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Julian Hodgson

Chess Bundesliga 2001 at Solingen
Full name Julian Michael Hodgson
Country England
Born 25 July 1963
St Asaph, Wales
Title International Grandmaster
Peak rating 2640 (July 2000)

Julian Michael Hodgson (born 25 July 1963) is a British International Grandmaster and former British Champion of chess.

Hodgson was born in Shepherds Bush, London. 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, winning 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.

Over a number of years, Hodgson played league chess in both the German Bundesliga and British 4NCL. Since 2003, he has not played competitive chess, due to teaching commitments.

Playing style

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: