Jan 1, 2009, 9:59 AM |
 I've simply collected and compiled a few random, unassociated yet intersting articles I found in the 1897-98 issues the American Chess Magazine.


   This year's chess festival of the Chess Club "Centrum," Berlin, included the performance of a melodrama entitled "The Chess Contest at Alba Terra," at the theatre in that part of the city from which the club takes its name. The author of the play hid his identity under the pseudonym, "Caissus Mate." The plot is as follows : The King of Alba Terra, having been initiated into the mysteries of chess, becomes so infatuated with the game that he is not to be had for any other pastimes or enjoyments. His neighbor, the King of Melagonia, also a chess player, and his spouse are paying a visit to Alba Terra, and for some trivial cause a dispute arises between the two queens which assumes serious proportions, leading dangerously near to bloodshed. The King of Alba Terra then proposes  to settle the difference by a game of chess, the loser to make full amends. This game, with living pieces, is the chief feature of the play. The costumes of the cast were of rare brilliancy and taste, while the difference between white and black was sufficiently marked. The execution of the single moves was both skilled and graceful. The stage-management was in the hands of Herr Frommermann-Romanow, the music composed and conducted by Herr Eugene Philippi. The game itself, but for a transposition of the opening moves, is identical with one played in Havana, 1893, between C. S. Walbrodt* and Judge Golmayo. The moves are printed elsewhere.

* Judge Golmayo is, of course, the Cuban champion, Celso Golmayo Zúpide. I'm unsure if C.S.Walbrodt should be C.A.(K.A.) Walbrodt - Carl (Karl) August Walbrodt. I haven't yet been able to uncover a match between the two, let alone this particular Scotch Gambit.


   Prague—The historical chess game with living pieces, representing the victory of King George Podiebrad of Bohemia over King Mathew Corvinus of Hungary, 1469, which was first performed during the Fair of 1895, was again presented before over 5000 spectators. The extent of the chess board was over 1½ square miles. The single pieces were represented by groups aggregating 300 people, with 20 horses. The game has been revised and slightly altered by Dr. Jan Dobrusky. The music is by K. Pospisil, the artistic arrangements being designed by Smolik Klenka, and the conception of the plan is due to F. Moucka. Dr. Dobrusky and K. Pospisil are famous problem composers, and P. Moucka is the editor of the chess column in the Bohemian paper Svetozor. A repetition of the performance took place on June 6.

New Orleans Chess, Checker and Whist Club.

   One of the delightful musical impromptus of the Chess, Checkers and Whist Club Glee Club took place in the large assembly hall of the club on May 29 The affair was given complimentary to the members of the club at large and a large attendance was present thoroughly enjoying the excellent programme rendered by the well-known musicians present. There were piano solos, duets, violin solos, mandolin solos and vocal solos, duets, triets and quartettes. Among those who participated were Messrs. Alf Kernion, Hon. Geo. Theard, Alf Duiilho, R. E. Wells, Dr. Brickell, Henry Wehrmann, Dr. L. Cusachs, T. Norton and Prof. Geo. L. O'Connell, musical director.


   Mr. J. H. Todd, who died in this city last month, was one of the most original characters in chess. Born in Ireland from Protestant parents, he was and always remained the staunch- est of Orangemen. Mr. Todd joined the then New York Chess Club in 1886 and soon obtained a certain proficiency. He would have been a dangerous opponent for every one, had not his Hibernian temperament asserted itself so often. Like all Hotspurs he was incessantly involved in quarrels, with the upshot that he was suspended from the club, whereupon he instantly invoked the aid of the courts to be reinstated.
   When the Columbia Chess Club was formed in 1887 he became one of its charter members, and subsequently elected secretary. He wrote some articles for the Columbia Chess Chronicle, and later on when the club dropped that publication, he became its publisher and editor for about one year, taking great pains of embodying his bizarre ideas about chess in that paper. Mr. Todd was at that time at loggerheads with pretty nearly every member of the Columbia Chess Club He was repeatedly requested to resign, but he obstinately refused to do so, and as he was a member in good standing it would have been impossible to expel him. The members hit upon an extraordinary plan. At a special meeting, a motion to dissolve the club was carried, and also another to dispose of the club's property by auction and to divide the proceeds of the sale per capita. Mr. Todd vainly protested in a speech which lasted over an hour, and when he sat down from sheer exhaustion, the gavel fell and the ayes had it.
   A gentleman purchased the property of the club in one lump. Mr. Todd was handed his share, which he indignantly refused to accept. Immediately afterwards a new club was organized, all the members joining with the exception of Mr. Todd, who wasn't given a chance to. He never recovered from the effects of that blow, and for awhile gave up chess, never going near clubs, although he was still seen at chess resorts. During the past few years his appearance as a chess player was only sporadic, but when he played chess he played with a vengeance. For the past three or four months he was not seen at his usual hunting grounds. His death came rather suddenly, as he always seemed to be in perfect health. He was not quite fifty years of age.

   Mrs. Harriet Worrall, American representative in the Ladies' International Chess Congress held in London in June, arrived on a Wilson Line steamer on September 7. In speaking of her experiences on the other side of the ocean, Mrs. Worrall was unstinted in her expressions of pleasure at the many favors she had received from the managers of the tournament, the players, and the British amateurs and professionals whom she had met.
   Of the work done by Mrs. Rhoda A. Bowles, secretary of the tournament, and secretary of the Ladies' Chess Club, Mrs. Worrall speaks very highly. During the few months preceding the Congress, Mrs. Bowles answered over three thousand letters, besides taking the brunt of the labor in collecting the money for prizes and making the arrangement for the playing. In addition, Mrs Bowles was the general manager, and with the aid of her husband, the welfare of the players, arrangements for the pairing and all the many other onerous duties which fall upon someone during a tournament were looked after by them in so kindly a way that the popularity of the two was greatly heightened.
   During the ceremonies accompanying the presentation of the prizes speeches were made by Sir George Newnes, Hon. Horace Curzon Plunkett, M. P., Llewellyn Atherly-Jones, M.I'.. Mr. Blackburne, and others. Sir George Newnes confirmed the report that he intends to visit this country in 1898, and told of his admiration for chess.
   Mrs. Worrall, we are certain, voiced the sentiments of Americans when she assured Sir George Newnes that he might count upon a hearty welcome on this side of the ocean.

   The first London chess column appeared, curiously enough, in the Lancet (1823), the game being introduced to the medical profession as "the only one to which the medical student may profitably devote any portion of his time and attention. It is liable to none of the objections which apply to games of chance ; it holds out no encouragement to cupidity. And while it affords an agreeable relaxation from more serious pursuits, it strengthens the intellectual faculties by the unremitting attention which it demands, and may even have some influence on our moral habits by the lessons of foresight, patience and perseverance which it inculcates."  The column appeared without diagrams, and its life was a very short one. The following is the Lancet's first problem, and it will be found easier than most modern two- movers :—No. 382.—White (6 pieces), К at QR3 ; R at QВ sq ; В at QR5 ; Pawns at QR 4. QKt2, QB7. Black (4 pieces), K at QR2 ; Q at Q4 ; Pawns at QR3 and QKt2 .   White mates in three.

[The earliest chess column published in England is said to have been that in the Liverpool Mercury in 1813 The diagrams were printed without the squares being shaded, but in other respects the pieces and general arrangements differed little from those at present in use.]