Comins Mansfield

14 June 1896, Witheridge, England - 28 March 1984, Paignton, England.

Comins Mansfield, from Schach-Echo 1959, p. 335.

  • International Judge of Chess Compositions 1957.
  • International Master of Chess Composition 1959.
  • International Grandmaster of Chess Composition 1972.

Mr Mansfield moved to Glasgow in 1935 for business reasons (he worked for W. D. & H. O. Wills and was transferred to the local firm), and joined Glasgow Chess Club. He played for Glasgow CC in League matches, and he was on the team that won the Richardson Cup 1938. Mansfield was also Glasgow CC Champion and West of Scotland Champion in 1939.

Although a strong over-the-board player, Mansfield is better known in the area of chess compositions, regarded in particular as the greatest composer in the field of two-movers. He is the author of Adventures in Composition, a guide to the art of composing. He was president of the FIDE Commission for Chess Compositions for eight years. When he was awarded the IGM title for Chess Composition in 1972, he was one of only four to receive the title.

While living in Glasgow, Mansfield submitted a problem to the competition held alongside the Munich International Team Tournament of 1936 ('The Extra Olympiad'). He was awarded 1st prize, but the German organisers were reluctant to pay him as there were currency restrictions in place at the time. Instead of following their recommendations to take a holiday in the Baltic, he wrote to Adolf Hitler directly, and soon received his prize money.

As a member of Glasgow CC he inspired others to take an interest in chess composition, in particular Tom Russell and Norman Macleod. The latter became so successful in the field that he himself was awarded the IGM title, albeit posthumously.

Books about Mansfield: A Genius of the Two-mover (1936), by A.C. White; Comins Mansfield MBE: Chess problems of a Grandmaster (1976), by B.P. Barnes.


Alan McGowan
Historian, Chess Scotland