James Conlon is a semi-retired Information Engineer and Mathematician with a career lecturing in Kenya, Turkey and China, as well as in UK. He has also been involved in small-scale computer coding projects. He is currently researching the Tudor period, especially Queen Katharine of Aragon.
His chess playing started while in primary school when he learnt with his father from Encyclopedia Britannica. He played regularly at secondary school. He joined the university chess club at Newcastle University, where the highlight was beating Northumberland Board 1 in a club tournament, and at Nottingham University, regularly playing in Team C against the local industrial giants.
At county level he has played once in the Nottingham B team, winning on board 20, and once in Cambridgeshire U-120 (ELO 1600) team. As for tournaments, he once played in a Hertfordshire junior competition. He also took part in the 2019 Cambridgeshire Closed event scoring 1.5 out of 5.
At Peterborough Chess Club he has played in league matches for Team A, Team B and Team C.
His current ELO rating is 1557.
James does not currently participate in online chess. He attended the online Global Chess Festival organised by Judit Polgar, as also the 20 March 2022 "Judit Polgar vs The World" event from the Hungarian pavilion of Expo 2020 in Dubai. He sometimes spectates chess tournaments online, focussing on the commentary, and irregularly watches online analysis of important games, e.g. in February 2022 Magnus Carlsen was beaten by a 16-year-old Indian, Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, which sparked a visit to the club by Radio Cambridgeshire.
James spectated the recent Cambridge Open Tournament in which a few Peterborough area players were participating.
James and his wife Christine participated in the 2019 London Chess Conference. James presented some ideas on names of pieces in different languages, and chess icons, notably to Tim Wall, currently an ECF official.
James is seeking to promote chess in culture, examining the chess scene in Shakespeare's The Tempest, and other representations in fiction. In 2019 he organised and spoke at a chess-related event focussed on Katharine of Aragon at the church hall of St Peter & All Souls. The key question was whether to teach chess to children. ECF Arbiter Francis Bowers took the occasion to speak of meeting Pope John Paul II, well-known chess and football player, in Liverpool.
His other interests include calendar reform, sudokus, crytic crosswords and dozenal arithmetic.
He is currently Junior Organiser for the Cambridgeshire Chess Association.
James organised a simultaneous display by club member Candidate Master (CM) Chris Tandy in September 2022 in the aptly-named Knights Chamber in the precincts of Peterborough Cathedral.