Book Review: 'Sixty Years Inward The Same Room'

'Sixty Years inwards the Same Room' yesteryear Robert H Jones (Keverel Chess Books, 2010)

The sub-title of this mass perchance gives a improve clue to its contents: "a history of the Paignton Chess Congress". The championship refers to the fact that this much-loved congress has been played annually since 1951 inwards the really same room of the prestigious Oldway Mansion inwards Paignton. It started life inwards 1951 every bit a celebration of the Devon County Chess Association's 50th twelvemonth of beingness too it is right away coming upwards to its ain 60th instalment inwards the same room of the same edifice (of course), running from Sabbatum fifth to Sabbatum 11th September 2010.

Chess inwards the West Country is really lucky to lead keep its ain dedicated historian, Bob Jones, who for many years has lovingly memorialised the game inwards this role of England inwards paper articles, books too on the spider web (e.g. here and here). In this mass he has collated the history of the congress from coverage given inwards CHESS, BCM too other sources, with photos of approximately of the contestants, summaries of each year's tournaments, pen pictures of eminent players too 60 memorable games (where lead keep I heard that phrase before?! No, Bobby Fischer didn't play in that place but 1 famous footing champion did come upwards to Paignton too suffered defeat inwards the really kickoff circular e'er played inwards the congress. The mass tells all). There is fifty-fifty a department on the history of the Oldway Mansion, which started life every bit the habitation of the celebrated USA plutocrat Isaac Singer, too the writer fifty-fifty touches on this remarkable gentleman's decidedly colourful love-life (in the best possible taste, of course).

The mass is effectively a nostalgic look-back at British chess throughout the yesteryear 60 years, since nearly everyone who is anyone inwards the British chess footing has set inwards an appearance in that place at approximately betoken inwards their career. The Paignton Congress is a fixed betoken inwards the much-changing universe of British chess, perchance fifty-fifty to a greater extent than hence than the to a greater extent than venerable Hastings Congress (with its changed formats too venues). It is quaint but delightfully hence too its supporters come upwards dorsum twelvemonth later year, too decade later decade. Not but amateurs, either - Keith Arkell is its most loyal supporter alongside the chess elite, too local man child made Australian(!) Gary Lane, too in that place are enough of other titled players who lead keep played there. It is cunningly held but later the schoolhouse term begins inwards September but that did non halt a really immature Mickey Adams putting inwards a crafty appearance or 2 when he was 'nobbut a lad' (skiving off schoolhouse to play chess? You could already tell he was going to live a top-class player). And Mickey is in that place 1 time to a greater extent than inwards 2010, giving a simul on seven September 2010, according to the entry form. Mickey is of course of didactics a born too bred West Country human being too it is a thing of enormous too well-deserved pride inwards those parts to lead keep produced arguably the finest chessplayer e'er to lead keep come upwards from these islands.

This is clearly a well-researched labour of honey yesteryear Bob Jones too it volition live a delightful read for those who lead keep e'er played at Paignton, or are well-stricken inwards years too relish a skilful helping of chess nostalgia. One really squeamish deport on was his dedication: "to chess widows everywhere too my married adult woman Jennifer, inwards particular". I showed this to my ain "chess widow" too reminded her that, xv years ago, she had declared the Paignton Congress to live the best 1 she had e'er been to. She nonetheless stands yesteryear this verdict, on the grounds that it allowed us to arrive at approximately tourism inwards the morning, inwards a specially lovely role of Devon, hence she could accept a time-out inwards the afternoon spell I played my chess too lastly nosotros could rendezvous inwards the level for dinner. I lead keep to nation that Elaine's criticism of certainly other congresses (which improve rest nameless) has been withering inwards the extreme - so, for her to speak words of approval nearly Paignton should live taken every bit the really highest recommendation possible.

I'm guessing that this mass volition live available from The Chess Shop inwards Baker Street whatsoever twenty-four hr menstruation right away (my review re-create was hot off the press) or from Bob himself. 157 pages softback, enough of photos, £15.99.
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