Chess Bundesliga 2001 at Solingen
|Full name||Julian Michael Hodgson|
25 July 1963 |
St Asaph, Wales
|FIDE rating||2609 (December 2014)|
|Peak rating||2640 (July 2000)|
Hodgson was born in St Asaph, Wales. He first came to the notice of the chess world for his phenomenal prowess as a junior; he was London under-18 champion at 12 years of age and won the British Boys under-21 title aged just 14.
International Master and Grandmaster titles followed in 1983 and 1988 respectively. Tournament successes, either shared or outright, included second place Lloyds Bank Open 1986: first place Benidorm 1986: first place Geneva Open 1988: second place Tel Aviv 1988: first place Kecskemét 1988 and first place Dos Hermanas 1989. At San Bernardino 1989, he finished first on tie-break, ahead of strong grandmasters Kiril Georgiev and Ivan Sokolov. A frequent visitor to Spain's Seville Open, he shared first place in 1986 and 1988. At the Philadelphia World Open of 1990, he was runner-up behind Igor Glek.
In domestic competition, Hodgson competed regularly at the British Chess Championship, bagging the Champion's title on four occasions (1991, 1992, 1999, and 2000). By 2000, he was so at home with the event that he even brought his own executive chair with him, wheeling it from board to board for maximum comfort. On those occasions that he did not play, his live commentary sessions and evening lectures were well received by amateurs and competing masters alike.
In international team chess, he played for the English Olympiad team, winning the bronze team medal at Novi Sad 1990, and an individual silver medal at Manila 1992. The Manila success followed a notable win earlier in the year, at the colossal Open tournament held annually in Cappelle-la-Grande.
In 1997 he won the Canadian Open Chess Championship, and was joint winner of the National Open in Las Vegas. At Oxford in 1998, he shared victory with Jonny Hector, ahead of John Nunn and Emil Sutovsky. He was the winner of the North American Open in 1999 and in the millennium year, recorded his peak Elo rating of 2640. A return visit to the World Open saw him finish a half point behind the leaders. In 2001, he was a joint winner of the Chicago Open with Alexander Goldin.
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Aside from more formal achievements, he developed a sharp, relentless, attacking style of play and against lesser opponents this frequently resulted in devastating quick wins, earning him the epithet "Grandmaster of Disaster".
Julian ("Jules") Hodgson's greatest legacy as a chess player may however lie in his resurrection of an almost forgotten opening system. The Trompowsky Attack (1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5) had floundered in the doldrums for many years, prior to his adoption and development of the opening. In interviews, he reveals that this was born out of laziness and a reluctance to learn established chess opening theory. It soon became his weapon of choice with the white pieces, leading to a surprising popularisation of the system, the spawning of a whole generation of devotees and ironically, a number of theoretical guides, containing a high quota of Hodgson's own games and analysis. Indeed, his expert treatment of the system once prompted fellow grandmaster Joe Gallagher to write that it should be renamed the Hodgson-Trompowsky Attack, a view shared by many other masters. A chess journalist once wrote that Hodgson put the 'romp' into Trompowsky.
A related, but more obscure version of the system (1.d4 d5 2. Bg5), has been dubbed by some the Hodgson Attack and by others the Pseudo-Trompowsky or Queen's Bishop Attack.
As an author of chess books and magazine articles, his writing style conveys the same enthusiasm as his lectures. He is perhaps most renowned for his Attack with Julian Hodgson series of books, but was also a busy contributor to the Trends series of chess opening booklets and also the Foxy Openings (VHS, later converted to DVD) series, including Trompowski-Main Line and Trompowski Success. His more major written works comprise:
- Grand Prix Attack: f4 Against the Sicilian, Collier Books, 1985, ISBN 0-02-011430-3
- Chess Traveller's Quiz Book. Cadogan Chess, London 1993, ISBN 1-85744-030-7
- Quick Chess Knockouts. Everyman Chess, 1996, ISBN 1-85744-045-5
- Attack with GM Julian Hodgson, Vol. 1. Hodgson Enterprises, London 1996, ISBN 0-9529373-0-1
- Attack with GM Julian Hodgson, Vol. 2. Hodgson Enterprises, London 1997, ISBN 0-9529373-1-X
- Secrets of the Trompovsky. Hodgson Enterprises, London 1997, ISBN 0-9529373-2-8
- British Chess Magazine February 1999, No.2, Vol. 119 - Oxford International Chess Festival pp 74–83.