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The World's Worst Chess Author Wins A Brilliancy - Best of the 1900s - Daly vs. Young, 1907

The World's Worst Chess Author Wins A Brilliancy - Best of the 1900s - Daly vs. Young, 1907

SamCopeland
| 10

There are more than a few bad chess authors, but arguably none was as creatively terrible as Franklin Knowles Young who wrote many bestsellers around the turn of the 20th century. You can read some such as "Chess Generalship" on Google Books. Here is what he had to say about 3...a6 in the Ruy Lopez: "…bad, inasmuch as the left minor crochet is of no utility in a minor right oblique refused, nor in a full front unopposed by the major oblique echeloned." I think "The Princess Bride" provides the best quote for such occasions.

Despite his dizzying intellect, Young actually played chess at quite a good level, and he won victories against great lights of his era like Johannes Zukertort and Harry Nelson Pillsbury. More victories are asserted against players like the World Champion Wilhelm Steinitz, and I find it quite believable that he could have scored wins in casual games, but any such victories are lost to the sands of time. About Young, the great writer, Irving Chernev, cuttingly said: "Some players talk a better game of chess than they play. In Young’s case the reverse was true."

Today's game, the correspondence victory Daly vs. Young, 1907, is a fine example of Young's play. On the one hand, he misses a clear win out of the opening when 11...Qh6 simply defended all threats and retained an extra piece. The alternative 11...Qd4? might objectively have been a gaffe, but the double rook sacrifice offered lead to exhilarating play and great problems for White. Young's powerful combination with 19...c6!, 22...Bxc3!!, and 23...c5!! trapping the white queen in the middle of the board was both beautiful and incredibly precise.

Top 10 Games of the 1900s

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