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Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander
Number of games in database: 270
Years covered: 1928 to 1973
Overall record: +86 -83 =101 (50.6%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (38) 
    B24 B90 B74 B88 B45
 Ruy Lopez (21) 
    C79 C90 C71 C77 C64
 French Defense (20) 
    C02 C11 C13 C17 C12
 Caro-Kann (11) 
    B10 B12 B16 B14 B15
 Four Knights (10) 
    C47 C49
 French (9) 
    C11 C13 C12 C00 C10
With the Black pieces:
 Nimzo Indian (13) 
    E33 E43 E22 E21 E27
 Petrov (12) 
    C42 C43
 Ruy Lopez (12) 
    C64 C86 C78 C84 C82
 King's Indian (10) 
    E94 E80 E69 E75 E67
 Dutch Defense (9) 
    A81 A89 A85
 Queen's Pawn Game (8) 
    D02 D00 A40 A45 D05
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   C H Alexander vs Pachman, 1947 1-0
   C H Alexander vs Szabo, 1947 1-0
   C H Alexander vs Botvinnik, 1946 1-0
   C H Alexander vs Z Milev, 1954 1-0
   Bronstein vs C H Alexander, 1954 0-1
   Tylor vs C H Alexander, 1938 0-1
   V Mikenas vs C H Alexander, 1938 0-1
   Tolush vs C H Alexander, 1954 0-1
   Milner-Barry vs C H Alexander, 1932 0-1
   W Winter vs C H Alexander, 1936 1/2-1/2

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Hastings 1946/47 (1946)
   Hastings 1953/54 (1953)
   Hastings 1937/38 (1937)
   Maastricht (1946)
   Hastings 1933/34 (1933)
   Margate (1937)
   Margate (1938)
   Hastings 1954/55 (1954)
   Hastings 1962/63 (1962)
   Nottingham (1936)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Maastricht 1946 by sneaky pete
   Hastings 1953/54 by suenteus po 147
   Hastings 1954/55 by suenteus po 147
   Hastings 1933/34 by Phony Benoni
   Hastings 1946/47 by Phony Benoni
   Hastings 1937/38 by sneaky pete

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander
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(born Apr-19-1909, died Feb-15-1974, 64 years old) Ireland (federation/nationality United Kingdom)

[what is this?]
Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander was born in Cork, Republic of Ireland. Awarded the IM title in 1950 and the IMC title in 1970, he was British Champion in 1938 and 1956. During the Second World War, he worked at Bletchley Park with Harry Golombek and Sir Philip Stuart Milner-Barry, deciphering German Enigma codes and later for the Foreign Office. His best result was 2nd= at Hastings (1937/38) tied with Paul Keres after Samuel Reshevsky and ahead of Salomon Flohr and Reuben Fine. He held Mikhail Botvinnik (+1, -1) in the 1946 Anglo-Soviet Radio Match, and won Hastings (1946/47). He represented England on six Olympiad teams. Alexander was also an author of note. He passed away in Cheltenham in 1974.

Wikipedia article: Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander

 page 1 of 11; games 1-25 of 270  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. W Fairhurst vs C H Alexander 0-128 1928 corrA40 Queen's Pawn Game
2. C H Alexander vs Tylor  1-040 1932 Hastings ENGB24 Sicilian, Closed
3. C H Alexander vs G A Thomas ½-½29 1932 Hastings ENGB12 Caro-Kann Defense
4. Sultan Khan vs C H Alexander 1-039 1932 BCF-chD02 Queen's Pawn Game
5. L Steiner vs C H Alexander  1-052 1932 Hastings ENGC42 Petrov Defense
6. Milner-Barry vs C H Alexander 0-126 1932 CambridgeC25 Vienna
7. Flohr vs C H Alexander ½-½69 1932 Hastings 3233E33 Nimzo-Indian, Classical
8. C H Alexander vs Pirc 0-139 1932 Hastings ENGB24 Sicilian, Closed
9. Sultan Khan vs C H Alexander 1-036 1932 HastingsA49 King's Indian, Fianchetto without c4
10. C H Alexander vs Menchik  0-159 1932 Hastings 3233C00 French Defense
11. C H Alexander vs W Fairhurst 1-021 1932 BCF-chC29 Vienna Gambit
12. E M Jackson vs C H Alexander  0-136 1932 Hastings ENGC82 Ruy Lopez, Open
13. C H Alexander vs R P Michell  ½-½69 1932 Hastings ENGC53 Giuoco Piano
14. C H Alexander vs Menchik  ½-½18 1932 CambridgeC13 French
15. M Luckis vs C H Alexander  0-132 1933 OlympiadE67 King's Indian, Fianchetto
16. C H Alexander vs A J Mackenzie  1-035 1933 OlympiadB24 Sicilian, Closed
17. C H Alexander vs A Campolongo  1-045 1933 OlympiadB10 Caro-Kann
18. C H Alexander vs Opocensky  ½-½29 1933 OlympiadB10 Caro-Kann
19. C H Alexander vs Tylor 1-037 1933 Hastings 1933/34C42 Petrov Defense
20. P Devos vs C H Alexander  1-052 1933 OlympiadA49 King's Indian, Fianchetto without c4
21. R P Michell vs C H Alexander  0-149 1933 Hastings 1933/34D92 Grunfeld, 5.Bf4
22. C H Alexander vs W Hasenfuss 1-045 1933 OlympiadC40 King's Knight Opening
23. C H Alexander vs Flohr 0-167 1933 Hastings 1933/34B10 Caro-Kann
24. E Eliskases vs C H Alexander  ½-½31 1933 Hastings 1933/34C42 Petrov Defense
25. Milner-Barry vs C H Alexander 0-129 1933 England-chC33 King's Gambit Accepted
 page 1 of 11; games 1-25 of 270  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Alexander wins | Alexander loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: In Tribute to Hugh Alexander, I created this video for some of his notable games on :

He may well have saved potentially thousands of lives for helping shorten World War II.

Jul-16-11  bartonlaos: <kingscrusher> Bill Wall and his brothers publish The White Knight Review, a beautiful free-monthly on chess-potpourri and extras. It has an extended article on Bletchley Park and its chess-playing codebreakers, that include: Harry Golombek , Alan Turing , James Macrae Aitken , Philip Stuart Milner-Barry , and Reuben Fine .

Spies and Code-Breakers - White Knight Review

Free Subscription -

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: It's pleasing to see that the code breakers at Bletchley are getting acknowledgement. However, is there or has there been any recognition of the contribution that the Polish code breakers made in the first place?

See for more on this.

Jul-16-11  bartonlaos: <Benzol> Good point. This article <"How the young Polish mathematicians broke the unbreakable Enigma and gave the Allies a priceless gift"> contains some of the 'schematics' used in Rejewski's bombas and Zygalski's sheets, with an interactive enigma machine hidden within:

Polish Codebreakers

Jul-16-11  HeMateMe: All that, but no one nailed Kate Winslet.
Aug-09-11  Antiochus: 381 games of Alexander are here:

Nov-12-11  Karpova: C.N. 5458 cites from Alexander's foreword to 'King, Queen and Knight' by N. Knight and W. Guy (London, 1975):

<... I should like to add one remark addressed especially to the stronger players. When we are soaked in chess, completely involved in its technicalities, we lose something; we forget what it was like when we first learnt this mysterious, inexhaustible, implacable art/game/science. Seeing chess both in itself and in its numerous usages as an analogue of larger things through the eyes of those who may be inexpert players but are highly articulate and intelligent men and women, we can perhaps regain some of the freshness of feeling that we once had.>


Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Quote of the Day

< "Slightly shortsighted, [Botvinnik] stoops over his score sheet and devotes his entire attention to recording the move in the most beautifully clear script; one feels that an explosion would not distract him and that examined through a microscope not an irregularity would appear. When he wrote down 1...c2-c4 against me, I felt like resigning." >

--- C.H.O'D. Alexander

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Here is an Alexander victory that I have just uploaded to the database:

[Event "Warsawl ol (Men) 1935"]
[Site "Warsaw"]
[Date "1935.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Thomas George Cranston"]
[Black "Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander"]
[Result "0-1"]

1. d4 ♘f6 2. c4 g6 3. ♘c3 ♗g7 4. ♘f3 d6 5. e4 ♘bd7 6. ♗e2 O-O 7. O-O e5 8. dxe5 dxe5 9. ♗g5 h6 10. ♗xf6 ♕xf6 11. ♘d5 ♕d8 12. ♕c2 c6 13. ♘e3 ♕e7 14. ♖ad1 ♘c5 15. ♖d2 ♘e6 16. g3 ♘d4 17. ♘xd4 exd4 18. ♘g2 b6 19. f4 c5 20. ♗f3 ♗b7 21. ♕d3 ♖ab8 22. ♖e1 ♕d7 23. b3 ♖fe8 24. ♘e3 f5 25. ♘d5 ♗xd5 26. cxd5 fxe4 27. ♗xe4 b5 28. ♖de2 ♔h8 29. ♔g2 ♖bc8 30. ♗f3 ♖xe2+ 31. ♖xe2

click for larger view

31...c4 32. ♕xg6 d3 33. ♖e6 ♗f8 34. ♕f5 ♖d8 35. bxc4 bxc4 36. ♗e4 d2 37. ♕h5 d1=♕ 38. ♕xd1 ♕xe6 39. ♕a1+ ♗g7 40. ♕xg7+ ♔xg7 41. dxe6 ♖d2+ 42. ♔f3 c3 43. ♔e3 ♖xh2 0-1

Source: "CHESS", Vol 1, No 1, 14th September 1935.

Apr-19-13  brainzugzwang: << HeMateMe: One of the first chess books I owned: "Fischer v. Spassky 1972" by Alexander.>>

One of my first, too -- Actually, my third, for 50 cents from a rummage sale, and still one of my favorites. For someone fairly new to the game, and not living in anything even close to resembling a metropolitan area, the introductory section about the world of professional chess was revelatory, and C.H. o'D. also kept us patzers in mind when annotating the games. Very underrated book for its time, I think.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: From Larsen in the quote reproduced by <Caissanist>:

<Even Alekhine would have had to study for a year first; I am not sure, but I believe the man had never seen an exchange sacrifice on c3 in the Sicilian. Imagine that!>

Not quite the case:

E Schultz vs Alekhine, 1914

Mar-08-14  thegoodanarchist: <HeMateMe: All that, but no one nailed Kate Winslet.>

Jack Dawson did.

Jul-19-14  torrefan: Just bought a copy of this guy's "The Penguin Book of Chess Positions" published in 1973--a year before he died.
Premium Chessgames Member
  alfamikewhiskey: In "The Imitation Game", Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander - Hugh Alexander - is depicted favourably by Matthew Goode.

Alexander is Alan Turing's (Benedict Cumberbatch) colleague at Bletchley Park, the British codebreaking centre during World War II, decrypting the Germans' Enigma code.

His chess merits are briefly mentioned in the film.

The secret nature of the cryptographic work denied Alexander the possibility to play, post-war, behind the Iron Curtain.

Interesting guy (<>, and a highly watch worthy movie.

Premium Chessgames Member
  wwall: "The BBC recently televised the first simultaneous chess match. The international master C. H. O'Donel Alexander played 16 people simultaneously in a London restaurant, and the TV cameras dipped into the program from time to time to see how he was getting on. Surprisingly, the transmission was far more successful than anybody had deemed possible. The players were representatives of many professions - they included a journalist, a cricketer, a Bridge expert, a Socialist editor, Lord Brabazon,the pioneer flier, a cartoonist, a blind champion, a woman champion, a schoolboy and a schoolgirl champion, and various others. Many viewers agreed that the BBC built up both suspense and human interest. Alexander managed to win by 10 to 4, with two draws." New York Times, May 10, 1953, p. X 11.
Apr-19-15  kamagong24: the code breaker!
Jun-14-15  zanzibar: <The best British chess player of the day, Hugh Alexander, went on to become head of cryptoanalysis at GCHQ, while doubling as the Spectator's chess columnist under the pseudonym Philidor.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <The best British chess player of the day, Hugh Alexander, went on to become head of cryptoanalysis at GCHQ, while doubling as the Spectator's chess columnist under the pseudonym Philidor.>

I just went thorugh Bronstein vs C H Alexander, 1954

Amazing game. If IM Alexander were active in this era, he would definitely be a GM, probably one just a tier below the Candidates level (for the rating obsessed chess fan that would be today's low 2700s GM), with the occasional chance to make it into the Candidates during peak periods of playing.

Hastings (1937/38)

Hastings (1946/47)

Hastings (1953/54)

A record not many players can boast of.

Jan-15-16  HeMateMe: The film "The Imitation Game" generally paints Turing as head and shoulders above the rest of the cryptographers, a supervisor with the power to fire those he felt weren't an effective part of the team at Bletchley Park. I don't know is that is historically accurate or not, but based on the movie, Turing seems to have an intimate knowledge of the primitive computer that the others don't, and the world was in no grave danger if C.H.O.D. Alexander were somehow kidnapped by the Soviets. Much ado about nothing.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Rest in peace, C.H.O.D. Alexander.
Feb-15-16  Petrosianic: As oppposed to what? What are you telling him not to do?
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: I would not want him to rest in pieces.
Premium Chessgames Member
  luftforlife: The following formerly secret document was approved for release by NSA on September 18, 2007:

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy birthday, C.H.O.D. Alexander.
Apr-19-16  Dionysius1: Many many thanks <luftforlife>, that is a glorious read. It's gripping stuff on a player about whom there isn't very much elsewhere. Hugh Denham who wrote the In Memoriam just avoids overdoing the lyricism, though it leaks through nicely in the last few paragraphs, don't you think?
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