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Happy 80th Birthday today GM Jonathan Penrose 10 times British chess champion is some huge achievement.

Posted by Ian on October 7, 2013 at 6:35 AM

One of Britain's finest amateur players, Dr. Jonathan Penrose OBE, celebrates a milestone 80th birthday today. He was British Champion a record ten-times (1958-1963 and 1966-69), a Grandmaster of Correspondence Chess, and -- retrospectively -- Grandmaster of over-the-board play.

Penrose was a prolific performer for England in several Olympiads from 1952 through to 1970, in the process winning two top-board individual silver medals. But of all his Olympiad performances, the one most remembered is Leipzig 1960, when he not only had the better side of a draw against Bobby Fischer, but he also beat Mikhail Tal to become the first British player to win against a reigning world champion since Joseph Henry Blackburne defeated Emanuel Lasker in 1899.

But the Siegen Olympiad of 1970 saw Penrose afflicted with a stress disorder, and he collapsed during a particularly tense game. He almost immediately retired from over-the-board chess, though he did make a quick and successful transition into correspondence chess; going on to become the world's best player in 1987-89 as he led his country to victory in the 9th Correspondence Olympiad.

There is no doubt Penrose had the talent to become Britain’s first Grandmaster of over-the-board play. But he came from a Quaker family of noted academics -- the son of Lionel Penrose, a world famous professor of genetics, the grandson of physiologist John Beresford Leathes, and brother of mathematical physicist professors Sir Roger Penrose and Oliver Penrose -- so instead, chose to concentrate on his career as a psychologist and university lecturer.

In the early nineties, though, veteran Guardian chess journalist Leonard Barden successfully led a campaign to have Fide retrospectively award him the full grandmaster title, based on his performances at the 1961 Enschede zonal and the 1968 Lugano Olympiad (where his score was only bettered by the World Champion, Tigran Petrosian).

J Penrose - M Tal

Leipzig Olympiad, 1960

Modern Benoni

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 c5 4 d5 exd5 5 cxd5 d6 6 e4 g6 7 Bd3 Bg7 8 Nge2 0–0 9 0–0 a6 10 a4 Qc7 11 h3 Nbd7 12 f4 Re8 13 Ng3 c4 14 Bc2 Nc5 15 Qf3 Nfd7 16 Be3 b5 17 axb5 Rb8 18 Qf2 axb5 19 e5! dxe5 20 f5 Bb7 21 Rad1 Ba8 22 Nce4 Na4 23 Bxa4 bxa4 24 fxg6 fxg6 25 Qf7+ Kh8 26 Nc5 Qa7 27 Qxd7 Qxd7 28 Nxd7 Rxb2 29 Nb6 Rb3 30 Nxc4 Rd8 31 d6 Rc3 32 Rc1 Rxc1 33 Rxc1 Bd5 34 Nb6 Bb3 35 Ne4 h6 36 d7 Bf8 37 Rc8 Be7 38 Bc5 Bh4 39 g3 1–0

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1 Comment

Reply MichaelLoady
9:05 AM on October 19, 2017 
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