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James Macrae Aitken
Number of games in database: 142
Years covered: 1937 to 1977

Overall record: +42 -54 =46 (45.8%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (24) 
    B74 B32 B90 B91 B84
 Ruy Lopez (18) 
    C84 C71 C97 C92 C78
 French Defense (11) 
    C02 C11 C18 C05 C01
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (9) 
    C84 C97 C87 C98 C92
 Sicilian Dragon (7) 
    B74 B73
 Caro-Kann (6) 
    B13 B18 B10
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (21) 
    C78 C71 C79 C75 C99
 Orthodox Defense (13) 
    D55 D51 D64 D60 D54
 English (6) 
    A13 A12 A15 A18
 Sicilian (5) 
    B54 B70 B20 B84 B74
 Queen's Pawn Game (4) 
    E10 A46 D02
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (4) 
    C99 C86 C96
Repertoire Explorer

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

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Hastings 1945/46 (1945)
   Bournemouth (1939)
   Hastings 1946/47 (1946)

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

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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 6; games 1-25 of 142  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. T Gauffin vs Aitken  ½-½5019377th olm finalD55 Queen's Gambit Declined
2. Aitken vs A Dunkelblum  0-15219377th olm finalB10 Caro-Kann
3. Aitken vs Tartakower 0-19419377th olm finalC71 Ruy Lopez
4. Aitken vs S Landau  ½-½5519377th olm finalB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
5. J Enevoldsen vs Aitken 1-02419377th olm finalD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
6. G A Thomas vs Aitken  0-15119377th olm finalC78 Ruy Lopez
7. Aitken vs Keres  0-14219377th olm finalB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
8. Aitken vs V Castaldi  0-14619377th olm finalC01 French, Exchange
9. E Gilfer vs Aitken  0-16919377th olm finalD69 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, Classical,
10. Aitken vs V Mikenas  0-14419377th olm finalB32 Sicilian
11. Aitken vs S Herseth  1-04019377th olm finalC11 French
12. Stahlberg vs Aitken 0-13819377th olm finalD55 Queen's Gambit Declined
13. Pirc vs Aitken  1-06319377th olm finalD54 Queen's Gambit Declined, Anti-Neo-Orthodox Variation
14. Aitken vs Lilienthal  0-14219377th olm finalC11 French
15. Aitken vs Reshevsky ½-½5719377th olm finalC98 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
16. Aitken vs M Pavey  0-1491939SCO-chB54 Sicilian
17. J Gilchrist vs Aitken  ½-½401939SCO-chC29 Vienna Gambit
18. Aitken vs Flohr 0-1291939BournemouthB13 Caro-Kann, Exchange
19. I Koenig vs Aitken  ½-½441939BournemouthA13 English
20. Euwe vs Aitken 1-0361939BournemouthD40 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch
21. Aitken vs F Kitto 1-0271939BournemouthC67 Ruy Lopez
22. G Abrahams vs Aitken  0-1281939BournemouthC50 Giuoco Piano
23. Aitken vs P N Wallis  ½-½501939BournemouthD45 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
24. S Landau vs Aitken  ½-½421939BournemouthD55 Queen's Gambit Declined
25. Aitken vs A G Conde  ½-½861939BournemouthB10 Caro-Kann
 page 1 of 6; games 1-25 of 142  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.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy birthday, James Aitken.
Premium Chessgames Member
  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

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