Basman in Cambridge, 2006
|Full name||Michael John Basman|
|Born|| 16 March 1946
|Peak rating||2410 (July 1971)|
Michael John Basman (born 16 March 1946 in St Pancras, London) is an English chess player, chess author and International Master. He was awarded the International Master title in 1980. He is a prolific writer, who has made many contributions to the field of chess openings, and is particularly known for frequently choosing bizarre or rarely played openings in his own games, including the St. George Defence (with which English Grandmaster Tony Miles once famously defeated the then World Champion Anatoly Karpov), the Grob (for Black and White) and also The Creepy Crawly, which is a3, then h3 followed by a quick c4. Possibly his greatest tournament success was when tying for first place in the British Chess Championship tournament of 1973, although he was to lose the play-off match with William Hartston. In 1975 England contested a match over ten boards against France in Luton. Basman played Board One, ahead of future super Grandmasters Nunn and Speelman. He created the UK Chess Challenge, a tournament for juniors of all standards and ages progressing over four stages.
Basman's father was an Armenian immigrant who changed the family name from Basmadjian. His family knew the singer Cleo Laine, who worked as a babysitter for the young Michael.
Although Basman never attained the rank of grandmaster, he did beat several. He has defeated Speelman with his trademark 'killer grob' defence.