Simaginfan's Anniversary Post.

Simaginfan's Anniversary Post.

Apr 22, 2018, 1:42 AM |

You are quite right - that's a Sesame Street birthday cake

It's exactly a year since my first tentative, and rather dismal, effort at posting something on

Your can find it here

So, scratching my hairless head wondering what to put on here to celebrate, I decided that because that post was centred around an odds game, and I have a shed load in various books, I would go with that.

For those of you who don't know what an odds game is, batgirl has done a handy post to give you the basics. Odds and Ends 

Back in the day, when chess was played almost exclusively in clubs, odds games were very important for all sorts of reasons. The big clubs would organise at least one big 'Handicap Tournament' every year, where the big fish would have to give all sorts of material advantages to the small fry. I think it's an idea worth reviving!

So here is that first game I posted, but with some notes this time.

The other games I will give in chronological order.

Here's a story. Many, many years ago, before the parents of some of you were even born, and they are old(!!) I was at school. Kind of. In between getting unfairly expelled for petty reasons now and again. It happens. So, as a big chunk of the history pass marks I was able to do a 'History Project'. Armed with my H.J.R.Murray, and various other books I wrote something with the imaginative title 'The History of Chess'. This was the first game in it, and, therefore, the very first game that I annotated for other people. Sadly we have no games of the great Philidor in his prime - he must have been some player. Here is the 62 year old giving slightly strange odds to a perfectly decent - by the standards of the time- player.

You probably wo't have heard of the next guy, unless you are a huge student of Chess History, or Paul Morphy - his name crops up in connection with the Morphy - Lowenthal match. So, another helpful batgirl link William Lewis 

And one of only two pictures of him that I know of . ( no mobile phone cameras in those days, strangely!)


The famous series of matches between Alexander McDonnell ( I prefer the spelling M'Donnell , but let's not confuse things!) and Louis Chales De La Bourdonnais, were a turning point in the evolution of chess. Outside of those matches they played predominently odds games.

My theory is that there odds games were a greater help to La Bourdonnais than McDonnell. The Irishman was known for giving large odds with great success. La Bourdonnais, on the other hand, would have played mostly at 'Pawn and Move' - particularly with Deschapelle - which is a different type of chess altogether. Very often Pawn and move/2 moves, develops along the lines of the French Defence, analagous to the 2.f4 variation of the Sicilian. McDonnell really struggled in their games with that opening - to the point that he asked George Walker for advice - whilst the Frenchman was perfectly at home in the resulting positions. But I digress. Let's see the guys in action.

Next stop is a player who I am doing some work on at the moment, Elijah Williams. By the anomalies of how such things are worked out, he has a rather higher than deserved peak rating on the chessmetrics site!


He is best known as one of the many players to earn the wrath of Howard Staunton. The game is taken from this book.


The captain of my old c.c. team has an imacculate original copy. I offered him £60 for it 20 years ago, but he wouldn't sell it to me!! I have had to make doo with a reprint version.

In the game he gives Rook odds - and plays blindfold!!

In 1846 Staunton and Harrwitz played a strange match. It involved a game on level terms, followed by one at 'Pawn and Move', followed by one at 'Pawn and 2 Moves', then level again, and so on. Staunton won the level games 7-0, lost at Pawn and move by an almost equally lopsided 6-1, with one draw, and won at 'Pawn and Two', by 4-3! He was something of a specialist  at the latter odds.

Williams went to London - where he died during the cholera epidemic - and wrote a nice book published in 1852. It was called 'Horae Divanianae - hours at the Divan - and dedicated to the above William Lewis. One merit of the book is that it contains a number of games played by Henry Buckle.


Buckle was a remarkable man, and a fine chess player.

'Brilliant partie played, between that eminent player Mr. BUCKLE and Mr. BROWN, Mr. BUCKLE giving the large odds of his QR, which the reader should remove from the board before playing over the game'. Williams.

Things didn't always go the way of the odds givers though! I shall give a couple of examples.

The first one is game 2 in Hans Renette's wonderful book ' H.E.Bird. A Chess Biography with 1198 Games'. He gives Staunton's notes from 'Chess Player's Chronicle', March 1850, which I give here, along with my thanks for the permission to use his research. 

O.K. I know some of you are impatient for some Morphy, so I will finish with two of his games. The first has received very little attention, and was played at the aforementioned Ries Divan in 1859 against another fascinating character - Eduard Pindar. Morphy rather bit off more than he could chew in giving Pindar odds of a whole Knight, but, strange to say, nearly got away with it in one of the two games played! ( Pindar won the other one as well)

To finish off, one of the games from the Morphy - Owen match at Pawn and Move. Although the numbers were decisive :- 5-0 with 2 draws, I think, it wasn't a total walkover for Morphy. After a picture of The Rev. I will close with a fascinating game. 

As usual, any contributions are welcome, and if you enjoy this stuff, let me know and perhaps I will post some more 'Games at Odds'.