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Hero of the Month

Stephen Mannion

Scotland's 35-year-old IM Stephen Mannion was born in Glasgow on Thursday 24 December 1964- exactly 96 years to-the-day after the birth of Dr Emanuel Lasker (24.12.1868-13.1.1941), who held the title of World Chess Champion for 27 years from 1894-1921 inclusive. Well, the original Greek meaning of 'Stephen' is 'crowned', and indeed our Hero of the Month has twice been crowned Scottish Champion: in 1990 and 1995.

In between, he achieved all the requirements for the International Master title, which was formally awarded to Stephen in 1992. That year also marked the start of an impressive unbroken run of great performances at Olympiads (held every two years), and in fact he was the Scottish team's top scorer in 1992, '94 and '96. The last of those almost resulted in an individual gold medal- playing on a board where 'the competition' included super-GM stars like Peter Svidler and Matthew Sadler!

By now it's very clear why Stephen is often referred to as "Mr Consistent", the kind of really steady player on whom you can bet the best card. Yes, the saying "Thursday's child has far to go" has held true in this case of a man who's also extremely nice, and so the 19 bold letters in ACE ON STEPHEN MANNION rearrange perfectly to make AN HONEST NICE OPEN MAN!!

Moving from 'open' to 'openings' (another of Stephen's strong points), don't miss Black's emphatic victory against the King's Gambit in G4.23. Finally, for a wee bit extra fun, enjoy the August 2000 Hero Puzzle.

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