Saturday, 19 May 2007

Charles Watson

During the week a review copy of Capablanca In The United Kingdom (1911-1920) by Vlastimil Fiala turned up in my mailbox. A review of this book will appear in time (in Australian Correspondence Chess Quarterly), but it did trigger my memory of the Australian chess player Charles Watson.
While Watson isn't a forgotten figure in Australian Chess, the fact that he only played one international tournament, and was soon overshadowed by the next generation of players (Purdy, Koshnitsky, Steiner), means that his career is often overlooked when discussing great Australian chess players.
His one international tournament was the 1922 London International Chess Congress, which was won by Capablanca, with Alekhine second and Vidmar 3rd. Watson himself finished 15th in the field of 16 (with 4.5 points), but did score wins over Marotti (ITA), Morrison (CAN), many times British Champion H.E Atkins (GBR), and most famously Richard Reti (CZE).
Here is his game against Capablanca, which may have been the first between an Australian player and a reigning World Champion.

Watson,C - Capablanca,J [D02]
London London (12), 1922

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d4 d5 3.Bf4 c5 4.e3 Nc6 5.c3 Qb6 6.Qc1 Bf5 7.Nh4 Be4 8.Nd2 e6 9.f3 Bg6 10.Nxg6 hxg6 11.Nb3 c4 12.Nd2 Nh5 13.Be2 Nxf4 14.exf4 Bd6 15.g3 g5 16.Qc2 gxf4 17.0-0-0 Qa5 18.Bxc4 dxc4 19.Nxc4 Qd5 20.Qb3 0-0-0 21.Nxd6+ Qxd6 22.g4 Rh3 23.Rhf1 Rxh2 24.Qa4 Rdh8 25.Qb5 Qd5 26.Qa4 Rg2 27.Qa3 Rhh2 28.Rd3 Rc2+ 29.Kd1 Qc4 30.Qf8+ Kc7 31.Qxf7+ Kb6 32.Qg6 Qxa2 0-1

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