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Leonard William Barden
Number of games in database: 114
Years covered: 1945 to 1972

Overall record: +28 -42 =44 (43.9%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (14) 
    B47 B42 B73 B63 B48
 French Defense (9) 
    C02 C05 C17 C03 C18
 Ruy Lopez (5) 
    C75 C76 C84 C97
 Vienna Opening (5) 
    C25 C26 C29 C27
 King's Indian (5) 
    E95 E89 E78 E80
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (16) 
    B56 B59 B58 B73 B30
 King's Indian (16) 
    E80 E61 E89 E90 E71
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Young vs L Barden, 1945 0-1
   L Barden vs J Penrose, 1959 1-0
   L Barden vs R C Murphy, 1972 1-0
   L Barden vs W Adams, 1950 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Hastings 1957/58 (1957)
   Hastings 1960/61 (1960)
   Hastings 1961/62 (1961)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Hastings 1951/52 by suenteus po 147
   Hastings 1960/61 by Phony Benoni
   Hastings 1957/58 by suenteus po 147

   Marjanovic vs Keene, 1980
   S Odendahl vs Keene, 1979

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(born Aug-20-1929, 87 years old) United Kingdom

[what is this?]
Leonard William Barden was born in Croydon, London, England. He was joint British Champion in 1954 and was 1st= in 1958 but lost the play-off. In 1952 he was 1st at Paignton ahead of Daniel Abraham Yanofsky and at Bognor 1954 he was 1st= with Alberic O'Kelly de Galway. He played in four Olympiads between 1952 and 1962 but then shifted emphasis to writing (he is chess correspondent for The Guardian newspaper), grading and junior chess. He has also authored a number of chess books.

Wikipedia article: Leonard Barden

 page 1 of 5; games 1-25 of 114  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Young vs L Barden 0-120 1945 corrs. -C58 Two Knights
2. G A Thomas vs L Barden  ½-½26 1949 SouthseaC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
3. Rossolimo vs L Barden  1-054 1949 SouthseaE67 King's Indian, Fianchetto
4. L Barden vs P N Wallis  0-136 1949 SouthseaC02 French, Advance
5. Unzicker vs L Barden  1-020 1950 Hastings 5051D07 Queen's Gambit Declined, Chigorin Defense
6. L Barden vs A Phillips  ½-½64 1950 Hastings 5051E02 Catalan, Open, 5.Qa4
7. J Penrose vs L Barden  ½-½37 1950 Hastings 5051B59 Sicilian, Boleslavsky Variation, 7.Nb3
8. V Castaldi vs L Barden  1-070 1950 Hastings 5051B65 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...Be7 Defense, 9...Nxd4
9. Golombek vs L Barden ½-½25 1950 SouthseaD34 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
10. L Barden vs Golombek ½-½18 1950 Hastings 5051B10 Caro-Kann
11. Bogoljubov vs L Barden  ½-½24 1950 SouthseaD02 Queen's Pawn Game
12. A Thomas vs L Barden  ½-½40 1950 Hastings 5051C50 Giuoco Piano
13. Tartakower vs L Barden  1-028 1950 SouthseaE20 Nimzo-Indian
14. L Barden vs W Adams 1-027 1950 Hastings 5051C57 Two Knights
15. L Barden vs Rossolimo 0-138 1950 HastingsB85 Sicilian, Scheveningen, Classical
16. O'Kelly vs L Barden 1-028 1950 Hastings 5051E01 Catalan, Closed
17. W Heidenfeld vs L Barden  1-021 1951 OxfordE00 Queen's Pawn Game
18. L Barden vs G Berriman  ½-½30 1951 OxfordC17 French, Winawer, Advance
19. Wade vs L Barden  ½-½66 1951 OxfordC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
20. W Fairhurst vs L Barden  ½-½21 1951 OxfordE45 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Bronstein (Byrne) Variation
21. L Barden vs Yanofsky  ½-½23 1951 OxfordD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
22. Golombek vs L Barden  ½-½20 1951 Hastings 1951/52E10 Queen's Pawn Game
23. L Barden vs S Popel 0-165 1951 Hastings 1951/52E95 King's Indian, Orthodox, 7...Nbd7, 8.Re1
24. G Abrahams vs L Barden  ½-½49 1951 Hastings 1951/52A54 Old Indian, Ukrainian Variation, 4.Nf3
25. L Barden vs A Thomas  ½-½54 1951 Hastings 1951/52C49 Four Knights
 page 1 of 5; games 1-25 of 114  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Barden wins | Barden loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-07-09  Open Defence: In the Mahabaratha there is the story of Ekalavya, the archer who studies by thinking of Dronacharya (the teacher of the famed archer Arjuna), his prowess increases solely on account of devotion to his Guru (teacher)

When he finally meets his Guru, Arjuna is jealous of his prowess and Drona to keep a promise to Arjuna that he will be the best Archer in the world asks Ekalavya for a "Gurudakshina" i.e. a gift which the student is to give his Guru in return for knowledge and demands Ekalvya's thumb as his Gurudakshina

Ekalavya gladly gives up his thumb

well what does all this have to do with Barden ? well I kind of feel like Ekalavya in that I studied a lot from the columns of Mr Barden, though he was never my Guru in person he certainly is one in deed

Apr-09-09  falso contacto: cool post.
im not sure I understood that part "maha-who-knows-what", but i always thought Arjuna was a wolf-hunter. Indeed Patagonic gauchos used to say "Arjuna con la lobuna". And if you consult La Sevillana Library, which might be sharp-edged, you will know that "lobuna" is a female wolf.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <Open Defence> <and he is still alive though I imagine he is retired.>

While I doing a bit of research about Bob Wade and Fedor Bohatirchuk I found a reference to <> by Len Barden at dated December 2008. It's possible he visits here clandestinely.

Premium Chessgames Member
  roberts partner:
Apr-19-09  falso contacto: I wasn't trying to disrespect the Mahabaratha. Just mixed with some argentinian popular culture (Inodoro Pereyra). But it's a tough task.
May-01-10  newzild: My mum bought me Barden's book Play Better Chess for my 11th birthday. It was my first chessbook. There was no chess club where I lived (Hawkes Bay, New Zealand), so I used to play through the grandmaster games by myself. Thirty years later, I'm an expert-strength player and still look at the book from time to time. It's buried in the back of the wardrobe somewhere.

Thanks for the inspiration, Leonard.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: I played (and managed to draw) an Internet 15-minute game against Barden earlier this year, which gives me a Morphy Number of 4. (I drew Barden, who drew Mieses at the Hastings Premier Reserves 1949-50, who drew Bird at Hastings 1895(!), who lost many games to Morphy in 1858 and 1859.)

Barden is one of five known living players with a Morphy Number of 3. See and add to the list Melvin Chernev, Irving's son, who played an offhand game with Lasker (who played Bird many times) in 1938. As of a few months ago, Melvin Chernev was alive and living near San Francisco. I spoke to him on the phone.

Sep-13-10  dikankan: Congratulations on that result FSB, and on such an informative post. On the subject of Morphy numbers, I have a copy of the 1971 Volume of the British Chess Magazine, which includes the following obituary (p. 249):

"Essex chess players suffered a severe loss with the death of T.H. George on April 19th at the age of 85. He was the doyen of essex chessplayers...He was rather proud of of having played a man who had played Morphy. this happened in his young days when he beat Jas. Mortimer in a club match; Mortimer had played friendly games with Morphy with Paris in the early sixties if the last century."

I see no reason to doubt this, which if accepted would give T. H. George a Morphy number of 2, and by a route entirely unrecognised by the wikipedia entry to which you have linked. I don't know anything else about T. H. George, but if he was active into the 1950s there may be more extant players who met him and so have Morphy numbers of 3.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <dikankan> An interesting find. Very likely Mortimer did play Morphy, although unfortunately there is no contemporaneous record of that. Lawson in his magisterial biography of Morphy notes that Mortimer witnessed Morphy's match against Anderssen at the end of 1858, and that on January 3, 1859 an American (probably Mortimer) conveyed to Harrwitz Morphy's offer to play a match against him at pawn and move odds. A number of games that Morphy played in Paris in 1863 are known, but alas none against Mortimer. I know nothing about Mr. George, but if he continued playing chess until the end of his life it is (as you say) highly likely that some of his opponents are still with us.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <dikankan> I now agree that Mr. George's Morphy Number of 2 is adequately corroborated. CHESS Monthly in September 1892 had an article about Mortimer. From page 66 thereof: "In 1853, he was appointed attaché of the United States Legation in Paris, where he had an opportunity of renewing his acquaintance with Paul Morphy. The two countrymen thus became intimate friends. Both being passionately fond of chess, many hundreds of games were played by the master and pupil . . . ."
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Barden wrote in an e-mail to me this morning:

"Mortimer played Znosko-Borovsky and (most notably) Tartakover at Ostend 1907 which blows up Morphy 3 as a finite one-hand number,

Z-B played at London 1948 (two Penrose brothers), Tartakover met Gligoric, Benko, Bisguier, Fuderer (Bled 1950) , Matanovic, Ivkov, J Penrose and others, Tom George likely played Peter Clarke who was a young member of Ilford CC in the early 1950s when George was still active.

I reckon now the traceable living Morphy 3s number around 15-20.

Best regards


Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: My blog post on Morphy numbers:
Feb-14-13  IndigoViolet: Did he ever play in Baden-Baden?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Returning Native: He has written a 'puzzle' column daily in the London Evening Standard since the mid 1950s (though now relegated to their website). More information on Wikipedia. I used to read it when I first started working in London nearly 40 years ago. He's a mine of information and helped maintain my love of the game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  roberts partner: You can find Barden's column at
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: "In slower chess you can relax between turns: one UK master in a world team event made his move, went to his hotel room, made love to his girlfriend, returned to the board, and won a pawn."

- Leonard Barden

Feb-22-14  torrefan: He didn't put his pants back before returning to his board? I bet he just mistook it for a pawn.
Aug-20-14  weary willy: Happy Birthday, Mr Barden. A tremendous record of service to British chess for which all UK players can be very grateful.... especially the juniors whom he encouraged and supported through their formative years.

His journalism continues to inform and entertain .... as it has done for so many decades.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Happy 85th birthday Leonard William Barden.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ketchuplover: He will soon reach the 59th year mark on his column! Kudos :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  ketchuplover: Savor your $5000 young man
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: "Play better chess" is one of my most favourite chess books ever.

It is like getting a snapshot in time of the British and wider global chess scene with Nigel Short as a junior.

Premium Chessgames Member
  diagonal: Happy birthday, dear Mr. Barden, congratulations and many more chess columns to come!

The maestro himself on the longest running chess column: (10/25/2014)

Hommage from Frederic Friedel on Leonard Barden's Evening Standard column: (3/6/2015)

Premium Chessgames Member
  eternaloptimist: Happy birthday to Leonard Barden! <diagonal> That's amazing that his chess column has been going on that long uninterrupted! He's a very dedicated man w/ a good work ethic.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Nosnibor: I first met Leonard Barden at the Spalding Open in 1970. He was a very nice gentleman. I believe he finished just outside the prize list in a very strong event. Here is an early game ,which is not in the d.b. played when he was just 17. Played in the National Correspondence Chess Club Premier Tournament,1946-7. White L.W.Barden,Black J.K.Ault. Giuoco Piano 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.cxd4 Bb4+ 7.Nc3 Bxc3+ 8.bxc3 Nxe4 9.d5 Na5 10.Bd3 Nf6 11.Qa4 b6 12.Ba3 Nb7 13.0-0 Nc5 14.Rfe1+ Kf8 15.Qd4 d6 16Re2 Nxd3 17.Qxd3 Bg4 18.Rae1 Bxf3 19.Qxf3 Qd7 20.Bc1! Qg4 21.Qxf6!! Qxe2 22.Rxe2 gxf6 23Bh6+ Kg8 24Re3 1-0 The position after Black`s 20th move would make a good problem for the day. Happy birthday Leonard.
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