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Tournament: 12th Ilford Premier • all 15 Premier games, plus 2 games and 1 part-game from Premier Reserves A
Venue: Ilford • Dates: 19-22 May 1961 • Download PGN • Last Edited: Wednesday 26 April, 2023 7:33 PM

1961 Ilford Premier, 19-22 May 1961

1961 Ilford
Residence 1 2 3 4 5 6  Total 
 1  Cenek Kottnauer London
½ 1 1 1 ½ 4
2 Michael J Haygarth Leeds ½
1 ½ 1 ½
3 Denis Victor Mardle Cheltenham 0 0
1 ½ 1
4 Peter Campbell Gibbs Birmingham 0 ½ 0
½ 1 2
5 John E Littlewood Scunthorpe 0 0 ½ ½
1 2
6 Roland Payne Essex ½ ½ 0 0 0

Ilford Whitsun Congress [BCM, July 1961, ppn 185-187]


THE twelfth Whitsun Congress of the Essex County Chess Association took place at the Ilford County High School for Girls from May 19th to 22nd. Familiarity is synonymous with popularity as far as this event is concerned, for this year the number of competitors reached the new record of 137. Naturally, the majority come from London and the metropolitan counties, but the reputation of the congress is such that it draws players from as far away as the North of England. In the Premier there was a particularly strong challenge from Yorkshire, all the same it was not enough to prevent Kottnauer from taking first prize once again.

One comes to expect such hard-fought struggles at Ilford that a quiet contest seems almost disappointing. However, the lull is bound to come sometime, and it was especially likely after last year’s exceptionally exciting chess. The score-table reveals two facts which suggest that the play took an uneventful course: the prize-winners remained unbeaten and, what is more ominous, no one defeated anyone who finished above him. The reason for this was that the most aggressive players, Littlewood and Mardle, did not find their best form, with the result that their efforts against the leaders were in vain.

As the tournament progressed so the draws became more frequent—none in the first round, one each in the second and third, and two each in the fourth and fifth—as if the players accepted their fate well before the end. Haygarth established an early lead by winning his first two games in a straightforward manner, that is by refuting the unsound positional and tactical play of Mardle and Littlewood respectively. After that, though, he withdrew into his shell, content to share the points in the remaining games. This was more than good enough for second place but insufficient for first. Kottnauer overtook him in the fourth round and held his position by a comfortable draw with him in the last. Really, that was all that happened, for the other players were scarcely in the picture at all.

Kottnauer’s victory, his fourth in five attempts here, was well deserved. With the white pieces he won two games very easily, while with Black he allowed two draws and won the third without ever looking in much trouble. He is in very good form this year, which has real significance for British chess now that he has been naturalized. It will be interesting to see how he fares in his first appearance in the Championship at Aberystwyth. Haygarth, too, was never in any danger, and this result should restore him to full confidence after some lack of success at Neuhausen am Rheinfall. Compared with his 4½ points last year, Mardle’s total looks pretty sorry. In fact, third place with an even score is a creditable performance, and his two wins were among the most entertaining in the tournament. Gibbs and Littlewood reached their scores by dissimilar methods: the first-named, promoted to fill a vacancy, started with two losses, but fought back dourly to make a good recovery; Littlewood began in fine style, beating Payne in a game which won the prize for the best game (again generously donated by Mr. G. Isenburger); in the remaining rounds, however, very little went right for him, and he was even fortunate to make two more draws. A sign of his poor form was a tendency towards severe time-trouble. Payne’s result was disappointing, particularly for local supporters. It is not that he is a bad player, it is just that he is too passive and fainthearted. To do better he must remember that chess is a fight.

1961 Ilford Premier Reserves A

1961 Ilford
Premier Reserves A
1 2 3 4 5 6  Total 
 1  Michael J Franklin
1 1 ½ 1 ½ 4
2 Clifford George Hilton 0
1 ½ 1 1
3 Owen Mark Hindle 0 0
1 ½ 1
4 James B Howson ½ ½ 0
½ ½ 2
5 Keith Donald Sales 0 0 ½ ½
1 2
6 Martin Blaine ½ 0 0 ½ 0

Each year this tournament gets stronger—no less than five of the participants this time have played in the British Championship. Franklin came out a comfortable winner in the end, being able to draw his last two games without danger of being overhauled. On the whole his vigorous and resourceful play merited this success, yet he did have a narrow escape against Hilton in the very first round. This fluctuating game was surely won for Black at one time, but somehow Franklin slipped out of the net and finally turned the tables with a mating attack on the black King. From the position shown in the diagram the finish was: 47 R—Q B 2, QxP ch; 48 R—B 3, QxP; 49 Q—R 2 ch, K—Kt 1; 50 B—K 5, Q—Kt 5 ch; 51 K—B 2, QxPch; 52 K—Kt 2, Q—Q8 (or 52....Q—Kt 5 ch; 53 R—Kt 3); 53 R—Kt 3 ch, K—B 2; 54 Q—R 7 ch, Resigns.

Despite this setback Hilton was an easy second, winding up with three straight wins, each achieved by sound and active play. Hindle, now one of the best players in the Midlands, seemed a little unlucky; he has a clear, flowing style, a sure guarantee of successes in the future. None of the others was able to reproduce his best. It was surprising to see Blaine, several times the winner, at the bottom; time-trouble was his great affliction.

There was very nearly a repetition of last year’s result in the “B” section, for Miss Eileen Tranmer led until the final round. But then the second of her young rivals defeated her, thus drawing level with her and giving Goodhill the chance to take first place alone. Girling was not recognizable as the player who finished equal first at Paignton less than a year ago.

Ilford Premier Reserves B: (1) T Goodhill 3½/5; (2-3) John F Wheeler, Eileen Betsy Tranmer 3; (4-5) John B Hawson, Peter W Hempson 2; (6) Clive F Girling 1½.

Other prize-winners—

Major “A.”—(1-3) R. Pinner, D. Hamilton, J. W. McLeod 3. “B.”—(1-2) D Futter, David G. Levens 4. “C.”—(1) David Sherman 4½; (2) T Pruchnicki 3½. “D.”—(1) R. A. E. Shaw 3½; (2) P. J. Camminis 3. “E.”—(1) K. Wilkinson 5; (2) D. Le Surf 3. “F.”— (1) C. Waites 4; (2-3) Daniel Castello, J. Eyre 3½. “G.”—(1) J. R. Priestley 4; (2) P. R. C. Vargas 3½. “H.”—(1) N. Cory 4½; (2) A. M. Fox 3½. “J.”—(1) J. Cotterell 5; (2) W. Bainbridge 4. “K.”—(1-3) E. Dawe, J. G. Jones, and J. Savage 3½. “L.”—(1) H. D. Hancock 3½; (2-3) H. E. Druce and J. D. Barham 3. “M.”—(1-2) K. M. Hogan and J. E. Thompson 4.

Open “A.”—(1) S. Leff 4½; (2) Miss L. E. Fletcher 3½. “B.”—(1) S. Sanders 5; (2) Miss P. Renwick 3½. “C.”—(1) M. J. Reddie 5; (2) G. B. Pooley 3.

Junior “A.”—(1-3) C. S. Lee, C. Harding, and G. B. Gillman 3½. “B.”—(1) R. M. F. Russell 3½; (2) A. Whitbread 3. “C.”—(1-2) Kenneth B Harman, Richard W O’Brien 4½. “D.”— (1) J. W. Dineen 4½; (2) R. E. Hartley 4. “E.”—(1-2) M. Ferrie, Daniel Wright 3½ (five players only).

[CHESS, Vol.26, no.385-6, 27 May 1961, p280]


Now naturalised, Cenek Kottnauer demonstrated at Ilford, that he will be a serious contender for the British Championship at Aberystwyth. He commented at the prizegiving ceremony that he considered this was a success for his generation. Botvinnik, he thought, must have felt similarly a fortnight earlier.

Haygarth was also unbeaten, and indeed, seemed in little trouble in any of his games. Mardle could not recapture last year’s form but nevertheless played enterprisingly. The most interesting chess was played by Littlewood but his boldness did not produce the points this time. His only win was against Payne and typically this was awarded the Best Game Prize, donated by Mr. M. G. Isenburger. Haygarth and Kottnauer coolly refuted his unsound opening play. Against Haygarth, he fearlessly sacrificed a bishop for two pawns but soon it was his opponent who was attacking. At one stage against Kottnauer he had to make 17 moves in three minutes. He made them just before the flag fell, only to find his position in ruins.

The Premier Reserves “A” tournament was dominated by M. J. Franklin and C. G. Hilton. Hilton missed a clear win in their individual game and lost. However, Franklin played finely and fully deserved his place in next year’s Premier.

The total of 132 competitors was a record. O.M.H. [Owen Mark Hindle]

File Updated

Date Notes
26 April 2023 First upload. All 15 Premier games, 2 games and 1 part-game from Premier Reserves A. Crosstables, results, reports. Many thanks to Andy Ansel for inputting many of the games from the Eric Fisher booklet.