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Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander
Number of games in database: 267
Years covered: 1928 to 1973
Overall record: +85 -82 =100 (50.6%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (36) 
    B24 B90 B74 B88 B45
 Ruy Lopez (21) 
    C79 C90 C71 C77 C64
 French Defense (20) 
    C02 C11 C13 C17 C16
 Caro-Kann (11) 
    B10 B12 B16 B14 B15
 Four Knights (10) 
    C47 C49
 French (9) 
    C11 C13 C00 C12 C10
With the Black pieces:
 Petrov (12) 
    C42 C43
 Nimzo Indian (12) 
    E33 E43 E22 E21 E27
 Ruy Lopez (12) 
    C64 C86 C78 C84 C82
 King's Indian (10) 
    E80 E69 E68 E75 E94
 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 Z Milev, 1954 1-0
   C H Alexander vs Botvinnik, 1946 1-0
   Bronstein vs C H Alexander, 1954 0-1
   V Mikenas vs C H Alexander, 1938 0-1
   Tylor vs C H Alexander, 1938 0-1
   C H Alexander vs Alekhine, 1938 1/2-1/2
   Tolush vs C H Alexander, 1954 0-1
   Milner-Barry vs C H Alexander, 1932 0-1

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 1933/34 by Phony Benoni
   Hastings 1946/47 by Phony Benoni
   Hastings 1937/38 by sneaky pete
   Hastings 1953/54 by suenteus po 147
   Hastings 1954/55 by suenteus po 147

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(born Apr-19-1909, died Feb-15-1974, 64 years old) Ireland (citizen of 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 267  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 OlympiadE68 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Classical Variation, 8.e4
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 267  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Alexander wins | Alexander loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-19-08  Resignation Trap: A recent article about Alexander (in Russian): .
Apr-29-08  wrap99: This is a very nice thread in general; the specific quote "alas, barely a tempo" I like especially and marks Alexander as a great wit. I imagine his questioner had not idea what this witticism meant...
Sep-20-08  johnfagg: Was it true that "CHoD" was not permitted to play in Eastern Bloc Tournaments because of the nature of his expertise; or is this just another chess fable?

I think the 1 c2-c4 comment was Donners, rather than Alexanders; but I may be (as all too often) wrong!

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: The quote referred to is today's 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."

He means 1...c7-c5. A slip of the pen, I suppose. Alexander was probably much more fluent in descriptive than standard notation. His score sheet would have read 1...P-QB4.

Mar-19-10  RonB52734: <jahhaj> <Turing also devised the first computer chess program. Since he didn't actually have a computer to program it was a pen and paper system. I have seen a score of a game it 'played', can't recall where however. It would be intersting to see it on, it's of historical interest after all.>

As <jahhaj> is well aware, but others may not be, the game is here: A Turing vs A Glennie, 1952

Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: I have the book that the above quote is taken from (1973's <A Book of Chess>), and he did indeed write it incorrectly as "1...c2-c4". Probably, as offramp says, it was because he was not as comfortable in algebraic; all the games in the book are in descriptive.
Apr-15-10  alexrawlings: Leonard Barden used one of Alexander's games for his chess column today's in London Evening Standard:

C H Alexander vs V Castaldi, 1947

He writes of Alexander: <Alexander was the best English player of his time, by profession a top class code-breaker who was influential at Blechley Park during World War Two and later transferred to Russian cyphers. The Foreign Office would not allow him to lead the England team at the Moscow Olympiad 1956 nor even at Helsinki 1952, which the mandarins deemed too near the Soviet border.

On the chessboard Alexander specialised in giant-killing, defeated two world champions, and played in an imaginative, unorthodox style with fertile flair for new openings.

He was a great teacher, too, and his primer Learn Chess, written 47 years ago, is still highly recommended for novices>.

Apr-19-10  HeMateMe: One of the first chess books I owned: "Fischer v. Spassky 1972" by Alexander. In the intro to the book, he candidly says, paraphrasing, when you publish a book like this IMMEDIATELY after a match or tournament, its not a case of mabye making mistakes, its a certainty there will be errors.

An interesting observation of his, in this book, is that "like Alekhine and Capablanca getting the best of Nimzovitch, so do Fischer and Spassky dominate the erratic Bent Larsen."

Oct-16-10  EinZweiDrei: If my opponent moved my own piece on his first move, I might resign, too.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Photo:

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: Code breaker at Bletchley park

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:

Premium Chessgames Member
  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

Premium Chessgames Member
  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.

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