The Order of the Mandarins of the Yellow Button

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The Order of the Mandarins of the Yellow Button


In the second half of the 19th century, a group of chess players in the Boston area formed a somewhat informal, yet exclusive coterie called the Order of the Mandarins of the Yellow Button. What made this group exclusive was that in order to join, a prospective member must be an amateur chess player and must have beaten a recognized master, i.e. a professional international champion, in an even game of chess.  Indeed, it wasn't an easy group to join. 

It was their custom to meet every Saturday afternoon for chess and spend Saturday evenings dining together, discussng chess.

Supposedly, Mandarin points toward China where the Yellow Button was an insignia denoting rank in the Chinese civil service.

The core members of this group included: Franklin Knowles Young, Constant Ferdinand Burille, F. H. Harlow, Dr. E.M. Harris, C. F. Howard, Major Otho.E. Michaelis, Gen. W. C. Paine, Dr. Horace Richardson, Charles B. Snow, Henry Nathan Stone, G.Preston Ware, jr.


Here is a game played at the Royal Pagoda Ostuk Tserte, in the fifth moon of the first cycle of the reign of Awer, Senior Mandarin of the Order of the Yellow Button.


Mandarin Nswo is C. B. Snow;  Mandarin Otnug is F. K. Young"





A few more games played by memebers of this group: