It's A Game Of Chess, Football Game Together With Cricket Out There...


A rambling tale of iii soccer-playing chessers...

Influenza A virus subtype H5N1 yoke of posts back, I revived as well as adapted the former IAGOCOT' trope but this fourth dimension I'm casting an optic over to a greater extent than tangible links betwixt chess as well as soccer. One of the foremost as well as most cardinal connections is that nosotros mightiness non fifty-fifty take away hold the discussion 'soccer' were it non for a footballing chess player. It's an oft-told tale but I take away hold garnished it with a few novel details.

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The homo whom legend says coined the discussion 'soccer' was Charles Wreford-Brown (1866-1951) who was an all-round sportsman at Oxford University who captained his academy squad as well as Corinthians FC, as well as went on to captain England earlier becoming a leading administrator as well as squad selector for the Football Association. The story almost him coining the term 'soccer' (taking a key syllable from the official call 'association football' as well as adding 'cer') is apocryphal—Oxford University slang terms where '-er' is added to diverse nouns, oftentimes inwards a sporting context, pre-dated his fourth dimension at the university—but it's perfectly possible.

Wreford-Brown played inwards an era when the flat scheme dictated that pro players needed a patrician amateur at their helm, with, i suspects, less regard to his objective value equally a player. This phenomenon is to a greater extent than familiar to us from the public of cricket, where less gifted amateur captains oftentimes led teams of professional person players good into the 20th century. We shouldn't consider Wreford-Brown equally the technical equal of such smashing names equally Bobby Moore but he must take away hold been a to a greater extent than than decent thespian as well as leader to live lay inwards accuse of the highly skilled pro footballers who would take away hold been his team-mates inwards the 1890s.

Wreford-Brown was a to a greater extent than than competent chess player. He was selected to play inwards the 1933 British Chess Championship, inwards which he lasted ii rounds earlier withdrawing on medical advice. If this is ringing cynical bells inwards anybody's head—withdrawals on grounds of sick wellness tending to live made past times players with negative scores—I should betoken out that he had scored a creditable 1½/2 from those games. The rattling fact that he was selected to play inwards this elite 12-player lawsuit inwards the foremost identify tells us that he must take away hold been a thespian of some ability. That said, the selectors who picked him were hardly looking to the futurity equally he was 66 years former at the time. He was a belatedly selection, non appearing amongst the xi names of competitors published inwards the Times on 17 July 1933, a fortnight earlier the tournament started. The in conclusion judgement of this reference—"the 12th identify inwards the British Championship Tournament rests betwixt ii players, as well as depends on voting papers yet to live received from some members of the committee."—gives an insight into how the BCF alternative physical care for worked. (There was quite a lot of grumbling almost this over the years as well as it led to the abandonment of the round-robin format inwards favour of a to a greater extent than opened upwards Swiss scheme inwards the belatedly 1940s.) Looking at the line-up that year, I'd tell it was a tournament of ii halves, with the foremost 6 players existence of a high standard, as well as the bottom 6 existence much of a muchness, Wreford-Brown included (though that mightiness live a piddling unfair to the blind thespian Rupert Cross who was arguably to a greater extent than talented than the others).

Wreford-Brown's alternative for the 1933 entitle was published inwards the Times on 31 July when he was referred to equally the "old Corinthians footballer". BCM's written report on the tournament (September 1933, p366) reveals that the other thespian on the selectors' ballot paper was the much younger Alfred Mortlock (1910-99), the 1928 British Boys' (Under-18) Champion who ultimately replaced the sick Wreford-Brown inwards the 1933 competition.

Here's a 'Quotes as well as Queries' entry from Ken Whyld inwards BCM, Nov 1988, page 507):

No. 4752 — This is Olympiad month, hence hither is a enquiry with which to win a few bets! Which England footballer played for Great United Kingdom of Great Britain as well as Northern Ireland of Britain as well as Northern Republic of Ireland inwards a chess Olympiad? If clues are needed, he non solely played football game for England, but was captain, as well as what’s more, he coined the discussion “soccer”. The response is, Charles Wreford Brown, who died inwards 1951 aged 85. The Olympiad was Paris 1924, earlier the acquaint format was adopted. United Kingdom of Great Britain as well as Northern Ireland of Britain as well as Northern Republic of Ireland had solely iii players (the other ii existence Mrs Holloway as well as Handasyde), as well as finished below those countries with 4 players but higher upwards Russian Federation (next to last, with solely ii emigrés inwards the team) as well as Yugoslavia, whose sole thespian had to withdraw at the one-half way stage.
xi of Wreford-Brown's games from the 1924 Paris Olympiad (most of which he lost) may live industrial plant life on ChessBase's Big/Mega Database.

Another intriguing episode was referred to inwards BCM (September 1937, p471):-

C. Wreford Brown, spell inwards New Zealand equally articulation director of the English linguistic communication amateur Association football game team, was induced to give an exhibition of simultaneous chess at the Auckland C.C. on on June fifteen [1937], as well as out of fifteen games won 11, drew 3 (unfinished, but agreed), as well as lost i to T. G. Symonds, against whom he made a sideslip which terms a slice to salve his Q. We empathise that past times organisation the unmarried thespian adopted equally his opening i inwards which White sacrifices a Kt on his 3rd move—which sounds similar what used to live called the “Tin Pot”!
... as well as I'm afraid I've never heard of the "Tin Pot" either. What is that in conclusion judgement about? Answers on a postcard, please...

Now Wreford-Brown inwards his ain write (as John Lennon mightiness take away hold lay it): a alphabetic quality published inwards BCM, September 1939, p405:

To the Editor of The British Chess Magazine
Dear Sir,
Owing to absence from England during most of this—so-called—summer, my chess activities take away hold been dormant, as well as the July issue of the British Chess Magazine has solely inside the in conclusion few days come upwards into my hands. I take away hold therein industrial plant life as well as studied with interest, equally usual, an article past times my former friend Koltanowski. I recall that 10 or twelve years agone nosotros had several games together as well as I enjoyed to a greater extent than than i handle inwards the defence forcefulness against the Max Lange opening. I think that honours were fairly fifty-fifty since I was peculiarly careful non to engage him inwards whatever sans voir matches. But I am claiming at i time to live distinctly his superior inwards the affair of chess dreaming. For my imagination has suggested to me that inwards or almost the twelvemonth 1918 I played a game against a Mr. Gibbs, at i time deceased, a fellow member of the Imperial Chess Club, when the exact seat diagrammed past times the Belgian Master was reached as well as the same decision arrived at. I tin fifty-fifty recollect the exact moves of the game which may maybe live of some involvement to your readers, though my imagination suggests that my dream game was analysed past times the belatedly Amos Burn inwards The Field in, or about, Dec of the twelvemonth mentioned. Assuredly, at that spot is zilch novel nether the sun! 
Yours faithfully, 
62 Pelham Court, S. W. 3 
21st August, 1939

Edward Winter has farther details almost Wreford-Brown inwards CN 4793. Here is the game which Wreford-Brown refers to above.
One or ii other Wreford-Brown snippets: I industrial plant life reference (Falkirk Herald, twenty June 1928) to him drawing a game with Alekhine inwards a blindfold simul at the Gambit Café, London, inwards 1928. Once again, similar Amundsen to my Scott, solely at i time practise I notice that Edward Winter has got at that spot first: he industrial plant life the score of the game inwards the Brooklyn Daily Eagle as well as posted it inwards his CN 8700.

The next twelvemonth Wreford-Brown went i better, defeating Sultan Khan inwards a simul (source: The Observer, 29 Sept 1929). The display was organised on behalf of St. Dunstan's the Imperial Chess Club as well as played at the ballroom of Grosvenor House, 28 Sept 1929. Sultan Khan's effect was p33, +26, =3, -4 games (Miss W. F. Brown, F. W. Chambers, Ernest Irving as well as C. Wreford-Brown). Amongst his other opponents were his patron Sir Umar Hayat Khan, Sir Horace Plunkett, the Hon. F.G.Hamilton Russell as well as Miss Rita Gregory, the British daughter champion. The paper reports that "Mir Sultan Khan was tedious inwards going circular his boards, as well as solely one-half a dozen games had been finished betwixt 3.15 as well as 6.30. Unfinished games were adjudicated at 7.30pm."

Wreford-Brown met Alekhine socially on at to the lowest degree i other occasion: here's a link to a 1932 photo on BritBase showing them together at a soirée given past times Sir Umar Hayat Khan.

Most of the higher upwards covers known footing but here's something of which I was hitherto unaware. Though I knew that Wreford-Brown had played a few games of fantabulous cricket, the next (from the Times, 27 Apr 1885) came equally a surprise...

Not fantabulous cricket, of course, but 6 wickets—including that of the legendary WG Grace— makes for remarkable reading. The stuff of schoolboy daydreams... 1885, dismisses WG Grace, 1890s captains the England football game team, as well as inwards the 1920s, gets a depict with the public chess champion Alexander Alekhine. Incidentally, that's past times no way the goal of his cricketing successes: Wreford-Brown went on to dismiss WG Grace inwards other higher condition matches, including inwards both innings of an Oxford University versus MCC tally inwards 1888. The legendary Doctor belike preferred having Wreford-Brown on his ain team: they played amongst each other for Gloucestershire inwards the belatedly 1880s, when the entry 'c Wreford-Brown b W.G. Grace' featured on the scorecard. I'll go out others to trawl through paper records of Wreford-Brown's physical sports exploits – there's a huge amount of fabric to plow through.

Back on the soccer pitch, 1899 brings us some other tantalising slice of 'Roy of the Rovers' material. Wikipedia has a page on England vs Deutschland football game rivalry as well as hither is their introductory judgement almost its earliest origins:
The Football Association instigated a four-game tour of Deutschland as well as Republic of Austria past times a illustration England squad inwards Nov 1899. The England squad played a illustration German linguistic communication squad inwards Berlin on 23 Nov 1899. The German linguistic communication side lost 13–2. Two days after a slightly altered German linguistic communication side lost 10–2. The 3rd as well as 4th matches were played in Prague and Karlsruhe against a combined Austrian as well as German linguistic communication side, as well as England won 6–0 as well as 7–0. Those games cannot live considered equally "official" because the German linguistic communication federation (DFB) was non founded until 28 Jan 1900.
Like to take away hold a gauge equally to the captain of the English linguistic communication illustration squad which pummelled the Germans past times 13-2?...

Yes, of course, it's our homo i time to a greater extent than – as well as I'm commencement to think I was quite incorrect inwards non putting him amongst Bobby Moore inwards the football game hall of fame. If England's hero of the 1966 World Cup had e'er written a serial of books called My Great Predecessors, he would sure take away hold had to brand Charles Wreford-Brown the dependent of Chapter One. 

But wait!... this special Ripping Yarn turns out to live a mirage. Despite existence appointed captain of the squad for these matches, when the fourth dimension came to go Wreford-Brown was indisposed as well as had to rest at home. It's similar David Beckham's metatarsal all over again, isn't it? Our beautiful dream of Wreford-Brown orchestrating England's rattling foremost defeat of a German linguistic communication football game squad is merely that - a dream. Replacing him inwards the squad was his younger blood brother Oswald. So, sadly, nosotros can't add together some other improbable laurel to Charles' already bulging collection. Even to a greater extent than sadly, blood brother Oswald's adjacent run into with the Germans was tragic equally he died during the Battle of the Somme inwards 1916.

OK, I'm going to halt looking things upwards inwards The Times at i time for fearfulness of finding fifty-fifty to a greater extent than remarkable achievements past times Charles Wreford-Brown. Did he win the Boer War singlehandedly? Or the 1925 Euro-wireless Song Contest with an impeccable rendition of Come into the Garden, Maud? If he did, someone else volition take away hold to practise the googling. And the actually funny thing is that, when I sat downwards to write this post, I had no intention of writing to a greater extent than than a yoke of sentences almost him. Then I was going to tell a piddling almost some other famous grandmaster of football game as well as chess—Simen Agdestein— as well as that would atomic number 82 neatly into a piddling chip of novel information I had gleaned almost a 3rd chess thespian who had some distinction equally a footballer. Champagne Charlie Wreford-Brown has rather stolen the show. But let's motility on...


m casting an optic over to a greater extent than tangible links betwixt chess as well as soccer It's a Game of Chess, Football as well as Cricket Out There...
Simen Agdestein, Gibraltar 2008
I'm going to skip lightly over Simen Agdestein as well as permit Wikipedia take away hold the strain, mainly because I've got zilch novel to tell almost him. I've no dubiety that, objectively, Simen was 10 times the footballer that Wreford-Brown was, as well as a hundred times the chess player—and maybe a one k times to a greater extent than influential as well as of import inwards the evolution of chess equally an early on charabanc to the immature Magnus Carlsen—but comparisons betwixt people of dissimilar eras are inherently unfair. Both chess as well as football game take away hold developed out of all recognition inwards the past times century, with modern-day practitioners existence to a greater extent than technically skillful equally a effect of advances inwards communications, applied scientific discipline as well as sports science. I could tell you lot a few stories almost what a lovely chap Simen is, the function he has done for Norwegian chess as well as how he likes Monty Python but I think I'll motility on to write almost some other footballing chess player. By all way click on the higher upwards link to Simen's Wikipedia page as well as larn almost his grandmaster title, his international caps for Kingdom of Norway as well as fourth dimension playing for Lyn Oslo inwards the Norwegian League – as well as live amazed. Given the flat of dedication required to pursue either dependent to such a high level, these are really incredible achievements. That he has since go hence influential equally a chess charabanc as well as teacher, as well as inwards the course of education of this function transformed the climate for chess inwards his ain province makes it all the to a greater extent than remarkable.


After a ludicrously long intro, I've finally arrived at the original betoken of this weblog post. My intention had been to tell non besides much almost Wreford-Brown as well as Agdestein as well as their chess/soccer achievements earlier retailing a few newly-unearthed tidbits almost some other soccer-playing chesser whose call popped upwards whilst I was researching the British Chess Championships of the 1950s as well as 1960s. But I got rather carried away with Wreford-Brown. I promise this doesn't detract from the retention of the homo I'm almost to discuss. True, his achievements inwards the ii fields of endeavor may non tally those of the ii gentlemen discussed above, but they are even hence quite interesting.

Illustrated Sporting as well as Dramatic News - Fri xviii Dec 1936
This business of inquiry started with a triviality. I wanted to discovery the forename(s) of JW Naylor, who played inwards the British Chess Championships of 1957, 1959 as well as 1960. One thing that irks me almost former magazine as well as paper reports is the role of initials with surnames. It makes it hence hard to compile biographical information almost players when you lot tin solely notice references to them equally (say) D.A. Smith (and as well as then notice at that spot are ii D.A. Smiths playing at the same congress). That said, at that spot are disadvantages to the modern naming convention, too; foremost call as well as surname are given, but middle names as well as initials are cast to the winds. Trying to notice to a greater extent than information almost someone called David Smith is equally bad equally someone called D. A. Smith, inwards fact a lot of the fourth dimension it is worse. But plenty already...

I scoured the meshing to no avail for JW Naylor's forenames as well as and then did what I should take away hold done inwards the foremost identify – checked my existing notes. There was his total call amongst my Varsity chess tally notes, gleaned from the belatedly Jeremy Gaige's booklet listing the results of all these matches from 1873 to 1987 (and for the total names I think I take away hold ultimately to give thank you lot the estimable Timothy G Whitworth who did the call research for Gaige, as well as sent me the booklet). 

John William Naylor was at Exeter College, Oxford, as well as played on board v (and lost) for Oxford when they had lost 3-4 to Cambridge inwards the 1937 Varsity chess match. I went on to discovery that he was born inwards Steyning, Sussex, inwards 1916, the boy of Henry Naylor, who was a schoolmaster at that spot as well as after at Ashburton inwards Devon, where Naylor snr gear upwards his ain schoolhouse as well as Naylor jnr as well as his siblings were educated. John Naylor became a schoolteacher himself, teaching modern languages inwards Wellingborough, with his manly soul raise inwards Ashburton for a spell after the war, as well as then after inwards Liverpool, West Ham, Ilkley as well as Leeds, judging from his places of residence given when he competed inwards chess tournaments or equally per the grading list.
Birmingham Daily Gazette - Fri 29 Oct 1937. It's slow to spot a goalkeeper - dissimilar shirt.

Illustrated Sporting as well as Dramatic News - Fri 17 Dec 1937
 Naylor was land quite a potent thespian equally it would take away hold been rattling hard to qualify for the (typically) thirty to 36-player British Chess Championships of the 1950s as well as 1960s without existence of around 2200 (Elo) / 200 (BCF/ECF) measure rating/grade. He was consistently a tad below that. In 1961 he was category 4a, equating to 193-200. I industrial plant life a few grades for him inwards the belatedly 1960s as well as early on 1970s, from 191 to 197, as well as he disappears from the listing inwards 1971.

Naylor did non brand a big deport on on his iii appearances inwards the British Chess Championship, making 5/11 (1957), 2½/11 (1959) as well as 5½/11 (1960) but ii of those aren't bad scores past times whatever means. In 1967 he scored 6½/11 inwards the Major Open as well as and then 7½/11 inwards 1969 inwards Rhyl.

His in conclusion hurrah was a rattling creditable 7½/11 inwards the 1976 Major Open inwards Portsmouth. He didn't play inwards 1977 or 1978 but I noticed his listing equally an associate fellow member of the federation inwards both the 1977/78 as well as 1978/79 BCF yearbooks showing his identify of residence equally Tripoli. His call didn't appear inwards the 1979/80 yearbook. There is a statutory tape for a John William Naylor having died inwards Ewell, Surrey, inwards 1978, as well as I fearfulness that may live him, but I cannot live absolutely certain I take away hold the correct man.

Illustrated Sporting as well as Dramatic News - Fri 09 Dec 1938
It was when I cast my search meshing a chip wider that I discovered that John Naylor was a footballer. He won blues for the sport at Oxford inwards each of the 4 seasons 1935/36 to 1938/39, with the Cambridge tally existence held at Highbury on each of the foremost iii occasions. He was a goalkeeper as well as gets mentioned inwards press reports on a issue of occasions. Like Wreford-Brown earlier him he was a thespian for Corinthians FC as well as represented them inwards the FA Cup at a fourth dimension when they were even hence a formidable side (and non the below-par squad I used to sentry existence thrashed past times Wycombe Wanderers inwards the 1960s). So there's some other possible pub quiz enquiry for you lot to torture your friends with, peculiarly the Arsenal supporters – "who played inwards iii British Chess Championships, as well as also iii illustration football game matches at Highbury?"

Incidentally, it mightiness seem similar contention of the blindingly obvious, but, merely to avoid confusion, this is a completely dissimilar John Naylor from the electrical current English linguistic communication chess thespian of that call who is inwards his early on forties. I don't think he's e'er played football game at Highbury. I could live wrong, of course. 

That's almost it, really. Except for some prissy photos of John Naylor from his footballing days.

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