Ramsgate 1929. Vera Menchik Shows Her Class.
Yates, Menchik and Thomas. Canterbury, Kent. 1930.via britbase

Ramsgate 1929. Vera Menchik Shows Her Class.


Back again, with another forgotten tournament.

My friend - I am honoured to call him that - Andrey, recently posted an article https://www.chess.com/article/view/vera-menchik-the-real-life-beth-harmon  

In the comments I mentioned that I thought that Ramsgate 1929 was Menchik's standout result.

SO! I decided to add that event to my series of forgotten events. 

Whilst doing the research I received a request to take on a far more important project for someone else - 'no names, no pack drill'. It will surface in time. SO! I decided to put this article together with what I already had, get it out of the way, and then move on to the more important stuff. For that reason it will be a bit of a mess, but my regular readers will be used to that.  Anyway, there is still plenty of fine chess and other goodies to enjoy, for those with the time to spare, so let us begin.

The Ramsgate 1929 'Team Practice Tournament' was a part of the Kent Chess Association's annual congress. It was designed as a training/practice event for the projected Nice 'International Team Tournament', as the Olympiads were known in those days. That event never took place.

The 'home', i.e. England, team played against a team of 'overseas' players, on the Scheveningen system, where each player of one team plays a game against each player of the other team. 

The overseas team included Capablanca, Rubinstein, and, a debate in itself, Vera Menchik. The England team was not so shabby! 

The cross-table of the event.

Looking at the England team, there are 5 players who represented England in Olympiads. Whilst England was not a World Power, so to speak, they were not so bad! Off the top of my head the players here had wins ( plus many draws) against the World elite, such as Capablanca, Alekhine, Euwe, Rubinstein, Bogoljubov, Reti, Nimzovich, Flohr. I haven't taken the time to draw up a full list.

Against that team Menchik scored the same as Rubinstein, and just half a point less than Capablanca who was on a mission to put himself at the top of the list of World title contenders at the time. That's a pretty impressive result!! 

Without doubt Menchik could have been selected, on merit, for the England - or 'British Empire'- team at the time, and England, just two years before, had come in third in the first 'Olympiad.'

O.K. let's go through the games and pictures that I have put together up to this point. Plenty to enjoy, I hope. Feel free to dip in and out when you have a spare few minutes, and post any POLITE!! comments! ( freedom of expression and a difference of views and opinions is always encouraged, rudeness is not!)

Before the event started there were a couple of 'Living Chess' games - I have mislaid the photo of the rehearsals, sorry! 

Thanet Advertiser. 22/03/1929.
Thanet Advertiser. 29/03/1929.

' The surprise of the first round was the triumph of Miss Menchik over Sir George Thomas, who recently won the City of London Championship for the eleventh time.' Tinsley in The Times, to whom we are indebted for the full scores of all the games.

Hubert Price was probably the weakest of the home team. A man from my part of the World he was a strong amateur for many years. A photograph that I saved whilst researching something else recently. It was taken in 1947 during a match between my friend Ritson's organization - the Midland Counties Chess Union - and a team from Czechoslovakia.

Hubert Price. 1947.

Theo Tylor. Fascinating man! The wonderful John Upham has been producing some excellent work on the British chess history site lately, including some stuff on Tylor. His work is well worth looking at, and the Tylor material, including this picture, 

Tylor. British Chess News.

can be found here

Reginal Pryce Michell  You gotta love this guy! ( well, I do!)

Michell from Margate - also in Kent - 1923.

His best game from this tournament.

Tylor showed that he was more than worthy of taking part in the tournament by holding Capablanca to a draw in a well contested game.

Let's catch up with Vera Menchik again.

The following picture is from the Daily Mirror of 21/01/1927, just below a photograph of children being taught the etiquette of hunting wild animals. I shall say no more!!

In round 5 she beat Michell in a fine game.

Before I forget, Znosko Borovsky ( other transliterations available!!) doesn't get a winning game here - no time - but he was a great friend of Kent chess, despite living in France. Somewhere I have a refence to him being the official adjudicator for the Kent Chess Association.

Daily Mirror. 28/03/1921.

In round six we had probably the most important game in the tournament as far as Menchik's score is concerned. She took uncharacteristic risks trying to beat the 'weak link' of the home team, and a real dog-fight ensued. Price was either winning, or close to winning, several times, but in the end Menchik added another point to her score.

Another picture via British Chess News.
E.G.Sergeant - Menchik. Margate 1939.

The most interesting game of the last round was Yates-Capablanca. Although Yate's overall record against Capablanca was pretty poor, he had been within touching distance of a win against the great man at New York in 1924, and this game was a great fight. I am always fascinated to see Capablanca using his defensive technique, and here he holds the draw, despite some excellent play on Yate's part.

Before I go, a couple of relevant pictures that I did not have time to match games to.

William Winter. British Chess News.
Thomas - Capablanca. From the tournament.

The caption reflects the nature of the publication it is from!!
With apologies for the shambolic presentation, take care everyone. Will be back when time permits.