John Nunn

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John Nunn [1]

John Denis Martin Nunn,
a British former world top ten (1989 rating of 2620) chess grandmaster [2], chess composer and three-time world champion in chess problem solving, chess writer, publisher and director of Gambit Publications, mathematician with a Ph.D. in 1978 at the age of 23 on algebraic topology [3], and polymath. He has been involved in information extraction and data mining from endgame tablebases, as lectured at the Advances in Computer Chess 7 conference [4] and published in the ICCA Journal [5]. Concerning computer chess, John Nunn served as tournament director at the 4th European MCC 1983, and played against chess programs at four Aegon Tournaments, 1992, 1993 (tied with winner David Bronstein), 1994 (tied with winner Larry Christiansen), and 1995. His 10 and later 20 opening proposals as published by Computerschach und Spiele were used in engine testing and matches [6]. In 2013 [7], Nunn applied the 7-piece Lomonosov Tablebases to R+2P vs. R+P positions from the famous book Rook Endings, 2nd edition, by Levenfish and Smyslov [8], which was assumed to contain the truth and, owing to Nunn, this is no longer so.


England 1986 Dubai.jpg

The English team in Dubai 1986 (Jonathan Speelman, Nigel Short, John Nunn, Tony Miles) [9]

Selected Games

Aegon 1994, round 2, IsiChess - John Nunn [10]

[Event "Aegon 1994"]
[Site "The Hague NED"]
[Date "1994.04.28"]
[Round "2"]
[White "IsiChess"]
[Black "John Nunn"]
[Result "0-1"]

1.e4 c5 2.f4 d5 3.exd5 Nf6 4.c4 e6 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qb3 exd5 7.cxd5 Qc7 8.Nc3 a6 9.d3 Be7 
10.Nf3 O-O 11.Be2 Re8 12.O-O b5 13.Ne5 Bd6 14.Be3 Bf5 15.a4 b4 16.Nd1 Bxe5 17.fxe5 Qxe5 
18.Bxc5 Bg4 19.Bxg4 Nxg4 20.g3 Nd7 21.Qxb4 Qh5 22.h4 Rab8 23.Qd4 Nxc5 24.Qxc5 Qe5 25.Rf4 
Qe1+ 26.Kg2 Re2+ 27.Nf2 Qxa1 28.Rxg4 Rxf2+ 29.Qxf2 Rxb2 30.Re4 Rxf2+ 31.Kxf2 f5 32.Rc4 
Qe5 33.Rc8+ Kf7 0-1

Aegon 1994, round 3, John Nunn - Quest

[Event "Aegon 1994"]
[Site "The Hague NED"]
[Date "1994.04.29"]
[Round "3"]
[White "John Nunn"]
[Black "Quest"]
[Result "1-0"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5 3.Nxe5 Qf6 4.Nc4 fxe4 5.Nc3 Qf7 6.d4 Bb4 7.Be2 Nf6 8.O-O d5 9.Ne5 Qe7 
10.Bg5 c6 11.f3 exf3 12.Rxf3 O-O 13.Qe1 Nbd7 14.Bd3 h6 15.Bh4 Bc5 16.Nxc6 bxc6 17.dxc5 
Qxc5+ 18.Bf2 Qd6 19.Bg3 Qc5+ 20.Bf2 Qd6 21.Bg3 Qc5+ 22.Qf2 Qxf2+ 23.Rxf2 Bb7 24.Re1 Rae8 
25.Rfe2 Rxe2 26.Rxe2 Kf7 27.Bf2 a6 28.Na4 Re8 29.Rxe8 Nxe8 30.Bd4 Nc7 31.Bf5 Bc8 32.Kf2 
g6 33.Bh3 Ne6 34.Ke3 Ke7 35.Bxe6 Kxe6 36.b4 Kf5 37.Bg7 h5 38.Kd4 g5 39.Nb2 Kg6 40.Bh8 h4 
41.Nd3 g4 42.g3 h3 43.a4 Kh7 44.Be5 Kg6 45.a5 Kf5 46.Bg7 Kg6 47.Bh8 Kf5 48.Nf2 Kg5 49.Nd1 
Bb7 50.Be5 Bc8 51.Ne3 Kh5 52.Bd6 Bb7 53.Be7 Ba8 54.Nf5 Kg6 55.Nd6 Kh7 56.Nf7 Kg7 57.Ne5 
Nxe5 58.Kxe5 Bb7 59.Kd6 Bc8 60.Kxc6 Kf7 61.Bc5 Ke6 62.Kb6 Kd7 63.Bd4 Kd6 64.c3 Kd7 65.b5 
axb5 66.a6 Bxa6 67.Kxa6 Ke6 68.Kxb5 Kf5 69.Kc5 Ke4 70.Kd6 Kf3 71.Ke5 Kg2 72.Kf4 Kxh2 
73.Kxg4 Kh1 74.Bg1 Kg2 75.Kh4 1-0

Aegon 1994, round 6, Zarkov 3.0 - John Nunn

[Event "Aegon 1994"]
[Site "The Hague NED"]
[Date "1994.05.04"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Zarkov 3.0"]
[Black "John Nunn"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.g3 O-O 5.Bg2 c6 6.Nc3 d5 7.cxd5 cxd5 8.Ne5 e6 9.O-O Nfd7 
10.f4 f6 11.Nxd7 Bxd7 12.Nxd5 exd5 13.Bxd5+ Kh8 14.Bxb7 Bc6 15.Bxa8 Bxa8 16.f5 Qd5 17.Rf3 
gxf5 18.Kf1 Nc6 19.Be3 Rd8 20.Qa4 f4 21.gxf4 Qh5 22.d5 Qxd5 23.Rc1 Ne7 24.Qxa7 Nf5 25.b3 
Nh4 26.Rg3 Qh1+ 27.Bg1 Nf5 28.Rg4 h5 29.Qa5 hxg4 30.Qxd8+ Kh7 31.Qb6 Kg6 32.Qf2 Bf8 33.Rc4 
Ba3 34.Ke1 Bd5 35.Rc2 Bb4+ 36.Kd1 Bxb3 37.axb3 Qd5+ 38.Kc1 Ba3+ 39.Rb2 Qxb3 40.e4 Nd6 41.Qc2 
Bxb2+ 42.Qxb2 Qc4+ 43.Kd2 Nxe4+ 44.Ke1 Kf5 45.Be3 Qd3 46.Qe2 Qb1+ 47.Qd1 Qxd1+ 48.Kxd1 Nc3+ 
49.Ke1 Nd5 50.Kf2 Nxf4 51.Kg3 Nh3 52.Bd4 Ng5 53.Bxf6 Ne4+ 54.Kh4 Nxf6 1/2-1/2

Selected Publications

1978 ...

1980 ...

1990 ...

2000 ...

2010 ...

Forum Posts

External Links


2004 ...

2010 ...

2015 ...



  1. Image by Stefan64, August 2010, Wikimedia Commons, John Nunn from Wikipedia
  2. John Nunn from Wikipedia
  3. John Nunn (1978). Some Problems in Algebraic Topology. Ph.D. thesis, University of Oxford, supervisor John R. Hubbuck
  4. John Nunn (1994). Extracting Information from Endgame Databases. Advances in Computer Chess 7
  5. John Nunn (1993). Extracting Information from Endgame Databases. ICCA Journal, Vol. 16, No. 4
  6. Nunn openings by Jouni Uski, CCC, November 07, 2005
  7. John Nunn (2013). Discoveries in R+2P vs. R+P Endings. ICGA Journal, Vol. 36, No. 3
  8. Grigory Levenfish and Vasily Smyslov (1971, 1989). Rook Endings. Batsford
  9. 27th Chess Olympiad Dubai 1986, Photographer Gerhard Hund, Wikimedia Commons
  10. IsiChess' 2nd official game. After the "sensational" win versus Lex Jongsma in round 1, IsiChess had the pleasure to play John Nunn on stage. Isi randomly uncorked one of Nunn's favourite lines in the Sicilian from its opening book, the Grand Prix Attack with 2.f4
  11. The chess games of John Nunn - Kibitzing
  12. Homotopy from Wikipedia
  13. Homotopy type theory from Wikipedia
  14. H-space from Wikipedia
  15. Jaap van den Herik, Bob Herschberg. (1993). J. Nunn: Secrets of Rook Endings. ICCA Journal, Vol. 16, No. 2
  16. Bob Herschberg, Jaap van den Herik (1994). J. Nunn: Secrets of Pawnless Endings. ICCA Journal, Vol. 17, No. 2
  17. Guy Haworth (2002). Secrets of Pawnless Endings. ICGA Journal, Vol. 25, No. 2
  18. 4218. John Nunn by Edward Winter
  19. Nunn on Understanding Chess Endgames, ChessBase News, September 13, 2009
  20. Nunn’s Chess Endings Volume One, ChessBase News, May 28, 2010
  21. Artikel von John Nunn by Ingo Althöfer, CSS Forum, January 08, 2014 (German)
  22. A print version extension of a short conversation on the topics of the title between Tim Harford and the author. The original was broadcast in the BBC series More or Less hosted by Tim. The extension analyses two positions where Lasker made combative move-choices
  23. BBC World Service - More or Less, Maths and Chess, April 06, 2015
  24. John Nunn (2013). Discoveries in R+2P vs. R+P Endings. ICGA Journal, Vol. 36, No. 3
  25. BBC World Service - More or Less, Maths and Chess, April 06, 2015

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