Let's Get Physickal

Let's Get Physickal

| 12 | Chess Players

     There were a few 19th century London chess players who, although they weren't quite on par with the best, were by no means second-rate players  and made names for themselves both locally and abroad.

     One such player was the professional organist,  Rudolph Loman.  "The British Chess Magazine" featured him in their August 1892 issue:


     Rudolph Loman, whose portrait forms our frontispiece this month, was born at Amsterdam, the 14th October, 1862. His father is and has been for thirty-five years past, professor of theology at the University of that city, and has therefore been in a position to give his son the advantage of a liberal education. The latter learned chess at the age of sixteen, at Leipzig, where he was studying at the Conservatoire of Music. He does not seem to have given early promise of great strength as a player, but he pursued the study of the game with much enthusiasm, and during a three years' residence at Cologne, where he went to finish his musical education, he sought out some of the most notable local players. Kockelkorn, Wemmers, and Leffmann were then perhaps at their best, and Loman had the advantage of constant practice with them. His strength increased rapidly, so that when he left the Rhenish capital he was able to meet the best players of his own country on equal terms. He has since been, in fact, one of the most regular competitors in the tournaments of the Dutch National Association, and, as will be seen from his record, has fought his way to the top with a steadiness and regularity which augur well for his future chess career. He came to London in 1883, and among other professional appointments, obtained that of organist at the Dutch Church in Austin Friars. He is professor of the pianoforte at several academies of music in and near town, and his recitals at Steinway Hall and elsewhere have been most favourably received in the musical world.

     The following is his tournament record :—
1881. —Dutch National Tourney (The Hague), tied for 3rd and 4th prizes.
1882. —Dutch National Tourney (Amsterdam), 2nd prize, won 8 out of 9 games.
1883. —Dutch National Tourney (Rotterdam), tied for 2nd and 3rd prizes.
1884.—Counties' Association (2nd division), divided (after a tie match) the three prizes with Pollock and Fedden.
1885.—British Chess Association (London), tied with McDonnell for 5th prize, Gunsberg first.
1886.—Dutch National Tourney (Utrecht), tied for 2nd and 3rd prizes.
1888,—Dutch National Tourney (Rotterdam), 1st prize, won 5 and drew 2 out of 7 games.
1888. —City of London Club Handicap Tourney, won in the first section, score 8.5 out of 10 games.
1889. —Dutch International Tourney (Gouda), 2nd prize. 1889.—International Tourney (Amsterdam), not placed.
1889. —City of London Club Winter Tourney, tied for 1st in first section, lost tie game with Seraillier; score 6.5 out of 9.
1890. —Dutch National Tourney (The Hague), 1st prize, won 5 and drew 5 out of 9 games. 1890.—City of London Club Winter Tourney, tied for 1st in first section, lost tie.
1891.—City of London Club Championship Tourney, 1st prize; won 9, drew 3, and lost I, including tie match. 1891.—London Divan Tourney, 1st prize, won 7.5 out of 9 games. 1891.—Dutch National Tourney (Utrecht), 1st prize, won 6J out of 8 games.
1891. —London Divan Tourney, tied with Jasnogrodsky for 4th prize.
1892. —British Chess Association (London) Master:.' Tournament, 3rd prize, won 7 out of 11 games.  Lasker first, Mason second.
1892.—London Divan Handicap Tourney, 3rd prize, won 11 out of 16 games. Lee first, Mollard (class II.) second.

     Although he lived in London until 1914, in 1912 Loman won the Dutch championship. He did however twice come in second right behind Max Euwe. Loman was also a renowned blindfold player.
     Here is a quick win by Loman over Blackburne himself (Loman's only win in that tournament):




Thomas Physick

     Another such London player was the sculptor/illustrator/lithographer (and musician), Thomas Physick.  Less renowned than Loman, Physick was still a dangerous opponent. He originally was with the Kentish Town Chess club and even served as president, but in 1892 he joined the City of London club and won the club championship the following year with a score of 10/11.  In 1899 Physick shared 2nd place with Georg Marco in the minor tournament of the London International (each winning 5 and drawing 6 with no losses). Frank Marshall, who won the tournament +7=3-1, suffered his only loss to Physick. Thomas Physick died in 1905.


     Here is a game from a telephone match between the City of London vs. the Yorshire club in 1897.

According to the "BCM":
Mr. J. E. Hall, who encountered Mr. Physick, has been connected with the Bradford club since 1877, but it was not until 1885 that he came into prominence. Since 1886 Mr. Hall has nearly always played at board No. 1 for his club, and has won prizes for the best average match score. In 1891 he won the "Silver King" and gold medal in the club handicap tournament, winning every game played. Between 1885 and 1891 he contested over one hundred tournament games, winning ninety per cent. As a player Mr. Hall prefers to rely upon irregular and generally defensive debuts of which he has made a study. . .




     A game won against the physicist, and later New Zealand champion, John Angus Erskine, in the minor tournament of the 1899 London International:



     A correspondence game Physick won against one of England''s strongest players,  the reverend William Wayte in 1894:


     Physick's 1905 obituary in the "Wiener Schachzeitung" tells us:  He played in the match City Club v. Masters, but lost his game to Mr. R. Teichmann.

     His loss against Richard the Fifth was in 1900.  Since the Erskine game above was from the 1899 London International, it may be interesting to note that, although Richard Teichmann, most famous for his proclamation that chess is 99% tactics,  did play in that tournament, he had to withdrawal due to severe eye problems and afterwards could always be seen wearing his "trademark" eye-patch.  :

note: cover/thumbnail image - City of London CC team from it's telephone match vs Yorshire CC) source:

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