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The Ups and Downs of John Henry Huttmann

     Looking into rise of popularity of chess in England during the early 19th century, it's necessary to look not only at the individual players and writers of chess, but at the various clubs and venues. While not the first, one of the most important venues was the Huttmann Chess Divan.

     The story of John Henry Huttmann and chess begins years before we actually meet him.  In fact, his roller coaster chess ride will probably be reflected in this vacillating recitation of the rise and fall of chess clubs in London's west-end. It's a convoluted, hairpin-turn kind of ride that may involve some reading and effort, but it's not one to leave you stranded or ungratified.  So, hop on.

    Few people are better qualified to talk about the early London chess club attemps than Charles Dickens, Jr. who wrote about the subect in his "Dickens's Dictionary of London," in 1879, p. 49:
     Chess Clubs.— What may be termed the coffee-house epoch in the history of chess in England ended in the year 1810 with the establishment of the London Chess club, where members met for play in a private room in Cornhill. For some sixteen years afterwards it was the only association of the kind in London, and being supported chiefly by City merchants and members of the Stock Exchange, who played chess in the middle of the day, it was practically closed to amateurs whose occupations or pursuits were not "of the City" or whose only leisure was to be found in the evenings. It had other disadvantages from the amateur's point of view, not the least of which was that the members comprised a host of experts in the science of chess, giants in whose company the tyro of the period was much more likely to be awed than edified. There was no chess club at the west end of the town at this period, but accommodation for players was provided in numerous coffee-houses, where "Monsieur" and "Herr," who since the first French Revolution have been always with us, dispensed instruction at such charges as their modest requirements suggested. In 1823 a West-end chess club was established, with special rooms, &c., at the Perry Coffee-house in Rathbone-place. The members met for play at seven in the evening, sat down to a hot supper at ten—it was fifty years ago—and broke up at half- past eleven. Murphy, a miniature painter of note at that time, became a member of this club soon after its foundation, and introduced to the members the greatest player of the period— William Lewis. Lewis was then a merchants clerk, and, after the death of Sarratt, the strongest chess-player in England. He won the admiration of the Percy Chess Club by beating their best players at the odds of a rook. In 1825 the Percy Chess Club was closed, and Lewis opened subscription rooms in St. Martin's-lane, where he was patronised by nearly all the best players in London: Alexander Macdonnell, subsequently the famous rival of La Bourdonnais; John Cochrane, the most brilliant player that ever appeared in the chess arena; Richard Penn, the author of the quaintest book in the language, "Maxims and Hints for Chess Players and Anglers" (illustrated by Stanfield); Bohn, the bookseller; and Pratt, of Lincoln's-inn, the author of a book on chess, that was described by Professor Allen, of Philadelphia, as a marvellous mixture of 'Schoolmaster's English and Johnsonese.' These rooms were closed in 1827, through the failure of Lewis. The London Chess Club still prospered; and it was not until the year 1832 that a rival association appeared upon the scene. Early in that year the famous Westminster Chess Club was opened in a room upon the first floor of a coffee-house in Bedford-street, Covent-garden, kept by one Huttman. The new club was immediately successful, and under its auspices was played the celebrated match between Westminster and Paris in 1834. The club was temporarily dissolved in 1835, and was reorganised in the same year, the members meeting in Mr. Ries's drawing-room adjoining the Divan in the Strand, of which establishment that gentleman was the proprietor. Here Howard Staunton, for many years the champion chess-player of England, made his first appearance, and here were played the games in his match with Poyert. In 1840 the West- minster Chess Club was again dissolved—the City Club still prospering—but it was once more revived by Staunton, and the meetings were held in Charles-street, off the Haymarket. Its career was brief, however, and it was finally closed in 1843. In the same year a new chess club at the West-end was formed, at Beatties Hotel, George-street, Cavendish-square, and was called after the name of the street in which its first meetings were held, the St. George's Chess Club. Beattie's Hotel was closed in the following year, and the St. George's removed to new quarters at the Polytechnic. Here was played the first International Chess Tournament in 1851, and here the club remained until the end of 1854, when it became associated with the Cavendish, a newly-formed club in Regent- street, and soon afterwards moved to the house formerly Crockford's, in St. James's- street, then called the Wellington. In the year 1857 the St. George's removed to its present quarters, Palace-chambers, King-street, St. James's. Meanwhile, in 1852, a -club was formed in the city, under the title of the City of London Chess Club, by a few amateurs of little note at the time. This association has since been strengthened by the accession of all the foremost English players, and is now, in point of numbers, and the chess force and public repute of its members, the strongest chess club in the world. In 1866 a chess club, reviving the name of the "Westminster," whose history we have recounted, was formed by a number of influential amateurs, but it ceased to exist as a chess club in 1875, when it was dissolved, and reconstituted under the name of the Junior Portland as a whist -club.

     Dickens never mentioned Huttmann directly, but he did forward information on two clubs: the Percy and the Westminster, both closely associated with George Walker whose obsession seemed to have been the establishment of a club in the west-end of London. Walker talked a bit about his early chess and the Percy Club in the "Westmnster Papers," Jan. 1870:
     Becoming more and more attached to Chess, as I got better acquainted with, at least, its elements, I wandered up and down the West End, looking out among my acquaintances, seeking for players, with various success. I went through the games actually played by Philidor, and admired them more and more; and picking up Stamina's fine collection of problems, displayed on diagrams, solved about two-thirds of them from the book, without setting up the pieces. But tine difficulty of meeting with antagonists, without special appointment of time and place, was wearisome; and so I and two or three friends, equally hearty in the cause, laid our heads together, and it was agreed to form a Chess Club. It was easy enough to determine on this, and to sketch forth rules and plans, but the difficulty was to pitch upon the scene of action. After inquiring at about fifty taverns, with the occasional rebuff of being told by some ringletted lady "wittier" that they could allow no gambling in their house, we found what we required at the Percy Hotel, in Rathbone Place, Oxford Street. Here, for 15s. per evening, we engaged a spacious handsome room on the first floor, Monday evening, seven to eleven o'clock; and we very properly called our little gathering "The Percy Chess Club." Looking back, I must own I never have enjoyed Chess so much since. We formed a band of brothers, and the worse we played, I suppose, the more we liked it. We began our evening with tea and coffee, and made up pleasant parties for hot suppers, which were not always over by the prescribed hour of eleven. We numbered, the first winter, about twenty members, including the brothers John and William Marks, Messrs. Weiss, Skelton, Senior Ferrier, Duncan Forbes, &c. We gravely printed rules, appointed President, Secretary, and all the rest of it, and went on our way rejoicing. As far as I can remember, our maximum on the roll was thirty to forty members.
     The Percy Chess Club was established about 1824. Our leading member was, decidedly, Mr. Skelton, of Chandos Street, known about town, from his elegant and elaborate style of dress, as "Dandy Skelton." Mr. Skelton was the bon enfant of the French stage. Liberal to a fault, he frittered away a large patrimony in "lending" money to every designing knave who had a starving wife and family, who would all long since have died of hunger, but for the charity of "you, my noble benefactor." Mr. Skelton was our "Brummel"; he led me one day aside, and, apologizing for the liberty he was about to take, informed me that it was not the thing to wear a white hat after five o'clock. Meeting with a lady in a heavy shower of rain, she asked for the loan of his umbrella, seeing that he was making no use of that article. "Madam," replied Mr. Skelton, "I can only regret that my umbrella is not made to put up."
     We first discovered what Chess was really like, on the introduction, by Mr. Ferrier, of a new member, Mr. Murphy, who played the gambit and beat us all round. Mr. Murphy was eminent as a miniature painter; and at his house, in Grosvenor Street, I had the pleasure of playing Chess on several occasions with his charming daughter, afterwards Mrs. Jamieson, whose bust at South Kensington conveys but a faint idea of her interesting features. A first-rate player could have given Mr. Murphy a piece; but his style was brilliant, always on the look-out for a dashing sacrifice; and under my repeated defeats, I soon gained some efficiency.
     The Percy Chess Club, in its second year, seemed firmly established, when it was knocked down by two events of a very different nature. Murphy brought Mr. Lewis on a visit to the Society, who gave our best men the Rook, and beat us to our hearts' content; and, about the same time, the proprietor of the Percy gave us notice to quit, as we did not spend cash enough to make our presence remunerative. I may here set down, that on the occasion of our giving a tremendous supper, about this time, to Mr. Lewis, our Mr. Skelton quarrelled with the household deities, insisting on going down, to the lower regions, to make the Bishop himself. How would a foreigner translate this last sentence?
     Our expulsion from the Percy Coffee House would not, of itself, have broken us up, for we directly found a suitable room at the White Horse, Regent Street, a superior sort of public, now replaced by a restaurant, five-and-twenty stories high; but we had sniffed at the apple of knowledge, as held out by Lewis, and finally broke up our meeting in favour of a sort of Chess Class, which Mr. Lewis opened, Wednesday and Saturday evenings, at a house in St. Martin's Lane, and where we found, too late, that we had exchanged our pleasant gatherings for a very dry kind of affair indeed. But it was impossible to retreat. We sat our time out, playing with each other, in silence and in gloom; for, as there was no eating and drinking, the very shadow of a bit of pleasant chaff was unknown, and I longed frequently, but in vain, for the lost flesh pots of Egypt I was firm, however, to Mr. Lewis's Class for several years, the details of which were wearisome to give here, till Mr. Lewis formally and wisely abjured Chess altogether, and became actuary of the Family Endowment Society.

 


     The "Westminster Papers" of Dec. 1876 continues the saga and introduces us to Huttman:
     In the same year (1831) hearing that some Chess-players met at a coffee house in Bedford Street. Covent Garden, kept by a Mr. Huttman, he persuaded them to form a club. The old Percyites and St. Martin's Lane men rallied around him, and in the beginning of 1832 the famous Westminster Chess Club was opened on Huttmann's first floor. The club was enormously successful. Huttman sold cigars wrapped up in paper, containing diagrams of Chess problems, and all the best Chess-players in London gathered daily at the new rooms. These became so crowded that larger rooms were taken in the opposite house, and Huttman obtained nearly 200 subscribers, at two guineas each, in the first few months. In 1834 a match between the Westminster Club and the Paris Cercle was arranged, and begun for a stake of a hundred pounds. It was won by Paris, as every student of Mr. Walker's works knows, as much through indifference on the part of the London players as from want of skill.
    In these rooms Labourdonnais played his matches with Macdonnell, and administered many a brilliant mate to the best players of the time. Labourdonnais died in 1840. He was buried at Kensal Green, close to the grave of his famous rival, not from accident, but of the set purpose of our hero, who defrayed all the expenses attending the last illness and death of the great Frenchman. Meanwhile, the Westminster Club had been transferred from Covent Garden to the Strand. Huttmann's success appeared to have turned his head. While the club was in the full tide of success, he inaugurated Sunday night meetings with glee singing, and, as Mr. Walker has described it, "other tomfooleries;" so that the best men ceased to attend the rooms, and Huttmann found himself on the roll of insolvent debtors in 1835. The club was temporarily dissolved, but our hero, whose determination to have a club at the West-end no failure could daunt, reorganised it under the old name, and the meetings were held in Mr. Ries' drawing-room, adjoining the Divan, of which establishment that gentleman was then the proprietor.


 


 

     In "Chess History and Reminiscences,"  H.E. Bird wrote:
     About the year 1840 the Garrick Chess Divan was opened by Mr. Huttman at No. 4 Little Russell St., Covent Garden. One of the attractions of this little saloon was the publication every week of a leaf containing a good chess problem, below it all the gossip of the chess world in small type. The leaf was at first sold for sixpence, including two of the finest Havannah Cigars, or a fine Havannah and a delicious cup of coffee, but was afterwards reduced to a penny without the cigars. The problem leaf succeeding well, a leaf containing games was next produced, and finally the two were merged in a publication of four pages entitled the Palamede.

Photo of Tomlinson from the Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution

Charles Tomlinson (1808–1897) started working at age 12 to support his family upon the death of his father.  He rose to become a leading scientist in the field of physics and Fellow of The Royal Society, publicist, educator and encyclopaedist, a linguist who tranlated Renaissance poetry from Italian to English. Tomlinson was also highly interested in chess and wrote several books such as "Amusements in Chess,"  "Chess: A Poem in Four Parts" (which oddly enough was meant to point out the evils of overindugence in Chess) and "Chess Player's Annual" whcih seems to have been intended as a yearly publication but was never published other than in 1856. One article in that book was:

A REMINISCENCE OF MR. HUTTMANN'S CHESS SOIEEES.
     On turning over some old chess papers, I happened to light upon a number of problems by the late ingenious Mr. William Bone. The reader is entitled to know how it happens that they are printed for the first time in the Chess-Player's Annual.
     About the year 1840, the "Garrick Chess Divan" was opened by Mr. Huttmann, (one of the original projectors of the old Westminster Chess Club,) at No. 4, Little Russell Street, Covent Garden. Many of the older chess-players will doubtless remember this homely but pleasant resort. You not only met there some of the best London and provincial players, and were nearly always sure of an antagonist adapted to your wants, but you could also share in the very intelligent conversation which the ingenious proprietor was accustomed to promote.
     One of the attractions of this little saloon was the publication every week of a leaf containing a good chess problem, and below it all the gossip of the chess world in small type. The leaf was at first sold for sixpence, "including two of the finest Havannah cigars,"  or  "a fine Havannah and a delicious cup of coffee;"  but was afterwards reduced to a penny without the cigars. The problems were usually of firstrate quality; and, as the solution was withheld for a week, it was quite a contest who should be the first to anticipate the printed solution. In this way some of the finest compositions of D'Orville, Calvi, and others, first found their way to this country.
     I remember to have been present when Calvi's celebrated four-move problem* was first introduced by M. Alexandre. That gentleman had just returned from Paris, and stated that, a few weeks before, M. Calvi entered the Cafe de la Regence one
evening, and said, " Now I think I've something that will puzzle you." "In how many moves?" " Four." "Nonsense; let us see it."
     The position was set up, but no one solved it that evening. The astonishment was unbounded— the company separated—M. Alexandre went to bed, but not to sleep." The problem had taken possession of all his faculties, when suddenly towards morning it occured to him that if a White Pawn were to Queen, becoming a Knight, the difficulty might be overcome. He rushed out of bed, got a light, set up the position, and returned to rest a happy man.
     As this feature in problems was a novelty at the time, it need not excite surprise that the Huttmannites did not solve it easily. A friend of mine, on leaving for the evening, said, "I promise to bring the solution by to-morrow afternoon." I undertook to do the same; and in my case the process of solution was much like that which M. Alexandre went through. In this way, a good deal of excitement was kept up; and a lively interest in Chess was promoted.
     The problem leaf succeeding so well, a leaf containing games was next produced; and, finally, the two were merged into a publication of four pages, entitled "The Palamede."
     These various publications are now before me, and they throw me mournfully back into "auld lang syne."    The little room at No. 4 became so thriving that the proprietor determined to enlarge his plans; and accordingly we find it announced in September 1841, that "Mr. Huttmann's Chess Soirees are held at No. 15, Little Russell Street. Admission sixpence, including refreshment. Visitors have the use of an extensive chess-library, and the advantage of meeting with amateurs of every grade."   This statement was quite true; but the large room at No. 15 was somehow not so comfortable as the old No. 4. It never looked filled: there was a bald, uncomfortable je ne sais quoi about it: you felt as if you  couldn't be warm in it in winter. Instead of the old extempore arrangement at No. 4, where your "delicious cup of coffee " was heated in a little tin pot over the gas-lamp, you were attended by a smart waiter, and Mr. H. did not seem to be so approachable as before.
     The large room failed, and Mr. H. endeavoured to return to his former habits. He opened a room in Hand Court, Holborn; and it was certainly snug and comfortable. During the celebrated contest between Staunton and St. Amant, this room was frequently crowded with chess-players anxious for the latest intelligence  from the seat of war, eagerly playing over the games, and glorying in the brilliant success of the English champion. "The Palamede," alas! did not survive the departure from Little Russell Street; but while it did survive, the leading players—such as Mr. Lewis, Mr. George Walker, and others—contributed. Mr. Huttmann had plenty of materials for the work, and to spare; and when he made his final bow—I wish I could say, "took his farewell benefit"—to the chess world, he consigned to me many of his papers.


     Frederick Edge wrote a poorly received book on Morphy's tour of Europe (but I found it quite enjoyable).  In that book he gave a little of the history of chess in England and offers the following account of Huttmann and the Westminster Chess Club.
-from "The Exploits and Triumphs, in Europe, of Paul Morphy, the Chess Champion,"  by Frederick Milnes Edge
     About the year 1830, a gentleman of great parts and education, named Huttmann, finding his share of this world's loaves and fishes not precisely what he could wish, opened a coffee house in Covent Garden. His patrons belonged to what society calls the " upper classes," for his prices were high and his refreshments first-rate; two considerable attractions to men of means.
     Amongst the frequenters of the rooms were Mr. Henry Russell, the since celebrated singer; Captain Medwin (Byron's medium), and Mr. Mackay, now Dr. Charles Mackay, the poet. Doctor Mackay was in New York during the chess tournament, and visited the rooms on that occasion, but we were then unaware of his early acquaintance with the game.
     At Huttman's Coffee House, the habitues were gentlemen in quest of quietness; men of calm, reflective turn, given to chit-chat in nooks and corners; smoking a genuine "Havana" over a cup of unquestionable "Mocha," and reading that everlasting refuge for an Englishman, " The Times."  Just the atmosphere for a chess-board, and two or three were accordingly introduced. Now you can never get chess-boards into any establishment, without the fact becoming immediately known amongst amateurs. Mr. George Walker soon got wind of the arrangement, and forthwith reconnoitred the lines. The result of his observations was that he suggested the formation of a chess club in the first floor rooms, and to this Mr. Huttmann assented. Mr. Walker forthwith began drumming about for recruits; electing himself secretary, pro tem, he drew up a set of rules, and got out printed circulars, and it was not his fault if any person with whom he claimed even bowing acquaintance, escaped from the meshes of the proposed club. Within a few days he had canvassed all his earliest chess friends, and had rallied round the standard of Caissa between twenty and thirty defenders. It was resolved to style the association THE WESTMINSTER CLUB, and Captain Medwin was elected the first president.
     We are upon classic ground. Who does not remember the feats performed within the walls of this home of the glorious departed? Who shall forget the oft-told wonders of that golden age of chess? Any thing related of the Westminster Club is swallowed with willing faith by gaping acolytes. Those were glorious days, indeed, the Homeric age of zatrikiological worthies!
     Amongst the early supporters of the Club were the Rev. Mr. D'Arblay, (son of Madame D'Arblay,) Mr. Skelton, (so well known about town as "Dandy Skelton,") Mr. Nixon, organist of the Bavarian Catholic Church, in Warwick Street, Duncan Forbes, Professor of Oriental languages at University College, and many other celebrated literary characters. The proprietor, Mr. Huttman, followed the enterprise with spirit. Every cigar he sold in the coffee-room was wrapt in a printed problem; and, in addition, he published a periodical penny miscellany on chess. Such extraordinary exertions quickly bore fruit, and, in a short time the Club rose to something like fifty members. The room in which the meetings were held became, in consequence, so hot, that it was deservedly styled "the oven."
     Emboldened by success, Mr. Huttman began to look about for new and more commodious quarters; these he eventually found on the opposite side of the street. Certain gamblers had there taken a house, and furnished the principal apartments in sumptuous style, for the sole purpose of decoying thither a young foreign nobleman, who, in one night, is said to have lost there upwards of £30,000. The house having served their diabolical ends, was of no further use to them, and Mr. Huttman rented it.
     Here the Westminster Club was enshrined. Amongst the chief supporters were Mr. George Walker, Hon. Sec.; Mr. B. Smith, M.P.; Albany Fonblanque, Esq., of The Examiner; Messrs. Perigal, Slous, Popert, McDonnel, and many others from the London Club.   In 1833
[sic], Labourdonnais and McDonnel played their different matches at these splendid rooms.
     By the continued exertions of Mr. George Walker, the number of members was increased to three hundred. What a glorious muster-roll! Why should the "old days" not live again at the West End? Surely the ranks of chess players are not thinned, nor is their strength diminished. Our Lowenthals, Bodens, Birds, Stauntons, Barneses, Buckles, Wormalds, Palkbeers, Briens, Zytogoroskys, Lowes, Hannahs, etc., etc., etc., are worthy descendants of West End men of the olden time, without even enlisting the support of such city magnates as the Mongrediens, Slouses, Medleys, etc., of the ancient and virile London Club.
     Many members of the Westminster still make love to the nymph Caissa; such historical names as Slous and Walker for instance. But, in addition to the abovementioned general officers, we now possess a constantlyincreasing rank and file, recruited from the chess-playing militia of schools and private families. Chess is assuming vast proportions in England and America: scarcely a weekly paper of any circulation but gives a column to the game; and certainly no newspaper editor would do so if he did not find it pay. At the West End of London, there now exist two clubs of importance, the old St. George's and the new St. James's; the Philidorean Rooms in Rathbone Place partaking rather of the divan character. Neither of these clubs require proficiency in the game as a passport for membership; and a gentleman receiving the Queen would be just as eligible
as the amateur giving it. Surely the advantages offered for increasing one's strength in this intellectual struggle of mind against mind, should be an inducement for young players to enroll themselves in one or the other of these two associations.
     When the Westminster had grown up into a goodly body of three hundred members, Mr. George Walker began to find that the duties of secretary were interfering seriously with his other pursuits, and he therefore resigned the office, and was succeeded by Mr. William Greenwood Walker, to whom the chess world is so much indebted for taking down the games of McDonnel [sic]. The Club had arrived at its Augustine era, and, in 1838, its fortunes began to wane; the proprietor getting into pecuniary difficulties.
     Mr. Huttman could not let well alone. He introduced a daily dinner, on plans so profoundly calculated, that the more persons who dined the more he lost. He got the Club, also, into bad odor, by allowing chess to be played there on Sundays. Musical soirees and other nonsense followed; the main object of the establishment thus became ignored, and, instead of new members joining, the old ones fell off one by one, and the princely mansion in Bedford street was shortly to let. Mr. Huttman's pecuniary difficulties perilled 
[sic] the very existence of the Club, notwithstanding that the members handed over to him the reserve fund, amounting to a few hundred pounds. No Club can be said to be in safety without such a fund upon which to fall back in case of emergency, as for instance, retirement of members. Members of chess clubs will retire—prominent ones even—a very frequent cause being marriage; the backsliders, however, often come back eventually.
     The Westminster Club being now without house or home, looked about for some benevolent individual who would " take them in and do for them." Such an one they found in Mr. Ries, proprietor of the Divan in the Strand, who offered them private rooms in his establishment; thither the dibris of the old Westminster forthwith removed. Each member was provided with a latch-key, with which to let himself in at the private door. Here it was that Mr. Staunton appeared for the first time in chess-circles, although he was never a member of the Westminster Club. In its new quarters the association drew out an existence of twelve months, giving up the ghost in 1840.


Dates and names, even sequences of event get all mixed up and confused even by single individuals and especially in contradictory accounts.  From looking through old newspapers, I've come to the opionion that the original Westminster Chess Club that met at 20 Bedford Street, Covent-garden opened in the Spring of 1833 and closed it's doors when Huttmann went bankrupt in the Fall of 1838:


     So what have we?  John Henry Huttmann was an entrepreneur and a purveyor of fine cigars who opened a cigar divan around 1830.  Hoping to enhance his business, he persuaded George Walker who was one of the members of the defunct Percy Chess Club to establish a club in his divan the following year or several years later, depending on the source.  Walker did just that, making Capt. Medwin, the famous poet, translator, biographer of Percy Bysshe Shelley and close friend of Lord Byron, the president.  The Westminster's Club's role grew exponentially. The club at Huttmann's hosted a famous correspondence match with Paris as well as one of the greatest matches of all time, one that caught the media's attention, Bourdonnais vs. M'Donnell, in 1834, with all the free advertising that came with it.  Huttmann also introduced handing out chess problems with with the purchase of fine cigars, something that went over big with the many chess players who frequented the place. Things were rolling, but Huttmann wasn't one to let any opportunity pass.  He tried to cash in on the divan's popularity by introducing singing and other activities, most of which was adverse to chess-playing, to draw in more customers, but failed at that and actually alientated the customers he already had. Huttmann went bankrupt in 1838 (1835 by some sources).  Huttmann opened a counting-house on 30, Warwick-street, Regent-street in latter part of 1838 or early 1839, but it doesn't seemed to have lasted. In 1840, Huttmann, with John Morrison, opened Garrick's Chess Divan at No. 4, Little Russel Street, Covent Garden.  But Huttmann was still having financial troubles and it shut down in June 1842. Again in partnership with John Morrison he opened a chess divan to No. 15, Little Russell Street with larger but less appealing quarters.  The financial problems were only incensed by these maneuvers and in Dec. 1842, Huttmann -- who had the now-defunct counting-house on Warwick-street,  failed whiskey and cigar businesses on No. 8 Hunter-street, Brunswick-square, at No.1 Euston-square, at No. 5 Stanhope-street, Clare-market, in Lodgings, at No 171 Drury-lane, also in Lodgings, No. 194, Strand, Middlesex (which was also a chess divan owned by both Huttmann and Morrison),  and at Church-row, Hampstead -- found himself on the wrong side of law suits and in the Debtor's Prison for London and Middlesex. That's the last we hear of John Henry Huttmann



    It's mentioned over and over again how the little chess problems, either wrapped around cigars or given along with cigars, grew into a 4 page publication called the "Palamede."  Either the slips of paper were originally, or at least in 1840, called, or Huttmann published a separate paper containing problems called, "Games of Chess" and "Curious Chess Problems":

"The Tablet,"  July 25, 1840
Games of Chess.
Curious Chess Problems.
Huttmann.
This is a new periodical, of a very novel kind.  Mr. Huttman of Little Russell-street, Covent-garden, publishes every week "A Game of Chess," and a "Chess Problem"  (the latter illustrated with a neat diagram), and in general both the game and the problem are either original contributions, or extracts from some scarce work.  The problems and games are usually accompanied by some valuable editorial remarks, and the work, upon the whole, is one that we can conscientiously recommend to the attention of all who take an interenst in the beautiful game, of which Mr. Huttmann has taken upon himself to be the gazetter.

"The Saturday Magazine," November 11, 1843 had this small article:

 



Solution:





from "The Literary Gazette," Aug. 1840
Chess -  Among all the minor publications which it has been our lot to notice, we never remember our task to have been more agreeable than in the present instance. *  Chess has, of late years, been making rapid and sure progress in this country, as is witnessed by the establishment of chess-clubs and dvans in most of the principal towns in the United Kingdom.  Among those of more recent formation we beg to call the attention of our readers to that of Mr. Huttman, the selector of the games under notice, and the original projector of the Westminster Chess Club.  His devotion to the game, and the sacrifice he made in fostering and promoting its interest demand our warmest admiration, and we are glad to have the opportunity of calling public attention to his praiseworthy efforts.  We understand that Mr. Huttman has been in correspondence with many of the leading men of the day, upon the practicality of introducing this noble game more geerally into our schools as a branch of scientific recreation.  If this design could be carried into effect, it would tend to habituate the youthful mind to thinking for itself; and n this respect, if in this only, might be of very great benefit.  We are glad to promote the idea in any way in our power, and have only to remark, in conclusion, that the games and problems selected by Mr. Huttman are extremely ingenious, and have afforded us great amusement.

* "Games of Chess," Nos. I to XVIII., and "Curious Chess Problems," Nos. I to XV., selected by J.H. Huttman, London, 1840.



under "Books Wanted" in "Publisher's Weekly," 1921


An 1834 ad from "The Spectator: -


Comments


  • 11 months ago

    batgirl

    Thanks. I made the change in the puzzle.

  • 11 months ago

    jcm1978

    The puzzle bothered me for quite some time because of the possibility of 3...Kd4 escape for black.  So with some online help I found that the white's move 3 should be c4+, not e4+.  (Couldn't figure it out myself.)

    Reading LeDruide's post I think he is saying the same thing.

  • 11 months ago

    Helpmaster

    Hard work = this blog 

  • 11 months ago

    Estragon

    Ah, to be alive in the days when one could have a chess flyer, a Havana cigar, and a good cup of coffee for sixpence!

    Thanks, batgirl!

    Cool

  • 11 months ago

    adamstask

    great stuff! 'I'm sorry Madam, but my umbrella is not made to be put up'!!!

    And, selling a chess periodical with a cigar and a cup of coffee!! 

    so memorable. Batgirl, you do a great service to chess enthusiasts. Thanks so much.  

    Btw, no doubt you know of JessicaFischerQueen's vids? If not, check them out on youtube. 

  • 11 months ago

    Delacorta

    Great article. I love the sound of some of these clubs!

  • 11 months ago

    jcm1978

    What about 3...Kd4?

  • 11 months ago

    Diego_Investigator

    Hallo! I like your article... It´s lovely... Smile

    Could you look at my video and let a comment? Wink

    Thanks

    Diego

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