British Championship, Shrewsbury 1906

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John Saunders
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British Championship, Shrewsbury 1906

Post by John Saunders » Tue Sep 01, 2015 1:10 am

I've just updated Britbase with the available games from the 1906 British Championship played in Shrewsbury.

http://www.saund.co.uk/britbase/pgn/190 ... iewer.html

Many thanks to Gerard Killoran for helping to find many of the extant games. We've found 29 of the 66 championship games, plus 25 from the subsidiary events. I've discovered most of the full names of the players, some of whom are worth looking up for details of their interesting lives (e.g. Bernard Fooks Buss(e)y, Arthur Emerson Mercer, Edwin Joseph Brooks). PW Fairweather remained uncrackable - to me, anyway.
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Steve Rooney
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Re: British Championship, Shrewsbury 1906

Post by Steve Rooney » Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:03 am

Fascinating stuff, John. I don't recall ever hearing much about the event although it is mentioned briefly in the history on the county website from information gathered by David Everington, one of the stalwarts of Shropshire chess. I will send a link to our web editor and and David.

I assume the venue refers to what is now the Music Hall that has been refurbished recently and houses the museum. We've missed the centenary, but perhaps we can persuade them to let us run an event at the venue next year to mark the 110th!

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Re: British Championship, Shrewsbury 1906

Post by Tim Harding » Tue Sep 01, 2015 2:54 pm

Blackburne's game with Mercer is in my book; seek and ye shall find.
I don't understand why you have presented Shoosmith-Blackburne in that way, with the continuation given by the Manchester Guardian as a note instead of the main line.

Alice Elizabeth Hooke was the sister of George Arthur Hooke of the North London CC who lost on bottom board in the 1903 cable match v USA.
They both had long chess careers. I leave it to others to explore their genealogy.
He played in the Brighton Guardian postal tournament of 1882 etc.
She played in the 1897 Ladies International and in 1930 lost the play-off for the British ladies ch. Obit in BCM 1943 page 32.
Tim Harding
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Re: British Championship, Shrewsbury 1906

Post by John Saunders » Tue Sep 01, 2015 6:29 pm

Tim Harding wrote:I don't understand why you have presented Shoosmith-Blackburne in that way, with the continuation given by the Manchester Guardian as a note instead of the main line.
Simply because I couldn't choose between two different versions as given by the Manchester Guardian and The Scotsman. Let's have a look at the game...



There's not too much to choose between the two variations at first sight. However, in the Guardian version, 22.Nxg1 makes little sense. Indeed, the Guardian commentator thought so himself, writing 'why not RxR?'. In The Scotsman's version, 26.Ng1 makes a lot more sense, trying to shore up White's embattled kingside.

That is why I finally put The Scotsman's version as the main line and Guardian's as a variation, but I accept there is no right or wrong answer. The important thing from my point of view was to present the evidence and leave it to the viewer to decide.

As to the undiscovered game: as the Major said of the 'missing' dining room door in Fawlty Towers, "it'll turn up."
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Re: British Championship, Shrewsbury 1906

Post by Tim Harding » Tue Sep 01, 2015 9:01 pm

I think I went for the Guardian version on the basis that its columnist (Gunsberg) was probably on the spot whereas it's not clear who did the other report. I don't think the comment 'why not RxR? means he was querying the score, rather that he was querying the decision. Anyway we shall never know for sure...
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Re: British Championship, Shrewsbury 1906

Post by Gerard Killoran » Tue Sep 01, 2015 11:43 pm

Maybe Gunsberg was stretching himself rather thinly as he seems to have been knocking out columns for many newspapers simultaneously. I've discovered he was providing copy for a paper I'd not heard of called the Yorkshire Early Bird in 1910. Here's a game he gave them - with notes - but failed to include the name of the player of the white pieces.



Back to 1906 Shrewsbury. It seems that Rev. E . Griffiths was Rev. Evan Griffiths, handily a curate in Wales at the time of the tournament, later the Rural Dean of Lewes, Head of Lewes Grammar School, and member of the Lewes and Brighton chess clubs. (Sussex Express, Friday May 9, 1930)

One more find from 1906 where White misses a nice mate in two with 21. Rd6+...:


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Re: British Championship, Shrewsbury 1906

Post by John Saunders » Wed Sep 02, 2015 1:15 am

I already had the Wainwright jnr game on file but not recorded him as George Edward Wainwright. But you're right: he had exactly the same name as his father, so I'll have to add 'jnr' to his name to distinguish the two. Belt and braces: perhaps his father had better become 'snr'. For the record, dates of the two George Edward Wainwrights, father and son, were 1861-1933 (obit in BCM 1933, p415) and 1887-1950.

The Mortimer-Brooks game is new. I've added it and also updated the Rev. Griffiths' name to include his forename. Many thanks, Gerard.
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Re: British Championship, Shrewsbury 1906

Post by Gerard Killoran » Wed Sep 02, 2015 4:21 pm

I can't find out anything about the mysterious P. W. Fairweather who finished equal second in the 1st Class Amateurs - beating Mortimer and O'Hanlon - in what seems to be his only ever competitive chess outing.

The Dutchman Abraham Speijer sometimes competed as A. Green, so could it be a pseudonym?

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Re: British Championship, Shrewsbury 1906

Post by Tim Harding » Wed Sep 02, 2015 5:08 pm

Gerard Killoran wrote:Maybe Gunsberg was stretching himself rather thinly as he seems to have been knocking out columns for many newspapers simultaneously. ...

Back to 1906 Shrewsbury. It seems that Rev. E . Griffiths was Rev. Evan Griffiths, handily a curate in Wales at the time of the tournament, later the Rural Dean of Lewes, Head of Lewes Grammar School, and member of the Lewes and Brighton chess clubs. (Sussex Express, Friday May 9, 1930)
Gunsberg did indeed write numerous columns - up to the First World War when most of them stopped (except the Daily Telegraph).

Rev. Evan Griffiths was winner of the 1908-1912 correspondence tournament run by B.C.M. and was active in the B.C.C.A. but after the First World War he seems to have given up chess.
Tim Harding
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Re: British Championship, Shrewsbury 1906

Post by Brian Denman » Wed Sep 02, 2015 6:42 pm

Rev. Griffiths was a very active player at Lewes and Brighton in the 1920s. It seems that the situation changed after 1930.

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Re: British Championship, Shrewsbury 1906

Post by Richard James » Wed Sep 02, 2015 6:51 pm

Gerard Killoran wrote:I can't find out anything about the mysterious P. W. Fairweather who finished equal second in the 1st Class Amateurs - beating Mortimer and O'Hanlon - in what seems to be his only ever competitive chess outing.
Indeed. Our Fairweather Friend seems to be very elusive. I've perused the BCMs for 1906 and 1907 as well as searching online and can find no indication of his playing any other competitive chess: tournaments, county matches, club matches or anything else. I also haven't found any mention of him as a correspondence player or as a problem solver. He was clearly a more than useful player, sharing second place (the winner, S(c)hories, was only playing because he was ineligible for the championship) in the First Class section, and the committee who decided who should play in which section must have been aware of this. It's very odd that such a strong player should have had no previous or subsequent tournament experience.

Having an uncommon surname with two initials should help, but there's nothing very obvious in either census or BMD records. I've found a William Percival Fairweather, also known as Percival William Fairweather, who was born near Bristol in 1879 and died in the same area in 1952. His death was recorded twice: as William P Fairweather and Percival W Fairweather. On the 1911 census he's a clerk in the wine and spirit trade and a part time professional musician in a music theatre in Bristol. There's no evidence of his ever having lived in London, but one of his jobs might conceivably have taken him there in the mid 1900s. Only a wild guess, though.

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Re: British Championship, Shrewsbury 1906

Post by John Saunders » Fri Dec 04, 2020 2:33 pm

Five years on, and the mystery of P W Fairweather has been solved. Credit goes to Rod Edwards, of Edo Historical Chess Ratings fame, who saw this thread and got in touch with three of us (me, Gerard Killoran and Richard James) to say that he'd seen the name P W Fairweather listed amongst competitors in chess tournaments at the Mechanics Institute in San Francisco in the 1890s at the Chess Archaeology website.

This proved to be a breakthrough. Using this information, we were able to discover that the player's full name was Patrick William Fairweather, that he was born in Scotland in 1860 and had emigrated with his family to California in the 1890s. From there he had moved to Chicago and subsequently spent some time in London before returning to the USA. He died in Alameda, USA, in 1945.

I've added a suitable footnote to the 1906 British Championship file at BritBase.
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Re: British Championship, Shrewsbury 1906

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Fri Dec 04, 2020 3:56 pm

This is great! It shows the positive aspects of fora such as this one.

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Re: British Championship, Shrewsbury 1906

Post by Tim Harding » Mon Dec 07, 2020 5:07 pm

John Saunders wrote:
Tue Sep 01, 2015 6:29 pm
Tim Harding wrote:I don't understand why you have presented Shoosmith-Blackburne in that way, with the continuation given by the Manchester Guardian as a note instead of the main line.
Simply because I couldn't choose between two different versions as given by the Manchester Guardian and The Scotsman. Let's have a look at the game...



There's not too much to choose between the two variations at first sight. However, in the Guardian version, 22.Nxg1 makes little sense. Indeed, the Guardian commentator thought so himself, writing 'why not RxR?'. In The Scotsman's version, 26.Ng1 makes a lot more sense, trying to shore up White's embattled kingside.

That is why I finally put The Scotsman's version as the main line and Guardian's as a variation, but I accept there is no right or wrong answer. The important thing from my point of view was to present the evidence and leave it to the viewer to decide.
John, I still do NOT follow your argument. I don't have access to the MG at present because the university library is only open to current staff and students but I am looking at The Scotsman right now (it's become available in the British Newspaper Archive) and it gives 21 Ne2 also. So why do you say 21 Rg8 was The Scotsman version? Take another look please.
I don't find any primary source that gives 21 Rxg8+.
Owen Hindle's "Final Years" booklet on Blackburne gives the finish and it's evident that 21 Ne2 must have been played to reach his diagram.
Please correct this game in Britbase.

Tim Harding
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Re: British Championship, Shrewsbury 1906

Post by John Saunders » Mon Dec 07, 2020 7:03 pm

Sorry, I made a mistake there when I said it was the version in the Scotsman. It was the version I think I originally discovered in secondary sources (probably Big/Mega Database, some years ago - they have 21 Rxg8+). You're right that the Scotsman and the Manchester Guardian both have 21 Ne2. Perhaps there is some other primary source from which the ChessBase/chessgames inputter(s) sourced it. (Incidentally, both versions reach that position you quote as the Hindle position, with a different number of moves played.)

It's not the move 21 Ng1 I have a problem with. It's arguably better than giving up the g-file with 21 Rxg8+. But on the next move 22 Nxg1 looks very odd indeed, especially when the natural Rxg1 is available, not to mention being immediately followed by h3 when the knight has no option but to return whence it came. But I guess stranger things have happened on a chessboard.

I'll rework the BritBase version to give the known primary sources priority but also draw attention to the (as yet) uncorroborated secondary source version.
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