Once upon a time, London was the envy of the Western chess world. Her clubs were bursting with fresh opening ideas and future Grandmasters; her leagues, blessed with illustrious names traveling in to play top board and teach us all a lesson.
Streatham and Brixton Chess Club has its own surplus of proud boasts from those glory days. The names of GMs Julian Hodgson and Glenn Flear adorn our club trophy, but the list of our famous ex-members hardly stops there. And today we take you back to the late 1960s when a certain Raymond Keene - not yet Grandmaster, not yet prolific writer, not yet elite organizer, not yet OBE - was Streatham & Brixton Chess Club's very own board one.
And what a board one he was. Still in his teens and studying at college, over three consecutive seasons in the 1960s Ray tells me that he scored +13 =5 -1 for us under the captaincy of Richard Boxall, an entirely enviable record that includes 1½/2 against ten-times British Champion Jonathan Penrose. And very kindly, Ray has also sent us his victory over Penrose to share with readers of the blog, permitting us to reproduce his annotations as well.
Here it is. Enjoy this instructive game of historical interest:
I'm sure I'm not the only one who'd like to thank Ray ever so for that special treat. And indeed if you wish to do so yourself, Ray can be easily contacted via his Chessgames page, the site where his annotations featured above also previously appeared. Or if you'd like to find out more about Ray, his home page is here.
Will our club ever see such a board one again? There really is only one Raymond Keene, so the answer has to be no - unless Ray comes out of London League retirement, that is. You never know!