A Great Little Fighter

A Great Little Fighter

19 | Chess Players

Frederick Yates, born on the 16th of January 1884 in England, was a respected Yorkshire neighbor. He started a career in accounting, but similar to others colleagues, abandoned it and became a professional chess player. Also he was a journalist.


Yates was British Champion on six occasions: 1913, 1914, 1921, 1926, 1928 and 1931. He played at the first, third and fourth Olympiads, representing the 'British Empire' team and at London 1927 he won a team bronze medal.


Yates notched victories over most of his famous and respected opponents; exceptions being Lasker and Capablanca. For Alekhine, Yates was always a nightmare opponent, as Alekhine lost two tournament games and experienced several shocks against him. Yates' victory against Alexander Alekhine at Carlsbad in 1923 (a twenty move combination!) won the brilliancy prize.


A fraction of the obituary notice for Yates from the "Times" newspaper of 1932 says:

"Yates was a very hard player to beat when in his best form, though he suffered from an inability to recognize that some games were positionally drawn, and the effort to win them was not always successful. No doubt his score would have been better at times if he had recognized the inevitable, yet against that he more than once pulled a game out of the fire by nothing else than a grim determination to extract the most from the position. He was a great little fighter."

As a journalist he was the chess columnist of the Manchester Guardian and with William Winter, the co-author of Modern Master Play (1929).

Yates was a truey sportsman and gentleman, for example publishing his defeat at the 1929 Barcelona tournament against Capablanca in his own collection of best games. This is a rare occurrence; one other example is when Blackburne commented his brilliant loss against Zukertort, London 1883, in his collection of greatest games.


Yates died at the age of 48. He died in his sleep, gassed by a damaged pipe connection at his home in London on November 11, 1932. Yates' death was an accident; a gas company official proved that no tap was turned on.














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