Long Chess Game

Munro MacLennan and Lawrence Grant began a game of chess in 1926, while students at Aberdeen University in Scotland. However, it was an unusual game because they agreed to make only one move a year. Whoever's turn it was would write their move on a postcard and send it to their opponent at Christmas.

In 1961, 35 years later, they were still playing the game, which got them a bit of media attention. They predicted they would be done with the game around 1975. However, I've haven't been able to find any report about whether they actually did finish and, if so, who won.

The Melbourne Age - Aug 8, 1961

The Melbourne Age - Jun 26, 1963

     Posted By: Alex - Thu Feb 02, 2017
     Category: Games

You know what's the weirdest thing about that illustration? That chessboard is a) the right size, and b) the right way 'round!

Seriously, go have a look. All too often a chess board in an illustration that isn't in a publication specifically about chess (and sadly, all too often on the covers of more amateur chess books, as well), the board is wrong. Quite often it's 6 by 8, or 7 by 9, or some other variation on "not a square". And if the illustrator has done half his homework and it is an 8 by 8 square, more often than not - it should be 50/50, but it seems to be worse than that! - the board is positioned so that the queen does not start on her own colour.
In fact, this is still a slightly unusual board - the "squares" aren't, they're oblong - but I'll be gracious and blame that on wonky perspective.
Posted by Richard Bos in The Netherlands on 02/03/17 at 07:34 AM
Says here that MacLennan died in Canada in 1975. No mention of the chess game, nor of Sydney. But the birth year and the 1927 move to Canada seem to match up. https://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/literaryarchives/027011-200.082-e.html.

This mentions the chess game, and claims the game went into the 1980s. But it is unannotated, and seems to have been translated from a Japanese source. https://yutethebeaute.wordpress.com/2015/03/13/the-longest-chess-game-ever/
Posted by Frank P on 02/03/17 at 01:06 PM
Frank -- Nice detective work! The Canadian library archive is a pretty credible source, so I think we can take their word for it that MacLennan died in 1975. Which means that the last move of the chess game probably took place in Christmas 1974? Unless Grant died even earlier.

Either way, given that there's no newspaper record of them finishing the game, I'm guessing one of them died before the game was over.
Posted by Alex on 02/04/17 at 07:31 AM
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