Click to follow
I WAS very sorry to hear of the death a week ago today of Mrs

Rowena Bruce, at the age of 80.

Mrs Bruce was born in Plymouth on 15 May 1919; when I spoke to Bob Wade he recalled playing a live chess game with her on Plymouth Hoe on Coronation Day in 1953. At the age of 10 she was taught chess while convalescing from an operation - her mother was Mary Dew, herself a former Devon Ladies' Champion - and progressed quickly to become the World Girls' Champion in 1935 and the British Women's Champion for the first time two years later.

She went on to win the British title under her married name a further 10 times (sometimes shared) between 1950 and 1969, represented Great Britain in matches against the Soviet Union and the Netherlands and progressed as far as the Women's World Championship Candidates' Tournament in 1952 in Moscow, where she came 12th out of 16.

Together with her husband Ron Bruce, whom she married in 1940, she was very active in chess organisation for more than a quarter of a century and they were jointly honoured with a British Chess Federation president's award for services to chess in 1984.

In a Modern Defence White closed the centre with 9 d5 at a bad time - the pieces are badly placed, especially the d2 knight which wants to be on c3 behind a c4 pawn.

Black quickly got in 11 ...f5 and had a big advantage after the exchange on e4, which became a whole pawn and lines against the white king just a few moves later.

26 dxe4! was more an execution than a sacrifice, and Mrs Bruce finished off snappily.

White: L.M. Hogarth

Black: Rowena Bruce

Modern Defence

And a powerful display on the white side of a King's Indian eight years earlier. Black was already in terrible trouble after 16 c5! and Mrs Bruce slaughtered her on the black squares.

White: Rowena Bruce

Black: J.F. Doulton

19 c4 cxd5

20 cxd5 Qf7

21 Nbd2 Qxd5

22 Ne4 Bc6

23 Nfd2 Qf7

24 f3 Rd8

25 Rg3 d5

26 Qd3 dxe4!

27 Qxd8 exf3

28 Nf1 Qc4

29 Be3 f2+

30 Kh2 e4

31 Rg2 Be5+

32 Kh1 Rf3

33 Qd2 Rxh3+

34 Rh2 Qxf1+

35 Rxf1 Rxh2


1 e4 g6

2 Nf3 Bg7

3 c3 d6

4 d4 Nf6

5 Nbd2 0-0

6 Be2 Nbd7

7 0-0 e5

8 Qc2 Qe7

9 d5?! Ne8

10 Nb3 h6

11 h3 f5

12 Kh1 Ndf6

13 Bd3 fxe4

14 Bxe4 Nxe4

15 Qxe4 Bf5

16 Qe2 g5

17 g4 Bd7

18 Rg1 c6

1 Nf3 Nf6

2 g3 g6

3 Bg2 Bg7

4 0-0 d6

5 d4 0-0

6 c4 Nbd7

7 Nc3 e5

8 e4 exd4

9 Nxd4 Nc5

10 Nb3 Nfd7

11 Be3 Nxb3

12 axb3 a5

13 Qc2 c6

14 Rfd1 Ne5

15 h3 f5

16 c5 fxe4

17 Rxd6 Qe8

18 Nxe4 Nf3+

19 Kh1 Be5

20 Qc4+ Kg7

21 Rad1 Bxd6

22 Rxd6 Rf7

23 Bxf3 Rxf3

24 Qd4+ Kg8

25 Rd8 Be6

26 Rxe8+ Rxe8

27 Bh6 Re7

28 Qd8+ 1-0