Hastings 1895, The Amateur Tourney

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from the British Chess Magazine, 1895


HE arrangements for the British Amateur Championship Tournament were undertaken by the Southern Counties' Council, in conjunction with the British Chess Club, and the secretarial duties were ably carried out by Messrs. Grantham Williams and H. S. Ward, the former gentleman supervising the actual play and bringing the whole affair to a successful conclusion. In addition to the Newnes Cup, to be held by a British subject only, four prizes of £20, .£15, £10, and £5 respectively were offered for competition. As the number of players had to be limited to thirty-two, to enable the Tournament to be completed in the proposed week (August icth — 24th), the committee was obliged to refund the entrance fee of £1 1s  to many would-be competitors !   When the difficult task of selection was accomplished, the players' names were divided by the "draw" into four sections of eight, the winners of each section to play for the cup and prizes. Four further consolation prizes, of £5, £4, £3, and £2 were offered for competition to the players coming out second in their respective sections. The accepted entries were as follows : Messrs. H. E. Atkins (Leicester), J. H. Blake (Southampton), A. A. Bowley (Henfield), Rev. j'. T. C. Chatto (London), E Cohn (Berlin), H. H. Cole (London), F. J. H. Elwell (Southampton), T. C. Gibbons (London), S. van Gelder (Bath), E. L. Harvey (Belfast), V. Hollins (Birmingham), W. J. Ingoldsby (London). Herbert Jacobs (London), E. O. Jones (London), C. J. Lambert (Exeter), R. Loman (London), H. S. Leonard (Guildford), Dr. Levitt (Berlin), Rhodes Marriott (Manchester), R. P. Michell (London), Ð�. Mocatta (London), Rev. f. Owen (Liverpool), C. W. Palmer (Manchester), H. W. Peachey (London), Rev. C. E. Ranken (Malvern), G. A. Schott (Bradford), L. C. Serraillier (London), H. W. Shoosmith (Brighton), Dr. S. F. Smith (London), S. J. Stevens (London), E Thorold (Bath), and V. L. Wahltuch (Manchester). 

     It will be noticed that the name of the ultimate winner of the Tournament does not appear in this list. This gentleman, Herr Geza Maroczy, of Buda-Pesth, who had been present at the Masters' Tournament from the start, representing some continental newspapers, was at first among the disappointed applicants. His claim had been supported generally by the "Masters," but in common with Monsieur Flies, of Paris, also present in Hastings, he owed his admission at the last minute to the unexpected vacancies created by the withdrawals of Messrs. E. O. Jones and A. Mocatta These two well-known London amateurs were both present, but being in indifferent health they decided not to play. Many visitors from the South would have been pleased if the entries, strong as they undoubtedly were, had been strengthened by such strong amateurs as Messrs. Tiytjens, Locock, Moriau, Wayte, Sherrard, Gunston, Trenchard, Wilson, &c. The absence of the Rev. A. B. Skipworth was also commented upon. 

     The Tournament commenced on Monday, August igth, and lasted until the 24th. It was first proposed to play in the Brassey Institute with the Masters, but this was found impracticable if the comfort of players and visitors was to be studied. The Hastings Chess Club and the authorities at the Queen's Hotel, where most of the players were staying, therefore kindly placed one of their club rooms at the disposal of Mr. Williams. This room was found too small to accommodate more than twenty-four players, and so it came about that one section of the party was relegated to the billiard room for the greater part of the week Here, away from the "madding crowd," and far from such allurements as "a sail in the 'Skylark' for 9d."  to be heard from without the other room, and distracted only by an occasional visit from some peripatetic spectator, the eight competitors in section IV. had every facility offered them for playing good chess. Conditions were not so favourable for the remaining players, who owing to the excessively hot weather and the oft-times crowded room, could not take things so coolly. However, nothing could have surpassed the expeditious and pleasant way in which the sections were got through, the ties played off, and the finals brought to a satisfactory termination. 

     Play commenced at 10 a.m. and lasted until 2 p.m.;  in the evening the hours were from 7 till 11 p.m. This arrangement allowed of two games per day being played, and gave an opportunity of an afternoon visit to the Masters' Tournament, which, of course, proved the main attraction to visitors, many of whom, nevertheless, divided their attention tolerably evenly between the two events. Among the visitors were to be noticed the Revs. Canon Dean, L. Lewis, J. F. Welsh, and E. I. Crosse ; Messrs. Hofier, Gunston, Ward-Higgs, Sherrard, Moriau, Bowles, A. Mocatta, W. O. Wilson, A. Curnock, T. H. Moore, W. P. Plummer, P. Howell, H. Cudmore, E. O. Jones, W. J. J. Knight, W. Whitehead, and others.   Mrs. Baird and lady friends of the competitors also graced the Tournament with their presence. 

     Many were the rencontres  between spectators who perhaps had been former opponents over the board, and the mutual pleasant memories revived often led to scenes which were not composing to the adjacent competitor whose turn it was to move. But the Tournament is now a thing of the past, and the Amateur Championship has been won, without the loss of a single game, by a foreign competitor, with the fine score of 9½ out of 11 games (8 wins, 3 draws). Owing to the condition above referred to,  the winner, Herr Geza Maroczy, could not take the Cup, which passes to Mr. H. E. Atkins (formerly of Cambridge University fame), the second highest scorer, who also was unbeaten, and whose record was 7½ out of 10 games (5 wins, 5 draws). Mr. R. Loman was third, with 7 out of 10 (6 wins, 2 draws), and Herr Cohn took fourth prize, with 6½ games out of 10 (6 wins, 1 draw). Herr Maroczy is a native of Szegevin (Hungary), and was taught to play chess about seven years ago by Dr. Jacobi, of the Buda-Pesth Club. He is not yet twenty-six years of age, and, judging by his style of play, which is both sound and bold, he will be heard of in future International contests. 

     A reference to the individual scores will show that Messrs. Hollins and Michell, Dr. Smith, and the Rev. J. Owen were entitled to play for the consolation prizes, these gentlemen having come out second in their respective sections (the Rev. John Owen, who tied with Herr Maroczy in section III., lost upon playing off the tie). The prize-winners under this head took the following order: 1, Mr. Hollins; 2, Mr. Michell; 3, Dr. Smith; 4, Rev. J. Owen.

    Taking a general glance at the sections, and the individual form displayed by the competitors, some results somewhat of the nature of surprises occur. Section I. was at the finish very closely contested by Dr. Smith and Mr. H. K. Atkins ; and at the commencement of the sixth round the former, with a score of 5 out of 5, as compared with the 4½ out of 5 of Mr Atkins, was favourite.   Mr. H. H. Cole, the year champion of Ludgate Circus C.C., and winner of the Surrey Cup, disappointed his many admirers : and Mr. Gibbons was expected to place more than 2½ games to his credit. Monsieur Flies, of Paris, found himself in very strong company, and, like Mr. Ingoldsby, contented himself with emulating the early performances of Herr Schlechter the ''drawing master" par excellence. In section II. Mr. Loman certainly showed the most consistent good form. His end-game with Mr. Shoosmith was both amusing and instructive. The latter player is the rising hope of Sussex, for which county he has not lost a game for two seasons. He defeated Mr Marriott in fine style, and managed to win a piece and the game from Mr. Jacobs; but after that he did not make much progress against his formidable opponents. Mr. Thorold won a good game from Mr. Jacobs, who as champion of the City of London C.C. did not do himself justice in this Tourney. Mr. Loman's most dangerous adversary was Mr. Michell, a promising member of the all-conquering Metropolitan C. C. It was this gentleman from whom Mr. Loman suffered his only defeat in this section, after the game had been adjourned. At the finish the Dutch champion came in with a rush, winning his two rounds and an adjourned game on the same day. 

     Section III perhaps caused the most excitement. It was soon evident that the Hungarian representative would make a bold bid for first honours, and the Rev. J. Owen seemed the only one with the chance of keeping up with him. This he did right well in a neck and neck race from Monday until Thursday, when, the score standing at 6 all, the English player succumbed, and did not win another game in the Tournament. Dr. Levitt and Mr. Serraillier looked like runners up at one lime, but the latter player was sadly out of practice and not in the best of health. His game with Dr. Levitt was of great interest. Mr. Palmer was undoubtedly, as he said, "out of form."   Great things were expected of this young player in the contest, but he allowed Mr. Wahltuch, his colleague of the Manchester Club, to come out with greater honours in another section. Mr. Steven's noted ingenuity availed him nothing against such foes as Herr Maroczy and the Rev. J. Owen. Dr. Levitt's game with the latter was one of the best in the Tourney. 

     In section IV., Messrs. Cohn, Blake, and Hollins commenced well and played well right through. Mr. Blake was a warm favourite at starting, but he finally lost any chance he may have had of winning his section by trying to turn a certain draw into a win ; he blundered, and lost to Mr Peachey. Herr Cohn was for a time checked in his onward career by the Birmingham player, who in turn lost, somewhat unexpectedly, to Mr. Lambert. Mr. Leonard was outclassed, or perhaps he handicapped himself, for his rapid style of play was taken full advantage of by his opponents one after the other. Mr. Peachey was lucky in scoring from Mr. Blake, but Mr. Elwell played stronger than his results would imply.

The final section for the four prize-takers produced some good specimens of play, showing the different styles of the combatants. It was probably the original and seemingly reckless style of Herr Maroczy's attact and defence which carried him through to his highly deserved victory.  Mr. Loman drew his game with Herr Cohn in fine style, although a piece minus in the end-game, in which department he demonstrated wonderful resource. 

     Mr. Atkins played a careful and sound game right through, and his success was most popular. The success of Mr. Hollins in the final consolation rounds fully maintained his reputation as a player of great ability; but the apparent falling-off of Mr Owen caused some surprise. The promoters and officials of the Tournament are to be congratulated upon their enterprise, and upon the results attending their greatly appreciated efforts ; but we trust that any future contest for the British Amateur Chess Championship will be confined to bona-fide representatives of British amateur chess, and that foreign aliens will not be permitted to compete, as in the present instance.