Person: Alexander (3), Hugh
Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander was an Irish-born British cryptanalyst, chess player and chess writer.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Hugh attended King Edward's School where he showed remarkable talent for mathematics and for chess.
- At Cambridge Alexander continued to divide his time between his chess and his study of mathematics.
- Alexander was appointed as a mathematics teacher at Winchester in 1932.
- Being a mathematics teacher certainly allowed Alexander to play chess at the highest level.
- It was too strong a field for Alexander to excel at this point in his career but he did have victories over Flohr and Tartakover.
- Indeed Alexander gained this experience and in 1938 he won the British Chess Championship and came equal second with Paul Keres in the Hastings Christmas International Congress.
- Alexander did not remain to complete the tournament but immediately caught a boat back to England to offer to serve his country.
- It was now that Alexander's mathematical and problem solving abilities were put to full use.
- However, much time was still required to decode the messages and in October Turing and Alexander appealed directly to Winston Churchill for some junior assistants.
- Although Turing was the head of Hut 8, Alexander soon slotted into this role since he was an outstanding administrator while Turing was uninterested in organisational matters.
- When Turing went to the United States in November 1942, Alexander became the official head.
- with his urge for overcoming and taming opposition, with his enthusiasm for uncompromising struggle, Alexander pioneered the way for British players to modern, complicated and daring chess; chess players will never forget him.
- Alexander did play chess at the highest level again after the war, winning the Hastings International Tournament in 1946 and coming first equal with David Bronstein in the Hastings Tournament of 1953.
- Hugh Alexander was a most vivid and attractive personality, who delighted his friends with his gaiety, humour, and warmth.
- For his outstanding contributions to his country Alexander was awarded an OBE in 1946, a CBE in 1955, and a CMG in 1970.
Born 19 April 1909, Cork, Ireland. Died 15 February 1974, Cheltenham, England.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive