The British School

‘The British School is characterized by a great show of brilliancy. No idea is too bizarre for them, no concept too fantastic. They are hard workers, to be sure, but rather bent on finding new sensational effects than on constructing something useful. For the main characteristic of the British School is its total lack of reliability.’

J.H. Donner

De Volkskrant, 7 November 1981, reproduced in The King: Chess Pieces (New In Chess, 2008, p.353)

Although it’s not clear which players he had in mind, Donner singles out Michael Stean, one of Korchnoi’s  seconds in his World Championship match with Karpov. ‘Even within the British School, this Stean stands out for the boldness of his ideas and for the sort of onslaughts that may be highly successful against second-rank players but are bound to fail hopelessly at world-championship level.’

Here’s a lesser-known Brit from that era proving useful against a former World Champion. The game, which caused a sensation at the time, must rank as one of the biggest upsets by a British player.

More Donner wisdom

Photo of Donner in 1978 by Bert Verhoeff


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