Cecil De Vere. 'The English Morphy'. Part Two.

Cecil De Vere. 'The English Morphy'. Part Two.

simaginfan
simaginfan
Dec 8, 2018, 12:37 PM |
15

Back in Part One, we left the story at the end of the great Baden-Baden tournament of 1870. 

Some five months later he took part in the huge City of London Chess Club Handicap Tournament. There were four players - out of the 48 competitors - in 'class 1'. Potter, Blackburne, Burn, and De Vere. Although he had not reached the 'super-class' that had been predicted for him, De Vere showed that he was still a force to be reckoned with. In the first round he eliminated the - later 'professional' R.H.F. Fenton, who won the 'consolation tournament for those eliminated in the first round, at odds of 'Pawn and Move', and then beat Amos Burn 2-0.

In the final he lost out to William Norwood Potter by +1-2=4. Apart from being a great chess journalist, Potter was a really fine player. 

nullWilliam Norwood Potter.

One of his games against Burn found it's place in 19th.c. chess theory, and there is a bizarre story that goes with it.

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An impressive game from the third round.

 The following bright little game is against one of De Vere's perpetual victims. 

As I said in Part One, who knows how  much beautiful De Vere chess went unrecorded.

De Vere made something of a comeback at the historically important B.C.A. Congress in the Summer of 1872, which featured two major events. ( They are sometimes confused in later sources ) 

The Grand Tournament was Zukertort's first event in England. The Challenge Cup event - in effect the British Championship - had the three previous winners - De Vere, Wisker, and Blackburne. If one of them was to win the event, he would take possession of the trophy.

Part of the confusion in seperating the games of the two events is that a number of players took part in both, and the events ran concurrently, with no fixed schedules. The players organised the games between themselves.

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As can be seen, De Vere fell victim to that neglected figure John Wisker  losing to him three times, including the play off game for the B.C.A Challenge Cup.

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He did, however, manage to defeat Blackburne twice in the space of a couple of weeks. Only one of the games survives, and an impressive one it is.

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The well known Westminster Papers caricature of Blackburne.

  The next game, against John Owen - there is a lovely picture of him on the Liverpool chess Club site  is included as a bit of a curiousity.

One of those off-hand skirmishes that we have so few of. 

The following photograph is one of my favourites, and was taken on June 11th, 1873.

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The full story can be found in one of my articles here.    

De Vere's last significant event was The City of London Chess Club Handicap Tournament held over the end of 1873 and beginning of 1874. Like the one above, there were 48 players competing. Again he made the final pool, along with Zukertort, ahead of Bird - who he beat, Wisker and Potter. Surprisingly it was won by a player from the 4th class - i.e. Knight odds from the first class players, called Sother. (perhaps Sothers!?)

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nullA picture of Bird, discovered by Hans Renette - page 226 of his book - from the Scientific American Supplement, 1877 page 1502, via the hathitrust archives.

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In his 2-1 defeat at the hands of Zukertort in the final, with 'the hand of Death visibly upon him', as Potter puts it, he produced one last moment of the true De Vere touch.

De Vere's last known game is so typical of him that it might have been played at any time during his career.


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For those interested in the various speculations regarding De Vere's possible family background, etc. there is a good summary here

De Vere as he was in the Garden Party picture - he was just 27 years of age.

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To finish with, a game that I.O Howard Taylor gives 'among others, as examples of his real power'.