Chris - forgive me if I'm stating the obvious, but you do know that Jack was a common nickname for people named John until very recently? Nowadays it seems to have been promoted to be a name in its own right (cf Harry for Henry).

Incidentally, this seems to be conclusive proof that the chess champion John Richardson is not the art historian John Richardson, since according to the latter's Wikipedia entry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Richa ... storian%29):
A month short of seventeen, he enrolled at the Slade School of Fine Art, was called up, fell ill pretty soon and spent the rest of the war with his mother and siblings in London. During daytime, he worked as an industrial designer before becoming a reviewer for The New Observer.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Champions' Names

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Mon Oct 11, 2010 12:09 am

Jon D'Souza-Eva wrote:Chris - forgive me if I'm stating the obvious, but you do know that Jack was a common nickname for people named John until very recently? Nowadays it seems to have been promoted to be a name in its own right (cf Harry for Henry).
I did know that Jack was a common nickname for people, but didn't know that John was one of the names it was used for. I've come across Jack used to refer to C. S. Lewis (Clive Stapledon), and his contemporary John Ronald Reuel (J. R. R.) Tolkien was known as Ronald. Though 'Tollers' (after his surname) was another form of address. In general, though, the use of alternative forms of names, and nicknames and so on, does confuse me horribly. Dick for Richard is another one. For women's names, Liz/Beth/Elizabeth/Lillibet and so on. Endless confusion. It does make me wonder how such traditions start (I can't see how the initial jump would have been made from John to Jack)?

EDIT: PS. Is A/B the position he held in the navy? I tried looking it up, but no luck yet. Ah, I see from this handy list that A/B is likely "Able Seaman": http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/cata ... ID=328&j=1

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Re: Champions' Names

Post by Jon D'Souza-Eva » Mon Oct 11, 2010 12:25 am

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:I've come across Jack used to refer to C. S. Lewis (Clive Stapledon)
This is a rather bizarre coincidence. I live in Headington, where Lewis lived and is buried, and I've just spent the evening in a pub with a local expert on C S Lewis. Last time we met (a few weeks ago) he told me that Lewis chose his nickname of "Jack" when he was a child, after a pet dog called "Jacksy"!

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Champions' Names

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Mon Oct 11, 2010 12:31 am

Jon D'Souza-Eva wrote:
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:I've come across Jack used to refer to C. S. Lewis (Clive Stapledon)
This is a rather bizarre coincidence. I live in Headington, where Lewis lived and is buried, and I've just spent the evening in a pub with a local expert on C S Lewis. Last time we met (a few weeks ago) he told me that Lewis chose his nickname of "Jack" when he was a child, after a pet dog of his called "Jacksy"!
Amazing coincidence. Your mention of Headington reminded me that I'd intended to go to the blitz tournament you were holding there on 29th September. How did that go? Is that pub the same one with the Lewis expert?

Jon D'Souza-Eva

Re: Champions' Names

Post by Jon D'Souza-Eva » Mon Oct 11, 2010 12:43 am

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:Amazing coincidence. Your mention of Headington reminded me that I'd intended to go to the blitz tournament you were holding there on 29th September. How did that go? Is that pub the same one with the Lewis expert?
Yes, same pub - the Butcher's Arms in Wilberforce Street. Ex-Oxford player Jochen Wittmann came back from London for the evening to duff all the locals up and win that tournament. Since then I've held another, and this time it was won in devastating fashion by a new player to the area, an Armenian called David Zakaria, who won all twelve of his games without breaking sweat.

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Re: Champions' Names

Post by Richard James » Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:24 am

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:Endless confusion. It does make me wonder how such traditions start (I can't see how the initial jump would have been made from John to Jack)?
From Wikipedia (confirming what I already knew):

"The name Jack originates from the Middle English given name Jankin, with variants including Jakken and Jakke, formed by the addition of the diminutive suffix "-kin" (similar to the German "-chen") to the name Jan, itself a contracted version of the French name Jehan (like John formed by shortening from the Latin form Johannes). Jankin became Jakken (or Jackin), and eventually Jack. This short form may have been influenced by the phonologically similar French name Jacques—which is cognate with the names James and Jacob. However, this similarity may be coincidence: native speakers of English have historically associated the name Jack with John and only rarely with the name Jacob, for which the usual shortened form is Jake."

I mentioned John E (Jack) Redon in an earlier thread. In the first half of the last century it was very common for John to be known as Jack. John was the most popular name and Jack (as a given name) was much less common. Now they're separate names, and Jack is much more common than John.

John E (Jack) Richardson - the only John E Richardson I could find in a list of WW2 casualties was in the Air Force.

Jon D'Souza-Eva

Re: Champions' Names

Post by Jon D'Souza-Eva » Mon Oct 11, 2010 10:37 am

Richard James wrote:John E (Jack) Richardson - the only John E Richardson I could find in a list of WW2 casualties was in the Air Force.
This site lists the Royal Navy casualties of World War II (and others):

RICHARDSON, Jack, Able Seaman, D/JX 284713, Roberts, 11 November 1942, bombing, killed
...
RICHARDSON, John, Able Seaman, P/JX 146168, Stratagem, 22 November 1944, ship loss, MPK
RICHARDSON, John, Steward, T.124, Puriri, 14 May 1941, ship loss, MPK
RICHARDSON, John, Ty/Act/Leading Seaman, C/SSX 24291, Khedive Ismail, steamship, (Pembroke, O/P), 12 February 1944, MPK
RICHARDSON, John C, Act/Able Seaman, D/JX 265799, Crichton, steamship, (President III, O/P), 13 August 1941, killed
RICHARDSON, John F, Ordinary Seaman, C/JX 248271, Kelly, 23 May 1941, ship loss, MPK
RICHARDSON, John J, Marine, PO/X 108234, RM 10th Battalion, 1st MNBDO, 15 September 1942, Raid on Tobruk, operation Agreement, DOW
RICHARDSON, John K, Ty/Sub Lieutenant (A), RNVR, FAA, 803 Sqn, Kilele, 10 August 1943, air crash, killed
RICHARDSON, John R, Ordinary Signalman, C/JX 269717, Curacoa, 2 October 1942, ship loss, MPK
RICHARDSON, John S, Ordinary Seaman, C/JX 232029, Pembroke, 8 March 1941, killed

Our John/Jack Richardson could have been the first or third Johns listed here.

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Re: Champions' Names

Post by Richard James » Mon Oct 11, 2010 10:39 am

Jon

John Saunders' earlier post demonstrates that Richardson was alive in 1944.

Jon D'Souza-Eva

Re: Champions' Names

Post by Jon D'Souza-Eva » Mon Oct 11, 2010 10:59 am

Richard James wrote:John Saunders' earlier post demonstrates that Richardson was alive in 1944.
True, but it could have been many months before the publication of the story in Chess that the events it mentions took place. The first John Richardson in the list died in November 1944, after the article was published, and if the chess playing John Richardson did die in the war, my money would be on him being our man. The John Richardson who died was on board HM Submarine Stratagem. Here is a report from a survivor of that:
http://www.cofepow.org.uk/pages/ships_stratagem.htm
Note that this John Richardson's rank was Able Seaman, which is the same as the chess player mentioned in the Chess articles.

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John Saunders
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Re: Champions' Names

Post by John Saunders » Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:28 am

Some good news: John Edward Richardson definitely survived the war. He played on board two of the Varsity Match, 18 March 1946, when he beat David le Brun Jones (Trinity, Oxford) on the white side of a QGD. He had previously played in the unofficial Varsity matches of 1941 and 1942, when he defeated (1941) and lost to (1942) John Warcup Cornforth.

Gratifyingly, both JW Cornforth (a famous Aussie prof, Nobel prizewinner and 'Sir') and David Jones (a high-ranking civil servant) are still alive, so I guess we could try to make contact with them to learn more of the 1940 Boys' Champion. David Jones regularly attends Varsity matches - I think he attended in 2010. I'm optimistic that JE Richardson is also still around somewhere.

I just looked up the 1947 Varsity Match and JE Richardson also played in that one (17 March 1947). He beat Leonard Judah R[e]ichenberg (cousin of chessplaying Prof. DB Scott ne Schultz, according to David Jones) on top board, two boards above Alan Phillips. Peter (now Sir Peter) Swinnerton-Dyer played in that match and he too is still with us. I had an email chat with him a few years ago.
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Leonard Barden
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Re: Champions' Names

Post by Leonard Barden » Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:34 am

Richardson's Cambridge college seems a likely source for more information.

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Re: Champions' Names

Post by Jon D'Souza-Eva » Mon Oct 11, 2010 2:16 pm

I've just received an email from Caroline Whitlock of the Old Stoic's (Stowe old boys) office who told me that John Edward Richardson died aged 26 on 22nd October 1949. I wonder if he got an obituary in the next issue of Chess?

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Re: Champions' Names

Post by John Saunders » Mon Oct 11, 2010 6:28 pm

That's sad news (but well done to Jon for discovering it). There's nothing in BCM - I don't have a 1949 (or 1950) CHESS to hand but will look it up when I do.
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Re: Champions' Names

Post by Leonard Barden » Mon Oct 11, 2010 6:46 pm

The most likely source for a meaningful obituary would be the Stowe school magazine. As a national chess champion who had been in the war and who staff still at the school would remember, one would expect some written tribute.

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