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Leonard William Barden
Number of games in database: 115
Years covered: 1945 to 1972

Overall record: +28 -43 =44 (43.5%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (14) 
    B42 B47 B67 B73 B85
 French Defense (9) 
    C02 C05 C03 C18 C17
 King's Indian (5) 
    E95 E78 E89 E80
 Vienna Opening (5) 
    C27 C29 C26
 Ruy Lopez (5) 
    C75 C84 C76 C97
With the Black pieces:
 King's Indian (16) 
    E80 E67 E60 E71 E86
 Sicilian (14) 
    B56 B59 B58 B73 B72
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Young vs L Barden, 1945 0-1
   L Barden vs W Adams, 1950 1-0
   L Barden vs R C Murphy, 1972 1-0
   L Barden vs J Penrose, 1959 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 1960/61 by Phony Benoni
   Hastings 1951/52 by suenteus po 147
   Hastings 1957/58 by suenteus po 147

   Marjanovic vs Keene, 1980
   S Odendahl vs Keene, 1979

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(born Aug-20-1929, 89 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 115  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Young vs L Barden 0-1201945corrC58 Two Knights
2. Rossolimo vs L Barden  1-0541949SouthseaE67 King's Indian, Fianchetto
3. L Barden vs P N Wallis  0-1361949SouthseaC02 French, Advance
4. G A Thomas vs L Barden  ½-½261949SouthseaC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
5. L Barden vs Golombek ½-½181950Hastings 1950/51B10 Caro-Kann
6. A R B Thomas vs L Barden  ½-½401950Hastings 1950/51C50 Giuoco Piano
7. Unzicker vs L Barden  1-0201950Hastings 1950/51D07 Queen's Gambit Declined, Chigorin Defense
8. Tartakower vs L Barden  1-0281950SouthseaE20 Nimzo-Indian
9. Golombek vs L Barden ½-½251950SouthseaD34 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
10. Bogoljubov vs L Barden  ½-½241950SouthseaD02 Queen's Pawn Game
11. L Barden vs W Adams 1-0271950Hastings 1950/51C57 Two Knights
12. L Barden vs Rossolimo 0-1381950Hastings 1950/51B85 Sicilian, Scheveningen, Classical
13. O'Kelly vs L Barden 1-0281950Hastings 1950/51E01 Catalan, Closed
14. Wade vs L Barden  ½-½661951OxfordC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
15. W Fairhurst vs L Barden  ½-½211951OxfordE45 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Bronstein (Byrne) Variation
16. L Barden vs Yanofsky  ½-½231951OxfordD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
17. W Heidenfeld vs L Barden  1-0211951OxfordE00 Queen's Pawn Game
18. L Barden vs G Berriman  ½-½301951OxfordC17 French, Winawer, Advance
19. L Barden vs A Phillips  ½-½641951Hastings 1950/51E02 Catalan, Open, 5.Qa4
20. J Penrose vs L Barden  ½-½371951Hastings 1950/51B59 Sicilian, Boleslavsky Variation, 7.Nb3
21. V Castaldi vs L Barden  1-0701951Hastings 1950/51B65 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...Be7 Defense, 9...Nxd4
22. Euwe vs L Barden  1-04119511st Autumn CongressE19 Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 9.Qxc3
23. Golombek vs L Barden  ½-½201951Hastings 1951/52E10 Queen's Pawn Game
24. L Barden vs S Popel 0-1651951Hastings 1951/52E95 King's Indian, Orthodox, 7...Nbd7, 8.Re1
25. G Abrahams vs L Barden  ½-½491951Hastings 1951/52A54 Old Indian, Ukrainian Variation, 4.Nf3
 page 1 of 5; games 1-25 of 115  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-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.
Aug-20-14  ketchuplover: He will soon reach the 59th year mark on his column! Kudos :)
Sep-09-14  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.
Aug-20-16  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.
Aug-20-17  Ironmanth: So honored to wish you a happy birthday, Leonard Barden! Your love and respect for chess came through in your writings, and like many, formed the basis of my earliest library of chess books and learning. Be well sir!
Aug-20-17  gars: Happy Birthday, Mr. Barden. Your book "How good is your chess" is simply wonderful!
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Mortimer played Znosko-Borovsky and (most notably) Tartakover at Ostend 1907 which blows up Morphy 3 as a finite one-hand number...>

Mortimer also played George Alan Thomas before WW1, who, in turn, was another who continued active play until after WW2, so that's another possible avenue.

If <> were to arrange another <The World> match with Barden, we could all be Morphy#4s.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Happy Birthday!
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