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John Saunders


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Tournament: Ilford Premier • 7 of the 15 games, plus 3 part-games
Venue: Ilford • Dates: 26-29 May 1950 • Download PGN • Last Edited: Friday 24 June, 2022 1:07 AM

1950 Ilford Premier, 26-29 May

1950 Ilford Premier Resid. 1 2 3 4 5 6  Total 
 1  David Vincent Hooper Surrey
½ 1 ½ 1 ½
2 Jonathan Penrose Essex ½
½ ½ 1 1
3 Oliver Penrose Essex 0 ½
½ 1 1 3
4 Alfred William Bowen Middlesex ½ ½ ½
0 ½ 2
5 Dr Stefan Fazekas Essex 0 0 0 1
1 2
6 Dr James Macrae Aitken Middlesex ½ 0 0 ½ 0

BCM, July 1950, p214


The Ilford Chess Club (founded in 1900) had the happy idea of celebrating the Jubilee by holding a Whitsun Congress with sections of six players each. The enterprise secured a very good response both in numbers—sixty-six players entered—and in quality; and it would appear from this that a regular Whitsun Congress would as advertisers say, “fill a long-felt want.” It is to be hoped that, as was suggested at the closing ceremony, the organizers are sufficiently encouraged by the success of this congress to launch similar ventures in the future.

The congress was opened at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 26th, by the Mayor of Ilford Alderman John Barker, and play quickly got under way. In the leading event, the Premier, the organizers had instilled a healthy spice of county rivalry, as the three most promising Essex players of today were opposed by rivals from Middlesex and Surrey.

I feel that none of the competitors in the tournament really hit quite their top form; this may well have been due partly to the fact that the schedule was necessarily very severe, in order to get five rounds with adjourned games into the limited time available. But this general remark does not imply any depreciation of the achievement of the joint victors, who both played definitely sounder chess than any of their rivals. Each was in serious trouble only in one of their five games, Hooper against Penrose himself, and J. Penrose against Bowen in the last round.

O. Penrose came an excellent third and was undefeated until the last round. The other players all in varying degrees disappointed. Bowen was reasonably consistent and tenacious when in difficulties but he was not capitalizing his advantages correctly; Fazekas redeemed a lamentable start by vigorous wins in the last two rounds; while Aitken reversed this procedure and met a succession of disasters after only a moderate start.

The quality of the play was on the whole reasonably good without being distinguished. While the tournament was freer than some I have known from atrocious howlers or spectacular blunders, it was on the other hand lacking in games that bear the hallmark of true quality—or so at least I felt. Accordingly in the round-by-round report I confine myself mainly to the selection of interesting moments rather than quoting complete games.

White Round 1 Black Opening No. of Moves
J.Aitken ½-½ D.Hooper Petroff 23
S.Fazekas 0-1 J.Penrose Four Knights 50
O.Penrose 1-0 A.Bowen Sicilian 25

Aitken tried 5 Q—K 2, in the Petroff, but after the Queen exchange could make nothing at all of his tempo advantage and the result was an unexciting draw. Bowen chose a risky line in the opening, operating on the Queen side before getting king into safety, and O. Penrose got a most dangerous attack where all sorts of horrors seemed imminent. In the crisis, however, Bowen succeeded in forcing the Queens off and a draw was agreed in a level ending soon afterwards.

J. Penrose’s win against Fazekas was the best game of the round and is given below. [see viewer/download]

White Round 2 Black Opening No. of Moves
D.Hooper 1-0 S.Fazekas King's Indian 37
J.Penrose ½-½ O.Penrose Ruy Lopez 31
A.Bowen ½-½ J.Aitken QGD (Lasker) 48

In Hooper-Fazekas the following position arose after White’s 19th move and Hooper won by skilful exploitation of the pawn weaknesses that are apparent in Black’s game. Play continued: [see viewer/download]

The game between the brothers Penrose was a somewhat old-fashioned and extremely close Lopez which was agreed a draw in a level position with nearly all the pieces still on the board.

Aitken lost a pawn in the opening by a simple oversight but secured in return a promising attack and Bowen had to be very careful. The attack was, however, held and Aitken then switched his forces to the Queen side. When the adjournment came in a Rook ending Bowen was still a pawn up but it soon became clear that he had missed the win a few moves back and Aitken succeeded in forcing a draw. The conclusion was interesting (Diagram 2).

White Round 3 Black Opening No. of Moves
D.Hooper ½-½ A.Bowen QGD Exchange 54
J.Aitken 0-1 J.Penrose Ruy Lopez 57
S.Fazekas 0-1 O.Penrose Nimzowitsch's Attack 37

Hooper castled on the Queen side against Bowen, the most energetic treatment of the Exchange line, and Bowen, countering with a Queen-side pawn advance, seemed intent on repeating his success in a fine game against Newman at Felixstowe. Hooper’s careful play, however, averted all danger of a break-through and, in fact, he had most of the time the edge in a sternly contested struggle and was, off and on, a pawn up. In the end, however, a difficult Queen and Rook endgame was drawn by repetition of moves.

Fazekas sacrificed unsoundly against O. Penrose and soon had a lost game.

Aitken against J. Penrose produced the only theoretical innovation of the congress and one, indeed, of some importance. Unfortunately for himself, he failed to follow up his new move correctly. After the opening moves I P—K 4, P—K 4; 2 Kt—K B 3 Kt—Q B 3; 3 B—Kt 5, P—Q R 3; 4 B—R 4, Kt—B 3; 5 Castles, Kt x P; 6 P—Q 4 P—Q Kt 4; 7 B—Kt 3, P—Q 4; 8 Px P, B—K 3; 9 Q—K 2, B—K 2; Aitken played 10 P—B 4, a move earlier than usual. [see viewer/download]

White Round 4 Black Opening No. of Moves
J.Penrose ½-½ D.Hooper Petroff 32
O.Penrose 1-0 J.Aitken QGD 41
A.Bowen 0-1 S.Fazekas Dutch 49

This round brought the meeting between the two players who were destined to head the tournament. Hooper again played the Petroff and J. Penrose countered with what has sometimes much the same effect as an innovation—an old move that has been all but forgotten. [see view/download]

Aitken did not play the opening correctly against O. Penrose and though secured the two Bishops the price of a backward development on the Queen side was too heavy. Yet once the Queens were off and an ending reached it seemed at times possible that both Bishops would come into their kingdom in the end.

Penrose, however, played the ending very accurately and Aitken under time press ended the game at once by an oversight that allowed the trapping of a piece.

Fazekas showed a return to form in this round and won an enterprising original game against Bowen. The latter played the Staunton Gambit and secured at an early stage a central wedge in the shape of a pawn on Q 6 in front of Black's unmoved Q P. But Fazekas’ position, though odd looking, was never so bad as it may have appeared to be at first glance; he gained good play on the Black squares, had an advantageous ending after the exchange of Queens, and eventually removed the blockading pawn.

White Round 5 Black Opening No. of Moves
A.Bowen ½-½ J.Penrose Stonewall 29
D.Hooper 1-0 O.Penrose Ruy Lopez 44
J.Aitken 0-1 S.Fazekas Sicilian 19

The last round opened with three players being in a position to win outright though a tie of some sort seemed most likely. As is the general custom play was to go on without a break till all games were finished.

Aitken had a brief game with Fazekas in which he opened the centre prematurely and fell a victim to a brilliant finish.

Meanwhile Bowen was pressing J. Penrose hard with command of much more of the board. In fact he might well have won in the end if he had played 24 P—Kt 6, in the position diagrammed (Diagram 3).

The last game to finish was Hooper-O. Penrose. This was a game where the standard of play seemed affected by the tenseness of the atmosphere. Hooper made little of the move and appeared to have somewhat the worse of the game when he was forced
to concede a passed central pawn to his opponent; but almost immediately afterwards he permitted Hooper to invade his seventh rank wlth a Rook and his game soon disintegrated. By winning this game Hooper at last overtook his rival J. Penrose and shared the two prizes With him.

The prizes were presented at 4 p.m. on Monday at a pleasant ceremony presided over by Dr. Beattie, the President of the Ilford Club. Mr. Bowen expressed the thanks of the competitors to the organizers of the tournament and I should like also to express my admiration fof the effective way in which the tournament was run. I heard no complaints of the room in the County High School for Girls where the congress was played; it served admirably in every respect though it might, of course, be too small on a subsequent occasion. The whole congress in short reflects the highest credit on everyone concerned with its organization and without being invidious I feel I should mention in particular Mr. L. A. J. Glyde, the Chairman of the Congress Committee, Mr. J. M. Soesan, the Secretary of the Ilford Club, and our familiar friend Mr. Chetwynd, the firm yet unobtrusive Tournament Controller.

Other sections [full scores from The Chess Bulletin, Vol.1, no.20, 12 June 1950]

Major A: 1-2 Dr. B. Sturgeon, Harry I. Woolverton 3½/5; 3 A J Morrell 2½; 4-5 Dr K Winterton, N Anthony Perkins 2; 6 Roy A Wagstaff 1½
Major B: 1 D. V. Lofts 3½/5; 2-3 W. George Whitaker, John W Naylor 3; 3-4 J B Hawson, W G King 2; 6 H J Pearman 1½
Major C: 1 I. Steinberg 3½/5; 2 Daniel Castello 3; 3-4 Dr N Anfilogoff, Stephen Wilkinson 2½; 5 R G Duce 2; 6 E G Ansell 1½.
Major D: 1-2 E. F. Norris, J. R. Read 3½/5; 3 S H Lucas 2½; 4-5 D Smith, All Winters 2; 6 M R Porter 1½;

Open A: 1 Peter H Clarke 5/5; 2 D. H. Imrie 3; 3 Jack A Speigel 2½; 4-5 Miss Deirdre Colmer, B G Locke 2; 6 J F Levy ½.
Open B: 1 C. R. Worthing 4/; 2 A. J. Potter 3½; 3-4 R E Rankin, F van Straaten 2½; 5 J E Brimley 2; 6 R St J Hawkins 0.
Open C: 1 E. J. Holmes 5/5; 2-3 S. A. Wilkinson, D. Gowler 3; 4 D G Farrell 2½; 5 K W Wycherley 1; 6 A L Everett ½.
Open D: 1 R. Chamberlaine 4/5; 2 R. Lane 3½; 3-4 W Pealling, C H Silverstone 3; 5 J Woodward 1; 6 A G Ransley ½.

Junior A: 1 S. Goldstein 4½/5; 2 James B Howson 4; 3 P D Mier 3; 4 B Levy 2; 5 G L Smith 1; 6 G C Culling ½.
Junior B: 1 R. Mansfield 5/5; 2-3 D. Rose, M. D. Fox 3½; 4 D H Tyrrell 2; 5 D J Burrage 1; 6 J K Page 0.

J. M. A[itken]

File updated

Date Notes
23 June 2022 Initial upload.