The British Chess Magazine in 1903 tells us about a unique chess game between the strong English player, Henry Lewis Bowles and the American champion Harry Nelson Pillsbury. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that it was not only a Live chess game but non-recreated one. Bowles, better known as H.L. Bowles, was the husband of the celebrated chess writer and promoter, Rhoda A. Bowles. As one can plainly see in the following game, H.L. Bowles was also a particularly strong player who could hold his own against most players of his day - but not against the genius that was Pillsbury.
Read on, dear reader, read on . . .
A highly - successful exhibition of Living Chess was given at the Borough Road Polytechnic, London, on Saturday, November 29th. The proceedings were started by young men of the gymnasium, who to military drill plaited the board with alternate strips of crimson and white material, the performance being very creditable to Mr. Davis, the gymnasium instructor. While the living pieces were assembling, the audience were entertained by Mr. Sinclair with some excellent songs. This gentleman is a new tenor, possessing a voice remarkable for its purity and power and with a rendering conspicuously artistic. This was followed by the entrance of the living pieces, who advanced one at a time on either side of the board to their respective places, being accompanied by appropriate selections on the pianoforte by Dr. Elwyn Lewis, hon. sec. Kent County Chess Association. The costumes and mounting of the pieces were highly creditable to Messrs. C & W. May, who supervised this part of the arrangements. Particularly conspicuous were the two Queens. Mrs. H. N. Pillsbury represented the Black Queen in crimson velvet and gold, and Mrs. Rhoda A. Bowles the White Queen resplendent in silver and gold. The two Kings, Messrs. Chubb and Purcell, looked as if they had stepped out of the Hampton Court pictures; and the heralds, Messrs. Cornwall and Greenwell, whose duty it was to announce the moves and see to the movement of the pieces on the board, acted their parts to the life; indeed, all the pieces that took part—Bishops, Knights, Rooks, and Pawns—were charmingly complete in every detail, and acted their parts with grace and precision.
The game was played between Mr. H. N. Pillsbury, the famous American champion, and Mr. H. L. Bowles, president of the B.P.C.C. Contrary to the usual course in such exhibitions, the game was not prearranged, the players having decided that it should be an original game over the board. The sequel shewed their judgment was fully justified, as an extremely lively game resulted, which gave many remarkably pretty situations, and apart from a spectacular point of view, proved to be a notable game of chess, particularly having regard to the rapidity of the play and the conditions under which the game was conducted, the rate of play being about sixty moves per hour for each player. The game is as follows :—
The proceedings closed with the setting-up of a two-move problem specially composed by Mr. H. N. Pillsbury, and ten minutes were allowed to the audience to find the solution, it being announced that the author of the first correct solution opened would be awarded a pocket chess board as a prize, and the fortunate winner proved to be a young son of Mr. Gunsberg, the chess master.
Altogether the Exhibition was a great success, and reflected great credit upon the organisers, who worked very hard, particularly Mrs. Rhoda Bowles, Miss Helen Smith (lady superintendent B.P.), Miss May, and Messrs. Richardson, Chubb, and Moody.