A post dedicated to the English GM John Nunn, who turned 68 this week

A post dedicated to the English GM John Nunn, who turned 68 this week:

Be it general attributes like concentration and patience or more specific abilities involving visualization and strategy, more often than not, the skills one picks up from playing chess translate to other pursuits of knowledge and life. Those who attain a degree of proficiency in chess are apt to also excel in disciplines and careers other than chess. Unsurprisingly, gifted individuals abound in the chess community. One finds outstanding professionals in virtually every field: science, art, education, medicine, you name it. Nonetheless, if there is one person who commands more respect for their scholarship and intelligence than anyone else, one star that outshines all the rest in the galaxy, it is John Denis Martin Nunn.

An over-the-board Grandmaster, a three-time world champion in chess solving, and a brilliant mathematician, John Nunn is one of those rare, versatile geniuses who seem to condense into one life several lifetimes of learning. Nunn was among the world’s top ten chess players in his prime. He became the European Junior Chess Champion in 1975, clinched individual gold medals at the chess Olympiad twice, and won the prestigious Hoogovens tournament in 1982, 1990, and 1991. Yet competitive chess is but one of the many areas of his mastery. He wrote his doctoral thesis in Algebraic Topology when he was only 23 and worked as a math lecturer at Oxford before switching to a full-time career in chess. A phenomenal solver, he also won the World Chess Solving Championship three times—in 2004, 2007, and 2010. And if these achievements are not enough, he is also a prolific chess author; widely considered among the best of our times, his all-encompassing understanding allows him to write about almost every aspect of the game with equal authority.

Looking at his multifaceted career (as a player, solver, academic, author, and researcher), one cannot help but wonder what he could have achieved had he invested his energies solely in competitive chess. Could he have become the World Chess Champion? We will never know the answer to that. However, one thing is for certain, there will be many world champions in chess, but there can only ever be one John Nunn. His legacy is one of a kind.

Chessbase India