I.M. Michael Basman. Some Chess Fun and Photographs.

I.M. Michael Basman. Some Chess Fun and Photographs.

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Morning everyone. Having had my spare chess time for the last few hours taken up with the mundane job of translating and transcribing chess annotations, I have decided to do something less boring!

A couple of days ago that thoroughly admirable young blogger @FangBo did a post here  

The chat got round to Basman, so I have quickly thrown together a few nice games - no notes, just enjoy them - and photos. 

Basman was the top English junior of his day - a real talent. Later he went on to do great things for British schools chess, but, of course he is best known for his taste for , let us say, the less popular side roads of chess ideas! For those who think such things are the limits of his chess talent, I will start with a couple of games to show what a strong player he was. 

And this one was against the great rising star of the day.

A photo from the wonderful Chess Scotland site, with Basman holding the Glorney Cup in 1964. It can be found here


One against a well known figure in Midlands chess, 

More from the Chess Scotland files.
@Kamalakanta. Black was O.K.!! I once tried this incredible 10...f6 idea - and lost! You have to be a Basman to make those kinds of things work!

Next up an amazing game, against one of the best - yes, this really happened! Basman at his bizarre and astounding best.

My next offering is from an article Basman wrote for Barry Wood's 'Chess' magazine. It was called 'Kung Fu Chess' - those of you who remember David Carradine will understand - that had us youngsters chuckling for days. The concept was that you basically give away all your Pawns, so that you can get your rooks into the game. I include a few of Basman's notes. 

The next game has some fond memories for me. I was in the room at the time that it was being played. A bunch of us 'up and comers' were in the junior tournament - under the watchful eye of my friend, the indescribable Ritson. My game had finished quickly, so I had the chance to watch the grown-ups.
Basman was quite a original thinker, and had just invented his latest idea - the audio-chess cassette, where he recorded chess lessons onto the hot new invention, the cassette tape. At a crucial part of this game he jumped up from the board and raced over to give me a lecture on what a revolutionary idea it was, and how I should buy one, or pre-order the whole set! 
Obviously he hadn't realised how poor I was. Curiously, when the game was published in the Times, the next weekend, that particular incident wasn't mentioned!!

My next offering is a shocker. In those days news traveled much more slowly than in todays ' pick up your phone, and Skype Australia' times. We got a lot of games from the relevant 'Tournament Bulletin'. As I note on my profile page, such things were put together by putting a special sheet into a typewriter - yes, those old mechanical things ( back then we had typists, not data inputters!). Then you would put the sheet into a big old machine called a duplicating machine, put in a piece of paper, and turn the handle until the printed page popped out of the bottom! Then you would put in another sheet of paper, and do another copy of the page.

I once did three month's editions of a chess magazine in purple, because purple duplicator ink was on sale If you noticed a mistake, you typed out a sheet of the correction, over and over again, cut it into strips, and pasted them over the mistake. Flour and water paste was best - it was white, so didn't show through the page. Yep - it was called 'cut and paste'!

Anyway, having a friend amongst the tournament organisers, I usually managed to get the U.K. tournament bulletins 'hot off the press', so to speak, and this game was in one of them.

Basman Grob's Nunn, and wins!


If the Nunn game wasn't shocking enough for you...
Jon Speelman - one of the nicest and most humble guys in the whole of chess, as well as being the most incredible chess calculating machine I ever met, gets 'Reverse Grobbed'.
This next game, frankly, baffles me.

The venue for the next event was a pub. White's King Heads for the bar.

Another G.M. gets the Basman treatment.

Another player in that junior event of all those years ago now looks amazingly like me! You've aged well, Keith


To Michael Basman - thanks for bringing back all the memories. I feel much younger today.