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John Saunders


BRITBASE - British Chess Game Archive

Tournament: Birmingham International • 20 out of 45 games • uploaded Tuesday, 7 February, 2023 12:58 PM
Venue: Birmingham • Dates: 8-18 January 1939 • Download PGN

Birmingham International, 8-18 January 19391937«

1939 Birmingham Residence 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10  Total 
1 Lodewijk Prins Netherlands
½ 0 1 1 1 1 1 ½ 1 7
2 Paul M List1 Hampstead; Lithuania ½
½ 1 1 ½ 1 0 0 1
3 Hubert Ernest Price Birmingham 1 ½
1 1 0 0 1 0 1
4 Arthur Reynolds Solihull 0 0 0
½ 1 1 ½ 1 1 5
5 Jacques Mieses Holborn; Germany 0 0 0 ½
1 ½ ½ 1 1
6 Ronald Blow Smethwick 0 ½ 1 0 0
0 1 1 1
7 Cecil George Butcher Birmingham 0 0 1 0 ½ 1
1 0 ½ 4
8 Baruch Harold Wood Sutton Coldfield 0 1 0 ½ ½ 0 0
1 1 4
9 Julius Silverman Birmingham ½ 1 1 0 0 0 1 0
10 Dr Abraham Learner Meriden 0 0 0 0 0 0 ½ 0 1

1 The CHESS report shown below records Paul List's nationality/residence as 'Lithuania'. According to Wikipedia he had been living in the UK since 1937. Wikipedia records his d.o.b. as 9 September 1887. The September 1939 UK census records him as Paul List-Odess, d.o.b. 7 December 1887, occ. chess master, living with his wife Stephanie List-Odess, d.o.b. 29 July 1900, at 38 Belsize Square, Belsize Park, Camden, Hampstead, London. List's date and place of death was 9 September 1954, London, as given in Gaige's Chess Personalia (which does not give a d.o.b.). On the face of it, it would appear that the person responsible for editing List's record on Wikipedia has confused his d.o.b. and d.o.d. JS

CHESS, March 1939, ppn 220-221 by B H Wood

The second Birmingham International tournament within the last two years was a great success and reflected great credit on the organiser, Mr. Ritson Morry, for the manner in which he surmounted the most persistent and varied collection of difficulties it must surely ever have been the lot of a tournament director to face. All the Birmingham players were engaged in their vocations during the daytime and free only in the evenings, so that arrangements for the playing-off of adjourned games offered incredible difficulties. The three foreign masters were not available on the first day, so that their games had to be played later. On top of all this, Prins, the ultimate winner, was indisposed for half the congress and had to play most of his games off in a rush at the end. Thus the final orderly scoring-table which we reproduce above represents almost a miracle of achievement.

The idea of playing off some rounds in various clubrooms in Birmingham was a splendid one, reducing the costs of the tournament and greatly enhancing interest in it—but it added much to the difficulties of the organiser.

Prins was a worthy winner and his point-and-a-half margin in no way exaggerated his superiority. Apart from his one loss, he was never in serious trouble from beginning to end, though he was in difficulties at one stage against Blow. List, on the other hand, was fortunate to win a dead drawn ending against Learner and draw lost games against Price and Blow; whilst Mieses, evidently tired after Hastings, was lucky not to be among the tail-enders—Butcher missing against him twenty winning chances, finally overlooking a mate in two, Wood overlooking a clever drawing-sacrifice in a critical position and Reynolds going wrong in a won ending.

Price delighted all his friends with a most astonishing recovery, losing his first three games, yet picking up five-and-a-half points from his last six to tie for second place. For a veteran of 701, working hard all day, whilst the three visiting masters, from whom he collected two wins and a draw, rest, this is an extraordinary performance. Bearing in mind this work factor, the Birmingham players acquitted themselves very creditably indeed, and showed that Midlands chess is perhaps stronger than ever before. As Prins recalled in his Dutch column, Reynolds defeated Reuben Fine, and Silverman defeated Eliskases, the only time they met in tournament play. Wood made another recovery, scoring one single half-point from his first five completed games but three and-a-half out of his last four. Your Editor rarely makes excuses, but he approached this tournament thoroughly brain-weary from overwork. 1 incorrect - Price wrote to CHESS subsequently to say that he was 60. Born in the 4th quarter of 1877, he was in fact aged 61 at the time this tournament was played - JS

Blow made a very good start, leading the tournament for some time, but finishing weakly. He is an uneven player, brilliance alternating with spells during which he seems uncertain of himself. A piece ahead against List in the easiest of won endings, he frittered everything away and had even the worse of the draw; on the other hand, he managed to win a completely lost game against Silverman. Reynolds did well without adding a lot to his reputation ; Butcher seemed to feel the strain of a life of work, chess, sleep and nothing else more than the others. Silverman scored two wins and a loss against the leaders, but only one single point against the rest!

At the conclusion of the congress Herr Mieses was presented with a cheque for £70, a testimonial collected by the indefatigable H. G. T. [Harry Gethin Thorp] Matchett.

BCM, February 1939, ppn 67-68 [in 'News from the British Isles']

Birmingham Tourney.—Shortly after the Hastings Congress a tournament was held at Birmingham, in which nearly all the best Midland players took part and also three foreign players: L. Prins (Holland), P. List and J. Mieses (Germany). Some fine fighting games were played, and the visitors had by no means all their own way, the final results being: L. Prins 7, P. List and H. E. Price 5½ each, A. Reynolds 5, R. Blow and J. Mieses 4½ each, C. G. Butcher and B. H. Wood 4 each, J. Silverman 3½ and Dr. A. Learner 1½. This was a fine win for Prins, whose active style always makes for most interesting chess. By coming first amongst the English players and tying for second prize, H. E. Price has shown a welcome return to his own form. Reynolds played some excellent games; as indeed Blow did, too, but he is still too erratic to achieve the results one expects from a player of his capabilities. Mieses was tired by playing through two tournaments in succession.

The results of the other tournaments held were as follows: Midland Counties Union Junior Championship: A. M. Fine (Warwickshire) 4½, N. G. Blackmore (Staffordshire) 3½, L. A West (Notts) 3, and W. F. Thompson (Shropshire) 1. The winner will represent the Midlands in the British Boys’ Championship at Hastings next Easter.

Major Open Tourney.—T. A. Podesta and B. G. Walker 5½ each, H. A. Fine 4, F. Burton 3, G. Brittain 2.

Minor Open Tourney.—J. J. Corbett 9½, J. S. Richards 8½, P. S. Huddy and B. S. Thompson 6 each, F. Livingstone and A. E. Power 5½ each.

Here is a game from the eighth round of the Premier tournament in which Reynolds played very good aggressive chess. [Reynolds-Silverman - see viewer/download]

File Updated

Date Notes
03 July 2022 First upload here, with 16 of the 45 games, plus two part-games. This tournament immediately followed the 1938/39 Hastings Congress but received scant coverage in the press at the time, with The Times barely mentioning it. (It took place more than a year after the death of Times columnist Edward Samuel Tinsley, by which time the Times's chess articles had diminished in quantity.) The exception was the Birmingham Daily Post which had daily reports and was the source for most of the scores. None of the games appear on the 2022 Mega/Big databases and very few elsewhere.
3 July 2022 Added two games: (1) L.Prins 1-0 R.Blow, rd 8; (2) C.Butcher 0-1 L.Prins, rd 9. My thanks to Ulrich Tamm and Andy Ansel for sending the scores.
7 February 2023 Minor update: the source reference for the game Wood 0-1 Prins was Bataviaasch Nieuwsblad, 6 May 1939. Note that this game was indeed played at the 1939 Birmingham tournament and not in the 1937 one though Wood also lost to Prins with White at the earlier tournament.