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John Saunders


BRITBASE - British Chess Game Archive

Event: Great Britain vs Czechoslovakia, etc • 41 games • last updated Saturday October 14, 2023 6:09 PM
Venue: London • Dates: 14-15 June 1947 • Download PGN

1947 Great Britain v Czechoslovakia, 14-15 June, Bonnington Hotel, London

Bd Great Britain Rd 1 Rd 2 Czechoslovakia
1 C Hugh O'D Alexander ½-½ ½-½ Ludek Pachman
2 Harry Golombek 0-1 0-1 Jan Foltys
3 Sir George Alan Thomas ½-½ 1-0 Cenek Kottnauer
4 William Albert Fairhurst 0-1 ½-½ Karel Opocensky
5 William Winter ½-½ ½-½ Jaroslav Sajtar
6 Gerald Abrahams 0-1 0-1 Frantisek Zita
7 Gabriel Jacquin Wood 1-0 0-1 Jaromir Florian
8 P Stuart Milner-Barry 1-0 ½-½ Josef Louma
9 Reginald J Broadbent 1-0 0-1 Jiri Fichtl
10 William Ritson Morry 0-1 ½-½ Ludovit Potucek
    4½-5½ 3½-6½  

BCM, July 1947, ppn 212-214

The first round of this match was played at the Bonnington Hotel, London, on Saturday, June 14th.

A feature of the day was that all the players played for a win with the utmost determination, which may explain some otherwise unaccountable lapses and oversights, and it is reasonable to say that Great Britain should have ended up with a score of 6 to 4 at the end of the day.

The second day’s play was little short of a debacle. Only our great veteran succeeded in scoring a well-earned win, but we lost 4 games and drew 5, thus the Czech team won on their merits.

The Czechs had the move on the odd boards in the first round, Black in the second round.

In Round 1 L. Pachmann and C. H. O’D. Alexander produced a gem of a game. Alexander played the Tarrasch Defence to the Ruy Lopez and a remarkable series of thrusts and counterthrusts resulted in a draw most creditable to both players.

Goiombek did not handle the opening of a Queen’s Gambit Declined against Foltys’ Slav Defence very happily, and gradually got into difficulties and finally lost. Kottnauer also played the Queen's Gambit Declined against Sir George-Thomas’s Slav Defence. After some fine positional play on both sides Sir George, by an astute manoeuvre, succeeded in obtaining a winning position in which both sides had a King and three pawns. After the adjournment, probably overtired after a five-hour gruelling session, Sir George, a past master of the end-game, overlooked a comparatively simple win.

Fairhurst played much below his usual form against Opocensky’s Queen’s Indian Defence but it must be said that Opocensky played excellent chess, one of the best games of the match.

Winter handled the King’s Indian Defence very adroitly but against Sajtar’s sound play could not establish any telling advantage.

The game Abrahams-Zita (a Queen’s Indian Defence) was a tragedy for the British team. Abrahams succeeded in engineering one of his typical slashing attacks which apparently was quite sound, for on the 26th move (see diagram) he actually had an immediate win by a sensational Queen’s sacrifice, first indicated by Professor Penrose.

Even after that he still had a winning position on the 47th move but made a blunder when still the exchange up. He lost a Rook for a Knight. This must have had a psychological effect on him for at the very end he, had a King against K, Queen’s Rook Pawn, and Queen’s Bishop Pawn, a position which, according to Fine (Basic Chess Endings, Diagram 352), with very few exceptions is a draw. This game lasted 81 moves.

Dr. Florian played strongly against G. Wood’s Tarrasch Defence to the Ruy Lopez, but Wood gradually improved his position and when Dr. Florian overstepped the time limit Wood had a decided pull.

P. S. Milner-Barry was in his element playing against Louma’s French Defence. With a combination typical of his play he obtained a winning advantage. Louma put up a spirited defence with two Bishops and Rook against Queen and two Knights, but the end was a foregone conclusion.

Broadbent, as Black in a Scotch gambit, added another to his unique sequence of successes in international matches. We were surprised to see him so low down in the team and fear that if he wins many more games he will be out of the team altogether. In this game he made a positional sacrifice of a pawn with the sole object of keeping an opposing Rook out of play. His judgment was vindicated in the result.

Ritson-Morry, playing against a King's Indian, held his own for a long time, but the defence prevailed though he went down fighting.

It is curious to note that on this day Black won 6 games to White’s 1.

The first day saw Czechoslovakia leading by 5½ to 4½. The second day was disastrous for the home side. The first two results were losses and altogether the British team scored only one win, although they obtained 5 creditable draws.

Alexander-Pachmann [sic], an Alekhine Defence, was again a game of palpitating interest. At the end of very combinative exchanges Alexander showed that he is a player of immense resource. He was definitely in trouble, but, by an intricate and subtle manoeuvre, he managed to secure a draw. It was afterwards found that Pachmann might have come out a pawn ahead, with winning chances.

Foltys played the Sicilian against Goiombek and outplayed him in a positional game. Sir George Thomas also played the Sicilian against Kottnauer. Thomas made a masterly sacrifice of a pawn which enabled him to establish two Rooks on the 7th generally tying up the opposing forces. Thereafter he played with an ally, Mr. Zugzwang. Kottnauer exhibited a great deal of energy and ingenuity in trying to free his position but came out several pawns down and resigned.

G. Wood lost the game by a blunder against Florian’s Slav Defence, an unusual occurrence in his case, and the same may be said of Broadbent in a P—K 5 variation of the French against Fichtl. Of all the remaining draws, Opocensky-Fairhurst (Nimzowitsch-cum-Reti) Sajtar-Winter (Queen’s Gambit), Louma-Milner-Barry (Petroff),, and Potucek-Ritson-Morry (French) the same may be said. They were ail hard-fought legitimate contests.

Zita-Abrahams, a Ruy Lopez, showed Abrahams again attacking violently, but, judging superficially at least, the attack was not sound. At the end (the position shown in the diagram) there was a most attractive finish which was in the nature of an end-game study. It looked as if Abrahams might have drawn this position and we invite our readers to send in their suggestions. We offer a book prize for the best attempt.

The whole match was played in an atmosphere of perfect friendliness and goodwill and we hope an adequate British team may visit Prague in return.

Prior to the match our visitors were entertained by the Federation’s Secretary, Mr. F. Chetwynd. The programme was as follows—

Thursday. A visit to the Zoo where the visitors had lunch, in the afternoon there was a tour of London by coach which included a visit to the Kensington Museum and Buckingham Palace. Mr. J. Silverman, M.P., entertained the team to tea in the Houses of Parliament.

On Friday, in the morning, the Tower was visited and lunch taken there. A Port of London Authority’s launch fetched the visitors at the Tower pier whence they toured the river to the King George V Dock and cruised through the docks. Tea was taken on the launch which then returned to the Tower Pier.

We venture to say that it would be hard to think out a better and more comprehensive programme in the time without unduly overtiring the sightseers and we must congratulate the organizers on their splendid arrangements.

1947 Midland Counties (MCCU) v Czechoslovakia, 17-18 June

Bd Midland Counties Rd 1 Rd 2 Czechoslovakia
1 Theodore Henry Tylor 0-1 ½-½ Ludek Pachman
2 William Ritson Morry 0-1 0-1 Jan Foltys
3 Baruch Harold Wood 0-1 ½-½ Cenek Kottnauer
4 Ronald Blow ½-½ 0-1 Jaroslav Sajtar
5 Hubert Ernest Price 0-1 0-1 Frantisek Zita
6 Alfred Lenton 1-0 ½-½ Jaromir Florian
7 Brian Patrick Reilly 0-1 1-0 Josef Louma
8 Reginald Walter Bonham 1-0 ½-½ Ladislav Alster
9 Dr Kurt August Hirsch 0-1 1-0 Jiri Fichtl
10 Arnold Cecil Keey 0-1 0-1 Ludovit Potucek
    2½-7½ 4-6  

Following the London match, the Czech team travelled on June 16th to Birmingham as the guests of the Midland Counties Chess Union. They were entertained on arrival to an inaugural dinner at the Midland Hotel at which Mr. B. H. Wood presided. The guests of honour included the Town Clerk (Mr. F. C. Minshull), who represented the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Mr. Julius Silverman, M.P., and the President of the, B.C.F. (Mr. J. N. Derbyshire).

On Tuesday, June 17th, the Lord Mayor (Alderman A. F. Bradbeer, J.P.) entertained the opposing teams and a representative gathering of Midland chess notabilities' to luncheon at the Council House. This ceremony took place in the magnificent Banqueting Hall which the Lord Mayor so kindly allowed to be used subsequently for the playing of the match. The organizers were more than justified in congratulating themselves on having succeeded in securing the Lord Mayor’s assistance in this respect, for no chess function has ever been staged in England in more sumptuous surroundings.

At 5 p.m. the teams settled down to the serious business of play, the Lord Mayor making Mr. Pachmann’s first move at the top board with all the technique of an old hand. A most interesting game resulted on this board. Tylor, playing with all his accustomed vigour, obtained a very promising game with the Black pieces, and appeared to have good winning chances. Both sides ran very short of time, however, and Tylor inadvertently allowed his flag to fall with one move to make. The position was probably drawn at the time.

The score of 7½-2½ did not flatter the Midland team, for several chances were missed which a little more experience would have clinched.

In the second half, played the following evening, the games were again well fought and the score of 6-4 was actually better than the English team managed to make in the second'half of the London match. This time Tylor kept well ahead of his clock and held the draw very surely.

The match received much attention in the Press, and, thanks to good publicity, a "gate" of over 150 witnessed each evening’s play.

1947 Middlesex v Slovakia & Moravia, 12 June

  Middlesex v Slovakia & Moravia
 1  Joseph Stone 0-1 Jaromir Florian
2 Edward Guthlac Sergeant    ½-½  Ladislav Alster
3 Alfred W Bowen 0-1 Jiri Fichtl
4 David Brine Pritchard ½-½ Ludovit Potucek


File Updated

Date Notes
17 September 1997 First uploaded as a zipped file.
19 June 2022 Crosstables added, plus a game from a warm-up match played by the Czech team.
14 October 2023 Correction: Jaromir Florian was the Dr. Florian who took part in this tour, not the Hungarian Tibor Florian. I am grateful to Chris Kreuzer for pointing this out.