Chess in Philidelphia


from the American Chess Monthly, 1897 



            Charles Vezin   The Athenaeum of Philadelphia      Philip P. Randolph

               Charles Vezin         The Athenaeum of Philadelphia       Philip P. Randolph


Chess in Philadelphia.

   This is the title of a book on Quaker City Chess now in press in Philadelphia. It is compiled and edited by Messrs. G. C. Reichhelm and W. P. Shipley, and is a complete history of the game in that locality from the early part of the century to the present day. Philadelphia, more than any other city in the land, has encouraged the cultivation of the game, and the many matches, tournaments and other similar events in connection with the game are carefully recorded and amply illustrated in the book. Only five hundred copies will be struck off, of which already two hundred and fifty have been subscribed for. Those desiring to possess a copy should, therefore, without further delay, send their subscription to Mr. W. P. Shipley, Girard Building, Philadelphia. The price of book is $2.50 per copy.
   In this issue we present one of the many illustrations which will adorn the book. It comprises the group of the earlier Philadelphia Chess Masters, and together with this will be found a brief account of these players and a beautiful illustrative gambit of the period.
   The classic chess ground of Philadelphia—we might almost say America—was the Philadelphia Athenaeum. There a distinctive school of the game was cultivated which has no parallel outside of the seven stars of Berlin in the decade from 1835 to 1845. Mr. Charles Vezin was the father and founder of the Philadelphia coterie, and under his wing such brilliant pupils as Henry Vethake, Benjamin Tilghman, Philip P. Randolph, Lewis Elkin, William G. Thomas, Samuel Lewis and H. P. Montgomery grew into sturdy mastership. Mr. Vezin, when in his prime in 1845, was almost the peer of Charles H. Stanley, then chess champion of the United States. In their match played in that year the score stood Vezin 7, Stanley 11, drawn 3. In the succeeding year Mr. Vezin had the satisfaction of winning a correspondence game from Mr. Stanley. After the death of the master in 1853, his pupils upheld the high reputation of the Athenaeum School. In two matches against New York they won each time, with scores of two to nothing, and in one to a draw, and these famous parties still stand as models of correct play in the openings that they illustrate. We should add that as earíy as 1847, Messrs. Randolph and Tilghman won a similar match from the Boston Chess Club with the score of one to a draw. Besides the more serious encounters, innumerable off-hand games were contested, and these were chiefly in the domain of gambit play, and as one of the bright particular games that have come down to us from this past age, we re- publish a splendid Oliver gambit won by Philip P. Randolph from Charles Vezin in 1847.



You can read all about the inventor of the Oliver Gambit, the New England champion, Benjamin Lynde Oliver as written by Chess historian George Allen

Prof. George Allen

Prof. George Allen