Lee and Gossip. Three Brilliancies.
Gossip, Lee, Albin and Pillsbury. New York Impromptu Tournament 1893.

Lee and Gossip. Three Brilliancies.

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Afternoon Everyone.

A small offering today, with some pretty chess and pictures for you to pass 10 minutes of lockdown boredom with.

 A few threads tangled up in my brain resulted in this one. My last article, a comment that I made on one by the inimitable @batgirl ,plus a photo she posted recently, and her interest in 'living chess'!!

Big thank you  @batgirl  for all the inspiration!!

So, I mentioned a book in my library recently in a batgirl article - this one.

As you can see, it is actually a compendium of four different books.

You can find a beautiful photograph of the two of them here   It is one of the posed photographs from 'The Impromptu Tournament', New York, 1893. Copyright restrictions  means I can't reproduce it here, which is a shame, but that's how things go!!

Let's start with George Hatfeild Dingley Gossip. A minor British master, who traveled around a lot.

Rather than go into details, I shall point you in the direction of that internet rarity - a good article about a chess player on Wikipedia!!  Excellent stuff. Great work whoever wrote it.  

He was responsible for the 'Modern Chess Brilliancies' collection.

I love that preface! Always makes me smile.

Naturally enough he gets himself in there! Notably his most famous game, and manages to comment on the debate as to whether it should have won one of the two special prizes on offer at the massive New York 1889 event.
Actually, it's a very pretty game, so enjoy it with the help of Steinitz - always fascinating to read his comments on the games of others.

Gossip. Columbia Chess Chronicle via. Renette's book on Bird, page 154.

On to Francis Joseph Lee.  Another minor British master. He was around for over a quarter of a century, without any great success - the New York !893 event being perhaps the high point of his career, in international terms. Hopefully I will one day write a proper article about him - one of those projects that would interest the author rather more than the average reader!!

New York 1893. Various sources.

He made his reputation as one of the London professionals, and was particularly successful in the City of London Chess Club Handicap tournaments. For example, the following is a genuinely fine result. ( Table from 'H.E. Bird. A Chess Biography', by the wonderful Hans Renette. )
I found the table looking at another player, thanks to a photograph posted by @batgirl - sorry, forgot to note the link   ( My usual level of organisation ) - of Margate 1923.
Second from the left on the front row is another of the London professionals, one Oscar Conrad Muller.

O.C. Muller. Margate 1923 bcm.

In 1892 Lee took part in another tournament that was important in the development of Lasker, and won a special prize for his win over Henry Bird. Again, some notes by Steinitz, plus a couple of comments by the winner (from The Hereford Times' I think. )

[In passing, Lee played an abortive match with Lasker - just 2 games were played before Lee withdrew for health reasons. Sadly the games are not preserved. Right, best stop nattering!]

W.S. 1909 Obituary. Page 350.

So where does 'living chess' come in to all this? Well, one of the games in Gossip's 'Modern Chess Brilliancies is, although no mention is made of the fact, from a living chess exhibition. The players were both fascinating characters, and major players in U.S. chess in the 19th century.

Captain George MacKenzie. Pinterest
Eugene Delmar. Wiener Schachzeitung.

You an find some background to the game online, notably here   

The game is rather nice. I have included Gossip's notes from the aforementioned book.

Gossip and Lee, with Delmar bottom right