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Tournament: Guardian Royal Exchange Masters • 45 games, plus 22 from Reserves, 6 from Women's Int'l
Venue: Maida Vale, London • Dates: 11-20 December 1973 • Download PGN

1973 Guardian Royal Exchange Masters, 11-20 December, Clarendon Court Hotel, Maida Vale, London

1973 Guardian Royal Exchange Masters Nat'y Elo 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10  Total 
1 Jan H Timman NED 2470m
1 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 7
2 Raymond D Keene ENG 2445m 0
½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1
3 Samuel H Reshevsky USA 2560g ½ ½
1 ½ ½ ½ 0 1 ½ 5
4 Hans Joachim Hecht GER 2505g 0 ½ 0
½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 5
5 Alberic O'Kelly de Galway BEL 2445g ½ ½ ½ ½
1 ½ ½ ½ 0
6 Nikola Karaklajic YUG 2420m ½ ½ ½ ½ 0
1 ½ ½ ½
7 Michael F Stean ENG 2320 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 0
1 ½ 1
8 Simon Webb ENG (2330) 0 ½ 1 0 ½ ½ 0
½ 1 4
9 Peter R Markland ENG 2405 0 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½
1 3
10 Borivoje Vujacic YUG   0 0 ½ 0 1 ½ 0 0 0

Average Elo: 2410, Category 7, GM norm = 7, IM = 5½

1973 Guardian Royal Exchange Masters Reserves

1973 GRE Masters Reserves Nat'y Elo 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10  Total 
1 John D M Nunn ENG 2300
0 ½ 1 1 1 1 ½ 1 1 7
2 Edward Formanek USA   1
0 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 ½ 6
3 Alan H Perkins ENG   ½ 1
½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1
4 Robert Bellin ENG 2320 0 ½ ½
½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1
5 Peter Hugh Clarke ENG 2360 0 ½ ½ ½
1 0 ½ ½ 1
6 John Grefe USA   0 ½ ½ ½ 0
½ 1 1 ½
7 Hans Bohm NED 2250 0 0 ½ ½ 1 ½
½ ½ ½ 4
8 Bernard Cafferty ENG 2355 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½
½ 1 4
9 Wolfgang Heidenfeld IRL 2250 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½
10 Hugh McGrillen IRL 2290 0 ½ 0 0 0 ½ ½ 0 1

1973 Guardian Royal Exchange Ladies' International, 11-16 December

1973 GRE Ladies' International Nat'y Elo 1 2 3 4 5 6  Total 
1 Susan Caldwell ENG  
½ 1 ½ 1 0 3
2 Sheila Jackson ENG   ½
1 1 0 ½ 3
3 Dorren O'Siochru IRL 1810 0 0
½ 1 1
4 Dinah Wright (now Norman) ENG 2065 ½ 0 ½
½ 1
5 Ruth Cardoso BRA 2050wm 0 1 0 ½
½ 2
6 Lynda Pope AUS   1 ½ 0 0 ½

Speelman v Eslon Match

1973 Guardian Royal Exchange Match  Elo   1   2   3   4   Total 
Jonathan Speelman ENG - 1 1 0 ½
Jaan Eslon SWE - 0 0 1 ½

BCM, February 1974, ppn 54-59

The Guardian Royal Exchange Masters Tournament

by Alan Perkins

1973 Guardian Royal Exchange Masters
Jan Timman receives a cheque for £200 for first prize. He achieved his first GM norm in the tournament.

This year, thanks to sponsorship from the G.R.E. together with additional financial assistance from the 'Friends of Chess', the B.C.F, the Evening Standard and from the Slater Foundation for the Ladies’ event, Stewart Reuben was able to supplement his weekend Islington congress with a 10-player masters tournament together with a reserves section and a Ladies’ International tournament. These took place at the Clarendon Court Hotel in Maida Vale from December 11th to 20th and the top event gave our players a further opportunity to achieve I.M. and G.M. results. The participation of Samuel Reshevsky was a special attraction. There were two places in the masters event for prize winners from the Islington Open and these went to Simon Webb and Vujacic (Yugoslavia). As neither had Elo ratings this pushed up the G.M. and I.M. norms to 7 and 5½ respectively.

It very soon became clear who was going to take first place. The 22-year-old Dutchman Jan Timman began with four successive wins against Vujacic, Webb, Keene and Markland and nobody else was able to offer any sort of challenge. It remained to be seen whether he could reach the Grandmaster norm of 7 points – assuming that he lost no games he needed one more win. His hopes faded when he was foiled first by Karaklajic’s solid defence to the Lopez and then by Stean’s prowess with the Najdorf Sicilian but in the eighth round his cool and accurate play left Hecht unable to justify a positional pawn sacrifice which had looked quite promising. This was Timman’s first grandmaster result although he has been very close several times before and has more than once suffered last round disappointments.

Reshevsky was away to a flying start when he beat Hecht in the first round but after a couple of draws including a very shaky one against Vujacic he ran into trouble. In the fourth round he had to play Webb who had thus far only managed a solitary and rather streaky half point. The game was played on Friday and in order to fit in with the American’s religious practices was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Webb arrived half an hour late, largely it seems because he didn’t know in which room the game was being played, but as it turned out this was the winning blunder. When the game did get under way Reshevsky made the most of a difficult variation of the King’s Indian and then in the diagrammed position surprised his opponent by playing 25...Nxe4! - a clever tactical stroke which ought to be decisive. It is however in such situations where Webb becomes a very dangerous opponent. [see viewer/download]

After this stroke of good luck Webb got into his stride and his win against Vujacic and draws with O’Kelly and Karaklaic owed nothing to good fortune. In the last round he faced Keene who was eager to draw in order to clinch second place but Webb, full of confidence, didn’t want to know and proceeded to build up an impressive position. They reached the diagrammed position[see viewer/download] and Keene played 31...h6 whereupon after a little thought Webb replied 32 Nxe6? (which in fact is precisely the sort of thing his opponents often do). Now ask yourself would a player of Keene’s strength overlook a sucker punch like this? Well he hadn’t done on this occasion and after Black played 32 fxe6 Webb realised that his intended 33 Qxg6 was refuted out of hand by 33...Qxe5. What makes this incident memorable is that Keene decided to register his distaste for winning in such a manner by now agreeing the game drawn! This was a gesture which incidentally both puzzled and impressed Reshevsky and Benkö (who was spectating). Can Keene’s future opponents expect further acts of great generosity from him?

After his surprise loss Reshevsky got back into the reckoning for second place by beating Markland. The Lancashire player tried an obsolete and condemned line of the Giuoco Piano but failed to upset the theoretical verdict. Then in the penultimate round, the American Grandmaster produced a great effort against Stean conjuring up winning chances by some very attractive play in a simplified position arising from an Exchange Lopez. Eventually the game came down to a complicated rook endgame in which Stean put up a very stiff resistance. After being adjourned once the games in this round were to be played to a finish and finally at 1.30 in the morning after 9½ hours play Reshevsky in his habitual time-trouble inadvertently repeated moves when the result was still very much in doubt. It had been a titanic struggle, the game of the tournament perhaps, and it was a pity that it had to end in this way.

Overall, this was hardly a successful tournament for the English players when you consider that Webb’s victory over Reshevsky was the only full point they took from the foreign titled players. Keene looked every bit the strong I.M. we know him to be without really hinting that a further breakthrough is imminent. With 2½ out of 3 Stean had the I.M. norm in his sight but faded somewhat. According to Hecht, Hort feels that this is a common characteristic of English players — namely that they are most dangerous at the beginning of a tournament when they are fresh and well prepared but later on become less formidable and run out of ideas having been worn down by the battle itself.

Masters Reserves

1973 has been a very good year for John Nunn and this further success confirms that he is now a force to be reckoned with at the highest levels of English chess. He was defeated in the first round by the American Master Ed Formanek but after that no one could match his steady stream of wins. Even so when he agreed a quick draw with Cafferty in the last round Formanek could have tied for first place by beating me but a misguided pawn grab led to a rapid defeat.

The surprise of the tournament was the failure of the favourite John Grefe, co-winner of the U.S.Championship. He good-humouredly blamed his poor showing on the cold weather (he comes from California). Hans Bohm, who has been very successful in weekend tournaments with his favourite tactic of endless probing in lifeless positions, had to wait until the last round for his persistence to be rewarded when Clarke slipped in time trouble.

Ladies' International Tournament

1973 Guardian Royal Exchange Masters
Susan Caldwell and Sheila Jackson shared first place in the Ladies' International

As the cross table indicates the contestants were very evenly matched. First place was shared by the two youngest players, 15-year-old Susan Caldwell from Eltham and 16-year-old Sheila Jackson from Liverpool. They both started with 2½ out of 3 which might have been 3 in Susan’s case had she not neglected through over-caution to play a winning continuation, which she had seen, against Dinah Wright. In the next round they drew with each other (not an artificial and amicable game I ought to add – at one point Sheila sacrificed a bishop). Susan went down to Lynda Pope in the last round and although Sheila managed to last out for a long time in a very poor position against Ruth Cardoso, she never really looked likely to snatch the half point which would have given her first place outright. Obviously we have here two very promising players and the rivalry between them should ensure that they both keep improving.

Speelman v Eslon

There was also a four-game match between 17-year-old Jonathan Speelman and 21-year-old Jaan Eslon from Sweden. At first it looked like a mismatch as Speelman easily won the first two games but the Swede hit back by winning the third game in good style and Speelman had to survive some anxious moments in the fourth game before getting on top and taking a draw to win the match.

In finishing, it is worth remarking that only in the top event did the youngest player fail to triumph – admittedly at 22 Timman was hardly the veteran but nevertheless Stean is younger.

To conclude this report, our thanks to Leonard Barden for the score of the following game. [Reshevsky - Hecht - unannotated - see viewer/download]

File Updated

Date Notes
10 July 2015 Initial upload. 45 games, plus 22 from Reserves, 6 from the Women's International.
10 July 2022 Added crosstables, report, photos and two game annotations.