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John Saunders


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Tournament: 9th Hastings Premier 1928/29 Go to: Previous YearNext Year • updated: Monday December 11, 2023 3:58 PM
Venue: Hastings Town Hall • Dates: 27 December 1928 - 5 January 1929 • Download PGN • all 45 Premier games plus 37+1 from subsidiaries

1928/29 (9th) Hastings Premier, Hastings Town Hall, 27 December - 5 January

1928/29 Hastings Premier Nat'y 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10  Total 
1 Edgar Colle BEL
1 1 ½ 0 0 1 ½ 1 1 6
2 Frank James Marshall USA 0
½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 6
3 Sandor Takacs HUN 0 ½
0 1 1 1 ½ 1 1 6
4 George Koltanowski USA ½ ½ 1
0 1 ½ ½ ½ 1
5 Fred Dewhirst Yates ENG 1 0 0 1
1 1 ½ ½ 0 5
6 Edward Guthlac Sergeant ENG 1 ½ 0 0 0
0 1 1 ½ 4
7 Reginald Pryce Michell ENG 0 0 0 ½ 0 1
½ 1 1 4
8 Sir George Alan Thomas ENG ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½
0 1
9 Victor Buerger ENG 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 0 1
½ 3
10 George Marshall Norman ENG 0 0 0 0 1 ½ 0 0 ½

BCM, February 1929, ppn 46-50


The ninth annual Christinas congress under the auspices of the Hastings and St. Leonards Chess Club was held at the Town Hall between Thursday, December 27th, and Saturday, January 5th. It was well up to the standard of former years; indeed, may be said to have raised that standard still higher, for if the number of sections was less than in the previous year—11 as against 12—the all-round quality of the players, especially the foreign contingent, was even better.

A few disappointments were experienced at the start. G. Maroczy (who was twice ill with inflammation of the lungs during 1928) had started from Hungary on his way to England, but only got as far as Vienna when he fell ill again and could proceed no further. To fill the vacancy thus created in the Premier section, G. Koltanowski, of Belgium, was promoted from the Premier Reserves.

In the latter section A. Baratz was unavoidably an absentee through a difficulty over his passport, so that there were two vacancies. These were filled by J. Rejfir, promoted from the Major “A” Section, and E. Znosko-Borovsky, fortunately able to come over from Paris at a day’s notice. A. J. Mackenzie, who had only come to report the congress, consented to take Rejfir’s place in the Major “A.”

Major “B” was much upset, R. E. Lean and N. L. Vacano being unable to appear, and J. G. Bennett dropping out after a few games. The local player, H. J. Stephenson took Lean's place, but Vacano's was unfilled. Furthermore, A. Mortlock was ill over the first week-end, but managed to complete his games.

In two of the lower sections there was an absentee, and there would have been another, had not E. H. Church stepped into the breach.

His Worship the Mayor of Hastings, Councillor A. D. Thorpe, welcomed the visitors to the Town Hall at 5-45 p.m. on December 27th, and soon after 6 o’clock play began, proceeding until 10-30. The second and subsequent rounds began at 9-30 a.m. each day play continuing till 1-30 and, if necessary, in the afternoon.

We do not propose to give a round-by-round account of the tournaments, but to summarise what happened in the principal ones, contenting ourselves with the results of the lower sections.

It was obvious that, in the Premier, home talent would have a great difficulty in holding its own against the four foreign experts. But R. P. Michell, with the luck of the draw, made an exceedingly good start, and reached the first week-end with 2½ points in three games, half a point ahead of his nearest rivals. At the end of Round 5 he still led, with F. J. Marshall, each having 3½. The leadership then passed to E. Colie, A. Takacs and F. D. Yates, ex aequo. Colle and Yates were still in front after Round 7. But next round Yates, the only English hope now, was upset by Marshall; and on the concluding days Takacs administered another blow to him, which put him out of the prize-list. Takac's victory was very important to him as it brought his score up to 6, making him sure of a prize. If Marshall was satisfied with a steady draw with E. G. Sergeant, which put his score also at 6. The two Belgians, Colle and Koltanowski, made desperate attempts to better this. Colle quite exhausted himself physically in an attempt to get more than a draw against Sir George Thomas, who in this round showed something like his true form and refused to yield more than the half-point. Thus Colle tied with Marshall and Takacs at 6 points. Koltanowski, the promoted, was distinctly unlucky in obtaining, but letting slip, a win against Michell. In consequence his score was only 5½, which gave him fourth prize—a fine achievement, nevertheless, considering in what company he was playing.

The foreign ascendency in the prize-list was complete. Michell at the start, and Yates in the middle of the tournament, flattered English hopes, only to disappoint them in the end. E. G. Sergeant was steady, after a bad beginning. Thomas, Buerger and Norman gave but a few glimpses of what they can do.

1928/29 Hastings Premier Reserves

1928/29 Hastings Premier Reserves Nat'y 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10  Total 
1 Herman Steiner USA
1 ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 1 1 8
2 Hubert Ernest Price ENG 0
½ 1 1 ½ 0 1 1 1 6
3 Josef Rejfir CZE ½ ½
½ 0 1 1 0 1 1
4 Eugene A Znosko-Borovsky FRA ½ 0 ½
1 ½ 0 1 ½ 1 5
5 Edward Mackenzie Jackson ENG 0 0 1 0
1 1 0 ½ 1
6 Daniel Noteboom BEL 0 ½ 0 ½ 0
½ 1 1 1
7 Emmanuel Sapira BEL 0 1 0 1 0 ½
1 0 1
8 Vera Menchik ENG 0 0 1 0 1 0 0
½ 1
9 (Philip) Stuart Milner-Barry ENG 0 0 0 ½ ½ 0 1 ½
10 Philip Walsingham Sergeant ENG 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

The Premier Reserves were a very strong lot, even in the absence of Koltanowski and Baratz, the entry of Hermann Steiner, the young Hungarian-American giving it special interest. Steiner, after a preliminary draw with Znosko-Borovsky, forged right ahead, He allowed another with Rejfir in Round 3, but otherwise made a clean sweep, and only twice perhaps had even the faintest cause for alarm. H. E. Price, starting well, upheld the honour of England (and Birmingham) by being the only home-grown player in the two top sections to gain a prize. His success was very welcome. J. Rejfir, the Czecho-Slovakian, confirmed the good impression he made by his play on his former visit to England, in 1927. He also astonished the natives with a new variety of overcoat! E. Znosko-Borovsky was a little disappointing, in view of what we know of his strength. E. M. Jackson was admirably steady in his best games; D. Noteboom, who is still very young, made a capital recovery from a bad start; and E. Sapira had streaks of real brilliance. Miss Menchik, woman champion of the world, entirely justified her inclusion in the tournament and beat Rejfir in masterly style. P. S. Milner-Barry made nearly all his score in the first three rounds, and then fell off sadly. P. W. Sergeant was ill throughout the congress, and could seldom make much effort except, surprisingly, against Steiner, when he built up what looked very like a won game, only to throw it away.

1928/29 Hastings Major A

1928/29 Hastings Major A Nat'y 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10  Total 
1 Ludwig Rellstab GER
½ 1 1 ½ ½ 1 1 1 1
2 Salo Landau NED ½
½ 1 ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 7
3 Rudolf Pitschak CZE 0 ½
½ 1 1 1 1 1 1 7
4 Walter Atkinson ENG 0 0 ½
½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1
5 Henry Holwell Cole ENG ½ ½ 0 ½
0 1 0 1 1
6 Climenson Yelverton Charles Dawbarn ENG ½ ½ 0 ½ 1
½ ½ ½ ½
7 Alfred Joseph Butcher ENG 0 0 0 ½ 0 ½
½ 1 1
8 Arthur John Mackenzie ENG 0 0 0 0 1 ½ ½
0 1 3
9 James Arthur Watt ENG 0 0 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 1
10 Edmund Macdonald ENG 0 0 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½

The Major “A” was a much stronger section than Major “B,” owing to the presence of such experts as L. Rellstab, S. Landau and R. Pitschak, from Germany, Holland and Czecho-Slovakia respectively. The three prizes were soon within the grasp of these three, and they only lost one game between them—that in which Rellstab beat Pitschak. H. H. Cole (whom it is pleasant to see in action again), W. Atkinson and C. Y. C. Dawbarn provided the chief home opposition.

1928/29 Hastings Major B

1928/29 Hastings Major B Nat'y 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9  Total 
1 C Hugh O'D Alexander ENG
1 1 1 1 1 1 ½ ½ 7
2 Harold John Francis Stephenson ENG 0
½ 1 1 1 1 1 1d
3 Emil Leidl Vienna 0 ½
0 1 1 1 1 1
4 Sandor Grüber Hungary 0 0 1
1 0 1 0 1 4
5 Patrick Charles Littlejohn ENG 0 0 0 0
1 1 1 1 4
6 Max Black ENG 0 0 0 1 0
0 1 1 3
7 Alfred Mortlock ENG 0 0 0 0 0 1
1 1d 3
8 Ferenc Safran Hungary ½ 0 0 1 0 0 0
9 J G Bennett ENG ½ 0d 0 0 0 0 0d 0

The Major “B” Tournament, as has been said, was much upset by withdrawals, and byes were frequent, which lessened the interest. The new Cambridge University recruit, C. H. O’D. Alexander, though deprived of half a point by J. G. Bennett before he [Bennett] retired, showed his strength by a score of 7 points in eight games. He should go far in the not very distant future. H. J. Stephenson, making a start owing to Lean’s non-appearance, only lost to Alexander and was a good second, with 6½ points, while E. Leidl, from Vienna, was third with 5½. The other scores in the section were: S. Gruber and P. C. Littlejohn, 4; Max Black and A. Mortlock, 3; F. Safran, 2½; and J. G. Bennett (retired), ½.

In the Major Reserves there was a good struggle for the three prizes between the Rev. C. F. Bolland, Harold Brown, and A. H. Crothers. Brown only lost to Bolland, but he drew four games. (1-2) Rev. Charles Fenton Bolland, Harold Brown 6/9; (3) Alan Hamilton Crothers 5½; (4) Theodore Magnus Wechsler 5; (5) Rupert Cross 4½; (6-8) Alfred Dudley Barlow, Raymond Hampden Blomfield, Capt. Arthur Edward Dickinson 4; (9) George W Powell 3½; (10) George Wright 2½.

The scores in the remaining tournaments (three prizes in each) were as follows :—

First Class A— (1) Philip Ashby Ursell 7/9; (2) Mrs. Edith Mary Ann Michell 6; (3-4) Leslie Edward Vine, Albert H Hart 5½; (5-7) Miss Minnie Musgrave, Henry Edmund Tudor, F Wilkinson 4; (8) Edward Buddel Puckridge 3½; (9) Sydney Meymott 3; (10) Francis Albert Joyce 2½.

First Class B— (1-2) Miss Emily Eliza Abraham, Cecil Hunter Reid 6/9; (3-4) Allan Ferguson Kidney, H J Kemp 5½; (5-7) W Barker, Max Demby, Hon. Arthur James Beresford Lowther 4½; (8) Albert Victor Brignall 3½; (9) Allan James Kidney 3; (10) Stephen Poulson Lees 2.

First Class C— (1) J H Wise 6½/8; (2) Charles Henry Taylor 6; (3) W G Watson 5; (4) E H Church 4½; (5-6) Major Edgar Montague Jones, Samuel Frederick Dalladay 4; (7) Alfred Herman Reeve 3; (9-10) Leonard Stanley Hanson-Powter, Oscar Serck 1½.

Second Class— (1) C Lewis 6½/8; (2-3) Arthur William Henry Matthews, Herbert William Tidball 5½; (4-5) (Philip) Leslie Jones, Miss Olga Menchik 5; (6) H N Collins 3; (7) F M Turner 2½; (8) Mrs. Pauline Peckar 2; (9) T Moody 1.

Third Class A— (1) C C Nock 7/9; (2-3) R Crouch, Mrs. Lizzie Vine [née Goring] 6; (4) Douglas Andrew Breach 5½; (5) Mrs. Elizabeth Frankfort-Moore 4½; (6-7) John E Coleman, Thomas Gasson 4; (8) W Davis 3½; (9) H W Weston 3; (10) Rev. G Furness Smith 1½.

Third Class B— (1) Mrs. Ayris 8/9; (2) Miss Drummond 7; (3) L Banks 5½; (4-5) Mrs. Florence Jane Fish, W F Freeman 5; (6-7) Miss Constance Maria Jannings, E L Thorpe 4; (8) B Davis 3; (9) George Shoesmith 2; (10) Frank A Clayton 1½.

During the evenings of the congress there were two simultaneous displays, two lightning tourneys and one “rapid” tourney.

On December 29th F. J. Marshall played 19 games simultaneously, winning 14, drawing 3, and losing 2 (to Francis Albert Joyce and Raymond Hampden Blomfield).

On January 2nd F. D. Yates played 13 games, winning 10 and drawing 3.

At the first lightning tourney, December 31st, the four prizes fell to R. Pitschak, J. Rejfir, L. Rellstab, and E. G. Reid.

At the second, January 3rd, they fell to H. Steiner, J. Rejfir R. Pitschak, and Rupert Cross (who is astonishingly quick at what is to him sans voir lightning-work).

At the “rapid” tourney, January 1st, the prizes went to H. Steiner, L. Rellstab, P. S. Milner-Barry, and D. Noteboom.

The prize-distribution took place in the Town Hall at 3-45 p.m. on January 5th, the Mayor of Hastings presiding, and the Countess Brassey making the presentation to the successful competitors.

A vote of thanks to Her Ladyship was proposed by Alderman G. Shoesmith and seconded by Alderman H. N. Collins. A vote of thanks to the Press, proposed by Councillor H. E. Dobell and seconded by Mr. F. J. Marshall, was responded to by Mr. E. S. Tinsley (The Times). A vote of thanks from the visitors to the Hastings and St. Leonards Chess Club was proposed by the Rev. C. F. Bolland and seconded by Mr. P. W. Sergeant ; and finally a vote of thanks to the Mayor and Corporation was proposed by Mr. A. F. Kidney and seconded by Mr. G. M. Norman, the Mayor’s response terminating the congress.

The heartiest congratulations are once again due to that devoted band of workers in the cause of chess, the Hastings and St. Leonards C.C., on a splendid success. The actual organising committee comprised: Messrs. H. E. Dobell, S. H. Bishop, H. W. Wickham Hore, G. M. Norman, J. A. Watt, W. A. Winser, E. A. Lewcock (hon. treasurer) and A. F. Kidney (hon. secretary).

The Times, 26 December 1928

"HASTINGS CHESS CONGRESS. A STRONG ENTRY. (from our chess correspondent.) HASTINGS, Dec. 26.

The Ninth Annual Congress promoted by the Hastings and St. Leonards Chess Club begins in the Town Hall to-morrow evening, when the Mayor of Hastings, Councillor A. D. Thorpe, will welcome the players and visitors.

Once again the number of competitors in all the tournaments has passed the hundred mark, and I fancy that only the necessity of keeping the total within bounds prevented the organizers from accepting still more entries from the Continent. The English entry remains a fairly constant factor, but the increasing popularity of the Congress in Continental chess circles presents a problem of greater difficulty each year.

The. list of entries for the principal tournaments remains as given in The Times of November 26, except that it is now doubtful if G. Maroczy will be able to compete, a telegram having been received from him stating that illness hinders him from travelling. A reply has been sent, asking whether or not he will arrive to play.

The tenth place in the Premier Reserves tournament has been filled by H. Steiner, of New York, who was one of the American team at The Hague in July. Thus, with F. J. Marshall in the Premier event, America has a representative in each of the first two tournaments.

The newcomer in the Premier Tournament is Alexander Takacs, of Vienna, who has played in several Continental tournaments with varying success, but whose form, as compared with those players he is meeting here, is something of an unknown quantity, though, on his record so far, he should acquit himself reasonably well. It is safe to suggest that Sir George A. Thomas, V. Buerger and F. D. Yates, of our English players, will follow each other very closely, with R. P. Michell and E. G. Sergeant to keep them company.

It has been contended, in the recent correspondence in The Times about Señor Capablanca's proposals, that there is no "luck" in chess.' Anyone who holds that belief would be inclined to doubt his own faith if he had closely watched the tournaments, of this last year, and, if the contention be not quite correct, Sir George Thomas can claim that he has had his full share of misfortune. Chance favouring him a little would make all the difference in the next ten days.

It is more than 20 years since F. J. Marshall last competed in any event at Hastings. His presence, together with that of G. Maroczy, provided the latter arrives, may bring into the tournament a couple of "old stagers," but one is never certain of a victory, or even a draw, for their opponents, whoever those particular opponents may be.

In the Premier Reserves Tournament, with the exception of Messrs. E. M. Jackson, H. E. Price, and P. W. Sergeant, the competitors are all on the youthful side, and one of the youngest is P. S. Milner-Barry, who has done so well at Cambridge University. Perhaps Miss Menchik has slightly the advantage of him in years, but both are very difficult players to score a point from, and if H. Steiner plays as well as I saw him play at The Hague, then America will be seen in the prize list. This should be a most interesting tournament; for all that, it does not contain a player of absolutely first rank.

In the Major Tournament "A," Continental youth is represented by J. Rejfir, L. Rellstab and S. Landau, and in the Major Tournament "B" there are those rising young English players—Max Black and C. H. O'D. Alexander, of Cambridge University, and A. Mortlock, who won the Boys’ Tournament here at Easter. Alexander has a very good record in his University matches so far, having drawn his game in the match against Lud-Eagle, and won all the rest. It will not surprise me to see him finish nearly at the top, as he seems to play with just that touch of the necessary enthusiasm, when a legitimate risk has to be taken. Here, again there are some foreign representatives, but their form is not weil known on this side, and it remains to be seen how they acquit themselves.

The other tournaments number seven in all, consisting of a major reserve, and first, second, and third class sections, with ten players in each. Thus we have a total of 110 players, a sufficient testimony to the popularity of the event.

I understand that F. J. Marshall is giving a simultaneous display during the congress, and there may be one or two lightning tournaments, subject to the condition of the scoring sheets, for Hastings has always set a good example in providing for promptly playing off the adjourned games."

File Updated

Date Notes
2016 First uploaded as independent file (previously part of 1920s zipped file of Hastings games).
12 December 2022 Added crosstables, results, nine games (and one part-game) from subsidiary sections, etc. The subsidiary games include four played by Vera Menchik (rd 1 - 0 v HE Price, rd 5 - 0 v D Noteboom, rd 6 - 1 v J Rejfir, rd 7 - 0 v H Steiner).
12 December 2022 Last-minute additions and changes: the number of subsidiary section games has now swelled to 27 (plus one part-game), thanks to Tony Gillam's booklet Hastings 1928/29 and Scarborough 1929, plus two games sent me by Gerald Hartmann. Many thanks to both.
14 December 2022 Score amendment: Koltanowski-Michell (rd 9) 29...Rce7 changed to 29...b6. Additional games: (1) Sapira 1-0 Menchik (Premier Reserves); (2) Milner-Barry 0-1 Noteboom (Premier Reserves); (3) Landau 1-0 Watt (Major A); (4) Landau ½-½ Rellstab (Major A); (5) Bennett 0-1 S Grüber (Major B); (6) Leidl 1-0 Mortlock (Major B); (7) Leidl 1-0 Black (Major B); (8) Black 0-1 Mortlock (Major B). My thanks to Ulrich Tamm and Brian Denman for contributing games.
18 December 2022 Score correction: Thomas-Takacs - 79 Kxf5 replaces the erroneous 79 Kd5. My thanks to Andy Ansel.
3 January 2023 Added two games which are believed to have been played in lightning tournaments during the 1928/29 Hastings Congress (we know of at least two such events, dated 31 December 1928 and 3 January 1929). Both games are brevities: (1) R.Cross 1-0 S.Grueber; (2) O.Menchik 0-1 S.Grueber. Many thanks to Ulrich Tamm, who found them in a Hungarian source.