Welcome to the Keverel Chess website, which will be covering all chess matters relating to Exmouth and Exmouth players, whether played or written in the town or further afield.
In addition, there will be a selection of chess books available to discriminating collectors. Lists will be updated regularly and enquiries about books listed may be e-mailed.
Here are some short biographies of chessplayers who have made above-average contributions to chess at some level, whether in Devon or further afield.
The 1st editions of some of these articles got their first airing on the chessdevon website, and the author is grateful to its webmaster for that opportunity. These early ones have now all been reviewed and updated where new information has come to light before posting here.
Copyright remains with the author who will be pleased to receive further information for inclusion, or make corrections where necessary. Family history researchers should contact the author in the first instance with a view to a possible useful exchange of information.
Currently, it meets at Age Concern, 8, New Street, Exmouth. EX8 1RT, on Wednesday evenings from 6 p.m.
The club welcomes new members who are keen to make the most of their chess skills by playing real opponents, face to face. Queries should be addressed to the Club Secretary via e-mail. email@example.com.
Above: Look for the Age Concern sign.
Below: The door to the club premises.
The Plymouth-based Western Morning News carries one of the oldest chess columns in any provincial daily paper. It was started in 1891 and has continued ever since in one form or another, in spite of having shifted for a short spell to another title in the same stable, the Illustrated Western Weekly News.
For the past 55 years it has had just three correspondents: J. E. “Eddy” Jones (1956 – 63); K. J. “Ken” Bloodworth (1963 – 1999) & R. H. “Bob” Jones from 1999.
For all this time, it has reported weekly on the chess activities within its readership’s area, Devon & Cornwall, However, since December 2010, in a cost-cutting exercise and rationalisation, the WMN joined forces with its Northcliff Group neighbour, the Bristol-based Western Daily Press, to produce a weekend supplement in common, called Westcountry Life. Fortunately, they retained the chess column, which means it now gets a much wider readership, and this must be reflected in the scope of what it records. So the activities in Somerset and Gloucestershire must get equal billing, as it were, with those of Devon & Cornwall.
One must hope this experiment will prove successful and continue. We hope chess followers will purchase the two papers in question, at least their Saturday edition, as this is the point of the exercise. However, I have permission to reproduce it on this website for the benefit of those outside the readership area.
To that end, I aim to post it here a day or two after its appearance in the paper.
Here is the list of entries so far received for the 15th Seniors Congress, correct as at 23.10.2014.
Latest entries in Bold.
Entry forms may be downloaded from the chessdevon website.
It is several years since Trefor Thynne revived Devon’s Team Blitz tournament after it lapsed as traditional season starter. It is for teams of 4 players, each having 12 minutes on the clock for all moves, and 6 rounds played on a Swiss system. Its regular venue has been the Newton Abbot Club
Each year there have been a few more teams involved, with a new trophy added in each of the last 3 years to reflect the renewed interest. However, this year the number of teams entered dropped to 8, and several of these were not as strong as in recent years. In view of this, it was decided to change it to an all-play-all tournament of 7 rounds, with the tea break abolished to keep the timings about the same.
Round 1 paired Exmouth Eagles against a Newton Abbot team led by former Devon and West of England Champion Dominic Mackle. Normally this would have been a top-of-the-table affair, but when it finished 4 – 0 to the Eagles it was clear something unexpected was afoot. There was an element of luck involved as, at the end of the top game, Stephens had 10 seconds left compared to Mackle’s 60, and yet somehow managed to win on time. From then on the Eagles never looked back. At the start of the 7th and final round, three of them still had maximum points. Then Underwood lost, leaving Stephens and Gosling as the only two on 100%, the tie break giving the new Individual trophy to Stephens by virtue of it being gained on Bd. 1.
The other excellent team performance was by Sidmouth Juniors, comprising two set of brothers, the Susevee and Bacon boys, who, with the 2nd lowest team grade total, accumulated 13 points and the U-450 Cup.
The evnt was organised by Trefor Thynne and controlled by Ray Chubb.
Here are summary charts showing where all the points went.
|1||Exmouth Eagles||683||4||7||11||15||19||22½||25½||Thomas Cup|
|2||Newton Abbot||560||0||4||6½||9½||12½||15½||18½||Hodge Cup (U-600)|
|5||Sidmouth Juniors||373||2||3||5||7||8||10½||13||U-450 Cup|
|1||Exmouth Eagles||vs ►||2||5||8||6||7||4||3|
|1||J. K. Stephens||194||1||1||1||1||1||1||1||7|
|3||C. J. Scott||157||1||0||1||1||1||½||1||5½|
|4||B. G. Gosling||153||1||1||1||1||1||1||1||7|
|2||Newton Abbot||1||D. Mackle||203||0||1||½||1||1||1||0||4½|
|2||T. F. Thynne||161||0||1||1||1||1||1||1||6|
|2||I. S. Annetts||162||0||1||0||0||1||1||1||4|
|3||K. P. Atkins||157||0||1||1||1||½||1||0||4½|
|4||Teignmouth A||1||A. W. Brusey||176||½||0||1||1||0||0||1||3½|
|5||Sidmouth Juniors||1||G. Sussevee||126||0||0||0||1||0||1||½||2½|
|6||Exmouth Egrets||1||O. E. Wensley||149||½||0||½||0||1||0||0||2|
|2||R. H. Jones||129||0||0||0||0||0||½||1||1½|
|4||F. R. Hodge||97||1||1||1||0||0||0||1||4|
|7||TQ B.G.S.||1||V. Ramesh||131||1||1||½||0||0||0||1||3½|
|8||Teignmouth B||1||M. Rickard||95||0||0||0||0||0||0||½||½|
Gloucestershire met Devon on Saturday at West Buckland in Rd. 1 of the 2014 – ‘15 Inter-County competition. It was a well-contested contest, although in the end Devon forced a comfortable enough 12-4 win, mainly due to their greater strength in the bottom half of the team.
This was also the debut for former presenter of TV science programmes, Adam Hart-Davis, who is now a regular at the Plymouth Chess Club.
Here are the details, with Gloucestershire names first in each pairing and grades in brackets.
1.J. Stewart (207) 0-1 D. Mackle (203). 2. P. J. Meade (182) 0-1 J. K. Stephens (194). 3. N. K. Hosken (181) ½- ½ S. J. Homer (188). 4. M. J. Ashworth (181) ½- ½ P. Sivrev (187). 5. J. Jenkins (176) 1-0 J. Wheeler (181). 6. P. J. Kirby (173) ½- ½ J. Underwood (179). 7. P. Dodwell (163) 0-1 D. Regis (176). 8. B. Whitelaw (159) 0-1 A. W. Brusey (176). 9. R. M. Ashworth (151) 0-1 B. W. Hewson (174). 10. A. Richards (136) ½- ½ W. Ingham (176). 11. A. N. Walker (134) ½- ½ M. Shaw (170) 12. P. Baker (132) 0-1 G. Body (169). 13 K. Bendall (131) ½- ½ M. Stinton-Brownbridge (164). 14. J. Caterer (128) 0-1 I. S. Annetts (162) 15. P. Bending (122) 0-1 A. Hart-Davis (161). 16. J. B. Harris (115) 0-1 C. J. Scott (157).
Here is a game with notes based on those kindly supplied by the winner.
White: Jim Caterer (128). Black: Ivor Annetts (162).
Caro-Kann – Exchange Variation [B13]
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.c3 Qc7 6.Ne2 If 6.Nf3 then 6…Bg4 is a little more problematic. 6…Bg4 7.f3 Bd7 8.Bf4 e5 9.dxe5 Nxe5 So far, but no further, all was known to Black from the 2002 game Gonzalez v Sasikiran. 10.Bc2 Bd6 11.0–0 Ne7 12.Nd4 h5 13.Ba4 0–0–0 Now the race is on to start a telling attack against the enemy king. White starts well in this respect. 14.Bxd7+ Rxd7 15.b4 Kb8 16.a4 N7g6 17.Bg3 h4 18.Nb5 Qc6 19.Qd4 b6 If 19…hxg3 20.Qxa7+ Kc8 21.Qa8+ Bb8 22.Na7+ That’s as far as Black got with his analysis. It seems to win the Black queen but White’s own queen can become trapped in the corner – or worse e.g. 24…Ba7+ 25.Kh1 Rxh2 mate. 24…Ba7+ 25.Qxa7 Nxa7 and Black is a piece for a pawn to the good! 20.Bf2 h3 21.Nxd6 hxg2 22.Kxg2 Rxh2+ 23.Kg3 If 23.Kxh2 Nxf3+ 24.Kg2 Nxd4 25.Bg3 Black was mildly worried about this move but all lines are good for him. 23…Rh4 24.Qxh4 Nxh4 25.Kxh4 Qxd6 Black was thinking his opponent would not pin the knight with Bg3 because it would be mate. And yet…. 26.Bg3?? Qh6# 0–1
Last week’s position was ended after 1.Qxa7+! RxQ 2.RxR+ Kb4 3.Ra4 mate.
Here is another hitherto unpublished 2-mover by Dave Howard.
The start of Exmouth’s league season was a unique event in the history of the club. For the first time ever, they had entered two teams in the Exeter & District League Division 1, and the league rules rightly state that any club with 2 teams in the same division must make that their first match, to avoid any possible suspicion that, should they meet in a later round, one team might voluntarily lose in order for the other to win the cup. Not that they would, of course, but any team so edged out couldn’t help but wonder…..
Not that there would be any danger of that happening in this case, as, given the club’s relatively limited playing resources, both teams were likely to be well short of the maximum team grade total of 640, unless they acquire some strong new members from somewhere. But the club are treating it as a fun event with no high expectations of ultimate glory.
On the night, blunders abounded; one player tore his scoresheet up in disgust while another didn’t submit his scoresheet at all - all good fun. At the end of night it was the Elephants that got trampled while the Eagles soared above.
|Bd||Exmouth Elephants||Grd||Exmouth Eagles||Grd|
|1||S. J. Murray||138||½||½||C. J. Scott||157|
|2||D. Thomson||134||½||½||R. H. Jones||129|
|3||F. R. Hodge||97||0||1||M. Belt||128|
|4||T. Badlan||82||0||1||S. Blake||102|
The death in Cheltenham of Brian William Clapp at the age of 87 was reported last week. Brian was a regular member of the Exeter Club in the 1960s and ‘70s, having been club champion in 1963, ’68, ’69 and ’71. He was a lecturer in Economic History at Exeter University and published several books, notably Manchester Merchants 1850 – 1939 (1956), John Owens – Manchester Merchant (1965), The University of Exeter – A History (1982) and An Environmental History of Britain Since the Industrial Revolution (1994 – Longman).
In this 1966 game he took full advantage of some loose play by a much stronger opponent. 21 year old Richard Hall from Bradford was reading law and went on to become a district judge in 1998 and British Correspondence Chess Champion and a Grandmaster of postal chess. It is taken from Dr. Dave Regis’ excellent book 100-Odd Years of Exeter Chess Club.
White: B. W. Clapp. Black: R. V. M. Hall.
Sicilian Defence – Paulsen Var. [B45]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e6 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.Be3 Bb4 7.Bd3 d5 8.Nxc6 bxc6 9.e5 d4 10.exf6 dxe3 11.Qf3 Bxc3+ 12.bxc3 exf2+ 13.Qxf2 Qxf6 14.Qc5 preventing castling. 14…Rb8 15.Rd1 Qe7? 16.Qe5 Hitting rook and g-pawn. 16…Rb2 17.Qxg7 Qf8?? 18.Qf6 Bd7 19.Be4 Rb6 20.Qd4 Qh6 21.Qxd7+ Kf8 22.Qd6+ Kg8 22…Kg7 is no better. 23.Qg3+ 1–0 Black resigned as he could see what was to follow i.e. 23…Kf8 24.Rd8+ Ke7 25.Qc7+ Kf6 26.0–0+ and mate must follow very shortly.
The 49th Dorset Congress takes place on the weekend commencing Friday 24th October (contact: Ian Clark on 01202-536370 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org). If you can only spare one day that weekend there’s the Chipping Sodbury Rapidplay on the Saturday; (Contact: Graham Mill-Wilson on 07790-187-415 or e-mail email@example.com. Then there’s the Royal Beacon Seniors Congress in Exmouth starting on Monday 3rd November (Contact: R. H. Jones on 01395-0223340 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
The solution to last week’s problem by A. C. White involving pawn promotion was 1.Qc4! threatening 2.Pc8=N mate, and Black’s capture with the rook to prevent this, merely allows 2.g8=N mate.
This position arose in a game earlier this year. White is the exchange and a pawn down, but can win by force. How did he do it?
|Bird, H. E.||Chess History & Reminiscences||London 1893|
|138pp||Has sections on chess history, blindfold chess and a few game scores. Original brown cloth with bright gilt titles. LN 236 VG+||£85.00|
|Bird, H. E.||Chess Practice being a condensed and simplified record of the actual openings in the finest games played up to the present time, including the whole of the beautiful specimens contained in Chess Masterpieces, comprising those of Anderson, Bird, Blackburne, Boden, Buckle, Cochrane, Kolisch, Labourdonnais, Lowenthal, Macdonnell, Morphy, Staunton, Steinitz Zuckertort, and 35 others.||London 1st ed. 1882|
|96pp||Original dark cloth. LN 1822 Front binding a little tender o/w VG||£75.00|
|Bird, H. E.||The Chess Openings considered Critically & Practically.||London 1st ed. 1877|
|248pp||Includes interesting long lists of subscribers in UK & US, including Sam Loyd who composed a special letter B problem for the book.Original blue cloth boards with gilt title on spine. LN 1819 Binding a little tender o/w G+||£60.00|
|Bird, H. E.||Chess Novelties and their latest novelties with comparisons of the progress of chess openings of the past centuries and the present not dealt with in other works.||F. Warne1st ed. 1895|
|304pp||Original blue cloth boards bearing attractive gilt design and lettering. LN 1855 Spine dulled o/w VG||£55.00|
|Bird, H. E.||Chess Novelties – another copy.|
|304pp||Original maroon cloth boards. VG+||£55.00|
|Bird, H. E.||Chess Masterpieces comprising a collection of 150 games of the past quarter century, with Notes, including the finest games in the Exhibition of 1851 and the Vienna Tournament of 1873.||London 1st ed. 1875|
|140pp||Maroon cloth boards. Insc. One of Bird’s scarcer titles. LN 3166 VG||£75.00|
|Cook, W.||The Chess Primer – A stepping stone for beginners, teaching the preliminary details, supplemented by a series of illustrative games with reasons for every move appended.||London 1880|
|55pp||Original olive cloth boards bearing attractive design in black. LN 992 VG||£25.00|
|Cook, W.||Cook’s Chess Synopsis – a synopsis of the chess openings.||London4th ed. 1888|
|142pp||Original maroon cloth boards with some staining to front cover though internally clean. LN 1818 G+||£20.00|
|Cook, W.||The Complete Players’ Compendium – a practical guide to the openings. With new supplement by Alfred Emery.||London5th ed. 1910|
|332pp||Original green cloth bearing attractive chess piece design & gilt titles. LN 1883 VG||£20.00|
|Cook, W.||The Compete Player’s Compendium – another copy|
|Re-bound in plain green cloth with original title page pasted in. VG||£12.00|
|Crawley, Capt. R.||Chess & Draughts – Chess: its Theory & Practice to which is added a chapter on draughts.||London 1858|
|180pp||Original maroon cloth bearing gilt title and diagram. VG||£25.00|
|Ellis, J. A.||Chess Sparks or Short & Bright Games of Chess||London 1895|
|160pp||Re-backed retaining original fawn cloth. Includes 7 page list of all tourneys & matches 1824 – 1894. LN 3182 Neat pencil ticks by games played through o/w G+||£65.00|
|Freeborough & Ranken , C||Chess Openings Ancient & Modern.||London 18963rd ed.|
|282pp||Original brown cloth boards with chessboard motif. Not in LN. Endpapers splitting & pages browning at edges. o/w G||£25.00|
|Freeborough & Ranken , C||Chess Openings Ancient & Modern – another copy.||London 19104th ed.|
|284pp||LN 1843 Original green cloth boards with chessboard motif & feint stain o/w G||£25.00|
|Gottschall, Dr. H. von||Adolf Anderssen der Altmeister deutscher Schachspielkunst||Leipzig1st ed. 1912|
|553pp||750 analysed games & 80 problems. V. Good group photo of Leipzig 1877 including Zukertort and the Paulsens, plus individual portraits. LN 3034.Original grey cloth boards with a few marks in bottom corner. VG-||£80.00|
The 1st Bristol Summer Congress was held on Aug 22nd-24th and the section winners were as follows: Open: 1st S. Dilleigh. Major (U-155): 1st A. Papier. Minor (U-125): 1st Nikhil Hakeem – at 9 yrs old Nikhil is clearly one to watch.
Here is Dilleigh’s fine Rd. 3 win against a stronger opponent.
White: Ryszard Maciol (215). Black: Steve Dilleigh (182)
Queen’s Gambit – Exchange Var. [D36]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Nbd7 5.cxd5 exd5 6.e3 c6 7.Bd3 Be7 8.Nge2 Nh5 9.Bxe7 Qxe7 10.Qc2 g6 11.0–0–0 Nb6 12.Kb1 Ng7 13.e4 dxe4 14.Bxe4 Black has to decide whether to risk castling on the kingside and inviting a pawn storm. However, if he castles long, White threatens to break open the centre with d5. 14…0–0 15.Nf4 Qf6 16.g3 Ne6 17.Nce2 Ng5 18.Bd3 Bg4 19.h3 Bf3 20.Rhf1 Rad8 21.h4 Ne6 22.Nxe6 Qxe6 23.Rd2 Qf6 24.Qc3 Rfe8 25.h5 White pushed on with his attack, but Black is able to create counter threats. 25…Nd5 26.Qb3 Qg5 27.Rc2 Qxh5 28.Nc3 Nxc3+ 29.Qxc3 Qg4 30.Rd2 Qxd4 Black is able to grab another pawn to open up the central files, while White’s pieces are not well co-ordinated. 31.Qxd4 Rxd4 32.Kc2 Red8 33.Re1 Bg4 preparing for the killer blow. 34.Kc3 Bf5 0–1 White can avoid losing a piece, with 35.Re8+ Rxe8 36.Kxd4 Rd8+ 37.Ke3 Rxd3+ 38.Rxd3 Bxd3 39.Kxd3. but is left a pawn down on both wings.
The solution to last week’s problem was the waiting move 1.Qh8! and wherever the king moves to 2.Qd4 or 2.Bf5 are mates.
In Alain C. White’s 1912 book, The Theory of Pawn Promotion, he talks about the evolution of the concept of what should happen to a pawn if it manages to get to the opposite side of the board, before assembling a collection of about 500 problems based on this idea. He writes “The origin of the Promotion of Pawns is buried beyond recovery in the past. Evidently, since pawns can only march ‘breast forward’, as Browning would have described it, something startling must happen when they reach the opposite end of the board. Several possibilities could be imagined. They might turn round and walk back again. They might be compelled to walk straight off the board in a novel form of self-annihilation. But this would be a penalty for their prowess instead of a reward. Their transfiguration is a most ingenious and appropriate solution to the difficulty.” He goes on to describe the gradual modification in the promotion rules, from queen-only, to any piece that has already been captured, to the present state of any piece, regardless of the earlier course of the game.
One of the given examples is this, his own 2-mover.
People tending to live longer these days and often retiring early has helped to create one of the expanding areas of sport. Tennis and golf, for example, have long had their seniors circuits, in which past champions compete at a far more leisurely pace than in their heyday.
So too with chess, which has recently introduced European and World individual and team events for seniors only. This year, the world governing body, FIDE, has gone further, by splitting the age eligibility into two sections, 50 – 64 and 65+, thus enabling more players to compete for honours. The first European Championship for the 50 – 64 age group was held earlier this year in Portugal and was won by Paignton resident Grandmaster, Keith Arkell.
The Royal Beacon Seniors event in Exmouth was a pioneer in this aspect of the game. When it started in 2000 it was the only seniors-only event in Britain, and they introduced a special section for the 50-somethings over a decade ago. Now the world has caught up.
The 15th Royal Beacon Seniors event takes place during the week starting Monday 3rd Nov. Entry forms are downloadable from chessdevon.com.
Here is a game from last year’s Beacon Seniors Congress.
White: Ian Heppell (178). Black: Jonathan Wells (180)
Sicilian Defence – Alapin Variation. [B22]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.c3 Nf6 4.e5 Nd5 5.d4 cxd4 6.cxd4 b6 7.Nc3 Bb7 8.Bd3 Be7 9.0–0 0–0 10.Re1 f5 11.exf6 Black has a choice of 4 pieces with which to retake, but chooses probably the least promising option as it weakens his defensive pawn structure, which White exploits later. 11…gxf6 12.Bh6 Rf7 13.Qe2 Nxc3 14.bxc3 Qc7 15.Be4 Nc6 16.d5 Nd8 If 16…exd5 17.Bxd5 winning the rook. 17.Rad1 f5 18.Bb1 Bd6 Now White’s kingside attack gets going. 19.Ng5 Bxh2+ 20.Kh1 Re7 21.Qh5 Bf4 22.Bxf5 Black’s d-pawn is pinned. 22…Qxc3 Best in the circumstances. 23.Bxh7+ Kh8 If 23…Rxh7 24.Qe8 mate. 24.Qg6 threatening 25.Qg8 mate and Black has to give up the exchange in order to avoid it. 24…Nf7 25.Nxf7+ Rxf7 26.Qxf7 Bxh6 27.Be4 1-0 Black’s only move is 27…Qg7 but after 28.Qxg7+ Bxg7 29.dxe6 Bxe4 30.Rxe4 dxe6 31.Rxe6
Heinz Herschmann, a regular at the Beacon Seniors event and well-known composer, arranger, musician and founder of the music label Apollo Sound, recently died, peacefully at home at the age of 90. As a composer, he achieved considerable acclaim receiving many commissions and in his other work he enjoyed great success in roles as varied as musical director of touring shows, to accompanist to various entertainers.
The solution to Dave Howard’s 3-mover last week was 1.Qh1! and the queen will mate on either a8 or b7.
This 2-mover is similar.
The Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre
The West of England Chess Union’s annual jamboree has been held at the Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre on the outskirts of Taunton for about a decade, with the host being Taunton Chess Club member, Martin Worrall, who also happens to be a technician at the centre.
I’ve often wondered about the origin of the name/s attached to the centre, though have never quite got round to enquiring about it, assuming that it was probably the surnames of a couple of town councillors – the mayor, perhaps, and some local community activist. However, this year I made a point of asking Martin about it and he drew my attention to a plaque in the corner of the foyer, which told a very different story. (see picture 1 below)
The name, in fact, refers to Mrs. Kathleen Tacchi-Morris who lived for 50 years at Long’s House, a rambling 17th century manor house in North Curry, just 5 miles east of Taunton, until her death in 1993. In their later years she and her husband had set up a trust fund to be used in the promotion of peace and harmony throughout the world. In 1999 the trust donated £1 million, together with a £2.1 million grant from the Arts Council, to create the Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre.
Yet behind this bald fact lies a story of an extraordinary life lived by an extraordinary lady from an exotic family. She was born in 1899 in Johannesburg, the eldest of five children to Percy George Tacchi and his wife, Rebecca Kathleen. Although both Londoners, Percy and Rebecca met in South Africa, where Percy was working as an engineer in the goldfields and Rebecca was training to be a doctor, as there was little chance of that happening in England at the time. After they got to know each other, Percy contracted typhoid and as Rebecca nursed him back to health they fell in love and got married. Shortly after Kathleen was born the combination of life in the goldfields and the Boer War decided the young family to return to the UK.
Percy continued as an inventor, specialising in wheeled vehicles. While in South Africa he had set up a small company, Tacchi and Wright, building bicycles for the indigenous populace. Back in England he developed the first 4-cylinder motorcycle for Wilkinsons. (see picture 2 below).
By this time, Kathleen was 10 years old and attending a school from which she was expelled for organising a pupils’ strike against the excessive corporal punishment that went on there. She was then sent to a boarding school in Manchester and got expelled from there as well after just four weeks, for complaining about the treatment of girls. From then on any education was received at home and was somewhat ad hoc. They lived in semi-rural Acton at this time, where they had a house built in Nemours Road.
In the meantime four siblings arrived on the scene; in order of age they were Percy George junior, Mercia Olga, Maurice Phoebus and Ruby.
Her father was a socialist and a member of the Fabian Society, taking Kathleen to all their meetings, where she got to know many of the founding members, including George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, Annie Besant (future President of the Indian National Congress), Leonard & Virginia Woolf, the Pankhursts and Sidney & Beatrice Webb.
She also went to ballet lessons from an early age, before getting her first paid employment in a drapers shop in Leytonstone at 12½p per week. She spent WW1 at the Hotel Cecil, the HQ of the Air Force doing not a lot, as she confessed. After the war, most women workers had to give up their day jobs to make way for the returning soldiers and Kathleen had to scratch around for work. She phoned around numerous firms saying she’d heard they needed someone in the office, which of course they didn’t. One company challenged her by asking where did you hear that story from? Kathleen took up the challenge by going round to see the person she’s spoken to and on meeting her, gave her a job immediately. It was with a film-making company in Wardour St. and she was suddenly mixed up in the world of film people, socialising with the likes of Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford. She had small parts in a few films utilising her dancing skills, including Coming Through The Rye, a 1923 silent film starrng Alma Taylor and Ralph Forbes, and Men Are Not Gods (1936) directed by Alexander Korda. (see pictures 3 & 4 below).
Her film colleagues urged her to push harder for a foot up the ladder to stardom, which undoubtedly she could have done, but dancing was in her blood, not acting. Partly to escape the cinema circus and to concentrate on the dance she went to Paris in 1922 enrol at the Jacques-Dalcroze school.
Émile Jaques-Dalcroze (1865 – 1950) was a Swiss composer, musician and music educator who developed eurhythmics, a method of learning and experiencing music through movement. Turning the body into a well-tuned musical instrument, Dalcroze felt, was the best path for generating a solid, vibrant musical foundation. The 57 yr old composer was smitten with his young student and regularly took her to the Paris Opéra where she met the likes of Diaghilev, Isadora Duncan and Picasso, who used to do their décor. Kathleen wasn’t entirely convinced with all of Dalcroze’s techniques but was able to adapt them to her own needs. (see pictures 5 & 6 below)
On returning to England she trained groups of dancers who performed at the Hammersmith Palais and the Victoria Palace. In the early thirties there were trips to Antibes where she got mixed up in the Edward and Mrs. Simpson affair. Then in 1936 she married Walter Allan Stagg (1903 – 1984) an Equipment Officer in the RAF. They bought a house in North Curry before Stagg was posted to Malta. Kathleen quickly came to hate her lot, as her efforts to start a children’s dance school were forbidden by the rule that forces personnel should not fraternise with the locals. She gave her husband the ultimatum “Leave the forces or I will leave you – your choice”. He stayed on, Malta took an almighty pounding by the Luftwaffe throughout the war, and he went on to become one of the RAF’s top brass, being awarding the CBE in the Queen’s Coronation honours.
Kathleen went back to their house in North Curry, a village she had come to love in her short time there. She met Richard Rodham Morris (1903 – 88) who came from a long line of auctioneers and estate agents, stretching back in North Curry throughout the 19th century. They married in Exeter in 1945, much against the wishes of his wider family, who were all country Conservatives, while she was cast as a communist atheistic free-thinker. Yet the marriage worked well enough, as “Rod” was in awe of her energy and enthusiasm and just let her get on with whatever she wanted to do.
First of all she sacked all the servants at Longs House and turned over the vacated rooms and outhouses to her pet projects – initially looking after the local mothers of black children who’d been abandoned by their families and US fathers. There were also German Jewish refugees. A large barn was converted into a theatre and Lydia Sokolova from the Diaghilev ballet came down and taught ballet while Kathleen taught eurhythmics.
This went on until 1950 when her life took an unexpected twist, best told in her own words.
“It was an accident really, because I’d had three operations on my hip. I went to lecture on eurhythmics in Bradford and was staying there with friends. There was a newspaper on the breakfast table saying something about a conference on peace in Sheffield. I said “D’you know, I’d like to go to that. “Well let’s go”. I wasn’t allowed in as I hadn’t got a pass, but I waited outside. The doors opened and I could see Picasso on the platform. I thought ‘Goodness gracious me!’ So I wrote a note on the back of an old envelope in my handbag saying ‘Tacchi’s outside – please can she come in?’ I gave it to a policeman and said ‘Would you take that to Picasso?’ He said ‘Who’s Picasso?’ I said ‘He’s the second on the left.’ Picasso said ‘Of course, bring her in!’ So I went in and found myself sitting on the platform, and that was the beginning.
“The place was packed with people; well-known people, writers and all sorts. It was terrific. I said to Picasso, ‘Why aren’t the women in this as well?’ He said ‘Well do something about it’ and I said ‘All right, I will’. He said ‘Promise you will?’ I said ‘Yes’. He said ‘We’re asked to shift this whole thing to Warsaw and I can’t go. Will you go there for me?’ I said ‘I’ve only got ten shillings on me’. I sent a telegram to my husband, saying ‘I’m going to Warsaw’. He sent one back saying ‘I take a dim view of this’, but I took no notice, I just went.’ ….. When I saw the ruins of Warsaw and heard the story of their suffering, I knew that the rest of my life would be devoted to the struggle for peace.’
She founded the organisation Women for World Disarmament which she ran tirelessly until 1987.
In the 1950s her parents came down to live with her. Percy had all the space he needed for his workshops, while Rebecca died there just a few days short of her 100th birthday.
During 1987 she was involved in setting up the trust whereby, after their death, the house and grounds could become an international centre for youth, to promote peace. Also that year, she arranged for her Women for World Peace organisation to be merged with the Campaign for World Disarmament, which allowed her to retire. Rod died in January 1988 aged 85 and she died 5 years later aged 94. (see picture 7 below)
A much fuller account of her remarkable life story may be found in the book Women Remember – An Oral History (Routledge 1989) by Anne Smith, from which I have tried to extract the essence and combine it with other material available on-line. She also wrote a short autobiography entitled I Promised Picasso. Although it was never published there is a typescript version archived in the Somerset Heritage Centre, Brunel Way, Langford Mead, Norton Fitzwarren, Taunton, TA2 6SF. This is kept with her many other papers relating to her long and active life.
It’s not clear whether the Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre is exactly what she had in mind when she made her original legacy plans, though it teaches dance and drama, both dear to her heart. In any case, far from being a white elephant, it is a successful venture with increasing activity year on year, with, for example, the number of technicians required to service it all up from the original 2 to 5.
She would be amused to think that the warfare that is chess is strictly of the non-violent kind, and so accords with her precepts.
The West of England Jamboree is an annual occasion for players from all constituent units of the Union to come together in a single event, which in recent years has been held at the Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre in Taunton. On Sunday there were four teams of 12 in the Open Section – Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire and a welcome return by a resurgent Cornwall. The winners were Devon (8½ pts) ahead of Somerset (7), Cornwall (4½) and Gloucestershire (4). This game from Bd. 6 was a no holds barred affair
White: John Jenkins (176 – Glos.). Black: Peter Chaplin (189 – Somerset).
1.d4 g6 2.e4 d6 3.f4 White certainly intends giving it everything right from the start. 3…c5 4.c3 Bg7 5.Nf3 cxd4 6.cxd4 Bg4 7.Bb5+ There’s no intention of playing conservatively with something like 7.Be2 7….Nc6 8.Qa4 Bxf3 9.gxf3 Kf8 10.Bxc6 bxc6 11.Nd2 Not 11.Qxc6?? Rc8 winning bishop & rook. 11…e5 12.fxe5 dxe5 13.Nc4 Qh4+ 14.Ke2 exd4 15.Qxc6 Rd8 16.Qc5+ Qe7 17.Qxe7+ Nxe7 18.Kd3 correctly blockading the advanced pawn. 18…Nc6 19.Bd2 Ke7 20.b4 Rd7 21.Rab1 Ke6 22.b5 Ne5+ 23.Nxe5 Bxe5 24.f4 Bd6 25.Rhc1 For best use of their powers rooks need open lines, well illustrated by the next few moves. 25…f5 26.e5 Be7 27.Rc6+ Kd5? In the spirit of the game so far, Black doesn’t wish to back off by retreating to f7, but this is a mistake. 28.Bb4 Rb8 29.Bxe7 Rxb5 30.Rbc1 1–0 Black resigned because if he takes the bishop he is mated thus 30…Rxe7 31.Rd6# , so he is effectively a piece down.
There were also four teams in the Grade-limited Section; N & W Somerset, S & E Somerset, the Torbay League and a return to inter-county competition by Wiltshire. This finished as a tie between Torbay and Wilts who will share the cup.
Full details of all players’ results and photographs of the action may be found on keverelchess.com.
The major prizewinners at the recent Paignton Congress were listed last week, so here are the winners of grading prizes. Premier: U-2151 1st= S. Dilleigh (Bristol), A. Brown (Northampton) & P. Kemp (Linton). U-2071. 1st= G. Bolt (Railways) & I. Myall (Chelmsford). U-1981 1st= A. Brusey (Teignmouth), A. Footner (Dorchester) & T. Spanton (Hastings). Challengers: U-161 1st= R. Clegg (Huddersfield) & A. Price (Leamington). U-149 1st= A. Hibbitt (Banbury) & J. Morgan (Exeter). Minor: U-122 M. Harris (Colchester). U-113 1st= A. Fraser (Beckenham), M. Bolan (Ashtead & S. Thacker (W.Notts).
Here is a hitherto unpublished problem by Dave Howard. White can mate on his 3rd move, providing the first (or key) move is correct.