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William Hartston
W Hartston 
Photo courtesy of  

Number of games in database: 688
Years covered: 1962 to 1987
Last FIDE rating: 2430
Highest rating achieved in database: 2485
Overall record: +224 -128 =331 (57.0%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 5 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (86) 
    B90 B89 B57 B83 B99
 French Defense (28) 
    C19 C18 C16 C00 C12
 Sicilian Najdorf (25) 
    B90 B99 B92 B91 B97
 Ruy Lopez (24) 
    C72 C95 C80 C82 C69
 French Winawer (20) 
    C19 C18 C16 C17
 King's Indian Attack (19) 
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (116) 
    B46 B40 B44 B83 B22
 Grunfeld (38) 
    D86 D91 D78 D79 D94
 Sicilian Taimanov (38) 
    B46 B49 B48 B47 B45
 English, 1 c4 c5 (28) 
    A36 A30 A32 A37 A31
 English (25) 
    A10 A15 A14 A16
 Modern Benoni (23) 
    A56 A61 A71
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   W Hartston vs Portisch, 1974 1-0
   Andersson vs W Hartston, 1973 0-1
   W Hartston vs Westerinen, 1973 1-0
   W Hartston vs A Whiteley, 1974 1-0
   W Hartston vs M Basman, 1974 1/2-1/2
   W Hartston vs Keene, 1970 1/2-1/2
   W Hartston vs J Richardson, 1983 1-0
   Speelman vs W Hartston, 1975 0-1
   W Hartston vs Keene, 1968 1-0
   W Hartston vs Tal, 1979 1/2-1/2

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Siegen Olympiad Final-C (1970)
   British Championship playoff (1974)
   British Championship (1973)
   Aaronson Masters (1978)
   British Championship (1975)
   British Championship (1980)
   British Championship (1967)
   British Championship (1968)
   Hastings 1972/73 (1972)
   British Championship (1981)
   British Championship (1982)
   Praia da Rocha Zonal (1969)
   Keres Memorial (1979)
   Reykjavik Zonal (1975)
   Haifa Olympiad (1976)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Hastings 1973/74 by suenteus po 147
   BBC Master Game Series 1 by RedShield
   BBC Master Game Series 2 by RedShield

Search Sacrifice Explorer for William Hartston
Search Google for William Hartston
FIDE player card for William Hartston

(born Aug-12-1947, 76 years old) United Kingdom

[what is this?]

William Roland Hartston was born in London, England. Awarded the IM title in 1973, he was British champion in 1973 (after a play-off with Michael Basman) and 1975. He played for England in the Olympiads at Havana 1966, Siegen 1970, Skopje 1972, Nice 1974, Haifa 1976 and Buenos Aires 1978. In tournaments he was 3rd at Hastings (1972/73) behind Bent Larsen and Wolfgang Uhlmann and 1st at Sarajevo 1976. He is also a noted author and has appeared on the BBC television chess programmes.

Wikipedia article: William Hartston

Last updated: 2022-10-02 19:04:32

 page 1 of 28; games 1-25 of 688  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. W Hartston vs A Riley  1-0421962Whitby British u15 chA16 English
2. W Hartston vs N J Kalton  0-1231962Correspondence gameC38 King's Gambit Accepted
3. N J Kalton vs W Hartston  1-0271962Correspondence gameB06 Robatsch
4. Keene vs W Hartston  ½-½301962London League LLA v SouthgateD10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
5. W Hartston vs R C Moss  1-0301962U18 Counties Correspondence Championship, Buckinghamshire vC30 King's Gambit Declined
6. W Hartston vs D L Roth  1-0221963BCF-ch U18B45 Sicilian, Taimanov
7. Keene vs W Hartston 1-0271964London U-18 ChampionshipA07 King's Indian Attack
8. Tal vs W Hartston  ½-½471964Tal Simul, 24b LondonB49 Sicilian, Taimanov Variation
9. Tal vs W Hartston  ½-½541964Simul, 20bA54 Old Indian, Ukrainian Variation, 4.Nf3
10. W Hartston vs Keene  ½-½291964Training tournament LondonA02 Bird's Opening
11. W Hartston vs H Glauser  1-0291965NLDC34 King's Gambit Accepted
12. W Hartston vs J E Littlewood  1-0461965IlfordC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
13. R Williams vs W Hartston  0-1251965Stevenson MemorialA21 English
14. W Hartston vs W H Pratten  ½-½211965Stevenson MemorialB02 Alekhine's Defense
15. R H Nathan vs W Hartston  0-1371965Stevenson MemorialC02 French, Advance
16. Milner-Barry vs W Hartston  0-1431965Stevenson MemorialA07 King's Indian Attack
17. O'Kelly vs W Hartston  1-0401965Stevenson MemorialD32 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
18. W Hartston vs M Basman  0-1361965London June TrainingB77 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack
19. Keene vs W Hartston  ½-½131965London June TrainingA37 English, Symmetrical
20. W Hartston vs R G Wade  ½-½211965London June TrainingB01 Scandinavian
21. O M Hindle vs W Hartston  1-0271965London June TrainingB48 Sicilian, Taimanov Variation
22. G Chesters vs W Hartston  0-1301965London June TrainingA07 King's Indian Attack
23. W Hartston vs H D Holmes  ½-½341965British ChampionshipB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
24. M J Haygarth vs W Hartston 0-1411965British ChampionshipA31 English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation
25. W Hartston vs T J Beach  ½-½351965British ChampionshipB29 Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rubinstein
 page 1 of 28; games 1-25 of 688  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Hartston wins | Hartston loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Red.

Here are the 11 question from the above programme.

1. At what age did Bobby Fischer become chess champion of the US?

2. Which Hungarian emigree and scientist may have been Fischer's real father, though he is not named on the birth certificate?

3. Fischer accused the Russians of fixing the 1962 Candidates tournament. In which publication did he make that accusation?

4. Which Russian player did Fischer defeat in 1972 in Reykjavik to become World Champion?

5. During the championship match, the Russians asked that Fischer's chair be inspected for 'sinister devices'. What was discovered by the search?

6. At which 1959 international tournament did Fischer first defeat the Estonian Paul Keres, and establish his reputation with the Soviet GMs?

7. Fischer failed to arrive on time for a scheduled game in the WC match in 1972. Which statesman called him twice to try to save the match?

8. To which player did Fischer lose all 4 of their games in the '59 WC candidates?

9. Fischer defeated D. Byrne at age 13 in the 'game of the century'. On which number of move did he deliver mate?

10. Fischer was wrongfully arrested for bank robbery in 1981. What was the name of the pamphlet he published about it?

11. What opening was used by Fischer in his game against Botvinnik in the Varna Olympiad?

I never got Fischer's Dad or the mating move number in the Game of the Century went for 36.

May-04-14  RedShield: I didn't get 6 and 9. Q4 is absurd. I'm not sure that the answers to Qs 5 and 7 are factually established beyond question. What did the contestant score?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: If I recall he got 4 wrong.

Fischers Dad, The Botvinnik opening, The game of the century mate number and where Ficher beat Keres. (I think I'm right.)

As Fischer only played in one world title match Q4 was an odd. (wonder how many here will get it wrong...."It was either Taimanov or Petrosian.")

I've read about the two dead flies found in the chair many times, Kissinger I don't know if it happened but Kissinger was the answer.

May-05-14  Granny O Doul: The two dead flies were found in the lighting fixture, btw. Not the chair.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: What ever.

The lad answered 'two dead flies' and was given correct.

Sounds like a typical off-beat Bill Hartston question.

When I played in tournaments I always took along to dead flies and selotaped them to my chait to make me play better.

May-05-14  TheFocus: Hmmm. The Dead Fly Defense.

Gonna have to remember that one.

May-05-14  RedShield: <Sounds like a typical off-beat Bill Hartston question.>

I didn't mean that Hartston had set these questions. He was talking about the dim and distant.

On reflection, I'm not sure the veracity of the claim behind Q11 is certain either.

May-05-14  RedShield: <Fischers Dad>

I'm astonished that a chess lover, let alone a Fischer 'specialist', wouldn't know this. It's been common knowledge for over a decade.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: It's easy enough to guess what they're going for on #5, but I believe the flies were found in a light fixture. I guess they would say the fixture was inspected as part of the same search. I thought they did find a block of wood in Fischer's chair that wasn't in Spassky's, or maybe it was the other way around.

With #7, I thought Kissinger only called him once, but again it's pretty easy to guess what they're going for. I knew all the others.

May-05-14  TheFocus: I got all 11.


May-05-14  RedShield: Everything's bigger in America, even the liars.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <RedShield: Everything's bigger in America, even the liars.>

What kind of stupid git doesn't know the answers to nos. 6 and 9?

May-05-14  RedShield: If you're not careful, I'm going to hunt you down, and put my foot up your jacksy.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: William Hartston is one of the best and funniest chess writers. But he also writes on many other subjects. Unfortunately whatever newspapers he writes for do not appear in the union section of the Venn diagram of newspapers I regularly buy. His chess books are always worth buying - but I don't know about his other books.
Aug-05-14  zanzibar: Here's an interesting article about Hartston failing to make GM:


It includes these statement about English chess:

<JB: It doesn’t sound like not getting the title bothers you any.

BH: No, no (laughs). It never did.

I never wanted to be a weak grandmaster. Ambitions tend to be counter productive. If you’re going to try to reach a particular level, I’ve always felt that when you get to that level you ought to see the next level as attainable. I think that this is one of the reasons that the British were so crap at chess for so long. Once you’d become the British Champion there was nowhere to go. There was such a big leap between British Champion and good international player that people were just stuck at the level.

JB: By ‘crap for a long time’ you’re thinking of which era? The '60s?

BH: Up to and including mine. (Laughs)

JB: There does seem to have been quite a change in the late '60s with yourself, Ray Keene, Andrew Whiteley and Mike Basman coming through.

BH: I think we were the intermediate generation. There was the Penrose-Golombek-Alexander era which had no way of competing with the top Eastern Europeans and just got completely overtaken by them in the '50s and '60s. Then Keene and I, and Basman maybe, we introduced a sort of professionalism without being professional: professionalism in terms of attitude to the game. I think that sort of set the road to the next generation of Miles and Short, Stean maybe, just to completely overtake us.>

And, for the record, Hartston says that Uhlmann never offered him a draw at Hastings 1972/73.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: This supposition by Jonathan Bryant in the interview cited by <zanzibar> is interesting but probably not quite correct:

<So that’s that. The story is just a myth after all. It seems, though, that had Hartston got that extra half-point he would have become a Grandmaster. Not at Hastings but after he’d collected a further two norms much later in his career.>

Had Hartston indeed made the norm at the beginning of 1973, that performance would have only counted towards his pursuit of the title for three years under the regulations then in force, a situation very much unlike today, where norms made do not expire, so far as I know.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I was surprised to see him and his friend Josef on Channel 4's Gogglebox.
May-10-15  TheFocus: <Chess is a contributor to net human unhappiness, since the pleasure of victory is greatly exceeded by the pain of defeat> - Bill Hartston.
May-25-15  TheFocus: <For however magnificent his best games, however impressive his match victories, Spassky is destined to be remembered primarily one thing: He was the man who lost to Bobby Fischer> - William Hartston.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Jeremy James, presenter of 'The Master Game' on BBC TV in the 1970s/80s, has died, aged 79>

Aug-12-16  TheFocus: Happy birthday, William Hartston.
Dec-10-16  Paint My Dragon: Very nice half-hour history of the world championship, from Morphy to Kasparov. Written by Bill Hartston ...

Commentary from Jeremy James - see <MissScarlett>'s post above.

Especially enjoyable to hear a story from Bent Larsen. Many of his peers spoke of him as the most interesting companion and finest raconteur on the circuit.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: I remember when Hartston and Keene were in a race to see who would become the first English grandmaster and win the prize offered by James Slater. Their race was won by . . . Tony Miles! Who? Keene became a GM a few months later. Somehow Hartston never made it, much to my surprise. He did, however, become "the first person to stack the pieces from an entire chess set on top of a single white rook," which is almost as good.
May-14-23  ASchultz: I don't miss many of my chess books, but I do miss his How to Cheat at Chess. I note it's been referenced two times in the topic. The quiz at the end is great.

Rot13: Lbh trg n obahf cbvag sbe ybbxvat ng gur nafjref orsber lbh svavfurq gur dhvm.

May-15-23  Granny O Doul: Ab tbg gur yrggref gb fnl jung V srry. Sehfgengvat!
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