Napoleon Marache


Almost everone who recognizes the name of Napolean Marache does so in context with his participation in the First American Chess Congress (where he scored a respectable +5-5=2) and with his association with Paul Morphy (serving as Morphy's secretary in Morphy's own failed book attempt **).

Marache played this Evans Gambit against (probably unknown to him) one of the most authoritative and greatest Evans Gambit players in history, Paul Morphy: 


Westminster Papers
, July 1875

Napoleon Marache.

     Every Chess player will regret to learn of the death of Napoleon Marache, once a Chess player of note, who died very suddenly, of heart disease, on 'the morning of Tuesday,11th May, at his residence in New York city. Mr. Marache was born on the I5th of June 1815, in Meaux, France, and consequently was, at the time of his death, close upon 60 years of age. He came to this country when thirteen years old. He was first shown the moves at Chess when he was twenty-six years of age, and made astonishing progress in the mastery of the game. It is related that within three weeks after he had received his first lesson he could gi ve the odds of a Rook to his teacher, from whom he had so recently taken the odds of the Queen.
     Shortly, he became acquainted with a strong player, who gave him first the odds of a Rook, next a Knight, and then a Pawn and two moves, until at length Mr. Marache was able to meet him on even terms.
     In the winter of 1855-56 he won the honorary position of champion of the New York Chess Club, together with a silver cup offered as a prize in a match between eight of the strongest players of that day, and subsequently, the same winter, in a tournament of sixteen players, he again won the first prize, a set of Staunton Chess men. In 1857 he participated in the grand tournament of the first American Chess Congress, but was defeated in the first round by W. Fiske. Mr. Marache was then labouring from indisposition, and had nearly vanquished his opponent, when he was compelled for a time to retire from the lists, and on his return suffered a succession of defeats.
     As an editor he has had charge of columns in the New York Clipper, Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, Porter's Spirit, and Wilke's Spirit. In October, 1845, he commenced the publication of the earliest Chess periodical in this country. The Chess Palladium and Mathematical Sphinx, which unfortunately only lasted through three numbers. In 1865, he was secured by Dick and Fitzgerald to prepare the Chess matter for a new edition of Hoyle, and his work was so well done, that it was subsequently given to the public in a separate volume, as Marache's Manual. For the past seven or eight years he has only occasionally played a game with a friend, but latterly his old enthusiasm seemed to be reviving as he frequently visited the Cafe International, and had become a member of the Brooklyn club.
     For the past nineteen years he has occupied a position in the Union bank, and was ever found faithful, efficient, honest and true in the discharge of his duties. He was an excellent scholar, a fine musician, a thorough gentlemen and an ardent, faithful friend. As a problem composer he deservedly ranked high.
     His works were "classical," and he took an especial pride in his self-mates, of which he had manufactured some very elegant and ingenious positions. Eighty-seven of his problems are given in the Chess-Nuts.


Napoleon Marache (1815-1875)

Curiously, in Marache's elementary 1866 book on chess, he gives 4 solutions to the Knight's Tour -


 a Description of the Board and the Pieces, Chess
Notation, Technical Terms with Diagrams Illustrating Them,
Relative Value of the Pieces, Laws of the Game, General Observa-
tions on the Pieces, Preliminary Games for Beginners, Fifty Openings of
Games, Giving All the Latest Discoveries of Modern Masters, With Best Games and
Copius Notes. Twenty Endings of Games, Showing Easiest Ways of
Effecting Checkmate. Thirty-Six Ingenious Diagram Problems and
Sixteen Curious Chess Strategems. To Which is Added a Treatise
on the Games of Backgammon, Russian Backgammon,
and Dominoes."

By N. Marache
chess editor of  "Wilkes' Spirit of the Times."

  from Reichhelm's Chess in Philadelphia:
"In 1863 I commenced collecting the games of the greatest of all chess masters, Mr. Paul Morphy. Several years afterward my collection was already a standard, and Mr. Morphy, through his secretary, Mr. Napoleon Marache, applied to me for several games he had not at hand in order to incorporate them in a collection of his own games he contemplated publishing with original notes. The project, however, fell through, as the publishers would not go ahead unless Mr. Morphy would play new games to enrich the collection, and the champion did not entertain this view of the case.. "