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

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.

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