As part of the "New Order" policy, the British Chess Federation appears to have decided on the arrangement of a number of international matches, and no choice could have been more popular than that of a visit from the Czech-slovak team which arrived in London on Tuesday, June 10th, 1947.

Their visit was part of a tour of Western Europe and when it was known that the Dutch had already fallen victims to the tune of 12.5 - 7.5, the British Team realised that the encounter was certain to be a severe test.

Arrangements for the reception of our guests were left in the hands of an Entertainments Sub-Committee and the selection of that most energetic of organisers, J. H. Van Meurs, and that most genial of enthusiasts, William Winter as members of that body resulted in an excellently asrranged series of sight-seeing visits which took place in Hyde Park, Lords, the Zoo, Kensington Museum, Buckingham Palace, The House of Commons, the Tower of London and last, but not least, London's Dockland.

As one who was priveleged to accompany the party which toured the Docks, the writer feels quite unable to express his appreciation of the efforts of the Port of London Authority, which placed one of its launches at our disposal and took us through the great King George V. dock where ships from all over the world were loading and unloading their precious merchandise.  Only on witnessing the spectacle of commercial activity could one really begin to understand what an export drive really means!  The party was afterwards entertained, on the launch, to quite the finest tea any Britisher has eaten for some years.

At the House of Commons, the party was at once made to feel thoroughly at home by Mr. Julius Siverman, who before degenerating into a politician, devoted himself to the much more elevating hobby of being a high-class chess exponent.  He showed the visitors over the House and entertained them to tea and his entertaing wit and bonhomie was greatly appreciated.

In the evening of Thursday, June 12th, following a match at the Gambit between Middlesex and Moravia and Slovakia which the visitors won by 3 points to 1, the two teams were entertained by J. N. Derbyshire, Esq, President of the B.C.F. at an inaugural dinner.  Distinguished guests included Mrs Chance, who, as Deputy Mayor of Holborn, represented the Mayor and Corporation of the Borough, and Dr. Feldzman, from the Czecho-Slovakian embassy.  The task of translating speeches was very ably performed by Dr. O. Friedmann, himself a very well-known chess player.

On Saturday afternoon, June 14th, play began at 2p.m., and the fight was soon on in earnest.  The British players began very well and came out of the openings in most cases with very good positions and it seemed likely at one stage that they might manage to win the round by as wide a margin of 6 - 4.  The games themselves, however, show how first Gerald Abrahams and later Sir George Thomas allowed the wins to slip through their fingers, thus turning an expected victory into a narrow defeat at the end of two gruelling struggles.

On the second round, played on Sunday, June 15th, the British never looked like pulling the game out of the fire, and a possible missed win by Abrahams and inexplicable blunders by Broadbent and G. Wood, helped to put the issue beyond any doubt for the visitors.

The Czechs won the match because they were better trained and manifested the greater staying power, and whilst the British undoubtably have players who have the native ability to play first-class chess, they suffer from insufficient attention to the proper preparations which they should make for such a struggle, both in keeping abreast with the latest theoretical discoveries and in getting used to the more exacting conditions which obtain in these matches.  Five-hour sessions are unheard of in League and County Championship contests and are thus apt to tire our players and increase their tendency to blunder.  The solution, of course, lies in having more of these matches and in playing our domestic contests in conditions more like those our players will have to face, and it is to be hoped that the "New Order" policy will eventually embrace these ideals.

The match was played in very pleasant surroundings at the Bonnington Hotel, but one would have liked to see more spectators present.  British chess organisers do not yet seem to have discovered the secrets of "putting across" these events to the public, secrets which must be learnt if chess is to become a national game as it has in Russia.

The organisers are, nevertheless, entitrled to look back upon a very successful event which did much not only for chess but also towards the establishment of cordial relationships between the two countries.


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