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John Saunders


BRITBASE - British Chess Game Archive

Tournament: 4th British Championship (won by Atkins) (29 games of a possible 66, plus 4 part games, 14 games from subsid events)
Venue: Crystal Palace • Dates: 12-24 August 1907 • Download PGN Thursday 26 March, 2020 5:51 PM

1907 British Chess Championship

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Pts
1 Atkins,Henry Ernest
1 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ 0 1 ½ 7.5
2 Michell,Reginald Pryce 0
½ ½ 1 ½ 0 1 1 1 0 1 6.5
3 Sergeant,Edward Guthlac ½ ½
½ 0 1 0 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 6.5
4 Blackburne,Joseph Henry 0 ½ ½
1 0 1 0 1 ½ 1 1 6.5
5 Wainwright,George Edward 0 0 1 0
0 1 1 ½ 1 1 1 6.5
6 Shoosmith,Hector William ½ ½ 0 1 1
0 0 1 1 0 1 6.0
7 Kelly,Thomas J 0 1 1 0 0 1
0 1 0 1 1 6.0
8 Blake,Joseph Henry ½ 0 0 1 0 1 1
0 1 1 0 5.5
9 Palmer,Wilfred Charles ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 0 1
1 1 0 4.5
10 Mackenzie,Arthur John 1 0 0 ½ 0 0 1 0 0
1 0 3.5
11 Holmes,Harry 0 1 ½ 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
1 3.5
12 Ward,William ½ 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0


British Championship 1907 Crosstable

1907 xtable


Venue: School of Art, Crystal Palace, Sydenham, London

[BCM, September 1907, p421-427] "It fell to the lot of the London Chess League to have the honour of organizing the fourth annual Congress of the Federation, and the Crystal Palace was chosen by their officials as the field of operations. When the venue became known, there were sundry head-shakings by many members of the Federation, who thought that Londoners, at all events, would find little attraction in the idea of spending twelve days in going to and from a place so familiar to them.

"Still, as out of ninety-six competitors thirty-four were described as residing in London, and, of course, many others were from outlying districts, it cannot be imputed to the members of the London League that they have been lacking in their support of the meeting.

"The location of the Congress was the fine suite of rooms of the School of Art, which, situated in annexe of the main gigantic building, are free from all noise and bustle; while in three directions splendid views of the scenery of the grounds were obtainable to any player who raised his eyes from the chequered board, while all the time the pure air from the Surrey hills fanned his fevered brow.

"And here it may be at once acknowledged that the rooms were ideal, and that the courtesy of the Palace officials, from the general manager downward, did much to make the visit of the chess players in every way agreeable.

"There was little formality about the opening ceremony, which took place soon after five o’clock on Monday, August 12th. In the absence of Mr. Atherley Jones, M.P., the members of the Federation were welcomed by Messrs. T. H. Moore and J. W. Wright, of the London League; and Mr. L. P. Rees having acknowledged the kind reception, play in the various tournaments commenced without delay.

"There were in all ninety-six entries in the tournaments, eighty-nine of whom competed, viz. :—In the British Championship, 12; Ladies’ Championship, 12; First Class Amateurs, 12; Second Class, 24 fin two sections); Third Class, 29 (in three sections). There were altogether nineteen lady competitors.

"The competitors in the Championship Tournament were Rev. W. C. Palmer (Manchester), H. E. Atkins (Leicester), J. H. Blackburne (London), R. P. Michell (London), H. W. Shoosmith (Brighton), W. Ward (London), A. J. Mackenzie (Birmingham), G. E. Wainwright (London), J. H. Blake (London), E. G. Sergeant (London), Dr. Holmes (Liverpool), and Thos. Kelly (Manchester), the four last-named players making their first appearance on this occasion as contestants for championship honours.

"Among interesting incidents of the first week’s play in the championship section were the defeat of Atkins by Mackenzie in the first round. The champion had pushed a vigorous attack on the King’s side, but, contrary to his usual habit, had neglected to secure his communications. The consequence was that the Birmingham player’s King was enabled to flee to safety, and an officer of the assailing party was cut off and lost. Whereupon Atkins resigned. [part game and diagram given]

"It will be noticed that at White’s 40th move he refuses to draw, which, playing again in the sequence to Kt sq. would have given his opponent the right to claim.

"The most notable point of the early rounds was the fine form displayed by Mr. G. E. Wainwright, the champion of the City of London Club. Mr. Wainwright is well known as a player of attacking proclivities, quick to see and courageous to embark on a promising combination. Although on occasion he can mask an attack as well as Atkins, yet his style is best suited by an open game. His charming combination against Sergeant, which won the Queen for three minor pieces, will be found in the game department; but a fine ending is seen in the following position, from the second round, Mr. Blake being the victim :— [part game & diagram]

"Mr. Wainwright’s original idea was 32 QxP, and if KtxQ; 33 B—Kt 7 ch, K—Kt sq : 34 R— K 8 ch, Kt—B sq; 35 R x Kt ch, K—R 2, &c.; but, as nothing further is left in the combination, it had to be rejected. Truly, as Zukertort used to say, "The most beautiful chess is that which is played off the board."

"Blackburne also distinguished himself in the first week’s play, the only game he lost during that time being to Blake, after rejecting a draw. A similar ending occurred in the ninth round in his game with Atkins; in both cases the draw was obviously the only result he had to expect, and the strange chess blindness with which the veteran was smitten on these two occasions probably cost him the British Championship of 1907-8. Those who knew Blackburne in his best days are always looking for what they call "a touch of his old quality."

"Such a "touch" he administered on at least two occasions. Ward had, rather incautiously, defied the master of the Scotch game by defending in the old-fashioned way by 4.., B—B 4, whereupon he was treated to 5 Kt—Kt 5, a move which Blackburne had played probably before Blumenfeld, its reputed inventor, was born. Ward played 5.., BxB; 6 PxB, Q—R 5 ch ; 7 P—K Kt 3. Instead of retreating Q—Q sq, with a safe game, Ward went in for winning the Rook with Qx K P ; Kt—Q B 3, Qx R. With a few bright and, trenchant moves the old master soon had Black’s King at his mercy and the gratified spectators remarked to each other, "A touch of his old quality." Once more, against Dr. Holmes, Blackburne had been pushing a fierce attack, which reached a stage that promised victory, except for one important matter. The position was complicated, and the master had twelve moves to make in seven minutes. But his previous cogitation had not been in vain, for he had everything cut and dried, and the smiling doctor was smartly mated with half a minute to spare. Whereupon the spectators again remarked to each other, "A touch of his old quality."

"The commencement of the second week's play found Wainwright and Blackburne practically equal at the head of the table, for though Wainwright had 4½ points on the sheet and Blackburne 4, yet the latter had an adjourned game with Sergeant, which he could easily draw. Atkins and Shoosmith were each 3½, Michell and Kelly 3, Palmer, Blake, and Sergeant 2½, Mackenzie 2, and Holmes and Ward 1½ each—Blake and Mackenzie with an adjourned game.

"Perhaps somebody had been giving Wainwright cautious advice, or the sense of responsibility began to weigh, for, beginning with Saturday, he lost four games in succession, in some of which he displayed almost timorous tactics, and Blackburne became leader. But his position was soon challenged.

"Atkins had started badly, losing, as we have seen, his first game; then, after several draws, he began to make up lost ground, and by his victory over Blackburne, under circumstances mentioned above, drew level with the leader with 6 points and two games to play. By losing to Shoosmith, Blackburne’s chance was clearly gone, and Atkins scoring 1½ points more became British Champion for the third time in succession—a performance which once again proves that he is distinctly, if only slightly, superior to all the competitors he has met in these tournaments. Perhaps his best game was the one in which he defeated Michell in the tenth round, but his conclusion with Dr. Holmes was a bright ending to a well-played parti.

"Of the gallant quartette having 6½ points to each of their names, Michell played soundly and consistently throughout; and Sergeant must be congratulated on his capital performance on his first appearance in these contests. The same may be said of Kelly, who is also a new-comer, and who won several fine games. By the way, in Kelly’s game with Palmer, which was won by the former after over eighty moves, the following curious position occurred :— [part-game and diagram]

"Here Mr. Palmer, after moving Q—K 7, discovered that he had missed a remarkably pretty forced win by P—R 4. threatening Qx P mate, and if P x P, Q—Q 2 mate. Q—Q 3 at once wins also for Black, though not so elegantly. However, the opportunity was lost, for Kelly, though unwitting of danger, played P—R 5.

"Shoosmith, who also scored 6 points, is an accomplished player, and was unfortunate in missing a prize. He is rather given to subtleties and over-refinements, and frequently finds that his clock will not allow him to work them out as he intended.

"Blake has played some of the prettiest games, both wins and losses, in the contest. With four or five Queen’s Pawn Openings every round, one grows weary of that respectable debut, and it was a relief to see the different class of game produced by Blake’s Vienna, when he had the move.

"The play of the other four—Palmer, Ward, Holmes, and Mackenzie —has fallen short of their reputations, though the Warwickshire champion may console himself with the fact that he has beaten Atkins and drawn with Blackburne.

"The Ladies’ Championship produced a keen contest. Many of the competitors appear annually in this tournament, and as their relative strength is well known, it was judged that there would be a race for premier honours between Mrs. Herring, the present champion, and Mrs. Anderson, with Mrs. Houlding somewhere in the vicinity. This is not quite what happened, though near it. Mrs. Herring held the lead till the eighth round, when Mrs. Anderson displaced her ; but Mrs. Houlding, who defeated both these ladies and Mrs. Bowles in the last three rounds, brought her score to 8 points, which could only be equalled by the lady champion defeating Miss Lawson. After a prolonged contest, Mrs. Herring secured the point and tied with Mrs. Houlding for first and second prizes. A short match will be arranged to decide the possession of the title and trophy. Mrs. Anderson followed the winner closely, with the score of 6½.

"In the First Class Amateur Tournament the first prize seemed in the nature of a gift to Mr. Shories, of Sheffield, last year’s winner; and so it proved, as he scored ten out of eleven games played, and lost the other on time-limit to Mr. O’Hanlon, being under a misapprehension as to the room in which his adjourned game was to be continued. He had had no knowledge of where the adjourned games were to be played, having, in fact, won all his previous encounters easily at the morning sitting. Mr. Shories is a German, and so is debarred from competing for the championship, otherwise his appearance in the major event would have been interesting.

"A good fight for second place resulted in Mr. H. B. Uber, of South Norwood, gaining it with 8 points ; Mr. E. D. Palmer, of London, being third, with 7½. Mr. W. H. Gunston, of Cambridge, who last year played in the championship tournament, and who was expected to do well, could get no nearer than fourth, with 6½.

"In the Second Class section a good contest ended in a tie between Mr. T. J. Edwards, of Bristol, and Mr. B. Heastie, of Stafford, with 8 points each. Section B was won with ease by Mr. F. D. Yates, of Leeds, with 9½ points.

"In Section B the Rev. A. P. L. Hulbert, of Birmingham, after a close fight, won by 9½; and in Section C Messrs. L. F. McGuire, of London, and A. P. T. Kerr, of Birmingham, each won their first ten games, and meeting each other in the final round drew, and divided first and second prizes. The winner in Section D was Mr. S. Pilch, of Brighton, who, after an indifferent start, passed his rivals, Captain Gayer and Mr. D. G. T. Dixon, by one point.

"A lightning tourney was played on Wednesday, the 14th August. There were fifty-two competitors, who played in four sections, of which the several winners were G. Shories, Rev. W. C. Palmer, F. R. Adcock, and A. P. T. Kerr. These played off at a later date for the four prizes, and finished in the order named.

"A second lightning tourney, played on August 21st, with forty-eight competitors, was won by I. Gunsberg; 2nd, O. C. Muller ; 3rd and 4th, G. Shories and C. E. C. Tattersall, equal.

"To meet the growing popularity of this frivolous style of chess, two gentlemen—Messrs. J. Johnston, of Stirling, and Mr. L. P. Rees, the Federation secretary—had devised electric attachments to clocks which could be timed to ring at the expiration of every 10 seconds (or, in fact, at any intervals that might be required). Curiously enough, each inventor had worked independently of the other. Both clocks were tried, and both did their duty well, albeit their appearance as they were tinkling away on the floor was distinctly uncanny.

"On Saturday the 17th, the problematists had a field day. Four original problems were provided, two in two moves, by Mr. P. R. Williams; and two in three moves, by Mr. O. Heathcote and Mr. Max J. Meyer. For the solving competition seventeen experts entered, and for the cracking of the four nuts 1½ hours were allowed. The winner proved to be the clever Hanley solver, Mr. J. W. Dixon, who also occupied this position last year at Shrewsbury and the year before at Southport—a fine triple performance. Mr C. E. C. Tattersall took the second prize, and the well-known chess editor and composer. Mr. John Keeble, the third. The veteran H. F. L. Meyer was a close runner-up.

"The continuous handicap which ran throughout the meeting was, as at Shrewsbury, extremely popular. There were fifty-two participants, who played nearly 900 games with each other, the scoring being by a system of points for each game won. The winners were :—1st. £3, A. P. T. Kerr, Birmingham, Class VI., 1,158 points; 2nd, £2. P. A. McMahon, Aston, Class VI., 907 points; 3rd, 30s., F. D. Yates, Leeds, Class IV., 775; 4th, £1, C. Wardhaugh, Glasgow, Class IV., 663; 5th, 15s., Rev. A. P. L. Hulbert, Birmingham, Class VI., 615; 6th, 10s., E. G. Wainwright, Surbiton, Class VII., 603 points.

"The first prize winner, Mr. Kerr, is a young gentleman who seems to have a special aptitude for the game, as his successes in the above, the third class, section B, and the lightning tourney would indicate.

"The concluding meeting of the Congress was held on Saturday morning, August 24th, Sir John O. S. Thursby, Bart., president of the Federation, presiding. He was supported by Mr. Starr, general manager of the Crystal Palace Company; Mr. Bootham, assistant manager; Mr. F W. Flear, president Southern Counties Union; Mr. Dobell, treasurer of the Federation; Mr. L. P. Rees, secretary, and others.

"The president congratulated the London League and the Federation generally upon another successful annual Congress. He owned that he was disappointed that their old friend Blackburne had not won the championship—and the meeting by loud applause shewed that this feeling was general—at the same time, he gave all honour to Mr. Atkins, who had for the third time in succession become British Champion. Sir John then presented to Mr. and Mrs. Rees, on behalf of the competitors, a silver salver, as a token of recognition not only of Mr. Rees’ splendid powers of organization, but also of the tact and courtesy displayed by both, which had done so much towards the success of the Congress. The president made an appeal to those chess lovers outside the Federation for subscriptions towards a permanent endowment fund which is now being formed, and which already has reached £300.

"Sir John then presented the prizes to the successful competitors, while the meeting applauded each recipient; Atkins, Blackburne, and the ladies receiving special recognition.

"Mr. F. W. Flear proposed a vote of thanks to the officers of the London League, giving special praise to the stewards. Mr. T. H. Moore responded. The thanks of the meeting were also given to Sir John Thursby, as chairman, on the motion of Mr. H. K. Dobell.

"The Congress was thoroughly enjoyed by all who took part in it. The manifold attractions of the immense Palace were explored by the members during the intervals of play, and lawn tennis in the afternoon was very popular, at which some ladies and gentlemen seemed to exhibit more skilful combinations with racquet and ball than they had done over the chessboard in the morning.

"The displays of fireworks which were given on Thursday and Saturday evenings are, of course, world famous. These occurred when many tournament games were in progress, and in many cases play was postponed. Many ardent spirits, including ladies playing for the championship, preferred to calmly continue their strategy, though rockets, bombs, and other pyrotechnic devices were bursting all around the glass room in which they were playing."

Manchester Guardian, 25 August 1907:
"The following is a list of the prize winners in other sections: —
Ladies' Championship.—Mrs. Herring and Mrs. Houlding tie for first and second; Mrs. Anderson, third; Mrs. Sidney, fourth.
First-class Amateurs.—G. Shorles, first; H. B. Uber second; E. D. Palmer, third.
Second Class, Section A.—T. J. Edwards and B. Heastie tie for first and second; Rev. E. W. Evill, third. Section B.—F. D. Yates, first; A. Kirby, second; P. Flower, third. J
Third Class, Section A.—Rev. A. P. L. Hulbert, first; E. J. Fairchild and P. A. Macmahon tie for second and third. Section C.—S. Pilch, first; Capt. H. W. Guyer and D. T. G. Dixon tie for second and third."

Round 6, Saturday 16 August 1907: "In the First Class Amateur Division there was an unfortunate incident. Shories, playing against O'Hanlon, had at the morning sitting made a plausible combination to carry the position by storm. It came to naught, as the Belfast man found a way out, and the game was held over in an even state, with two bishops and five pawns each. The renewal of the game was looked forward to with interets but when the time came for the resumption of play Shories was not in his place, and his clock being started, he was not found until O’Hanlon had claimed the game on the time limit. The Stewards gave the award in O'Hanlon’s favour, and so the contest was not fought out." (Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, Monday 19 August 1907) n.b. Shories won the tournament with 10/11!

(Results from Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Saturday 24 August 1907)

The tie between Mrs Herring and Mrs Houlding was resolved by a play-off match which Mrs Herring won around 2 November 1907 - JS.

"The first class amateur tournament at the Crystal Palace Congress of the British Chess Federation has been won by Mr. G. Shories, who is well known to chess players in this city and district. He is a native of Berlin, but has lived in England for a good many years. He took up his residence in Sheffield in the latter part of 1905, and has since then been closely identified with the chess of the city, and has made a name for himself in various national and international contests. He won first prize in the amateur tournaments at Ostend in 1905 and 1907, and also came out at the head of the British first class amateur competition at Shrewsbury last year. Following up his amateur success at Ostend a few months ago, he took part in the master tournament there, and played with fair success. He is regarded as one of the most talented players in this country, and would no doubt, give a good account of himself in the British Championship competition if he were eligible to enter." (Photo and text, Sheffield Evening Telegraph - Saturday 24 August 1907)

(Table from Falkirk Herald - Wednesday 04 September 1907)

File Updated

Date Notes
03 Sept 2015 Two additional games sent in by Roger Watson - both involving FD Yates, making his championship debut in a subsidiary section. And five more games added - many thanks to Brian Denman.
04 Sept 2015 The game Houlding-Anderson, Ladies Rd 9, included, thanks to Gerard Killoran. Thanks also to Tim Harding for pointing out the error in the start position of Blackburne-Michell, Rd 9 - corrected.
05 Sept 2015 Added Shoosmith-Mackenzie (Rd 2), Sergeant-Mackenzie (Rd 9), Holmes-Kelly (Rd 9)
25 Mar 2016 Ward-Mackenzie (Rd 5) is still not complete but there is now a position from the middle of the game from The Scotsman with what may be the key middlegame position. That said, the position given in the newspaper (BPs on f6 and f5) must be wrong and the reconstruction BPs instead on f7 and f6) has a question mark or two against it. The part-game Kelly-Palmer (Rd 8) features a real humdinger of a position. Black, a pawn down, misses a glorious opportunity to win. Thanks to Gerard Killoran for submitting the position from The Scotsman.
10 Apr 2016 Two game fragments: Ward-Mackenzie, Rd 5, and Mackenzie-Blake, Rd 6
01 Jan 2017 Full score of the round 11 game Blackburne-Mackenzie now included. This was very kindly submitted by Tim Harding, who included it in his book Joseph Henry Blackburne: A Chess Biography. Many thanks to Tim.
10 Oct 2017 Full score of Palmer-Mackenzie, Round 7, added. (Brian Denman)
26 March 2020 Added full crosstables and report from BCM, September 1907.