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John Saunders


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Event: England-Netherlands Match • Venue: Unilever House, London • Date: 25-26 October 1969 • 11 games of possible 22
Download PGN • last edited: Saturday April 20, 2019 6:09 PM

England v Netherlands Match, played at Unilvever House, Blackfriars, London, 25-26 October 1969

Bd Netherlands
Round 1
Round 2
British Chess Federation
1w Hans Ree
Jonathan Penrose
2b Hans Bouwmeester
Raymond D Keene
3w Frans Kuijpers
Robert G Wade
4b Theo van Scheltinga
Peter N Lee
5w Jan Timman
John Littlewood
6b Lod Prins
Andrew Whiteley
7w Johan Teunis Barendregt
Peter H Clarke
8b Dick van Geet
Michael J Franklin
9w Eddie C Scholl
Victor W Knox
10b Gert Ligterink
Martyn J Corden
  Match score
Overall score 10-10
  Fenny Heemskerk
Rowena M Bruce








[BCM, December 1969, p353-355 - report by PH Clarke] Unless the odds are soon confounded, the 1969 Match between the British Chess Federation and the K.N.S.B., staged at Unilever House, Blackfriars, London, on October 25th and 26th, will be specially remembered for many years to come; for it differed from its eleven predecessors in the series by ending in a tie: the score was 10-10 and 1-1 (women’s board). The Netherlanders thus retained the trophy—which was fortunate for them, since, descending upon this country from the air, they forgot to bring de Ruyter’s ship, “The Seven Provinces,” with them.

The match began, as matches often begin, with some steady draws, in which White’s initiative was quickly and effectively neutralized. These were on Boards 1, 2, 4, and 7, leaving the balance of colours undisturbed. The draw on Board 9 was also relatively short (25 moves), but it took a less even course and called for considerable ingenuity on the part of Knox.

All the other games seemed to be running against England, and in his worst moments C. H. O’D. Alexander, our non-playing captain, could foresee only a series of defeats. The first came when Wade suddenly overlooked the loss of a piece in a tricky position, while a second was obviously not far off on Board 5: John Littlewood had been unable to recover from a faulty opening line and ended the session two pawns down. However, the adjournment brought better news. Whiteley, smashed by Prins in the early middle-game, had been allowed to wriggle out of trouble and now enjoyed winning prospects; Franklin could exploit a stalemate device to force a draw; even Corden, who had lost three pawns for the exchange, seemed to have enough counterplay to tie his opponent down (the result of wretched end-game technique by the Netherlands junior, who quite failed to advance a pawn mass); finally, Mrs Bruce, having hit back on the King’s side, was at least holding her own in a complex situation. The resumption of play confirmed our dinner-time analysis— there was a bonus in the shape of a rapid win by Whiteley. Thus a possible disaster had been averted and the enemy lead kept to a minimum.

The outstanding feature of this hard-fought round was the success of the black pieces (9-2 and not a single defeat). In that light Knox could hardly be criticized for his short, quiet draw. Most of the players with the white pieces found the onus of the initiative too much for them, and their subjective ideas proved objectively wrong. The best example of this was on Board 8, where van Geet’s belief that he had obtained a strategic advantage was ruthlessly shattered.

In the fifth hour of play the contest moved rapidly towards its climax. The visitors’ chances still looked preferable, but a second reversal of fortune on Board 6 altered everything. It must have been a melancholic experience for Prins to throw away another fine attacking position, yet he displayed only cheerfulness. This loss cancelled out young Timman’s victory over Littlewood, who again was a mere shadow of his usual self, and paved the way for a real England revival. Excellent wins by Keene and Lee and a satisfactory draw on the junior board from Corden took us to a total of 9½ and a 2-point lead. The situation in the remaining three games was not so encouraging, and much therefore depended upon Mrs Bruce. She and her opponent slid into grave time-trouble and finally chose to take the safe way out.

The fight for the last ½ point now became desperate. Penrose had struggled resourcefully against difficulties that started to pile up soon after the opening, but he just failed in his bid for counterplay and resigned on the 44th move. By that time Wade was clearly being overwhelmed by an avalanche of pawns that Kuijpers had acquired in return for a Knight and I was a pawn to the bad in a lively end-game. In the position shown in the diagram I gave up another pawn—temporarily, I hoped—in order to get the maximum out of my pieces: [part-game] This study-like ending befitted the occasion—not only of the tied match but also of my own 150th game for England.

Since the Netherlanders had consistently outstripped us in the previous twelve months (at Lugano, Vlissingen, and Adelboden), the level score is to our credit. On the other hand, it is not up to our performance at Harrogate two years ago, when a well integrated and spirited team came back from a first-round defeat and won the match. I believe that at future home matches the selectors should go back to the formula, as generally applied in both 1965 and 1967, of asking the players to assemble on the evening before play begins. In that way alone can a side get itself into proper tune.

The sponsorship this time was by Unilever, a firm which has great interests in the Netherlands too. Hospitality was of a high standard, and the playing conditions were comfortable enough to make the job of the Controller, G. H. Simmons, an easy one. I am always disappointed by the fewness of the spectators; for there are surely hundreds of enthusiasts who could attend this event, particularly when it is held in London. On behalf of the players I would like to thank all those who did come. Next April the England team will be competing in the Clare Benedict Tournament on home ground at Paignton, and keen support could spur it on to success.

[CHESS, Vol.35, no. 591-92, November 1969] The annual England v Holland match, October 25-26, ended in a draw. It was held at Unilever House, London under the sponsorship of the mammoth Anglo-Dutch trading company Unilever. England, with Black on the odd boards, lost Rd. 1. The margin would have been greater had not Prins gone wrong after cleverly sacrificing his queen. Wade gave away a piece in an even position, and Littlewood had a virtually lost game after eight moves.

In Rd. 2, England led at one stage, Lee, Keene, Franklin and Whiteley (from a lost position again) winning but the last three games to finish, on boards I, 3 and 7 produced only half a point, Clarke’s calm defence with R and B for Q holding the match. Older players on each side did badly.

Openings played in the unscored games: 1.1 Ree-Penrose - English; 1.2 Keene-Bouwmeester - Catalan; 1.4 Lee-van Scheltinga - King's Indian Attack; 1.7 Barendregt-Clarke - Giuoco Piano; 1.8 Franklin-van Geet - King's Indian Attack; 1.9 Scholl-Knox - Ruy Lopez; 1.10 Corden-Ligterink - Alekhine's Defence; 1.11 Heemskerk-Bruce - King's Indian Defence; 2.9 Knox-Scholl - Scotch; 2.10 Ligterink-Corden - Dutch Defence; 2.11 Bruce-Heemskerk - QGD Slav.

[The Times, 27 October 1969, p10] Dutch chess team held to draw - By HARRY GOLOMBEK.

The annual match between the British and the Netherlands Chess Federations was held at Unilever House at the weekend. Appropriately, since it is an Anglo-Dutch firm. Unilever is sponsoring this event.

Ideal conditions were provided for the double round match, which is played on 10 boards with an additional eleventh board for a woman player. The result of the womens match affects the issue only if the men’s match has been drawn.

The English team, playing a little insecurely, lost the first round by 4½ to 5½ points, and might have fared still worse, because on the sixth board the Dutch player allowed Whiteley to win a game which seemed lost.

Things went better for the home team in the second round although the British champion, Penrose, had one of his rare losses on top board to the Dutch champion, Ree. On the next board Keene won well against Bouwmeester and Whiteley, again emerging from a lost position against Prins, also won.

All hinged on the seventh board game between Clarke and Professor Barendregt. This, after a iong struggle, ended in a draw.

The women's matches were also drawn and the result was: British Chess Federation, 11: Netherlands 11.

[The Guardian, 27 October 1969, p5] England ties with Holland after recovery - By our Chess Correspondent - The English chess team staged a good recovery to tie its annual match against Holland, sponsored by Unilever and played in London on Saturday and yesterday England lost the first round 4½-5½ but won by the same margin in the return. The match highlighted the trend towards youth, which is one of the features of current international chess. In the 12 games, where there was a generation gap between the opponents, the young players scored 9 wins and 3 draws.

File Updated

Date Notes
20 April 2019 First uploaded to BritBase with 10 complete games, 1 part-game and 11 stubs, plus reports, etc.

All material © 2019 John Saunders