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John Saunders


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Tournament: 39th Hastings Premier 1963/64 • go to Previous YearNext Year • updated January 8, 2024 7:19 AM
Venue: Sun Lounge • Dates: 30 December 1963 - 8 January 1964 • Download PGN (all Premier/Challengers games, 11 games from other sections)

1963/64 Hastings Premier, 30 December 1963 - 8 January 1964, Sun Lounge, Hastings Pier

1963/64 Hastings Premier   Residence 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10  Total 
1 Mikhail Tal GM USSR
½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 ½ 1 7
2 Svetozar Gligoric GM Yugoslavia ½
½ ½ 1 1 1 ½ ½ 1
3 Levente Lengyel IM Hungary ½ ½
1 0 0 1 1 1 1 6
4 Abram Iosifovich Khasin   USSR ½ ½ 0
½ ½ 1 1 1 1 6
5 Norman Littlewood   Sheffield 0 0 1 ½
1 0 1 1 1
6 Bjorn Brinck-Claussen   Denmark 0 0 1 ½ 0
½ ½ 1 1
7 John Eric Littlewood   Sheffield 0 0 0 0 1 ½
0 1 1
8 Owen Mark Hindle   Norwich 0 ½ 0 0 0 ½ 1
½ 0
9 Dr. Miklos Bely IM Hungary ½ ½ 0 0 0 0 0 ½
½ 2
10 Michael J Franklin   London 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 ½

1963/64 Hastings Challengers

1963/64 Hastings Challengers Residence 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10  Total 
1 Nona Gaprindashvili USSR
1 ½ 1 ½ 0 1 ½ 1 1
2 Ove Kinnmark Sweden 0
½ ½ 1 1 ½ 1 1 1
3 Alan Phillips England ½ ½
½ 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 0 5
4 Henri Catozzi France 0 ½ ½
½ 1 0 1 ½ 1 5
5 Houschang (Yaakov) Mashian Iran ½ 0 0 ½
½ 1 ½ 1 1 5
6 John Dudley Taylor Sheffield 1 0 ½ 0 ½
½ ½ ½ ½ 4
7 Andrew Rowland B Thomas Tiverton 0 ½ ½ 1 0 ½
½ 0 1 4
8 John A Lawrence Birmingham ½ 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½
½ ½ 3
9 Heinrich Jühe Germany 0 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 ½
0 3
10 Dragoljub Baretic Yugoslavia 0 0 1 0 0 ½ 0 ½ 1

Other Sections: [BCM, February 1964, ppn 41-44]

1963/64 Challengers Reserves A 'Pelton' The two sections of the Challengers’ Reserves both had a good international flavouring and were by no means weak tournaments. All the more credit then goes to the young M J Basman’s victory in the Pelton section. The scores in this section were: (1) Michael J Basman 6½/9; (2) James Joseph Walsh (Eire) 6; (3) Harry Gethin Thorp Matchett 5½; (4-5) David E Lloyd, David Parr 5; (6-7) Karl Gustav Dahl (Sweden), David G Levens 4½; (8) Dr. Reinhard Cherubim (West Germany) 3½; Dr. Marcel Barzin (Belgium); (10) Wilfred Henry Pratten 2. [Ulrich Tamm has worked out the draw numbers for this section: they were 1. Lloyd, 2. Levens, 3. Barzin, 4. Matchett, 5. Pratten, 6. Walsh, 7. Parr, 8. Basman, 9. Dahl, 10. Cherubim. Standard Berger pairings applied as shown in Table 3b on this page]

1963/64 Challengers Reserves B 'Rider' Another fine result by a young player came in the Rider Section of the Challengers’ Reserves which was won by (1) P. N. Lee, with a score of 7½/9. Second was the local player, (2) W Arthur Winser 7, and third was (3) Milan Bajovic (Yugoslavia) 5½, followed by (4-5) John William Naylor, and Keith Bevan Richardson 5; (6-7) Arthur J Coldrick (Eire), Pank Hoogendoorn (Netherlands) 3½; (8-9) Wolfgang Gergs (West Germany), James B Howson 3; (10) Dr. Werner Alles (West Germany) 2.

Main A: (1) Andrew J Whiteley 7/9; (2-4) Anthony Beckett Bamford, Percy Baldwin Cook, J Edge 5½; (5) Arnolds Mazitis 5; (6) Otto H Hardy 4; (7-8) John A Flood, Robert P Ross 3½; (9) John H Jones 3; (10) Alfred Dempster H Whyte 2½.

Main B: (1) Albert Bockius 8; (2) Michael P Cook 6; (3-4) Charles Ambrose Scott Damant, Geoffrey Alan Hollis 5½; (5) Roger Leslie Paige 5; (6) Peter Charles Griffiths (Birmingham) 4½; (7) Robert Hans Pinner 4; (8) Ronald F A Harman 3½; (9) John M Ripley 2; (10) Wilfred Evans (Chorleywood) 1.

Main C: (1) Richard St G Upton 6; (2) Graham Russell Mitchell 5½; (3-4) C C Williams, H Zimmerman 5; (5-6) A Philip Primett, Stephen John Ridout 4½; (7-8) Robin G Bellinger, P R Hindley 4; (9) Geoffrey F Steele 3½; (10) Alan Edgar Nield 3.

Main D: (1-2) A Buckle, P Smith 6½; (3-4) William Bainbridge, Roger L Baker 6; (5) S Lambert (Solihull) 5; (6-7) Percival Arthur Cooke, Alfred Milner 4½; (8) Dr. Francis Henry Charles Marriott 3; (9) J W Daniels 2½; (10) Philip B Sarson ½.

Main E: (1) Brian A M Piggott 8/9; (2) E Woods 6½; (3-4) Thomas Eagle Lovell Chataway, D Ellis 6; (5) P Griffiths 4½; (6) Rev. Henry Middleton Blackett 4; (7-8) Ernest George Exell, Harold Horace Watts 3½; (9-10) Geoffrey George Homan, Arthur T Watson 1½.

Main F: (1) J Gordon Lloyd 7/9; (2-3) A K Henderson, R A Oxenham 6; (4-5) Richard Edward Boxall, Gregory Owen J Melitus 5½; (6) E Peck 5; (7) Rev. R A Pugh 4; (8-9) William Edward Busbridge, Peter van Tongeren (Kidderminster) 3; (10) K W Warburton 0.

Main Afternoon: (1) John A Felton 7½; (2-3) J Johnson, Albert Victor Lightfoot 6; (4) John Myles Gorton 5½; (5) L L M Jones 5; (6) Philip Stuart Kitcher 4½; (7-8) George Arthur Peck (Rugby), R C Winter 4; (9) Patric Kirtlan 2½; (10) Clement Theodore Chevallier 0.

Open Morning: (1-2) Timothy J Gluckman, S C Zaiker 7½/9; (3) R Summersell 7; (4) H Passam 6; (5) J A Day 5; (6) William Martin Hague1 (aged 14, St Lawrence College, Ramsgate) 4½; (7) C Berry 4; (8) Mrs Laura Ethel Amelia Start (née Whitehouse) 2½; (9) Lady Gwendolen Harriet Herbert (née Quilter) 1; (10) R Youdale 0.
1 William Martin (Bill) Hague is now (2023) a professor of Obstetric Medicine, University of Adelaide, Australia. He attended St Lawrence College, Ramsgate, for most of his schooling before moving to Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe, for his final school term in 1967 where he won a choral exhibition to Trinity College, Cambridge. During that term he occupied the same classroom as me (John Saunders) though he did not take part in chess activity at the school. I had no idea he was a chess player until researching him in 2023! JS

Open Afternoon: (1) H Cohen 7½/8; (2) Mrs W van den Bergh 6; (3) Frank C Shorter 5½; (4-6) G Burnett (Worcester), Claud Vernal Warter Lucas, Miss E Whyte 4; (7) Miss M M Elliott 3; (8) A H Harris 2; (9) Miss W J F Mitchell 0.

New Year Special A: (1) David Lees 3½/5; (2-4) A Doelman, (Nicholas) Anthony Perkins, Walter James E Yeeles 3; (5) Arthur Hall 2; (10) T E Waits ½.

New Year Special B: (1) J G Collins 4½/5; (2) Anthony J Gillam 4; (3-4) Roger S Scowen, Jack A Speigel 2½; (5) Christopher W Johns 1½; (6) John N Kemp 0.

New Year Special C: (1) Christopher I Moffat 4/5; (2) R A Hubbard 3; (3-5) Eric Wilfred Knapp, P McDermott, Victor Norman Rains 2½; (10) Anthony G Frish ½.

New Year Special D: (1) T Stonehouse 4/5; (2-3) Sydney Ross Capsey, Miss Gillian A Moore 3½; (4-5) Nigel W Dennis, J Weston 1½; (6) R M F Russell 1.

New Year Special E: (1) J H Gardener 4½/5; (2) C W Bryan 4; (3) H B Howard 3½; (4-5) Terence Ian Maylam, D R T Wickham 1½; (6) H Anderson 0.

New Year Special F: (1) C S Wood 4½/5; (2) A R Sepahpour 4; (3) E Chambers 3; (4) Douglas Betts 2; (5) J B Ansermoz 1½; (6) R Tipples 0.

New Year Afternoon A: (1) Christopher I Moffat 4/5; (2) Leslie E Vine 3½; (3) D R Smith 3; (4) Nicholas C Pyper 2½; (5) R M F Russell 1½; (6) E C Baker ½.

New Year Afternoon B: (1-2) Ronald Ernest Rushbrook, Mrs S Thomson 4/5; (3-4) Sydney Gothard, J Kilner 2½; (5-6) P Clews, Nigel S A Grimwade 1.

BCM, February 1964, ppn 33-41

The Hastings Chess Congress


Opened on Monday afternoon, December 30th, at 3.45 p.m. by the Duke of Norfolk at the Sun Lounge, St. Leonards, the Thirty-ninth Hastings Annual Chess Congress held out promise of becoming one of the most interesting of the series. For this there were two main reasons: the presence of the Woman World Champion, Nona Gaprindashvili, in the Challengers’ Tournament, and the adventurous type of players that, on the whole, had been chosen for the Premier. I have deliberately put Nona’s name first since she was a major public attraction, so much so that it was often difficult to get by her board, so great was the public interest taken in her play. As a matter of fact, the interest was well deserved. Unlike the lady who attracted the interest of the popular press at a previous Hastings, Nona is a real chess-player with a great gift for the game and she was to show her strength in the very first round—but more of this anon.

For the Premier, of course, the most notable name was that of the ex-World Champion, Mikhail Tal. Making his first appearance in this country at the ripe old age of twenty-seven, he already had to his credit a most brilliant career in the chess world, both from the point of view of results and of style. Here there were two intriguing questions that remained to be answered: how would he fare against the formidable Gligoric, so especially redoubtable at Hastings, and how far had his health improved since its failure in the second World Championship match against Botvinnik. The answers to these queries, in particular the latter, would have an important bearing on the future story of the World Championship cycle.

Gligoric’s was a known, most consistent force at Hastings; but there were quite a number of unknown quantities in this year’s Premier whose presence here was calculated to add to the piquancy of the proceedings. This sort of thing is very important, since I have known Hastings tournaments, which have been star-studded with famous names and which, somehow or other, never seemed to have got off the surface of dull routine. This congress was not one of those; the play was lively and interesting throughout and dullness of routine was quite absent.

Another new name was that of the Hungarian Lengyel. He had shown his worth by coming second to Gligorid at the Zonal Tournament at Enschede in Holland a few months earlier. He too was a player who believed in lively chess, variable but very effective when in form.

The other Soviet entry, that of Abram Chasin, was a curiously unknown quantity A worthy master player, since he had on four occasions qualified for the Soviet Championship, he was yet not one of the leading Soviet masters as his results in that championship tournament showed (next to last in 1956, equal last 1957, again next to last 1961, and in the Twenty-ninth Soviet Championship which was held at the end of 1961 thirteenth out of twenty-one). A cheery personality who became a great favourite with the players and spectators at the congress, his success there was highly popular.

Not the least interesting question mark was that relating to the possible achievements of the Littlewood brothers; would John repeat or even surpass his previous performance at Hastings and would Norman, possessor of a style still more risky and adventurous than that of his brother, fail or succeed with his hair-raising attacks?

How, too, would the young Dane Brinck-Claussen fare on his promotion to the Premier? He had qualified for this from last year’s Challengers’ Section and usually the fortunate (or unfortunate, it depends on the point of view) qualifier lands at the bottom of the Premier.

The final point of interest lay in seeing how the two younger home players, Hindle and Franklin, played on their first appearance in an international tournament. The one disappointing feature of the tournament was the last-minute withdrawal of the ex-World Junior Champion, Bruno Parma, of Yugoslavia. To fill his place Dr. Miklos Bely, of Hungary, was promoted from the Challengers’ Section.

Round 1, Monday, December 30th

Quite a number of the questions posed above received an answer in this round. Hindle was defeated but not disgraced in a hard-fought game by the ex-World Champion. Franklin lost a pawn to Dr. Bely but held the draw after an adjournment by steady play. John Littlewood was disturbingly ill at ease in the opening and never looked like saving the game against Chasin. Lengyel and Gligoric drew a game by repetition of position, the tournament controller, W. Ritson-Morry, deciding that the rule denying players the right to agree a draw in under thirty moves was not applicable in this case, since in order to avoid a repetition one side would have to incur the inferior game.

How Norman Littlewood’s dashing tactics would fare also met with an answer. They gained him the full point after a series of ups and downs that would have made the ordinary player something of a nervous wreck—Norman found it all normal and remained, or seemed to remain, icily calm throughout.

Round 2, Tuesday, December 31st

The grandmasters played a game worthy of the occasion in which Tal’s vigorous attack was met by an equally firm defence on Gligoric’s part, as the reader can see for himself.

Lengyel never seemed to get going against Brinck-Claussen and the Dane always held the upper hand. Franklin handicapped himself by a bad opening against Chasin (this was to be the cause of his failure in a number of games in the tournament) and never recovered. The Littlewoods had a dour struggle in the longest game of the tournament, a game that went to quite a number of adjournments. John was the attacker in this case and though he never quite managed to break through the defences it was clear that he was winning which he eventually did in a subtle Knight and pawn ending.

Hindle soon had a marked initiative against Dr. Bely, but could obtain little concrete advantage against a steady defence. He did in fact win a pawn but the ensuing Bishops of opposite colour ending was obviously drawn.

Round 3, Wednesday, January 1st, 1964

Chasin scored his third successive victory with a powerfully played game against Hindle.

Gligoric polished off Brinck-Claussen in a beautifully neat little game, whereas Tal, surprisingly, was held to a draw by Dr. Bely who now had played three draws in succession. Lengyel, quite undeterred by his heavy loss in the previous round, won just as severely against J. Littlewood.

Was the latter’s brother, Norman, lucky to win against Franklin? It all depends on what you mean by “lucky.” If to take your life in your hands, to launch out on an attack blazing with sacrifices and complications that could have been fended off if the opponent had found the right line, but that was not, if to do this successfully is to be lucky, then N. Littlewood was so favoured. The enjoyable way in which he won can be seen by the reader for himself.

Round 4, Thursday, January 2nd

Still no interruption to Chasin’s victorious career. He won his fourth victory in nice incisive style against an opponent who played the opening indifferently and the middle-game still worse. Both the grandmasters scored good wins in assured style. Brinck-Claussen found Tal’s attack much too severe for him and Gligoric made exemplary use of J. Littlewood’s weakness on the white squares.

Lengyel won well against Franklin by means of superior centralization of forces. Hindle-N. Littlewood was a rather scrappy game in which Hindle, declining to accept the offer of the exchange and a couple of pawns, since he was afraid (wrongly in the present writer’s opinion) to incur some disadvantage in development, chose to go in for a line in which he was a pawn to the good with a solid game. However, later on he allowed himself to be lured mto taking a second pawn which in turn cost him a piece and a lost ending.

Round 5, Friday, January 3rd

The meeting between the two Soviet players was a peacable one with a draw being agreed in what is known in legal circles as the statutory period. There was nothing peacable about the other draw in which J. Littlewood’s sacrifices proved just sufficient to force a repetition of position.

Franklin created too many pawn weaknesses to hope to survive against an opponent of Gligoric's calibre. Hindle’s King’s-side counter-attack misfired against Lengyel and led to a lost ending. N. Littlewood came up to one of the leading places by a well deserved win against Dr. Bely. Though it might be argued that, in the diagrammed position below, Black's 37th move was the only one that made the resulting sacrifice possible, still, it is difficult to find a good move for him at that stage in the game.

Round 6, Saturday, January 4th

Chasin came within an ace of losing his lead to Norman Littlewood, who thoroughly outplayed him in the early stages of the game only to spoil it all in the ending. This was ½ point the Soviet master must have thought practically gone. Meanwhile the other Soviet player, Tal, made no mistake against the other Littlewood brother in exploiting his opponent’s pawn weaknesses on the Queen’s side in the most effective manner. Of the other two home players, Franklin gradually went downhill against Brinck-Claussen but Hindle scored a most meritorious draw against Gligoric, who was very nearly, but not quite, overthrown by a fierce King’s-side attack.

Dr. Bely fell into an instructive trap on his 10th move against his fellow-countryman Lengyel.

Round 7, Sunday, January 5th

This time there was a change in the lead, Chasin succumbing to the temptation of pawn hunting and meeting with a decisive defeat at the hands of the vigorous Hungarian player, Lengyel.

Tal joined Lengyel in first place by beating N. Littlewood with some ease. The Sheffield player was unable to find any adequate reply to his opponent’s occupation of the central black squares and lost much material. Gligoric, however, failed to keep pace with the two leaders, since, though he did hold the advantage for most of the game, he was unable to force it through against the Hungarian’s stubborn defence.

Hindle had two opportunities of winning against Brinck-Claussen but was unfortunate enough to miss them both. In the first sitting he won a passed pawn on Q 5 but was unable to find a winning line thereafter and returned the pawn. In the second he did in fact have the chance of reaching a won King and pawn ending but rejected it. All this, perhaps, comes under the heading of useful experience but is none the less trying.

Franklin wilted under continuous pressure against J. Littlewood and seemed to be losing at a very early stage in the game.

Round 8, Tuesday, January 7th

Norman Littlewood took a hand in deciding the destination of the first prize by beating Lengyel in no uncertain manner. This was a fine game in which luck played little part.

As a result of this, and of Tal’s quiet but efficient disposal of Franklin, the lead now passed to the ex-World Champion, who found himself a full point ahead of the rest of the field. His main rival Gligoric had an unhappy time against Chasin and spent most of it trying (successfully it should be said) to save a difficult position for the draw.

Dr. Bely scattered and threw away his pawns with a most careless profusion against Brinck-Claussen and when he resigned he was a matter of four pawns down.

Hindle, offered a second chance of winning the exchange in the opening against a Littlewood, took it this time, with the result that the reader can see below.

Round 9, Wednesday, January 8th

In order to secure first prize Tal had to acquire | point in this last round and he managed it without any difficulty in a game in which, it is true, Lengyel did not seem averse to the draw himself.

Gligoric obtained second prize by a typically firm win against N. Littlewood, who never recovered from some loose play in the opening. Brinck-Claussen had the makings of a fine attack against Chasin’s King but rather mismanaged it and had to be content with forcing a draw by repetition of position.

J. Littlewood won nicely against Dr. Bely and Franklin at last displayed better form and contrived to win his first game of the tournament at the expense of the unfortunate Hindle.

Tal’s success was well-deserved. He was in no way favoured by luck and his chess was of true world-master class. A little quieter in his methods than usual (note in this respect his draws against all otherthree prize-winners), he still played interesting chess as only he knows how and the keenness of his delight in the game was a pleasure to watch.

Gligoric was the only other unbeaten player in the tournament and he too should be well content with his result here, even though he did appear to be suffering a little from a surfeit of tournament chess.

Chasin did rather better than his known strength warranted. It is an awe-inspiring thought that there must be in the U.S.S.R. about forty-odd masters capable of achieving similar successes.

Lengyel was variable: on his good days a grandmaster, on his weak, a second-rate player. Fortunately, he has more good than bad days, and, happily for the spectator, he plays lively chess.

So much for the four prize-winners. Next, just ½ point outside the prize-list came Norman Littlewood. To score 5½ points on his debut at Hastings must be accounted a fine achievement and the energy of his attacks was truly admirable (constituting, incidentally, a great draw to the public). Nevertheless, it was with mixed feelings that I viewed his chess. It was brilliant, colourful, and exciting; it was also, to a very large degree successful and it was likewise to a very large degree risky, which is a polite way of saying unsound. Somewhere in Horace there is a line saying that the man who first set out to sea must have had a heart made of oak and triple bronze—N. Littlewood’s daring and resourceful courage implies and even demands a heart of this composition. This magnificent courage is so impressive that even the purist might tend to forget or gloss over the fact that it is often employed in dubious battle.

The youthful Brinck-Claussen confirmed the good impression one had gained of his play over the last couple of years. He should improve still further. J. Littlewood was far from being in his best form and this applied in even greater measure to the other two English players below him in the table. Dr. Bely displayed a stubborn toughness, but was not, however, quite of master strength,

Before leaving this event for the other tournaments let me just add a word of gratitude for the remarkably fine way in which he controlled it to W. Ritson-Morry. This was an excellent piece of organizational work for which both players and spectators were truly thankful.

1963/64 Hastings Challengers

The presence of the Woman World Champion, Nona Gaprindashvili in this year’s event gave it great importance. She started off in fine style with a most impressive win in the first round. [Thomas 0-1 Gaprindashvili]

Following this up with a couple of victories against Catozzi and the player who was to prove her chief rival, Kinnmark, Nona established a good lead but this was gradually whittled down and, when in the eighth round she was soundly beaten by J. D. Taylor, Kinnmark even passed her by winning the following good game against J. A. Lawrence.

In the last round Nona beat the blind Yugoslav player, Baretic, whilst Kinnmark was held to a draw by A. Phillips so that they tied for first place after all. As the Woman World Champion had the superior Sonneborn-Berger count she has qualified for next year’s Premier Tournament.

The final scores were: N. Gaprindashvili (U.S.S.R.) and O. Kinnmark (Sweden) 6½; H. Catozzi (France), H. Maschian (Iran), and A. Phillips (England) 5; J. D. Taylor and A. R. B. Thomas (England) 4; D. Baretic (Yugoslavia), H. Julie (West Germany), and J. A. Lawrence (England) 3.

CHESS, Feb/March/April 1964 (the reports and annotations were spread across several issues)


Nona Gaprindashvili started with two wins in the Challengers’ tournament. [bare scores of rounds 1-3]

The liveliest Hastings for years... Littlewood brothers and "Nona" saw to that. Continuing the story of the Premier from three rounds covered “game by game” this time.

Round 4 : In the morning John Littlewood managed to finish off Norman at last. In the afternoon Norman gave up two pawns for little indeed to Hindle, who greedily seized a third, to find that it cost him a bishop. Khassin scored his fourth win, Bely playing far too passively. Tal, Gligoric and Lengyel efficiently crushed Brinck-Claussen, J. Littlewood and Franklin respectively.

Round 5 : N. Littlewood casually harassed Bely in a probably just-defensible (given time !) position until the Hungarian blundered. His brother drew a weird game with Brinck-Claussen—and Tal, watching, at once pointed out where the Dane had missed a fine chance. Hindle sacrificed a pawn, Franklin gave one away ; both rather unnecessarily—Lengyel and Gligoric accepted and exploited the gifts with due appreciation. Tal ½, Khassin ½ was the quietest game.

Round 6 : Playing excellently, Norman Littlewood forced Khassin to give up a knight for his about-to-queen QRP. With a knight for a pawn, and 38 moves made, Littlewood then started to play skittles chess, and bad skittles chess at that. He careered on for another twenty moves well inside the session ; only drew. Hindle played a faultless opening against the Sicilian of Gligoric who was glad to draw. Lengyel caught his fellow-countryman in a fantastic opening variation invented in Russian two years ago. Franklin and J. E. L. went down to Brink-Claussen and Tal.

Round 7 : Gligoric “only” drew ; his queen and pawns on QR4, KB2, KN2, KR3 being easily held by Bely’s bare Q and B. Tal beat Norman Littlewood by pure technique. Lengyel beat Khassin. Hindle won a pawn ; returned it for freedom which proved insufficient to overcome Brinck-Claussen’s careful defence.

Round 8 : Tal’s victory over a somewhat dispirited Franklin was again quietly competent, rather than explosive. Norman Littlewood, playing the King’s Gambit beat Lengyel brilliantly. Brother J.E. adopted the Greco Counter Gambit but it was his opponent Hindle who scintillated. Khassin adjourned a pawn up but Gligoric defended impeccably to draw. Brinck-Claussen picked up four of Bely’s pawns in succession—but still the Hungarian played on for a few moves !

Round 9 : The Littlewoods certainly are adaptable. John adopted the mantle of Petroshan, probing, advancing, retreating until Bely’s weakening of his own king’s side (. . . P—KR4 brought about disaster against both Littlewoods in turn) caused sudden collapse. Tal and Lengyel drew as soon as allowed : this put Tal first. A sad oversight wrecked N. Littlewood’s game against Gligoric.


The school at Skegness, where John Littlewood teaches, opened well before the congress ended; but the Mayor of Hastings wrote the Chief Education Officer in Lincoln explaining that John was badly needed at the congress to uphold British prestige and help ward off the foreign attack . . . !


Sue Thomson’s Chess Personalities’ Photographs competition, advertised in recent CHESSes, was the main side-show of the Congress. Competitors were constantly seen comparing their keys to the picture. Many claimed to have identified nearly all the photographs already. Almost all who entered agreed that the big “ montage”, of nearly 150 different famous chess figures, was well worth the 5s. entry fee in itself, quite apart from the chance of winning an acceptable prize. At least half-a-dozen people told us they intended to get the big 18 inch by 10 inch photograph framed.

Among the spectators early on was 84-year-old H. R. Cheshire, son of the man who wrote the famous book of the first-ever Hastings International Tournament of 1895. He attended this great event as a boy of 15, spending hours copying out the game scores. Steinitz’s, he recalled, were so badly written that the great man himself could not always decipher them. [A failing he shared with Viktor Korchnoi - JS]

Owen Hindle must have been rather encouraged by being announced in a well-known daily as the British champion ; on T.V. as the British co-champion and in the Hastings Observer, again, as joint winner of the B.C.F. Championship at Bath. These errors, we imagine, all stemmed from the Congress programme’s correct announcement that he “tied with John Littlewood in this year’s B.C.F. Championship at Bath but it was, of course, in third place.


Nona Gaprindashvili, the Women’s World Champion, quite captivated the congress. By heading the Challengers’ Tournament, she qualified to play in next year’s Premier—but not without giving her admirers a few frights on the way. She started off with wins against A. R. B. Thomas, H. Catozzi and O. Kinnmark. Then she drew with Lawrence a game she could easily, at more than one stage, have lost. Then she crushed H. Juhe. Next round, Alan Phillips’s Marshall attack in the Ruy Lopez in which he sacrificed a piece, had her in considerable trouble at one stage. She survived the main attack by pure determination and class and even had winning chances on adjournment ; but she frittered these away and only drew. It is unusual for a Russian competitor to lapse after adjournment; but this attractive 23-year-old lady spends her leisure, not in quiet study but in furious table tennis or concentrated billiards. At every game, she is determined to win. Later in life, she may learn to (have to !) concentrate her energies.

Followed a draw with that strange visitor from Iran via Zurich, H. Maschian, himself a colourful figure with an unquenchable zest for 5-minute games.

Then the shock, a loss to J. D. Taylor, ex-Cambridge University President who had had a poor tournament—only a point and a half out of seven games. Undoubtedly, she under-estimated him (we have incidental outside evidence of this). She obtained an overwhelming game then lost a pawn in simple fashion, lost the thread of the game completely, lost another . . . . ! We wonder, did she notice towards the end, that J. D. T. is rather like Spassky in appearance.

On the Saturday evening before this game, she had jolted the whole congress into excited comment by winning the annual lightning tournament, beating Mikhail Tal (no “rabbit” himself at quick chess) in their individual encounter. The main event was played to the buzzer; this game on a five-minute-all-in basis.

Perhaps this event did her no good. That Sweden’s Ove Kinnmark tied with her for first place at the modest age of nineteen, seemed hardly to be noticed. He went on piling up the points round by round, possibly benefiting from the contrast between the calmless around his board and the excited crush and comment around Nona’s.

She kept us in suspense till the last. She got into such a mess against Dragoslav Baretic in the last round that one well-known weekly which goes to press on Friday afternoon actually put in print that she had lost her chance of getting into the Premier, and had to correct this on the machines. Fighting like the tiger she is, Nona gradually turned the tables. We feel that Baretic is finding the blindness, which struck him as a boy despatch-runner during the war, hard to bear. He became tired and discouraged, ultimately resigning a position he might well have defended doggedly for a long time . . . this, after a little more than six hours’ play.

Meanwhile Kinnmark, as Black against Phillips, had not done badly to draw. So he and Nona tied; and the Sonneborn-Berger tie-breaking system, which intentionally penalises consistency, gave her best.

There was little doubt which of the two Frank Rhoden, with his amazing nose for publicity, wanted in!

File Updated

Date Notes
1997 45 Premier games and 45 Challengers previously uploaded as part of a collection of Hastings games in zipped PGN format.
4 September 2022 Uploaded with crosstables, reports, etc, plus games from subsidiary sections. I have included Tal's annotation of his game with Gligoric, published in CHESS, and also commentary from the magazine on some of the early games.
4 December 2022 Added a game from the Challengers Reserves 'Rider' section: W.A. Winser 1-0 P.A. Hoogendoorn (rd 5). Many thanks to Brian Denman for submitting the game.
7 December 2022 Added three games from Challengers Reserves A: (1) D.Levens 0-1 R.Cherubim (rd 3); (2) M.Basman 0-1 J.Walsh (rd 4); (3) H.Matchett 1-0 W.Pratten (rd 8). Thanks to Ulrich Tamm for contributing two of these games and for reminding me that the third one was already on BritBase (in the Wilfred Pratten file).
26 February 2023 Added a game from Main B: R.Harman 0-1 A.Bockius (rd 3). Many thanks to Ulrich Tamm.
8 January 2024 Added another game from Main B: R.Paige 1-0 R.Pinner.