Dennis Morton Horne (1920-2015)

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John Saunders
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Dennis Morton Horne (1920-2015)

Post by John Saunders » Sun Oct 11, 2015 5:22 pm

Leonard Barden wrote:
Brian Denman wrote: I recently wrote about how Arthur Hall seemed to have been largely forgotten about by the chess community after he stopped playing the game and the same may have applied to Rhodes. If chess is to be considered a social game, we should keep in touch with those of our colleagues who become too old to play chess or are forced to be housebound.
In the spirit of Brian's post, I draw attention to Dennis Horne, about whom I wrote in the 2010 Forum:

Dennis Horne became a strong player at Oxford University immediately after the war in which he served in the army, possibly reaching the rank of captain. His greatest success in an individual game was at Plymouth 1948 where he defeated ex-world champion Max Euwe in fine style. He liked sharp openings, notably the King's Gambit.

He was joint second with Hooper behind Golombek at Felixstowe 1949, the first Swiss system British championship, and did quite well at the 1949-50 Hastings Premier. He would have been in the top 6-10 in England then. He had a military style moustache, smoked a pipe and enjoyed solving the Times crossword. He continued to perform well in the early 1950s and so was selected for the 1952 Olympiad team, where he played on Board 5. He was awarded the British Master title.

Horne became a prep school master with less time for chess and a growing involvement with bridge. His last top class event was the Hastings 1953-54 Premier (where Alexander famously beat Bronstein) where he finished last but beat the world class Fridrijk Olafsson and drew with O'Kelly. After that he played little.

He made a brief reappearance at one of the Evening Standard/National Bank of Dubai Opens in the late 1970s where following a slow start he was playing around Board 30. This was pointed out to John Nunn and it was suggested that he too would be playing down the boards at Horne's age, which Nunn rejected saying "No, I'll still be on the top boards!".

Horne was still alive about nine years ago, retired from teaching and playing bridge though still following chess. At Hastings 1948-9 he played Mieses and so has a Morphy 3 (ie Horne played Mieses who played Louis Paulsen and Bird who both played Morphy).

While preparing my previous post about Hastings 1948-49 I realised that Horne, if still living, will reach 95 next week, on Monday 19 October. He would be England's oldest living master, and possibly the first English chessplayer of international class to reach this landmark. We have had one or two centenarians in the past, but they were just club level players. Tim Harding or Richard James will correct me if I am wrong.

Horne lived for many years in Tunbridge Wells, but 192.com does not list him on the electoral register after 2003. If he has left his old address, bridge people in Tunbridge Wells might know where he lives now. Perhaps Richard Haddrell, who lives in Tunbridge Wells, could investigate.

In view of Horne's distinguished place in English chess history, I think that the ECF, possibly in collaboration with the EBU, should at the very least send him birthday greetings on reaching 95 on 19 October. If 85, 80 or even 50 merit a pat on the back, 95 should not be ignored.

Wearing my journalistic hat, I think that a photo of Horne receiving birthday greetings from ECF and EBU officials would at least make a story for chess columns and magazines, accompanied by the moves of his victory over Euwe at Plymouth 1948 and/or the fastest win at Hastings 1948-49:
ARB Thomas v DM Horne, King's Gambit 1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Nf3 g5 4 Bc4 Bg7 5 d4 d6 6 0-0 h6 7 c3 Be6 8 Bxe6 fxe6 9 e5 Nc6 10 Qg3 Qd7 11 d5 Nxe5 12 Qxb7 Qc8 13 Qb5+ c6 14 dxc6 Qxc6 15 Nd4? Nf3+! 0-1 But, of course, all the above is only valid if he is still living.
Leonard drew my attention to this in the '1924 British Championship' thread. It spurred me to look up Dennis Horne and I discovered that Dennis Horne sadly died earlier this year, so I have created a new thread in the Deaths and Obituaries section of the forum. Hope that is OK.

Dennis Morton Horne was born on 19 October 1920 and his birth registered in Reigate. He evidently went to Gresham's School, Holt, in Norfolk as it was at their website that I discovered he had died on 3 May 2015. (Ref: http://www.greshams.com/old-greshamians-ogs; also see https://www.thegazette.co.uk/notice/2363261 which indicates that his last address was in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

Leonard's comments above provide much of the detail of his career as a player. I can add a few games scores...





I can't find a win against Euwe but I can find two draws against the ex-world champion. Here is one...



The other was at Plymouth 1948, which I will add here once I've keyed it in.
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John Saunders
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Re: Dennis Morton Horne (1920-2015)

Post by John Saunders » Sun Oct 11, 2015 5:31 pm

Here's the other Horne draw versus Euwe.



At the time the pundits thought 20 Ne5 was a likely winner for White but the 21st century electronic pundit prefers 20 Ng5.
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Re: Dennis Morton Horne (1920-2015)

Post by Tim Harding » Tue Oct 13, 2015 1:48 pm

Sorry to hear about the death of D. M. Horne. I forget what year he was awarded the British Master title after a revision of the criteria for the title; I think it was probably 1964 or 1965?
Shortly after that I played him on top board in a Worcestershire league match (a fairly short draw, not preserved). He said he had just taken up the game again after getting the title, which I think had been a pleasant surprise. I am not sure what club he was playing for.
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Re: Dennis Morton Horne (1920-2015)

Post by John Foley » Tue Nov 10, 2015 10:19 am

Was he any relation to David Horne from the 1980s famous for squeezing a chess programme onto the Sinclair ZX81 in less than 1k of code?

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