The Rev. John Owen. A Very Quick Look at Some Games!

The Rev. John Owen. A Very Quick Look at Some Games!

simaginfan
simaginfan
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16

Time on my hands, so thrown this together in a couple of free hours!

In my last offering for voyagers into the forgotten past :-  https://www.chess.com/blog/simaginfan/lasker-and-bauer-two-beautiful-lines-in-chess-history   The inimitable @Spektowski  took an interest in John Owen. The name may ring a bell with some of you. Owen's Defence - i.e.1...b6 and an odds match against Morphy may come to mind.

I considered putting together a proper project on him. basically, no-one has properly research him - Forster and Harding have done a little background - and having worked out how many hours would be involved - LOTS!!! I decided to just do a quick post of some of his games whilst I have a free afternoon. Maybe I will do a full research job at some point if my work situation doesn't improve!!

SO!! The Rev. John Owen. One of the group of English chess playing clergymen of the 19th century - Macdonnell, Wayte, Skipworth and Thorold. All fascinating subjects in their own right, being the other main ones. 

He was resident in London for a period, it seems, before moving to North Cheshire from where he had a long association with  the Liverpool chess Club - one of the most important in England at the time.

I would class him as 'minor master' in the terminology of the time. Perhaps that would be a little unfair of me!! As you will see, he was capable of beating the very best on his day, but, against that level of opposition - a match with Burn being the exception - go buy Forster's incredible book!! - he had more bad days than good! Nonetheless, his games are well worth looking at - particularly in the context of the time in which they were played. So, let's have a quick look at some chess!! I have only done proper notes to two of the Morphy games, but hopefully you will excuse me on that.

I will give those two games first - the odds match with Morphy seems to have been one of Staunton's bits of maneuvering in the story of the match - with Morphy - that was never going to happen.

The prelude was 5 - I think, from memory - games of the off-hand variety between Owen and Morphy.

Owen won the first encounter, which I give here, and was then soundly - albeit not without having his chances - beaten. That first game.

In the odds match, Morphy won by 5-0 with 2 draws, but Owen had his chances along the way.

At the London 1862 tournament - Owen had an excellent result - he came in third behind Anderssen and Paulsen and played some really good chess. for example, he was the only player to beat the winner.

He also beat the young Steinitz in that tournament.

From the Liverpool Chess Club archives.

Owen was the loser in probably my favourite game from the tournament - another exchange sacrifice!!


Owen played a significant role  in a couple of BCA events that I cover in my posts on De Vere. He was a danger to  the very best.

The game that started all of this off - Owen comes up with a double Bishop sacrifice, but then loses his way.

Burn - Owen. Hooton, Cheshire. ca. 1885!?

The rev. could be dangerous to the best right up to the end of his career. In his 60's he won a best game prize for this mauling of a World Class opponent.