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John Saunders


BRITBASE - British Chess Game Archive

Tournament: Birmingham Tournament • all 15 games • updated: Friday March 1, 2024 11:36 AM
Venue: Midland Institute, Birmingham • Dates: 3-9 June 1926 • Download PGN

1926 Birmingham CC Tournament, 3-9 June, Midland Institute

1926 Birmingham International Residence 1 2 3 4 5 6  Total 
 1  Alexander Alekhine Paris
1 1 1 1 1 5
2 Hubert Ernest Price Birmingham 0
1 1 0 ½
3 Eugene A Znosko-Borovsky Paris 0 0
½ 1 1
4 Francis George Butcher Birmingham 0 0 ½
1 ½ 2
5 Arthur John Mackenzie Birmingham 0 1 0 0
1 2
6 Francis Herbert Terrill Birmingham 0 ½ 0 ½ 0


Rd 1, Thursday 3 June 1926
Alekhine - postponed
Butcher 0-1 Price
Znosko-Borovsky 1-0 Price

The Times, 4 June 1926


The tournament arranged by the Birmingham Chess Club began in the Midland Institute here yesterday evening, though the outstanding competitor, Alexandre Alekhine, was absent, by arrangement, until to-day. He has been in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, giving exhibition games, etc., and will play his second round game this evening [4 June], the first round game having been postponed until Saturday afternoon [5 June].
The pairings and results of the first round were :—

Rd 1, Thursday 3 June 1926
Alekhine - postponed
Butcher 0-1 Price
Znosko-Borovsky 1-0 Price

Butcher, who is one of the regular players for Warwickshire in their county matches, played the usual P-Q4 variation on his third move, Price exchanging pawns at once. Some exchanges of minor pieces left the position fairly level, but then Butcher overlooked a sacrificial combination which broke up the defence of his king’s side. Price came out a pawn to the good, with four pawns to two on the king’s side, and outplaying his opponent from this point, won in 38 moves.

In the game between Znosko-Borowski and Mackenzie the latter had none the worst of it for a long while. He overlooked, however, the fact that his pawn was “pinned” after his opponent’s 32nd move, the slip being due to time pressure, and after this his game could not be defended.

The Times, 7 June 1926


The feature of the second and third rounds in the tournament promoted by the Birmingham Chess Club was the game between MM. Alekhine and Znosko-Borowski in the third round this evening. After a certain stage in the exchanges one of the spectators expressed the opinion that the game was a draw. So it may have appeared to the casual onlooker, who was unaware what Alekhine can do with a knight and pawns: but to the discerning eye there were possibilities in the position, and these were the foundations on which Alekhine built an entirely artistic ending.

During his recent visit to Newcastle-on-Tyne Alekhine gave a simultaneous display against 22 opponents, won 20 games, lost one, and drew one. He also played four exhibition consultation games, and won them all. At Durham he gave a simultaneous display against 24 opponents, winning 22 games and drawing two. Directly he reaches Paris from here M. Alekhine will leave on a tour for South America, probably lasting two or three months.

The pairings and results in the second and third rounds here were as follows:—

Rd 2, Friday 4 June 1926
Price 0-1 Alekhine
Terrill 0-1 Mackenzie
Znosko-Borovsky adjourned Butcher


Rd 3, Saturday 5 June 1926
Alekhine 1-0 Znosko-Borovsky
Price ½-½ Terrill
Butcher postponed Mackenzie

In the second round Price obtained a fairly equal position in the opening stages, Alekhine exchanging to leave himself with two bishops against bishop and knight for the end game. Then Price was tempted into sacrificing a knight for two pawns; good enough if the sacrifice should be at once accepted, but fatal should the capture be delayed for a few moves. Alekhine made no mistake in this matter, and the end was that the knight had no escape, nor was there any compensation elsewhere.

Terrill made a good fight against Mackenzie for a time, but the latter obtained the better pawn position in the centre, and this advantage was sufficient to secure the win in 34 moves. Butcher played the opening very well against Znosko-Borowski, here again the pawn position in the centre being his strongest asset. Properly handled, these pawns should have won, but, instead of linking them up, he left one in the air, to be at once captured by his opponent. At the adjournment each had king, rook, and pawns, with the position somewhat to Znosko-Borowski’s advantage.

Price and Terrill avoided the usual pawn capturing continuations in the early stages, the game coming down to a rook, bishop, and pawn ending, with bishops of opposite colours. Neither cared to experiment with this, and the draw was agreed to on the 28th move. Butcher’s game against Mackenzie will be played off early in the week, the latter player being engaged as returning officer in a municipal election in the Ladywood Division to-day. Alekhine’s game against Terrill, from the first round, will be played on Tuesday afternoon, as Alekhine did not want to play another game on the day that ho had to meet Znosko-Borowski.

I append the game played in the third round between Alekhine ana Znosko-Borowski:— [see viewer/download]

The Times, 9 June 1926

BIRMINGHAM CHESS TOURNAMENT. Rules for world’s CHAMPIONSHIP. (From Our Chess Correspondent.) BIRMINGHAM, June 8.

The Lord Mayor of Birmingham (Alderman P. Bower), who was accompanied by the Town Clerk (Mr. F. H. C. Wiltshire), received M. Alekhine and M. Znosko-Borowski in the Town Hall this morning. Alderman Bower took this opportunity of formally welcoming the two masters to the city of Birmingham, and, in the course of conversation with M. Alekhine, raised the question of the conditions for world's Championship matches, expressing a desire to see them placed on what might be considered a more satisfactory basis. On the point as to whether an international board could be formed to deal with the matter, he was informed that an International Chess Federation had recently been constituted, and that this federation might eventually be able to deal with the question.

In 1922, during the progress of the International Tournament in London, Señor J. R. Capablanca met all the masters then competing, and disclosed his proposals for governing any such future contests. It will be remembered that the outcome of the discussion was an agreement that the proposals were reasonable, and that those most likely to be interested signed an agreement to that effect. M. Alekhine put it to me this morning:— "I stand just where I did four years ago. I think the financial conditions are reasonable and the amount to be found by the challenger not much for a match for the World's Championship. Any movement to modify those conditions must come first of all from Capablanca, and, unless he makes any movement, I am bound by my signature to the agreement."

I may add that all my information goes the International Federation (the F.I.D.E.) will make no definite movement themselves without consulting the players most vitally interested.


In the fourth round, played yesterday evening [7 June], Alekhine, as I suppose one must have expected, added Mackenzie to his list of victims. H. E. Price pleased his fellow-townsmen by winning a vigorously played game against E. Znosko-Borowski, who was perhaps a little too painstakingly cautious.

The pairings and results in the fourth round were as follows:—

Rd 4, Monday 7 June 1926
Mackenzie 0-1 Alekhine
Terrill ½-½ Butcher
Price 1-0 Znosko-Borovsky

The adjourned game from the second round, between Znosko-Borowski and Butcher was played off this morning [8 June], and drawn in 57 moves. The adjourned [more correctly, 'postponed' - JS] game from the first round between Alekhine and Terrill was played off at the same time. Terrill gave up the exchange at an early stage for no apparent positional advantage. The result was that Alekhine was able to bring about a pretty mating combination, and Terrill resigned on the 32nd move.

In the fourth round Terrill and Butcher had a really hard tussle for positional advantage in the middle game, only to reach a position in which trying to avoid the draw probably meant defeat. Price won by a sacrificial combination of the kind where the defending knight is driven from KB3 continues with BxKRP ch and Kt-K Kt 5 ch, &c. The outcome was two passed pawns in the centre, the win coming on the 49th move.

The following is the record of the game played in the fourth round between Alekhine and Mackenzie:— [see viewer/download]

The Times, 10 June 1926


With one exception, all the games in the tournament arranged by the Birmingham Chess Club were finished last evening [8 June], yet that exception will decide the question of who takes second place to A. Alekhine, or even whether there will be a triple tie for that position.

The scores were:— A. Alekhine, 5 points; H. E. Price and E. Znosko-Borowski, 2½ points each; A. J. Mackenzie, 2; F. G. Butcher and F. H. Terrill, 1 each.

Messrs. Mackenzie and Butcher met each other in this last game to-night [9 June], and Butcher won in 40 moves, giving him the same number of points as Mackenzie in the final result.

The pairings and results in the fifth round were as follows:—

Rd 5, Tuesday 8 June 1926
Alekhine 1-0 Butcher
Znosko-Borovsky 1-0 Terrill
Mackenzie 1-0 Price

There were many interesting points in the game between Alekhine and Terrill, as the score appended shows, Alekhine playing one of the attacking continuations against the Cambridge Springs variation. Terrill made an oversight in the opening against Znosko-Borowski which cost him a pawn, and the Russian player was able to eventually turn this advantage into a win. Price defended opening with the now customary B-Q Kt 5 ch. variation on his third move, but drifted into a weak position afterwards, with his major pieces too much at home. At one stage Mackenzie had made eight moves out of nine with his two knights, finishing this episode by exchanging queens. A passed pawn in the centre did all that was needful afterwards, Price resigning on the 42nd move.

Game played in the fifth round. [Alekhine-Butcher - see viewer/download]

The postponed game from the first round. [Alekhine-Terrill - see viewer/download]

Birmingham Post, 15 June 1926


Interest in this informal contest was well maintained to the finish and there was a large assembly present at the final round. As was to be expected, perhaps, M. Alekhine made a clean sweep of the other players, not only merely winning his games, but in all of them evolving highly ingenious combinations with pretty and attractive situations. Both Alekhine and Znosko-Borovsky were not sparing of their time and talent, and they played over and analysed on almost every occasion the games they had just finished. These "post-mortems" proved of the highest interest, and were deeply instructive.

It would appear that meetings of this kind are likely to prove popular among local amateurs, and in all probability this will not be the last of its kind. That just concluded was arranged at 24 hours' notice. So hearty was the support given, and so ready were the invited competitors to join in, that the hasty organisation of the affair was made an easy matter. The prime mover was Mr. W. L. Wakefield, the Coventry amateur, who has made a practice for some time of entertaining for a period one or other of the various masters now frequently appearing in England at the numerous chess festivals at Hastings, Weston, Scarborough, and elsewhere. We understand that Dr. Tartakower is likely to be in this district during next autumn, and some further contest may well be considered when the occasion arrives.

The Birmingham club, the Midland Union, Warwickshire C.A., and the Birmingham and District League readily furnished most of the necessary funds, and a subscription list found the rest. The promoters express their hearty gratitude for the ready help provided.

BCM, July 1926, p320

The tournament arranged by the Birmingham Chess Club concluded on June 9th and resulted in a very convincing win for Alekhine, who scored twice as many points as anyone else. [This, plus a crosstable, was the totality of BCM's coverage of the event. There were no game scores given.]

File Updated

Date Notes
1 March 2024 First upload. All 15 games plus crosstable and newspaper reports.