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Harry Golombek
Photo courtesy of Eric Schiller.  
Number of games in database: 503
Years covered: 1932 to 1976

Overall record: +104 -190 =208 (41.4%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 1 exhibition game, blitz/rapid, odds game, etc. is excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 English (45) 
    A16 A10 A13 A15 A17
 King's Indian (40) 
    E60 E95 E81 E90 E89
 English, 1 c4 e5 (22) 
    A22 A28 A25 A21 A26
 Catalan (20) 
    E01 E02 E06 E07 E04
 Queen's Pawn Game (18) 
    E00 E10 A40 D02 D01
 Grunfeld (14) 
    D95 D94 D71 D78 D80
With the Black pieces:
 Caro-Kann (73) 
    B18 B10 B13 B12 B11
 Nimzo Indian (59) 
    E38 E41 E56 E30 E21
 Sicilian (22) 
    B74 B76 B84 B72 B50
 Queen's Indian (22) 
    E14 E19 E16 E12 E13
 English (20) 
    A16 A15 A17
 Sicilian Dragon (11) 
    B74 B76 B72 B70 B73
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Geller vs Golombek, 1952 1/2-1/2
   Golombek vs Brown, 1949 1-0
   J Turn vs Golombek, 1937 0-1
   G Abrahams vs Golombek, 1948 0-1
   Golombek vs I A Horowitz, 1935 1-0
   Golombek vs Rossolimo, 1950 1-0
   Foltys vs Golombek, 1950 1/2-1/2
   Najdorf vs Golombek, 1956 1/2-1/2
   Golombek vs Filip, 1965 1/2-1/2
   Gligoric vs Golombek, 1965 1/2-1/2

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Hastings 1952/53 (1952)
   London A (1946)
   Hastings 1959/60 (1959)
   Margate (1938)
   Hastings 1946/47 (1946)
   Prague (1946)
   Hastings 1938/39 (1938)
   Margate (1939)
   Budapest (1952)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Prague 1946 by crawfb5
   London A 1946 by Tabanus
   Game of Chess (Golombek) by Qindarka
   Hastings 1952/53 by Phony Benoni
   Hastings 1959/60 by suenteus po 147
   Margate 1938 by sneaky pete
   Hastings 1950/51 by suenteus po 147

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Harry Golombek
Search Google for Harry Golombek

(born Mar-01-1911, died Jan-07-1995, 83 years old) United Kingdom

[what is this?]
Harry Golombek was born in London. Awarded the IM title in 1950 and an Emeritus GM title in 1985, he was British Champion in 1947 (after a play-off), 1949 and 1955. He also played on nine English Olympiad teams from 1935 to 1962.

During World War II he worked at Bletchley Park deciphering the German enigma codes but he is best remembered for his work as an author with biographical works on Jose Raul Capablanca and Richard Reti to his credit. He was chess editor for the London Times 1945-89 and was also the first British player to qualify for an interzonal. Awarded an OBE in 1966 he passed away in early 1995.

Wikipedia article: Harry Golombek

 page 1 of 21; games 1-25 of 503  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. E Sapira vs Golombek  1-0521932Hastings 1932/33 Premier ReserveE16 Queen's Indian
2. E M Jackson vs Golombek  ½-½401932BCF-ch 25thB10 Caro-Kann
3. Yates vs Golombek  1-0521932BCF-ch 25thA47 Queen's Indian
4. Francis Noel Jameson vs Golombek  0-1371933BCF-ch 26thE24 Nimzo-Indian, Samisch
5. Golombek vs C H Alexander  0-1301933BCF-ch 26thB29 Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rubinstein
6. Golombek vs G A Thomas  ½-½391933BCF-ch 26thB60 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer
7. Tylor vs Golombek  1-0371933BCF-ch 26thB18 Caro-Kann, Classical
8. Golombek vs G Abrahams  1-0271935BCF-chA34 English, Symmetrical
9. Golombek vs G Danielsson  0-1361935OlympiadA18 English, Mikenas-Carls
10. Golombek vs I Koenig  ½-½301935OlympiadA18 English, Mikenas-Carls
11. K Makarczyk vs Golombek  1-0951935OlympiadE16 Queen's Indian
12. Golombek vs E Sorensen  ½-½721935OlympiadA28 English
13. H Mueller vs Golombek  ½-½321935OlympiadA16 English
14. Golombek vs R Krogius 1-0321935OlympiadA28 English
15. Golombek vs I Raud 1-0501935OlympiadD68 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, Classical
16. V Winz vs Golombek  0-1371935OlympiadA45 Queen's Pawn Game
17. Golombek vs T Popa 0-1291935OlympiadA28 English
18. C H Maderna vs Golombek  ½-½371935OlympiadE37 Nimzo-Indian, Classical
19. Golombek vs I A Horowitz 1-0571935OlympiadA16 English
20. Golombek vs G A Thomas  ½-½341935Hastings 1935/36A13 English
21. W Winter vs Golombek ½-½311935Hastings 1935/36E23 Nimzo-Indian, Spielmann
22. Golombek vs Tartakower ½-½471935Hastings 1935/36A35 English, Symmetrical
23. Golombek vs Tylor  0-1391935Hastings 1935/36A14 English
24. C H Alexander vs Golombek 0-1321935Hastings 1935/36B02 Alekhine's Defense
25. Golombek vs Flohr 0-1181936Hastings 1935/36A28 English
 page 1 of 21; games 1-25 of 503  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Golombek wins | Golombek loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: Happy Birthday to the author of my book Capablanca's 100 Best Games of Chess.... Harry Golombek!
Mar-01-10  talisman: happy birthday to a great chess author.
Mar-22-10  alexrawlings: Harry Golombek featured in Leonard Barden's chess column in tonight's London evening standard where he showed a puzzle from a game against Alan Phillips in the British Championship from 1961.

Unfortunately this game isn't in the database, but this is the position with Phillips as White to make the winning move:

click for larger view

The winning move was 1 Re4! blocking black's mating threat and making his own unstopable. The continuation is 1.. fxe4 2 Rh1! e3+ 3 Ke1 Nf8 4 Qh6 followed by 5 Qg6#

Does anyone have this game? It would be fun to play it through and maybe it could even be a GOTD or a puzzle on this website one day!

Premium Chessgames Member
  ray keene: Phillips,A - Golombek,H [C00]

British Championship, 1961

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d3 d5 4.Nbd2 Nc6 5.g3 Nf6 6.Bg2 Be7 7.00 00 8.c3 Qc7 9.Re1 b6 10.Qe2 Ba6 11.e5 Nd7 12.Nf1 Rac8 13.h4 Rfe8 14.Bf4 b5 15.Ng5 Bxg5 16.hxg5 Nf8 17.Nh2 Ng6 18.Qh5 Nce7 19.Ng4 Nf5 20.Bh3 d4 21.Nf6+ gxf6 22.Bxf5 exf5 23.gxf6 Kh8 24.f3 Bb7 25.Kf2 Qc6 26.Re4 fxe4 27.Rh1 10


Jul-28-10  karnak64: I just saw a great piece on code-breaking at Bletchley Park in which IM Golombek was interviewed (obviously, the interview was some time ago, and perhaps has aired in other contexts).

He had a fascinating account of how code breaking was like playing chess, in that it involved getting into your opponent's head and imagining what he was thinking as he was developing or using a cipher.

I can see how he was of great value in the war effort.

The spot included a few cuts of IM Golombek playing in what appeared to be international tournaments.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: Code breaker at Bletchley park

Mar-01-12  LoveThatJoker: Harry Golombek, POTD. Good job!


Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: R.I.P. GM Golombek.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: R.I.P. POTD.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Here is a Golombek victory that I have uploaded to the database:

[Event "1935 BCF-ch"]
[Site "Great Yarmouth"]
[Date "1935.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Harry Golombek"]
[Black "Gerald Abrahams"]
[Result "1-0"]

1. c4 c5 2. ♘c3 b6 3. ♘f3 ♗b7 4. e4 g6 5. d4 ♗g7 6. d5 d6 7. ♗d3 ♘d7 8. O-O ♘gf6 9. h3 h6 10. ♕e2 g5

click for larger view

11. e5 dxe5 12. ♘xe5 ♘xe5 13. ♕xe5 O-O 14. ♕e2 e6 15. dxe6 ♖e8 16. exf7+ ♔xf7 17. ♕c2 ♔g8 18. ♗e3 g4 19. ♖ad1 ♕c7 20. ♗f5 gxh3 21. ♗xh3 ♘e4 22. ♖d7 ♕b8 23. ♘xe4 ♗xe4 24. ♕d2 ♗c6 25. ♗f4 ♖e2 26. ♖xg7+ ♔xg7 27. ♕c3+ 1-0

Source: CHESS, Vol 1, No 1, 14 September 1935

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: < GrahamClayton: Here is a Golombek victory that I have uploaded to the database: [Event "1935 BCF-ch"]
[Site "Great Yarmouth"]
[Date "1935.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Harry Golombek"]
[Black "Gerald Abrahams"]
[Result "1-0"]

1. c4 c5 2. ♘c3 b6 3. ♘f3 ♗b7 4. e4 g6 5. d4 ♗g7 6. d5 d6 7. ♗d3 ♘d7 8. O-O ♘gf6 9. h3 h6 10. ♕e2 g5 11. e5 dxe5 12. ♘xe5 ♘xe5 13. ♕xe5 O-O 14. ♕e2 e6 15. dxe6 ♖e8 16. exf7+ ♔xf7 17. ♕c2 ♔g8 18. ♗e3 g4 19. ♖ad1 ♕c7 20. ♗f5 gxh3 21. ♗xh3 ♘e4 22. ♖d7 ♕b8 23. ♘xe4 ♗xe4 24. ♕d2 ♗c6 25. ♗f4 ♖e2 26. ♖xg7+ ♔xg7 27. ♕c3+ 1-0

Source: CHESS, Vol 1, No 1, 14 September 1935>

It looks great to use the {}s to make pictures instead of letters, but it can be a bit of a pain if someone wants to c+p that game into a pgn-reading program. It can't be read. It will come out like this: [Event "1935 BCF-ch"]
[Site "Great Yarmouth"]
[Date "1935.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Harry Golombek"]
[Black "Gerald Abrahams"]
[Result "1-0"]
[PlyCount "11"]
[EventDate "1935.??.??"]

1. c4 c5 ?c3 b6 ?f3 ?b7 2. e4 g6 3. d4 ?g7 d5 d6 ?d3 ?d7 O-O ?gf6 4. h3 h6 ?e2 g5 5. e5 dxe5 ?xe5 ?xe5 ?xe5 O-O ?e2 e6 dxe6 ?e8 exf7+ ?xf7 ?c2 ?g8 ?e3 6. g4 ?ad1 ?c7 ?f5 gxh3 ?xh3 ?e4 ?d7 ?b8 ?xe4 ?xe4 ?d2 ?c6 ?f4 ?e2 ?xg7+ ?xg7 ?c3+ 1-0
So the game would have to be entered again "manually".

Premium Chessgames Member
  Ron: This first post on this page was by me. I wrote

May-01-0 Ron: Harry Golombek served the cause of freedom: during the Second World War, he was one of those code breakers working on the German ENIGMA codes.

The second post is a factually incorrect and asshoeish post by WMD:

Feb-15-04 WMD: The only thing Golombek ever served at Bletchley Park was tea and biscuits.

Premium Chessgames Member
  eternaloptimist: I didn't know that Golombek worked on cracking the enigma codes until I read his profile. I've only skimmed over his books in bookstores in the past, but I'm thinking about buying 1 of his books in the near future.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: If you think his books will help your play you are being a bit too optimistic.
Premium Chessgames Member
  eternaloptimist: :D Nice pun...well then I won't buy 1 of his books. Thanks for the forewarning.
Premium Chessgames Member
  gezafan: Golombek wrote a pretty good book called "The Game of Chess." It's a general overview of chess.

It would be good for novice players or average non-tournament players who want to improve their game. It could help a player to develop as a well rounded player.

I recommend it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <gezafan: Golombek wrote a pretty good book called "The Game of Chess." It's a general overview of chess. It would be good for novice players or average non-tournament players who want to improve their game. It could help a player to develop as a well rounded player.

I recommend it.>

I also made my first steps with that book. It is in descriptive notation and ends with a game by the potential world champion Bobby Fischer. I remember it was very good at explaining the basic mates. How much good would it be to a talented 12-year-old nowadays, I wonder? Have any better didactic books been written about chess since 1970?

Apr-19-15  kamagong24: the code breaker!
May-10-15  TheFocus: <Books on the openings abound; nor are works on the end game wanting; but those on the middle game can be counted on the fingers of one hand> - Harry Golombek.
Jan-07-16  TheFocus: Rest in peace, Harry Golombek.
Mar-01-16  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Harry Golombek.
May-08-16  wrap99: Reading bio of Turing by Hodges in which it is mentioned that Golombek could give Turing queen odds or more remarkably to me, turn the board around in the position in which the great mathematician had resigned in and beat him from that side. I have to say, I would bet that I could beat a world champion pretty consistently if I were allowed to resign in any position I wanted and my opponent would then have to beat me with my pieces against his. Never heard of this before. Just how weak of a player does that make Turing?
May-09-16  zanzibar: Returning to <offramp>'s question about didatic books...

I'm not sure I'm qualified to comment about anything involving those $5 words anymore, but I've seen several Russian players comment on Averbakh and Beilin's <Journey to the Chess Kingdom> and I've wondered if it truly measured up - partly because it took so long to be translated:

And here's a sample pdf:

So didactical qualifiers can diligently debate empirical epistemologies.

Hope I don't get my bell rung for shilling, or buncombe.

May-09-16  zanzibar: Here's the book on Amazon:

(In Russian, 1972 ed, only $280)

(2006 Russian?, unavailable)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: On Sunday January 26th 1964 Harry teamed up with Tal in a BBC radio game. Their opponents were Penrose and Gligoric.

Gligoric and Penrose opened with 1.e4.

"I asked Tal what reply we should make."

"You choose", he said "You've written chess books. I haven't"

'The Chess Player's Bedside Book' by Edwards and Keene.

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