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Event: England v West Germany • 4 games, 1 part-game • updated: Wednesday 17 February, 2016 11:03 AM
Venue: Elvetham Hall, Hartley Wintney • Dates: 30-31 March 1974 • Download PGN

1974 England vs West Germany, Elvetham Hall, Hook, Hartley Wintney, 30-31 March

  England Elo Rd 1 Rd 2 West Germany Elo
1 Jonathan Penrose 2450m ½-½ ½-½ Robert Hübner 2600g
2 Michael J Basman 2385 0-1 1-0 Lothar Schmid 2550g
3 Andrew J Whiteley 2340 1-0 0-1 Hans Joachim Hecht 2505g
4 Anthony J Miles 2375 ½-½ 1-0 Klaus Darga 2500g
5 Michael F Stean 2320 1-0 ½-½ Jürgen Dueball 2450m
6 Peter R Markland 2405 1-0 ½-½ Dieter Mohrlok 2450m
7 Robert Bellin 2320 0-1 ½-½ Hans-Günther Kestler 2410
8 John D M Nunn 2300 0-1 ½-½ P Schiffer  
9 Jonathan S Speelman   1-0 1-0 Karl Heinz Podzielny, jnr  
10 Sheila Jackson   0-1 ½-½ Anni Laakman 2170
England w on odds, rd 1 5-5 6-4 England won 11-9

BCM, May 1974, ppn 145-148

THE ANGLO - GERMAN MATCH at Elvetham Hall, 30th-31st March 1974

by Harry Golombek

I have to confess that I viewed the prospects of this match with mixed, not to mention uneasy feelings. On the one hand I was happy at the thought that, with Lansing Bagnall acting as the sponsors and hosts of the event, we would be able to give our visitors the best of playing conditions and allow them to see the English countryside at its best. But on the other hand we were taking on, in the West Germans, one of the strongest chess-playing teams in the world. I am not one of those who believe we should confine our international activities to playing against teams of approximately equal strength or even of inferior strength to ourselves.

In fact, I am convinced that it is only by engaging in battle with players and teams stronger than ourselves that we can hope to improve the quality of play in this country. But, I have to agree that it is bad for our prestige and also bad propaganda for us to be beaten too heavily in such encounters. Consequently, when I learnt that the visitors were sending a team that included no less than five grandmasters (Hübner, Unzicker, Schmid, Hecht and Darga), I began to tremble slightly and fear a heavy defeat. My fear was converted into positive terror when I learnt that our own team was going to be without the assistance of its top internationals.

Ray Keene was away playing in a tournament at Havana. Our two champions, Bill and Jana Hartston, were precluded from playing because of the coincidence of Jana’s final medical exams and even our chosen junior, Mestel, was unable to come. The general estimate of the nature of our defeat was 16-4 in favour of the visitors.

But something very funny must have happened to our team on the way to Hartney Wintney, that charming village not far from Fleet and Basingstoke (shades of Ruddigore!) which is where Elvetham Hall is situated. Instead of going like lambs to the slaughter they seemed to become imbued with an admirable fighting spirit, a lack of awe at the sight of our formidable adversaries and a determination to play for a win that had been noticeably missing in our team of recent years.

As evidence of all this was the fact that in the First Round on Saturday there were only two draws. Ironically, one gained the impression that had we been at full strength we would have had a score in this round made up of something like six draws and some losses!

On top board our one titled player, international master Jonathan Penrose drew a quick game in 19 moves with the great Robert Hübner and Miles had a somewhat longer draw (29 moves) against another grandmaster - Darga.

We were playing the usual mixture of 8 senior players, one junior and one lady player. These latter two counted as boards 9 and 10 and it was here that the first positive results came. Sheila Jackson was soon in trouble against the West German lady champion and lost in 32 moves but our junior, J. Speelman, showed himself as much too good for his opposite number and redressed the balance by winning in 31 moves.

After seeing this game I had the firm conviction that, whatever happened on the other boards, we were going to score 2 - 0 on the junior board. Clearly, Podzielny, whose name I take to be a Polish variant of the famous Mr. Podder who turned out to be such a fine batsman in the great match between All-Muggleton and Dingley Dell in Pickwick Papers was not going to be so difficult to dismiss as the All-Muggleton version of Boycott.

If the score was even so far, matters on the remaining boards looked as least as good and possibly better. True, Basman had got into a tangle against Schmid on Board Two but I had seen him escape Houdini-wise from worse and we certainly had the upper hand on both fifth and sixth boards where Stean and Markland were playing with a most reassuring command of the initiative and a sureness of touch that was a delight to watch. Nunn was, however, losing to Schiffer, but, in recompense, Whiteley, after getting into a somewhat dubious position against Hecht, took excellent advantage of the German grandmaster’s failure to find the best move to force a win in 42 moves.

Adjournment time came and quite a number of games finished with a rush. Nunn lost, as expected, in 41 moves, but round about this time we scored two more wins. Markland won an ending that looked at first glance quite difficult, in 43 moves - a subtly played game on Markland’s part that well deserved the full point.

Since Stean won one of the best games of the match, against Dueball in 41 moves, we were leading at the adjournment by 5 - 3. Of the two adjourned games, Basman’s looked lost but Bellin did not seem too badly placed. When play was resumed Schmid duly administered checkmate to Basman, after 55 moves, but it seemed that Bellin’s position was worse than we had thought and he too lost after 57 moves.

I give the Stean game which readers will enjoy.

So, the score at the end of the first round was 5 - 5. A fine start when you remember what we had anticipated, but there were croakings among us elderly ravens to the effect that we were bad finishers and always played worse in Round Two.

Fortunately, the players were not aware of this and so they sat down to their second round games determined to do even better against their formidable adversaries. First to finish was a short game of 16 moves on Board 8 where Nunn was caught in a sort of Philidor mate without, fortunately, the mate. The draw was an entertaining one.

A little later Miss Jackson drew a stubbornly fought game against Mrs. Laakmann after 32 moves and with Whiteley losing his return game against Hecht we became one down. Still, matters were looking rosy for us on most of the other boards. Steady draws between Markland and Mohrlok and Bellin and Kestler were followed by the expected win by Speelman over Podzielny and we were level again.

Remained three games against three grandmasters. One of them, Darga, was clearly losing and Miles showed his class by winning the game in 64 moves and thereby achieving the gratifying total of l½ - ½. This meant that we needed one point from the other two games to win the match. With Penrose drawing a most interesting game versus Hübner in 48 moves all eyes were on Basman. He looked to be winning and certain, at any rate, not to lose.

This game was the last to finish and Schmid resigned on the 69th move when mate was inevitable. There was a nice symmetry about the finishes of the two games these players played to the extent that even the mate was on the same square. Anyway, we had won the round 6 - 4 and the match by 11-9, the first victory over a major chess-playing nation in a full-scale match that I can remember our ever having accomplished, and, one hopes, a good omen for the future.

The individual results of the match are given below. The B.C.F. had White on the odd-numbered boards in Round One and Black on the odd-numbered boards in Round Two.

File Updated

Date Notes
8 July 2024 First uploaded. 4 games, 1 part-game, table of results.