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Spencer Crakanthorp
Number of games in database: 39
Years covered: 1902 to 1933
Overall record: +31 -5 =3 (83.3%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

Repertoire Explorer
Most played openings
B01 Scandinavian (3 games)
C20 King's Pawn Game (3 games)
C33 King's Gambit Accepted (3 games)
D32 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch (2 games)
D51 Queen's Gambit Declined (2 games)
C01 French, Exchange (2 games)
C21 Center Game (2 games)

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(born Feb-17-1885, died Aug-01-1936, 51 years old) Australia

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Spencer Crakanthorp was born in Sydney. He was Australian Champion in 1925 and 1926, and New Zealand champion in 1923/24 and 1925/26. He was the New South Wales champion six times and played in 23 telegraphic matches against Victoria, won 13 and drew four.

Son of Lawrence Spencer Crakanthorp, he was also the father-in-law of Cecil John Seddon Purdy and the grandfather of John Spencer Purdy. He passed away in Sydney in 1936.

Wikipedia article: Spencer Crakanthorp

Last updated: 2021-02-16 07:49:14

 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 39  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. S Crakanthorp vs G B Hall 1-0231902NSW - Qld telegraph mC33 King's Gambit Accepted
2. J G Witton vs S Crakanthorp 1-0321902Victoria - NSW telegraph mC45 Scotch Game
3. W Ramsay vs S Crakanthorp 0-1361903NSW - Qld telegraph mC20 King's Pawn Game
4. W H Jonas vs S Crakanthorp 0-1381904MatchC20 King's Pawn Game
5. S Crakanthorp vs D R Hay 1-0501904NSW - Victoria telegraph mC33 King's Gambit Accepted
6. H Taylour vs S Crakanthorp 0-1311905New South Wales ChampionshipD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
7. W H Jonas vs S Crakanthorp 1-0281905New South Wales ChampionshipC01 French, Exchange
8. S Crakanthorp vs H Taylour 1-0281905New South Wales ChampionshipC21 Center Game
9. S Crakanthorp vs J Spedding 1-0431905New South Wales ChampionshipB01 Scandinavian
10. G W Baynes vs S Crakanthorp 0-1571905New South Wales ChampionshipD02 Queen's Pawn Game
11. T M Bradshaw vs S Crakanthorp 0-1261905New South Wales ChampionshipD35 Queen's Gambit Declined
12. S Crakanthorp vs W H Jonas 1-0571905New South Wales ChampionshipC43 Petrov, Modern Attack
13. S Crakanthorp vs G W Baynes 1-0151905New South Wales ChampionshipB46 Sicilian, Taimanov Variation
14. F H Wilson vs S Crakanthorp 0-1351906NSW - Victoria telegraph mD32 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
15. S Crakanthorp vs G Gundersen 0-1261907NSW - Victoria telegraph mC33 King's Gambit Accepted
16. S Crakanthorp vs J Lambert 1-0271908New South Wales ChampionshipC21 Center Game
17. T M Bradshaw vs S Crakanthorp 0-1211908New South Wales ChampionshipC12 French, McCutcheon
18. H Taylour vs S Crakanthorp  0-1361908New South Wales ChampionshipC59 Two Knights
19. G Brown vs S Crakanthorp 0-1331908New South Wales ChampionshipC60 Ruy Lopez
20. S Crakanthorp vs W H Jonas  1-0431908New South Wales ChampionshipC66 Ruy Lopez
21. B Parker vs S Crakanthorp  0-1611908New South Wales ChampionshipA07 King's Indian Attack
22. S Crakanthorp vs T M Bradshaw 1-0321908New South Wales ChampionshipB32 Sicilian
23. J Lambert vs S Crakanthorp  0-1391908New South Wales ChampionshipC46 Three Knights
24. S Crakanthorp vs B Parker  1-0481908New South Wales ChampionshipB06 Robatsch
25. G MacNaught vs S Crakanthorp  0-1131908Double blindfold gameA84 Dutch
 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 39  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Crakanthorp wins | Crakanthorp loses  

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Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: My word! Someone has been busy finding games by Mr Crakanthorp. Brilliant.


Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Is Lawrence Spencer Crakanthorp the same player?
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <Benzol> I'd guess so, unless there have been two Spencer Crakanthorp playing in the same tournament against B.Parker. Well, you're the expert of AUS/NZ chess history, aren't you? ;)
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Here's his enlisting document of 1916:

so his full name is <Lawrence Spencer Crakanthorp>, though his place of birth is given as Islington, England

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: L.S. Crakanthorp photos:



1916 Corp. L.S. Crackanthorp in uniform:


Jun-29-12  Nosnibor: <whiteshark>From all of the historical information you have provided it would appear that the bio has the wrong birth date of L S Crakanthorp. The enlisting document of January 1916 states his age as 44 years old which means that he was born in 1871 and not 1885.This seems to make sense because the 1925 photograph reflects an image of a man well past 40 years of age.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Stonehenge: From a PDF file:

Crakanthorp, Lawrence Spencer (1857–1929)
MAN02686 Cpl L S Crakanthorp, 1915 MML
Anne (Crackanthorp) Purdy, grand-daughter of Lawrence Spencer Crakanthorp contributed an excellent article on him to Australian Chess Lore, vol 3, 1984, p3–32, from which the following is abridged: Lawrence Crakanthorp was born in Islington, London on 15th November 1857 and came to Australia when he was 15. He returned to England as a sailor before the mast sailing round the Horn, but came back to Australia after an extensive walking tour through Europe. He married Florence Wentworth Eldershaw in 1884 (she died of Spanish flu after WWI) and they lived in Surry Hills and Paddington. They had eight children, including Spencer Crakanthorp, born 17 February 1885. Lawrence came to Manly circa 1901 from Wagga Wagga. He had passed the Public Health examinations with such distinction that he was offered the top job available, at Manly, where he became the Sanitary Inspector (or Municipal Officer of Health). He and Spencer joined the Manly Chess Club. Lawrence enlisted in WWI (aged 59) and fought in the trenches. He died 16 December 1929.
Spencer Crakanthorp was a chess prodigy, and was Chess Champion of NSW on several occasions from 1905 to 1933. He was Australian Champion in 1926 and 1928/29. He married Emily Diana Harris in September 1914, and they had a daughter, Anne, in 1915.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <whiteshark> <Well, you're the expert of AUS/NZ chess history, aren't you? ;)>

LOL. I wish.

Thanks to both <whiteshark> and <Stonehenge> for their efforts on this one. Thanks guys.


Mar-22-14  redwhitechess: Retrieved about eights articles and games of Crakanthorp.

Mar-22-14  morfishine: <redwhitechess> Excellent! I'd like to see the origin of the family name
Feb-17-16  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Spencer Crakanthorpe.

"Release the Kraken!" is heard at the start of his attacks.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: "Spencer Crakanthorp, the winner of the New South Wales chess championship, was born in Sydney in 1885. After living in several of the inland towns of New South Wales his parents finally settled in Wagga Wagga. Young Spencer (then eight years of age) was first taught the moves by Mrs Houlding, who at that time was the lady champion of Australia, and, showing a great liking for the game, his parents, both good players, gave him every encouragement and completed his tuition.

After winning several handicap tourneys at Wagga, which was then the champion country town of New South Wales, he played for that town against several others, his record being 11 wins and 1 loss. After leaving Wagga he went to live at Manly, Sydney, and joined the North Sydney Chess Club, which won the suburban competition two years in succession. The Manly Club, which owes its foundation to the Crakanthorps, was successful in winning the suburban championship the following years, and in 1906 had an unbroken succession of victories.

In a set match with Mr W. H. Jones, of Sydney, young Crakanthorp won on time limit, but ceded the point, and the match was declared off. A little later the championship of New South Wales was annexed, with, a score of 9 out of 10, the loss being to W. H Jones. When Mr W. S. Viner threw out an open challenge for the championship of Australasia Mr Crakanthorp promptly accepted it, but the great distance between Perth (where Viner lives) and Sydney proved a bar, and the match has not yet eventuated. Mr Crakanthorp contends that Mr Viner cannot justly claim the title of "champion" until he proves his superiority over him. It will be remembered that Messrs Viner and Crakanthorp competed in the contest for the New Zealand championship at Christchurch last year. There were twenty competitors, and Mr Viner won the title of "champion of New Zealand" with a score of 17 1/2 wins, 1 1/2 losses, Mr Crakanthorp being second with 15 wins, 4 losses. Crakanthorp beat Viner in the individual game between the pair in the tournament, and was also awarded the brilliancy prize for the game he played against A. Gifford, of Westport."

Source: "Otago Witness," (NZ), issue 2820, 1st April 1908, p.67.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: "Obituary. Mr. Spencer Crakanthorp, one of the leading figures in Australian chess for more than 30 years, died at a private hospital in Sydney on Saturday, aged 51 years. Mr. Crakanthorp won his first chess tournament at Wagga (N.S.W.) at the age of 13 years, and he won the first State championship for which he entered in 1905 [1].

His long list of tournament successes included two Australian championships [2], two New Zealand championships [3], and six New South Wales championships.

He was also fifth in a British championship in 1912 [4], the only one which he entered."

Source: The Australasian (Melbourne), Saturday 8 August 1936, p.11

[1] 2nd New South Wales Championship, Sydney, August 1905

[2] Sydney 1926 and Perth 1927
[3] Wellington 1923/24 and Dunedin 1925/26
[4] 9th British Chess Federation Championship, Richmond, August 1912

Feb-16-21  BIDMONFA: Spencer Crakanthorp


Feb-16-21  Nosnibor: It is not correct to say he played in the British Championship in 1912 as stated in the bio. He competed in the Major Open under which is not for the British title.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: I just deleted the offending part only to find that he did play in the championship event, but he finished =7th/8th. I'm not sure if that qualifies as a career highlight.

Feb-16-21  Nosnibor: I finished in a similar position in the 1965 Major Open, which was held in Hastings. However I would not count it as a career highlight!
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Britbase reveals the source of the confusion. There was a friendly Championship vs. Major Open match played at some point.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Falkirk Herald, April 30th 1913, p.4:

<Mr A. G. Fell, the secretary of the New Zealand Chess Association, has received a letter from Mr L. P. Rees, the secretary of the British Chess Federation, in which,. amongst other matters, he says:—‘‘We were very pleased indeed to have Mr Crakanthorp (of Australia) in the British championship, and he quite justified his inclusion. When he came over he probably thought he should do better than he did; but, to quote his own frank statement, he found that the standard of play was considerably higher than he thought it was, and consequently his task was harder. At the same time, we recognise him as a fine player, and if we have the pleasure of seeing him in our ranks in some future years we anticipate his experience will enable him to take a higher place than he did this year.">

Oct-20-21  optimal play: <<<<<CHESS TOURNAMENT.>


Mr. Crakanthorp retains the State chess championship.>

Mr. Crakanthorp, barely in his 24th year, has displayed such promise in his chess career that everyone present joined in congratulating him upon the win, by which he retains the chess championship of New South Wales.>

Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), Thursday 16 April 1908, page 7>

The database has 12 of Spencer Crakanthorp’s 13 games from the 1908 New South Wales Chess Championship in which he finished 1st on a score of 13/14 (+12/=2/-0).

It was a double round robin tournament of eight competitors but George Brown forfeited his second round game, thus Crakanthorp only had to play 13 games.

I have now submitted his one missing game:

[Event "New South Wales Championship"]
[Site "Sydney, NSW, Australia"]
[Date "1908.03.??"]
[EventDate "1908.01.18"]
[Round "13"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[White "William Henry Jonas"]
[Black "Spencer Crakanthorp"]
[ECO "C23"]
[PlyCount "73"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[Source ""]

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Bc5 3. Nf3 d6 4. d3 Nc6 5. Be3 Bb6 6. Nc3 Nf6 7. Bg5 h6 8. Bh4 Be6 9. Bb3 g5 10. Bg3 Qd7 11. Ba4 O-O-O 12. Qe2 Nh5 13. Nd5 Nf4 14. Bxf4 exf4 15. O-O-O f5 16. Kb1 Qf7 17. Bxc6 bxc6 18. Nxb6+ axb6 19. a3 Kb7 20. Nd4 fxe4 21. Nxe6 Qxe6 22. dxe4 Rhe8 23. f3 Ra8 24. Qd3 Ra5 25. Rhe1 Rea8 26. Qb3 Qe5 27. c4 Ra4 28. Rd3 Qc5 29. Rc1 R8a5 30. h3 Qe5 31. Rc2 Kc8 32. Rcc3 Qe6 33. Qc2 Ra8 34. b4 Qe5 35. Qb2 c5 36. b5 Kd7 37. Rd5 1/2-1/2

click for larger view

After white's 37th move the game was adjourned, however was not resumed and a draw agreed since the position was even, and any result would make no difference to the final places (Crakanthorp 1st, Bradshaw 2nd, Jonas 3rd).

Premium Chessgames Member

W H Jonas vs S Crakanthorp, 1908

Oct-21-21  optimal play: <<<CHESS IN SYDNEY.>

The tourney for the State championship of New South Wales for 1905 has concluded.

There were only six entrants.

The title has been secured by Mr. S. Crakanthorp, by 9 games to 1.

Mr. W. H. Jonas is second, with 7 to 3,

and Mr. T. M. Bradshaw third, with 5 to 5.

The winner is barely 20 years of age, and will prove a satisfactory addition to the number of rising players of the later generation who must, in the ordinary course of events, take up the work of the older players.>

Leader (Melbourne, Vic.), Saturday 23 September 1905, page 26>

Crakanthorp's tournament (double round robin) score is as follows:-

1st round 4th August lost to William Henry Jonas

2nd round 8th August defeated Henry Taylour

3rd round 11th August defeated J. Spedding

4th round 15th August defeated George W. Baynes

5th round 18th August defeated Thomas Mason Bradshaw

6th round 22nd August defeated William Henry Jonas

7th round 25th August defeated Henry Taylour

8th round 29th August defeated J. Spedding

9th round 1st September defeated George W. Baynes

10th round 5th September defeated Thomas Mason Bradshaw

Unfortunately his games from rounds eight and ten do not appear to be extant.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: From a <(London) Standard> report, from October 19th 1912, p.11, on Frank Marshall's chess tour, <On Monday night, Mr. Marshall will play at the Brixton Chess Club, Prince Regent Hotel, Dulwich-road, and on Sunday at two o'clock he will meet Mr. Crackenthorpe [sic], the Australian champion, at the Divan Cafe, for the purpose of contesting two or three games with him. The games will be played at a sufficiently rapid time limit to allow of more than one game being finished in the afternoon.>
Nov-10-21  optimal play: A pity those games are not extant.

Perhaps they never eventuated?

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Falkirk Herald, November 13th 1912, p.6:

<The “Australasian’s” chess-editor writes :— "We have just had a letter from Mr S. Crakanthorp, the new South Wales champion, who took part in the late British championship contest, in which he scored 5 1/2 points out of a possible 11. He started off badly, losing 3 out of his first four games, and his letter is written just after his reverses. He says :— ‘Do not, however, say that I not displaying my true form. The fact is, the others won’t let me. In Australia we have no idea to what a pitch chess in England has been brought. It is not a game, it is a science. Every opening is known almost 20 moves deep. One casual opening move, and you have to wriggle and squirm for 30 more. I feel that I am playing better than I ever did in Australia, but it is of no avail. Every man against me is a champion, and our games have, so far, averaged over 60 moves, and 7 hours’ stolid play is very wearying. The chess-players are a very nice crowd. Wainwright, Gibson, Gunsberg, Wahltuch are very nice fellows. Old Blackburne is as genial as reputed. Atkins is, in many ways, not unlike your Victorian champion, Mr Gundersen. Jacobs and Yates are very tricky and ingenious players. Wahltuch is very deep, perhaps too much so. Uber and Cole are very sound and solid.’" >

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