Champions' Names

Historical knowledge and information regarding our great game.
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John Saunders
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Re: Champions' Names

Post by John Saunders » Tue May 07, 2024 4:39 pm

Richard James wrote:
Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:24 pm
Moving on:

LG O'Neill was from Taunton's School Southampton and described, rather vaguely, as 'about the oldest competitor' by the BCM, so was presumably born in 1918/1919.

The only two LG O'Neills I can find from those years were both Leonard G O'Neill, both born in 1918, one in Birkenhead and one in Cardiff.

AR Duff was from County High School, Leyton. Alan R Duff's birth was registered in 1922 in West Ham so I guess that's him.
Periodically I have a look at British Champion's names to see if additional material added to the internet can help identify anyone.

I'm now confident that I can identify the 1936 British Boys' Champion, L G O'Neill. A newspaper report (Hampshire Advertiser & Southampton Times, 2 May 1936) mentioned that he wouldn't turn 18 until August 1936 and, as Richard informed us in 2010, he was a pupil at Taunton's School, Southampton.

He was Lewis Gregg O'Neill, born in Cappoquin, County Waterford, Ireland, on 3 August 1918. The newspaper report cited above said that he started playing chess aged nine (while he was at Bevois Town Primary School) and that he had been at Taunton's School, Southampton, from 1929.
Hampshire Advertiser & Southampton Times, 2 May 1936 wrote:Although he will not be 18 until August, O Neill has passed the Higher Certificate examination of the university of London and Part One Inter-B.Sc.(Econ.). He has been in the sixth form at Taunton’s for the past two years, and this year took a leading part in the school's opera. Formerly he was in the school orchestra. Any spare time he fills in with the Southampton Sea Angling Society
He was active in local chess in the second half of the 1930s but thereafter I couldn't find any chess references. He appears twice in the 1939 Census, which gave me his d.o.b. During the war he had a number of letters published in regional newspapers (showing his Southampton address) exhorting people to volunteer as nurses. Thereafter I lost track of him until 1964 when he defended himself in a London magistrates' court on a minor parking charge (and got off with an absolute discharge). His occupation then was given as teacher. He died the following year in London, on 5 April 1965, aged 46.

BCM, June 1936, ppn 268-269, gives one of his games, plus another part-game. BCM tells us that both opponents had refused draws.


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Re: Champions' Names

Post by Richard James » Wed May 08, 2024 11:35 am

John Saunders wrote:
Tue May 07, 2024 4:39 pm
Richard James wrote:
Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:24 pm
Moving on:

LG O'Neill was from Taunton's School Southampton and described, rather vaguely, as 'about the oldest competitor' by the BCM, so was presumably born in 1918/1919.

The only two LG O'Neills I can find from those years were both Leonard G O'Neill, both born in 1918, one in Birkenhead and one in Cardiff.

AR Duff was from County High School, Leyton. Alan R Duff's birth was registered in 1922 in West Ham so I guess that's him.
Periodically I have a look at British Champion's names to see if additional material added to the internet can help identify anyone.

I'm now confident that I can identify the 1936 British Boys' Champion, L G O'Neill. A newspaper report (Hampshire Advertiser & Southampton Times, 2 May 1936) mentioned that he wouldn't turn 18 until August 1936 and, as Richard informed us in 2010, he was a pupil at Taunton's School, Southampton.

He was Lewis Gregg O'Neill, born in Cappoquin, County Waterford, Ireland, on 3 August 1918. The newspaper report cited above said that he started playing chess aged nine (while he was at Bevois Town Primary School) and that he had been at Taunton's School, Southampton, from 1929.
Hampshire Advertiser & Southampton Times, 2 May 1936 wrote:Although he will not be 18 until August, O Neill has passed the Higher Certificate examination of the university of London and Part One Inter-B.Sc.(Econ.). He has been in the sixth form at Taunton’s for the past two years, and this year took a leading part in the school's opera. Formerly he was in the school orchestra. Any spare time he fills in with the Southampton Sea Angling Society
He was active in local chess in the second half of the 1930s but thereafter I couldn't find any chess references. He appears twice in the 1939 Census, which gave me his d.o.b. During the war he had a number of letters published in regional newspapers (showing his Southampton address) exhorting people to volunteer as nurses. Thereafter I lost track of him until 1964 when he defended himself in a London magistrates' court on a minor parking charge (and got off with an absolute discharge). His occupation then was given as teacher. He died the following year in London, on 5 April 1965, aged 46.

BCM, June 1936, ppn 268-269, gives one of his games, plus another part-game. BCM tells us that both opponents had refused draws.


I'm sure you're correct. I'd discovered Lewis Gregg O'Neill a couple of years ago and had intended to tell you, but never got round to it.

At the same time I looked up AWJ Down and decided he was probably Alfred William James Down (born 15 November 1915 Wandsworth, died 11 September 2007 Exeter). Down the chess player was a pupil at the Royal Grammar School Guildford. Alfred was living in Guildford with his parents in the 1939 Register, working as a Telephone Telegraphic Fitter. In 1958 he was living in Watford and working as a teacher, but sailed to Jamaica with his wife Emily Ruth (they married the previous year), intending to stay there permanently.

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Re: Champions' Names

Post by Neil Blackburn » Wed May 08, 2024 6:15 pm

Alfred Mortlock. Alan Richard Duff.

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Re: Champions' Names

Post by Paul Dupré » Fri May 10, 2024 10:25 am

Alfred W J Down - SCCA Slater-Kennington winner 1932

Still showing as Arthur, where did Arthur come from
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Re: Champions' Names

Post by Paul Dupré » Fri May 10, 2024 11:17 am

Extract from West Sussex Gazette - Thursday 20 February 1936 headed "By-Pass Fatality".
Leaving a friend's house after he had finished a game of chess Mr. Frederick William Kay (76), of Avalon, Stockton-road, Guildford, was knocked down by a car and fatally injured on the by-pass road on Thursday evening. Mr. William Alfred Down, with whom the deceased had been playing chess, witnessed the accident, and at the inquest on Friday said the road was clear when Mr. Kay started to cross.
William Alfred Down - father of Alfred W J Down (member of Guildford chess club in 1949 - when he played D. V. Hooper of Redhill)
1939 both lived at 25 Ladymead, Guildford (which is next to a dual carriageway)
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Re: Champions' Names

Post by Jon D'Souza-Eva » Fri May 10, 2024 11:20 am

Paul Dupré wrote:
Fri May 10, 2024 10:25 am
Alfred W J Down - SCCA Slater-Kennington winner 1932
Still showing as Arthur, where did Arthur come from
https://www.saund.co.uk/britbase/britchamps.html
Richard James suggested that A W J Down was probably Alfred W J Down rather than Arthur W J Down back in 2010!
viewtopic.php?t=2129&start=15
The GRO index of births gives his full name as Alfred William James Down (mother's maiden name Simmonds).

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Gerard Killoran
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Re: Champions' Names

Post by Gerard Killoran » Fri May 10, 2024 2:35 pm

Down, but not out...



The printed score gave 47. Q-Kt7 ch Q-B6 which makes no sense.

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John Saunders
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Re: Champions' Names

Post by John Saunders » Fri May 10, 2024 7:17 pm

Gerard Killoran wrote:
Fri May 10, 2024 2:35 pm
Down, but not out...



The printed score gave 47. Q-Kt7 ch Q-B6 which makes no sense.
Thanks, Gerard. I have added this to my collection (to go up on BritBase in due course). I had a look at the newspaper score and have a quibble with your transcription: on move 45, White played 45 Qb7+ Qf3 46 Qxf3+ Kxf3, etc.
Screenshot 2024-05-10 191515.png
Screenshot 2024-05-10 191515.png (154.35 KiB) Viewed 335 times
Apologies for the Arthur/Alfred Down error - now fixed.
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Gerard Killoran
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Re: Champions' Names

Post by Gerard Killoran » Sat May 11, 2024 11:43 am

Hi John
Thanks, Gerard. I have added this to my collection (to go up on BritBase in due course). I had a look at the newspaper score and have a quibble with your transcription: on move 45, White played 45 Qb7+ Qf3 46 Qxf3+ Kxf3, etc.
I didn't think this made sense (see my note above where I said move 47 by mistake.) After 45 Qb7+, Black can play Kh2. This loses the h and g pawns, but leads to an almost certainly drawn Q+RP v Q ending. I thought White would have played 45. Qb2+ to keep the h pawn with the trap that 45...Qf2+ only forces a losing pawn ending for Black.

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Re: Champions' Names

Post by John Saunders » Sat May 11, 2024 4:55 pm

Gerard Killoran wrote:
Sat May 11, 2024 11:43 am
Hi John
Thanks, Gerard. I have added this to my collection (to go up on BritBase in due course). I had a look at the newspaper score and have a quibble with your transcription: on move 45, White played 45 Qb7+ Qf3 46 Qxf3+ Kxf3, etc.
I didn't think this made sense (see my note above where I said move 47 by mistake.) After 45 Qb7+, Black can play Kh2. This loses the h and g pawns, but leads to an almost certainly drawn Q+RP v Q ending. I thought White would have played 45. Qb2+ to keep the h pawn with the trap that 45...Qf2+ only forces a losing pawn ending for Black.
There's no real difference between 45 Qb2+ and 45 Qb7+ in terms of objective move quality. Both lead to a draw with best play, but we have to take into account the standard of the players. Teenage players in those days didn't have anything like the knowledge that their modern equivalents have, given the massive difference in resources and opportunities available to them, and this deficiency was probably most noticeable in the endgame. Black's lack of knowledge of a relatively simple endgame had manifested itself in the 1931 Boys' Championship where he also allowed a lost king and pawn endgame as follows:



Going back to Down-Bufton, it's not difficult to imagine that an inexperienced player might have thought that the Q+RPvQ endgame was winnable for White and so played to avoid it.

However, rather than plump for either version, when the time comes to publish on BritBase, I'll give 45 Qb7+ as the main line (as it conforms to the printed source) but also mentioning 45 Qb2+ as a possible score amendment as it is arguably better in terms of practical chances for White.
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Re: Champions' Names

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Sat May 11, 2024 4:55 pm

Gerard Killoran wrote:
Sat May 11, 2024 11:43 am
Hi John
Thanks, Gerard. I have added this to my collection (to go up on BritBase in due course). I had a look at the newspaper score and have a quibble with your transcription: on move 45, White played 45 Qb7+ Qf3 46 Qxf3+ Kxf3, etc.
I didn't think this made sense (see my note above where I said move 47 by mistake.) After 45 Qb7+, Black can play Kh2. This loses the h and g pawns, but leads to an almost certainly drawn Q+RP v Q ending. I thought White would have played 45. Qb2+ to keep the h pawn with the trap that 45...Qf2+ only forces a losing pawn ending for Black.
It's not a trivial draw, though, and I could easily see black losing that in practice.

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Re: Champions' Names

Post by Gerard Killoran » Sat May 11, 2024 6:01 pm

It's not a trivial draw, though, and I could easily see black losing that in practice
.

I've only had it once OTB, and as I was resigning myself to a long - and probably futile - attempt to win, my opponent allowed a cross-check almost immediately. As I recall, the drawing technique is to put your King in the opposite corner to the Queening square, and in this case it already is. I doubt I'd hold it against Magnus somehow.

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