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Rowena Mary Bruce
Number of games in database: 22
Years covered: 1937 to 1972
Overall record: +13 -7 =2 (63.6%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

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A03 Bird's Opening (3 games)
A07 King's Indian Attack (2 games)
B13 Caro-Kann, Exchange (2 games)
A06 Reti Opening (2 games)

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(born May-15-1919, died Sep-24-1999, 80 years old) United Kingdom

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Rowena Mary Bruce (nee Dew) was born on the 15th of May 1919 in Plymouth, England. She was awarded the WIM title in 1951 and was World Junior Women's Champion in 1935. She won the British Women's Championship in 1937 (as Dew), 1950 (after a play-off), 1951, 1954, 1955 (jointly), 1959, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1967 (jointly) and 1969 (jointly). She was married to Ronald MacKay Bruce from 1940 until his death in 1991.

Last updated: 2017-10-15 12:28:47

 page 1 of 1; 22 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. R M Bruce vs M Lander  1-0541937British Ladies ChampionshipC62 Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense
2. R M Bruce vs C Welch  ½-½961946Nottingham-B4E18 Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 7.Nc3
3. E Pritchard vs R M Bruce  1-0201946BCF-Women Play-offB13 Caro-Kann, Exchange
4. P E Collier vs R M Bruce  0-1581946Nottingham-B4B74 Sicilian, Dragon, Classical
5. R M Bruce vs H Saunders  1-0501946Nottingham-B4A13 English
6. L Illingworth vs R M Bruce  1-0601946Nottingham-B4E67 King's Indian, Fianchetto
7. L Rudenko vs R M Bruce 1-0281946Radio MatchB13 Caro-Kann, Exchange
8. R M Bruce vs L Rudenko 0-1301946Radio MatchE11 Bogo-Indian Defense
9. R M Bruce vs A Knight  ½-½301950SouthseaA92 Dutch
10. R M Bruce vs R Bruce 1-0251957Plymouth Chess ClubA02 Bird's Opening
11. R M Bruce vs C Roodzant  1-0381959Amsterdam Danlon (Women)A03 Bird's Opening
12. R M Bruce vs P A Mothersill  1-0411959BCF-chwA07 King's Indian Attack
13. R M Bruce vs S Corbyn  0-1301959BCF-chwA06 Reti Opening
14. R M Bruce vs F Heemskerk  1-0341961Danlon (Women)A03 Bird's Opening
15. L M Hogarth vs R M Bruce  0-1351963BCF-ch (Women)B06 Robatsch
16. R M Bruce vs H Axt 1-0161963Bad NeuenahrC28 Vienna Game
17. A Enevoldsen vs R M Bruce  0-1421966Oberhausen ol (Women)A49 King's Indian, Fianchetto without c4
18. R M Bruce vs Z Veroci Petronic  1-0461966Oberhausen ol (Women)A06 Reti Opening
19. E Ladanyike-Karakas vs R M Bruce  1-0241967Havering (Women)A07 King's Indian Attack
20. R M Bruce vs E Ladanyike-Karakas  0-1321967Paignton (Women)A03 Bird's Opening
21. C Gilbert vs R M Bruce 0-1221972Barnstaple opB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
22. R M Bruce vs W L White 1-0151972Barnstaple opD78 Neo-Grunfeld, 6.O-O c6
 page 1 of 1; 22 games  PGN Download 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Bruce wins | Bruce loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Rowena Bruce must go down in history as the first player to lose to two World Champions in one day, namely Vera Menchik and Alyekhin at Plymouth 1938.
Aug-01-04  Knight13: Who's Rowena? I've never heard of him.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Zenchess: Knight13, Rowena is usually a girl's name.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Rowena Mary Bruce (nee Dew)
Born 15th May 1919 in Plymouth
Awarded the WIM title in 1951 she won the Worlds Junior Women's title in 1935. She won the British Women's title in 1937 as Rowena Mary Dew. After she married she won the British Women's title in 1950 (after playoff), 1951, 1954, 1959, 1960, 1962 and 1963. She was also joint champion in 1955, 1967 and 1969.
She also finished 1st= in 1946 but lost the playoff.
Jul-15-05  GreaseMonkey: The Bruce playing at Plymouth 1938 was Ron Bruce. Rowena Dew became his wife later.

Incidentally Ron Bruce is my - six links to Kevin Bacon - link to Alekhine. I beat Ron in a British County Championship q-final in the eighties. He equalised comfortably but I had to refuse his draw for the team.

Dec-29-06  Karpova: <GreaseMonkey> So Rowena didn't play that game versus Alekhine?
Jan-08-07  GreaseMonkey: That's right. My copy of MegaBase is only 2001 but they attribute the 1938 game to Rowena Bruce as well as three games from the British Championship in 1954. This was also a tournament in which Ron played. Rowena won the Ladies Championship that year which was a separate tournament.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Player of the Day

Here is a picture of her: The competitors at the 1947 WECU Championship, showing A.R.B. Thomas in characteristic pose playing against D. V. Hooper, with the owner of the restaurant venue looking on. L - r: H. V. Trevenen; H. Wilson-Osborne (WECU President); R. A. (Ron) Slade; <Rowena Bruce; <Ron Bruce>>; H. V. (Harry) Mallison; Chris Sullivan; C. Welch (Controller); F. E. A. (Frank) Kitto.


Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Excellent biography and photos:

Feb-10-11  sdrumovic: In the link mentioned by GrahamClayton, a 1935 World Girl Junior Championship sponsored by FIDE and won by R.M Bruce is mentioned; and it is also reported as being the 10th edition! I have never heard of such competitions in pre-WWII years before. Any more info?
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: This WAS not a FIDE Junior Girls' title. It was the British Chess Federation's title (called British Girls' Open).

FIDE began the Junior Girls' Title in 1982.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: Interesting bio and games.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Roberts sister?
May-15-11  BobCrisp: <Rowena>, a rare name indeed. I can't help but think of <Rowenta>, a leading supplier of domestic appliances such as irons, toasters and kettles.
May-15-12  LoveThatJoker: Rowena Mary Bruce Dew, today you are remembered!


Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: According to, Ron Bruce was not only Mary's spouse but also her first professional Chess coach. No doubt Ron was proud of Mary's success in winning numerous British Womens' Chess championships.
May-02-14  US255: Dear patzer2, Ron Bruce was an amateur chess player. Please see the attached link to his biography.

I certainly played against his club, Plymouth, in the 1960s and remember both him and his wife. By then he was in his mid-sixties and, I guess, would have had a rating equivalent to about ELO 2000. In his younger years he must have been stronger. I note from his biography that he drew with Stuart Milner-Barry when the latter was at his peak. (Sir Stuart Milner-Barry was a quintessential English gentleman, who although an amateur, made lasting contributions to opening theory and represented England at a number of Olympiads. Famously, on the declaration of war, he and his team cut short their participation in the 1939 Olympiad and caught the first boat back to England. Three members of the team became codebreakers at Bletchley Park. Milner-Barry led the unofficial delegation of Bletchley Park codebreakers that persuaded Winston Churchill to invest heavily in the work that culminated in the Enigma codebreaking machines, work which according to some significantly shortened the duration of the 2nd World War.) But I digress. The point is that in Ron Bruce's day chess in England was very much an amateur (mind) sport. Even today, the organising body of English chess retains a structure that places a measure of control into the hands of amateur players.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Excellent biography and photos...>

On face value, yes, but as <TheFocus> points out, the Girls' title she won in 1935 was surely not a FIDE/world title. As for the notion she was born in 1915 (not the 1919, as given by, e.g., Gaige), the piece itself is inconsistent in claiming she won the 1937 British women's title as an 18 year old, and that she couldn't get married until 1940, when she was 21.

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