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Hastings 1948/49 Tournament

Nicolas Rossolimo6.5/9(+4 -0 =5)[games]
Imre Koenig6/9(+4 -1 =4)[games]
Willem Jan Muhring5.5/9(+4 -2 =3)[games]
Baruch Harold Wood5/9(+3 -2 =4)[games]
William Albert Fairhurst5/9(+4 -3 =2)[games]
Paul Felix Schmidt4.5/9(+1 -1 =7)[games]
George Alan Thomas4/9(+2 -3 =4)[games]
Robert Wade3.5/9(+1 -3 =5)[games]
William Arthur Winser3/9(+0 -3 =6)[games]
Theodore Tylor2/9(+0 -5 =4)[games]
* Chess Event Description
Hastings 1948/49

This was the fourth Hastings Christmas Congress since its post-war revival, and it looked to be one of the weaker editions. (1) The previous year's Hastings champion Laszlo Szabo, the only grandmaster strength invitee, withdrew before the start of the tournament due to illness. (2) The "Supplement to London and Midland Chess Bulletins" warned that the fabled Hastings Congress was in danger of becoming "just another chess tournament", because the organizers failed to supply a purse rich enough to attract any real stars. The city of Hastings managed to raise Ł250 to fund the event. The "Supplement" regarded this to be an inadequate sum. They pointed out that the publicity value to the city justified a more lucrative purse. They also criticized the organizers for failing to use their "personal influence" to woo foreign masters who might agree to play for a smaller prize. (3)

Nonetheless, the Premier section still featured an intriguing mix of foreign and local masters. Hungarian born Imre König had resided in England since 1938, and thus proved a convenient choice to replace Szabó at the last minute. (3) His current form was anyone's guess. He hadn't competed since June 1946, when he lost both his games to Vasily Smyslov in the <USSR-Great Britain Radio Match>, (4) but he had previously managed a respectable fourth place in the strong London B (1946) "victory tournament." (5) The Ukrainian born French champion Nicolas Rossolimo (6) had recently shared second with Pal Benko at Bad Gastein (1948), drawn a match with Savielly Tartakower, and beaten Israel Albert Horowitz in one of only two decisive games in the drawn <France-USA Radio Match 1948>. (7) Dutchman Jan Muhring had shared second with Henri Grob and G. A. Thomas at Hastings (1947/48), behind Szabó. (8) The Estonian Paul Felix Schmidt had once been competitive with the likes of Klaus Junge and Paul Keres, but his post-war form was suspect. His only accomplishment in the past year had been to finish second at the minor Leeuwarden (1948) tournament. (9) New Zealand champion Bob Wade had warmed up for Hastings by finishing second at a pair of autumn Dutch tournaments, Baarn Major Group (1948) and Hertogenbosch (1948). (10)

Of the local English hopes, G. A. Thomas and Baruch Wood looked to be the leading lights. Thomas had shared second in the previous Hastings Congress(8) and both had shared second in the British Championship (1948), behind Reginald Joseph Broadbent. (11) Perennial Scottish champion William Fairhurst had finished fifth at Hastings (1947/48), (8) and most recently had drawn his game with Maurice Edward Goldstein in the <England - Australia Radio Match 1948>. (12) Sir Theodore Henry Tylor had enjoyed some prominence before World War Two, but his recent form was sporadic. He had only played twice since 1946, scoring +0 -1 =1 vs Ludek Pachman in the <Midlands Counties - Czechoslovakia Match 1947>, (13) and +1 -1 =0 vs Chris Vlagsma in the <England - Netherlands Match 1948>. (14) William Winser had the look of a rank outsider. He hadn't played since he finished sixth in the Premier Reserves B section of the previous year's Hastings Congress, three classes below the Premier tournament he now contested. (8) His presence might help explain the astonishment of the "Supplement to London and Midland Chess Bulletins" that Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander had not been included: "We ... must confess ourselves stupefied by the failure to invite Alexander, twice a prize-winner in this event, for he is still one of the greatest British masters ..." (3)

On December 30 the Mayor of Hastings hosted a civic reception in the Town Hall. Mr. Neill Cooper-Key, the Conservative M. P. for Hastings, made chess history by delivering the opening address in Esperanto. (15) Shortly after the ceremony, round one began in the seaside White Rock Pavilion. (1)


After four rounds Rossolimo led, with Wood, König and Schmidt a half point back. Round five featured a sparkling rook sacrifice by Rossolimo that won him the tournament brilliancy prize: Rossolimo vs W J Muhring, 1949. (16)


click for larger view

After eight rounds, Rossolimo held sole first and needed only a draw to ensure victory. Consequently, in the final round he offered Wood a draw on move 6! Wood refused, and "played with praiseworthy enterprise ..." getting "the better game from the opening ... Thereafter it took all (Rossolimo's) skill to hold the game." - Rossolimo vs B H Wood, 1949. (17) Nicolas Rossolimo had become champion of the 24th Hastings Christmas Congress, followed closely by König in second and Murhing in third. Wood and Fairhurst proved best of the Englishmen, finishing shared fourth. Thomas might have been expected to do better, but tailenders Winser and Tylor clearly played to recent form. H G Rhodes won the Premier Reserves Major section, and Alan Phillips won the Premier Reserves A Section. (3)

Hastings, England, 30 December 1948 - 8 January 1949 (18)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 Rossolimo * ˝ 1 ˝ 1 ˝ ˝ ˝ 1 1 6˝ 2 König ˝ * ˝ 0 1 ˝ 1 1 ˝ 1 6 3 Muhring 0 ˝ * ˝ 0 1 1 1 ˝ 1 5˝ =4 Wood ˝ 1 ˝ * 1 0 0 ˝ ˝ 1 5 =4 Fairhurst 0 0 1 0 * ˝ 1 1 1 ˝ 5 6 Schmidt ˝ ˝ 0 1 ˝ * ˝ ˝ ˝ ˝ 4˝ 7 Thomas ˝ 0 0 1 0 ˝ * ˝ ˝ 1 4 8 Wade ˝ 0 0 ˝ 0 ˝ ˝ * 1 ˝ 3˝ 9 Winser 0 ˝ ˝ ˝ 0 ˝ ˝ 0 * ˝ 3 10 Tylor 0 0 0 0 ˝ ˝ 0 ˝ ˝ * 2

Harry Golombek was fulsome in his praise for Rossolimo's brilliancy prize game, explaining that "He tried a system of his own in the Giuoco Piano against Muhring and the Dutch Master wrongly allowed him to open up the game. By a neat little combination he won a pawn and then finished off his opponent by a brilliantly conducted kingside attack, culminating in a rook sacrifice." (19) He later added that all of Rossolimo's wins were "marked by a most pleasing and natural brilliance." (20) Muhring only found out he had won the 3rd prize after he had already returned to the Netherlands. (21) He and his last round opponent Paul Felix Schmidt had planned to play Hoogovens (1948) in Beverwijk, which began the same day as the Hastings Congress finished. Consequently, they played their "last round" game on Sunday, January 2, the same day they also played their regularly scheduled round three games. (22) As it turned out, Muhring did not actually play at Beverwijk, but Schmidt did. (23)

FIDE began awarding titles in 1950. By 1951 it had awarded the International Master title to all of the Hastings 1948/1949 participants except Wood, Winser and Tylor. Rossolimo was the only contestant to subsequently garner the FIDE Grandmaster title, which he received in 1953. (24)


(1) Britbase - "Hastings Premier PGN Downloads",
(2) The Times, 31 December 1948, p. 6.
(3) Supplement to London and Midland Chess Bulletins, February 1949. In Harry Golombek and William Ritson-Morry, Hastings Chess Tournament 1948-49 (En Passant Chess Publications 1st Edition 1949), pp. 1-3.
(4) Di Felice, Chess Results 1941-1946 (McFarland 2008), p. 266.
(5) Di Felice, Chess Results 1947-1950 (McFarland 2008), p. 315.
(6) Di Felice, 1947-1950, p. 163.
(7) Di Felice, 1947-1950, pp. 105, 106, 199.
(8) Di Felice, 1947-1950, p. 95.
(9) Di Felice, 1947-1950, p. 148.
(10) Di Felice, 1947-1950, pp. 105, 141.
(11) Di Felice, 1947-1950, p. 150.
(12) Di Felice, 1947-1950, p. 206.
(13) Di Felice, 1947-1950, p. 89.
(14) Di Felice, 1947-1950, p. 209.
(15) Evening Telegraph, 30 December 1948, p. 1; Hastings and St Leonards Observer, 1 January 1949, p. 1.
(16) The Games (with Annotations and Comments by Harry Golombek and William Ritson-Morry ). In Harry Golombek and William Ritson-Morry, Hastings Chess Tournament 1948-49 (En Passant Chess Publications 1st Edition 1949), pp. 18-19.
(17) The Games (with Annotations and Comments by Harry Golombek and William Ritson-Morry ), p. 30.
(18) Di Felice, 1947-1950, p. 214; The Times, 31 December 1948 - 10 January 1949.
(19) The Times, 5 January 1949, p. 2.
(20) The Times, 10 January 1949, p. 6.
(21) Tijdschrift, February 1949.
(22) The Games (with Annotations and Comments by Harry Golombek andWilliam Ritson-Morry ), p. 28.
(23) Di Felice, 1947-1950, p. 233.
(24) Jeremy Gaige, Chess Personalia (McFarland 1987), pp. 113, 221, 293, 362, 424, 454; Tidskrift för Schack, July 1950, p. 208.

Original collection: Game Collection: Hastings 1948/49 by User: suenteus po 147. Game dates and research by User: Paint My Dragon and User: Tabanus; Introduction written and sourced by User: WCC Editing Project. Further reading Game Collection: Hastings 1948/1949 ARCHIVE.

 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 45  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. W A Winser vs G A Thomas  ½-½661948Hastings 1948/49D50 Queen's Gambit Declined
2. B H Wood vs W J Muhring  ½-½221948Hastings 1948/49D56 Queen's Gambit Declined
3. Wade vs I Koenig  0-1541948Hastings 1948/49C86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
4. P F Schmidt vs Tylor  ½-½271948Hastings 1948/49C88 Ruy Lopez
5. W Fairhurst vs Rossolimo  0-1271948Hastings 1948/49E46 Nimzo-Indian
6. Rossolimo vs W A Winser 1-0351948Hastings 1948/49B11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
7. I Koenig vs P F Schmidt  ½-½321948Hastings 1948/49A12 English with b3
8. W J Muhring vs W Fairhurst 0-1341948Hastings 1948/49D13 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Exchange Variation
9. G A Thomas vs Wade ½-½431948Hastings 1948/49C81 Ruy Lopez, Open, Howell Attack
10. Tylor vs B H Wood  0-1361948Hastings 1948/49A08 King's Indian Attack
11. B H Wood vs I Koenig  1-0351949Hastings 1948/49E32 Nimzo-Indian, Classical
12. W A Winser vs W J Muhring  ½-½271949Hastings 1948/49D54 Queen's Gambit Declined, Anti-Neo-Orthodox Variation
13. Wade vs P F Schmidt  ½-½251949Hastings 1948/49C28 Vienna Game
14. G A Thomas vs Rossolimo  ½-½251949Hastings 1948/49B19 Caro-Kann, Classical
15. W Fairhurst vs Tylor ½-½561949Hastings 1948/49E60 King's Indian Defense
16. W J Muhring vs P F Schmidt  1-0341949Hastings 1948/49D31 Queen's Gambit Declined
17. Tylor vs W A Winser  ½-½361949Hastings 1948/49D23 Queen's Gambit Accepted
18. P F Schmidt vs B H Wood  1-0481949Hastings 1948/49B71 Sicilian, Dragon, Levenfish Variation
19. Rossolimo vs Wade  ½-½291949Hastings 1948/49A06 Reti Opening
20. W J Muhring vs G A Thomas  1-0361949Hastings 1948/49D53 Queen's Gambit Declined
21. I Koenig vs W Fairhurst 1-0511949Hastings 1948/49C74 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense
22. W A Winser vs I Koenig  ½-½341949Hastings 1948/49E26 Nimzo-Indian, Samisch
23. Wade vs B H Wood ½-½531949Hastings 1948/49C12 French, McCutcheon
24. G A Thomas vs Tylor  1-0391949Hastings 1948/49C86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
25. W Fairhurst vs P F Schmidt  ½-½271949Hastings 1948/49E73 King's Indian
 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 45  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

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