HISTORY OF THE LAWS OF CHESS

Historical knowledge and information regarding our great game.
Stewart Reuben
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Re: HISTORY OF THE LAWS OF CHESS

Post by Stewart Reuben » Sun Mar 24, 2019 12:56 pm

Francis >D Lynn wrote a history of chess in the 19th century that has the following story.<
Do you know how one can obtai n a copy of that book?
L'histoire d'echecs (1243). I think it was by Phillipe Beugmont
This would be of little value to me as my French is not good enough.

Article 8 of the Laws is about recording of the moves. Thus, of course, the notation will be mentioned. Did you realise algebraic was used in the 9th century? Notation is also necessary for the way most games are timed. e.g. 40 moves in 90 minutes requires notation. So it affects Article 6. I don't know whether we will mention annotation, After all, it is a history of the Laws.
I don't know how the first games were played when the first chessclocks were introduced in 1863.

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Re: HISTORY OF THE LAWS OF CHESS

Post by David Sedgwick » Sun Mar 24, 2019 2:30 pm

Stewart Reuben wrote:
Sun Mar 24, 2019 12:56 pm
I don't know how the first games were played when the first chessclocks were introduced in 1863.
From Sunnucks's Encyclopedia (1970):

"The first match to be timed in the modern way was between Anderssen and Kolisch in 1861. An hour glass was used, and each player had to make 24 moves in 2 hours."

From Golombek's Encyclopedia (1977):

"Originally, sandglasses were used to time the play. Tumbling clocks were used in the London 1883 event and a timepiece very similar to our modern tournament clock was developed by Veenhoff of Groningen about 1900."

The latter article was written by Ray Keene, so you make like to consult him.

Stewart Reuben
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Re: HISTORY OF THE LAWS OF CHESS

Post by Stewart Reuben » Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:25 pm

David The Sunnucks quote >"The first match to be timed in the modern way was between Anderssen and Kolisch in 1861. An hour glass was used, and each player had to make 24 moves in 2 hours."<

I don't think that can be correct. If an hour glass was used, turning it over would start the other side's sand running out. So two hour glasses would be needed, one flat on thr table when it wasn't that person's move.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: HISTORY OF THE LAWS OF CHESS

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:54 pm

Stewart Reuben wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:25 pm
If an hour glass was used, turning it over would start the other side's sand running out. So two hour glasses would be needed, one flat on thr table when it wasn't that person's move.
That's what's said here.

http://www.chessmaniac.com/the-chess-clock-a-history/
While the player is thinking, the sand must be allowed to run; while his opponent is thinking, his glass will be laid horizontally on the table and the running suspended”. The idea was backed by Howard Staunton and other prominent chess players. Sand glasses were used in chess matches and tournaments from 1861 to 1875
Assuming two sand glasses, if they inverted them for a brief period, they could have had increments one hundred and fifty years ago.

Stewart Reuben
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Re: HISTORY OF THE LAWS OF CHESS

Post by Stewart Reuben » Mon Mar 25, 2019 4:00 pm

I had looked up Golombek's History and, indeed, Kevin O'Connell's note says that, in 1861 for the Andersson-Kolisch match in London, they timed the game by uing an hour glass for EACH player. The time limit was 24 moves in 2 hours.
The London 1862 tournament used the same system.
Independent clocks were used in Andersson Steinitz 1866. That would ahve been an improvement on hour glasses, but still very messy.

Hans Renette
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Re: HISTORY OF THE LAWS OF CHESS

Post by Hans Renette » Mon Mar 25, 2019 4:50 pm

The start of the Nottingham 1886 tournament was delayed for a day as the "stop-clocks' hadn't arrived yet. These clocks were, as far as I understand it, separate clocks where each player had to check his opponent's clock as well. See the Forster book on Amos Burn for a reference.

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Re: HISTORY OF THE LAWS OF CHESS

Post by David Robertson » Mon Mar 25, 2019 9:33 pm

From research I undertook over a decade back when organising the Liverpool tournaments, and consulting my notes now, I found that the first chess clock, of a style that we would recognise as such today, was invented by a watchmaker from Liverpool, of German heritage, called Amandus Schierwater. He owned a watchmaker's shop on Dale St in the city. By 1886 he was producing and selling the twin-faced clocks with the stop-start push lever. Bit by bit these came to dominate the market in the years following. My initial source was Forster on Amos Burn (who played chess on Dale St in his long lunchtimes); but also local archives.

Alan McGowan
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Re: HISTORY OF THE LAWS OF CHESS

Post by Alan McGowan » Mon Mar 25, 2019 9:33 pm

I have the relevant issues of 'Chess' that cover the Rumens-Mabbs controversy. I also have the BCM, checking it right now. To whom should I send scans?
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John Saunders
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Re: HISTORY OF THE LAWS OF CHESS

Post by John Saunders » Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:26 am

At Last, The 1958 Show... the much sought-after Rumens-Mabbs game score, in all its glory. Stewart Reuben sent me the image of the chess column published in the 14 February 1958 edition of the Glasgow Herald. Stewart didn't tell me who sent it to him but I've a feeling it may have been Alan McGowan or Gerard Killoran. Whoever it was, perhaps they could stand up and take a bow.

I've put it on BritBase where you can also read the relevant text of the Glasgow Herald column plus background material. Here is the bare game score...



It's not hard to deduce that the final moves were played in extreme time trouble. Note that Rumens could have played the mating finish a move earlier. One imagines that he would have done so within the time limit but then the game would not have been as famous as it is.
Personal Twitter @johnchess / Personal Website http://www.saund.co.uk / Britbase http://www.britbase.co.uk

Alex McFarlane
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Re: HISTORY OF THE LAWS OF CHESS

Post by Alex McFarlane » Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:02 am

It is Alan who should get the credit.

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Gerard Killoran
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Re: HISTORY OF THE LAWS OF CHESS

Post by Gerard Killoran » Thu Mar 28, 2019 10:40 am

Alex McFarlane wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:02 am
It is Alan who should get the credit.
To quote Shaggy, 'It wasn't me!'

Tim Harding
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Re: HISTORY OF THE LAWS OF CHESS

Post by Tim Harding » Sat Mar 30, 2019 5:01 pm

Stewart Reuben wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 4:00 pm
I had looked up Golombek's History and, indeed, Kevin O'Connell's note says that, in 1861 for the Andersson-Kolisch match in London, they timed the game by using an hour glass for EACH player. The time limit was 24 moves in 2 hours.
The London 1862 tournament used the same system.
Independent clocks were used in Andersson Steinitz 1866. That would have been an improvement on hour glasses, but still very messy.
What is your source for your statement in an earlier post that "the first chessclocks were introduced in 1863." Or was that a typo for 1883?

In my Blackburne book (pages 190-191) there are a few paragraphs about the clock used at London 1883, invented by Thomas Bright Wilson and first demonstrated in 1882 at the Counties Chess Association meeting in Manchester (where sandglasses were used for the actual competition). Wilson's design (or a similar one) was soon manufactured by Fattorini of Bradford.
On page 296 of the same book there is a picture from 1893 in which the tilting double chess clock can be seen in a game between Lee and Gossip (this picture is in the Cleveland digital archive). On page 445 there are two photographs showing the type of clock in use at the 1905 British Championships.

There had been complaints about the clocks used at Vienna 1882.

There is an article about clocks in The Oxford Companion to Chess (1st ed pages 68-69). Hooper and Whyld said that in the early years of clocks, one was often a standard time-piece and the other a stopwatch so the times actually used by the players had to be calculated. They say that:
For the Anderssen-Steinitz match of 1866 the time for each move was recorded and the total time calculated by addition.
I am seeking a contemporary account that might confirm this.

At the Blackburne-Steinitz match of 1876 one account speaks of an alarm on the clock ringing to warn Steinitz his time to reach move 30 was nearly up.
Tim Harding
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Stewart Reuben
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Re: HISTORY OF THE LAWS OF CHESS

Post by Stewart Reuben » Sat Mar 30, 2019 5:36 pm

You may hav thought I was referring to a chessclock with two dials - as today, or it may have been a typo.

London 1883 the rate of play was 15 moves per hour. It was also the first time the player lost the game when he exceeded the time limit. Prior to that, a fine was imposed.
The first patent for a chess clock was issued to Amandus Schierwater of Liverpool, England in 1884. By 1886 they were used for most tournaments. In 1886 Schierwater and Frisch patented a clock that showed the ordinary times and also registered on a separate dial the period used by each player. It also indicated the number of moves and whose turn it was to play. The expiration of time was indicated by a bell ringing.
Of course it didnt show the number of moves. Just as today, it must have shown the number of times the button was pushed.

Bill Wall posted valuable material in June 2012 on http://www.chessmaniac.com/tag/chess-clock/ ‘CHESS MANIAC’.

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Re: HISTORY OF THE LAWS OF CHESS

Post by Tim Harding » Sat Mar 30, 2019 6:44 pm

I doubt that anything posted by Bill Wall can be "valuable" historically and I advise you never to cite him in your book.

He has got the stuff about 1883 mostly right, probably from reading the 1957 BCM 1957 article on 75 Years of chess timing, which I cite in my Blackburne book and you should find and read that. It was not my only source, though. Wilson (of Manchester Chess Club) was certainly first to produce a successful double clock design; he just never patented it or tried to make money from it.

***
The most obvious mistake in Wall is that it is NOT true that prior to 1883 players were only fined if they over-stepped the time.
For instance, Deacon lost more than one of his match games against Steinitz on time in 1863; two sandglasses were presumably used.
Steinitz lost to Blackburne on time at Dundee 1867. There are probably several instances you could track down.

Fines were often used if players arrived late for the start of the game; I am not sure if they were used for over-stepping. Do you have a definite instance? They are often in early regulations but when this happened it may not have been reported in the press.

The 1866 Anderssen-Steinitz match the regulations (I.L.N., 21 July 1866) said that if a player arrived fifteen minutes late he would be fined a guinea. If he was an hour late, he lost the game. The regulations do not specify what apparatus would be used for timing, nor the arrangements if any for arbiting the contest. (That w s probably up to the respective seconds.)

It was less strict at London 1862 and the 1866 BCA tournaments which preceded the match. Arriving an hour late cost five shillings and at that point the player's sandglass was set running. Presumably the importance and high stakes of the A-S match (and Anderssen's input into the regulations) meant rules were stricter for that contest.

See for example the description of how two sandglasses were used in turn, one for each player, in the book of the London 1862 tournament (Regulation 2, page lii) and for the BCA Congress of 1866 (Transactions of the BCA for 1866/1867 page 5) which is similar. It is not clear from what I quoted from the Oxford Companion whether this is also how the moves were timed a few weeks later for Anderssen v Steinitz or whether some kind of clock was used.

You said in an earlier source that it was clocks. It may well have been so, but what was your source?
In the famous picture from that match, there is only a chess set on the table. So the timing apparatus, whatever it was, was probably operated on a separate table by the umpire/ referee/ arbiter/ seconds. There was nowhere on the table for scoresheets either, and there are some discrepancies between sources about moves in a few games.

I believe that in many cases before 1883 that "grace time" was used, i.e. in recognition that the timers were inexact, a player would be warned that he had, maybe, two minutes to complete his move quota and to time that precisely a stop-watch would be started. Because precise descriptions are so hard to find it would be good if any readers can find sources describing how this operated in practice. The refereeing/umpiring/arbiting of such cases is part of the issue of course.

There was also a notorious case at Vienna 1882 which had to go to committee, concerning one of the games between Bird and Mason. Bird was winning when Mason overstepped, so Bird did not claim but played on. Then he went wrong and lost. Other players protested and the committee eventually decided at a meeting on the free day to award the game to Bird.
Tim Harding
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Re: HISTORY OF THE LAWS OF CHESS

Post by John Upham » Sat Mar 30, 2019 10:41 pm

Tim Harding wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:29 am
Yes you do love correcting me, don't you? I wasn't at home to check the title page of his book.
Tim,
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