John Montgomerie

4 September 1911 - 21 July 1995

Montgomerie's chess was mostly played in England, for he stayed there after the completion of his studies at Oxford University. He participated in Oxford v Cambridge matches in the years 1931 through 1934, and represented Oxfordshire in County matches. Later, though, he would represent Hertfordshire in County play. In tournament play, Montgomerie took part in the British Chess Federation Congress in London in1932, playing in the First Class Tournament, Section 'A'. He was outright 1st, scoring 9/11. [Incidentally, at the same Congress, Peter Reid won the First Class Section 'C' tournament, and N.A. Perkins, a fellow Oxford student, won the Third Class Division 1 Tournament. Montgomerie and Reid would play on the Scottish team at the 1937 Olympiad, and Perkins was on the 1958 team at Munich.] he was also Hertfordshire champion in 1935 and 1939.

Montgomerie came back to Glasgow to take part in the 1937 Scottish Championship, taking second place behind Fairhurst. Later the same year, he was selected for the Scottish team for the Stockholm Olympiad. This was Montgomerie’s baptism of fire in international chess, and the only occasion when he represented the country in over-the-board play. Scotland finished last, and from his sixteen games Montgomerie scored one win, one draw and fourteen losses. However, the one win was an excellently played game against C.H.O'D. Alexander in a drawn match with England.

In the post-war years, Mongomerie’s career in law kept him busy, but he retained his interest in all aspects of the game. He became noted as a composer of chess problems and wrote a delightful book The Quiet Game (Davis-Poynter, London 1972). All royalties from sales of the book were to be given to the Friends of Chess.

Source: The Problemist November 1995 [courtesy of John Beasley]: 'Mr Montgomerie was born in Glasgow, and educated at Fettes College, Edinburgh, and Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He was called to the Bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1935. During the war he served with the Royal Artillery and in Allied Military Government and was senior legal officer, Cologne. In the 1950s he edited a number of standard texts for Butterworths, such as **Rent control**, **Elements of mercantile law** and **Tophams company law**. In 1960 he changed from barrister to solicitor and joined the London practice of Goodman Derrick, working for and with the redoubtable Lord Goodman. He was chairman of the Arts Council working party whose report (**The obscenity laws**, *Andre Deutsch*, 1969) recommended the repeal of the Obscene Publications Acts. He stood as a Liberal parliamentary candidate at Hastings (1955) and Sutton & Cheam (1959 and 1964) [...] In later life, he and his family (wife and 3 daughters) moved from Sutton down to the Winchester area. Chess-wise, he was a strong player; he played Board 2 for Scotland at the Stockholm Olympiad of 1937, and was champion of Hertfordshire in 1935 and 1939.'

Photo credit: By Erich Averbach, from The Quiet Game, Davis-Poynter Limited, London, 1972.

Alan McGowan
Historian, Chess Scotland