British Championship, Oxford 1910

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John Saunders
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Re: British Championship, Oxford 1910

Post by John Saunders » Wed Aug 26, 2015 10:25 pm

Many thanks for this very helpful feedback, Tim. Most of the issues and additions you point out seem to stem back to one particularly instructive oversight on my part. Dealing with each issue in turn...
Tim Harding wrote: You should be able to find also the Brown-Lewis game in the Yorkshire Post, I think of 20 August. Gerard Killoran, who has been researching the Brown brothers for the past year or so with me, found it there and maybe he will post it here later. Some Forum readers may have seen my articles about the Browns, initially at my site but later at the Chess Cafe where it's now only available to subscribers unfortunately. I shall probably do a final version of the article some time in the future.
You're right and I have now found the Brown-Lewis game and added it to Britbase.

The reason I missed it was because my British Newspaper archive search parameters were "Oxford chess". By using that I hoped to skip over any random chess references which didn't involve the Oxford tournament but I have checked it again and that search query misses the Yorkshire Post entry for 20 August 1910 even though that article does mention Oxford in the text. A simple search for "chess" finds it correctly. I was half-aware of this possible risk when I was going through the archive and had meant to go back and check the Yorkshire Post specifically because I was vaguely aware that I had not seen one issue whilst trawling through it in chronological order. I suppose this is a salutary lesson for anyone relying on online searches - they don't necessarily find everything they should, given that the OCR process is far from being 100% accurate. Keeping the search parameter as simple as possible is the safest bet. Of course, even just searching for "chess" won't necessarily find everything - there are bound to be relevant articles lurking on databases which we don't find because OCR hasn't even recorded this five-letter word right. (Has anyone else noticed how many Duchesses turn up in results when searching for the word 'chess' on databases?)

And, of course, that 20 August issue would have to be one of the more important ones! It also had a Major Open game I'd missed (Kerr-Waterman, Rd 5) and confirmation of the round number and date for Gunston-O'Hanlon.
Tim Harding wrote:I am curious to know why in the game Blackburne-Blake you give White's fourth move as 4 c3 (not stating any source). The Manchester Guardian, 20 August, did say this game was a Scotch but I found no further moves and Blackburne very rarely played 4 c3.
I thought I saw it quoted as a 'Scotch Gambit' rather than 'Scotch Game'. But I will go and check that again.
Tim Harding wrote:Among the non-digitised sources that I did examine were The Oxford Times (a column started specially just before the Congress) and The Field, which is really a must to check for these championships.

The Oxford Times did not have any games from the Championship other than those in your file posted today, though it does have a few games from lower classes. The forenames of F. S. Smith were nowhere stated that I could see, but on 22 October when Smith's games with Blackburne and Brown appeared, he was described as "champion player of Oxfordshire and Oxford City".
I don't have access to either of these currently though I am aware of their importance. Is there online access to them? Until there is, like Blanche DuBois, I shall have to rely on the kindness of strangers...
Tim Harding wrote:I have, I think, managed to reconstruct the finish of Paley Hughes v Blackburne from Hoffer's hints in The Field. It's in the book but I won't post it here as it remains speculative.

The Field did include one Championship game not yet in your file, and quite an interesting one. Here it is:

Very useful, thank you. I have added the extra games to the file.
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Re: British Championship, Oxford 1910

Post by John Saunders » Wed Aug 26, 2015 10:42 pm

Re Blackburne-Blake (Oxford 1910, Rd 5): the Times, 20 August 1910, does indeed describe this as a Scotch Gambit but it has just occurred to me that this could be 4.Bc4 rather than 4.c3, which is more likely to be the Göring Gambit.
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Gerard Killoran
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Re: British Championship, Oxford 1910

Post by Gerard Killoran » Wed Aug 26, 2015 11:14 pm

Tim Harding wrote:
Gerard Killoran wrote:I believe J F West was partly responsible for the early death of Wilfred Palmer as he encouraged him to go out to Trinidad and Tobago where he contracted a fatal illness. Charles Sherrard died prematurely in similar circumstances in Cairo. Hector Shoosmith was another casualty, but died in a less exotic location - Ramsgate. All three competed at Southport 1905 and were dead by the ages of 39 to 41.
Gerard, I think "West" must be a typo - or have you have confused the aforementioned Right Rev John Francis Welsh (Bishop of Trinidad 1904-1916) with James S. West (originally of Derby, later of Yorkshire and then Westport in Ireland)?

Shoosmith was in his 35th year when he died according to Gaige.

Charles Hugh Sherrard's birth year isn't in Gaige but I have narrowed it down to the third quarter of 1865 by searches on Ancestry.
Apologies, especially to the late Mr. West - also my mental arithmetic let me down with Shoosmith's age. I don't even have the excuse of the lateness of the hour.

On a different point, thanks Tim for the Wainwright game.

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Re: British Championship, Oxford 1910

Post by Tim Harding » Wed Aug 26, 2015 11:53 pm

John Saunders wrote:Re Blackburne-Blake (Oxford 1910, Rd 5): the Times, 20 August 1910, does indeed describe this as a Scotch Gambit but it has just occurred to me that this could be 4.Bc4 rather than 4.c3, which is more likely to be the Göring Gambit.
In his early career Blackburne generally played 4 Bc4 and occasionally adopted it later, and even tried 4 Bb5!? a few times. In serious play from 1875 onwards it was almost always 4 Nxd4 and the term "Scotch Gambit" may have been used loosely in The Times.

I don't recall seeing the term Göring Gambit ever being used in British primary sources during my Blackburne research.

Blackburne did play 4 c3 against Cuthbertson in the 1868 British Challenge Cup (the only example I found). In his own book (1899) he called it:
"a great deviation from the ordinary manner of conducting a Scotch gambit now, but the game is inserted to show what liberties we used to take with the openings in the sixties."

So it is highly improbable he played 4 c3 in 1910.

The Oxford Times is available on microfilm in the British Library (and perhaps in Oxford itself).
The Field has also been microfilmed (usually 3-4 films per year) but some libraries (and probably some private collectors) have the original bound volumes.
Also the Cleveland Public Library (John G. White collection) has several scrapbooks (available for purchase on two MFs) with the chess columns only up to the end of the 19th century - but many of the columns in them are misdated (or undated) which has led to errors in some of Tony Gillam's books. Moravian Chess have reprinted a few years but I don't know if these are complete.

The Field was one of the most important chess columns for the 1904-1914 period (if not the most important) and I doubt it will be digitised any time soon. The Illustrated London News and Times Literary Supplement are of some use, but of course they are not in BNA.
Many public libraries apart from Manchester may give access to these and to The Times and the Guardian/Observer database?
Tim Harding
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Author of 'British Chess Literature to 1914', Joseph Henry Blackburne: A Chess Biography', and 'Eminent Victorian Chess Players'
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John Saunders
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Re: British Championship, Oxford 1910

Post by John Saunders » Thu Aug 27, 2015 1:54 am

According to this page, The Field is one of the British periodicals earmarked for digitisation, or may already have been digitised (it is not quite clear), with a view to online access.
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stevencarr

Re: British Championship, Oxford 1910

Post by stevencarr » Thu Aug 27, 2015 8:42 am

Is the Big Book of Blackburne available in the UK yet? I've ordered it, but don't have a delivery estimate yet.

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John Saunders
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Re: British Championship, Oxford 1910

Post by John Saunders » Thu Aug 27, 2015 11:02 am

Tim Harding wrote:Moravian Chess have reprinted a few years [of The Field Chess Columns] but I don't know if these are complete.

The Field was one of the most important chess columns for the 1904-1914 period
Re the Moravian reprints of The Field: various copies of these have passed through my hands over the years and they are very good. The publisher's catalogue indicates that there are volumes of The Field Chess Columns available (at 29 euros each) for each of the years 1900 to 1908. The catalogue is reasonably up to date (last updated 25 June 2015) and indicates that the volumes for 1906, 1907 and 1908 are 'new' (though 1906 seems to be in the catalogue twice, once as 'new', and once not). Chess & Bridge don't appear to have them in stock but I imagine they would order them on request.

Does anyone on the forum own any of The Field volumes? If so, are you prepared to look up games & info?
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Brian Denman
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Re: British Championship, Oxford 1910

Post by Brian Denman » Thu Aug 27, 2015 12:44 pm

Mention has been made earlier of Hector William Shoosmith. He was born at Rickmansworth on 12.1.1877 and died on 31.3.1912 at Ramsgate. On playing through his games, I feel that he had the potential to become British champion. However, he did not play in any of the GB v USA cable matches and, just when he should have been in his prime, his play was marred by ill health.

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Re: British Championship, Oxford 1910

Post by Tim Harding » Thu Aug 27, 2015 3:40 pm

stevencarr wrote:Is the Big Book of Blackburne available in the UK yet? I've ordered it, but don't have a delivery estimate yet.
I think it will depend who you have ordered it from.
McFarland received the first copies from the printer/binder last Friday and my box of authors' copies arrived this afternoon in Dublin via UPS expedited.
They say they are now shipping advanced orders that were placed with them so other American retailers and distributors will probably have stocks very soon.

However, I think Eurospan (McFarland's main agents in London) don't expect to have copies for a few weeks yet. I understand that Chess & Bridge deal with an American distributor and may get their copies a bit sooner, but I suggest you alert your retailer that copies are now available and see if they can give you an estimated delivery date.
Tim Harding
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Author of 'British Chess Literature to 1914', Joseph Henry Blackburne: A Chess Biography', and 'Eminent Victorian Chess Players'
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