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A. S. Hollis (30.03.2013.)

The death occurred recently of former West of England Champion and Britain’s 6th Grandmaster, A. S.  Hollis.  Born in 1940, Adrian Swayne Hollis was the only child of Sir Roger Hollis and Evelyn Esme (née Swayne) whose families came from Wells and Burnham-on-Sea respectively. At the time of Adrian’s greatest chess activity, his father was Director-General of MI5 (1956 – 1965) a period that saw a string of high profile spy cases, including the Burgess, Philby, Blunt, Blake and Vassall affairs and the Profumo scandal.

He went to Eton and read Classics at Oxford. He was a contemporary of future WECU President, Philip Meade, of Queen’s College, Cambridge, and the two played each other on Bd. 1 in the 1961 Varsity match.  Adrian had learned the game at 13 and within 7 years had become the then youngest West of England Champion at Weymouth in 1961. He was also British Universities Champion and played in six Anglo-Dutch matches scoring 7½ / 12.

His first teaching post was at St. Andrews University before moving to Keble College, Oxford, where he lectured in Classics from 1967 until his retirement in 2008. The twin demands of academic and family life led him to abandon any serious ambitions in over-the-board play and to concentrate instead on postal play from 1965. Ironically, his retirement from active chess coincided with the award of International Master. However, greater recognition came when he became England’s 6th Grandmaster in 1976, for postal play. After retirement he returned to his roots in Wells.

Here is a lively win of his from the 1961 WECU Championship.

White:A. S. Hollis. Black: J. A. Henley.

 Queen’s Gambit Declined [D61]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bg5 Be7 5.Nf3 Nbd7 6.e3 0–0 7.Qc2 h6 8.h4! c6 9.0–0–0 b5 10.cxb5 cxb5 11.Bxb5 Bb7 12.Kb1 hxg5 13.hxg5 Ne4 14.Nxe4 dxe4 15.Rh3 Bxg5 16.Nxg5 Qxg5 17.Rdh1 f5 18.Bxd7 Bd5 19.Qc7 Qe7 20.Bxe6+ 1–0 Mate cannot be avoided.

In last week’s position, Magnus Carlsen broke through after…1.Bxf7+! 2.Qf3+ Kg8 3.Rxh8+ Kxh8 4.Rh1+ Kg8 5.Qh5 Rf8 6.Bf6 and Black resigned in view 6…gxf6 7.exf6 Rxf6 8.Qh8+ Kf7 9.Rh7+ Kg6 10.Qg8+ Kf5 11.Rh5+ Ke4 12.Qg4+ Kd3 13.Qd1+ Ke4 14.Qe2#.

This 2-mover, resembling a mass brawl, was composed by Gerald Frank Anderson (1893-1983) and first appeared in the Western Daily Mercury in 1919.

White to mate in 2

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