Archive for the ‘Quaint Chess History’ Category

As I am learning, the Anglo-American cable matches which began at the end of the 19th century and lasted for fifteen years or so are much more of a challenge to research than I first thought. Cable matches were well in place by the time they started, and the original idea begun with developed significantly by parties on both sides of the Altantic and remained a source of constant revision throughout. It’s a thesis in itself and I’m sorry to say but I can’t dedicate myself to something of that size. What I can do is post some of the preliminary findings, which should give a sense of how news of it was handled in its day. Although I’ve established how the cables were laid and consisted of, that’s a separate topic altogether so I won’t be going into that. I thought it best to go to the source and establish how it began in the first place. It would appear there was a benefactor in place from the outset and that he was a distinguished and larger than life character, his name was Sir George Newnes. Although information can be found about him on wikipedia, it is inadvisable to refer to that for it is inaccurate and erroneous on a number of important points. It is safer to read the article on him in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography if you can.

To begin with, the reportage below is from The Morning Post March 14th 1896.

MJM

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In the only publication in existence on Bedfordshire chess, there are more games from foreign masters in it than local players.

https://mccreadyandchess.com/2015/09/09/chess-in-bedfordshire/

I’ve found in a Sussex Newspaper a game attributed to Bedfordshire Chess below some thoughts by H. E. Bird. None of this appeared in the text above.

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Rather antiquated? Yes. Rather difficult to read critically? Yes. Rather inconclusive in places? Yes. Rather lacking in methodological procedure -most certainly. Rather interesting in part -indeed. Here’s Chapter ten from H.J.R Murray’s ‘A History of Chess.

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123s su

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H.E.Bird

What is an obituary: it is a composition of achievements written for the profit of the publication it it sold in. As you would expect, before academia began professionalizing itself, the history of the deceased here offered is threadbare and has an unpleasant otherworldly charm about it. The death of H.E.Bird can be found here in the 1908 version of The British Championships.

Why do we repost obituaries? Sentimentality? Yep, I played 1. f4 for most my life and even played Bird’s line in the Lopez. That man means more to my own opening repertoire than any other player, and most certainly more than whoever wrote that archaic trollop which says almost nothing about his life and character as a human being, as the magazine’s readership requested.

Henry Edward Bird. Born July 14th 1829, died April 11th 1908…so it is claimed.

‘Jürgen Habermas’ (and his) obituary to friend and philosopher, Richard Rorty

One small autobiographical piece by Rorty bears the title ‘Wild Orchids and Trotsky.’ In it, Rorty describes how as a youth he ambled around the blooming hillside in north-west New Jersey, and breathed in the stunning odour of the orchids. Around the same time he discovered a fascinating book at the home of his leftist parents, defending Leon Trotsky against Stalin. This was the origin of the vision that the young Rorty took with him to college: philosophy is there to reconcile the celestial beauty of orchids with Trotsky’s dream of justice on earth. Nothing is sacred to Rorty the ironist. Asked at the end of his life about the ‘holy’, the strict atheist answered with words reminiscent of the young Hegel: ‘My sense of the holy is bound up with the hope that some day my remote descendants will live in a global civilization in which love is pretty much the only law.
― Jürgen Habermas

Mark.J.McCready

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Courtesy of a source who shall remain anonymous, I have a portrait of William Ward. Local readers may well have learnt from perusing this site he was born in St. Albans in 1867 but lived in Luton for almost all of the first three decades of his life. He went on to champion the Atheneum club in London and the City of London club itself. He finished joint 2nd in the British Championships twice, and represented Great Britain in the Anglo-American cable matches long before we all had a plethora of expensive electronic devices at our disposal. Should you wish to know more about him, then by all means find the Bedfordshire Chess and Chess History categories, which is where he hangs out or alternatively click here.

https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessplayer?pid=19561

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Mr. William Ward

 

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F. Dickens who co-authored the only book ever written about chess in Bedfordshire is always described as a Schoolmaster from Kensworth. I cycled through there last weekend and took a picture of the only school it has, and what was his place of work during the 1930’s.

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Anyone can escape into sleep, we are all geniuses when we dream; the butcher’s the poet’s equal there.

Emile Cioran

Diggle lives on; that aside, when did Vauxhall gain their very own chess club? Answers on a postcard only please… .

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IMG_20170725_153107I am not yet sure who wrote this yet sure it was either Sweby or Diggle. It ends with the adverbial clause ‘Luton had the move on the odd-numbered boards’. That is more like Diggle than Sweby but could be either, I suppose… .

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The ideally lucid, hence ideally normal, man should have no recourse beyond the nothing that is in him.

Emile Cioran

In The Luton News dated:

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An account of the Fleming Trophy appears. I am assuming it was written by Sweby rather than Diggle, given that the latter is referred to in the third person. You would assume that Diggle would also refrain from dropping the ‘h’  that his middle name begins with in written English and probably spoken English too for that matter. A strong Bedfordshire team won the day!

IMG_20170724_182021

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Sweby adds details about Mardle’s award of a C.B.E. Assigning a home to William Ward is dubious. Himself aside, Mardle is the best chess player Luton has ever produced, and professionally, the most accomplished.
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My Bedfordshire playing partners, if you missed out on the months of work that culminated in Our Clash of Future Champions https://mccreadyandchess.com/2016/02/12/our-clash-of-future-champions/…well there it is again. In it I argued that William Ward (of London) as he was known, grew up in Bedfordshire and retained some connection, however slight, with his home town Luton and its, then, thriving chess scene throughout his career probably being the strongest player to have lived in and played for Luton still to this day.

He is the only player with a Bedfordshire connection that can be found in the EDO historical ratings website. Further details concerning his approximated strength and achievements can be found here: http://www.edochess.ca/players/p562.html.

 

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