(1880 - 1948)

photo about 1936

Huxley St John-Brooks was the 1936 Durban champion. According to his gravestone, Frederick Huxley St John-Brooks was born in Dublin on 17th December 1880 and died in Cape Town on 26th August 1948. The Cape Town archives have an estate file in 1948 in the name of Frederick Charles Huxley BROOKS, but it appears that he was usually referred to as Huxley St John-Brooks.

Huxley travelled from London to Durban in 1933, together with his wife Evelyn Louise (nee Hewett). According to the Who's Who of 1947/48, his father was a Professor of Anatomy at Dublin University, whereas his wife's family were from Hong Kong and Shanghai. One branch of the St John-Brooks family settled in England in the 1920's, and there is also evidence of an American branch.

It was not his first visit to South Africa. As a young man he served as a Second Lieutenant in Natal Command from 1901 to 1902, and was in the Transvaal from 1902 to 1905. He was educated at Trinity College in Dublin and a Lecturer on Chemistry (metallurgical engineering) by profession.

Len Reitstein's book "A History of Chess in Southern Africa" devoted several pages to his chess career - refer to pages 78 to 81 as well as pages 135 to 136. There were two main reasons for this extensive coverage. Firstly, St John-Brooks founded the SA Correspondence Chess Association in 1934, an organisation that has continued to the present day, and is now affiliated to the ICCF (International Correspondence Chess Federation). Secondly, he founded the monthly "South African Chess Magazine" which ran from November 1934 until his death in August 1948. The magazine contained regular reports on correspondence chess, as well as local and international chess news. Today the magazine is a collectors item.


My thanks to Sarel Steel, who sent me these games from the pages of the "South African Chess Magazine" for 1937:

[Event "Championship"] [Site "Durban"] [Date "1937.??.??"] [Round "6"] [White "St John Brooks, Huxley"] [Black "McBride, William E"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "?"] [BlackElo "?"] 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 g6 5.d3 Bg7 6.Nge2 0-0 7.0-0 Nc6 8.f4 a6 9.f5 Qc7 10.Bd2 b5 11.a3 Bb7 12.fxg6 hxg6 13.Qc1 e5 $2 14.Bg5 $1 Nh7 15.Nd5 Qd7 $1 16.Nf6+ Bxf6 17.Bxf6 Nxf6 18.Rxf6 Nd4 $2 19.Nxd4 cxd4 20.Qh6! Bc8 21.Raf1 Qe7 22.h4 Ra7 23.h5 Bf5 24.R1xf5 $1 gxf5 25.Qg5+ 1-0 [Event "Championship"] [Site "Durban"] [Date "1937.??.??"] [Round "1"] [White "Archer snr, Jack"] [Black "St John Brooks, Huxley"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "?"] [BlackElo "?"] 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d4 e6 3.Bg5 d5 4.e3 Nbd7 5.Nbd2 Be7 6.Bd3 c5 7.c3 b6 8.0-0 0-0 9.Re1 Bb7 10.Rc1 Ne4 11.Bxe7 Qxe7 12.Qc2 f5 13.c4 Rac8 14.b3 Ndf6 15.Qb2 Ba8 16.Ne5 Nd7 17.Nxd7 Qxd7 18.Nf3 Qb7 19.Ne5 f4 20.f3 Nd6 21.Qc2 g6 22.Ng4 Qg7 23.Ne5 fxe3 24.dxc5 bxc5 25.Rxe3 d4 26.Ree1 Nf5 27.Bxf5 $1 exf5 28.Nd3 Qc7 29.Re5 $1 Qb6 30.Rce1 Bb7 $2 31.Qc1 Kg7 32.Qa3 Rf7 33.Kf1 Rfc7 34.Re6 Rc6 $2 35.Re7+ Kf6 36.Qc1 R8c7 37.R7e5 Rd6 38.Qf4 Bc8 39.Qh4+ 1-0

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