Monday, March 25, 2013

Chess Competitions 1824 - 1970: An annotated international bibliography of books, bulletins, and programs - Gino Di Felice


   In a previous post in this blog (Wither the chess tournament book? ) I lamented the passing of the contemporaneous  chess tournament book, fortunately there is a rich, diverse and vast literature on chess tournaments of the past. The scope of this diversity has become even more apparent with the publication of Gino Di Felice's Chess Competitions 1824 - 1970.

   Gino Di Felice has done a yeoman's service in compiling this bibliography. Di Felice is best known for the invaluable series, Chess Results, in which he has provides the crosstables to thousands of chess events from 1747 to 1960, with three more volumes soon to appear , which will take us to 1970. 

   With 3096 competitions listed and 5066 publications  this was mammoth undertaking, some events and publications are sure to have slipped thru Di Felice's net, but one cannot but admire Di Felice's dedication and perseverance in compiling this bibliography, and although the cut off for competitions is set at 1970, there are publications published as late 2012 in the bibliography.

 The bibliography is divided into five parts, part one is devoted to individual tournament, part two to individual matches, part three to team tournaments, part four to team matches and part five is devoted to correspondence competitions. The listing for individual and team tournaments are listed alphabetically according to where the tournament took place, and then chronologically for tournaments in the same city, individual matches are listed by the name of the winner or alphabetically in case of a tie. Team matches are listed under the name of the home team. As for correspondence competitions, regardless of  there being tournaments or matches are listed alphabetically by name.

   The chess bibliophile and researcher are sure to find this book invaluable resource, and many a club chess player may also find this book useful. I would have likes a page or two of illustrations, especially some of the more obscure titles, but one can't have everything.

Chess Competitions 1824 - 1970: An annotated international bibliography of books, bulletins, and programs.
Gino Di Felice
Publishing House Moravian Chess (2012) 554 pages

Monday, March 11, 2013

Capt. George Henry Mackenzie's 1871 Chicago Visit

 Image: public domain

In a brief note in the Chicago Tribune's Sporting World column of the January 27, 1871  reported the arrival, that very day, of Capt. George Henry Mackenzie, " the celebrated New York chess player", who planned to stay in Chicago for several days, and while in the city contest in matches some Chicago's strongest players. The arrival of Capt. Mackenzie was also reported in the New York Spirit of the Times of January 28th, where it was expressed:

  "Should the Captain be as successful at Chicago as he is in New York, he will come off victorious in a great majority of his encounters with chess luminaries of that city."

The Sporting World column of The Tribune  in it's January 29th column continued to report on the arrival of Capt. Mackenzie speculating  on the Captain's plans, as well as giving a brief biography of the the Captain, which is worth quoting at length:

   "In this connection it is proper to [illegible] very briefly the somewhat eventful life of the gentleman who claims to be the chess champion of America. he is about 35 years of age, a Scotsman by descent, and formerly a Captain in the British army. During the progress of the rebellion he came to America, and engaged as a Captain in the Union forces. He was through some three years in the South and was one of the few who, though seeing much hard fighting, fortunately escaped uninjured. He returned to New York city and at once became a prominent member of the chess club there, having some years before been one of the most noted players in Great Britain and competent to play on even terms with the ablest practitioners in Europe. Since the war he has been acknowledged leader of chess in New York, and has defeated Mr. Lichtenhelm, formerly of that city, and Mr. Reichelm of Philadelphia, in set matches......Undoubtedly the visit of Captain Mackenzie to the West will occasion a great amount of excitement and play, and an opportunity will be afforded the Western players to see if they can make any stand whatever against the redoubtable New Yorker. Of course, the chances are largely in his favor."

Chicago Tribune; Jan 29, 1871 

Mackenzie played a match against Frederick Bock, who in 1874 would place fourth (4 points) at the Third American Chess Congress held in Chicago, which was won by Mackenzie (8 1/2 points). Bock was attached  in some capacity to the Lawrence Barrett Dramatic troupe.

John G. White Collection, Cleveland Public Library
GV1438 .C475 1845

Mackenzie also played a match against James Morgan, who is described in American Chess Magazine
as a man of great wealth, who used to be one of the strongest players of the city, and was by far the most deliberate player in the city, but he had given up chess completely by the time of the American Chess Magazine ( August, 1897) article. Morgan served at one time as the President of the Chicago Chess and Checkers Club. He was on the Chicago team, that played the Quincey, Ill. team by telegraph, which was the subject og two previous posts, Links here and here.

And finally Mackenzie also played matches against Henry Hosmer and Hiram Martin Langdon Kennicott, Hosmer was the subject of a previous post in this blog. Kennicott had played at the First American Chess Congress in 1857, not advancing beyond the first round losing to Benjamin I. Raphael (3.5 - 2.5). Kennicott would take part at the Third American Chess Congress in 1874 , but would withdraw early from the tournament.

The chess column of February 18th in the New York Spirit of the Times gave the results of Mackenzie's visit to Chicago, in his match with James Morgan each player won 3, with 1 drawn game. In his match J. (?) Hosmer, Mackenzie won 3, and losing but 1 game. Mackenzie won his match with Frederick  Bock by same score as his match with Hosmer.  Mackenzie shutout Hiram Kennicott in their match, winning 2, with no loses or draws.

In December, Mackenzie again would find himself in the West  in Cleveland for the Second American Chess Congress, it was originally thought that an International tournament could be organized, but the majority of the western players preferred a purely American affair, Mackenzie would win the tournament and he would continue to dominate the American chess scene for years to come.