Scottish Championship 1938

Scotsman, Friday, 15 April 1938

The 51st annual congress of the Scottish Chess Association commences at the Edinburgh Ladies' Chess Club, 1 Torphichen Place, to-day. The competitions comprise the Scottish, the ladies' and the boys' championships, and major and minor events. Play in the first round of all the competitions starts at 9.30 a.m., and the second round pairings meet at 5.30 p.m. To-morrow, at 2.30 p.m., there will be a knock-out handicap lightning tournament, open to non-members of the Association, and entry may be made at the Congress rooms on Saturday forenoon.

The Scottish Championship promises to be one of the most interesting of the series, due to the entry of a number of young players who are competing for the first time. These are Messrs N. Bernstein, A.G. Burnett, R.D. Dykes, N.A. Perkins, and J. Wilkes. N. Bernstein is an American, studying at Edinburgh University; N.A. Perkins has just taken up a service post in Edinburgh after an Oxford University training (which included playing in their chess team); A.G. Burnett is the well-known ex-boy champion; while Messrs Dykes and Wilkes are keen players of considerable experience in local league matches and Stockbridge Chess Club events.

Against this influx of fresh aspirants will be placed the seasoned experience of such experts as W.A. Fairhurst (the champion and also British champion), J.M. Aitken (1935 champion), G. Page (1925), H.A. Turriff, and Dr R.C. Macdonald [champion in 1901, 1904-5-6, 1927-8 - AMcG]. It is several years since such a strong entry has competed.

Scottish ch 1938 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Pts
  1. W.A. Fairhurst 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 8
  2. J.M. Aitken 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 7
  3. N. Bernstein 0 0 1 1 1 1 5
  4. G. Page 0 0 1 1 1 1 5
  5. N.A. Perkins 0 1 0 1 1 0 4
  6. A.G. Burnett 0 0 1 4
  7. H.A. Turriff 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 3
  8. J. Wilkes 0 0 0 0 1 3
  9. R.D. Dykes 0 0 0 0 0 2
10. Dr R.C. Macdonald 0 0 R R 1 R R 2

R Retired, and the games unplayed or unfinished (Dr Macdonald)

 Glasgow Herald, Thursday, 21 April 1938

W.A. Fairhurst ( Glasgow ) won the Scottish Chess Championship in Edinburgh yesterday for the sixth time. Fairhurst, who is also British Champion, won in 1932, 1933, 1934, 1936, and 1937.

Second prize was won by J.M. Aitken (Lochgelly), and third and fourth prizes were shared by N. Bernstein ( Edinburgh ) and G. Page (Edinburgh). A special prize for the best game played will be awarded later.


The final round was interesting, because the four players who alone could share in the four prizes were drawn among each other, Bernstein and Aitken having the move against Fairhurst and Page respectively.

Both games were worthy of the occasion. Fairhurst, from a Bird's Opening, gained a pawn and had two Bishops against two Knights.

From these advantages he built a blockade, and finally won with the temporary sacrifice of the exchange, leading to the unltimate gain of a piece, in a deep combination.

Page, against Aitken, played a variation of the Lopez, in which he gave up a pawn for an attacking position, and for some time looked like making a very bad bargain of his speculation.

He sprang a surprise, however, by giving up a Bishop on his 20th move, which led to some very complicated situations and narrow escapes for both players. Even then it was thought that Aitken could still win, but Page forced a draw by perpetual check on move 35.

Dykes v. Perkins and Burnett v. Wilkes were drawn. Turriff scored against Dr Macdonald, who retired, the doctor also forfeiting unfinished games against Wilkes and Bernstein.

This completed the tournament, except for the unfinished game from the seventh round between the two leaders. Play was resumed, and after over 60 moves Aitken had the satisfaction of being the only player to defeat Fairhurst, whose winning margin was reduced to half a point.

NOTE: Two years previously, in the 1936 championship, Aitken had also defeated Fairhurst, and looked to be in a good position to win the event. However, George Page spoiled things for him by winning their game, and Aitken also dropped another half point, while Fairhurst made a clean sweep of all his games after his only loss. Page did not win this time, but the draw was enough to pull Aitken back because of an earlier loss to Perkins .

Glasgow Herald, Saturday, April 23, 1938

At the annual meeting of the Association held on Monday Mr F.S. Teunon, Aberdeen , was elected president, and Miss M.D. Gilchrist, Edinburgh, vice-president. Mrs Ritchie and Mr R.R. Stevenson, Edinburgh, and Mrs Reid and Mr W.M. Inverarity, Glasgow , were elected to vacant places on the council, and D.M. MacIsaac, 186 Eglinton Street , Glasgow C.5, succeeds Mr Nichol as secretary and treasurer.

The 1939 congress will be held at Easter in Aberdeen , on the invitation of Bon-Accord C.C.

Scotland has been invited to compete at the 1939 FIDE meeting to be held next April at Buenos Aires, the Argentine Association being prepared to pay the expenses from and to the port of embarkation for six players; but, as it is not likely that a team will be found who can spare the two months or so necessary for a congress in Argentina, this invitation may have to be declined.

Note re the 1939 Olympiad:

Scotland did indeed attempt to form a team for the event. Team selections were made, but withdrawals and a change of dates plagued the plans. As a result, Scotland withdrew their entry. We will cover this in greater depth in a later feature A. McGowan.

J.M. Aitken - G. Page,G [C71]
Scottish Championship Edinburgh (9), 1938
Notes from the Scotsman of 21 April 1938. 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 d6 5 d4 b5 6 Bb3 Na5 Giving up the KP to get rid of the bishop. 7 dxe5 Nxb3 8 axb3 Bb7 9 exd6 Bxd6 10 0-0 f6 Black's scheme is now clear. 11 Nc3 Ne7 12 Qe2 0-0 13 Be3 Qe8 14 Ne1 Qg6 15 f3 Rae8 [ Missing a chance. 15 ..f5 at once was best.] 16 Nd3! c6 To give the KB a retreat and keep command of Q4. 17 f4 f5 18 e5 Bb8 19 Nc5 Bc8 20 Rfd1 Bxe5 A bombshell for White. 21 fxe5 f4 22 Rd6 To get quit of Black's dangerous B-Kt5. 22 ..Qg5 23 N5e4 Qxe5 24 Bd4 Qf5 25 Qf2 b4! Another surprise. 26 Bxg7! Kxg7 [ 26 ..bxc3 was also considered.] 27 Qd4+ Kg8 28 Nf6+ Rxf6 29 Rxf6 Qxc2! 30 Qc4+ Kh8 31 Qd4! [ Realising that 31 Qf7 is met by 31 ..Rg8 and Black wins.] 31 ..Kg8 32 Ne4 Nd5 33 Re1 Rxe4 34 Rxe4 Nxf6 35 Re7 [ 35 Qd8+ Kg7 36 Re7+ Kg6! and Black is safe.] 35 ..Qc1+ 36 Kf2 Ng4+ 37 Ke2 Qc2+ Drawn by perpetual check. ½-½

Compiled by
Alan McGowan
Historian/archivist, Chess Scotland

Updated 30/4/2020