Jean Defuse: ...
Leonard Barden’s Chess Column:
It is rare for a chess opening to be named after a humble club player, but the <Colman Variation of the Two Knights Defense> commemorates a mental triumph over privation.
Eugene Colman was a club standard player in his 60s when he was captured at Singapore in 1942. He made his own chess set and spent his three years' Internment analysing the position after:
<1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Nf6 4 Ng5 d5 5 exd5 Na5 6 Bb5+ c6 7 dxc6 bxc6 8 Qf3> which had become fashionable with the Idea that Qc7 9 Bd3 Be7 10 0-0 0-0 11 Bf5 gives White useful control of the light squares, rendering Black's earlier pawn sacrifice dubious.
Colman analysed <8... Rb8!?> with the point that <9 Bxc6+ Nxc6 10 Qxc6+ Nd7!> gives Black a strong attack for two pawns. The rook comes into effective action via b6. hitting the black queen, and then to g6 or h6 helping to attack White's castled king.
After the war Colman published his analyses in chess journals and took every opportunity to use his move In club and county matches.
I remember him in his late 70s, a gaunt figure with dark glasses, playing for Wimbledon In the London League Division I and still seeking a chance for 8... Rb8.
Years later, Boris Spassky found a different approach. He went 8... h6 9 Ne4 Nd5 10 Nbc3 (or 10 Ba4 Be7 11 0-0 0-0) cxb5 11 Nxd5 Bb7 12 Ne3 Qd7 and again Black has good compensation. And Colman's legacy is that nobody now risks 8 Qf3.
Source: Financial Times April 8/9 2000.
After Colman returned from Singapore, he lived in Wimbledon and was an member of the local Chess Club. <Coleman himself called his variation 'The Wimbledon Defense'>.
[Event "London League 1948/49 1st Division"]
[White "Ashcroft, A.W.J."]
[Black "Colman, Eugene Ernest"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5 d5 5. exd5 Na5 6. Bb5+ c6 7. dxc6 bxc6 8.
Qf3 Rb8 9. Bxc6+ Nxc6 10. Qxc6+ Nd7 11. d3 Be7 12. Ne4 Rb6 13. Qa4 Bb7 14. f3
f5 15. Nf2 Rb4 16. Qa3 Re4+ 17. dxe4 Bxa3 18. Nxa3 fxe4 19. fxe4 O-O 20. Be3
Qa5+ 21. c3 Qa4 22. O-O Nf6 23. Bc5 Rc8 24. Bd6 Nxe4 25. Bxe5 Nd2 26. Bd4 Nxf1
27. Kxf1 Qc6 28. Bxa7 Re8 0-1