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John Saunders


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Tournament: Manor Farm • 2 of 15 games
Venue: Horsington • Dates: 31 December 1942 - 4 January 1943 • Download PGN • Last Edited: Sunday 12 February, 2023 2:29 AM

1942/43 Manor Farm, Horsington, nr Templecombe, Somerset, 31 December - 4 January

JS note: this was not a major event but I have included it as a curiosity as it was one of only a tiny number of chess events held during the war in the UK. Also, I have a strong hunch that J T Reese was Terence Reese (1913-1996), the notable contract bridge player. His full name was John Terence Reese and he wasn't in the services during the war, so might have had time to indulge some chess of which he is said to have been fond. Du Mont's astonishment at Reese's grasp of the game despite being a novice is also a clue. I also wonder whether the invitees might have been attracted by the prospect of spending a few days at a farm where they might have expected to receive rather more than the basic rations to eat!

1942/43 Manor Farm Residence 1 2 3 4 5 6  Total 
 1  James Chrismas Waterman Sherborne
1 ½ 1 1 1
2 George Marwick Robertson Horsington 0
½ 1 1 1
3 Maurice Ellinger London ½ ½
0 1 1 3
4 Julius du Mont Croydon 0 0 1
1 1 3
5 J T (Terence?) Reese Guildford 0 0 0 0
½ ½
6 Herbert St Vincent Chancellor Wincanton 0 0 0 0 ½

n.b. BCM does not give a crosstable but I have pieced together the likeliest one from the results given. I'm not entirely sure it is 'forced' from the given data (though we know the exact results for Waterman and du Mont) but it is by far the most likely scenario given the facts. Biographical note on the host: George Marwick Robertson (1905-1975) came originally from Rousay, a small island in the Orkneys. He played club chess for Blackmore Vale and had hosted Somerset League matches at Manor Farm (which was referred to in press reports as 'West Country Creamery') before the war, moving on to play for Yeovil CC after the war. In the 1960s he played for Wincanton CC.

BCM, February 1943, ppn 25-26

CHESS IN SOMERSET [unattributed but unquestionably by Julius du Mont]

An interesting tournament was staged at the Manor Farm, Horsington, near Templecombe, December 31st [1942] to January 4th [1943]. The owner, Mr. G. M. Robertson, an enthusiastic and skilful follower of the game, invited six players, three of them local talent, and a keenly fought contest was the result.

Perhaps the most interesting entry was that of J. C. Waterman, a veteran supporter, nearly a generation ago, of the Kent County team. Years seem to make no impression on this stalwart, and he dropped only half a point to Maurice Ellinger, who, however, should have won this game.

The Editor [du Mont was BCM editor 1940-1949], inveigled into playing, against his better judgment and in spite of his protest, promptly lost in the first rounds against Waterman and Robertson, both of whom outplayed him.

J. C. Waterman won the tournament with 4½ points, followed by G. M. Robertson with 3½, perhaps the most noteworthy performance in the contest. Maurice Ellinger and J. du Mont shared third place with 3. The scores of J. T. Reese and H. Chancellor, ½ each, did less than justice to these players. H. Chancellor put up a stubborn fight in most of his games while J. T. Reese, who started to play only two years ago, has an astonishing grasp of the game for a novice and only needs practical experience to become a first-class player.

Robertson himself suffers from a lack of self-confidence which, it may be hoped, will be remedied by his present success.

The delightful surroundings helped to make the fixture a memorable experience as well as a welcome rest from the stress of important war work done unremittingly by most of the competitors.

Mr. Robertson spends his energies in producing food in large quantities for the people of Great Britain. He and Mrs. Robertson were the ideal hosts and typically British in the true sense of the phrase, giving a more real meaning to the well-worn lines ‘'There’ll always be an England.”

The following is Mr. Robertson's best game. [Robertson 1-0 du Mont: see viewer/download]

The following was an interesting Rook and pawns ending, illustrating the little known stratagem of refraining from capturing hostile pawns and of using them as a screen protecting the King from attack by the opposing Rook. [du Mont 1-0 Ellinger: see viewer/download]

The tournament was held again the following New Year (1943/44). An incomplete crosstable follows...

1943/44 Manor Farm, Horsington, nr Templecombe, Somerset, [New Year]

1943/44 Manor Farm Residence 1 2 3 4 5 6  Total 
 1  Saviely Tartakower France
1 1 1 1 1 5
2 Julius du Mont Croydon 0
1 0 1 1 3
3 James Chrismas Waterman Sherborne 0 0
4 George Marwick Robertson Horsington 0 1  
5 Maurice Ellinger London 0 0    
6 J T (Terence?) Reese Guildford 0 0      

(BCM, April 1944, p88)

A consultation game which was played during the Manor Farm New Year tournament of 1943/44. Saviely Tartakower (under his nom de guerre G.Cartier) and Percy Hugh Hazzard (1894-1957, a local farmer) were White, James Chrismas Waterman and Ralph Gilbert Gray (1901-91) were Black.

File Updated

Date Notes
29 June 2022 First upload.
12 February 2023 Added details of the 1943/44 event, plus two games from it.