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John Saunders


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Event: Great Britain vs. Netherlands Match • all 16 games • last edited: Tuesday January 17, 2023 10:42 AM
Venue: Curzon Hotel, Mayfair, London • Date: 12-13 April 1912 • Download PGN

Great Britain vs Netherlands Match, London, 12-13 April 1912

 Bd  Great Britain Round 1 Round 2 Netherlands
1w Henry Ernest Atkins 0-1 ½-½ Abraham Speijer
2b Fred Dewhirst Yates 1-0 ½-½ Johannes Fredericus Samuel (Jan) Esser
3w Joseph Henry Blake 1-0 0-1 Benjamin Leussen
4b Sir George Alan Thomas ½-½ ½-½ Arnold Engelinus van Foreest
5w Reginald Pryce Michell 1-0 0-1 Jan Willem te Kolsté
6b Harold Godfrey Cole 1-0 ½-½ [Pierre Joseph] Henry Baudet
7w Edward Guthlac Sergeant 0-1 0-1 Louis (Levie) Gans
8b Edmund Macdonald ½-½ 0-1 Willem Andreas Theodorus Schelfhout
    5-3 2-6  
  12-13 April 1912 7-9 Venue: Curzon Hotel, Mayfair, London

BCM, 1912, p205

The match Great Britain versus Holland, promoted by the Imperial Chess Club was duly contested on Friday and Saturday, April 12th and 13th, at the Curzon Hotel, Mayfair, London, W. On the Friday the British team had first move on all the boards and scored 5 points to 3. Next day the Dutch players had the move, and made such determined efforts that they not only wiped out the deficit but actually won the match by 9 points to 7. [scores of games as above]

1912 Gt Britain vs Netherlands match
From left to right, standing: Bertram Goulding Brown, Hervey Fisher, Sir George Thomas, J Blake, E Macdonald, F Yates, E Sergeant, R Loman, J Te Kolste, Dr. J Esser, B Leussen, W Schelfhout, Jhr. v. Foreest. Sitting: R Michell, Leopold Hoffer, HE Atkins, Mrs. Ella Frances Rawson, "Mr. Chess" [ I think Abraham Speijer - JS], Meijer, L Gans.

Illustrated London News - Saturday 02 March 1912

"A chess match between Great Britain and Holland has been arranged to be held at the Curzon Hotel, Mayfair. Strongly representative sides have been got together, and there will be two rounds, one on the evening of Friday, April 12, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., and one on Saturday, April 13, from 2 p.m. till 7 p.m.; adjourned games being finished off between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. A subscription list has been opened to defray the expenses of the match, and contributions may be sent to Mrs. Arthur Rawson, Imperial [Chess Club, Curzon Street, W. [i.e. London, West]"

The Times, 13 April 1912


An interesting match, arranged by the Imperial Chess Club, was played yesterday at the Curzon Hotel, Curzon Street, between teams representing Great Britain and Holland. Play began at 5 p.m., the British players having the move at each board. Of eight games Great Britain won four and Holland two, one was drawn and one is not yet finished.

The first game finished was that at board No. 3, where, owing to an unaccountable oversight, Dr. Laussen lost his queen quite early in the game and resigned immediately. Chief interest was afterwards taken in the game at board No. 2, where Mr. Yates was playing brilliantly against Dr. Esser. The British player offered a bishop at move 23 which Dr. Esser, after long consideration, was tempted to take. Mr. Yates then finished the game in first-rate style and mated his opponent at move 30.

Immediately after the end of this game Mr. Sergeant made a blunder which lost him a piece with no attack as compensation, and he was compelled to resign. Meanwhile the game at board No. 1 was attracting considerable attention, for Mr. Speijer was playing strongly against the British champion, and for some time had rather the better of the game. Both players became pressed for time later in the evening and had to make a number of moves in quick succession. The Dutch player, however, forced his advantage, and at length defeated his formidable opponent.

Mr Michell then put Great Britain ahead with a good win at board No. 5. Close upon time, Mr. Cole won his game against Mr. Baudet, and Mr. Thomas drew with Mr. Van Foreest. The remaining game was adjourned until to-day.

A further match between the same teams will be contested to-day, when play will begin at 11 a.m. In the evening the teams will be entertained at dinner, at which Sir John Thursby is to take the chair.

The Times, 15 April 1912


The adjourned game between Messrs. Macdonald and Schelfhout in the chess match between Great Britain and Holland, begun on Friday at the Curzon Hotel, was concluded on Saturday, the two players agreeing to a draw after a few more moves.

The following is the full score of Saturday’s play, together with tho openings adopted, the Dutch players having the move at each board :— [match scores]

On the two days play, Holland therefore has the advantage by 0 games to 7. The game played at Board No. 3 was as follows :— [game score Leussen-Blake]

In the evening the players were the guests of the Imperial Chess Club at dinner at the Curzon Hotel. In the absence ol Sir John Thursby the chair was taken by Lord Claud Hamilton, and those present included Mrs. Arthur Rawson, president of the club, the Netherlands Minister, the Netherlands Consul General, Lord Hawarden, Canon A. Gordon Ross, Mr. Goulding Brown, Mr. Blydenstein, Mr. and Mrs. R. Loman, Mr. Guest, Mr. L. Hoffer, Miss [Kate Belinda] Finn, Mr. de Colyar, and Mr. Hervey Fisher (hon. sec.)

The Netherlands Minister, responding to the toast of his health, expressed his appreciation of the kind words which had been spoken of him and his countrymen. He was very glad that the Dutch team had been successful in their honourable contest with the English, and he only wished that all fights were as happy in their results to both sides. His countrymen had been successful on that occasion, but the English would be successful on the next, when they went to Amsterdam, although the Dutch would certainly do their best to prevent them from being so. (Laughter and cheers.)

Speeches by Mr. HERVEY FISHER, Secretary of the Imperial Chess Club, given at the celebratory dinner on Saturday evening 13 April. [from the tournament book]

"My Lord, your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen.

"I rise on behalf of Mrs. Rawson to thank Mr. Guest [footnote: chess columnist, Morning Post] for the graceful manner in which he has proposed her health, and expressed at the same time the feelings of all those who are present. I wish I could adequately interpret Mrs. Rawson’s feelings of gratitude towards Mr. Guest whose genial presence and sympathetic assistance have enabled her to bear the burden of a great international contest. Mr. Hoffer has been described as the brain of Britisch Chess, I am inclined to think that Mr. Guest is its soul.

"Mrs. Rawson is, I am sure, above all grateful to the splendid response made by the Dutch players to her invitation, and to the magnificent spirit shown by both teams during the contest. It has been the wish of our hostess to draw closer together the chess communities of Holland and Great Britain.

"I think we see that wish fulfilled here tonight. Mrs. Rawson hopes that we may soon know as much about Dutch chess as we know about Dutch painting and that we may soon be discussing the style of Mr. Speyer and Dr. Esser as we discuss the style of Rembrandt and Frans Hals.

"After all, chess is as good an index to national character as any other art. The more we know about Dutch Chess, the more we shall know about Holland.

"Mrs. Rawson has identified herself with Holland not only by starting this contest but she has identified herself in a more feminine and intimate manner by christening her pet canary with the name of Speyer. She declares that the bird sings all the better for the honour.

"It has been said that when chess becomes perfect it will cease to exist. The same cannot be said of woman. Have we not a Perfect Woman in the shape of Mrs. Rawson, and is she not very much alive?

"My Lord, your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen.

"I rise to propose the health of Mr. Meijer and Mr. Loman. I need hardly say that this chess contest between Great Britain and Holland would never have taken place but for the inspired pertinacity of Mr. Loman and the rare executive skill of Mr. Meijer. Whatever winds blew, through good and ill report. Mr. Loman and Mr. Meijer never wavered in their resolute purpose to bring this match to a successful issue. Whilst Mr. Meijer was organising in Holland his team, with the silent and rapid energy of a Tromp, Mr. Loman in London was stimulating the Imperial Chess Club to activity with the fervour of a prophet.

"Nothing damped the ardour of these men. They never slackened in their efforts. Whenever a hitch occurred I always found Mr. Loman as cheerful as a Dutch tulip. Whenever difficulties arose, whenever in the course of negotiations Mrs. Rawson and I found some knot to be untied, it was to Mr. Meijer that we looked for help and we never looked in vain.

"Some people write long letters which an army of linguistic experts is needed to explain. Mr. Meijer wrote short letters which explained themselves. His style, direct and swift as a bullet, proclaimed the man of iron will.

"This contest is an illustration of what may be termed the Loman-Meijer gambit. It is an adventurous opening, fruitful in possibilities (possibilities which I shall leave the future analyst to explore and expound). It is a gambit stamped with the genius of its two creators. It is a startling lesson in the art of combination. I need hardly say that it is an opening which requires very delicate handling on the part of those who adopt it. From the point of view of strategy I venture to think that it is superior to all other gambits. It is more difficult to manage men (I will say nothing of the women) than it is to manage chess-pieces. Men have a trick of getting on the wrong squares, from which it is very difficult to dislodge them without upsetting the whole board. Mr. Loman and Mr. Meijer got their men on the right squares and, what is more, they succeeded in keeping them there. The result is we see here to night the harmony which Mr. Loman so brilliantly exemplifies on the piano.

"I can truly say of Mr. Loman that he is the greatest chess player among musicians, and the greatest musician among chess players. I believe that chess and music contend for the mastery of his soul (Mr. Speijer: "What about his wife, Mrs. Loman"). I cannot inform Mr. Speijer on that point. He knows more about the fair sex than I do, especially when he is away from Holland. Although both music and chess contend for his soul, Mr. Loman like a wise man allows neither to obtain a complete and exclusive conquest.

"I invite you all to drink the health of Mr. Meijer and Mr. Loman.

Biographical Info

Ella Frances Rawson (née Bremner, often referred to as Mrs Arthur Rawson in references), born 31 October 1856 (when her forename was recorded as Ellen), Glasgow, died 17 July 1942, Whissendine, Rutland, was a notable patroness of chess, organiser and president of the Imperial Chess Club. She married Arthur John Rawson (1850-1894) in 1881 in New Zealand and they appear to have lived most (if not all) of their married life there. Between 1908 and 1911 she returned to the UK and remained thereafter. She signed a petition advocating women's suffrage whilst living in New Zealand and supported initiatives to promote girls' chess in the UK in the 1920s.

File Updated

Date Notes
16 January 2023 First uploaded to BritBase with all 16 games. Thanks to Jan Kertsen for sending the games, photo and reference material.
All material © 2023 John Saunders