© 1997-2024
John Saunders


BRITBASE - British Chess Game Archive

Tournament: 26th Hastings Premier 1950/51 (won by Unzicker) Go to: Previous YearNext Year • updated January 7, 2023 0:34 AM
Venue: White Rock Pavilion • Dates: 28 Dec 1950 - 6 Jan 1951 • Download PGN (45 Premier games + 2 games from subsid event)

1950/51 Hastings Premier, 28 December 1950 - 6 January 1951, White Rock Pavilion

1950/51 Hastings
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10  Total 
1 Wolfgang Unzicker
½ ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 1 7
2 Alberic O'Kelly de Galway ½
0 ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 1
3 Nicolas Rossolimo ½ 1
½ ½ 0 1 1 1 1
4 Vincenzo Castaldi 0 ½ ½
½ ½ 0 1 1 ½
5 Harry Golombek ½ ½ ½ ½
0 1 ½ ½ ½
6 Jonathan Penrose 0 0 1 ½ 1
½ ½ 0 1
7 Andrew Rowland Benedick Thomas ½ 0 0 1 0 ½
½ 1 1
8 Leonard William Barden 0 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½
1 ½ 3
9 Weaver Adams 0 0 0 0 ½ 1 0 0
10 Alan Phillips 0 0 0 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ 0

UNZICKER'S HASTINGS [CHESS, Vo. 16, no. 184, January 1951, p74]

"After 78 per cent, on top board at the Chess Olympiad last year in Yugoslavia, Wolfgang Unzicker, German champion, was a general favourite for first place, but his success—a well-deserved one—ran no smooth passage. A. R. B. Thomas, promoted from the 1949-50 Premier Reserves, who demonstrated with verve that gambit openings and allied play can unsettle still, missed scoring a brilliant win and Rossolimo had definite winning prospects in his last round encounter with Unzicker. With little doubt, Unzicker is the best player produced by Germany since Lasker and Tarrasch. His style, so direct, so simple in development, so forcible—reminding one again and again of the dogmatic Tarrasch—hides a considerable subtlety. Rossolimo is suffering from an overdose of chess tournaments—since the previous Hastings, Beverwijk, Mar del Plata, Gijon, Venice, Amsterdam! O'Kelly’s first visit to an English tourney demonstrated solid characteristics though his last round encounter with Phillips also showed that he possesses a combinative touch. So it should be with a disciple of Rubinstein.

"Hastings lent their support to the ideal of developing young players to stand up to the present fierce international competition by inviting J. Penrose, Barden and Phillips. Penrose reached a new stage in his development in that subtle mixing of strategy and tactics displayed in the impressive defeat he inflicted on Rossolimo. Barden will continue developing for a number of years.

"I missed the smoothness of the thread connecting every move of the games of Szabo, Rossolimo (in good form) and Euwe in the previous year’s congress. This year’s games gave the impression of a free-for-all with only that style of Unzicker’s outstanding.

"French café house chess has not all the disadvantages that one attributes to such chess if the victory of S. St. Popel ahead of Derby and Sergeant in the top Premier Reserves Section means anything, and my feeling was that Sergeant is still a force in British chess. It was a pity that the talented Yugoslav reporter Radoicis [sic] and Mardle, the Cambridge University president, both of whom outshone the rest in the next Premier Reserves section, were not in the top one."

HASTINGS CHESS CONGRESS, DEC. 28—JAN. 6 [BCM, February 1951, pps33-36]

By H. Golombek

The Twenty-sixth Hastings International Chess Congress was opened at the White Rock Pavilion, at 3.45 p.m., on Thursday, December 28th, by Lord Dunsany, who made a brief but witty speech, thereby combining the useful with the ornamental. Not content with this Lord Dunsany appeared every day at the Congress and studied the games in the Premier Tournament with the utmost attention. In the course of his speech he recited the following poem, which he had written specially for this congress—

Silence. And silence still.
Then one long roller breaks
And Hastings’ houses fill
With the wild sound it makes.

Silence again. The sea,
Though it may seem to sleep,
Is still the vast and free
Inscrutable old deep.

Who shall entirely scan
All its mysteriousness?
Even the mind of man
Has deeps beyond our guess.

So, when a move has brought
Some strategy in sight,
We cannot plumb the thought
That brought that move to light.

And, small although it be,
And missed by careless eyes
A chessboard, like the sea,
Has unplumbed mysteries.

As a player, I can only echo and emphasize the sentiment expressed in the last verse and add that all too often it is my own careless eyes that do the missing.

The congress this year was just as successful as ever. There were 113 competitors and a close struggle in the chief events. The international situation being what it is it was inevitable that the Premier Reserves should not be so strong as of yore when the stiffening provided by competitors from such countries as Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Austria, etc., used to make the Reserves section almost as strong as the Premier. But this last event was a very interesting one this year, which introduced a number of new personalities to British chess and, quite rightly, gave opportunities for some of the younger home players to meet some of Europe’s best masters. Nor am I guilty of exaggeration in this last remark. Rossolimo is by now well known for his successes here and though O’Kelly had not previously visited this country his fame has already preceded him here. Readers will, for example, remember him winning the European Zonal Tournament at Hilversum, in 1947, ahead of Pachman, Szabo, Trifunovic, and others. The chief point of interest, however, as regards the foreign entry lay in the young West German Champion, W. Unzicker. During the last few years he has acquired an immense reputation on the Continent. That shrewd judge, Dr. Euwe, has classed him amongst the world’s great masters—a judgment he bore out in the International Team Tournament at Dubrovnik, where on top board he came equal first with the redoubtable Najdorf.

In the home players what we wanted to see was how the younger players would react to this formidable position. Here again interest was centred on one person—17-year-old Jonathan Penrose, who had done so well at Southsea and Buxton. But in the early part of the tournament the limelight was stolen from him by A. R. B. Thomas, who, playing beautifully incisive chess, actually led the field with Unzicker at the end of Round 3, with 2½ points. Then he had a trying period during which he met the terrible three—Rossolimo, Unzicker, and O’Kelly. He lost to the first and the last, but very nearly beat Unzicker in a valiant Evans Gambit.

By Round 5 Unzicker and Rossolimo were sharing the lead, a position which they retained until Round 7. In this round Rossolimo met with a severe defeat at the hands of Penrose and though Unzicker only drew with me the results in this round proved decisive since he retained his half point lead to the end. Not that the final round was without its tense moments. For Unzicker had to play Rossolimo with Black and a win for the Frenchman would give him first prize; whilst a loss would set him back to third, behind O’Kelly who, after a moderate start, was playing with great vigour towards the end.

The decisive game was a fine battle between two contrasting temperaments—Unzicker coolly defensive and Rossolimo anxiously, but bravely, attacking. It looked as though the attack would win through; for Unzicker’s position became precarious in the extreme. However, Rossolimo was afflicted by acute time trouble just at the culminating point of his attack, missed the best, and winning, continuation, and was glad to accept the draw which Unzicker offered. This gave the German Champion first prize with 7 points, Rossolimo and O’Kelly sharing second and third with 6½. For meanwhile O’Kelly had very neatly disposed of Phillips, who rashly went pawn hunting before completing his development.

There was a keen struggle, too, for the remaining fourth prize. Jonathan Penrose, possibly tired and suffering from the reaction after his great effort in Round 7, lost his last two games. I scored my first win in the tournament to come up level with Thomas and Penrose, and Castaldi, with the superior position out of the opening, gradually achieved a win against Barden, despite the latter’s stubborn defence in the last game to finish of the tournament.

In winning first prize on his first appearance in England, Unzicker showed that the glowing reports one had heard as to his qualities were fully justified. He is a many-sided player, equally at home in the calm deep waters of positional strategy and the hurly-burly of tactical complications. Still young, he is in the early twenties, he may be relied upon to make further progress and may well be one of the favourites for first prize in the forthcoming Centenary Tournament.

Rossolimo was a little more uneven than usual but still produced much fine chess. O'Kelly, whose ancestors left Galway for Belgium in the late eighteenth century, made a most successful return to these islands. The keynote of his play is competence. Give him a problem—technical or combinational or both—and you can rely upon him to solve it correctly.

Castaldi started badly but finished in good form. He is a very fine endgame player and, incidentally, much more quiet and sober in his gestures than the popular idea of the volatile Italian may lead one to suppose. Jonathan Penrose added another important foreign scalp to his collection and the tournament experience should prove invaluable to him. Though he was but a shadow of his earlier self in the last two rounds, yet he had already accomplished enough to earn great distinction.

A. R. B. Thomas, too, was in fine form in the earlier half of the tournament. He played some excellent incisive games and was within an ace of defeating the winner of the tournament himself.

Barden made a good impression on his first appearance in the Premier, but did badly against the leading foreign masters—perhaps he is still addicted to over-dogmatic theory. The dice were loaded against Adams from the very start—a great pity as he is far and away the most pleasant American master to visit these shores. But he has written a book called White to Play and Win, following this up by another book with the title Simple Chess. Consequently all his opponents studied his variations the night before they were due to play him and were fully prepared for him next day. This was eminently a case of “Oh that mine enemy had writ a book!”

Phillips had some demoralizing defeats early on; from these he never really recovered. But there is much good chess in him and I am confident he will make a come-back in his next tournament.

Premier Reserves, Major Section

The scores in this were:

(1) Stepan Popel (France) 6½/8; (2-3) Leo Derby, Edward Guthlac Sergeant 5½; (4) Percy B Cook 4½; (5) Herbert Gibson Rhodes 4; (6) Hugh Edward Guy Courtney 3½; (7) Douglas Eric Arnold Riley 2½; (8-9) Vincent Maher, Alan Edgar Nield 2.

Popel is a strong French player, from Paris, who though largely ignorant of theory has a great deal of native talent and a faculty for wriggling ingeniously out of many a difficult position. Derby played well and was the only player to remain undefeated, apart from the first prize winner. Once one of England’s finest players and now well in the veteran class, E. G. Sergeant still showed himself capable of much fine chess. H. G. Rhodes was not quite in such good form as in previous years and Riley’s score does not reflect his real worth as a player. He suffered from a year’s total lack of practice. The former New Zealand Champion, A. E. Nield, was in most disappointing form, especially when one remembers his triumph in a similar section at Buxton.

The results in the other sections were as follows—

Premier Reserves “A”.—1 Miroslav Radojcic 8½; 2 Denis Victor Mardle 8; 3 Ronald Mackay Bruce 6; 4 Paul de Rycke 5; 5 James Chrismas Waterman 4½; 6 Alfred Dempster Whyte 4; 7 John James O’Hanlon 3½; 8 Alan Edgar Wardman1 3; 9 Harold Horace Watts 2; 10 Harry Frederick Moxon ½.

1 Alan Edgar Wardman, 28 April 1926–21 October 1986, then of St John's College, Cambridge, B.A., 1949, became Professor of Classics, Reading University. Also an international bridge player.

Premier Reserves “B”.—1 Ronald Frank Boxall 6½; 2-4 Alan Hayward Challis, Stephen O N Hawes, Neil McKelvie 6; 5 Robert Willaert 4½; 6-7 Lawrence Alfred John Glyde, Mrs. Rowena Mary Bruce 4; 8-9 (Henry) Alec Samuels, Frank Samuel Woolford 3; 10 James J Walsh 2.

Premier Reserves “C”.—1-2 Edmund George Ansell, Major Eric Howard Flear 5; 3 Joseph Maurice Soesan 4½; 4-5 Herbert Francis Gook, Bernard Landon Wilkinson 3½; 6 Douglas Wycliffe Egginton 2½; 7-8 F H Hart, Major A Everard Woods 2.

Premier Reserves “D”.—1-2 John T Keable, Frank Arthur Rhoden 7; 3 James Ernest Pattle 6½; 4 (Sydney) Hugh Brocklesby 5½, 5-6 Brian Gluss, (Yvon) Peter Keffler 4; 7 Willington Lucette Wakefield 3½; 8 Geoffrey N Stokes 3; 9 Wilfred Partington 2½; 10 Capt. Hugh Windsor Fiesch Heneage 2.

Major “A”.—1-2 Newman Clissold, Ronald Lee-Johnson 6; 3 M Biggs 5½; 4 P Henley 5; 5-6 Miss Minnie Musgrave, Alfred Herman Reeve 4; 7 Percival Arthur Cooke 3; 8 A Ballard 1½; 9 (Edward) Douglas Fawcett 1.

Major “B”.—1 Alfred Dudley Barlow 6; 2-4 Michael Fryer, Francis Henry Charles Marriott, Miss (Patricia) Anne Sunnucks 5½; 5-6 George Arthur Peck, Patrick Humphrey Sullivan 5; 7-8 Eric Leyns, Francis Harry Senneck 4½; 9 C A Stuart 2; 10 H Cohen 1½.

Major “C”.—1-2 A M Edmonds, Alan Forrest Stobo 7½; 3 (Arthur) Philip Primett 6; 4 Rev. Henry Middleton Blackett 5½; 5 William John Clare Hart Burges 4; 6 Archibald Snelling Dance 3½; 7-9 L[awrence] H[enry] Appleby, Richard F Bradley, T Greenwood 3; 10 C A [A C?] Hopkinson 2.

First Class (Mornings).—1 A E Harris 7; 2 Ernest Ephraim Weedon 6½; 3 John Jonas Soesan1 6; 4 Sir John Charles Walton 5½; 5 R F Rowe 5; 6-7 Geoffrey George Homan, H B Howard 2; 8 H K Freeman 0.

1 John Jonas Soesan - younger brother (b 22 October 1917, d 1986) of Joseph Maurice (Joe) Soesan (b 30 December 1915, d 1999)

First Class (Afternoons).—1 Miss Cicely Mary Murphy 7½; 2 G Booth 7; 3-5 Keith Edward Charles Budge, Charles Thomas Kelk, F. Willan 5; 6-8 L L M Jones, W H Jones, W G Watson 4½; 9 Samuel Frederick Dalladay 2; 10 Stanley Charles Hilliam 0.

Second Class.—1 Eric J Simpson 8; 2 Percy Archibald Turley 7; 3 A H Harris 5, 4 Mrs Jessy Hilliam 4½; 5 Peter Bernard Ginner 4; 6 William Jack Eldred Hinkley 3½; 7 J Holmes 2; 8-9 W S Clare, Mrs. Laura Ethel Amelia Start (née Whitehouse) 1.

It is almost superfluous to add that the congress was run with his usual genial efficiency by the ever helpful and omnipresent Hastings secretary, A. A. Ryder, ably assisted by Victor Rush and a number of assiduous and enthusiastic workers amongst whom I noticed Mr. Boyd with an especial sense of familiar pleasure. Nor, as a journalist, must I fail to mention Miss M. Lankey who kept the scores, knew where they were to be found and was always willing to produce any one mentioned game at a moment’s notice.


The twenty-sixth annual international chess congress opens to-day at the White Rock Pavilion, Hastings. The entry for the Premier Tournament, in many respects the most interesting since the war, is as follows:—W. W. Adams (U.S.), Dr. Castaldi (Italy), A. O'Kelly de Galway (Belgium), N. Rossolimo (France), W. Unzicker (Germany), and from home L. W. Barden, H. Golombek, J. Penrose. A. Phillips, and A. R. B. Thomas.

"The two most formidable foreign masters are undoubtedly Rossolimo and Unzicker. Rossolmo has a consistently fine record in international tournaments of recent years while the German champion is regarded by many as the best player to emerge in Germany since the days of Lasker and Tarrasch. An intriguing entry is that of the American player Adams, author of a book, White to Play and Win, in which he sets out to demonstrate that, provided White opens with certain variations of the king's pawn, Black really has little chance of saving the same. It will be interesting to see if he is able to prove this thesis here.

"The home entry is a judicious blend of experience and youth. J. Penrose at 17 must be the youngest player ever to take part in the Premier at Hastings; great things are-hoped from him, and his fine victories over Bogoljubow and Tartakower earlier in the year at Southsea show that he is not likely to be afraid of resounding names.

"Similarly, much is expected of the Oxford University player Barden, after his good showing in this year's British championship; he is the best equipped with theory of all the younger players. Phillips, too, did well in the British championship, and is making his first appearance in an international tournament. A. R. B. Thomas won the major section of the Premier Reserves in last year's congress, during which he played some excellent combinational games; he is therefore justly promoted to the Premier this time.

"The Premier Reserves include several strong university players, J. F. Barrett, D. V. Mardle and E. Reifenberg; but the most interesting entry is that of Edith Keller, the champion of Saxony. It is to be hoped that she will be in the same section as our own woman champion, Mrs. Bruce, and our ex-champion, Miss Tranmer." (But later, in the Times of 2 January 1951: "The German woman player. Edith Keller, champion of Saxony, has written to express regret that she is unable to play in the congress.")


"HASTINGS, JAN. 7:The final day's play in the Hastings Premier Tournament on Saturday was of great interest, since the destination of all the prizes was in doubt. Chances favoured the German champion, Unzicker, but with a bare lead of half a point, he faced his nearest rival, Rossolimo, with the black pieces.

The Frenoh master opened with the Ruy Lopez and soon built up a good attacking position. Unzicker defended carefully, but all his care might have been of no avail had not Rossolimo got into trouble with time and missed a winning possibility. As it was, Rossolimo was glad to accept the offer of a draw and so make sure of tying for second place with O’Kelly, half a point behind the winner of the tournament.

O'Kelly had won with almost careless ease against Phillips. He took advantage of his opponent's neglect of development to engineer a crushing king side attack that led to a mating finish. It was a fine game by the Belgian champion, but it must be admitted that the British player has been woefully out of form in this tournament.

The struggle for the fourth prize was acute, and ended in a tie between Castaldi, Golombek. Penrose, and Thomas.

The final scores in the Premier Reserves, Major Section, were:— S. Popel, 6½; L. Derby and E. G. Sergeant, 5½; P B. Cook, 4½: H. G. Rhodes, 4; H. Courtney, 3½; D. E. A. Riley, 2½; A. E. Nield and V. Maher, 2. The winner, Popel, is an inventive French player with little knowledge of theory but considerable powers of combination."

File Updated

Date Notes
(some years ago) Games previously uploaded as part of a collection of Hastings games
9 August 2020 Uploaded in the current format, adding a game from a subsidiary section, crosstables and results.
10 August 2020 One game contributed by Brian Denman: Whyte 0-1 Mardle (Premier Reserves A). Thanks to Brian. Note that I have supplied the first seven moves of the game, though the move order cannot be known for sure.