Archive for January, 2010

Kindred’s Special: Chess and War–A Tragic End, Part II

January 30, 2010

The Ostend International Tournament of 1937 saw a major upset in the guise of victory over tournament leader Reuben Fine by last place Arthur Reynolds. Fred Reinfeld wrote of this event in his book British Chess Masters, Past and Present (London 1947) the following: ‘Although Reynolds came last in his only international tournament, he demonstrated convincingly that his failure was due to a lack of experience rather than to lack of ability. At all events, he had the consolation of defeating one of the world’s great masters.’

I had to make some corrections in Part I and present here the score of the game against Reuben Fine.

Reuben Fine (White) versus Arthur Reynolds (Black) featuring the Nimzo-Indian Defense, 1937 Ostend International.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 Nc6 5.Nf3 O-O 6.Bd2 d6 7.a3 Bxc3 8.Bxc3 Re8 9.Rd1 Qe7 10.e3 e5 11.d5 Nb8 12.Nd2?!

Reynolds says that better here was 12.Be2 and if e4 then Nd4 followed by b4 with space edge.

12…Nbd7 13.e4 Nh5! 14.g3 f5 15.exf5 e4 16.Be2 Ndf6 17.O-O Bxf5 18.Rfe1 Qf7 19.Nf1 Ng4 20.Ne3 Nxe3 21.fxe3 Qg6 22.Bf1 Bg4 23.Rd4 Bf5 24.Bg2 Nf6 25.Rf1 Ng4 26.Bd2 Ne5! 27.Rf4.

Capturing by 27.Bxe4 opens the door for 27…Nf3+ winning the Exchange.

27….Nd3 28.Rf1 h5 29.Bc3 Re7.

Reynolds misses a more powerful 28…h4! at this point. My square count is greatly in Black’s favor here and suggests the fireworks will soon begin.

30.Qe2 Rf8 31.Qd2 Ref7 32.Rf4 Nxf4 33.exf4 h4 34.Qe3 hxg3 35.hxg3 Re7 36.Rd2 Bg4 37.Rf2 Rfe8 38.Kh2 Qf5 39.Bd4 g6 40.Bc3 Rh7+ 41.Kg1 Kf7 42.c5 Bf3!

Carrying the attack to White in full armor spells doom for the American chess star.

43.Bxf3 exf3 44.Qxf3 Qh3

Enter the Queen.

45.Bd2 Reh8 46.f5 Qh1+ 47.Qxh1 Rxh1+ 48.Kg2 Rh8h2+ 49.Kf3 Rxf2+ 50.Kxf2 gxf5 51.c6 bxc6 and White resigned here.

The summer of 1938 found an invitation to Reynolds to play in the upcoming BCF Congress at Brighton together with Aitken, C.H.O’D. Alexander, Golombek, Lenton, Mallison, Milner-Barry, Parr, E.G. Sergeant, Mrs. Stevenson (Vera Menchik), Sir. George Thomas and Tylor. It was considered one of the strongest in many years for this event and the first time a woman took part. Following 3-draws and 4-losses in the early rounds, Reynolds conked both Mallison and Mrs. Stevenson (Vera Menchik).

I think the game below illustrates the extent of Reynolds development as a strong player and sharp style.

Arthur Reynolds (White)  versus Mrs Stevenson (Black) from the British Chess Championship, Brighton, August 1938. A type of Grunfeld Indian system.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 d5 5.Nc3 c6 6Qb3 dxc4 7.Qxc4 O-O 8.Nf3 Qa5 9.b4 Qh5? 10.h3 Qf5 11.Ng5 Qd7 12.O-O Ne8 13.Rd1 Nd6 14.Qb3 h6 15.Nf3 Qe6 16.d5 cxd5 17.Nd4 Qd7 18.Nxd5 Nc6 19.Bb2 Rb8 20.Rac1 Nxd4 21.Bxd4 Bxd4 22.Rxd4 Qe6 23.Rd3 Qxe2 24.Re3 Qh5 25.Rxe7 Be6.

Trying to divert disaster but Reynolds is up for it and finishes the battle with a pretty mating pattern.

26.Nf6+ Kh8 27.Qxe6!! Qg5 28.Rc5 Qxc5 29.bxc5 fxe6 30.Rh7 Mate.

With a victory over Tyler in the final round, Reynolds finished this strong tournament with 4.5 points that included a draw with the lst place winner C.H.O’D. Alexander.

He again played in the 1939 Chess Congress at Birmingham finishing 4th. But it was this year 1939 that Reynolds contributed to theory of the Meran Defense by providing analysis in an article to support his 10.d5 as White’s best bet. This article appeared in CHESS, April 14th,1939 under the title ‘Meran Defence Crack Exposed’.

It appeared that Arthur Reynolds would soon blossom into the strong master that maturity and his work on his game promised. It was a year of great movie making in the United States but for Reynolds and the British Empire it was the beginning of Hitler’s Axis powers to throw a dark horizon over the world for years to come. It was also the tragedy for Mrs. Stevenson (Vera Menchik) who lost her life in the bruttal assault from the air by Nazi air bombardment on that noble England. Among the many men who came to sign up in its defense was Arthur Reynolds.

End of Part II.

Kindred’s Special: Chess and War–A Tragic End

January 21, 2010

NEW IN CHESS, 2009 Issue 5 finally answered some of my questions concerning how and who was famous enough to have his name listed in the Meran Variation called “The Reynolds Variation, namely the pawn push Pawn to Queen’s Five (P-Q5 or d5).

It was 1931 when 21-year old Arthur Reynolds took part in the 24th annual chess congress of the British Chess Federation. He was not in the main championship that saw the likes of Sir G. A. Thomas, C.H.O.D Alexander, P. S. Milner-Barry, Sultan Khan, F. D. Yates, E. G. Sergeant, T. H. Tylor and W. Winter but rather in the Major Reserves Tournament with high class amatuers where he managed to draw is final game to end 3rd-5th. In just two years, in February of 1933 he was the leader of the Warwickshire team battling in the Midland Union Championship and considered one of the strongest players in that event.  He played and defeated the very talented G. Abrahams on 2nd board for his Warwickshire team against Lancashire  in the final of the County Championship of England for 1932-33.

Born April 30, 1910 in Solihull, England, he attended Solihull School where he exceled at sports. He was captain of both the football and boxing teams and won top prize awards with the hockey and cricket teams. Following graduation from the Solihull Grammar School, he turned active in the chess tournaments played at county level in his early 20s.

He was employed by the Lewis’ Department Store branch in Birmingham and in 1935 married.

His slow but steady prowess for chess did not cease but matured more in 1936 when he participated in the annual BCF Congress held in the rooms of Nottingham University in August 1936. He played in Section B of the Major Open Tournament with Miss Menchik, B.H. Wood, J. Cukierman, K. Opocensky and G. Abrahams. It was his first opportunity to observe world-class players at work as the Masters event included Alekhine, Flohr, Capablanca, Tartakower, Fine, Bogoljubow, Reshevsky, Botvinnik, Lasker, Vidmar, Euwe   and Winter. In his section, Reynolds tied for lst with Cukierman, each scoring 8.5 points. Reynolds beat Opocensky, Abrahams, Watts, Collins, Mallison and Cukierman. The British Chess Magazine published a number of his games. Here is his win over 4-time Czech champion Karel Opocensky.


1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 c5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.g3 O-O 6.Bg2 cxd4 7.Nxd4 Nc6 8.Nc2 d6 9.O-O Be6 10.Nd5 Qd7 11.Bg5 h6 12.Bxf6 exf6 13.Qd2 Rfe8 14.Rfd1 Rad8 15.Rac1 f5 16.b4 Ne5 17.Nce3 Ng4 18.Nxg4 fxg4 19.e4 Kh720.Qc2 Bxd5 21.exd5 b6 22.Re1 Be5 23.Re2 Rc8 24.Rce1 Qc7 25.Bf1 f5 26.Re3 h5 27.Kg2 Qf7 28.Bd3 b5 29.c5 Qxd5+ 30.Kg1 Rf8 31.Bxb5 f4 32.Rd3 Qf7? 33.Rxe5 Qg7 34.Rxd6 fxg3 Black surrendered here without waiting for a reply.

That same year he was included in the invitation to play in the Premier Tournament of the annual Christmas Congress of the Hastings and St. Leonard’s Chess Club to start December 28th 1936 but had to decline due to business. The department store needed his services and probably forced him to decline.

For all of us who find it necessary to lose out on the opportunity to play in a tournament, let alone such a prestigious event, must have been disheartening to Reynolds. However, in April 1937 another where he was again invited and this time he was able to participate, The 1937 Ostend Tournament. He found himself in such company as Keres, Dunkelblum, List, Fine, Grob, Dyner, Landau, and Tartakower. Reynolds lost to List, Grob, Koltanowski, Landau and Keres while drawing with Dunkelblum and Dyner. In the 8th round, he met and defeated Reuben Fine which prevented Fine’s absolute victory having to share with Grob and Keres.