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BRITBASE - British Chess Game Archive

Britbase Chess Archive : Material from the 1930s - Part 1

Last Edited: Monday September 14, 2015 6:07 PM

Most of the material assembled below was taken from volumes of English Counties' Chess Unions Combined Yearbooks, which were very kindly supplied by Maurice H Carter. If readers have an additional material or corrections/amendments to material already published, I would be delighted to feature them here.

RHS StevensonRHS Stevenson (pictured left) is now better known as the husband of famous Woman's World Champion Vera Menchik (1906-1944). His full name was Rufus Henry Streatfeild Stevenson (1878-1943) and he was a noted chess organiser in the UK. He was Kent County Champion in 1919. In 1931 he edited the Home News for the British Chess Magazine and dealt with subscriptions.

In 1931 Stevenson and his first wife Agnes Bradley (née) Lawson (abt November 1873, Hartlepool, Durham - 20 August 1935), herself a four-times British Ladies' Champion) lived in SW4 and played for the Lewisham St Mary's club, but the first Mrs Stevenson died in a tragic and bizarre accident in Poland in August 1935. She had been picked to play in the Women's World Championship in Warsaw and arrived in Posen (now known as Poznan) by plane from Berlin. Having completed the passport formalities, she was returning to the aircraft. Thinking it was just leaving, she ran for it, and unfortunately approached the front rather than the back, ran straight into the propellors which had just been started up and was killed. Stevenson married Vera Menchik in 1937, at which time he was the Kent County Hon.Sec, having previously been the match captain. He later became the BCF Hon.Sec.


RC Noel-Johnson


Pictured right, is Reginald Charles Noel-Johnson (6 March 1904 - 2001), who was Kent Champion in 1927, 1931, 1932 and 1935 and played in the British Championship in 1936. He was a musician and composer by profession and, amongst other things, wrote incidental music to accompany Enid Blyton's broadcast readings of her 'Noddy' stories. Here are two examples of his play :

Yeeles,WJE - Noel Johnson,RC
Kent County Individual (1), 1935

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.Bf4 Bf5 4.e3 c5 5.Bb5+ Bd7 6.Bxd7+ Nbxd7 7.0-0 e6 8.Nbd2 Rc8 9.c3 Be7 10.Qa4 a6 11.dxc5 Bxc5 12.Nb3 0-0 13.Nxc5 Nxc5 14.Qc2 Qe7 15.Rfd1 Rfd8 16.Qe2 Nfe4 17.Rac1 f6 18.Bg3 e5 19.c4 dxc4 20.Rxc4 Rxd1+ 21.Qxd1 Rd8 22.Qe2 Qd7 23.Kf1 b5 24.Rc2 Qd5 25.Ne1 Nxg3+ 26.hxg3 Ne4 27.Qg4 g6 28.Rc8 f5 29.Rxd8+ Qxd8 30.Qe2 Nd2+ 31.Kg1 e4 32.Nc2 Nc4 33.Nd4 Qa5 34.a3 Ne5 35.Nb3 Qc7 36.Qd2 Nd3 37.Nd4 Kf7 38.b4 Qc4 39.Kh2 Kf6 40.Kh3 Ke5 ½-½

Noel Johnson,RC - Yeeles,WJE
Kent County Individual (2), 1935 [Notes by Sir George A. Thomas]

1.d4 Nc6 (Hoping to lure his opponent into some premature aggressive action. But White decides to develop on ordinary lines) 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 d6 4.g3 Bf5 (Not a very good square for the bishop if Black intends a king's fianchetto) 5.Nc3 g6 6.Bg2 Bg7 7.0-0 (7.d5 was perhaps the best way to take advantage of Black's poorly placed bishop; if then 7...Ne5 (or 7...Nb8 8.Nd4) 8.Nxe5 dxe5 9.e4) 7...0-0 8.Nh4 Qd7 9.e4 Bh3 10.f3 Rae8 (The rook is not well placed here, as things turn out; e5 at once is indicated) 11.Be3 Bxg2 12.Nxg2 e5 13.d5 Nd4 14.Ne2 Nxe2+ 15.Qxe2 Nh5 (Ineffective, in view of White's reply; 15...Qe7 followed by Nd7, might be best in anticipation of the advance of White's c-pawn) 16.g4 Nf6 17.c5 b6 18.b4 Nxd5 (An altogether unsound sacrifice. But Black has much the inferior position in any case) 19.exd5 e4 20.c6 Qe7 21.Rad1 exf3 22.Qxf3 f5 23.Bf2 fxg4 24.Qxg4 Qe2 25.Qxe2 Rxe2 26.Bd4 (The a-pawn is not to be defended) 26...Rxf1+ 27.Kxf1 Rxa2 28.Bxg7 Kxg7 29.Nf4 (The entry of the knight leaves Black obviously without resource) 29...Rb2 30.Ne6+ Kf6 31.Nxc7 Rxh2 32.Nb5 a6 33.Nxd6 Ke5 34.Nc4+ Ke4 35.c7 Rh1+ 36.Ke2 Rh2+ 37.Ke1 1-0


Sultan Khan, Sir George Thomas etcPictured playing left at Worcester, c.1931, are Mir Sultan Khan (1905-1966) (on the left, playing black) and Theodore H. Tylor (1900-1968) (right, playing white). Spectators include Sir George Thomas (1881-1972) (far left) and Arthur J Mackenzie (1871-1949) (far right). Sultan Khan won the British Championship in 1929, 1932 and 1933, returning in the latter year to India whence he never returned. Sir George Thomas won the British Championship in 1923 and 1934, and was a world-class badminton player as well as a fine hockey and lawn tennis player. Theodore Tylor won the British Correspondence Chess Championship in 1932, 1933 and 1934, and suffered the handicap of near-blindness. In 1965 he was knighted for his service to organizations for the blind. He was Fellow and Tutor in Jurisprudence at Balliol College, Oxford. At chess he finished in high positions in several British Championships and played on board 5 in the England team at the Hamburg 1930 Olympiad (Thomas was on board 3 and Sultan Khan on board 1). Mackenzie was a strong player (top board for Warwickshire) and was president of the MCCU at the time of the photograph. He went on to play for Scotland in the Folkestone Olympiad 1933.


GP BrittonHAMPSHIRE CHESS CHAMPION, 1931

Extract from the Combined Yearbook, 1931

"Graham Powell Britton, a son of Berry G. Britton, B.Sc. (London), Senior Science Master at Taunton's School, Southampton, has won the highest honour in Hampshire chess in his eighteenth year.

"This distinction has been gained at the expense and in competition with the most seasoned players of the county, and G. P Britton's feat is likely to stand as a school record in county chess achievements for long years to come.

"It is not unlikely that this youthful player will come into greater prominence should he succeed in entering one of the older Universities. His brother, Gordon Berry Cowley Britton, won the Southampton Exhibition to Queen's College, Oxford, last year, and has since been awarded a State scholarship.

"The united good wishes of all Hampshire chess enthusiasts will go out to their new champion in his other quest, for he too has just been awarded a State scholarship, and has reasonable hopes of graduating at Cambridge in the coming year.

"Berry C. Britton, an associate of the Royal College of Science, has been associated with the chess teams of Taunton's School for many years, and his efforts towards the propagation of the royal game amongst the students has already furnished the county with a growing coterie of good class players.

"The Headmaster, F. J. Hemmings, B.Sc. (London), is a vice-president of the Hampshire Chess Association."

Graham Britton was still an active player until well after the Second World War.


GSA WheatcroftGSA Wheatcroft (1905-87) was British Correspondence Chess Champion in 1935 and represented England at the Stockholm 1937 Olympiad. His full name was George Shorrock Ashcombe Wheatcroft but he was familiarly known as 'Ash'. He was President of the BCF from 1953 to 1956. Educated at New College, Oxford, he was Professor of English Law at the LSE, 1959-68, and acknowledged as a standard authority on tax law. Here is a near miss against Keres at the Margate 1939 tournament:

Wheatcroft,GSA - Keres,P
Margate (Rd 5), 1939

1.e4 e5 2.f4 d5 3.exd5 e4 4.d3 Nf6 5.dxe4 Nxe4 6.Nf3 Bc5 7.Qe2 Bf5 8.Nc3 Qe7 9.Be3 Bxe3 10.Qxe3 Nxc3 11.Qxe7+ Kxe7 12.bxc3 Bxc2 13.Kd2 Bg6 14.Re1+ Kd8 15.Nd4 c5 16.Nb5 Nd7 17.g4 f6 18.Bg2 a6 19.Nd6 Rb8 20.Re6 Kc7 21.Nc4 Rbe8 22.Rhe1 h5 23.f5 Bf7 24.d6+ Kc8 25.h3?! (25. Na5!?) hxg4 26.hxg4 b5 27.Na5 Ne5 28.Bb7+ Kb8 29.R1xe5 fxe5 30.d7 Rxe6 31.fxe6 Bxe6 32.Nc6+ Kc7 33.d8Q+ Rxd8+ 34.Nxd8 Kxd8 35.Bxa6 b4 0-1




Nottingham 1936

Nottingham  10-28 August 1936 
                             1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 
1   Capablanca,Jose Raul     * ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 1 1 1  10
2   Botvinnik,Mikhail        ½ * ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 1 1 ½  10
3   Fine,Reuben              ½ ½ * ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 1 1 ½ 1   9½
4   Reshevsky,Samuel         0 ½ ½ * 0 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 1 1 1 ½   9½
5   Euwe,Max                 ½ ½ ½ 1 * 0 ½ 0 1 1 ½ 1 1 1 1   9½
6   Alekhine,Alexander       0 ½ ½ 0 1 * 1 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 1 ½ 1   9
7   Flohr,Salo               1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 * 1 1 ½ 1 0 0 1 1   8½
8   Lasker,Emanuel           ½ ½ 0 0 1 ½ 0 * ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 1   8½
9   Vidmar,Milan Sr          0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ 0 ½ * ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 1   6
10  Tartakower,Saviely       ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ ½ ½ * ½ 0 0 1 1   5½
11  Bogoljubow,Efim          ½ 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 ½ * 1 1 1 1   5½
12  Tylor,Theodore           0 0 0 0 0 ½ 1 0 ½ 1 0 * ½ ½ ½   4½
13  Alexander,Conel Hugh     0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 ½ * ½ ½   3½
14  Thomas,Sir George Alan   0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ * ½   3
15  Winter,William           0 ½ 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ *   2½
Reference Bibliography : "Oxford Companion to Chess" (Hooper & Whyld, Oxford University Press, 1996), "Chess : The Records" (Whyld, Guinness Books, 1986)

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