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Mr. Pollock

Irish Naval officer Richard Brydges Beechey married Frideswide Maria Moore Smyth back in the early 19th century.  They had two daughters, Annie L. Beechey and Frideswide F. Beechey.   Frideswide Beechey the younger was born in 1851.  She, in turn married Thomas B. Rowland who was a year older than her. They were a real chess couple.  Thomas, who was the director of the Clontarf Chess Club (Clontarf is in north Dublin), was also a chess journalist and author. Frideswide was a chess probleminst and author.  They were both strong chess promoters.

Frideswide published her first book, Chess Blossoms, in 1883 and her second,  Chess Fruits,  co-authored with her husband, in 1884. In 1899, Frideswide authored/edited a posthumous collection of games of W. H. K. Pollock, called Pollock Memories: A collection of Chess Games, Problems Etc.  It's this book that concerns us now.

Besides being a selection of Pollock's games, the book contains a charming biography of William Henry Krause Pollock.  Pollock, like Frideswide herself, was a relatively minor chess personality whose name is seldom recognized by the general chess population today. Like many of these minor chess personalities, like Frideswide herself, he played an important role in chess history and deserves very much to be remembered.


        W.H.K. Pollock - as presented by Frideswide F. Rowland


Pollock Memories:
A collection of


CHESS GAMES, PROBLEMS,
&c., &c.

Part I— Portrait, Biography, and 70 Games, played in England,.
              Ireland, and Holland, selected, annotated, and illustrated
              by the late W. H. K. POLLOCK.
Part II — A selection of Games played in the United States, and
                Canada, including his matches with EUGENE DELMAR,
                 JACKSON SHOWALTER, and G. H. D. GOSSIP;
                 End Games, Problems, and items of interest connected
                 with the Chess career of the late Master.

EDITED BY MRS. F. F. ROWLAND.
DUBLIN :
MRS. F. F. ROWLAND, 6 RUS-IN-URBE, KINGSTOWN.
1899.

 

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES.

        

PREFACE.

THE following biography of the late W. H. K. Pollock is compiled from personal recollections, and from the British Chess Magazine and the Dublin Evening Mail. The English games were selected, annotated, and diagrammed by Mr. Pollock, in 1895-6, possibly with a view of publication, but there is no record of any expressed wish on his part concerning them. Of the games played in America and Canada, the majority have not been hitherto published in this country. Many were kindly contributed by Mr. Miron Hazeltine, Chess Editor New York Clipper, and Professor Howard J. Rogers, Albany, New York. Others were selected from interesting MSS. books, belonging to Mr. Pollock, which contained about 3,000 games entered by himself, and played by Masters and distinguished amateurs, with critical remarks by Mr. Pollock. This work is issued as a small tribute to the memory of a dear friend, who was one of the brightest ornaments in Caissa's diadem. Here I thank those who have so kindly aided me in its publication.

FRIDESWIDE F. ROWLAND.
KINGSTOWN, IRELAND, November 1899.


WILLIAM HENRY KRAUSE POLLOCK was a son of the Eev. William J. Pollock, M.A., formerly Rector of St. Saviour's, Bath, but novv Chaplain of the Blind Asylum, Bristol. He was born at Cheltenham, on 21st February 1859, and was educated at Clifton College and Somersetshire College, Bath. He was intended for the medical profession, and made considerable progress with, his studies from 1880-2, during which period he was a  resident pupil at Dr. Steeven's Hospital, Dublin. He qualified in 1882 as a licentiate of the Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin.
     Pollock learnt to play Chess early in life ; in 1878 he had a reputation as a good player in the local Chess circles of
Bristol and Dublin. His first published game and problem appeared during 1882, in " The Practical Farmer." the only newspaper in Dublin which then contained Chess news.
     The year 1885 found him competing in the Master Tournament of  the British Chess Association's first Congress,
and this Tournament was the first really important public contest in which he took part. Being somewhat nervous, he made a bad start, and lost successively to Messrs. Bird, Gunsberg, Donisthorpe, and the late Rev. G. A. MacDonnell. After these reverses his play improved, and he defeated Messrs. Ruunboll, Mackeson, Mills, and Mortimer, closing his first week's engagements with 4 wins and 4 losses. The next week he showed to better advantage, and scored 6 out of the 7 games played — the seventh, with Mr. Guest, being drawn. In the final score he was fourth, with 10½ out of a possible 15 ; after Messrs. I. Gunsberg, 14½ ; H. E. Bird and A. Guest, 12 ; but above Messrs. MacDonnell and Loman, 10 each. Mr. Pollock also competed in the "Tennyson" competition, in the same Congress, and won the first prize (a copy of
the Poet Laureate's works, with his autograph), with the fine score of 6½ out of a possible 7. In the same year (1885)
he played in the Master Tournament at the Hereford Congress of the Counties Association, but fared badly. In 1885 he also played in the Master Tournament of the Irish Chess Association, coming out first, with 9 points, thereby winning the Irish championship. Mr. Porterfield Rynd (of Dublin) was second, with 8½.  In the Handicap, however, Mr. Pollock only tied for second and third places, Mr. Rynd being first.
     In 1886 Mr. Pollock played in the Master Tournament of the British Chess Club, but did not secure a prize. Messrs.
Blackburne, Bird, Gunsberg, and Mason being the prize-winners, in the order named. He also took part in the International Master Tournament of the British Chess Association, and opened his score veil, defeating Blackburne in the first round, drawing with Gunsberg m the second, and defeating Herr Lipschutz in the fourth ; but he lost to the late Herr Zukertort in the third round. In the subsequent play he did badly, and finally only scored 4½ out of a possible 12, and was not placed. During 1886 he played lor Ireland in a correspondence match
against Sussex, his opponent being Mr. L. Leuliette. In 1886 he took part in the Nottingham Congress of the now
defunct Counties' Chess Association, but was unplaced in the prize list. He also played in the 1886 Master Tournament of the Irish Chess Association, and secured; the first prize, with the exceptionally brilliant score of 8 points out of a possible 8. Mr. J. H. Blackburne was second with 7, and Mr. Amos Burn third with 6. In the Handicap, Mr. Pollock came out second, with a score of 11½, Mr. Burn being first, with 13.
     In 1886 Mr. Pollock joined the City of London Chess Club, and, played in the Winter Handicap, yielding odds to all
the players of his section. He made a good score, but did not secure any material prize. He also gave a very fine exhibition of simultaneous play. In the match. City v. St. George's, May 1887, he played at the first board, drawing his game with the late Rev. W. Wayte, the captain of St. George's.
     In the Master Tournament of the British Chess Association, in 1887, he finished fifth, after Messrs. Burn, Gunsberg,
Blackburne, and. Zukertort, but with a higher score than Messrs. Bird, Lee, and Mason.
     In 1888 Mr. Pollock played in the Handicap at Simpson's, tieing with Mr. Sellon for fifth place — score, 11 each —
after Messrs, Gunsberg, 16½ ; Mason. 15½ ; Bird, 13; and Gibbons, 11½ ; but before Messrs. Zukertort and Mortimer, 10½ each ; and Muller, 8½.  He took part in the International Master Tournament of the Bradford Congress, 1888, but did badly, only scoring 7 out of 16.
     Early in 1889 he visited various Chess centres in Ireland, giving exhibitions of simultaneous play with marked
success. He took part in the Dublin Chess Congress, 1889, and in the Major Tournament came out second, with 6½ out of 8 ;  Mr. Amos Burn being first, with 7½ ; and
Mr. J. Mason third with 5½. In the year 1889 Mr. Pollock left England for America, and since then his record is mainly
identified with American and Canadian Chess. He received a very handsome testimonial from the members of the Belfast Chess Club, just previous to his departure. This mark of appreciation, together with the fact of having won the Irish Championship, induced him to represent Ireland in the American Congress of 1889. He therefore took part in this International contest at New York — -a two-round Tournament — finishing eleventh with 17½, after Messrs. Tchigorin (29), Weiss (29), Gunsberg (28½), Blackburne (27), Burn (26), Lipschutz (22), Mason (22), Judd (20), Delmar (18), and Showalter (18). Below him in the score sheet were Messrs. Taubenhaus, Lee, Baird, Gossip and Burille. He divided with Mr. Max Judd a special prize offered for the best score in the second round against the prize-winners ; and for his game against Herr Max Weiss, of Vienna, he was awarded the special prize of 50 dollars, offered for the most brilliant game played in the Tournament. The game, given later on, was a masterpiece in every respect, and ranks high amongst those which are regarded as classic.
     Mr. Hoffer, in the "Chess Monthly" says: "The latter part is worthy to rank amongst the few immortal games we
possess. It is a perfect gem."
     Soon after the conclusion of the New York Tournament, Mr. Pollock went to Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A., and
here for some time he made his home, and conducted the Chess column in the "Baltimore Sunday News." In 1890 he played at the St. Louis meeting of the United States Chess Association, coming in second to Showalter (first), but above Lipschutz (third).
     Mr. Pollock played for Maryland at the Lexington meeting of the United States Chess Association, in 1891, and tied
with Showalter for the championship of the United States — score, 5 each — but on the play off Mr. Showalter won. Mr. Pollock next played a match with Mr. Delmar, of New York, the final score being Delmar 5, Pollock 3. In 1891 Mr. Pollock played for the championship of the Brooklyn Club, defeating all the best New York players of that day, except Lipschutz and Steinitz.
      In 1892 Mr. Pollock played in the Lexington meeting of the United States Chess Association, coming in second,
after Showalter (first), but above Hanham (third); shortly after this contest he made an extended professional tour through parts of the States and Canada, giving most successful exhibitions of simultaneous and blindfold play, and he was received everywhere with great cordiality, especially in Montreal, in which city he took up his abode. He played in the New York Tournament of 1893, but did not do himself full justice, and was not placed. He only scored 5 out of a possible 13 ; Herr Lasker being first with an absolutely unbroken score of 13 won games. In the early part of 1895 Mr. Pollock played a match with Mr. Gossip, which ended in a draw, each side scoring 6 wins, with 5 draws and 1 cancelled game.
     In 1895 Mr. Pollock returned to England, to compete in the International Master Tournament, held in August 1895,
at Hastings, as the accredited representative of Canada. His health even then was far from being good, and his play was irregular and fitful, though there were occasional glimpses of the old fire. His aggregate score was only 8 — a moderate total — but he defeated such opponents as Albin, Bird, Gunsberg. Steinitz, and Tarrasch. The games against the two last-named players are fine specimens of Mr. Pollock's skill, and will be found in another part of this volume. 

AT HASTINGS.


"Punctually at seven o'clock the director's bell rings, the forces are placed in correct position, the move recorded on

 

suspending play is made, the clocks set in motion, and the games are in progress. During the interval I have heard reports of several critical positions, and visit first board 2, where W. H. K. Pollock, a tallish good looking fellow, courteous and pleasant, with poetic fancies both in Chess and words, and who sits far back with arms resting on his knees and face almost touching the board, so that it seems hardly passible for him to view the whole, is faced by M. Tchigorin, the Russian master, of moderate height, well-knit frame, dark olive complexion, high round forehead, jet black hair, and most penetrating eyes, very quiet and affable in manner, with hands clasped and the fore part of the arms resting on the table, and whose slight trembling of the right leg resting on the toes indicates the excitement of mind. Just before the adjournment, Pollock's attack seemed exhausted, and in the following position Tchigorin played 27 Kt-B5, to which 28 R(B7)-QB7 seems most satisfactory, but the game proceeded 27 ... Kt-B5, 28 B-B5 R-Q4, 29 B-B8 Kt-Q7, 30 B-R3 R-KB4, in which position the game was adjourned ; continued by 31 KR-B7 R-Kt4ch, 32 K-R3 B-B3, and White shortly resigned. By the winning of this game M. Tchigorin secured the "Evans " special prize, a handsome emerald ring, set in diamonds." (B.C.M., Oct. 1895).

                                             

After the tournament, Mr. Pollock made a professional tour through the Midlands, the North of England and Dublin, giving several exhibitions of simultaneous play. His friends were, however, much pained with his altered appearance, for signs were evident that the fell disease, consumption, was sapping his constitution. Despite the appeals of his relatives and many friends, Mr. Pollock returned to Canada in February 1896, and resumed his Chess work, again taking up February 1896, and resumed his Chess work, again taking up his abode in Montreal. Not for long, however, was he destined to remain abroad. His physical weakness growing apace, he decided to return home. Prior to his departure for England he visited the different Chess Clubs in Montreal, and universal regret was expressed at his being obliged to leave owing to the severe breakdown of his health. On the 8th August 1896, he started for Old England, on board the "Vancouver."  What appears to have hastened the course of his disease was the shock caused by the collision of the "Vancouver" and another vessel in the  St. Lawrence. So serious was the injury done to the vessel he was on board of that she was obliged to at once return to Quebec for repairs. Some idea of the great peril the passengers were in may be formed by the picture of the "Vancouver" on her arrival at Quebec, which was published in the "Strand Magazine." So great was the damage that when Capt. Jarman was consulted about it, that great expert took time to consider whether he was looking at the bow or the stern ! It is the bow of the "Vancouve " that is shown, however, or rather where the bow had been. The bow of the vessel had literally been carried clean away, but was recovered. Part of it, quite detached, is seen on the left, below the anchor. Observe how the timbers are shattered and cut, and the plating cracked and twisted.

               
     Taking passage in another vessel he reached England in due course, but reached it only to die. He was taken straight to his father's house at Clifton, and tended with all care that love could bring to his aid. But it was too late, for he sank slowly but surely, until death released him on the 5th of October, in the 38th year of his age. To the last he himself was hopeful of partial recovery. His mortal remains were interred at Arno's Vale Cemetery, Clifton, on Friday, 9th October
1896.
     A friend in Montreal wrote: "As to the commencement of the trouble, I am inclined to date it further back than
others. Sometime in the late winter — I have not the exact date — in February or March 1895, on returning from a long drive out to a Scotch entertainment in the suburbs, when the thermometer was down to 20 below zero, he found a fire in progress near his lodgings. A poor woman was being burnt out of house and home, and his quick sympathies being excited, he did much to help in saving both her, and her little sticks of furniture. He got home sodden with water, which was hanging icicles from his hair, hat, and coat. No wonder he caught a severe cold, which laid him up for some time, and from which I do not believe he ever really recovered. For he suffered all that summer, from what he
euphemistically called "Hay fever." Anyway, I firmly believe that he came by his death in the service of others."
     In a letter received from Mr. F. J. Lee he says : " A very interesting fact concerning the young days of W.H.K.P.
was his undoubted ability as a 'Cricketer.' Long before he went to America, and at the time of his first appearance in
London, Pollock often went with me to witness great cricket matches at Lord's ground in London.
     On one notable occasion, previous to the commencement of a match — ' M.C.C. and ground v Australians,' Mr. A.
G. Steel (at that time about amateur champion bat of England) was practising at the nets. Mr. Steel made a gigantic lofty
drive, and Pollock caught the ball, to the astonishment and applause of a large assembly."
     Mr. Pollock distinguished himself in several matches in which he took part in Baltimore, Washington, &c. and
interesting accounts of the play are in his MSS. books.
     Mr. I. M. Brown, in his obituary notice in the B.C.M. for November 1896, wrote : "A scholar and a gentleman,
Mr. Pollock was an excellent writer on all subjects connected with Chess. He had a 'sweet turn'  for literary effect, and a happy wit that made his writings enjoyable. As a Chess expert he was brilliant rather than profound. He was a fanciful player, delighting in prettiness, and therefore apt to lose games to the dull players of the exact school. He had a habit of over-refining his play, which not unfrequently resulted in defeat. In a word he was an artist rather than a scientist, and the poetry of Chess was more to him than its prose. In tournaments he was always " a dreaded antagonist," even for the strongest Masters to meet, yet he threw away games to weaker players ; but with all these faults of his environments, his best efforts reached the high water mark of genius. He won good games in many important tournaments from most of the Masters he met, notable exceptions being Messrs. Lasker and Zukertort. He constructed a few problem, but they were only vagaries, at least he so termed them.  During his Chess editorship in the States he won two of Loyd's prizes in
New York, against the best solvers.
     In the early days of Mr. Pollock's Chess career, many people thought that in him a future English champion would be
forthcoming and the glories of Staunton and Blackburne be revived if not eclipsed. But the expectations were not fulfilled, and Pollock's chess career must be regarded as a fragment rather than a whole.  Yet it is a fragment no British lover of Chess would willingly part with, for it is full of beautiful promise and adorned with many Chess gems of rare brilliancy.   With great gifts for the game he never attained the highest rank  among the masters, though it may be doubted whether any one of them excelled him in actual and potential genius for the game.  In Chess, however, as in life, he was an idealist.  He worshipped at the shrine of the beautiful.  He was not content to do what he could do ealsily and well, but strove after the absolute -- his own perseption of the perfect.  He was above all an artist at the Chess-board.  It was not merely "the mate" that he pursued, but the beauty of the mate ;  he did not merely want to win, but he always wanted to win in the most artistic manner. And in this pursuit of the ideal, the practical often suffered.  Had he been more self-seeking, the Chess world would have heard more of him personally.  Neither nature nor art had fitted him to be his own trumpeter ; he loved Chess for its own sake, and not for the gain it might bring him, or the reputation he
might attain by its means.
     We have spoken of the Chess player, we must now speak of the man, and at the grave of all that is mortal of our
lamented co-worker,  we desire to pay the last tribute of affection and esteem to the memory of one whom we ever found upright, true and gentle ; generous, high-spirited, and unselfish.  Not without faults - who is? - yet with and above
all faults, an Englishman of a noble type.
     Few have been dowered with a tenderer, warmer disposition.  The genuineness and tenacity of his friendship and
affection is proved by many.  He had the  power of attracting stranges to himself by a magnetic influence. In a strange
land he could win a group of friends who would never cease to love him whilst life lasted.
     One of his confreres wrote-- "Any fault in his character was his self-abnegation, and self-surrender to the cause of
Chess.  He sacrificed a high position, and all that would make like most attractive to another man to pursue professionally a Chess career.  His genius, and the fascination he felt for the game, seemed to impel him on to his fate. A man who sacrifices his life in any cause will always attract and excite admiration.  In his own Chess column his personal achievements were never set forth, but the advancement of the game he loved.  He saw on Chess a charm - a variety and depth of beauty quite unthought of, and unnoticed by the average player.  Had he remained at home toplad on in a
conventional path he might still be amongst us.
     If the world think it a pity such genius and talent as he undoubtedly possessed were thrown away on Chess, we can
only answer that Chess was his chosen profession, and as such he gave to it all his best art. The originality and depth and yet brilliance of his play was but the outcome of a mind singularly susceptible to beauty, and of an ideality and
intellectuality as far above the "common herd" as his Chess genius.
     The following is from the " Illustrated London News " Chess column of 17th October 1896 :— " The news of the
death of Mr. W. H. K. Pollock will be received with sincere regret by everyone who knows what a peculiar place he filled in the Chess world. While not a successful player as counting by results, he was one of the finest the game has yet known, and some of his performances will not readily be forgotten. His classic contest with Weiss in the New York Congress is familiar to everybody, and raised him to the fellowship of the "Immortals" while even as recently as the
Hastings Tournament last year he scored off both Steinitz and Tarrasch in a scarcely less striking fashion."
     One of the most interesting and lengthy notices appeared in "The Witness," Montreal, of 17th October. " The news
of his death, though  more sudden than was expected, will hardly be unexpected ; though it will bring grief to the heart of many a friend in and out of Montreal Chess circles, not to mention that far wider circle whom his genial and kindly ways
drew around him at every point in his Bohemian wanderings." After a brief summary of Mr. Pollock's career and fatal illness, it concludes with the following : —
     As a Chess editor and analyst Pollock was also in the front rank, and his columns in the "Baltimore News" and
"Albany Journal"  were eagerly sought after by Chess editors the world over, and his opinions were quoted and referred to with a deference most flattering. For some time in the early nineties he was intimately associated with Steinitz in the preparation of his "Modern Chess Instructor," which  owes much both in analysis and literary polish to Pollock's
indefatigable enthusiasm wherever Chess was concerned.
     Here is a fairly complete list of his achievements over the board, without counting blindfold and simultaneous
exhibitions.
1883. — First prize, second class, Counties Chess Association, at Birmingham ; C. D. Locock, 2nd.
1884. — First prize, first class, B Division, C.C.A. meeting, Bath ; defeating Fedden, Loman, Blake, Locock, and
others.
1885. — Fourth prize, B.C. A. National Tourney, London ; Gunsberg lat ; Bird and Guest, 2nd ; and also won
Tennyson prize.
1885. — First prize, Irish C.A. meeting, at Dublin.
1886. — First prize, International Tournament of Irish C.A., at Belfast ; Blackburne, 2nd ; Burn, 3rd.
1887. — Tied with Bird in Bradford International Tournament.
1889. — Second prize, International Tourney of Irish C.A., at Dublin; Burn, 1st; Mason, 3rd.
1889. — Brilliancy prize for game Pollock vs. Max Weiss, in sixth American Chess Congress in New York, and tied
with Max Judd for highest score against prize winners in second round.
1890. — Second prize in United States Championship Tourney at St. Louis ; Showalter, 1st ; Lipschutz, 3rd.
1891. — Third prize, Open Tourney at Chicago; Showalter, 1st; Wedemann, 2nd.
1891.— Won match against Charles Moehle by 7 games to 6.
1892. — Won championship of Brooklyn, in two-round Tourney in Brooklyn Chess Club.
1892. — Second prize in United States Championship Tournament at Lexington, Ky. ; Showalter, 1st ; Hanborn, 3rd.
1893. — Second prize, New York State Association Touruey at Staten Island.
1895. —Draw match with Gossip at Montreal Chess Club.
1895. — Played in Hastings Tournament, winning his games against Steinitz, Bird, Tarrasch, and others. 


             A LETTER FROM PROFESSOR HOWARD J. ROGERS.
             STATE OF NEW YORK DEPARTMENT OP PUBLIC INSTRUCTION,
                            SUPERINTENDENT'S OFFICE, ALBANY,
                                                            I7th JANUARY 1898.
Mrs. Frideswide F. Rowland,
                   6 Rus-m-Urbe, Kingstown, Ireland.
     Dear Madam : I am in receipt of your letter asking me to send you some "reminiscences" of our old friend Pollock
while he was in America. I will, with pleasure, send you a letter containing a few random recollections, but have not the time to prepare anything so elaborate as to be entitled "Reminiscences."
     I think the American people had a particularly friendly feeling towards Mr. Pollock when he appeared at the 6th
American Chess Congress in 1889 as the Irish Champion. This feeling was heightened by the manly, vigorous style of Chess which he played, and by his splendid victory over Weiss which won the brilliancy prize. We considered that American Chess had made an enviable acquisition when Mr. Pollock, in the summer of 1889, decided to remain in this
country and began the editing of a Chess column in the Baltimore "News.'' 
     Personally, I did not meet him till 1891. I was at that time Secretary of the New York State Chess Association , of
which organization Mr. Charles A. Gilberg, of New York, was the President. As an added attraction to the midsummer
meeting of the Association at Skaneateles, N.Y.,
we hit upon a match between the New York State Champion, Eugene Delmar, and Mr. Pollock, the Champion of the
South. I conducted the correspondence, which was very pleasant, and awaited with much interest my first meeting with Mr. Pollock. The match was to begin on Monday, and up to Sunday noon we were uncertain of the whereabouts of the Southern Champion. About five o'clock a few of us were sitting on the broad piazza overlooking the beautiful waters of Skaneateles lake, when a dusty figure in a brown suit, freckled face and wealth of reddish chestnut hair, approached the hotel. "Pollock," we shouted in a breath, "where on earth did you come from?"  "Well, you see," said he, shaking hands all round with beaming cordiality, " I brought up in Syracuse early in the morning ; I really couldn't spend the day loafing around there, so I thought I would take a bit of a tramp across the hills and tone myself up a little for the match."  His "bit of a  tramp" was a hard walk of over 20 miles in a hot August day.  Pollock lost that match, by the way, but took his defeat with the utmost good humour. "It isn't to be wondered at," said he, " I am entirely out of the way of good Chess in Baltimore ; and the games that I won in this match are worse Chess than those I lost in the 6th American
Congress."
     In the early spring of 1893, my duties as Superintendent of New York's Educational Exhibit at the Chicago
Exposition took me to that city for eight months. I proposed to Pollock that he come to Albany, take charge of my Chess column in the "Albany Evening Journal," and try life in the North for a time. His letters to me had shown a desire to leave Baltimore, and during a professional tour the winter previous^he had made Albany a visit, liked the city, and made a great bit with our Chess players. The year '93 I think was Pollock's most prosperous year in America. He edited both the "Baltimore News" and "Albany Journal" Chess columns, and was also given a half-time assignment as reporter on the "Journal" staff. This combined, gave him a weekly income of about sixteen dollars. His life in Albany seemed very pleasant, and on my return from Chicago in November of that year, I found him established quite like an
old resident.
     Of his life in Albany, I must touch lightly, or I shall become prolix. He was a steady attendant at the Chess Club, and
many were the struggles we had over the board. He was of a nervous temperament,  easily impressed, and would often dwell strangely on one idea. He often called me a mind-reader, because I seemed to anticipate his line of play in Chess, and block it. Curiously enough, although he was easily my superior at the game, it was with difficulty that he made even games in our personal tilts. His erratic and Bohemian ways were the delight of his brethren on the reporting staff of the "Express," the morning edition of the "Journal."  Pollock would usually appear at the reporting rooms about 10 or 11 p.m., and calmly settle himself for a  deep Chess analysis or other work. He was ready to chat with any body, from managing editor to galley-boy, at any time, and finally when the morning editions were going to press in the small hours of the night, he would betake himself to his rooms and go to bed. He never arose till about 10 a.m. When assigned to report a particular occurrence, he was as likely to report another totally different, which happened to take his fancy, or perhaps forget about it entirely. As might be imagined, this resulted in the end in his discharge from the reporting staff. As an instance of his delight in pursuing investigations of a scientific nature may be mentioned his interest in meteorology and in the practical working of the Weather Bureau. He struck up a warm acquaintance with Mr. Sims, Chief of the Department at Albany, and himself a Chess player, and might be found many a night occupying the signal tower in the government building with his friend. About this time also, I believe in January '94, he had the misfortune to slip on an icy pavement, and break the small bone of his leg just above the ankle. This laid him up in the city hospital for nearly five weeks, where his chief amusement was annotating Chess games and chatting with his daily callers, of whom he had many. Pollock roomed in the house of  Dr. Southworth, who took a most kindly interest in him, on Eagle Street, and after he left the hospital spent most of his time in his room for a number of weeks. I had many long visits with him at that time, and he told me in confidence much of his past history. It was during this spring that his throat seemed to trouble him, but with the coming
of warm weather it seemed to disappear.
     In May 1894 Mr. Pollock went to Montreal to report the Lasker-Steinitz match. He dined with me on the evening of
his departure for Montreal, and I accompanied him to the train. At that time he expected to return to Albany, but he
never did, and I never saw him again.
     His letters to me from Montreal were frequent, and I edited the local news for his Chess column. The tone of his
letters, however, indicated discouragement, and I could see that he was not getting on well in Canada. He seemed to dislike the idea of returning to the States, though he undoubtedly would have done so had a good opportunity presented itself. Of his life in Montreal, I know little, as his letters said scarcely anything concerning his personal affairs. With his visit to England in the fall of 1895, and his return to Canada in the early part of 1896, you are conversant. I tried hard, not knowing the extremity of his health, to induce him to come to the midsummer tournament of the New York State Association, held at Ontario Beach, on Lake Ontario, in July 1896. His last letter to me, from which I quote, was written July 24th, and throws much light on his physical condition and upon his unsatisfactory life in Montreal. "To me nothing would be more delightful than a trip to Rochester for the Ontario Beach meeting, though it would be questionable if I could play decently. But it is impossible ; I cannot seem to get the better of my trouble. Barring accidents, I must sail on August 1st. Three or four days in the land of Cousin Jonathan, who, for the most part treated me exceedingly well, would indeed have been a pleasure to take the taste of these half-breeds out of my mouth before sailing. Please convey to the committee my extreme regret at being
prevented from coming, through illness."
     The next news we had of him was the tidings of his death, in October, at the home of his parents.
     Mr. Pollock will be chiefly remembered in America for his genial, unaffected manner, his devotion to the royal game, and as a Chess writer of remarkably pure aad vigorous English. His style of play was of the old school, and he lacked the impassiveness necessary to conduct the "drawing matches," so prevalent at the present time. His analytical powers were conceded to be of the highest order, and had his health permitted he would undoubtedly have contributed much of worth to the literature of the game of Chess. We have the kindest memories of
his stay amongst us.
     Trusting that these few rambling thoughts may be something of the nature you desire, I beg to remain, 
                                                                     Very sincerely yours, 
                                                                     HOWARD J. ROGERS.

 

Comments


  • 4 years ago

    irish-yuk

    Excellent article, with great background information on Mrs. Rowland. Some of her work can be found in the 1886 BCM.

    Cheers and thanks for your great articles.

  • 6 years ago

    Acephalic

    Wow that is really something - thanks for posting this

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