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John Saunders


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Tournament: 1st Hastings Premier 1920/21 (won by Yates) • 10 of 12 games, plus 2 from subsidiary events Go to: Next Year
Venue: Hastings Chess Club • Dates: 30 Dec 1920 - 5 Jan 1921 • Download PGNupdated Friday December 16, 2022 4:04 PM

1920/21 Hastings Champions' Tournament, 30 December 1920 - 5 January 1921

1920/21 Hastings Champions' Tournament 1 2 3 4  Total 
 1  Fred Dewhirst Yates
½½ ½1 4
2 Roland Henry Vaughan Scott
3 Henry Ernest Atkins ½½ ½0
½1 3
4 Richard Clewin Griffith ½0 ½0

Time control: 40 moves in 2 hours and 20 moves in 1 hour subsequently (at the request of HE Atkins)

[BCM, February 1921, p41ff]

The meeting of the Present and Past British Champions duly came off under the aegis of the Hastings Chess Club, from December 30th to January 5th. F. D. Yates, of Yorkshire, who won the championship in 1913 and 1914 proved to be the winner, after a close contest, by half a point. His play was generally the soundest and most correct.

"H. E. Atkins evidenced his lack of practice by almost invariably getting short of time; the time-limit, at his request, was forty moves in the first two hours and twenty moves per hour thereafter.

"R. H. V. Scott, the present holder, played the brightest chess, and his judgment is improving; his attacking style leaves him open to the outcry of luck if his attack wins, but proves unsound on analysis, but we wish there were more players like him.

"R. C. Griffith started well, but his blunder against Scott on the third day, after having had a won game, seemed to take all the heart out of his play.

"We must frankly confess that the games are not of the class we should expect from our experts; most of them will no doubt be given in full in our games department, and we will append here only a short summary.

"First Round. Scott v. Atkins, Queen's Gambit Declined.—Atkins defended weakly, and Scott played the attack well and got a won game as Amos Burn has pointed out, but with both short of time the move was missed, and in the scramble at the end of the second hour, Atkins secured a draw by perpetual check. Yates v. Griffith, Four Knights.—Griffith played Marshall's attacking move, P—Q 4 [7...d5], of which some remarks by Dr. Tarrasch were given last number, but Yates preferred to avoid complications, and although he got slightly the inferior game, he was able to keep the draw in hand.

"Second Round. Griffith v. Atkins, Queen’s Gambit Declined.— An early advance of Kt—K 5 by the former gave Atkins the bettor game, but he allowed exchanges, and blocked his attacking possibilities by P—K B 4, and a draw resulted [n.b. this score not yet available - JS]. Yates v. Scott, Caro-Kann.-—Scott went Pawn hunting with his Queen and got a bad game, aggravated by a blunder, he fell into a mating net.

"Third Round. Scott v. Griffith, Queen's Gambit Declined.— Griffith tried a wreak variation which leads to early exchanges, knowing Scott would avoid them; in doing so Scott lost a Pawn, and Griffith giving up his Queen for two Rooks got a won game, instead of making use of his extra Pawn on the Queen’s side, he tried to make assurance doubly sure by getting off one of White’s Bishops, he succeeded in this but followed it by leaving his Rooks to be forked. Atkins v. Yates, Ruy Lopez.—Yates gave up a Pawn to try and get an attack, but Atkins defended admirably and won another Pawn, but the time he consumed finding this line left him twelve moves to make in two minutes, and in the scramble he lost the two Pawns and a draw was agreed.

"Fourth Round. Atkins v. Scott, Petroff’s Defence.—A game of positional strategy, in which for once Atkins failed to make the best moves, and Scott won the ending with Kt and Q v. B and Q. Griffith v. Yates, Queen's Gambit Declined.—A bad move by Griffith gave Yates a winning position, which he did not press unduly, but if he gave drawing chances Griffith failed to find them.

"Fifth Round. Scott v. Yates, Queen’s Gambit Declined.—A good, hard hitting game. Scott sacrificed a Knight for two Pawns, and got a draw by perpetual check. We fancy the sacrifice may prove unsound. Atkins v. Griffith, Petroff's Defence.—Griffith went wrong early, lost a Pawn, Atkins exchanged off pieces and won the ending. A very dull game [n.b. this score not yet available - JS].

"Sixth Round. Yates v. Atkins, Ruy Lopez.—For twenty-one moves the same as between the two players in the last Leeds v. Huddersfield match. Atkins was first to vary, his move lead to exchange of Queens, the winning of a Pawn temporarily, when Yates won it back a draw was agreed. Griffith v. Scott, French Defence (McCutcheon).— The former did not make the best of the opening, and missed a chance on the nineteenth move. Eventually Scott left a draw on, through not making a loop-hole for his King, Griffith unwisely refused it, but in his turn left one on, which Scott finding nothing better accepted.

Scores: Yates 4, Scott 3½, Atkins 3, Griffith 1½.

"The Invitation Tournament on similar lines was between R. M. Norman [sic - in all probability this was George Marshall Norman], the Hastings champion, H. J. Stephenson, champion of Sussex, and two strong country members of the club, H. G. Cole, of London, and F. Brown, of Dudley. H. J. Stephenson was taken ill on December 29th, and A. J. Mackenzie took his place. Cole played King's Gambits throughout as White, but losing his last game v. Brown, there was a triple tie. The results being as follows :—

1920/21 Hastings Invitation Tournament 1 2 3 4  Total 
 1  F[red?] Brown
01 ½½
2 Harold Godfrey Cole 10
½½ ½1
3 Arthur John Mackenzie ½0 ½½
4 George Marshall Norman1 ½½ ½0 00

1 Only players' initials given in the report - I have supplied full names where known. The last-named given as R. M. Norman - though a chess player with those initials and surname existed (Ronald Melville Norman, 1904-68, of Weston-super-Mare in Somerset), he would only have been 16 years old at the time and not from Hastings, so I am assuming this was in fact George Marshall Norman - JS

"In the First Class Tournament H. Pinkerton 4½, H. F. Cheshire 4, S. Howell Smith 3, J. A. Watt 2, E.J. Ackroyd 1, A. G. Ginnes ½ were the players and the scores.

"It will be noted that seven out of the twelve games in the Champion Tourney, and six out of the Invitation resulted in draws. Nevertheless the week was a most enjoyable one, and went off without a hitch of any sort.

File updated

2016/2017 Original upload. Note that the games Griffith-Atkins (Rd 1) and Atkins-Griffith (Rd 5) are not available.
16 April 2018 Extra moves added to existing games Yates-Griffith (Rd 1) and Griffith-Yates (Rd 4) - many thanks to Brian Denman. Also, I have taken this opportunity to add full dates, edit names and add a crosstable, plus a couple of games from subsidiary events.
19 April 2018 Correction to the score of Griffith-Scott (Rd 6) in which White played 35.Kd1 (rather than 35.Kc1 which would have been a blunder allowing a quick mate). This appears to have been an input error at some point in the distant past. My thanks to Andy Ansel for drawing my attention to this. I've used the opportunity to add the text of the report given in BCM, February 1921, pps 41-42, plus provide more sources references to some of the games.