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James Aitken
Number of games in database: 203
Years covered: 1932 to 1977

Overall record: +52 -78 =71 (43.5%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 2 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (36) 
    B74 B58 B91 B32 B90
 Ruy Lopez (29) 
    C84 C70 C78 C81 C92
 French Defense (14) 
    C02 C11 C05 C18 C01
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (12) 
    C84 C92 C97 C87 C98
 Sicilian Dragon (7) 
    B74 B73
 Caro-Kann (7) 
    B13 B18 B10
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (25) 
    C78 C71 C75 C79 C99
 Orthodox Defense (17) 
    D55 D51 D52 D50 D64
 Queen's Pawn Game (8) 
    E10 D02 D01 A46
 Sicilian (7) 
    B70 B52 B74 B20 B84
 English (6) 
    A12 A13 A15 A18
 Semi-Tarrasch Defense (5) 
    D41 D40
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Stahlberg vs J Aitken, 1937 0-1
   J Aitken vs C Hunter, 1949 1-0
   J Aitken vs Reshevsky, 1937 1/2-1/2
   Tartakower vs J Aitken, 1949 0-1
   J Aitken vs M Christoffel, 1946 1-0
   G A Thomas vs J Aitken, 1937 0-1
   J Aitken vs G A Thomas, 1946 1-0
   J Aitken vs S Herseth, 1937 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Munich Olympiad Final-C (1958)
   Hastings 1945/46 (1945)
   Bournemouth (1939)
   Hastings 1946/47 (1946)
   Bad Pyrmont Zonal (1951)
   Munich Olympiad qual-3 (1958)
   BCF-ch (1962)
   Stockholm Olympiad (1937)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Hastings 1945/46 by suenteus po 147
   Hastings 1945/46 by Tabanus

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(born Oct-27-1908, died Dec-03-1983, 75 years old) United Kingdom

[what is this?]
Dr. James Macrae Aitken was born in Calderbank Lanarkshire, Scotland. He was Scottish Champion in 1935, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1961 and 1965 (jointly). He was also London Champion in 1950. His PhD dissertation was on the Lisbon Inquisition. He passed away in Cheltenham in 1983.

Wikipedia article: James Macrae Aitken

 page 1 of 9; games 1-25 of 203  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Sultan Khan vs J Aitken  1-0441932Simul, 15bC58 Two Knights
2. Sultan Khan vs J Aitken 0-1561933Simul, 14bC36 King's Gambit Accepted, Abbazia Defense
3. T Gauffin vs J Aitken  ½-½501937Stockholm OlympiadD55 Queen's Gambit Declined
4. J Aitken vs A Dunkelblum  0-1521937Stockholm OlympiadB10 Caro-Kann
5. J Aitken vs Tartakower 0-1941937Stockholm OlympiadC71 Ruy Lopez
6. J Enevoldsen vs J Aitken 1-0241937Stockholm OlympiadD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
7. J Aitken vs S Landau ½-½551937Stockholm OlympiadB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
8. J Aitken vs Keres  0-1421937Stockholm OlympiadB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
9. G A Thomas vs J Aitken  0-1511937Stockholm OlympiadC78 Ruy Lopez
10. J Aitken vs V Castaldi  0-1461937Stockholm OlympiadC01 French, Exchange
11. E Gilfer vs J Aitken  0-1691937Stockholm OlympiadD69 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, Classical,
12. J Aitken vs V Mikenas  0-1441937Stockholm OlympiadB32 Sicilian
13. Stahlberg vs J Aitken 0-1381937Stockholm OlympiadD55 Queen's Gambit Declined
14. J Aitken vs S Herseth  1-0401937Stockholm OlympiadC11 French
15. Pirc vs J Aitken  1-0631937Stockholm OlympiadD54 Queen's Gambit Declined, Anti-Neo-Orthodox Variation
16. J Aitken vs Lilienthal  0-1421937Stockholm OlympiadC11 French
17. J Aitken vs Reshevsky ½-½571937Stockholm OlympiadC98 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
18. J Gilchrist vs J Aitken  ½-½401939SCO-chC29 Vienna Gambit
19. J Aitken vs L H Geronimus  1-0661939SCO-chC62 Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense
20. J Aitken vs M Pavey  0-1491939SCO-chB54 Sicilian
21. J Aitken vs Flohr 0-1291939BournemouthB13 Caro-Kann, Exchange
22. I Koenig vs J Aitken  ½-½441939BournemouthA13 English
23. Euwe vs J Aitken 1-0361939BournemouthD40 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch
24. J Aitken vs F Kitto 1-0271939BournemouthC67 Ruy Lopez
25. G Abrahams vs J Aitken  0-1281939BournemouthC50 Giuoco Piano
 page 1 of 9; games 1-25 of 203  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Aitken wins | Aitken loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: James Macrae Aitken
Born 27th October 1908 in Calderbank, Lanarkshire
Died 3rd December 1983 Cheltenham
Scottish champion 1935, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1961 and jointly in 1965. He was also London Champion in 1950.
Jul-20-06  Morphystyle: Aitken is a great attacker. He played one of my favorite games (that is not here yet), it is from the 1937 Olympiad. He was white in a French exchange. He was strong, but always got beaten by the top players. Entertaining player of the day.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WTHarvey: Here is a little collection of his otb combinations:
Jun-12-09  myschkin: . . .

During World War II, James Macrae Aitken worked in 'Hut 6' at Bletchley Park on solving German Enigma machines.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <myschkin: . . .

During World War II, James Macrae Aitken worked in 'Hut 6' at Bletchley Park on solving German Enigma machines.>

Another tragic case of misplaced priorities. The English masters during WWII seemed particularly prone to this.

Jun-12-09  myschkin: . . .

<KP> A German violinist is looking for the remaining <key>



Backround info:

(by User: SBC)

Oct-29-10  BobCrisp:

click for larger view

From a consultation game between <Oxford University> vs. the <Lud Eagle Club>, otherwise <JM Aitken & CS Besinger> vs <F Leicester & G Tregaskis>, White found 1.Qc7!! 1...Qh6+ 2.Re3 changes nothing.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: Code breaker at Bletchley park

Dec-03-11  BIDMONFA: James Macrae Aitken

AITKEN, James M.

Oct-27-13  Kikoman: <Player of the Day>

Rest In Peace Sir James Macrae Aitken.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: R.I.P. <POTD>: James Macrae Aitken.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <An extract from a letter sent by Harry Woolverton to <Newsflash> (see July 1984 issue, page 6):

'It is not generally known that Aitken played a match with the veteran Mieses in 1947 which he won by 5.5-0.5. In deference to the feelings of the old master the result was never published. I watched the second game which was played at the Ilford Chess Club; a collection was made at the time for the veteran.'> C.N.787

Oct-27-16  Nosnibor: I first met and played Dr.Aitken in the 1st Jersey International Tournament in May 1973 where he and myself together with W Schmid,R.0`Kelly and Tim Harding finished second equal half a point behind the late Cardoso. Our game ended in a fighting draw. I found him to be a very polite and amiable gentleman full of Scottish humour and anecdotes.
Oct-27-16  TheFocus: Happy birthday, James Aitken.
Dec-12-16  diagonal: An extended portrait offers:
Premium Chessgames Member
  Bubo bubo: Afaik today's POTD introduced a now well-known move in a sideline of Giuoco Piano's Greco gambit: 1.e4 e5 2.Sf3 Sc6 3.Lc4 Lc5 4.c3 Sf6 5.d4 exd4 6.cxd4 Lb4+ 7.Sc3 Sxe4 8.0-0 Sxc3 9.bxc3 Bxc3?, and now Aitken's 10.Ba3! is an improvement over the traditional 10.Qb3:

click for larger view

Oct-28-17  Cibator: If he did,<Bubo Bubo>, then the game isn't given here. Or did he just suggest it as a possibility without trying it out in practice?

The move certainly worked out well for white in this game:

C J Corte vs Jacobo Bolbochan, 1946

Oct-28-17  sneaky pete: George Botterill (Open Gambits, 1986, page 40) writes about 10.Ba3 .. : "Aitken first suggested the idea in the British Chess Magazine in 1937 and he supplied a very attractive variation."

Botterill is skeptical about the worth of the move compared to 10.Qb3 .. and he may be right. On the corte vs Bolbochan page I posted a line long ago that might save black.

Feb-01-18  Alan McGowan: Corrected link for Aitken's biography in the Chess Scotland History Archive:
Feb-01-18  Alan McGowan: Aitken contributed some interesting memories to Scottish Chess magazine in 1962. It has been reproduced at
Feb-11-21  Nosnibor: Hereunder a game played by Aitken whilst he was at Baliol College, Oxford University. <Source: Leicester Evening Mail> White: A. Lenton Black: J M Aitken <Leicester v Oxford University >Board 2 Date: November 8th 1934. Petroffs Defence. 1 e4,e5.2 Nf3,Nf6.3 d4,Nxe4.4 Bd3,d5.5 dxe5,Nc6.6Qe2, Bf5.7 0-0,Bc5.8 Nbd2,Nxd2.9 Bxd2,Qxd7.10 Bxf5,Qxf5.11 Qb5,Bb6.12 Qxd5,Rd8.13 Qc4,g5!?14 Bxg5,Nd4.15 Bxd8,Nxf3+.16 Kh1,Rg8.17 Rad1,Rg4.18 Qxg4?,Qxg4.19 gxf3,Qxf3+20 Kg1,Bxf3+ White resigns 0-1. Apparently White had hardly a minute at move 18 to play 7 more moves before the first time control.
Feb-12-21  Nosnibor: With reference to my Lenton-Aitken game I should have also mentioned that on board one in this match that Rupert Cross lost to Victor Lovell. Cross is often referred to in Aitken`s memoirs.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jean Defuse: ...

<A. Lenton v J M Aitken> also appear in the 'Aitken's Games Collection':


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