19th Century Chess : From Sarratt to Morphy

19th Century Chess : From Sarratt to Morphy

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     This began many years ago as an experimental type of entry in the forums.  Originally conceived to be an examination of the development of chess throughout the entire 19th century, since it never garnered the interest I had hope for, I abandoned it mid-way.  It's very, very long and tedious (for an article), but the subject calls for detail rather than superficiality.   On the other hand, since it's mostly chronologically progressive in its approach, it can also be read piecemeal and not as a whole.  While I doubt this article will interest the casual chess-player or the leisurely reader, hopefully it will provide anyone willing to dive in some insight into the development of chess during the first half of the 19th century.

19th Century Chess : From Sarratt to Morphy


     Early in the last quarter of the 15th century, several rules of movement and play were intiated and recorded [keeping in mind Murray's caveat that "the reform was historically only the culmination of a long series of experiments with the moves of the pieces, carried out during the medieval period."], changing a slow moving, stagnant game into a vibrant and exciting competition. So popular were these changes that even in those days of ponderous travel and sluggish communication, they swarmed across Europe with such speed that by the time that by the time the calendar read 1500, the old form of chess was played hardly anywhere. With these changes came a new and unfamiliar way to approach the game. So foreign were the concepts that Modern or Reformed Chess was almost virgin soil, fertile to new ideas and ripe for experimention. Murray called this age, which streched from Lucena in the late 1400s to Greco in the first half of the 16th century, "the first creative period in the history of modern chess."

     There were several chess writers of note during this time: Francesch Vicent, Lucena, Pedro Damiano, Ruy Lopez, Orazio Gianutio del Mantia, Giulio Cesare Polerio, Dr. Alessandro Salvio, Pietro Carrera and, of course, Gioachino Greco himself.
     Greco's manuscripts, published posthumously by Henry Herringman, translated by Francis Beale and engraved by Peter Stent under the title The Royall Game of Chess-Play in 1656, remained the chess-players' bible for nearly a century. Copies of Greco's games were called Calabrians, after Greco's sobriquet, Il Calabrese.

     The 18th century rolled in with very few notably original ideas. In Italy the Modense players, Lolli, del Rio and Ponziani wrote their books extolling the open game, particlarly the Italian Game. Carlo Francesco Cozio, also of Italy, published a book of openings as well as one on endings and middlegame studies. He also followed Greco's tactics-based ideas.  Philip Stamma from Syria published a book in Holland but it was backward-facing rather than innovative. Then François-André Danican Philidor published his well-received, if not so well understood, treatise, Analyse du jeu des Échecs.  One thing that Philidor accomplished was to lay the foundation for opposing schools of chess which would begin to mature after his death near the turn of the century.

     As the 19th century began, chess seemed to have been particularly embraced in Great Britain, France, Germany, the United States and Russia. Other countries did embace the game but their documentation seems far less.  Paris had attracted the best players prior to the turn of the century. Philidor, who traveled between Paris and London seasonally, played at the famous Café de la Régence, as did other strong players such as Verdoni, Leger, Carlier and Bernard who together published Traité Théorique et Pratique du jeu des Echecs par une Societé d' Amateurs.  Philidor had been the strongest player in London also and upon his death Verdoni moved to London and, although not Philidor's equal, presided at the Parsloe's Coffee House in Philidor's place.

     In Russia, chess wasn't documented this early. It would be 2 decades before I. A. Butrimov would publish Russia's first chess book (using algebraic notation). In the United States, even though Ben Franklin had been overly fond of the game and the current president, John Adams was a chess-player, as was his vice-president Thomas Jefferson, chess had yet to produce anything resembling a culture. Germany, a country that had a long love affair with chess, was really producing little of note around 1800.

    The 19th century started out rather austere.

The Show begins:

     As the curtain opens, it reveals a serene stage awaiting the performers, the legendary figures standting in the wings as well as the crucial supporting players patiently awaiting their cues.

     In London in the 1790s, Philidor's main protagonists at Parsloe's were George Atwood and Joseph Wilson. Both these learned men were instrumental in preserving games of Philidor without which we would be left with very few. While Wilson reintroduced the Muzio Gambit, which had been forgotten, and lived until 1833, Atwood, who died in 1807, seemed the better player of the two. Verdoni himself had died in 1804.
     The figure that rose to the top and stands out among the rest would have to be Verdoni's student, Jacob Henry Sarratt, who upon Verdoni's death became the house professional at Salopian at Charing Cross.  Claiming the title of "Professor of Chess," he taught chess at the price of a guinea per game. Unlike the students of Philidor, Sarratt was a follower of the Modenese school in the syle of Greco. In fact, Sarratt had a notion that chess culminated in the 16th century and that everything since then had been a step backwards. Sarratt published his Treatise on the Game of Chess in 1808 (considered by many the first worthwhile book of the 19th century) and translated works of antiquity though very poorly.  Sarratt's translation of Damiano, Lopez, and Salvio and that of Gianutio and Selenus, as Willard Fiske put it are "so mutilated as to be of little value," and such that Geo. Walker call them his "his barbarously mutilated translations."  Sarratt has been described as tall, lean and muscular and had even been a prize-fighter at one point. He had also bred dogs for fighting. He was regarded as a very affable fellow and very well-read but with limited taste.  He was also capable of playing chess blindfold. One of Sarratt's legacies is that he mentored Willaim Lewis about whom we'll see much later on.  Sarratt died in 1819 after a protracted illness during which he couldn't work, leaving his wife destitute.  In 1821 a posthumous edition of his Treatise, A New Treatise on the Game of Chess, was published (by his student, William Lewis). This copy covered the game of chess as a whole and was designed for the novice player. It also contained a 98 page analysis of the Muzio. Interesting enough, William Lewis wrote in the preface to the book:

"The Editor [Lewis] takes this opportunity of saying a few words respecting this celebrated player. A long and intimate acquaintance with Mr. Sarratt, during which he frequently had the pleasure of playing with him, and of seeing him play, enables the Editor to assert, without hesitation, that he was the finest and most finished player he has ever seen, alike excellent in attack and defense, and capable of unravelling intricate positions with ease and accuracy.
Those who form their opinion of Mr. Sarratt’s skill from his publications only, will not rank him so high as he deserved, for Mr. S. was, unfortunately, too regardless of his fame to pay that attention to his Works which the reader has a right to expect. The pecuniary difficulties in which he was unfortunately involved, compelled him to write rapidly, and made him gladly prefer copying games from other books to giving new ones, which would have required a careful and laborious examination."

     His posthumous book brought in some income, but his wife moved to Paris, supporting herself by giving chess instruction to the wealthy and aristocatic. In 1843 a subscription was raised for her financial support. Many chess amateurs contributed, as did Le Palamède (the chess magazine) and even King Louis-Philippe. Jacob Henry Sarratt encouraged, and suceeded in, changing the Stalemate rule, (which in England and many other countries at that time was that the side giving Stalemate lost) to being a draw. He was also instumental in naming the opening now called the Sicilian by pointing out that it was first demonstrated by Carerra, a Sicilian.  There are very few of Sarratt's games extant and most of those are, like Greco's games, studies rather than necessarily actual games played (though they might have been). Here is an example taken from his 1808 Treatise:

Even as Sarratt was ruling chess in London, Paris remained the place to play. Philidor's students, Bernard, Carlier and Leger took Phildor's place, but were too lacking to truly supplant him.

Around 1798 a French player worthy of Philidor's crown appeared almost out of nowhere. His sudden emergence was compounded by his nearly mythical claims and deeds. He was Alexandre Louis Honoré Lebreton Deschapelles who claimed to have learned all he needed to know about chess in just four days.

According to George Walker, Deschapelles noted:

"I acquired chess, in four days! I learned the moves, played with Bernard, who had succeeded Philidor as the sovereign of the board; lost the first day, the second, the third, and beat him even-handed on the fourth; since which time I have never advanced or receded. Chess to me has been, and is, a single idea, which, once acquired, cannot be displaced from its throne, while the intellect remains unimpaired by sickness or age."

     It's true that Deschapelles had a facility for games and excelled, not only at chess, but at billiards, Polish draughts, trictrac, and whist despite the fact that he had lost his right hand in a battle during his youth. In that same battle he received a sabre cut that opened his skull diagonally from his forehead to his chin, disfiguring him and inspiring the belief that such a wound actually freed his brain, empowering his mind.
     His father and brothers had been in the service of Louis XVI. During the French Revolution, they fled France. Deschapelles, himself, was a revolutionary and received his wounds fighting for Napoleon - but when Napoleon crowned himself Emperor, he turned against him and tore off the Cross of Honor which had been conferred on him June 1, 1804, one of the first ever issued.
     Taking up chess in 1798, Deschapelles quickly took up residence at, and figuratively ruled, the Café de la Régence. In 1806, after the battle of Jenna, the army to which Deschapelles was attached entered Berlin. There Deschapelles challenged the best chess players of Germany and won, giving them rook's odds (something later disputed by the English press - instigating a hasty, ill-fated challenge from Deschapelles to the British chess players).
     One anecdote tells us that a stranger came into la Régence one day and inquired from the manager, Masson, whether Deschapelles would play him a game. Deschapelles had the manager find out what the stakes would be and the stranger said that his religion prohibited him to play for money. Deschapelles sent word that his religion prohibited from being absurd ("La mienne me défend d’être absurde").
     In 1812, Deschapelles was making a good living as a superintendent of the tobacco monopoly, a post granted to him by Napoleon's aide, Marshall Ney (through the insistance of Ney's wife, Duchess of Elchingen).
     In 1815, after Waterloo, Deschapelles formed a band of partisans which named him their general. It didn't last long. In 1820, Deschapelles took on Labourdonnais as a student.
     In 1822, Deschapelles gave up chess, most likely because Labourdonnais by now was the better player. He took up whist and quickly mastered the game winning more money at this game than he ever had at chess. With his new found wealth, he and his bride rented a villa near Paris where he raised orchards, pheasants, pumpkins, melons as well as pineapples and orchids in his greenhouses. His melons and pumpkins even won prizes and were so highly valued, they were served to King Louis-Philippe. George Perigal was an English player who, incidentally, took part in the first telegraph game in England in 1845 as well as being on the London team in the correspondence matches against Edinburgh in 1824 and Paris in 1834. Perigal, secretary of the London Chess Club, was in charge of handling the English negotiations with Deschapelles who had challenged to play any English player at Pawn&2. After the English raised the necessary 500£ stakes, Deschapelles withdrew his challenge, inspiring Perigal to write:

M. Deschapelles is the greatest chess player in France;
M. Deschapelles is the greatest whist player in France;
M. Deschapelles is the greatest billiards player in France;
M. Deschapelles is the greatest pumpkin-grower in France;
M. Deschapelles is the greatest liar in France.

    Deschapelles resumed playing chess in 1836 when, after 14 years of non-play, he drew a 3 game match (+1 =1 -1) against Saint-Amant giving Saint-Amant odds of Pawn&2. He won a 5 game match (+2 =2 -1) against Wilhelm Schulten of Germany in 1842 also at odds of Pawn&2. He then played Saint-Amant a 5 game match winning +3 -2.
     In 1839, Deschapelles published his "Traité du Whiste" ("Treatise on Whist"), even though he had only completed 2 of the expected 15 chapters. But in 1842, he sent Saint-Amant another chapter to be published in "Le Palamède."
     For the last year and a half of his life, Deschapelles was confined to bed. He suffered delusions which he expressed by composing rambling constitutions for various countries. His final wishes were that he should die unannounced and unheralded, buried in a pauper's grave.

     Deschapelles did manage to redirect the focus of chess from London back to Paris during the 19th cenury's second decade.

     The 1820s is when chess starts getting lively.

     As we look at some of our targeted countries we see Germany with little happening. But Germany was a place where chess was definitely being played. One of the great chess masters of the time, Johann Allgaier, had writtenthe first modern chess book in German. Published in 1796, Neue Theoretische-praktische Anweisung zum Schachspiel was considered among the best chess books written up to that time. Allgaier was also hired by Johann Maelzel as the first director of the automaton known as the Turk. The Turk was created by Wolfgang von Kempelen in 1770 and was exhibited in Europe. After Kempelen's death, the automaton was bought by Maelzel who planned to make it part of his traveling show. The Turk with Allgaier directing (Maelzel call the hidden operators "directors") did defeat Napoleon. There are many versions of this story. However, it's almost certain that the game score purported to be between Napoleon and the Turk is fabricated, as it's equally certain that Napoleon's other 2 "preserved" games were manufactured. Interestingly enough, a second German from Alsace, William Schlumberger, was also a director of the Turk, but in the United States. However, Schlumberger got his start in the Café de la Régence in the early 1820s and went with Maelzel to America in 1827. The Turk had been a major boost to chess' popularity, especially under the ownership of Maelzel the showman.

     As far as America goes, the Turk's 10 year visit was the country's most enterprising chess happening. Charles Vezin of Philidlphia was probably the strongest player in America and he started the first chess group or club in America in the Athenaeum in 1827 and was a frequent opponent of Schlumberger, the man not the automaton. Vezin taught many of the next generation of American players and as such played an indespensible role in American chess.

     France saw the advent of Louis-Charles Mahé de La Bourdonnais who supplanted Deschapelles upon his retirement from chess in 1821. The Turk was directed by Hyacinthe Boncourt in mainland Europe and by another French player, Jacques François Mouret, in London. In London before Mouret was brought over, the Turk had been directed by William Lewis followed by Peter Unger Williams both of whom had been students of Sarratt. Mouret had been a student of Carlier and Bernard and then of Dechapelles and had been a teacher to Labourdonnais. His exhibition, playing as the Turk, in 1819 was recorded and 50 games, played at the odds of Pawn & move, were published. Of Mouret's 300 games as the Turk, he only lost 6. Alcoholism destroyed Mouret both as a chess player and as a man. In 1834 Mouret supposedly revealed the secret of the automaton supposedly for the price of a drink and this somewhat oblique revelation was published in an article in "Le Magasin Pittoresque" in 1834. According to his obituary in "Le Palaméde," Mouret had become paralyzed in all his limbs and was in constant pain towards the end of his life. He retained a small, insufficient pension from the post office where he had been formerly employed but this stipend was supplemented through a monthly donation by members of the Paris chess circle who also paid for his burial.

     The best English players in 1820 were William Lewis and John Cochrane. Cochrane, a Scottish player, is first heard of receiving Pawn & move odds in London from Mouret, as the Turk and delivering Mouret one of his 6 losses. In 1822 (at age 24) Cochane published "A Treatise on the Game of Chess." In 1824, he was part of the London team in their correspondence match with Edinburgh. In the third game, Cochrane convinced his team to play a little known opening, perhaps as a surprise since it was only briefly mentioned by Ercole Del Rio in 1750 and, of course, by his Modenese protégé, Giambattista Lolli in 1763: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4. This game was looking favorable for White, but Cochrane took a position in India and had to leave mid-game. After he departed White's game fell apart and black eventually won. The Scots beat the Scotch Game the first time it was recorded OTB. (The Edinbugh players, who apparently liked Cochrane's idea, played the Scotch Game two times in the match, drawing one and winning one - and the match).

    Cochrane vs. The Turk (Mouret):

H. J. R. Murray wrote a two-part biography of Lewis published in the "BCM" in 1906. I created the culled version of Part I below:

     "Meanwhile, on April 6th, 1807, a new chess club had arisen farther East in the City itself, which took the name of the London Chess Club. Its first president was a Mr. Augustus Hankey, but although the first committee contained men of note such as Sir Astley Cooper, the surgeon, and Sir Isaac Lyon Goldsmid, the club was composed mainly of City men for whom Parsloe's was too far West and too exclusive. Here, soon after the foundation of the club, a schoolmaster, J. H. Sarratt, came to the front as a player of the first rank, who played with a brilliance that had not been seen in England for nearly a hundred years. He discarded the dull Bishop's Opening, which to the disciples of Philidor was the most correct of all openings, and rehabilitated the King's Gambit, and specially the Muzio. But he was more than a mere player; he wrote two treatises on the game, the earlier of which was published in 1808, and published three volumes of translations containing the works of the earlier writers on chess—Damiano, Ruy Lopez, Gianutio, Salvio, and Gustavus Selenus—in 1813 and 1817. These works are not, however, calculated to enhance his renown; they lack unity and bear signs of hasty composition. Lewis refers to this in his preface to his own translation of Carrera where he tells us how Sarratt had distinguished himself in play with Verdoni, but that the latter player only judged Sarratt from his books, and never really realised his great skill as a player. Sarratt was too careless of his reputation to expend quite the same care on his books as on his games.
     The next year (1817) saw Lewis' first appearance as a compiler of chess hooks. A copy of Tiruvengadacharya Shastri's "Essays on Chess adapted to the European Mode of Play" which had been published in Bombay, 1814, was lent him by a friend, Joseph Wood. Lewis embodied the greater portion of the problems in this book in his 'Oriental Chess," a collection of 150— for that time—excellent problems, a few of which were the compiler's own. Notwithstanding the fact that Lewis makes ample acknowledgment of his indebtedness to the Bombay work and has placed an "E" against every problem taken from it, there have not been wanting writers who have accused Lewis of making his reputation upon stolen material—a charge which cannot be substantiated. Lewis' book possesses a special interest for the collector from its being one of the first two chess books—and possibly the very first one*—in which the problem diagrams were printed with moveable type.
    This same year—1817—Lewis played the first of his two matches with Peter Pratt. Pratt was not a strong player (Lewis gave him the odds, now of the Queen's Rook, now of a Knight in both matches, and beat him), but he was a persistent editor of Philidor, whom he endeavoured to "improve" in many ways. Thus he tried to reform chess nomenclature by substituting new names for the pieces, which he thought more appropriate for modern days. ... Beside this he tried to reform castling, and other rules, and fought hard for the older English convention that the giver of stalemate lost the game thereby....
    William Lewis directed the Automaton's play for some time, and two of his games played in this way are preserved in his "Fifty Games; No. 43, a Sicilian, is Lewis v. H. Wilson, and No. 50 (also in Walker's " Chess Studies," No. 461) is Lewis v. Williams. [Peter Unger] Williams also directed the Automaton for some time, but both were succeeded by Mouret, who for six months gave Pawn and move to all comers, only losing six out of three hundred games; fifty of these games were published in a small volume in 1820, and are preserved in Walker's "Chess Studies," an invaluable collection of games played before 1844.
    Somewhere about this time, John Cochrane began to play at the London Club. He can barely have been out of his teens when he sprang the Cochrane Gambit on its members. He was a player of rare originality, who was always introducing new lines of play which in the end all proved to be unsound, but, as novelties, were not to be despised Lewis was easily his superior; he was giving him the Knight in 1820 ("Fifty Games," No. 12. is Lewis v. Cochrane, March 15th, 1820) and Pawn and two when Cochrane left London for India in 1826 (Walker's "Chess Studies," No. 457). Yet it is by no means improbable that Lewis' first leanings to analysis were the result of Cochrane's novelties. By the death of Sarratt somewhere about 1820, Lewis became the undisputed leader of English chess. From this period he styles himself "Teacher of Chess" on his title-pages; Sarratt's title, "Professor of Chess," he never adopted.     The same year a chess event of greater importance happened. In April, 1821, Lewis and Cochrane visited Paris, and encountered Deschapelles and Labourdonnais in play. At this time Deschapelles was at the height of his fame, while Labourdonnais had not yet surmounted the odds of Pawn and two. Lewis met Deschapelles at the odds of Pawn and move, and of the thiee games played he won one and drew the other two. Labourdonnais and Cochrane received the odds of Pawn and two, Labourdonnais winning, and Cochrane losing the majority of the games. Labourdonnais also proved himself superior to Cochrane, playing level. Finally Cochrane challenged Deschapelles to play on level terms, Deschapelles laying double stakes to Cochrane's single. Under these terms Cochrane came off without loss of money, which means that he must have won one game in every three. This result would seem incredible if it were not remembered that Deschapelles possessed no book-knowledge of the openings, and almost exclusively played at the odds of Pawn and move, or Pawn and two, and the so-called Game of Pawns in which one player gave his Queen for eight additional pawns Lewis' games are all preserved in Chess Studies (Nos. 421-423). It is interesting to read Lewis' statement: "Des. and myself finished our three games in four hours and we were both slow players."
    In 1822 both Cochrane and Lewis published books. But while the former confined himself to a single work, the "Treatise on the Game of Chess" which George Walker praised so highly, Lewis was far busier. There was the new edition of Sarratt's work of 1808, which was another repayment of his indebtedness to his old master, there was his own "Elements on the Game of Chess" (a treatise on the endings), and the translation of Carrera's work to complete the series of translations begun by Sarratt. Such literary activity can have left but little leisure for chess, and the pause that was thus entailed marks as near as maybe the end of the dominion of Philidor's principles in England in their original form."

     Chess reporting - newspaper chess columns, perodical chess columns, chess periodicals - started in the early 1800s but the start was rather rocky.

    The first newspaper chess column appeared in the Liverpool Mercury on July 9, 1813 and ended on August 20,1814. As can be seen below in the July 16, 1813 column used a board diagram, but it was unicolored. The chess column was edited by its general editor and founder, Egerton Smith.

     This column lasted about a year and it would be another two decades before another newspaper chess column would appear but that one would last four four decades. It was George Walker's column in Bell's Life in London and Sporting Chronicle starting in 1834-5.

     The first chess column to appear in a periodical, oddly enough, was in the weekly medical journal The Lancet.

      The Lancet first appeared on Oct. 5, 1823 and the first chess column on Oct. 19, 1823 with the title Origin of the Game of Chess :

     Subsequent columns would be entitled, Chess Problems.  Twenty year old George Walker edited this column. The Lancet, being a high-minded medical magazine, besides publishing medical articles, also published topics, such as drama and chess, which the editors felt contributed to the medical students' intellectual growth. One of the peculiar features of this chess column was that it gave its problems with no diagrams.

     The first periodical with a focus on chess (although, like many that would follow, also covered other games such as draughts and whist) was years away. The French magazine, Le Palamède,' was founded by Labourdonnais and Joseph Méry in 1836.

     A name to remember in all this is that of George Walker.

     Let's talk about George Walker for a moment, but for just a moment since, while the 1820s did bring his name to the forefront, his monumental contributions came a little later.
     Trying to compare the chess scene Walker found when he first took and interest in the game to the chess scene of his later life, Murray wrote:

"Neither as analyst nor as player did Walker ever come near William Lewis. On the other hand, his chess column in Bell's Life in London, his pleasant articles on chess topics in Eraser's and other magazines, his pioneer work in the organization of the chess life of the West End of London created a wider enthusiasm for chess than Lewis ever succeeded in raising. It was with pardonable pride that Walker could, in the later years of his life, compare the wide-spread activity of chess that he lived to see with the want of interest that existed in the earlier days of his career, for that change of attitude was to a very great extent the direct result of his own disinterested labours. He often told how, in his early days, somewhere about 1826, he had found himself benighted in an inn at Stratford-onAvon with another traveller, who proved to be a chess-player also. Unluckily, they could not beguile the tedium of the evening with chess, for the inn could only produce a backgammon board, and all attempts to discover chessboard or men in the town proved fruitless. Twenty years later, in telling the story at a meeting of the Yorkshire Chess Association, he could add that Stratford was no longer so ignorant a town, and that the very inn where he had stayed had become a resort of chess-players.
     Walker's father was also named George. He had been a bookseller and an author of little repute. Little George became a partner in that business (which eventually only sold music books) until his father died, after which he became a stock broker until old age and loss of visual acuity forced him to retire. George Waker was the chess editor of the "Lancet," which ran the first chess column ever in a periodical. He was only 20 at the time. Three years later, Walker formed one of the first chess clubs in London (thought not *the* first) at the Percy Hotel, called the Percy Chess Club. According to Walker himself, "'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.

   "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."

     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."

     One of the more important events of the 1820s was the introduction of the Belfast player, Alexander M'Donnell. In 1816, at age 18, he took a merchant position in the Dutch colony of Demerara in Guyana in the West Indies. Around 1820 he became the Secretary of the Committee of West Indian Merchants, moved to London and took up with William Lewis.

     Howard Staunton wrote in the "Chess Player's Chronicle in 1843:

"Alexander M'Donnell had quietly worked' his way to the very apex of Chess skill, distancing all his competitors. A long series of games with Mr. Lewis (the veteran giving M'Donnell the Pawn) had completed his studies; and the secession of his master from the arena, left the pupil to reign without the trouble of conquest. As I have before said, (and not said invidiously or unkindly, towards one who has done so much for Chess,) Mr. Lewis discontinued difficult games, and justly, therefore, refused more than one invitation in my hearing to play on even terms with his quondam pupil."

     M'Donnell had a short life and the apex of his chess career would come just shortly before his death in the next decade.

     The 1820s supplied some of the building blocks for the development of a chess culture in England. France already had a chess culture that centered around the cafés, particularly the Café de la Régence. Although the players in la Régence had their own Cercle des Echecs that met in the upstairs rooms, chess in France was rather chaotic. The English were focused on organization. The French seemed to like to gather for camaradie and while gathered, play chess. The English on the other hand gathered to play chess with fellowship secondary. 

     The London Chess Club, located in Cornhill, was founded in 1807. Its members consisted primarily of city merchants and members of the stock exchange. Since it was opened only in the middle of the day, it excluded anyone outside the city proper and anyone who was free to play only in the evenings. Additionally, as it was the only chess club in town, it's membership consisted of the best players over the years, players such as Cochrane, Lewis, Fraser, Mercier, Pratt and Brand. Young potential members found these players more intimidating than engaging. In the West End people played in coffee houses for money but there was no chess club. George Walker was determined to see an accessible chess club established there. His first attempt was in the Percy Hotel on Rathbone Place. It was an affable group but without experienced leadership a rather weak one. When William Lewis visited and beat it's best players at Rook-odds, he saw potential clients and opened a place in the same general area on St. Martin's Lane. When the Percy Hotel wouldn't renew their lease, the members gravitated to Lewis' place. Many members of the London Club followed their leading player and it's here where we first see Alexander M'Donnell, recently returned from the West Indies, in London and the last we see of John Cochrane who was leaving for India. Other members included Peter Pratt, who authored one of the strangest books in chess history (his "Chess Studies" offered such important information as : "The Dislodging Faculty is a measure of competency in the assailant to compel a removal, multiplied into the Power of Transitive Attack, or a modification of it."), Richard Penn (the great -grandson of William Penn) who authored a rather enjoyable book called "Maxims and Hints for Chess Players and Anglers," Francis Merier, a long-time student of Lewis who owned one of the finest chess libraries at that time and who gave up public chess out of deference once M'Donnell rose to fame, Henry G. Bohn, the bookseller and publisher and Popert who taught Charles Stanley the finer points of the game. Another member was Mr. Brand (Brande). I don't know much about him, but Frederick Edge in his book on Morphy's Exploits in Europe (Edge befriended George Walker and wrote down some of what he was told) gave the following simply fascinating anecdote:

     As though not sufficiently humiliated, Mr. Murphy introduced Mr. Lewis to them, and the new-comer completed their bewilderment by giving them the Rook and sweeping them clean off the board. But with such a master, the Percies, by dint of diligent study and practice, rapidly improved, and it was suggested to Mr. Lewis that he should open a private club at his own house. After a short delay this was accomplished, and nearly all the members joined Mr. Lewis, when he opened subscription rooms in St. Martin's Lane—classic ground surely, for a former Chess Club had lived and died at Slaughter's Coffee-House, hard by.
     Mr. Lewis collected quite a number of players around him, and was in fair way to find his enterprise profitable; but the most prominent members demurred to his not playing with them so much as they desired, more especially as Mr. Lewis did not appear to regard the institution as a Free School for the inculcation of Chess. The best of the young amateurs were Messrs. Walker, Brand, Mercier and McDonnell; the last, the best of the lot. McDonnell received from Mr. Lewis the odds of Pawn and Two Moves; but when he had fairly surmounted that advantage and could win every game, his antagonist declined playing on even terms, much to McDonnell's disappointment. This, however, appears to be the usual course with leading chess players,—Deschappelles' conduct in regard to' Labourdonnais being a notable example of the fact. There are peculiar idiosyncrasies in chess human nature, as, for instance, the remarkable reserve and "don't-come-nigh-me" feeling with which leading amateurs treat each other. Go into any public or private chess association, and you will find that the superior craft steer clear of each other, as a general thing; reserving their antagonism for matches few and far between.
     The Club subsequently removed to the bottom of St. Martin's Lane, and shortly broke up, McDonnell and others returning to the London Club, whence they had migrated. A futile attempt was afterwards made to establish a grand aristocratic silk and satin club in Waterloo Place, the door of admission to which could only be opened with a golden key of ten guineas. Here lots of everything could be found except chess, and no wonder, for the game does not find supporters, to any extent, among the rich, depending mainly upon individuals to whom ten guineas are a consideration. The club expired in twelve months. Caissa thus lost her last foothold at the West End, and Mr. Lewis henceforth virtually abandoned the practice of Chess.
     The question has frequently been asked, whether and how Mr. Lewis played Labourdonnais? They played together on three different occasions, in all seven games, of which Labourdonnais won five and lost two. The first time they met was at the house of Mr. Domitt. Hon. Sec. of the London Club, and two Allgaier Gambits were played, each winning one. As they had just done their duty to a very good dinner, and society was then divided into two, three, and four bottle men, Labourdonnais remarked, "The victory is not likely to be gained by the better player, but by him who carries his wine best." This reminds me of a bon mot of Mr. Boden. Somebody remarked in his presence that two amateurs (whose names it is unnecessary to mention) were both drunk, though engaged in a match game: he replied—"Then the best player will win."
     After the conclusion of the two games, Messrs. Merrier, Bonfil and Domitt, particular friends of the English player, challenged Labourdonnais to play Mr. Lewis a match of twenty-five games at £5 a game. This was rather too bad, considering that Labourdonnais, to use his own words, was '' without a friend or a shilling in a foreign country;" but he laughed the challenge away as a joke in his own witty manner, by saying that "in such case he must be the best player who could offer to play for the highest stake," a reply which so pleased a gentleman present, Mr. Brand, that he cried out, '' Labourdormais shall play Lewis a match of 25 games at £10 a game, and I will find his stakes." It is stated that Mr. Brand evinced considerable ill-feeling towards Mr. Lewis, at the time, in consequence of the latter's preferring a move recommended by Mr. Mercier in the match then pending between the London and Edinburgh Clubs, to one proposed by himself, and perhaps this was the reason for his offering to back the Frenchman against his own countryman. But Mr. Lewis's friends did not accept the challenge, and the two champions confined their contest to five off-hand games, which were played at the residences of Messrs. Bonfil and Mercier, Lewis winning one and Labourdonnais four, so that the final result was:—
                                   Labourdonnais, 5—Lewis, 2—Drawn, 0.
     The above occurrences took place on the occasion of Labourdonnais's first visit to London, many years before his famous encounters with McDonnell.
[he above excerpted from The Exploits and Triumphs, in Europe, of Paul Morphy, the Chess Champion  by Frederick Milnes Edge]

Westminster Papers, Aug. 1, 1877

Dear Mr. Editor,-—In your July number, p. 40, appears a page headed as above. I briefly state that the letter from the late Alexander MacDonnell, was written to me, and must have been given away after his death, with many others of the English and French champions, to persons begging of me their autographs. The note in question does not apply to La Bourdonnais, On the pending matches with whom my friend would never have stooped to allude; but to the match then going on between Paris and Westminster, in which I asked the opinion of McDonnell too late to be of service to our Side. McDonnell was a member of the British Club. but took no part in the match from disgust of its conduct having been found out by Mr. Lewis, who took the job on condition of having all the French stake if we gained the day! McDonnell had lived some years at Tavistock House, a boarding house in Tavistock Square. I was at the time of his death travelling through Holland, so could not attend his funeral. On waiting directly afterwards on the lady of Tavistock House where he died, I learnt that his illness was short (Bright's Disease) and that he had frequently paced his bed-room in great agony till daylight in the later stages of the horrid complaint. When we buried the great Frenchman, having the sole conduct of the funeral, I naturally chose the spot in Kensal Green Cemetery, adjoining McDonnell‘s grave, where the two heroes lie accordingly side by side. While playing with McDonnell, La Bourdonnais rarely uttered a word, and smoking was not allowed at that time in any Chess room till night. After dinner, giving the Rook, his mirth chiefly existed then in burlesque quotations from the great French dramatists, (I never heard him attempt a song) accompanied with potent draughts of “ Burton ale beer," of which I have seen him attack the third quart bottle, before I left the room at ten o’clock. 
George Walker

     One of the most important occurrences in the 1830s was the establishment of the Westminster Chess Club. depending on the source, this happened in 1831,1832 or even 1833:

    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:

     This was the dream of George Walker - establishing a chess club on the West End available and accessible to anyone.

     So, how did this come about?


     In 1830 a man named John Henry Huttmann, a entrepreneur and purveyor of fine cigars, opened a cigar divan at 20 Bedford-street in Covent-garden. He persuaded Walker to open a chess club in his building - with the hope of securing a permanent customer base. Walker, who needed little convincing, opened the club, bringing in most of the members from the defunct Pery Club and from Lewis chess studio. Although the president of the club was Capt. Medwin (possibly selected because he was a well-known literary figure with good connections), the star was, of course, Alexander M'Donnell. The Westminster Club contested a correspondence match with the Paris Cercle. M'Donnell refrained from taking part since Lewis would only play if he received the £100 (so say £50) stake money should they win. The Parisian team, lead by St. Amant, won 2-0. Walker claimed Westminster lost, not for lack of talent, but out of apathy.

     Labourdonnais had visited London in 1823 and, according the Walker, "all presented themselves in the lists and all were beaten." Returning in 1825, he found an English girl, Eliza Waller Gordon, to marry. Labourdonnais returned to London once again in 1834. At this time the English had one player they hoped could equal him, M'Donnell. They contracted to play a match of 21 games, draws not counting. The games started at noon or 1:00 and lasted until 6:00-7:00 PM. They played nearly every day but Sundays. M'Donnell took an early lead, but then Labourdonnais rallied winning 16-5. Four games were drawn. M'Donnell wrote to Walker describing his problem:

"I am much obliged to you for your very friendly letter. I acknowledge I am sensitive and nervous in playing, more on account of the kind partiality of friends, than from personal anxiety about the games. I cannot get over this, and I fear it will be fatal to my success. Let us not, however, underrate the Frenchman's powers. He is the most finished player of the age, and all I can expect is to play up to him after some practice. The openings may not be happy, but how can you mend them; I broke down in my Bishop's Gambit, the game of all others I most relied upon, and possibly it would be the same with any other attacking game. The fact is, practice of a superior kind is indispensable to form a first-rate player. I am sure La B. will play K. P. one sq. in all the games, until he gets the ascendancy. You will think it odd, but I cannot mend my opening. On the whole the K. P. one sq. is a most perplexing game, and I think all the ways laid down in the book, give the second player the best game," &c."

     At any rate, M'Donnell demanded a rematch and they agreed to a nine game match, excluding draws. M'Donnell unveiled the Evans Gambit of which Labourdonnais was unfamiliar and was able win the match 5-4. There were no draws in this match.
     Of course, now there had to be a third match. This one was for 11 games. Labourdonnais won 6-5. There was one draw.
     Since the situation was getting less and less conclusive, a fourth match was arranged. This was to consist of 11 games. Labourdonnais won this match by the large margin on 8-3, but there were 7 draws. Labourdonnais tried using the Evans Gambit himself with positive results.
     A fifth match, of 11 games, was arranged. Labourdonnais won 7-4 with only 1 draw. The Evans Gambit was the opening of choice by both combatants in this match.
     There was a 6th match that ended prematurely. Of the 9 games played, M'Donnell won 5-4. Labourdonnais had to return to Paris for business just as M'Donnell had to return to Belfast, so the adjourned the match by agreement. The match never resumed and Labourdonnais was deemed the clear winner. M'Donnell died from Bright's Disease almost exactly a year later at age 37. He was buried as Kensal Green Cemetery where Labourdonnais, at 43 (some say age 45, even Le Palamède - but Walker, who supported Labourdonnais and his wife in his final months, paid for his burial, selected the site and had written on the headstone that he was 43), would also be buried right beside him five years later.

     a side note:

There's been some deep research into M'Donnel's life, records and such, and much of it inconclusive. His financial situation is one of those inconclusive things. When he died, his will (which was made shortly before his death - he died Sept. 14 and his will was drafted on Sept. 2 -indicating that his Bright's Disease, at best, took a sudden turn for the worse) order the destruction of all his papers other than certain business-related ones which were willed to his brother-in-law, John Mulholland (married to his sister Eliza), indicating their separate businesses were somehow related. It's guessed that Mulholland loaned M'Donnell the money for his business ventures. 

       The games were meticulously recorded by William Greenwood Walker, George Walker and William Lewis. However, there has always been some discrepancies in the records and not a little bit of argument. But there is a generally agreed upon set.
    This match was important on several levels. First, no previous match had been this involved nor this revealing of the two opponents skills and weaknesses. No other match had ever been so well recorded, nor so promptly published. No other match up to this time had ever been so thoroughly studied and annotated. No other match had ever been so praised and admired by adherents to both parties. Most importantly, no other match had ever generated the level of interest as did this one. It served as a catalyst to inspire an unheard of wave of popularity for the game. Ironically, a very mediore player, William Greenwood Walker, played perhaps an almost pivotal role, but certainly one for which no praise could suffice, in the history of the game.
     The opponents were equal in talent, the main and telling difference being Labourdonnais' knowledge of opening theory. McDonnell's mentor was William Lewis who disdained the study of openings. The games are surprisingly modern and often positional and they are typically numbered 1-85 in the order in which they were played.
     According to British chess historian, G.H. Diggle:   "Of the 85 games, the following have been agreed by generations of critics to be "the greats:" Games 17, 47, 62 and 78 won by the Frenchman and 5, 21, 30, 50 and 54 won by McDonnell."

     Labourdonnais returned to Paris during his match with M'Donnell to handle some business affairs. He had had some severe financial reverses from bad land investments in the early 1830s and even wrote a book, "Nouveau Traite du Jeux des Echecs," in 1833 trying to recoup some of his losses. Labourdonnais once lived in his family estate in St. Maloe, "with five servants and two carriages" (Walker, Bell's Life, Dec. 17, 1840) but that was all gone now to satisfy his debts. In 1836, Labourdonnais co-founded the periodical, Le Palamède, with Joseph Méry. Le Palamède was the very first periodical devoted to chess. On shakey financial footing from the start, it folded in 1839 probably because Labourdonais suffered a stroke and dropsy in 1838. St. Amant revived it in 1842 and edited it for 5 years. Labourdonnais returned to England with his wife in the late November of 1840, apparenly hoping to eke out a living playing chess for a flat rate whereas he couldn't support himself in Paris playing for stakes. But his health was too bad and it was getting worse every day (Walker called it "ascites accompanied by scrotal hernia"). Walker headed a commission to support Labourdonnais and his wife. Labourdonnais died on Sunday, Dec. 13, 1840.

     1837 saw a remarkable event in Germany - the formation of the Berliner Pleiades. This somewhat loose group of German players dedicated to the scientific approach to chess consisted of Rudolf von Bilquer, Dr. Ludwig Bledow, Bernard Horwitz, Wilhelm Hanstein, Cart Mayet, Carl Schorn and one of the finest 19th century players and historians, Tassilo von Heydebrand und der Lasa. Bilguer started the project of authoring the now-famous Handbuch des Schachspiels, which has been constantly updated and improved by various analysts after his death - v. d. Lasa actually published the first copy in Bilguer's name in 1843, three years after Bilguer's death. Germany was becoming a major chess power. 

     In England, the passing of M'Donnell left a vacancy in the chess hierarchy. Staunton wasn't yet on the scene and the best active players were George Walker, Popert (whose first name is in dispute, whether "H. W." of "William M.," with the "H. W." standing for "Herr William.") and Frederick Lokes Slous (or Selous). From the extant record of games, there seems little doubt that Slous was by far the best of the three. Slous' active chess life would end abrupty in 1841 due to personal and health reasons although he would continued to play a bit into his old age.

     Below are two games played by M'Donnell, one against Walker and one against Slous, both at odds of "Pawn & Two."


H. J. R. Murray wrote ("BCM," Nov. 1908):
     When Louis Charles de Labourdonnais died on December 13th, 1840 in his forty-fourth year, the first period of nineteenth-century chess may be said to have come to a close. The chief characteristics of the period had been the concentration of master-play in London and Paris, a tradition which had been established by Philidor, and the supremacy of William Lewis and his great pupil, Alexander MacDonnell, in England. and of Deschapelles and his first pupil, Labourdonnais, in France. The most interesting events of the period were the somewhat informal reunion of these two French players with Lewis and John Cochrane in Paris in April. 1821 ; the immortal series of matches between MacDonnell and Labourdonnais, at Westminster, in 1834 ; the correspondence matches London v. Edinburgh, in 1824-8, and Paris v. Westminster, in 1834-6 ; and the renewed interest in the chess problem in connection with which I may name Lewis, William Bone, and the Rev. H. Bolton of Oby, Norfolk. Of possibly greater importance for the future development of chess was the revival of German chess, the work of the German problemist and player, Mendheim (D. 1836), and in a more special measure of that talented group of seven young Berlin players, the " Pleiades." The results of this revival were, however, only apparent in the following period.
     The new period opened with but little promise. Writing of Labourdonnais in 1841, George Walker said " In life he was unrivalled as a chess-player ; in death he leaves no one worthy to fill his place " ; and, indeed, the age of giants seemed to have passed away. Lewis and Deschapelles, it is true, were still alive, but both had long withdrawn from the arena. Lewis never showed any desire to reclaim the sceptre which he laid down of his own free will in 1827-8. Deschapelles, on the other hand, still from his tent claimed to be the first player of his time, and played occasionally at the odds of Pawn and two, or at his weird game of Pawns, while he would from time to time, when the noise of the exploits of the younger generation penetrated to his retirement, emerge and blow his trumpet lustily with a challenge to the world to prove that he was still alive, but which was never intended to be taken seriously. The leading players in full practice were all on a lower level than MacDonnell and Labourdonnais, and had received odds from the one or the other.
    In France the wine merchant, St. Amant, a descendant of the old nobility, and in chess a pupil of both Deschapelles and Labourdonnais, stood out as the best player left ; in England, George Walker, Frederick L. Slous, and H. W. Popert were probably the leading players in active play. I gave Walker's life in this Magazine in 1906 : Slous was a player of much promise, who, according to Walker, would have proved a formidable rival to Staunton had not ill-health compelled him to abandon chess : Popert had played much with MacDonnell, and had a reputation for defensive play. Mongredien once remarked : " That when the position was critical and required deep calculation, his opponent had ample time to go away, eat his lunch, and return before Popert had made up his mind what to do." He must have been an uncomfortable antagonist, and it would be small consolation to his weary adversary to know that Popert always made the best move in such circumstances.
     But while " The Old Guard " were doing their best for the reputation of English chess, there was a new player rapidly climbing up to their level who was to snatch the sceptre from them all. With his advent the second period of nineteenth- century chess commenced—the period which saw the inception of international tournaments, the success of the chess magazine, and the recognition of the weekly chess column as an institution. The culminating point of the period was the visit of Paul Morphy to Europe, in 1858-9.
     It is to this period that Howard Staunton belongs. In the previous period it had been usual to speak of players in terms of their early instructors in the game. Thus MacDonnell, Cochrane, and Walker were the " pupils " of Lewis, as Lewis himself had been the " pupil " of Sarratt. Staunton stood in no such relationship to his predecessors. He was the product of the Divan and other West End chess resorts.
    . . .
     In 1836 I find the name of H. Staunton, Esq., among the subscribers to Greenwood Walker's Selection of Games at Chess, actually played in London, by the late Alexander M'Donnell, Esq. (London, 1836). This is probably his first public appearance in connection with chess. In later life he used to say that he had never actually seen either MacDonnell or Labourdonnais, and that the first good player he ever encountered was Popert. It is somewhat extraordinary that he missed Labourdonnais, who was in England after Staunton had taken to chess, and played in the resorts where Staunton himself visited. In 1836 Staunton was a mere tyro, and when St. Amant played a short series of games in that year with George Walker (St. Amant. 5 ; Walker 3 ; one draw), he estimated that either player could easily have given him a Rook. But he rapidly improved. Regular practice at the Divan, at Huttmann's, in Covent Garden ; at the " Shades," Old Savile House, Leicester Square ; and at Goode's, Ludgate Hill, soon told its tale. In 1840 he played a match with Popert at the Old London Chess Club, and won by the odd game, and chess-players began to recognise him as a player of distinction. In the course of the next two years he established his position as the first English player of the day. I recognise three factors as contributing to this result.
     First and foremost I would place the remarkable series of games which he contested with John Cochrane during 1841-2. Cochrane, a Barrister of the Middle Temple, had held a legal appointment in India since about 1826, and was home on eighteen months' furlough. As a young man he had been an enthusiastic player, with a brilliant style and fertile imagination It has been said of him that he invented many attacks in various openings, but never a sound one among them. Their novelty was their success in their author's hands. The Cochrane Gambit is called after him, though he was not the originator of it. Although he had been out of serious chess for fifteen years, he returned o it with enthusiasm, and soon convinced London players that his old reputation had a real basis. For the last year of his stay he continued to play regularly, and proved himself easily the superior of every English player that he encountered, with the exception of Howard Staunton. He played Io games also with St. Amant, in 1841-2, on one of his annual visits to England, and won 6 games to his opponent's 4. With Staunton some 120 games are extant on level terms, and Staunton led in the proportion of two to one. Just before Cochrane's return to India, Staunton began to give him the odds of Pawn and move, and of seven games at these odds each player won three, the other game being drawn. The two players used to meet at the " Shades," and they played for a guinea a game. At the same resort Staunton played many games with Mr. J. Brown, Q.C., a strong London amateur.
In the second place I place Staunton's success in giving odds to other players of reputation. At a later date there were players who sneered at this success and hinted that Staunton had made a special study of the odds of Pawn and move and Pawn and two, and that he won because his opponents were less familiar with the game at odds. There never was a more baseless assertion. The game at odds was probably more played from 1830-50 than at any period in England, and the very men who failed against Staunton were regularly giving the same odds themselves to other players.
     And, thirdly, Staunton's literary activity kept his name prominently before the chess public. In 1841 he saw an opening for a chess magazine that should, above all things, give a plentiful supply of games of recent date, and, after a very brief career as part of the " British Miscellany," the chess portion of this magazine was placed upon an independent footing as the Chess Player's Chronicle. Staunton was both owner and editor of this magazine from 1841-52. In its pages he published week by week his best games. thinly disguising the names of each antagonist under initials or describing him as " one of the strongest Metropolitan amateurs of the day." By means of these games, and others which he published between other leading players of the day, it was possible for country chess-players to draw a line between players and infer Staunton's superiority. But in the magazine I regret to find also the beginnings of those petty personalities, likes and dislikes, that were to accompany Staunton throughout his whole chess career. I would fain ignore them if I could, but they are far too prominent. The "odium scaccicum" is a very real thing, and chess-players seem particularly prone to petty jealousies. The dispossessed magnates of chess were angry at the success of an interloper, and whispered imputations on Staunton's private character. It is possible that his irregular birth made Staunton specially sensitive to such things, but, instead of ignoring the gossip, he hit out at his enemies, real or supposed, under the cover of answers to correspondents. There were people who refused t0 credit the existence of these correspondents. On the other hand, Staunton was very vain of his chess successes, and gave offence by his patronising airs in the magazine. And so English players were soon divided into two camps, the pro-Staunton party, who lauded their hero to the skies and the anti-Staunton party, whose one desire was to see him humiliated, and who did not care even if it should prove to he a foreigner who unseated the English champion. It must be admitted once for all that Staunton did not always fight fairly. He misused his editorial position again and again, and in this way gave his enemies openings of which they were not slow to avail themselves.
     No man was ever worse served by his friends or suffered more as a result of his own indiscretions.


     Although he was born in 1787, when we first hear of him, William Lewis was a man of 25 or so and had an appointment in the merchant's office in London. We know he entered the music trade in the early 1820s and in 1826-7 he patented an improvement in the construction of pianofortes. This, however, was not a financial success any more that was the chess club that he had formed. Facing bankruptcy, he was able, through his friends, to secure a post in the secretaryship of the Family Endowment Society at 12 Chatham Place, Blackfriars, London. This position which he held for many years, allowed him to eventually retire with a more than adequate pension. But Lewis needed a lot of money to turrn his situation and so he entered the literary field, publishing a problem collection (mostly those of Rev. Bolton, but a few of his own creation) in 1827 and his own "Lessons on Chess." In 1831, he published the first in his series. "Progressive Lesson," and the second in the series in 1832. That same year he published "Fifty Games of Chess." That book described his visit to Stroebeck, Germany (see: The Little Chess Village, Part II ). Lewis' books were highly valued and even the Berliner Pleiades praised them immensely.
     For the next 10 years, however, Lewis found himself at odds with George Walker whose goal was to make books available and affordable to the common man. By selling books cheaper, Walker initiated a price war.

     In the "BCM" 1906, HJR Murray explained:

     Lewis' books were very expensive and Walker thought he saw room for cheaper chess books, which would not compete with Lewis at all - a fallacious argument, as Lewis soon fond out to his cost. Chess-players will not give £2 for a book on openings when they can get a useful one for 5/-. The result was a cutting-down of prices all around. Lewis brought out, in 1835, Chess for Beginners,  at 5/- ; Walker followed in 1837, with Chess Made Easy, for 3/6/ Lewis replied with the Chess Board Companion, at half-a-crown. Walker gave in at this point, for, "it was clear," he says, "that if I carried on the war with Chess for the Masses, at a single shilling, my competitor would rejoin with a sixpenny Chess for the Millions.
     But there was more to the story as can be seen in Lewis' venomous preface to his A Treatise on the Game of Chess: Containing an Introduction to the Game, and an Analysis of the Various Openings of Games, with Several New Modes of Attack and Defence; to which are Added, Twenty-five New Chess Problems on Diagrams :

     I cannot close this Preface without noticing the conduct of Mr. George Walker, in his Treatise on Chess, published in 1833, and again in 1841.
Long after the publication of the former edition I was informed by a friend that Mr. W. had been guilty of a wholesale . . . what shall I call it ? . . . appropriation of many pages of original matter from my Second Series of Lessons, published in 1832. I found, on examination, to my great surprise and regret, that Mr. W., who on all occasions has vehemently (though not always justly) exclaimed against the practice of " plundering " from others without acknowledgment, had himself, without permission from me, or any avowal on his part, copied from my work what he well knew was alone my property, and this not a move or two to criticise or comment on, but whole pages.
This is no doubt an easy way of obtaining reputation as a Chess writer, but probably few persons would be found to follow Mr. W.'s example in this particular.
In the last edition of Mr. W.'s book, whether from a returning sense of propriety or from some friendly hint, he says in the Preface, after mentioning my name, that he has not hesitated to avail himself occasionally of my labours, "feeling that to shrink from naming a contemporary author is equally contemptible as ridiculous;" he also states that he holds "such borrowing to be perfectly legitimate, when the avowal of obligation is openly proclaimed;" but Mr. W. need not surely be reminded, that where there is a borrower there must also be a lender; and that before making use of another person's property, it is indispensable to obtain the consent of the owner.
I am not aware that I have myself taken any original matter from Mr. W.'s book; if I have so done, it has been from inadvertence, for which I beg his and my reader's pardon.
Whether Mr. Walker will have the manliness, to confess that he has done wrong, and is sorry for it, is a matter that concerns himself, but is of no importance to me.
     12, Chatham Place, Blackfriars, December, 1843.

     The 1840s were off to an interesting start.

     Recalling William Schlumberger, the director of the Turk in the United States, one of his legacies was introducing Pierre Charles Fournier de Saint Amant to some of the finer points of chess. After Schlumberger sailed to America in 1827, St. Amant remained at the Café de la Régence gaining the needed experience to attain his world-class level.
     In 1836 St. Amant, then a wine merchant, visited London and beat George Walker in a short match +5-3=1. Shortly after this he all but abandoned chess. Walker noted in "Fraser's Magazine" in 1940, "It is matter of universal regret that St. Amant has in a measure fallen away from his allegiance to the chequered flag he once followed, by night and day, through France and England, and now confines his chess to Sunday evenings." But St. Amant, considered one of the handsomest of men and a fine dresser ["Certainly, no other player in the world is more agreeable to look over." - Walker ; "The elegant St. Amant was a dandy, almost a 'dude.' He was quite too awfully exquisite." -Theo. Tilton "Chess-monthly," Sept. 1886], had many vocations and advocations to occupy his time. During his life he was a wine merchant, a clerk, an actor, an explorer, a diplomat and the French chess champion. A notoriously slow player, he ironically was the first player known to have suggested time-limits in chess. St. Amant apparently returned to chess in 1841 when he took over Labourdonnais' defunct monthly, Le Palemède. In the 1830s St. Amant was considered inferior only to Labourdonnais, Deschapelles and Hyacinthe Boncourt (a contemporary of Philidor and a brief director of Maelzel's automaton). Whether he was inferior to Boncourt in reality seems hard to prove and that sentiment may have been a courtesy to that great player. But since Labourdonnais and Boncourt died in 1840 and Deschapelles, who did beat St. Amant 3 to 2 in 1842, had in effect retired from chess, or, at least, never claimed the departed Labourdonnais' title, St. Amant became the 'de facto' French champion.
     There are some peculiarities or incongruities I've noticed. St. Amant at times demonstrated a 'comme ci comme ça' attitude towards chess. Also, St. Amant had been described: "None of the French players approach St. Amant for courteousness of demeanour and readiness to oblige. He never sneers at a bad player; never taunts the unfortunate, nor insults the conquered" (Walker, 1840). His style was Romantic, or as Walker put it: "St. Amant's game unites the dashing style of Greco, with the ingenuity and steadiness of a veteran chief." In a few years, St. Amant would be playing Howard Staunton (who, later said, that when he first saw St. Amant - probably in 1836 - that the Frenchman coud give him a Rook) in the most important match since Labourdonnai-M'Donnell, a clashing of the styles of Greco and Philidor, all lackadaisicalness suppressed, with recriminations and excuses unbefitting gentlemen or proponents of the Royal Game.

     The Russian player/analyst Carl Jaenisch was coming into his own in the late 1830s. He had beaten Lionel Kieseritsky of Dorpat, +1=1, in a correspondence match. Kieseritsky then left Dorpat for Paris and would become a chief rival to St. Amant as well as the house player at the Café de la Régence, although the two men never played together. But Jaenisch as unable to best the German Pleiades, losing to Bledow then to v.d. Lasa and Hanstein. Petroff moved to Warsaw in 1840 where he served as Under-Secretary of State, but by that same year the United States hadn't really produced any players to compare to the Europeans or Russia, but, then again, Paul Morphy was only 3 years old.

     Without a doubt, the most significant event in the 1840s was the match between St. Amant and Howard Staunton at the Café de la Régence. St. Amant was the French champion almost by default after the deaths of Labourdonais and Boncourt and the retirement of Deschapelles. Staunton was the English champion probably for the reasons Murray enumerated (see the posting on Staunton in one of the above) - his great number of wins against Cochrane, his success at giving odds but mostly his name-recognition, as he published and controlled the content of the only chess periodical in England at that time. Staunton had also played a match with Popert in 1840-1, winning "by the odd game" out of 25. Since Popert was considered one of the few first-class players of the day, Staunton elevated himself immensely by this narrow victory. It should be mentioned that Fredrick Lokes Slous had beaten Popert, in total, 6 times with no loses and one draw a few years back, but Slous who had one win and one loss against Staunton in 1841 bowed out of that chess arena shortly after for health reasons.

     In May of 1843 St. Amant, at that time a wine merchant, traveled to London on business. While there, he visited the St. George's Club.
     The St. George's Club was founded by George Walker in 1840, after the closure of the Westminster Club, in the Beatties Hotel on George Street - hence the name. But that club also closed towards the end of that year but reopened in April 1841 at the Polytechnic Institute at Cavendish-square (many, actually most, chess sites get this wrong, stating it was formed in 1843).
"The British Miscellany, and Chess Player's Chronicle" of May, 1841 tells us:

At the request of several country subscribers we subjoin a list of the leading establishments for Chess-playing in London:—
The London Chess Club, George and Vulture Hotel, Cornhill.
St. George's Chess Club, Cavendish Square.
Goode's commodious and elegant Chess Rooms, 39, Ludgate Hill.
Ries' Grand Divan, 101, Strand.
Gliddon's King Street Divan, King Street, Covent Garden.
Morrison and Huttmann's Divan, 194, Strand.

     Staunton had become secretary of the old Wesminster Club in the late 1830s and it seems that (though it's not firmly established) that Staunton's machinations within the club alienated George Walker who, in turn, blacklisted Staunton from joining the newly formed St. George's Club. Staunton played most of his games againt John Cochrane at "Goode's commodious and elegant Chess Rooms" in Ludgate Hill. Staunton had started a chess column in "The New Court Gazette" in 1840 in which, according to Tim Harding, he made, what would become his modus operandi, snide remarks about Walker. When that column closed from lack of interest, he was hired by "The British Miscellany" and when that magazine failed shortly thereafter, he himself started "The British Miscellany and Chess Player's Chronicle" with the first issue relased in May, 1841. He soon shortened it to "The Chess Player's Chronicle."
     Here is an example of Staunton's method of personal attack from the first issue of The British Miscellany and Chess Player's Chronicle :

"Secretary.—The two gentlemen named, we are well assured, had no hand either in the authorship or distribution of the pamphlet entitled "Observations upon a New Treatise of Chess, by George Walker." The pamphlet emanated, it is pretty well understood, from a Society of Chess Players which deservedly ranks as the first and most important in England, and is an unequivocal indication of the opinion that body entertains of the egregious conceit and deplorable ignorance which this Titmouse of Chess professors exhibits in his lucubrations upon the game."

     Staunton had hired William Lewis as an analyst for his magazine. It may be that the Staunton joined Lewis' camp in that war of animosity between Lewis and Walker.
     Here is an excerpt from a letter-to-the-editor (it was anonymously signed "No Lawgiver," which mean it was likely written by Staunton himself, another of his modi operandi) putting down Walker:

Sir,—As one of a numerous provincial Society established to enjoy the scientific recreation of Chess-play, permit me to tender my thanks for your proper censures on the silly interpolations, which Mr. Walker has attempted to palm upon us "country gentlemen," as the Laws of Chess in use at the London Chess Club.

     Staunton and Walker must have reconciled because Staunton did join the club in 1843. That was just prior to St. Amant's visit.
     St. Amant met Staunton at St. George's where they played 6 games at a guinea per game. St. Amant won by the narrow margin of +3-2=1. The Frenchman made a big to-do over this victory, calling the handful of games a "match" and published a long account of the engagement in Le Palamède.
     Murray wrote: "There was no talk of a match, but St. Amant was naturally elated, and took care to let French players know of his success through the Palamède, of which he had become editor. Staunton, who had been in poor health at the time did not consider that he had done himself justice in these games, and so he issued a challenge to St. Amant for a match of 21 or 41 games for either 50 or 100 guineas a-side."

     Anyone who knows about Staunton's dealing with Morphy will probably be surprised to see Staunton in Morphy's shoes and St. Amant in Staunton's during the negotiations for this match. Staunton was prepared to accept any conditions and conducted himself quite admirably throughout; St. Amant, not so much.

     Murray wrote a fairly succinct summary:

     ...the match of twenty-one games was finally commenced in Paris on November 1843 for [£]100 a-side. Four games were played each week, generally on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and the match ended on December 20th with the complete triumph of the English player, who secured 12 games to his opponents 6, 4 being drawn. At one time a far more run-away victory appeared likely, for at the end of the tenth game Staunton was leading by 8 to 1. There was no time limit in those days, and play ruled decidedly slow, St. Amant being the worst offender in this respect.
     One would have thought that Staunton's victory was sufficiently decisive, but St. Amant refused to accept the verdict. He recalled the six informal games in London, of which he had won the bare majority, and magnified them into a chess match, which he placed upon an equality with the formal contest in Paris. His defeat at Paris had been a mere accident : " je ne reconnais votre supériorité que comme fait accidental." he wrote in a later letter to Staunton. He professed to be anxious for a new match, but he posed as still the champion, and insisted in regarding Staunton as the challenger. His vanity was immense, and rendered all negotiations very difficult. Correspondence over the terms of the new match went on all through 1844. Staunton wished to treat the negotiations as private, but St. Amant published everything that suited his purpose, grandiloquently claiming that they were making chess history, and that the letters were historical documents Very sorry reading is it all. and it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that St. Amant was endeavouring to force Staunton to break off the negotiations. But Staunton resolutely refused to take offence ; he ignored the almost insolent tone of the letters, and crossed to Paris in October. 1844, with his seconds, hoping to commence play on October 15th. Unhappily the fates ruled otherwise. Staunton caught cold on the journey, and pneumonia supervened. Want of care in the early stages of convalescence resulted in a bad relapse, and for some days his life was in danger. It was a very serious illness, and it left behind it a permanent weakness of the heart, which really unfitted Staunton thenceforward for the hard work entailed in playing important matches. Finally, after three months in Paris, Staunton was compelled to return to London, and all idea of a return match was abandoned. The acrimonious correspondence continued for six months more, but public sympathy was strongly on Staunton's side, and St. Amant's final letters did himself no good.

     Staunton's seconds were John Worrall and naval Capt. Harry Wilson. Wilson took upon himself the onerous task of timing the moves of the games. Wilson's time study revealed that St. Amant used 3 hours to Staunton's one (Inexplicably, the English-language Paris newspaper, Galignani's Messenger, chided Staunton for his slow play). Although the engagement was held in Paris, there were no allowances to cover Staunton's expenses and even though he won the match, his winnings didn't cover his costs. It might be argued that he lost money in the short term, but eventually profited indirectly from the ordeal.

    Here are two games from that match:

     In 1841 Charles Henry Stanley, who had developed as a chess player under Popert, played Staunton a match as Pawn and Two winning, +3-1=3. Staunton, even in 1841, had studied odds-giving and, as a result, was usually deadly granting odds.  Stanley, who was born in Brighton in 1819, moved to New York in 1843. In 1844, he beat Charles Vezin, Philadelphia's strongest player,+4-2=1 and Charles William Schulten +7=4=1 (in a second match in 1845, they derw +7-7=2. The following year he started the first chess column (which appeared in "The Spirit of the Times" from March 1, 1845 until Oct. 4, 1848) in America, was elected secretary of the newly formed New York Chess Club and he played a match with the New Oreans resident who, by virtue of having beated John Wiliam Schulten in two matches in 1841 and a rematch in 1843, was considered at the time the strongest player in the United States, Eugene Rousseau.
The stakes for the Rousseau-Stanley match was $1000. Rousseau's second was Ernest Morphy, Paul Morphy's uncle. 7 year-old Paul attended too. When Paul was 10, he beat Rousseau himself. Stanley won the match easily and decisively with a +15-8 score.
      The Book of the Frist American Chess Congress tells us:

One of the most important matches recorded m the annals of American Chess was contested at New Orleans in the year 1845, between Mr. Charles Henry Stanley, of New York, and Mr. Eugene Rousseau, of New Orleans. The entire amount of the stakes was one thousand dollars. One combatant was a countryman of Labourdonnais and St. Amant, the other was a native of the land of M'Donnell and Staunton; and both were known to have no superiors in the country of their adoption. There was only one thing that somewhat detracted from its interest. Mr. Rousseau is said to have been seriously ill for some little time previous to the match, and when the time came to meet his adversary he was far from convalescent. His friends urged him to demand a postponement, but fearing lest such a request might be wrongly interpreted, he expressed his determination to play at all hazards. He was so weak that every morning he was forced to ride some miles in order to gain, if possible, sufficient physical strength to endure a sitting of three or four hours. Mr. Stanley left New York for New Orleans on the 10th of November, 1845, and arrived at his destination on the 23d of the same month. The match was commenced on the first of December and finished on the twenty-seventh. It was played at the rooms of the Club, on the corner of St. Charles and Common streets, in the building occupied by the Commercial Reading Rooms. The most interesting games were, perhaps, the first and nineteenth of the series, the scores of which we copy from the collection of the games afterwards published by Mr. Stanley.

     In 1846, Stanley founded the first chess periodical in the United States, the American Chess Magazine and published America's first book of a match, Thirty-one Games at Chess. The periodical only lasted a year, but in 1847 he founded The Chess Palladium and Mathematical Sphinx. After he abandoned his column in in The Spirit of the Times ended, he began a new one in The Albion. This was lasted until 1856. Through this chess column, Stanley met a penniless Hungarian refugee named János Jakab Löwenthal. Löwenthal was known to be a strong European player who became a political refugee from Hungary. He came to America hoping to become a western pioneer, but the elegantly, cultured Löwenthal was hardly the pioneer type. Stanley and others set him up as chess professional in a cigar divan in Cincinnati.

     In Germany... well, let's let Max Lange speak first:

Adolphus Anderssen, born July 6th, 1818, in Breslau, devoted himself from 1838 to the study of philosophy and mathematics, at that University. More given to the simpler doctrines of Kant than to the modern ones, especially those of HEGEL, he soon embraced with ardour the study of mathematics, and was afterwards for some time employed as assistant master at Frederic's College, in Breslau. Afterwards he accepted an advantageous engagement at Stolpe, in Pommerania, where he remained two years. In the spring of 1851, he came to Berlin. There he found strong opponents in Chess, as Mayet, Dufresne, Falkbeer, and sometimes also von der Lasa. His success in Berlin brought him to the tournament in London, after which he returned to his native town, and in 1852 he obtained an engagement as chief master at the above-named College. His merits as teacher of mathematics were soon acknowledged by the title of Professor, which was conferred upon him.

     Anderssen actually started his long chess career as a chess probleminst. He published a book of 60 problems, Aufgaben fur Schachspieler while still in school in 1842. In 1846 Ludwig Bledow founded what seems to have been one of the first, if the first German chess periodicals, Schachzeitung der Berliner Schachgesellschaft. When Bledow died in August of that same years, Anderssen took over the publication. Later he would co-edit with N. D. Nathan, E. Kossak, Dufresne and Max Lange. It's name would change to Schachzeitung and to Neue Schachzeitung. Also in 1846, Anderssen played v.d. Lasa, winning a couple and making an impression on the Berliner Pleiades. Anderssen drew a match with Daniel Harrwitz, also a budding player from Breslau (Harrwitz had recently lost a match to George Walker in London).

     János Jakab Löwenthal of Hungary earned himself a bit of fame as one of the three main members of the Pest team (the other two were Vincenz Grimm and József Szén) that defeated the famous Parisian Le Cercle des Echecs team in both games in their correspondence match of 1842-5.
     The Kossuth revolution in Hungary displaced Grimm and Löwenthal, both of whom had close associations with Lajos Kossuth, in 1849 (with Szén following after the repressive government's closure of social clubs). While Grimm found asylum in Turkey, Löwenthal made his way to the United States via Hamburg, arriving on December 29, 1849. Friendless and speaking little English, Löwenthal was, to his surprise, embraced by the American chess community and toured various cities in the U.S. where chess was played.
     Below, I've given Löwenthal's own description of his his chess adventures during his almost 2 year say in the United States. It's rather long, but very much worth the effort of reading as it gives a good view of the mid-century American chess scene and introduces us to Paul Morphy.

     I arrived in New York from Hamburgh, on the 29th Dec., 1849. I will not dwell on the events which forced me to fly my own country, Hungary. They are known to all. Their interest belongs to the past, their results to the future; and a Chess record is not the place in which to touch upon them. It is enough to say that I landed a refugee - driven from home, separated from family, depressed in mind, physically ill, and with very slender means at my command. My intention was to go to the West and settle down upon the land. I took lodgings at a hotel near Broadway, and afterwards removed to a boarding-home in Chambers street; and for about a month occupied myself with seeing the city and its institutions, and gaining such information as my ignorance of the language enabled me to collect.
     During this time I was waiting for means to carry out my original intentions, but they never came; and as my limited funds melted away, my position became more and more difficult.
     Up to this time I had thought but little about Chess. The game had been to me, in my own land, an amusement which absorbed and occupied the time I could spare from business. With my lamented friend, Szen, once my Chess-master and afterwards my fellow-Player. I had spent many delightful hours over the board; and in my tours, I had met and contended with most of the great German players; but of Chess as an occupation I had never thought.
     One day, oppressed by the feeling of loneliness which comes over a stranger in a crowded city, and perplexed at the dark prospects before me, I wandered into a reading-room and took up the New York Albion. The first thing which caught my eye was a diagram with a position upon it. If a benevolent magician had waved his hand over me, the change could not have been greater. In a moment my old love for Chess revived, with a vividness I had never before experienced. It seemed as if it had grown into a passion after, for a few weeks, lying latent. The sense of loneliness vanished. I could find Chess-players, and a common love for Chess was, I knew, a sort of freemasonry. I could not leave the room before I had solved the problem. All night I fought in dreams many old battles over again, and anticipated combats yet to come. The next morning I called on the editor of the Albion, who received me very kindly, and gave me his card as an introduction to Mr. Stanley of the British Consulate—a gentleman with whose name I was already familiar. Mr. Stanley gave me a most hospitable reception. I spent that evening at his house, and played with him; the result being, I think, even games. In Mr. Stanley’s style of play, I found very much to admire, particularly the originality and invention displayed by him in the openings. This was especially remarkable in the Knight’s Game, in which he introduced the method, since approved by the best Chess authorities, of bringing both the Knights over to the King’s side, thus giving additional safety to the King, and preparing a strong attack. I cannot allow the opportunity to pass, without expressing the deep obligations Mr. Stanley placed me under by his unvarying kindness, and the constant exertions he made to advance my interests.
     It was about this time that Mr. Stanley left for Washington, to play his match with Mr. Turner; and when he returned victorious, he introduced me to the leading members of the New York Chess Circle, who were in the habit of meeting at the Carlton House, Broadway. There I met Mr. Thompson, whose frequent visits to Europe had caused him to be well known in European Chess circles, and in several encounters with him I had much the best of the play. I also made the acquaintance of Mr. Perrin, the present Honorary Secretary of the New York Chess Club, and Mr. Evert, to both of whom I successfully gave odds.
     My first formal match was with Mr. Turner. It was arranged for me by the kind offices of Mr. Stanley and Mr. Thompson, and was played at New York. In this and another match, which immediately followed, I was the conqueror; but I regret to say that I have not preserved any of the games. Mr. Turner struck me as a player of great natural talent and strong imagination, but somewhat too liable to be carried away by a brilliant combination or a dashing coup.
     In Mr. Turner I found a generous friend. He kindly invited me to accompany him to his residence near Lexington (Kentucky); my old thought of turning farmer reviving, I accepted the invitation. We left on the 3d of March, 1850. Our stay in Philadelphia was too short to suffer me to meet any of the players of the city, who, I had heard, held a high rank among American amateurs. From Philadelphia we went by rail via Baltimore and Cumberland, and from thence by steamers to Wheeling and Pittsburg, and reached Lexington by stagecoach on the 9th of March.
     I had heard much of the powers of Mr. Dudley, and looked forward with great pleasure to meeting him. On the 10th, I made his personal acquaintance at Charles’s hotel, and we at once sat down to the game and did not cease playing till the time arrived for me to go to Mr. Turner’s farm, distant about six or seven miles. I greatly admired Mr. Dudley’s style of play, but, on this occasion, could hardly form an estimate of his strength. We were, in these first encounters, reconnoitering each other. I saw, however, that I had found a very able antagonist and subsequent experience impressed me with the conviction that Mr. Dudley was the best American player I ever met. Looking back now I do not see any reason to alter the estimate I then formed.
     At Mr. Turner’s plantation I was entertained with the most open hearted hospitality, and I shall never forget the kindness of my host and the efforts he made to serve me.
     On the 11th of March, I was introduced to the leading Lexington players at the Club, and I remember particularly Mr. Steward and Mr. Hunter, as among the most enthusiastic devotees of Chess.
     On the 12th of March, I commenced a third match with Mr. Turner, and at that sitting won every game.
     On the 14th, I was introduced to Mr. Wikle, the editor of the Lexington newspaper, who emulated my other friends in kindness, and inserted in his journal a very handsome notice of my arrival. I also made the acquaintance of Mr. Lutz, a German by birth, but for many years resident at Lexington.
     During my stay with Mr. Turner, Chess, of course, filled up the hours that gentleman could spare from his duties. The result of our play then was, that out of seven matches, some of the first five, others of the first three games, I won six and lost one by the odd game.
     Mr. Dudley paid us a visit, and a match was arranged for rue with him, by Mr. Turner. Time winner of the first eleven games was to be the victor. The first game—a well contested one—was won by Mr. Dudley, and if I had had sufficient English at my command, I should have said that such a game was worth losing. The second game, through a blunder on my part, also went to the score of my opponent. Mr. Turner seemed somewhat startled at the turn affairs were taking, while I felt uneasy. In all the important matches I have played, I have lost the first two games. In consequence of my habit of mind, I take some time to become familiarized with my position, and able to apply myself thoroughly to what is before me; and this is so, whether my opponent happens to be equal or inferior to me. At the third game, I settled down to my work, and won that and the following live, and ultimately the match only by a majority of three games. This close play was, I think, owing to Mr. Dudley often playing the Ruy Lopez Opening in the Knight’s Game. That attack was not then sufficiently appreciated in Europe, and I was but little acquainted with the defence. I took the line of play given in the German Handbuch, and lost nearly every game. Mr. Dudley played this opening with great skill and judgment. Since that time, I have had the opportunity of investigating this attack, and have prepared a defence which, if not completely satisfactory, seems to me far preferable to the old method. I soon had my revenge—for in another match which followed immediately I won eleven games, Mr. Dudley scoring only three. In this match I remember I adopted in the defence to the Ruy Lopez 3. P to KB4. with success, and though that move has not secured the approbation of the leading European players it is my individual opinion that it may as well be played as any other, and that, at all events, it gives the second player an open game. After some days pleasantly spent with Mr. Steward, Mr. Lutz, and Mr. Turner, Sen., a third match with Mr. Dudley was arranged. The previous matches had been played in private, but this took place in compliance with the wish of the Lexington players, and was played in public. It excited considerable interest. The play commenced on the 29th of March, and terminated on the 4th of April the score at the close being Mr. Dudley 5, myself 11, drawn 3. These games are the best I remember playing lu America, and would be well worth recording; but I have not a note of one of them. Mr. Dudley bore his defeat well, and in the most handsome manner, declared himself fairly beaten. On the 10th of April I left Lexington for Frankfort on my way to Cincinnati, carrying with me many pleasant reminiscences, and furnished with letters of introduction to Mr. Temple, the Treasurer of the State of Kentucky. Mr. Temple introduced me to Gen. Pain and to Governor Crittenden, in whom I had the satisfaction of becoming acquainted with one of the leading statesmen of America. I stayed at the Governor’s house to tea and supper amid a large party. Mr. Brown, who was, I was told, considered the best player in Frankfort, was present.
     I won two games of Mr. Brown, to whom I gave odds, and then requested the honor of a game with the Governor. Here my good fortune deserted me, Mr. Crittenden proved victorious, and I had to console myself with the thought that I had been beaten in even play by one of the shrewdest brains in the States.
     On the 12th of April I went to Louisville by steamboat. Here I was introduced to the Club by Dr. Raphael, and played several games. In the evening I was entertained by the gentlemen of the club at a supper which was presided over by General Preston.
     On the 16th of April I reached Cincinnati, and on presenting my letters of introduction met with a most cordial reception. My warmest thanks are due to Dr. Schmidt, the editor of the German Republican, himself a player of no small power, who introduced me to the leading amateurs, and did all he could to help me. Dr. Schmidt was fairly entitled to the first place among the Cincinnati players, and next to him were Mr. Phineas Moses and Mr. Smith. Among the most enthusiastic lovers of the game I may mention Messrs. E. Brookes, Hopel, Eggers, Cooper, Baker, Salomons, and Paice. These gentlemen met at each other’s houses, and I played with them giving odds. A match was soon afterward arranged for me with the leading players consulting together. The first game was played on the first of May at the house of Mr. Moore, and others at the houses of Messrs. Brookes and Smith. The gentlemen consulting were Messrs. Schmidt, Smith, Moses, Brookes, and Moore. I won the first three games and the match. I was also engaged in private matches with Mr. Smith and Mr. Cooper. Mr. Smith had great Chess talent, and a little study and perseverance would have placed him among the best amateur players.
     At Mr. Hopel’s I played and won a blindfold game, and on another occasion two games simultaneously without sight of the board, and won them both. My antagonists were Messrs. Cooper and Salomons.
     On the 10th of May I left Cincinnati, and after spending two days at Louisville reached New Orleans on the 18th. On the 22d I delivered my letter of introduction to Mr. Rousseau, and was by him introduced to Mr. E. Morphy and several other amateurs. Matches were arranged between Mr. Rousseau and Mr. E. Morphy and me. On the 26th I played with Mr. Rousseau (not match games), and won 5 games, all we played.
     On the 27th I met Paul Morphy, then a youth, and played with him. I do not remember whether we played in all two or three games; one was drawn, the other or others I lost. The young player appeared to me to possess Chess genius of a very high order. He showed great quickness of perception, and evinced brilliant strategic powers. When I passed through New York on my way to the get: international tournament in London, I mentioned him to Mr. Stanley, and predicted for him a brilliant future.
     The intense heat of New Orleans, which from the first had enfeebled me both physically and mentally, produced severe illness and incapacitated me from playing. It was not until the 15th of June that I was able to undergo the fatigue of travelling, and on that day I left for Cincinnati, where I arrived on the 22d, and remained during the rest of my residence in the United States.
     My old friends received me with open arms, and through the kind assistance I was enabled to establish a Cigar Divan in connection with the Chess Club. I commenced under the most favorable auspices. In a short time more than 40 members had joined the club, and there was a prospect that that number would be greatly increased. Mr. E. Brookes was the President and Dr. Schmidt the Secretary, and to those gentlemen and the other Chess-players of Cincinnati I owe a debt of kindness I may never be able to pay but shall never forget.
     Early in 1851 I was tempted to leave Cincinnati to take part in the International Tournament about to be held in London. It was my intention to return to my Cincinnati friends, by whose help I was enabled to take the journey; why I did not do so involves an explanation too long delayed, and which I may perhaps now be permitted to make.

     For a wonderful account of Löwenthal's encounter with young Paul Morphy in New Orleans see Rob Tierney's (Dashkee94) 8 part tale.

     The first half of the 19th century is behind us. I've ignored a lot a players who might have interesting stories, but the problem with the first 50 years is that newpapers and periodicals, the main sources of information, didn't make a real entrance until the last 12-14 years and so for many players of those times, there is a scarcity of solid data. The second half of the 19th century is an entirely different thing. We have more players, more clubs, we have tournaments, and most importantly, we have better records.
     The Chess Player's Chronicle published this rather interesting letter from Vincenz Grimm, one of the Pest Club triumvirate, along with Löwenthal and Szén, who defeated the Parisean team back in 1842-3 in a two game correspondence match and who was exiled to Syria a year or two prior to this letter.


By The Celebrated Hungarian Player, Herr Von Grimm.
     When Aleppo was named as the place of our exile, I instantly thought of Stamma [Philip Stamma had moved to London and played at Slaughter's where he figuratively rules. Young Philidor beat Stamma easily in a match in 1847. This established Philidor's reputation, but hurt Stamma's. Stamma was rather poor and had published a book, "Essai sur le jeu des echecs," a few years before. Losing that match did nothing for his book sales. Stamma's book was the first to employ algebraic notation.], concluding that in the native town of this master, Chess must be flourishing. But it is not so. There are comparatively many Chess Players, but no one of renown. Most of them play conformably to European rules and to those who do, one can easily give the odds of a Rook.
     This however is more difficult, when playing according to the Arabian rules.
     The difference in the latter is:

1st. The King is always placed at the right hand of his Queen, so that he is opposite to the adversary's Queen.
2nd. A Pawn can never move two squares.
3rd. In Castling three moves are required. In the first, the King is played to one of the Pawn's squares. In the second, the Rook goes as far as he likes, or can. In the third, the King hides himself, by a Knight's move behind his Pawns. If once checked, either before or during these three moves, he loses the faculty of the Knight's move.
4th. A Pawn arriving at his eighth square, can only be exchanged for a piece already taken by the adversary.

     The difference in first placing the King paralyzes our theory of openings : and the restriction of the Pawns in moving only one step completely precludes those impetuous attacks so necessary when we give the odds of a Piece.
     The Arabians play very quickly, and never fail to point with the finger to the Piece they attack. They no more respect the principle of nonintervention than the Russians do, for every spectator gives his opinion, and his advice.
     Their Chess-boards ordinarily consist of a handkerchief, on which the squares, all white, are only separated by black lines.
     The Pieces are seldom of ivory, but commonly of wood rudely carved and the Bishops and Knights very difficult to distinguish.
     All my endeavours to find some Arabian Manuscripts on Chess are fruitless. The connoisseurs of Arabian literature believe that some must exist, but nobody of my acquaintance has, or knows of any. No one here remembers the name of Stamma, but Chess-players are fond of relating the following anecdote regarding a celebrated Aleppean player of the last century. This man was exceedingly poor, notwithstanding which, he would do nothing except play at Chess, and as nobody here plays for money, he could scarcely obtain an existence. A certain Pasha, a great amateur of Chess, visiting Aleppo, made the acquaintance of our hero, and engaged him to go to Stamboul. The latter pleading poverty, the Pasha provided for his journey, and at Stamboul, after clothing him from head to foot, introduced him to the Sultan. Entering the Seray, he left, as is the custom, his slippers at the door. The Sultan also a great lover of Chess, instantly called for the Chess-board. They played, and the Aleppean lost the first game.
     The Sultan, frowning, addressed the Pasha, "How darest thou present to me as a great master this man who loses so ignominiously?" The Pasha, only now conscious that he had more at stake than the players, asked his protege why he played so indifferently. The reply was, "I left the new slippers you gave me at the door, and fearing that some one will take them away, my mind is so occupied with this thought, that I cannot play as well as is necessary against so strong an adversary as the Sultan. Then the Sultan, smiling, ordered in the slippers, which our friend took, and placing them under him won all the succeeding game?, without offending the so cunningly flattered Sultan. Though the Aleppean, who may have been no other than Stamma, exhibited in his play abundant skill, I think it would hardly surpass his courtly ingenuity concerning the slippers.
     Aleppo, Feb. 27th, 1851. V. Grimm.

     The first major event as we cross the mid-century line was the Great Exhibition Tournament of 1851, the first tournament of international players. Before we even think of examining that tournament, it should be noted that it wasn't the first chess tournament. Exactly 10 years prior, the Yorkshire Chess Association decided to hold a meeting or a congress at Scarborough’s Hotel on Bishopgate-street in Leeds. This was a gathering of players of different neighboring towns for the purpose of letting players of similar force contest each other. It was held on Monday Jan. 18, 1841 and attracted almost 50 players, mostly members of the association, but Augustus Mongredien, president and Gustav Christian Schwabe, secretary of the Liverpool Chess Club also attended this momentous meeting. Mongredien was an interesting man. He had been a member of the old Westminster Club and had often played M'Donnell. In 1859, he would play a set match of 8 games with Morphy, drawing one, losing the rest.
     Two games by Mongredien at this first chess tournament in Leeds were contested against a team of Leeds players with John Rhodes acting as captain of the team. His team mates were: Cadman, Brown, Powell, Muff, Boscovitz, Luccock and Barr. Here are the two games:

     The players played from 11:00 am - 5:00 pm, breaking for lunch in between. According to the Leeds Mercury : "It was a refreshing sight to every lover of the noble game to see between twenty and thirty chess boards in requisition, the picked players of the county matched against each other, and each striving to support the reputation acquired in his own locality." And according to George Medley in Löwenthal's book on the 1862 international tournament, "The railway between Manchester and Leeds was not then in existence, and these gentlemen had to post through the snow a distance of about forty-five miles in order to be present."

     Between this congress and the international tournament of 1851, there were 8 more English provincial chess meetings as well as a knock-out tournament at Ries’ Divan in the Strand in London won by Buckle in 1849.

     It's expressed all over the web that the New York Chess Club held a club tournament in 1843. I've been unable so far to find any documentation about this. The 1857 Congress Book makes no mention of in it's detailed history of chess in New York. So, all I can deduce it that either there was no tournament or else it was an almost inconsequential meeting of a small number of members of that club playing among themselves. That same year in Gemany there had been plans to host an important national contest-

"The Chess Player's Magazine," July 1863 (ed. Löwenthal)
Most of your readers, I presume, have heard of Dr. Bledow. He was a man of great literary acquirements, a professor of mathematics at the Berlin University, and, in his way, a great enthusiast of the game. He first suggested the idea of a Chess Congress of the leading German amateurs. The other distinguished players I mentioned in my last (the Berlin Pleiades), eagerly embraced the suggestion, and a great meeting at Trier (in 1843, if I mistake not) was planned under the Doctor's auspices. Owing to some unhappy circumstances, however, that meeting never came to pass, and when, about the same time, the great and much-talked-of encounter between the English and French champions, Mr. Staunton and Mons. St. Amant, took place, it so much absorbed the attention of the Chess-playing public, that the German scheme completely fell to the ground.

     Speaking of Bledow and Mongredien, here are two games contested between them in Germany the year before Bledow's untimely death.

     " 1845, Mongredien was in Berlin, and of 12 games with Bledow he won 4 and lost 7, while he made an even score with Mayet (3 wins, 1 draw, 3 losses)." BCM, Oct. 1899

     From "The Life and Writings of Henry Thomas Buckle" by Alfred Henry Huth:

This Chess Tournament, which was to be associated with the Exhibition, and help to inaugurate an era of universal peace and goodwill, began, continued, and ended in quarrel. First, the London Chess Club began a quarrel with the St. George's Chess Club, a far more numerous and powerful body and the founder of the movement, and the chess papers were full of bitter personalities. After the Chess Tournament, disappointed players charged each other with every kind of treachery, and disputes resounded from all parts of Europe. 

     The tournaments up to this time seem more like get-togethers where people play chess. There was little talk of structure, rules, prizes - things that one might identify with a tournament. To put together a tournament in days when travel was slow. treacherous and unpleasant:

Ship travel in 1851
"From Liverpool each passenger receives weekly 5 lbs. of oatmeal, 2 1/2 lbs. biscuit, 1 lb. flour, 2 lbs. rice, 1/2 lb. sugar, 1/2 lb. molasses, and 2 ounces of tea. He is obliged to cook it the best way he can in a cook shop 12 feet by 6! This is the cause of so many quarrels and...many a poor woman with her children can get but one meal done, and sometimes they get nothing warm for days and nights when a gale of wind is blowing and the sea is mountains high and breaking over the ship in all directions. " New York Daily Times, Oct. 15, 1851.

and in days when international communication was just as slow and cumbersome - The first long distance communication devise, the telegraph, was still in its infancy - made ironing out the details particularly laborious and uncertain.

     The 1851 tournament had tremendous flaws, as should be expected, but also had much to be praised.

     Howard Staunton, probably the main promoter and organizer, wrote the tournament book.  In his introduction, if one looks past his propensity to be a windbag, he makes a lot of good points. He discussed the inception of the idea and explains why the tournament was held in England. Below is a rather long except that gives some indications as to why England and why that time:

The Great Exhibition of Industry and Art in London was the beginning of a new epoch in the history of civilization. The impetus which it would give to trade, the prospect of a long-continued peace, with all the other dependent advantages, the discussion of which has almost been exhausted by our daily press, gained for it unbounded popularity throughout the world. The opportunity which this universal gathering together of all nations afforded for effecting the long-desired Congress of Chess-players, was at once perceived. It was certain that there would soon be in London an assemblage of visitors from other lands such as England had never witnessed; that thousands would come who had never visited us before, and might never visit us again. Passports would be more freely given abroad; leave of absence would be obtained with comparative facility, and the expenses of travel would be considerably reduced. So many other motives and inducements, in short, would be combined to tempt foreign Chess-players to gratify their cherished wish of a general meeting, that what had always1 heretofore been deemed hopeless, seemed feasible at last. The occasion was not thrown away. Some members of the St. George's Chess Club proposed that a universal Chess Tournament, for all comers, should be held by subscription among British amateurs. The suggestion was adopted. Promptly seizing so splendid and favourable an opportunity, the originators of the design proceeded to the execution of their plan. A Committee of Management was speedily formed of influential patrons and votaries of the game. Before asking others to subscribe towards the funds, the Committee themselves gave a considerable sum. The secretary then forwarded subscription lists to the leading members of the provincial clubs throughout the kingdom, strictly confining his application to our countrymen. No money whatever was asked of foreigners. It was even determined to afford every possible facility to counterbalance the expense and inconvenience of those players who had to make a long journey to be present. As this was an important feature in the proceedings of the Committee of Management, it will be as well to notice here a few of the advantages which were held out to foreign players. 1st. To some the entrance-fee required before competition for the prizes, was altogether remitted. 2nd. To others a guarantee was given to reimburse their expenses, should they prove so unfortunate as to win no prize; and 3rd. Sums of money were reserved for matches between such eminent foreign players as had been unsuccessful in the general Tourney.

     Staunton published letters from various invitees. Here is one from Otto von Oppen that I found intriguing:

"Highly Honoured Sir, "Berlin, April 11th, 1851.
"The purport of this letter is to advise you of the determination of Mr. Mayet to visit London, and be present at the Tournament. I request, therefore, you will be good enough to insert his name upon the list of combatants. I have also to announce that Mr. Auderssen will be equipped by us for the voyage, and to beg that his name also be enrolled among the competitors. * * '* Mr. Von Jaenisch writes me that he has the certain prospect of being present at the tournament, provided his petition for leave of absence is granted, and promises us the pleasure of a visit here. * * * Have the goodness to apply without delay respecting the enrolment of Messrs. Mayet and Anderssen, that I may assure them their commission has been fulfilled.
"With much esteem, yours truly, "To H. Staunton, Esq., "Von Oppen."

     After the tournament book came out, a pamphlet called A Review of 'The Chess Tournament' was published, probably by Augustus Mongredien of the London Club, criticizing Staunton and the tournament in general. Here's a sampling:

It is a record of the games played in a Chess Tournament, held at the St. George's Club, in London, in 1851, a year remarkable for many interesting events. It will ever be most memorable as the year of the Great Industrial Exhibition of the World; but to chess-players it will also be marked as the year in which some attempt at a grand gathering of the players of all nations was made, and with partial success. 
     A brief statement of some facts connected with the projection of the Tournament will not be out of place. When first the scheme for a grand gathering of chess-players was propounded, the project was received with universal acclamations, and hopes were high that some great results would be accomplished. Enthusiasm pervaded the whole chess world to the farthest east, and penetrated even to the frozen regions of the north. Subscriptions were received from the most distant places, and everything promised a magnificent assemblage. The period was an exciting one. The Great Exhibition was shortly to be thrown open to its admiring millions; a sort of restless feeling or presage of great events pervaded most minds, and enthusiastic hearts warmed with a more genial glow and beat more trustfully than usual.
     The London Chess Club felt the strongest wish to promote. an object so ardently desired by chess-players, and upon receiving an intimation from the St. George's Club upon the subject, they convened a meeting for the purpose of considering what Course should be pursued; this led to a correspondence between the two Clubs, which our readers will find in the Appendix.
     In this correspondence, the London Chess Club stipulated for certain conditions or modifications which they thought indispensable, and which they considered as the only securities for the proper carrying out of the project. To their proposals the Saint George's Club refused to accede, and thereupon the London Club retired from any further participation in the scheme, wishing success to it (for the sake of chess), although strongly disapproving of the mode in which the affair had been concocted.
     Here they thought the matter would have ended; they had been invited to join in an undertaking, and they had declined, upon considerations which they thought sufficiently powerful; and so no doubt it would, had not the ill-will of an individual towards the London Chess Club goaded him on to the most intemperate and incessant attacks on that body.
     It is with the charges that he and some others have recklessly brought against the members of the London Chess Club that we have at present to deal. We can only ascribe his persistence in them to that fatuity which impunity is apt to beget in certain minds. The time has at length arrived for a complete exposure of the calumnies that have been heaped upon that Club; and if Mr. Staunton appears before the public in a character by no means enviable, he has only himself to blame in the matter.
     The London Chess Club are charged "\'with having entered into a correspondence with distant societies to dissuade them from co-operating with the Saint George's Club."\'
     The accusation is simply—false.

     One really interesting item claims:

One fact connected with the subscriptions is to be noticed. It is curious to remark that the largest amounts come from the most distant places, no less than 150/., or considerably more than one-fourth of the whole, having come from India. The provinces and other places furnished about 170/., and the self constituted managing committee 115/.—these sums make a total of 435/., which, deducted from 551/. 10s. 6d., the total amount of the subscriptions, leaves about 115/. as the sum contributed by London! To what can be ascribed so startling a result but to some potent cause operating upon the mind of the metropolitan chess-playing public, that effectually prevented it from supporting the Tournament with its influence and purse. London, the richest and most populous city in the world, the very head quarters and metropolis of chess, contributed the paltry sum of 115/.! Great indeed was the error of rejecting the proffered aid of the London players. That sum, and more, would have been covered in a few- minutes by the members of the London Club alone.

At any rate, Staunton made a casual notice of this pamplet in the "Chess Player's Chronicle" :

A Pamphlet has just appeared of so peculiar yet so worthless a character, that we can neither wholly omit to notice it, nor bring ourselves to dwell on it for more than a moment. It evinces ingenuity in one part— the title page; the composition of which has evidently taxed its author's powers to the utmost. This, his opus magnum, poor fellow (for there is nothing but drivelling in what follows that first well-considered pane), is couched in a form likely to deceive: "A Review of the Chess Tournament, by H. Staunton, Esq., With some Remarks, &c., by a Member of the London Club." This would mean that the work contained a review written by Mr. Staunton, and remarks written by the Member In reality, the work contains only the latter, which are an attack on Mr. Staunton and the St. George's Club, for the part they took in promotion of the great Chess Tournament of last year. The pamphlet itself may be divided into two portions. In the first, the author declares that the tournament which has taken place, and as it took place, was the most important and the greatest event in the annals of chess. In the second part, he labours to prove that the London Club were hostile to those persona,who promoted it, and to those proceedings which brought it into effect, and then lauds the London Club for such obstructiveness. Not to have shared in producing "the greatest event in the annals of chess," is no praise to' a chess club: what pr iise then is it to have malignantly thwarted those who did carry out that event, and who accomplished, with much labour and some personal expense, an achievement that now extorts the admiration of enemies, and that will for ever be remembered among the votaries of the noble pastime and exercise of chess? What praise is this?
    It is the praise which the author of the pamphlet in question bestows on that shrivelled and exanimate body, whilom the London Chess Club, but now hardly a club at all in numbers, and perhaps rather more a card.playing, than a chess.playing meeting, if the truth were told.
    We had almost forgotten another encomium bestowed by the pamphleteer on this society, that of having saved the immortal name of British hospitality, by giving cigars and potables to Herr Anderssen and his companions. Well, be it so. The credit of the cigars is entirely due to the London Chess Club: that of the tournament to the St. George's.

    At the time of the tournament St. Amant was in the United States - actually, his wife was in California setting up a business, making contacts and waiting for the arrival of her husband, the French Consul. St. Amant received his counsulship post in California on Feb. 24, 1848 as a reward for his performance as captain in the French National Guard and commandant of the Tullieries Palace. Due to budget restrictions, he wasn't able to leave Paris until May 2, 1851. The play at international tournament began officially on May 27, 1851 while St. Amant was still en route to America. It was an arduous four month journey to San Francisco. At the end of his stay in the United States, St. Amant did travel east to make his departure. He passed through New. Orleans, but never met Morphy. However, in Sept. of 1852, he did get to New York City where he played the better known Charles Stanley. St. Amant was in NYC to catch a steamboat back to France. He met with the New York players, which included such names as Stanley, James Thompson, Colonel Charles Dillingham, John L. O'Sullivan (editor of the "Democratic Review"), Frederick Perrin at Delmonico's at 2:00 for chess and dinner. Stanley and St. Amant had played 2 games the prior evening, each winning one. At Delmonico's they repeated those results.

Back to 1851.
     Others who couldn't participate in the tournament were von Heydebrand der Lasa , possibly the best player in Germany; Alexander Petroff, Ilya Schumoff and Carl Jaenisch, the cream of Russian chess; and Vincenz Grimm, originally of Hungary but living in exile in Syria. Henry Thomas Buckle, the polyamath, attended (and in fact was the fifth highest sponsor) but didn't play as he was too involved in his work at the time. 
    Löwenthal traveled 5000 miles (according to Staunton) from Chicago to London to play. After what he thought was an embarrassing result, he was to ashamed to face his friends in Chicago and, instead, stayed in London where he ended up performing a yeoman's service to English chess during the next 3 decades.
    The fifteen other players ("As eight prizes were offered by the committee for competition, the number of sixteen was as favourable as could have been devised for the ultimate pairing-off of the antagonists. The occurrence of this number was not an accidental circumstance. It being found impossible to raise the number of competitors to thirty-two—another number equally capable of ultimate division — several excellent players had retired a few days previously, in order to give the committee the advantage offered by the number sixteen". -Staunton) were:

-from Germany- Adolf Anderssen, Bernhard Horwitz and Carl Mayet;
-from England- Howard Staunton, Edward Shirley Kennedy, Hugh Alexander Kennedy, Henry Bird, Marmaduke Wyvill, Elijah Williams, Samuel Newham, Eduard Lowe, Alfred Brodi and James Mucklow;
-from France -Lionel Kieseritzky;
-from Hungary - John Jacob Löwenthal and Jozsef Szen.

from the Tournament Book by Staunton:

Before proceeding to this ballot, Mr. Staunton called the attention of the gentlemen assembled to the necessity of reconsidering the clause of the prospectus which limited each contest in the first melee to a rubber of three games. He had originally proposed that the minimum should be three out of five games, but from an apprehension that, in the event of a large number of combatants entering, the Tournament would be inconveniently protracted, the Committee had decided on two games out of three. The objection to a larger number of games, however valid, if thirty-two players or more had entered, was no longer tenable, now that they had reduced the combatants to sixteen; and in justice to those amateurs who had come from distant parts at great expense to be present at this memorable encounter, and his fairness to the subscribers, who naturally looked for a large collection of games from so many distinguished players, he earnestly entreated them to agree that the first series should be determined by three games out of five instead of two games out of three.
    Mr. Staunton enforced his proposal by reference to Mr. Lewis, one of the oldest and most experienced players of the age; and also to a letter which he had just received from Mr. Cochrane entreating him to get the decision as to the three games reversed; and lastly, to an able player at his side, Mr. Löwenthal, who had travelled nearly fire thousand miles to take part in the Tourney, but who, in common with all good players, objected to risk his repute, his loss of time, and his expenses, upon so unsatisfactory a test of relative skill as a rubber of three games afforded. After much discussion, the opinion of the players was taken by ballot, and the proposition was unfortunately lost by one vote.


Round 1
Wyvill vs Lowe -----Wyvill
Horwitz vs Bird -----Horowitz
Staunton vs Brodie -----Staunton
Mucklow vs E. S. Kennedy -----Mucklow
Anderssen vs Kieseritsky -----Anderssen
Williams-Löwenthal -----Williams
Szen - Newham -----Szen
H. A .Kemedy - Mayet -----H. A. Kennedy

from the Tournament Book by Staunton:

The result of this first series illustrated most disastrously the impolicy of playing short matches. With hardly an effort, eight players were already hors de combat, and altogether excluded from further participation in the general melee, while another in the first rank was in the most imminent danger of sustaining defeat from an inferior opponent. The absence of the two great Russian players, Jaenisch and Schumoff, was now more than ever deployed, as the presence of either of them would have prevented a comparatively weak provincial amateur from holding a place among the winners, to which, save by the merest accident, he never could have been entitled. With this issue terminated the first melee of the Tournament.
    The eight winners, all of them prize-bearers, proceeded then to ballot for fresh adversaries, to determine the relative rank of their prizes.

Round 2
Anderssen vs Szen -----Anderssen
Wyvill vs H. A. Kennedy -----Wyvill
Staunton vs Horowitz -----Staunton
Williams vs Mucklow-----Williams

from the Tournament Book by Staunton:

The four winners in this second section, were Wyvill, Anderssen, Staunton, and Williams; the losers, prize-bearers still, Szen, Captain Kennedy, Horwitz, and Mucklow. The four first-mentioned, in drawing lots, were paired thus: Wyvill against Williams, and Staunton against Anderssen; and the four latter thus: Kennedy against Mucklow, and Horwitz against Szen. To deal first with the second division, Captain Kennedy won every game from Mr. Mucklow; and Szen, to the surprize of everybody, won all the games of Horwitz. Mr. Mucklow was beaten this time with extraordinary ease, Captain Kennedy not choosing to expend the whole of four days upon so unimportant a contest. Horwitz, as the games too plainly testify, played deplorably beneath his strength. We seek in vain, throughout the match, for one flash of that brilliant and original genius which distinguishes his best efforts. Mr. Williams defeated Mr. Wyvill three times running in the opening games of their contest; but Mr. Wyvill, who is decidedly one of the finest players in England, recovered himself gallantly, and beat his adversary, in magnificent style, all the four next games.
    There was now but one series of matches undecided. The two winners of the first division in the third series, were left to contend for the first and second prizes: the third and fourth had to be competed for by the two losers in the same division. Similar contests for the fifth and sixth, and the seventh and eighth prizes, remained to be undertaken by the winners and two losers in the second division. Again, to take the second division first; these matches were not of long duration. Owing to a misunderstanding, Mr. Horwitz and Mr. Mucklow did not play at all.

Round 3 (semi-final)
Wyvill vs Williams-----Wyvill
Anderssen vs Staunton-----Anderssen
H.A.Kennedy vs Mucklow-----H.A.Kennedy
Szen vs Horowitz-----Horowitz

Round 4 (Final)
Anderssen vs Wyvill-----Anderssen

Anderssen - winning a silver cup and £183
Wyvill - £55

play-offs determined the following:
Williams - £39
Staunton - £27
Szen - £20
H.A. Kennedy - £13

from the Tournament Book by Staunton:

In the mean time, the provincial matches had also been decided. The second of June was the day appointed for the gathering of the combatants in these contests, but although a large number of amateurs had entered their names and paid their subscriptions, very few appeared in the list on the day of meeting. The paucity of their number is chiefly owing to the idea, which seemed to possess every one, that a whole legion of competitors would be arrayed for these combats. Dreading the delay which they apprehended would be the consequence of such a host of players entering, most of the provincial amateurs who had enrolled themselves, were absent at the appointed meeting; ten only made their appearance in due time. An eleventh arrived from Devonshire the next day, but all the matches were then made up. The ten in question, were: Major Robertson, of the 82nd Reg. from Carmarthen, Mr. Trelawny, M.P., of Cornwall, Messrs. Ranken and Brien, of Oxford University, Boden, of Hull, Hodges and Wellman, of Reading, Angas, of Newcastle. Gilby, of Beverley, and Deacon, of Bruges.
The winners were:
1. Mr. Boden, £27 10s.,
2. Mr. Ranken, £12,
3. Mr. Hodges, £7 10s.,
4. Mr. Brien, £5

     One might expect to see a flourish of chess activity after this first international tournament, which was held during the Great Exhibition no less. But it seems chess was unusually, though deceptively, quiet during the years following. Carl Jaenisch made it to the tournament but too late to play. He did however play a match with Howard Staunton, losing seven to two with one draw. The tournament made painfully evident the need for the codification of chess rules. Russian and Italians particularly played different rules involving castling and "en passant" (Italians and Russians used "free castling" and "passar battaglia" which negated "en passant"). Jaenisch, himself, very much favored these Italian rules. There were other chess-related issued that needed addressing.
     Prof. George Allen wrote in the Book of the First American Chess Congress:

In the prospectus of the London Tournament of 1851, it was intimated, that the revision of the Chess Code would be accompanied by " the establishment of a uniform system of Notation for the whole chess community;" and in the Preface to the Rules of the St. Petersburg Club, Major Jaenisch strongly urges, that a uniform Chess Code should be equally yoked with a uniform chess language. The subject of Chess Notation might, therefore, with great propriety, be embraced in the reference to the above-named Committee. All which is respectfully submitted.

     Jaenisch of Russia , Staunton of England, Dubois of Italy, v. d. Lasa of Germany and George Allen of the United States were in ongoing communication with each other, trying to codify the rules of chess. Jaenisch having the opportunity to meet and talk to Staunton in 1851 was probably a more important occurance than if he had played in the tournament.

The tediousness of these discussions can be seen through the following excerpt also by Allen in the 1857 Congress book. :

     Upon the whole, the Committee have not been disappointed in their anticipation of Mr. Staunton's probable leaning:—in most instances, his judgment accords rather with the German than the Russian author, while in some cases he differs from both, and everywhere gives evidence of an independent command of the entire subject. Like Mr. Von der Lasa, he prefixes a chapter on the fundamental laws of the game, the powers and moves of the pieces, etc. Against his own conviction, he agrees with his colleagues in enacting that taking the pawn, en passant, becomes a forced move when no other is possible (It is perhaps needless to add that he lends no support to Major Jamisch's recommendation of the passar battaglia.). He does not assent to "the extreme leniency" of Major Jaenisch in reference to penalties for false moves, nor can he consent, with Mr. Von der Lasa, "to legalize what is illegal," but prefers to re-enact the old rule, by which a false move is a lost move. He retains the penalty of moving the king. The text of his code contains the "fifty move rule," but he rather inclines, in his notes, to Major Jaenisch's extension to sixty moves. It is rather singular that in the introduction to the Chess Tournament, Mr. Staunton pretty distinctly intimates his opinion, that the spirit of the fifty-move law permits the party, which has the King and Rook against the King and Bishop, to claim a re-commencement of the counting on capturing the Bishop at the forty-ninth move; but now that Mr. Von der Lasa, against his own convictions, and in deference, perhaps, to the opinion thus expressed, had inserted the privilege to begin the counting again, Mr. Staunton has found Major Jaenisch's to be the sounder doctrine. He sees no reason for extending the latitude for correcting an error in setting up the pieces, etc, to the sixth move. His sections on correspondence and consultation games are fuller than those of either of his colleagues. The proposition, which was first suggested in England, tolimit the duration of a game to two hours on each side and to measure the time consumed on each move by a sand-glass, was favored by Major Jaenisch at first, but since abandoned by him. Mr. Staunton proposes to adopt it. These provisions, with many details, which it would be out of place to enumerate here, are discussed, in copious notes, with great acuteness and constant reference to the earlier authorities as well as to the arguments of the two continental writers. The number and perplexing character of the questions thus presented confirm the Committee in their opinion, that no intelligent judgment could be formed upon them from such consideration as could be given them during the present session of the Congress.

     An 1853 edition of Vedomosti said: "On March 27 at 8 pm at the home of Count Alexander Gregorievich Kushelev-Bezborodko the opening ceremony of the newly founded Society of Chess was performed with governmental permission." It was charted in 1854, becoming the first organized chess club in Russia, one year prior to the Count's death. The difference between it's founding date and charter date can be attributed to the political climate of the time.          While the government was petitioned to allow the charter of such a group (the petition was sent by Count Kushelev-Bezborodko, Major C. F. Jaenisch and two influential parties - which is possibly the only reason it was eventually approved), it took almost a year to receive the approval. The Chess Society, with its annual dues of 15 rubles in silver, was a congress of very wealthy, influential men. Although it peaked at 50 members, by 1860 it inexplicably dissolved for lack of funds.

Jaenisch was appointed by the members of the chess club as the official Russian representative for chess codification already in 1853 and conceded to "en passant" but only later to standard castling.

In the "Chess Player's Chronicle," 1854, Staunton praised Russia's endeavors in this regard:

It is much to the credit of this newly-formed and eminently aristocratic coterie, that one of their first measures was to grapple with a difficulty the evasion of which has been a standing reproach to the Chess-players of Europe for the last half century. We allude to the anomalies and absurdities so long permitted to disfigure and render ridiculous the "Laws of Chess." At a meeting held by the members for the purpose of considering the present state of the laws and rules of the game, it was resolved that the Secretary, M. C. F. de Jaenisch, be requested to draw up a new code of "Laws" for the use of the Society. The task could certainly have been intrusted to no better hands. Profoundly versed in all that relates to the practice and theory of Chess, and conversant almost above all other men with its History and Literature, M. Jaenisch, there can be little question, will produce a digest of the Rules of Chess which will win the sanction and become the guide, not only of his own countrymen, but of Chess-players generally throughout the world.

1853 also saw the death of Lionel Kieseritsky, the chess professional at the Café de la Régence. He was originally from Livonia. He was replaced the following year by Daniel Harrwitz who came from Anderssen's home town of Breslau. The influence of Paris in chess was fading and even the main characters were from places outside France. St. Amant had all but forsaken chess and Jules Arnous de Rivière was just starting out.

Here's a game between Harrwitz and the upstart de Rivière in 1856.

     In 1857, 26 year old Daniel Willard Fiske (shown above), then an assistant librarian at Astor Library in New York and member of the New York Chess Club, inspired by the Great Exhibition tournament of 1851, had the idea that "...such an assemblage of American players would serve at once to illustrate and assist the advancement of chess."
     Fiske had been a precocious child, reading by three and at age eight, reading the political news of the Tyler campaign to audiences of listeners. Even before graduating from the Hamilton College in New York, Fiske went abroad to study Scandinavian languages. He attended the University of Upsala while working as a foreign correspondent for several American journals. One of his classmates at Upsala was the future King of Sweden and Norway, Prince Oscar Bernadotte.
     He returned to New York at age 21 and took his position at the Astor Library. He stayed there until 1859. But back in 1857, besides organizing the chess congress, he founded The Chess Monthly which he co-edited with Paul Morphy, while compiling and editing the chess congress book. Leaving Astor, he took the position of General Secretary of the American Geographical Society.
     During that same time, Fiske was contributing articles on the language and literature of Iceland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Sweden to Appleton's New American Cyclopaedia. He worked for Syracuse Daily Journal and the Hartford Courant before accepting a position both as Professor of North-European Languages and as Head Librarian at the newly created Cornell University. There he ended up teaching German, Swedish, Danish and Icelandic as well as conducting classes in Persian. Fiske also taught a course in Journalism. Besides the above languages, Fiske was fluent in Russian, Italian and French.
     Visiting Iceland in 1879, he returned home the next year to marry Jennie McGraw, heiress to a large fortune. Jennie had tuberculosis and died in 1881, while Fiske, who inherited much of her fortune, became embroiled in a lawsuit with Cornell. He left Cornell and moved to Italy despite an Professorship offer from Harvard.
     Fiske is known as the Father of Icelandic Chess because of his generous donations of chess boards and pieces. There's even a Willard Fiske Center in the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavík.

An older Willard Fiske

In his engaging, folksy style, Frederick Edge wrote the following:

About 1855 or 1856, the [New York] Club made the acquisition of two enterprising young players, Mr. Theodore Lichtenhein and Mr. Daniel W. Fiske; and to the latter gentleman is due the credit of first suggesting this Chess Congress, which made known to fame the genius of Paul Morphy.
    . . .    
The Congress was advertised to open on the 6th of October, but players began to arrive some weeks previously. First of all came Judge Meek, of Alabama, a truly imposing specimen of a man. Soon after him followed Mr. Louis Paulsen, from Dubuque, Iowa, whose astonishing blindfold feats out West were the theme of general talk, and almost total disbelief, amongst Eastern players. From Judge Meek we first heard of Paul Morphy's wondrous strength. He told the New York Club that if the youthful Louisianian entered the tournament, he would infallibly wrest the palm of victory from all competition.
     We were much afraid, nevertheless, that Mr. Morphy would be unable to quit his legal studies for the purpose of attending the Congress, but when Mr. Fiske announced the receipt of a telegraphic dispatch, which stated that he was en route, everybody hailed the news with satisfaction. Mr. Paulsen now came to the support of Judge Meek, and declared that Paul Morphy would carry off the first prize in the tournament; giving, as the grounds of his opinion, some two or three published games of the young Louisianian, which he considered worthy to rank with the finest master-pieces of chess strategy.
      Benignant fate brought the young hero safely to New York, some two days before the assembling of the Congress.

      Besides Morphy of Louisiana, the tournament included, William S. Allison of Minnesota, Samuel Robert Calthrop of Connecticut, Hiram Kennicott of Illinois, , Hardman Philips Montgomery of Pennsylvania, Alexander B. Meek of Alabama, Louis Paulsen of Iowa, Benjamin Raphael of Virginia, and from New York: Theodor Lichtenhein, Hubert Knott, Napoleon Marache, Willard Fiske, William James Fuller, Charles Henry Stanley, Frederick Perrin and James Thompson.
     It was yet another knock-out tournament, lasting from Oct. 5 through Nov. 10, 1857, but luckily the two strongest players didn't meet each other until the end. An unusual occurrence during this congress was that Paulsen announced that on Saturday, October 10, he would give a four board blindfold exhibition. He invited Morphy to take on of the boards, which Morphy accepted on the condition that he, too, play blindfold. C.H. Shultz, W.J.A. Fuller and Denis Julien played the other three boards. The result was +2-1=1, The loss was against Morphy and the draw was against Julien.
     Morphy and Paulsen both went into the final round undefeated and with one draw apiece. Morphy dominated Paulsen in the final round winning 5, losing 1 and drawing 2, making Morphy the winner and Paulsen second place (Lichtenhein beat Raphael in a play-off for third place).
     This dramatic arrival of Paul Morphy in 1857 on the world stage of chess completely separated the first half of the 19th century from the second, even more so than the arrival of Adolf Anderssen in the 1851 tournament in London, though Morphy's task was probably easier than that of Anderssen. The increased popularity of tournaments, which would soon be conducted using better systems, as well as the need to understand the principles of chess, employed seemingly innately by Morphy, initiated the gradual push from an game of part-time amateurs to one of full-time professionals.
     As Alekhine said (as quoted by Macon) Shibut, "In the sixties and seventies of the last century in London, and principally in Paris where the traditions of Philidor were alive, where the immortal works of Labourdonnais and McDonnell were still remembered, at the time, finally, when Anderssen was living - beauty alone could scarcely have astonished anyone. Strength, Morphy unconquerable strength - that is the reason for his success and the guarantee of his immortality. And that the essence of that strength consists of the fact that Morphy always played positionally goes without saying, in the broad sense of the word ... That is, he clearly pictured to himself in each separate instance just what the given position required, and adopted himself to these requirements."

Standing: Daniel S. Roberts, Charles H. Stanley, James Thompson
Sitting: George Hammond, Thomas Loyd, Colonel Charles Dillingham Mead, Hardman Philips Montgomery, Frederick Perrin, Napoleon Marache. and William James Appleton Fuller

     At the time of this 1856 drawing Daniel S. Roberts lived in Brooklyn and was president of the Brooklyn Chess Club. That was also the year he moved to San Francisco. He was invited to the Congress but didn't attend.

     The 1st American Chess Congress concluded in Nov. 1857. On Monday, March 22, 1858, there was a California Chess Congress at the hall of the Hunt's Building in San Francisco, a joint effort among the Pioneer Chess Club (founded 1855), the German Chess Club (founded 1855) and the Mechanic's Institute (founded 1854). The president of the congress was Selim Franklin, a transplanted Londoner, and the main competition included 8 First Class players: Selim Franklin, Charles Sutro, Edward Jones, E. Justh, Daniel S. Roberts, Wilhelm Schleiden (president of the German Chess Club of San Francisco), John Shaw and Philip Kalkman.
     The actual play stared the next day from noon to midnight. The tournament boasted a large audience, "among them were men of all ages and conditions, members of the bar, physicians, merchants and literary men. As the Tournament progressed several clergymen and judges visited the Hall."
     During the second week of the tournament, the venue was changed to the Rooms of the Pioneer Club.
     The Tournament concluded on the evening of May 1.
     Selim Franklin won first prize, a gold watch
     Edward Jones won second prize, an inlaid rosewood chess table.
     John Ellis won first prize in the first division-second class, "a beautiful marine chess-board and set of men"
     R. H. Bacon won second prize in the first division-second class, a fine gold watch seal.
     In the second division-second class, J. H. Gardiner won first and George F. Sharp won second, each receiving an elegant quartz watch seal.

     The publication of a pamphlet containing all the games was intended to be "the first production of the chess-press wet of the Rocky Mountains." Unfortunately, I can't find any reference to it's actual publication.

     During the month following this tournament, Paul Morphy arrived in London.


     Morphy came into to the public spotlight by winning the 1857 American congress with such ease. After that tournament he contacted Howard Staunton, probably the most well-known name in chess at that time, about the possibility of Staunton coming to New Orleans for a match. Of course, Staunton wasn't about to travel to New Orleans but countered with an invitation for Morphy to come to England. Twenty year old Paul, quite unexpectedly, was able to accept that invitation and arrived in England that June in 1858. Extending the same challenge to Staunton in person, Morphy was anticipating an acceptance. Staunton, out of practice and involved in making a living, put Morphy off but, unfortunately for his future reputation, did not decline the challenge outright. After a lot of wasted time in face-saving machinations, Staunton finally did decline. By that time Morphy was in France. He have defeated his old contestant John Jacob Löwenthal in London while awaiting Staunton's decision for a time and place for a match and now in Paris, he defeated Daniel Harrwitz. Adolf Anderssen had come to Paris during his Christmas break from the university where he taught. Anderssen, having won the 1851 international tournament was generally considered one of the strongest , if not the strongest, players in the world and Morphy defeated him quite convincingly.
One of the main ideas to take away is that Morphy, for whatever reasons, created a publicity splash in the mainstream press. This was unprecedented for a chess player. In England and France but especially in the United States, Morphy sparked an interest in chess probably not seen before. But upon returning home, Morphy, who had become disillusioned with chess players and who wanted to pursue him own career as a lawyer, started his graceful exit from public life.
People who attain the highest place in a field and in the public's opinion and who abruptly depart tend to become things of legends with an imagined aura of invincibility. Paul Morphy who did all this is a prime example. Whatever his abilities, talents, faults or potential, he did change chess by the sheer force of his play compared to that of his contemporaries. The need and desire to understand what Morphy could do almost innately was, in part, the impetus that drove men like Louis Paulsen and William Steinitz to develop their positional ideas. The Morphy legend lived on, long after chess had evolved and advanced beyond those times.

     Morphy and Paulsen were pioneers of blindfold simuls. Paulsen demonstrated his skills against larger groups, while Morphy played against stronger groups. These two players' accomplishments would soon be overshadowed by Blackburne, Zukertort, Pillsbury and others, but in their time, their exhibitons were the subject of great interest.

     Around 1859 we're first introduced the secretary of Count Grigory Alexandrovich Kushelev-BezborodkoIlya of St. Peterburg, the crazy-odds giving player from Bratislava, Ignatz Kolisch (for instance, in 1861 Kolisch played 13 members of the Norwich Chess Club simultaneously, yeilding Knight-odds, winning 8, losing 3 and drawing 2.)

     Here is an example of Kolisch giving Rook and move odds in 1859

     Kolisch had tied a match with Adolf Anderssen in 1860 (+5-5=1) and narrowly lost matches to Anderssen (+3-4=2) and Louis Paulsen ((+6-7=18)) in 1861. He was hoping for a match with Paul Morphy who was trying to bow out of public chess and those two loses against players Morphy had beaten conclusively gave Morphy adequate reason to turn down the challenge. He was in Russia during the second London international tournament in 1862. That tournament, won by Anderssen, followed by Paulsen, then John Owen (whom Morphy had beaten yielding Pawn and two), also put on public display the Austrian player Wilhelm Steinitz who placed 6th, and Joseph Blackburne who had only learned the game a couple years before yet placed 9th. It would have been interesting had Kolisch been a liberty to attend.

     Things were shaping up to turn the 1860s into a quite interesting decade.

     Blackburne had a great natural capacity for chess, maybe more so than even Morphy.

     What I know about Blackburne doesn't come from Blackburne himself, at least not directly, but from P. Anderson Graham's biographical sketch. Graham said that Blackburne had been a pretty good checkers or draught player growing up and as his father traveled about as a temperance reformer, he got to play with good opponents around England, Ireland and Scotland. Morphy's blindfold play in 1858-9 inspired Blackburne, who worked in a warehouse in Manchester, to buy a cheap chess book. He learned the moves and soon tried his hand at playing in a coffee-house and lost miserably. Then he bought Staunton's Chess-player's Handbook and studied openings. He improved rapidly and joined the Manchester Chess Club where we developed at a phenomenal rate. It wasn't long before he got the chance to play some games with Edward Pindar, the transplanted Russian who was champion of the Provinces. Blackburne beat him +2-1, then had the same results the following week. In 1861, Blackburne won the Manchester Club Tournament ahead of Horwitz (from whom Blackburne had been receiving end-game lessons). Re-inspired by a visit of Louis Paulsen to Manchester in 1861 where he gave a blindfold exhibition (Blackburne lost his game in that simul), Blackburne tried blindfold chess himself and before the year was out was already playing sans voir against 3 opponents. In 1862, he played 4 games and then played 10 members of the Manchester Club while blindfold.

     Much of this is documented to a degree. In February 1862, Staunton wrote in his Illustrated London News Column:

"On this occasion the unseeing performer was a young English amateur, who, without any previous practice in blindfold chess, succeeded with perfect ease, and with marked ability, in winning four games played simultaneously against as many opponents" Then after his 10 board blind simul, Staunton wrote: "When it is considered that our young countryman has had very little practice in chess play of any description, and that in playing without the board he is quite a novice, this last exploit appears to us the most wonderful of its kind that has ever been recorded."

     It was of these kind of results that resulted in Blackburne, who had been laid-off from his warehouse job due to a cotton famine and was then working for him father producing daguerreotypes, receiving an invitation to participate in the 1862 international tournament... with his expenses paid for.

     Louis Paulsen was from a family of scientific potato farmers. He, along with his brother Ernst and his sister Amalie, moved to Dubuque, Iowa in 1854 where they raised tobacco, made cigars and ran a distillery. His other brother Wilfried, a very strong player, remained in Germany All the Paulsens were chess-players, having learned the game from their father, Dr. Carl Paulsen, a strong player. Paulsen defeated the best players in Chicago, winning an invitation to the American Chess Congress in 1857. He had a minor reputation as a blindfold player and this reputation was spotlighted an the congress. He also inspired Morphy to improve his multiple blindfold abitlites. More important to the development of chess, Paulsen took a scientific approach to the game. He left the United States in 1861.

     According to Hans Kmoch ("Pawn Power in Chess" 1959):

All three systems [the Dragon, the Ram or Boleslavky and the Duo or Schevenigen] have been worked out and bequeathed to the chess world by Louis Paulsen; they should bear his name or some descriptive names...
The ram-move ...P-K4 had been played now and then before Paulsen's time, but it took Paulsen to work it out to a perfect system....The Duo system was Paulsen's main hobby during his entire life. Time and time again he experimented with ...P-K3, trying out with self-sacrificing zeal all kinds of supplementary ideas. Indeed, this system is named after him - provided Black continues with ....QN-Q2.
Paulsen's name is never mentioned in connection with the Dragon system, yet it seems that he invented it himself. At any rate, Steinitz made the remark in the New York 1889 tournament book that 'the new move ... P-KN3' was introduced by Louis Paulsen at the Frankfurt tournament [1887 - batgirl].
Paulsen's invention of the Dragon is the more likely since he generally had a strong predilection for the fianchetto of the King Bishop, which was very strange in his time. He also most likely invented and certainly introduced the King's Indian (1 P-Q4, N-KB3; 2 P-QB4, P-KN3) some forty years before this defense began to gain popularity. Equally he contributed to that variant of the King's Indian which today is called the Yugoslav or Pirc defense (1 P-K4, P-Q3). For there is a documentary remark in the Nuremberg 1883 tournament book, reading: "The actual inventor of this defense is Wilfried Paulsen but [his brother] Louis Paulsen submitted it to a closer investigation.

     Wilhelm Steinitz got the chess world's attention by placing third in the 1859 championship of the Vienna Chess club, then second place behind Kolisch in 1860 and finally first place in 1861-2. He was invited to the 1862 London international where he place 6th but was praised by Anderssen, the winner, "as having played the boldest and most brilliant game of the tournament." (The Chess Journal, Aug. 1874). Steinitz went on to win match after match. Winning his match against Anderssen in 1866 made Steinitz the de facto world champion. This was Steinitz, the Romanticist, playing in the style of Morphy.
     It's rather remarkable to say the least, especially in those days, that a player so successful would examine his winning methodology and try to improve upon it scientifically. It's doubtful that Morphy, had he continued playing, would have attempted that. Early Steinitz was probably influenced by Morphy but the evolved Steinitz was probably more influenced by Paulsen, another pioneer scientific player.

This concludes our peek into 19th century chess up to Paul Morphy.  Despite it's length, many important players and events were either ignored or give short shrift. Some nations where chess was played were left out while the more prominent ones were highlighted.  There was probably a degree of subjectivity involved in deciding what to include, but that's a necessary evil, I suppose. 

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