Reports | August 04, 2010 21:03

A call to arms

A call to armsOn Monday Leonard Barden's chess column was discontinued in the London Evening Standard. It had appeared daily virtually continuously for over 50 years. Now it has been relegated to the online version of the newspaper. Join the support.

80-year-old Leonard Barden was described by Brian Walden as the man who 'has done more for British chess than anybody since our famous 19th century champion, Howard Staunton'. Barden has been writing a column for the London Evening Standard for over 50 years, but apparently his last column for the paper version appeared last Monday. Now it has been relegated to the online version of the newspaper.

British chess fans have now sent out 'a call to arms' to prevent this.

Even if you never see the column, you should be able to appreciate that this is a serious blow to chess in this country. We get little enough publicity as it is and Leonard has been one of our greatest popularisers of the game. He deserves our support.

On previous occasions, when faced by such threats, we have mounted successful campaigns to reinstate columns. Please write to the Evening Standard in your own words decrying their act of vandalism. The contact details are:

Editor Geordie Greig
Evening Standard, PO Box 2309, London W8 5EE

Barden, born 20 August 1929 in Croydon, London, has been writing about chess for over half a century. Luckily his column in the Guardian is still going strong. On Christmas Eve 2009 this newspaper established a world record by publishing its weekly Leonard Barden chess column, the latest in an unbroken sequence of 54 years and 3 months.


Share |
Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Stephen's picture

This is outrageous. It's like the Times discontinuing the crossword.

noyb's picture

I emailed the LES. Here's wishing the best for Mr. Barden's column.

Clearbrook's picture

Maybe something like Re6:+.

john's picture

yeah i think printed newspapers are having a tough time. they will be cutting more than this before they are back in profit.

WGIFM's picture

That column is gone, but we have plenty of chess blogs. Chess journalism should change along with the changing media. I do not see any vandalism here.

Kieran's picture

I can't help feeling that most of the newspaper columns a quite lame. The only good ones i have seen in the UK were by Speelman, and for a short while some in the Guardian. Can't say I'm going to miss it much

test's picture

I can't help but feel the same way.
Chess aficionados will already have seen whatever they -usually only summarily- write about and people who are not interested in chess will not be interested no matter what.

Peter Doggers's picture

I believe there's still a group of chess enthusiasts who are not experts, not club members, but still like to read about it. They are the potential new club members, the potential sponsors even, who can become more interested in chess by columns like these. This alone is a good reason to have a chess column in a big newspaper.

Someone's picture

"Vandalism" Give me a break. Economics - Chess columns do not generate ad or circulation revenues. Print Newspapers are dying.

hansie's picture

This is a sign of things to come. Whenever a newspaper has sacrificed its chess column it has meant that its position is in shambles. I give the 'Standard' five years. It will cease to exist as a print newspaper in 2016 AD.

Latest articles