Lewis vs Dechapelles - The Beginning of Great Coffee House Chess Players

Oct 27, 2007, 11:52 AM |

The history here is great but the ending combination is simply artwork at its height! The development of coffeehouses was a great stimulus for chess. The European cafe appeared during the seventeenth century. At first it consisted of a simple room with a counter. It became an important meeting point for the
little mobile citizens. Later a specialisation set in. Old Slaughter was a meeting place for chess players in London. Here, a match between the Frenchmen and the Syrian Stamma was played in 1747. Philidor won (+8, =1, -1). The notation of the games is unknown. Cafe de la Regence became an important place for the elite in Paris during the eighteenth century. Important visitors were Duc de Richelieu, Voltaire, Rousseau, Grimm, Benjamin Franklin, Robespierre and Napoleon. Men of the wealthy middle class became the main customers in the
nineteenth century. The interest for the game increased and notation of games
began.  Tourism stimulated the organisation of international matches. Many
English tourists travelled to the continent after the battle of Waterloo in
1815. They could afford the tourney, because: 1. The industrial revolution had
increased wealth faster in England than in continental countries. A rich middle class could afford expensive trips. 2. Travel companies developed during decades of peace. 3. Roads became smooth for the first time since the Romans. Speeds of 20 km per hour for the express coach and 10 km per hour for the diligence were reached. A journey from London to Paris lasted less than a week. 4. In 1821 a crossing from Dover to France per steamship took two hours. Three decennia later, the train travelled 30 km per hours. The steam engine shortened the time of travelling drastically. 5. The hotel came into being. No longer all travellers slept in one room of an inn.  Lewis and Cochrane went to Paris in April 1921, as tourists. They met the strongest French player Deschapelles. A short match began between Lewis and Deschapelles. Lewis got move and pawn. Two games were drawn. The history of completely recorded chess matches had started.

Thank you Loek van Wely and Jan van Reek for the great commentary!