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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Robert F. Combe

     At the request of reader Alistair, I have done some research on Robert F. Combe (16 August 1912 – 12 February 1952), a Scottish lawyer who caused a major upset when he won the 1946 British Championship. On holiday in London, he bought his first chess book at the age of 16, from which he taught himself the game and entered his first tournament shortly afterwards. At the age of 18 he suffered a bout of rheumatic fever which left him with chronic rheumatic heart disease, eventually leading to his early death.
     Chess Scotland has a good bio. Combe only made one international appearance and that was at the 1933 Folkestone Olympiad where Scotland finished last out of 15 teams; Combe scored 5-7. He gained some notoriety at that event when he lost a 4-mover to the Latvian player Wolfgang Hasenfuss. Edward Winter has more details in Chess Notes; see note 4063. Combe was reported to have quick sight of the board, playing most of his games in an hour. 365 Chess has a number of his games.

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