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John Saunders


BRITBASE - British Chess Game Archive

Player: Henry Ernest Atkins (1872-1955) • 357 game entries (of which c. 35 are stubs or part-games)
Career Games Played (1890-1939) • Download PGNUpdated: Monday 1 August, 2022 7:35 PM

HE Atkins (1872-1955) - WikipediaChessgames.comH E Atkins at the Yorkshire Chess History website

1951 HE Atkins simul, Leicester
Photo published in CHESS Magazine, Vol.20, no.240, 15 February 1955, page 227

"The most astonishing, as it is the most welcome and well-deserved, success has attended the first efforts of Mr. H. E. Atkins in an International contest. He is close on 30 years of age, and has been known as a player for about ten years. It is a sad commentary on the provincial and parochial character of chess in England that Mr. Atkins had to go to Germany in order to be discovered as a great English player." (Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 13 August 1902, following Atkins' participation in the 1902 DSB Master Tournament in Hannover)

"THE CHESS CONGRESS AT HASTINGS. [Hastings Victory Tournament, 11-22 August 1919]
The opinion of one of the regular attendants at the B.C.F. Congresses was that this meeting was the most enjoyable of any. The weather practically throughout was delightful. The presence of Señor Capablanca was a great attraction and drew large attendances daily. The withdrawal of Mr. Atkins, at the last moment, caused universal disappointment; he was present throughout, but looked very poorly when he arrived. After the first week he was feeling so much better that he regretted he had not come down a week earlier. He played several games of "skittles" with the competitors, and [Boris] Kostich, after playing with him, said he thought he had a deeper knowledge of the game than any of the British players taking part." (BCM, 1919, p345)

"ATKINS GETS CHESS 'OSCAR'"—"The eventful career of Harry Atkins, Leicester chess star, has been culminated in fitting style by his official nomination for the premier award in chess, the International Master. Highlights have included nine British titles and a memorable success over Rubinstein in the London tournament, 1922. Something of an infant prodigy, he first represented the county at the age of 15 and then burst into the national field with seven successive victories in the British Individual championship. He then retired from the tournament, but staged a spectacular comeback 13 years later." (Leicester Evening Mail - Monday 10 July 1950 - a salutary reminder that terrible English was as much a feature of journalism in the 1950s as it is in the 2020s. But I wonder if this is the first ever reference to a 'chess oscar'?)

File Updated

Date Updated Notes
13 January 2021 First upload (328 entries, including about 35 stubs and part-games). I decided to create this file when Alan A Smith sent me 50+ club and county games played (and won) by HE Atkins which Alan had culled from an extensive newspaper search. Alan's is an admirable compilation, containing many previously undigitised scores and providing corrections to others (including errors in RN Coles' book of Atkins' games, H. E. Atkins Doyen of British Chess Champions, published by Pitman in 1952). I have added other Atkins games from BritBase, plus some more which I have found myself, while Brian Denman has provided others. There are also games culled from ChessBase's Mega/Big Database 2020 (mainly from Atkins' infrequent competitions outside Britain) and chessgames.com. Thanks to Alan and Brian, and also to Gerard Killoran for help with names and dates. Steve Mann's Yorkshire Chess History was also extremely useful in discovering opponents' forenames.
14 January 2021 Gerard Killoran has sent me three more games: (1) Atkins-Fred Brown, Midland Counties Congress, 1899.04.07; and (2) Alfred Eva-Atkins, Cheshire v Yorkshire, 1933.01.21. And sent later the same day (3) simul game vs Georgie Hahn, 1939.01.07. Many thanks for those, Gerard.
16 January 2021 Some additional games, a couple of deletions, plus full dates for games which only had the year identified. Gerard Killoran contributed the following games: Atkins-Wahltuch (1915.03.27), Atkins-Yates (1912.11.02), Atkins-Schofield (1936.08.02), Schofield-Atkins (1933.10.21), Spencer-Atkins (1925.03.21). Brian Denman has contributed Atkins-Draycott (1902.05.31), Atkins-Gurnhill (1927), Staynes-Atkins (1927.10.15). Brian has also flagged a misattribution: the game Atkins-Jacobs, London 1915, was actually played by a different player, MG Atkins, vs Herbert Jacobs in the 1915/16 City of London Championship, so has been deleted. Also, there was a duplicate of Atkins-Moses (1924.10.18) which has been removed (I have amalgamated the source notes). Brian has kindly searched through the database and provided a great many full dates where only the year had appeared previously. Many thanks to Brian and Gerard for their contributions.
16 January 2021 One of BritBase.info's longest standing contributors, Eduardo Bauza, sent me a Christmas present of 4,000 games he had collected during the year. Amongst them I found the 85-move game Gunston-Atkins, Craigside Llandudno 1899, which I have added to the collection. Thanks, Eduardo.
3 March 2021 A somewhat belated update. Nine games added: (1) Sturton 1-0 HEA, Kentish Men vs Men of Kent 1896; (2) C Lambert ½-½ HEA, SCCU Championship 1897; (3) HEA 1-0 J Serrailler, Kent Open B, Folkestone 1901; (4) T Marriott ½-½ HEA, Notts v Leics, 29.11.1902; (5) HEA 1-0 HB Lund, Yorkshire v Cheshire, 19.03.1910 (there is already a game between the same two players with the same colours, opening moves and result in another Yorks vs Cheshire match some six weeks later but they are from different matches, the second being a play-off match to break a tie for the Northern Counties' Championship); (6) E. Spencer ½-½ HEA, Lancashire vs Yorkshire, 25.01.1913; (7) F.Elwell 0-1 HEA, SCCU Ch, Southampton 1897; (8) HEA 1-0 J.Allcock, SCCU Champ 1900; (9) B.Cohen ½-½ HEA, Lancs v Yorks, 16.01.1926. Other alterations: (1) Brian Denman has identified two near duplicates of the game HEA 1-0 C Draycott, Leics v Staffs, 31.05.1902 - I've removed the duplicate and given the game as published in the Leicester Chronicle with the Sunday Times version as a variation. (2) Alan Smith and Brian Denman both alerted me to a wrong result in E.Spencer - HEA, Lancs-Yorks, 21.03.1925 - Spencer (White) won. The running total of games is now 347. My thanks to Gerard Killoran, Brian Denman and Alan Smith for their invaluable contributions.
12 April 2021 Added photo.
7 August 2021 Two more games: (1) P.Wallis 0-1 H.Atkins, Cheshire v Yorkshire, 16.03.1929; (2) R.Broadbent 1-0 H.Atkins, Lancashire v Yorkshire, 07.03.1931. My thanks to Gerard Killoran, who posted these on the English Chess Forum, 6 August 2021.
4 September 2021 An undated simul game won by Atkins against an unknown opponent at Huddersfield CC added. It was published in a newspaper in August 1913, which referred to it being played "a little time ago" so I've assumed it was played in early 1913 for the purposes of putting it in the appropriate place in the games chronology. Running total of games now 350.
8 October 2021 Alan Smith has contributed a further game: G.Barron 0-1 HE.Atkins, Hull v Huddersfield, 11.03.1922. Many thanks to Alan. Running total now 351 games.
11 January 2022 One more game, contributed by Gerard Killoran: H.E.Atkins ½-½ F.D.Yates, Woodhouse Cup 14.11.1914. Thanks, Gerard.
5 April 2022 Having seen a comment in BCM (October 1897, ppn 283-285) that Atkins "lost but one game in all the matches he played for [Cambridge] University" I managed to find the score of the game he lost to H. W. Trenchard in a Cambridge University vs British Chess Club match on 20 March 1891. Source was Morning Post, 30 March 1891.
7 April 2022 Added one game: Atkins ½-½ H.Jacobs, North v South, 7.4.1894, found in BCM.
14 April 2022 Added one game: H.E.Atkins ½-½ W.Stallmann, MCC Championship, 13.02.1910. Contributed by Gerard Killoran via the EC Forum, 14 April 2022.
21 April 2022 Correction applied to the game Atkins-H.B.Lund, 19.03.1910. The result was a draw, not a win for White, as the accredited source (Manchester Guardian) and BCM both attest. I have also added in the location, which was Stockport. My thanks to Paul Brown for alerting me to this and also providing the following information: "The 30 April 1910 game with Lund was the 'replay' match to decide which county would compete for the Counties championship. That game was adjudicated by Blackburne. There was a bit of controversy as Gunsberg was suggesting a line of play in the Manchester Guardian while the game was still being adjudicated! Of course, BCM took Gunsberg to task. These two items were covered in the June 1910 issue of BCM (p.257 and 258)".
1 July 2022 Added one game: H.Atkins ½-½ W.Bridgwater, Northampton v Birmingham, 1898. Many thanks to Gerard Killoran for contributing it via the English Chess Forum.
8 July 2022 Added one game: the disputed and annulled game between Kostich (Yugoslavia) and Atkins (Great Britain) from round five of the inaugural Chess Olympiad in 1927. The game had to be replayed but the score of the replayed game (a 3-move draw) is not available.
1 August 2022 Brian Denman sent me a game which Atkins lost to Oliver Harcourt Labone at Leicester CC on 9 December 1897 (for which many thanks). It seems to have been a one-off game and was perhaps an informal or skittles game. Given the infrequency with which Atkins lost games, no doubt the winner was keen to see it in print. Coincidentally, Richard James recently wrote a piece about Oliver Harcourt Labone who was (if you'll forgive the clichéd euphemism) a colourful character.