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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Elaine Saunders Pritchard


    Elaine Pritchard (nee Saunders) was born 7 January 1926 and died on 7 January 2012 at the age of 86 and with her death it was the end of an era. Her death marks the passing of an era as she was one of the last of pre-WW2 chess players. She married David B. Pritchard, also a strong player, in 1952; he died in 2005.
     Elaine Saunders was a widely celebrated prodigy in the 1930s and when world champion Alekhine played her in a simultaneous exhibition when she was 12 he called her a genius. Alekhine won all of his games in that simul and Saunders, at the time British Girls Champion, was the last to finish; she lost a R and P ending. 
     She learned the moves from her father at five and was soon defeating strong players as playing blindfold games. There is little doubt that she was of master strength by the time she was 10 or 11. And by the time she was 20 or so she was likely at least of IM (male) strength.

     She won the World Girls at 10 in 1936 and again in 1937. She won the British Ladies Championship in 1939, 1946 and under her married name, in 1956 and 1965. In a Women's Zonal Tournament in the 1950's she finished second and she played for England on the first three Womens Olympic Teams. She also won a Silver Medal at the FIDE Olympiad of Haifa in 1976. Pritchard was a WIM with her last FIDE Rating being 2150. She authored of two chess books: Chess for Pleasure and The Young Chess Player.
     Her opponent in this game, Adrian S. Hollis (2 August 1940 in Bristol, England - 26 February 2013 in Wells, England), was a distinguished classical scholar and an English correspondence GM who was British Correspondence Chess Champion in 1966, 1967, and 1971. In 1982-87 Hollis won the Ninth Correspondence Chess Olympiad and in 1998 the World Postal Chess Championship as a member of the British team. He was educated as a King's Scholar at Eton College, where he won the Newcastle Scholarship in 1958. He then studied Classics at Christ Church, Oxford and represented Oxford University Chess Club in four annual Varsity chess matches (1959–1962), playing on the top board in the 1961 and 1962 matches. He also played in the (over the board) British Championship a number of times during the 1960s. In 1964–1967 he was Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Humanity at St Andrews University. He moved back to Oxford to become a University Lecturer in Classics at Oxford University and a Tutorial Fellow of Keble College, Oxford in 1967 and remained there until his retirement in 2007. During a distinguished academic career his research focused mainly on Hellenistic and Roman poetry. Adrian Hollis was the son of Sir Roger Hollis, who served as Director-General of MI5 from 1956 to 1965. His uncle Christopher Hollis was a writer and Conservative politician, and he shared a grandfather, the Anglican later bishop-suffragan of Taunton, the Right Revd George Arthur Hollis (1868–1944), with first cousin Crispian Hollis who is the Bishop of Portsmouth for the Catholic Church.
     Her tactical style shows in this game and her final move was a nice tactical shot that Hollis totally overlooked.

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