The Cable Test Tournament of 1905

Historical knowledge and information regarding our great game.
Post Reply
User avatar
Gerard Killoran
Posts: 386
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 11:51 am
Contact:

The Cable Test Tournament of 1905

Post by Gerard Killoran » Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:41 am

The Sydney Morning Herald, (Saturday 22 April 1905) contains the following information:

International Cable Chess - The City of London C.C. recently invited the following gentlemen to compete in a trial tourney with a view to filling the boards against America:- Atkinson, Dod, English, Gunston, Jacobs, Macdonald, Michell, Palmer, Richmond, Shoosmith, Tattersall, Thomas, Wahltuch, Wainwright, Wildman. It is a good omen that many of the above players are names unknown; it shows a desire to leave the beaten track of the beaten veteran.

We know the tournament took place as the following game was published:



Unfortunately, the international match itself was abandoned due to a snapped cable - and of the players listed above, Michell, Gunston and Richmond took part in consultation games with the rest of the team to amuse the disappointed spectators. Were they the successful candidates? Unfortunately BCM of 1905 does not mention the test tournament at all - does anyone have a record of it?

Tim Harding
Posts: 1776
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:46 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Contact:

Re: The Cable Test Tournament of 1905

Post by Tim Harding » Tue Jun 17, 2014 1:55 pm

The cable match selection was old news in England by the time that Sydney paper reported it.
The Field had reported the result of the selection tournament on 8 April 1905 (volume 105 page 571)
showing that in fact only 6 of the invited players participated.
G. W. Richmond was not one of them but was selected anyway.
Also selected early were Atkins, Bellingham, Blackburne, Burn, T. F. Lawrence and W. Ward.

Michell scored 4.5, Shoosmith 3, Wainwright, Gunston and Thomas all 2 pts and Tattersall 1.5.
Hoffer said that Mitchell was definitely selected and two more places + reserves were under consideration.

Also on 8 April, but evidently with a later deadline, the Manchester Courier (perhaps from a Press Association wire report) said that Shoosmith and F. J. Lee had got the last two places. We can infer that Gunston was a reserve.
Tim Harding
Historian and Kibitzer

Author of 'British Chess Literature to 1914', Joseph Henry Blackburne: A Chess Biography', and 'Eminent Victorian Chess Players'
http://www.chessmail.com

User avatar
Gerard Killoran
Posts: 386
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 11:51 am
Contact:

Re: The Cable Test Tournament of 1905

Post by Gerard Killoran » Tue Jun 17, 2014 2:41 pm

Thanks Tim.

It's still odd that such a strong tournament should go unreported in the BCM when it was written up and a game score published on the other side of the world. Does anyone know of a cross-table?

James Pratt
Posts: 412
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 11:10 pm

Re: The Cable Test Tournament of 1905

Post by James Pratt » Tue Jun 17, 2014 3:12 pm

I could not find mention in 'Chess Results 1901-1920' - Di Felice (McFarland) which is normally pretty good. I would happily give space in BCM today if anybody cares to dash off a page or so about the match and qualification.

James Pratt
Editor
www.britishchessmagazine.co.uk

O.G. Urcan
Posts: 86
Joined: Wed Dec 11, 2013 7:37 am

Re: The Cable Test Tournament of 1905

Post by O.G. Urcan » Wed Jun 18, 2014 8:19 am

Have many previous editors of the British Chess Magazine offered to publish material that "anybody cares to dash off"?

User avatar
Gerard Killoran
Posts: 386
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 11:51 am
Contact:

Re: The Cable Test Tournament of 1905

Post by Gerard Killoran » Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:49 pm

I think that's more than a little unfair as James has taken the time to look up the information and post a response. Something I wish the BCM would do is to make some of its archive available online. I find it exasperating that American Universities have scanned editions of the BCM (up to 1923) which can be searched and downloaded in the USA for free, but I can't even pay to see them here.

Are there copyright problems stopping the BCM doing something similar here, perhaps through the British Newspaper Archive?

John Upham
Posts: 4342
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 10:29 am
Location: Cove, Hampshire, England.
Contact:

Re: The Cable Test Tournament of 1905

Post by John Upham » Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:32 pm

Gerard Killoran wrote:I think that's more than a little unfair as James has taken the time to look up the information and post a response. Something I wish the BCM would do is to make some of its archive available online. I find it exasperating that American Universities have scanned editions of the BCM (up to 1923) which can be searched and downloaded in the USA for free, but I can't even pay to see them here.

Are there copyright problems stopping the BCM doing something similar here, perhaps through the British Newspaper Archive?
Gerard,

I have wanted to digitally recover BCM since the time that I first became involved. I want to go beyond simple scanning.

We have been investigating the cost of OCRing the archive since 1881 and looking at a significant commercial partner to make this happen.

This would mean that BCM could be keyword searched from 1881 onwards. This would be a significant academic resource.

Our first objective would be to digitally recover all of the indexes. At least then you could determine which issue contained an article of interest.

All of this is being investigated but taking more time that I would like.

I'm also attempting to determine if Google Books have already scanned BCM in its entirety. I'm guessing that they have but confirming this has yet to happen.

Communication with the right people at Google is challenging.

Suggestions are welcome.

I thought I would "dash something off": I hope it was not too facile.
British Chess News : britishchessnews.com
Twitter: @BritishChess
Facebook: facebook.com/groups/britishchess :D

User avatar
Gerard Killoran
Posts: 386
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 11:51 am
Contact:

Re: The Cable Test Tournament of 1905

Post by Gerard Killoran » Wed Jun 18, 2014 5:07 pm

Thanks John. Have you had a look at http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/008887232 ? Here all the BCMs up to 1922 can be text-searched and individual pages downloaded - in the USA. Perhaps some deal could be done with the Hathi Trust to find out how they do their indexing. I've been able to have a look at the volumes scanned so far, but whereas the quality seems high - apart from photographs - some of them have pages missing.

It is a resource which would at the very least drive traffic to your website and sell a few more subscriptions, but its commercial value must be hard to estimate. As a record of chess activity since 1881 however it's priceless.

John Moore
Posts: 1778
Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 6:33 pm

Re: The Cable Test Tournament of 1905

Post by John Moore » Wed Jun 18, 2014 5:28 pm

There is a US company called Euriskodata (you might consider the name rather amusing!) advertising on E Bay which offers to sell a CD-Rom with the BCM from 1881 to 1905 (missing 1894) at a very reasonable price. I leave it to others to argue over the question of copyright but I have certainly seen these disks offered for sale by reputable dealers in Europe.

User avatar
Gerard Killoran
Posts: 386
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 11:51 am
Contact:

Re: The Cable Test Tournament of 1905

Post by Gerard Killoran » Wed Jun 18, 2014 5:57 pm

John Moore wrote:There is a US company called Euriskodata (you might consider the name rather amusing!) advertising on E Bay which offers to sell a CD-Rom with the BCM from 1881 to 1905 (missing 1894) at a very reasonable price. I leave it to others to argue over the question of copyright but I have certainly seen these disks offered for sale by reputable dealers in Europe.
All they have done is download all the BCM PDFs scanned by Google - which is why 1894 is missing. Anyone with reasonable expertise in searching the web can download all these for free. If you want a laugh go to http://www.euriskodata.com/about-us.html and read just what their 'values' are.

User avatar
Gerard Killoran
Posts: 386
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 11:51 am
Contact:

Re: The Cable Test Tournament of 1905

Post by Gerard Killoran » Fri Nov 23, 2018 3:36 pm

I have subsequently found the following report from the Daily News - 06 April 1905.

Daily News 06 April 1905 Cable Match Table.jpg
Daily News 06 April 1905 Cable Match Table.jpg (106.83 KiB) Viewed 792 times

John McKenna
Posts: 3722
Joined: Tue May 17, 2011 2:02 pm

Re: The Cable Test Tournament of 1905

Post by John McKenna » Fri Nov 23, 2018 4:04 pm

Nice find, Gerard, and remarkably clear.

[Michell,Reginald Price (1873-1938) was British (Amateur) Champion in 1902.]
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

Kevin Thurlow
Posts: 2970
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:28 pm

Re: The Cable Test Tournament of 1905

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Fri Nov 23, 2018 10:59 pm

Reginald Pryce Michell I think. He is buried in Kingston cemetery, in the same plot as his wife Edith (Tapsell) Michell, who died some years later. John Saunders and I tracked down the grave a few years ago.

John McKenna
Posts: 3722
Joined: Tue May 17, 2011 2:02 pm

Re: The Cable Test Tournament of 1905

Post by John McKenna » Sat Nov 24, 2018 11:17 am

Good work by grave hunters Saunders & Thurlow there then.

I see that Gerard's latest find, above, also makes mention of William Ewart Napier (b. 1881 Camberwell London, d. 1952 Washington DC)

The entry for Napier in the Oxford Companion to Chess (1984 Ed.) makes interesting reading and contains reasons for Napier's divided loyalties -

"Engish-born player... emigrated to the USA when he was five... (tied) for second place... in the New York State Ch. 1901. Later that year he returned to England... in the first BCF Ch. 1904 he tied with Atkins [*] for first... In 1905... returned to New York. Soon after... gave up first-class competitive chess, became a naturalized US citizen (1908)..."

[*Note that in 1904 Napier won a play-off with Atkins for the title of Britsh Champion.]
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

Post Reply