Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander

Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander

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Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander

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Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander, CMG, CBE (19 April 1909 – 15 February 1974) was an Irish-born British cryptanalyst, chess player, and chess writer. He worked on the German Enigma machine at Bletchley Park during World War II, and was later the head of the cryptanalysis division at GCHQ for over 20 years. In chess, he was twice British chess champion and earned the title of International Master. He was usually referred to as C. H. O'D. Alexander in print and Hugh in person.

Early life and education

Hugh Alexander was born on 19 April 1909 in Cork, Ireland, the eldest child of Conel William Long Alexander, an engineering professor at University College, Cork, and Hilda Barbara Bennett.Harry Golombek, revised by Ralph Erskine, "Alexander, (Conel) Hugh O'Donel (1909-1974), chess player and cryptanalyst" in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004 His father died in 1920, and the family moved to Birmingham in England where he attended King Edward's School. He won a scholarship to study mathematics at King's College, Cambridge in 1928, graduating with a first in 1931. He represented Cambridge in chess.

From 1932, he taught mathematics in Winchester, and married Enid Constance Crichton Neate (1900–1982) on 22 December 1934. Their eldest son was Michael O'Donel Bjarne Alexander (1936–2002), a diplomat. In...
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