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Robert Forbes Combe
Number of games in database: 17
Years covered: 1933 to 1946
Overall record: +7 -5 =5 (55.9%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

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D30 Queen's Gambit Declined (2 games)
E16 Queen's Indian (2 games)

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(born Aug-16-1912, died Feb-12-1952, 39 years old) United Kingdom

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Robert Forbes Combe was born August 16th, 1912 in Logie-Buchan. He represented Scotland in the 1933 Olympiad (reserve board), where he had the unfortunate distinction of losing the shortest decisive game in Olympiad history, R F Combe vs W Hasenfuss, 1933. In the 1939 Scottish Championship he finished second to Max Pavey, a young American who was then a student in Scotland. When the British Championships resumed in 1946 (after being interrupted for eight years by World War II), Combe was chosen as the Scottish representative. In a surprising upset, he won the tournament. Due to poor health, he did not compete again. He died on February 12, 1952 in Aberdeen.

Wikipedia article: Robert Forbes Combe

Last updated: 2017-08-26 06:48:20

 page 1 of 1; 17 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. R F Combe vs K Makarczyk  0-1421933OlympiadD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
2. A Simonson vs R F Combe  ½-½471933Folkestone ol (Men)A47 Queen's Indian
3. R F Combe vs W Hasenfuss 0-141933Folkestone ol (Men)A43 Old Benoni
4. F Igel vs R F Combe  ½-½301933Folkestone ol (Men)E16 Queen's Indian
5. R F Combe vs Julius Nielsen  ½-½301933Folkestone ol (Men)D68 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, Classical
6. Lilienthal vs R F Combe  1-0311933Folkestone ol (Men)E16 Queen's Indian
7. R F Combe vs C H Alexander  1-0361946BCF-chD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
8. A R B Thomas vs R F Combe  0-1371946BCF-chA45 Queen's Pawn Game
9. R F Combe vs F Parr  0-1381946BCF-chE72 King's Indian
10. Wade vs R F Combe  0-1921946BCF-chB13 Caro-Kann, Exchange
11. R F Combe vs B H Wood  1-0451946BCF-chD02 Queen's Pawn Game
12. Milner-Barry vs R F Combe  0-1421946BCF-chB15 Caro-Kann
13. R F Combe vs G Wood  1-0661946BCF-chD43 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
14. Golombek vs R F Combe  ½-½561946BCF-chA30 English, Symmetrical
15. R F Combe vs G Abrahams  1-0451946BCF-chD11 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
16. R Broadbent vs R F Combe  1-0471946BCF-chB18 Caro-Kann, Classical
17. R F Combe vs W Winter  ½-½521946BCF-chD61 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox, Rubinstein Attack
 page 1 of 1; 17 games  PGN Download 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Combe wins | Combe loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Robert Forbes Combe
Born 16th August 1912 in Logie-Buchan
Died 12th February 1952 in Aberdeen
He was British champion in 1946
Apr-10-05  pazzed paun: interesting story about this guy- he played as a reserve in the olympiad-played zero chess for eight years, was invited to the British championship in 1946 as a substitute-won the championship the only time he played!
Premium Chessgames Member
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: "In 1946, the British championship was won by an almost unknown Scot, R.F.Combe, who had hardly played a game of chess in six years. But Combe's hobby was playing over published games by a cosy fire somewhere in the Highlands; and that had made him good enough to win the title at his only attempt, though the field included some famous players."

Cecil John Seddon Purdy in 'Guide to Good Chess'

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: An informative passage on Combe from Bob Meadley (A Letter to Bert)

“Robert Forbes Combe (1912 –1952) British Chess champion 1946. His childhood was spent in China where his father was Consul General at Tsinan in Shantung. On a holiday in London when he was 16, he bought a little book called "The Chess Openings"”by I.Gunsberg, from which with the aid of a sixpenny book of chess laws, he taught himself the game. He played in the third class tournament at Margate the next year finishing fourth without knowing the e.p. rule for the whole tourney.

He completed his education at Aberdeen Grammar School and Aberdeen University where he qualified in law with a distinguished record. He was a brilliant pleader at the bar of the Sheriff’s Court and had a fine legal brain. In W.A.Fairhurst’s opinion, Combe had the greatest chess brain of any British player between 1932 – 1952. He had a very quick sight of the board and was rarely in time trouble.

He never won the Scottish chess championship but as he had developed rheumatic fever at the age of 18 this may have affected his play. Certainly he never thought so and in Chess October 1946 p.2 stated that “ I developed a sort of instinctive languidness and now I don’t think I could hurry or worry if I wanted to.”

In that famous game he lost to Hasenfuss in 4 moves it is worth stating that he had just played a 12 hour game prior to it. And prior to the 1946 British Championship he had NO CHESS PRACTICE AT ALL FOR THE PREVIOUS SIX YEARS. He lived in Elgin in Scotland (east of Inverness) and was an “inveterate collector of tournament books, has probably as complete a collection as anybody in the country and habitually spends evenings in quiet deep study of the masters’ methods. He looks on Richter’s “Combinationem” as a fine book for pretournament study”.(Chess 1946)”

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Thanks, <Calli>! That's very impressive.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: It is ironic that his victory in the 1946 British Championship as an outsider is less well-known than his 4 move miniature against Hasenfuss 13 years earlier.
Aug-05-13  Karpova: <His BCM obituarist, W. A. Fairhurst, wrote ”He was a very great chess-player… and it is probable he possessed the greatest chess brain of any British player of the last 20 years”.>


Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Adding onto Calli's excellent post above:

After winning the British title at Nottingham the Elgin local press must have got things somewhat mixed up.

Combe says he was congratulated on winning a Draughts tournament in Northampton (sic) and one lady asked him if what necessary to go all the way to Nottingham just to play dominoes.

Chess October 1946

Feb-01-18  Alan McGowan: A detailed biography of Mr Combe can be found in the Chess Scotland History Archive at
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