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Friday, October 11, 2019

The Little Known Edith M. Holloway

     Very little is known about Edith Martha Holloway (1868–1956?, age 88), but in her day she was one of the biggest names in British women’s chess. 
     Her husband, S. J. Holloway, M.B.E. An MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) is an order of the British Empire award and is the third highest ranking Order of the British Empire award, behind CBE which is first and then OBE. It is awarded to someone for making a positive impact in their line of work. He was a tireless promoter for the British Chess Federation during the interwar period. 
     What is known is that she played for England in the first unofficial Chess Olympiad at Paris 1924, and scored +2 −9 =2. She has the distinction of being the first woman to play in an Olympiad; officially the Olympiads did not allow women to participate until 1950. Her best result was her win over Peter Potemkine, a Russian Master who had settled in France. 
     She won the first post-World War I British Women's Championship in 1919, she was in the prize list in several subsequent events and won the championship for the second time at the age of 68 in 1936. 
     In 1924, Holloway shared first place with Helene Cotton at Meran 1924 (unofficial European women’s championship). After the tournament three of the participants, Holloway, Cotton and Agnes Stevenson defeated Paula Wolf-Kalmar, Gulich and Pohlner in a double-round London vs. Vienna match. 
     Holloway shared 4-5th place in the first Women's World Championship held in London in 1927. She tied for 6th -7th in the 5th Women’s World Championship in Warsaw, 1935 and 10th-16th at Stockholm 1937 in the sixth. All of the events were won by Vera Menchik. 
     She was the daughter of sculptor John Denton Crittenden (1834-77) who was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy and whose works commanded high prices. Below is a photo of a pair of 28-1/2 inch high carved marble busts, dated 1860, that are signed by Crittenden. Their estimated value is $5,000-$7,000. 

     The following game is quite instructive. If you’ve ever read any of Purdy’s material you know of his insistence on the importance of before playing any move take a look around for any combinations you might have. Also, visualize the position with you choice of move made and look for combinations by your opponent. 
     Purdy’s teaching is important because some old writers insisted that unlesss you had a positional advantage it was useless to look for any sound tactics, but that’s simply not true...a sound tactical move can pop up any time. Purdy explained that when he he spoke of combinations (or tactics as they are called today) he meant anything from “the simplest P fork to the grandest Alekhine sacrifice.” 
     He stated that the problem of how to see tactics was really two problems. 1) It is necessary to become familiar with the many types of tactics. 2) It is necessary to see them in actual play! 
     To address problem number 1 he recommended Reinfeld’s 1001 Winning Chess Combinations which is still a pretty good book. Problem number 2 is more of a, well, problem. What you need is a system, or method, that will help you determine if a combination may be hidden in a position. For that I recommend taking a look at my post on Tactics, the Pornography Of Chess
     In this game pay particular attention to the position after 9.Nc3 and 23...f6 where both sides missed tactical possibilities.

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