All the games from the records of two Club Members of the number of times winning the Club’s Championship:
Roy Wagstaff, 8 Championships: between 1953-54 and 1976-77.
Strike rate: a Championship every 3 years (between first and last); 5.75 years (over years of membership).
Longest fallow period: 12 years.
Ian Hunnable, 10 Championships: between 1967-68 and 2013-14.
Strike rate: a Championship every 4.7 (between first and last); 6 years (over years of membership).
Longest fallow period: 27 years.
The idea for this feature only arises because I inherited all Roy Wagstaff’s score books. Roy died of a heart attack in June 1989, survived by brothers John and Tom (the Club’s Junior Championship bears the name Tom Wagstaff). It was John who passed Roy’s chess records to me, in a battered suitcase including the score books, when he was clearing the house they shared on moving to Frinton for his retirement years. John had retired from chess activity on stepping down as Match Captain in 1973 after serving 21 years and he had no further use for Roy’s chess things. John, too, is no longer with us but I am sure that he hoped that I could make use of them in Roy’s memory; it has taken a good number of years, but I think now it is finally happening.
The Club Championship made a mark on me from my very first tournament (1963-64). In R3 I was drawn Black against Len Halliday (Champion in 1959-60, 1961-62 and, with the aid of the swindle in our game, destined to be Champion in 1963-64). I trapped his queen in the opening and won it for knight and bishop. Later in the middlegame, I saw a combination to sac rook and queen for a back rank mate with my remaining rook. When it was next my move move, I thought to myself “he hasn’t seen it!”. Trembling with excitement, I gave up my first rook, then the queen, then played …Re8-e1 and announced “Mate!”. Then I heard the fateful reply, “you can’t, your rook’s pinned.” words that I remember to this day. On his last move before my “combination” Len had played Rb8 to pin the rook on my king, but I was so engrossed in calculating the mating combination, I failed to take stock of his last move, with the fateful consequences. I was 14 years old (which was young for a junior in those days) and that reverse hurt for years afterwards. Len and I had a string of pitch battles over the years. We both played to win every game and out of 15 encounters between us, there were no draws. I think I obtained satisfaction in return for that initial disappointment, winning a 97 move marathon against him in my first Championship win (which you will find in these pages) and overall 11 wins against 5 losses. An extraordinary stat out of our 15-game series is that 11 of the wins were by Black, with only four by White. It is true to say that, painful as that first game was, I had a champion of the Club beaten (“on toast” as John Wagstaff would say), but for my oversight; that single fact gave me the belief that I could win the Championship; not this year, not next year, but soon… That time “soon” came four Seasons later.
The Wanstead & Woodford Chess Club Championship Tournament has been played every Season since 1948-49. It has always, therefore, been conducted in Wanstead House (though individual games may have been played or resumed elsewhere as necessary). The Club began its existence in Wanstead High School, Redbridge Lane West, but moved to its present location in Wanstead House in 1947.
An oddity of our move to Wanstead House is that, as the AGM Minutes record,
…the Wanstead & Woodford Community Association”, as it was then called, “had asked to be advised of the accommodation requirements of affiliated bodies and that [the Secretary] had asked for the use of a room on two nights a week – either Tuesdays or Wednesdays as one and Fridays as the other. The Association had replied to the effect that the Club by its prompt response had gained priority of consideration when the accommodation was allocated.
Strange then to report that for the first 21½ Seasons, the Club should meet in the attic room, now known as Forest.
The early record of Club Championship successes was made by Jack Hawson winning three of the first four Championships. In the other of those first four seasons, 1949-50, the winner was Jonathan Mason, my maternal grandfather known as ‘Jack’ to the family – so the winner of the first four Championships was Jack!
After D. Ayres won in 1952-53, Roy Wagstaff began his odyssey towards the Club Championship record number of victories by taking the title in 1953-54. He added further titles in 1954-55, 1957-58, 1958-59 (setting the new record), 1960-61, 1962-63, 1968-69 and 1976-77; eight titles in all, setting a record that would stand for a very long time.
I joined the Club in the winter of 1962-63, one of the worst winters on record, with deep snow on the ground for weeks on end. The snow started falling on Boxing Day 1962 and it was to be March 1963 before we saw bare ground again. I won my first Championship in 1967-68, but had to wait another 10 Seasons for my second, 1977-78. (Strangely, I lost in a play-off in 1987-88, or I might have gained a ‘10 year’ fixation.) After that, the Club went from strength to strength, with the result that the Championship tournament was consistently strong until I concluded that further success was unlikely as age became a factor against me. Indeed, my third success was not until 2005-06 at the age of 57, but I still had no thoughts that Roy’s record of eight successes was in reach; I should have to win it another six times, by which time, were that impossibility to happen, I would be well into my 60s. That I should win it another seven times, was beyond my wildest dreams.
But that is the story that shall be unfolded in the following pages.
For a reason I can now no longer recall, I inherited Roy Wagstaff’s chess score books with a box of score sheets and miscellaneous chess paperwork. Roy habitually recorded his games on scoresheets and wrote them up into scorebooks later; sometimes a lot later. For instance, while the first seven of Roy’s Championship successes were in his scorebooks (not always in date order!) the games of his final Championship had not been written up and I had to carry out a detailed sifting and sorting of the box of loose papers before I found the games from his eighth Championship.
I have all my games in Chessbase, so adding these to this record was an easy matter.
A personal note: my father, John C Hunnable was co-founder of the Club with Roy Wagstaff; my maternal grandfather, J Mason, was a founder member and President for 25 years. Since both are represented in these games, Roy’s winning Championships, it follows that both are represented in not the best light. Since neither is here to defend himself, I must leave it to your charitable mind to make appropriate allowance.
Playing through a number of Roy’s games, as you will find in the following pages, brings a sense of repetition; particularly when Roy was playing Black. He had worked out an opening system as Black in which he played virtually the same opening against anything that White played. You can therefore find the moves d6, g6, Bg7, Nc6, e5, f5, Nf6, O-O in virtually every game where he is Black, varying the order to suit and perhaps one or more of these moves substituted by others, according to the circumstances of each game, but he had a system, which meant that he was at home whatever White played. The squad members of our 1975 tour of South Devon clubs and the subsequent Paignton Congress quickly latched onto these features of Roy’s handling of the black pieces and dubbed his opening “Wagstaff’s Defence”.
Roy’s style was not dynamic. He would frequently exchange material rather than lose time in retreating an attacked piece, leading to a style whereby the features of the position were clarified and rarely were tensions allowed to develop. He was comfortable keeping the game going – in essence being prepared to outlast his opponent. But he had a subtle eye for gaining an edge, so perhaps his style could be categorised as the acquisition of small advantages. Mistakes were rare in his play, whereas he was quick to pounce on the mistakes by his opponents. This made him difficult to beat and allowed him to hold a place as the strongest of the Club’s players for many years.
In each chapter, the score of each game is printed in algebraic notation, together with the pgn file of the games for each year’s Championship. so you can play them through on screen.
Roy’s first – 1953-54
In the early years, the Club was not large and in any event, the Swiss System had not been invented. Therefore the Championship tournament was conducted on the all-play-all or “American” system.
For 1952-53 there were 12 entrants, and a qualifying section of six was held to decide the three players to join three seeded players in a six-player Final. The winner of the Final was D. Ayres; Roy placed equal fourth. Roy won two and lost three, while Ayres won all five games; not the best indicator of Roy’s successes to follow.
For 1953-54, there were eight players in the Championship section, with no qualifying event, though there was a Minor tournament with another eight players.
Roy had to work hard for his first Championship. He had a winning position against H Gosling, which would have afforded him his first title outright had he avoided the gross blunder that cost him the game. As it was, this blunder allowed Gosling to tie for first place with Roy. A six-game play-off match was arranged between them, but only four games were needed as Roy won three and drew another for an unassailable lead, 3½-½.
Just to put this season in historical context, my first recollection of knowing what year it was is 1953. I was 4 years old, 5 later that year.
The games 1953-54
Wouldn’t you know it, having described the “ever-present” Wagstaff’s Defence, the very first game here proves the rule! Normal service resumes with Game 2.
Hutchins,H – Wagstaff,RA [D20]
W&WCC Championship 1953-54
1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.a4 e5 4.d5 c6 5.e4 Nf6 6.Bg5 Qa5+ 7.Bd2 Bb4 8.f3 cxd5 9.Qc2 Nc6 10.Nc3 Nd4 11.Qd1 Nb3 12.Nge2 d4 13.Rb1 d3 14.Nc1 Nd4 15.Nxd3 cxd3 16.Bxd3 Bd7 17.0-0 0-0 18.Bc4 Qc5 19.Be2 Nxe2+ 20.Kh1 Nxc3 21.bxc3 Bxc3 22.Rxb7 Bxd2 23.Qxd2 Rfd8 24.Rc1 Qd4 25.Qg5 Be6 26.h4 Qxa4 27.Kh2 a5 28.h5 h6 29.Qxe5 Qd4 30.Qb5 Qe3 31.Rg1 Qf4+ 32.g3 Qxf3 33.Rf1 Rd2+ 0-1
Mason,J – Wagstaff,RA [B09]
W&WCC Championship 1953-54
1.e4 d6 2.d4 g6 3.f4 Bg7 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Nc3 0-0 6.Be2 Nc6 7.d5 Nb8 8.0-0 Nbd7 9.Be3 Ng4 10.Bd4 Bxd4+ 11.Nxd4 Ngf6
11…Ne3 12.Qd3 Nxf1 13.Rxf1 Nc5 14.Qg3 …with good attacking chances (RAW).
12.f5 Ne5 13.Qd2 Kg7 14.h3 c6 15.Kh1 Bd7 16.Nf3 cxd5 17.Nxe5 dxe5 18.fxg6 d4 19.Rxf6 exf6 20.Nd5 fxg6 21.Rf1 Bc6 22.Bc4 f5 23.Qf2 fxe4 24.Qxf8+ Qxf8 25.Rxf8 Rxf8 26.Nc7 Rf2 27.Kg1 e3 28.Ne6+ Kf6 29.Nd8 Rxg2+ 30.Kf1 Rxc2 0-1
Ayres,D – Wagstaff,RA [E55]
W&WCC Championship 1953-54
1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.Nf3 c5 4.e3 cxd4 5.exd4 e6 6.Bxc4 Nf6 7.0-0 Be7 8.Nc3 0-0 9.Bg5 Nbd7 10.Qe2 Nb6 11.Bb3 Bd7 12.Ne5 Rc8 13.Rfe1 h6 14.Bh4 Nh7 15.Bg3 Nf6 16.a3 Be8 17.Ng6?! fxg6 18.Bxe6+ Bf7 19.Bxc8 Nxc8 20.Rad1 Bb3 21.Rd2 Nh5 22.Qb5 Qb6 23.Qxb6 axb6 24.Be5 Bg5 25.Rd3 Bc2 26.Rf3 Rxf3 27.gxf3 Kf7 28.Ne4 Bf4 29.Ng3 Bxe5 30.dxe5 Nxg3 31.fxg3 Ba4 32.Kf2 Bc6 33.f4 Ne7 ½-½
With the next game, defeat of the redoubtable Jack Hawson, it could be said that Roy had arrived.
Wagstaff,RA – Hawson,JB [E90]
W&WCC Championship 1953-54
1.d4 c5 2.d5 Nf6 3.Nf3 g6 4.c4 d6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.e4 0-0 7.Bd3 Nbd7 8.0-0 Ng4 9.h3 Nge5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.f4 Nxd3 12.Qxd3 f5 13.Bd2 fxe4 14.Qxe4 Bf5 15.Qe2 Rf7 16.Rae1 Qb6 17.b3 Re8 18.Na4 Qc7 19.Bc3 Bxc3 20.Nxc3 a6 21.Ne4 Bxe4 22.Qxe4 Qd7 23.Qe6 Qxe6 24.Rxe6 b5 25.g3 bxc4 26.bxc4 Rb8 27.Rf2 Kf8 28.Re3 Rb4 29.Rc2 Ke8 30.Ra3 Rb6 31.Rb3 Rxb3 32.axb3 g5 33.Ra2 gxf4 34.g4 Rg7 35.Kf2 Rg6 36.Rxa6 Rh6 37.Kg2 Kf7 38.Ra2 e5 39.dxe6+ Kxe6 40.Re2+ Kf6 41.Re8 Kg5 42.Rf8 Rf6 43.Rxf6 Kxf6 44.Kf3 Ke5 45.h4 h6 46.h5 d5 47.cxd5 Kxd5 48.Kxf4 Kd4 49.g5 hxg5+ 50.Kxg5 Kc3 51.h6 Kxb3 52.h7 c4 53.h8Q c3 54.Kf4 c2 55.Qa1 1-0
Wagstaff,RA – Ellisdon,S [D02]
W&WCC Championship 1953-54
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bf4 Bf5 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Nf3 e6 7.Be2 Be7 8.cxd5 cxd5 9.h3 0-0 10.Nh4 Ne4 11.Nxf5 exf5 12.0-0 Ndf6 13.Bf3 Bd6 14.Bxe4 fxe4 15.Bg5 Be7 16.Qb3 b6 17.Bxf6 Bxf6 18.Nxd5 Bg5 19.Rac1 Qd6 20.Nc3 Qe6 21.Qxe6 fxe6 22.Nxe4 Be7 23.Rc6 Kf7 24.Rfc1 Rad8 25.Rc7 e5 26.Ng5+ Ke8 27.Ne6 exd4 28.Nxd8 Bxd8 29.Rxa7 dxe3 30.fxe3 Bg5 31.Rc8+ Bd8 32.Raa8 Kd7 33.a4 g6 34.b4 Re8 35.Rxd8+ Rxd8 36.Rxd8+ Kxd8 37.a5 bxa5 38.bxa5 Kc8 39.e4 Kb7 40.e5 1-0
Wagstaff,RA – Gosling,H [D43]
W&WCC Championship 1953-54
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 c6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bxf6 Qxf6 7.e3 Bb4 8.Rc1 Nd7 9.Qc2 0-0 10.Bd3 Re8 11.0-0 dxc4 12.Ne4 Qe7 13.Qxc4 Nb6 14.Qc2 Bd7 15.a3 Bd6 16.Rfd1 Rac8 17.Ne5 Bxe5 18.dxe5 Rc7 19.Nd6 Rd8 20.b4 c5 21.b5 a6 22.a4 axb5 23.axb5 f6 24.exf6 Qxf6 25.Qc3 e5 26.Ne4 Qe7 27.Qa5 Na8 28.b6 Rcc8 29.Nxc5 Bc6 30.Bc4+ Kh8 31.Be6 Qg5 32.Bh3 Rxd1+ 33.Rxd1 Rd8 34.Ra1 Qh5 35.Bd7 Qe2 36.Re1 Qb2 37.Bxc6 Nxb6 38.Bxb7 Rd2 39.Be4 Rxf2 40.Qa7 Rf8 41.Qe7?? Qf2+ 0-1
Roy’s brother John, though not in the same class as Roy, was nonetheless a useful player. They crossed swords many times in the Championship and Roy didn’t get things all his own way.
Wagstaff,RA – Wagstaff,JL [D90]
W&WCC Championship 1953-54
1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 c6 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.Bf4 Bg7 7.e3 0-0 8.Rc1 a6 9.Bd3 Nc6 10.0-0 Nh5 11.Bg3 Nxg3 12.hxg3 Bg4 13.Qb3 e6 14.Qxb7 Na5 15.Qb4 Re8 16.Na4 Rb8 17.Qc3 Bxf3 18.gxf3 Ra8 19.Nc5 Qb6 20.b4 Nb7 21.Nxb7 Qxb7 22.a3 Bf8 23.Qc7 Qxc7 24.Rxc7 Rec8 25.Rfc1 Rxc7 26.Rxc7 a5 27.b5 Bxa3 28.b6 Bd6 29.b7 Rb8 30.Rc6 Bf8 31.Ba6 Kg7 32.Kf1 a4 33.Ke2 h5 34.Kd1 g5 35.Kc2 h4 36.Kb2 a3+ 37.Kb3 h3 38.Rc1 f5 39.g4 h2 40.Ka4 Bd6 41.Kb5 Kf7 42.Kc6 Ke7 43.gxf5 exf5 44.Kxd5 Rh8 45.Rh1 a2 46.f4 a1Q 47.Rxa1 h1Q+ 48.Rxh1 Rxh1 49.fxg5 Bb8 50.f4 Re1 51.Bd3 Rxe3 52.Bxf5 Bxf4 53.g6 Kf6 54.Be4 Bb8 55.Bg2 Kxg6 56.Kc6 Rc3+ 57.Kd7 Kf6 58.Bc6 Rc4 59.Kc8 Ba7 60.d5 Rd4 61.b8Q Bxb8 62.Kxb8 ½-½
Wagstaff,RA – Gosling,H [D37]
W&WCC Championship 1953-54 – Play-off 1
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 d5 5.Bg5 e6 6.e3 c6 7.Rc1 Qa5 8.Bxf6 Bxf6 9.Qc2 0-0 10.Be2 a6 11.0-0 Nd7 12.a3 e5 13.cxd5 cxd5 14.dxe5 Nxe5 15.Rfd1 Nxf3+ 16.Bxf3 Bf5 17.Qd2 d4 18.exd4 Rad8 19.Ne4 Qb6 20.Nxf6+ Qxf6 21.Bxb7 Rd6 22.Bf3 Rfd8 23.d5 g5 24.Qd4 Qg6 25.g3 Be6 26.Qc5 Qf5 27.Qe3 Bxd5 28.Bxd5 Rxd5 29.Rxd5 Qxd5 30.Rc5 Qd1+ 31.Kg2 h6 32.h4 g4 33.Qe4 Qd7 34.Rf5 Qd1 35.Qc4 Rd7 36.Qxa6 Kg7 37.Qf6+ Kh7 38.Rh5 Kg8 39.Rxh6 Qf3+ 40.Qxf3 gxf3+ 41.Kxf3 Rb7 42.b4 Ra7 43.b5 Rxa3+ 44.Kg2 Kg7 45.Ra6 Rb3 46.b6 f6 47.Ra7+ Kg6 48.Rb7 f5 49.Rb8 Rb2 50.b7 Kg7 51.Kf3 Rb4 52.h5 Kh7 53.Ke3 Kg7 54.Kd3 Rb2 55.Kd4 Rxf2 56.Rc8 1-0
Gosling,H – Wagstaff,RA [A41]
W&WCC Championship 1953-54 – Play-off 2
1.Nf3 d6 2.c4 g6 3.d4 Bg7 4.Nc3 Nc6 5.b3 Bg4 6.e3 e5 7.Be2 exd4 8.exd4 Qd7 9.Be3 Nge7 10.h3 Bxf3 11.Bxf3 Nf5 12.Bg4 Ncxd4 13.Bxd4 Bxd4 14.Rc1 Bxc3+ 15.Rxc3 Qe7+ 16.Kf1 Kf8 17.Bxf5 gxf5 18.Re3 Qf6 19.f4 Re8 20.Rxe8+ Kxe8 21.g3 Rg8 22.Rh2 Kd7 23.Rg2 Re8 24.b4 Qe6 25.Qc1 Qe3 26.Qd1 b6 27.Qb1 Re4 28.c5 bxc5 29.bxc5 Qxc5 30.Rc2 Rc4 31.Rxc4 Qxc4+ 32.Kf2 Qd4+ 33.Kf1 Ke6 34.h4 Qe4 35.Qb3+ d5 36.Kf2 Qd4+ 37.Kg2 Qb6 38.Qc2 d4 39.Qe2+ Kd7 40.Qe5 Qc6+ 41.Kh2 Qe4 42.Qb5+ Kd6 43.Qa6+ Qc6 44.Qxa7 Qc2+ 45.Kh3 Qc5 46.Qa8 Qd5 47.Qd8+ Kc6 48.Qa8+ Kc5 49.Qa7+ Kd6 50.Qa6+ Ke7 51.Qa3+ Ke8 52.Qa4+ Kf8 53.Qd1 d3 54.h5 d2 55.a4 Qd3 56.a5 c5 57.a6 Qxa6 58.Qxd2 Qf6 59.Qc2 Qc6 60.Qxf5 ½-½
Wagstaff,RA – Gosling,H [D24]
W&WCC Championship 1953-54 – Play-off 3
1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 dxc4 4.Nc3 a6 5.a4 Bf5 6.e3 Bd3 7.Bxd3 cxd3 8.Qxd3 c5 9.0-0 cxd4 10.exd4 Nc6 11.Bf4 g6 12.d5 Nb4 13.Qc4 Nbxd5 14.Rad1 e6 15.Rfe1 Be7 16.Bh6 Qc8 17.Qxc8+ Rxc8 18.Nxd5 Nxd5 19.Bg7 Rg8 20.Bh6 Nf6 21.Rc1 Rxc1 22.Rxc1 Kd8 23.Ne5 Ke8 24.Rc8+ Bd8 25.Bg5 Ke7 26.Rb8 h6 27.Bxh6 Nd5 28.Bd2 Rg7 29.Rxb7+ Kf6 30.Nc6 Bc7 31.Rxc7 Rg8 32.Ra7 Rc8 33.Rxa6 Kf5 34.Bc3 Ke4 35.f3+ Kf5 36.Kf2 g5 37.g4+ Kg6 38.Ne5+ Kf6 39.Nd7+ Ke7 40.Nb6 Rd8 41.Nxd5+ Rxd5 42.a5 e5 43.Rb6 f6 44.a6 1-0
Gosling,H – Wagstaff,RA [B06]
W&WCC Championship 1953-54 – Play-off 4
1.e4 d6 2.d4 g6 3.b3 Bg7 4.Bb2 c5 5.c3 Qa5 6.Qd2 cxd4 7.cxd4 Qxd2+ 8.Nxd2 Nc6 9.Bb5 Bd7 10.Bxc6 Bxc6 11.Rb1 Nf6 12.f3 0-0 13.Ne2 d5 14.e5 Nd7 15.Ba3 Rfe8 16.f4 f6 17.0-0 fxe5 18.fxe5 Bb5 19.Rfe1 Bh6 20.Nf3 Rac8 21.Bc1 Bxc1 22.Nxc1 Rc2 23.Rd1 Rec8 24.Ne1 R2c3 25.a4 Ba6 26.Na2 R3c7 27.Nb4 e6 28.Nxa6 bxa6 29.a5 Rb7 30.Rb2 Rb5 31.b4 Rc4 32.Nc2 Rc3 33.Kf2 Nb8 34.Ke2 Nc6 35.Kd2 Rc4 36.Rdb1 Rb7 37.Kd3 Kg7 38.b5 axb5 39.Rxb5 Rxb5 40.Rxb5 Kh6 41.Rc5? Nxe5+ 42.Kd2 Nc6 43.Rxc4 dxc4 44.a6 Kg5 45.Kc3 Kf4 46.Kxc4 Ke4 47.Kc5 Nb8 48.Nb4 g5 49.Kd6 h6 50.Kc7 Nxa6+ 51.Nxa6 Kxd4 52.Nb4 e5 53.Nc6+ Kd5 54.Nxa7 e4 55.Nb5 e3 56.Nc3+ Kd4 57.Ne2+ Kd3 58.Ng1 e2 59.Nxe2 Kxe2 60.g3 Kf3 61.Kd6 Kg2 62.Ke5 Kxh2 63.g4 Kg3 64.Kf5 Kf3 65.Kg6 Kxg4 66.Kxh6 Kh4 0-1