Chess Archaeology HomeChess is a scientific game and its literature ought to be placed on the basis of the strictest truthfulness, which is the foundation of all scientific research.W. Steinitz

A Forgotten Tournament at Simpson's

 

The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News (April 11, 1885): "Punch last week (April 4th) did chess the honour of giving a cartoon wherein are presented some of the leading members of our fraternity. It is a fancy sketch in some particulars, but at the same time perfectly true to life. The central figure, with hat on head, arms folded, and fun-flashing eyes, is Sir Robert Peel. Next to him is the world-renowned J.H. Blackburne, looking somewhat like his portrait in 'Chess Life-Pictures.' On the extreme left of the picture is Mr. P.T. Duffy, so long known as the president of the defunct Westminster Papers, and now the ruler of the Illustrated London News column. Next to him is Mr. Wordsworth Donisthorpe, one of the pillars - a pillar of fire, I may say, for he is a guide as well as support - of the Grand Chess Divan. Over a chess board are two warriors engaged - one of them, with massive head and beetling brow, is the hero of the last Bath meeting, the Rev. W. Wayte. His opponent, with thoughtful face and board-piercing glance, one arm supporting his classic head and the other stretched out to administer, no doubt, a direful coup, is, as the decoration on his breast proclaims, the world's champion, J.H. Zukertort. Resting on his back of the professor's chair, with flowing beard and amused aspect, is the portly form of G.A. MacDonnell. Between Mr. Wayte and Mr. Duffy, sits, calm and contemplative, the racy writer and acute analyst whose incubrations weekly grace the pages of The Field, L. Hoffer. Between the combatants, peering at the board, shines the genial countenance of the uncrowned king of the City Club, H.F. Gastineau. In front of and to the right of the picture, two brawny personages are pourtrayed, evidently engaged in friendly duel for Caissa's honours; one holds a diagram in his hand, whilst the other points out a 'cook' which he has just discovered in the problem it contains. From the countenance of the 'cooker' flashes gleeful humour, and from that of the examiner astonishment, not unmingled with something like horror. In them we recognise J.W. Abbott, the eminent composer, and Thomas Hewitt, a grand tower of strength in the kingdom of chess. As they have each hit upon a different mate in the problem under review, I think I may, in more senses than one, call them co-mates. Behind Mr. Hewitt, and gazing upon him with eyes of amazement, sits one of the ablest critics as well as players of our day, the worthy Mr. Norwood Potter - a striking likeness this, but for the hat, which is not quite high enough. Still further behind the duelists are Mr. E. Thorold and the back of Mr. Horwitz's venerable head - the former an acknowledged Murat in our chess army, and the latter an unsurpassed strategist in all chess endings. Two other figures deserve notice; one is that of quondam champion, W. Steinitz, a player second to no man living, a gladiator bold and grand as ever set foot in the chess arena. Sadly looks he, as though musing upon his past triumphs, and mourning over departed friends. The last figure to be noticed is that which sits under Punch's challenge to the world. A wonderful likeness it is of the 'old Frenchman' who for some years past has been one of the fixtures at Simpson's. A pleasant, good-humoured, clever fellow, to see whom with his large eyeglass half a yard in front of one of his joy-gleaming orbs is well worth a visit to the Divan."

The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News (April 18, 1885): "In my description of Punch's picture of chess players I forgot to mention that the ceiling of the saloon in which the players are gathered forms a chess board on which is depicted a problem composed by Mr. P.T. Duffy. The smoke rises from multitudinous pipes and cigars and curls into spirit wreaths, which as they reach the ceiling become condensed into the chess pieces that go to make the problem a very pretty and humorous idea."

Other details of the cartoon: Hoffer is reading The Field. At Zukertort's feet lies The Chess Monthly, of which he was the editor. MacDonnell holds in his right hand The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News. He was chess editor of this paper. Potter ran the chess department of Land and Water. On his hat is written 'Land and Water.'  The three pictures hanging on the wall at the right depict (from left to right) Samuel S. Boden, Adolf Anderssen and Paul Morphy.

.

Simpson's Divan, the well-known chess resort in London, accommodated in 1884 a tournament which has passed into oblivion. This seems to be somewhat strange since four prominent London players and a handful promising young players made an appearance. 

Joseph H. Blackburne, Isidor Gunsberg, George A. MacDonnell and James Mason (in alphabetic order) were the leading contestants. Other entrants of reputation were Wordsworth Donisthorpe, Antony A.G. Guest, A. Hirsch, George A. Hooke,  Rudolf J. Loman, M. Michael, W.H.A. Mundell, Henry A. Reeves, and Herbert W. Trenchard. The remaining participants - the lesser Gods, so to speak - were Aicheson, G.F.H. Collinson, Léon Febvret, S. van Guelder, Keough (or Keogh), Richard Pilkington, and John O.S. Thursby. 

Six of the contestants had played in the London International Tournament of 1883: two (Blackburne and Mason) in the main event, and four (Gunsberg, MacDonnell, Mundell and Febvret) in the Vizayanagaram Tournament.

An original rule of the handicap was that each contestant had to play one game against the other persons taking part, but the organizers changed this regulation because of the large number of entrants.1 Twenty players signed in, which was more than expected. To prevent the contest from dragging on endlessly, the competitors were divided in two sections of ten each, every player having to meet every other player in his own section.2 The two winners of each section had to play for first and second, and for third and fourth prizes, the best out of three games to decide, and a draw - which was a rule for the whole tournament - counting one half each. 

The handicap tournament had five classes. In each game the higher classed player had to give odds. First-class players (I) gave pawn and move to second-class players (II), pawn and two moves to third-class players (III), knight to fourth-class players (IV), and rook to fifth-class players (V). A second-class played had to give pawn and move to a third-class contestant, pawn and two moves to a fourth-class competitors, and so forth. Participants of the same class played on even terms.3 The scale of the handicap was the same as that adopted by the City of London Chess Club.

The sections were determined by lot on the first day of play. The entries in section A were Blackburne (I), Gunsberg (I), Collinson (II), Guest (II), Hirsch (II), Mundell (II), van Guelder (II), Thursby (III), Pilkington (IV), and Keough (V). Section B had the following contestants: MacDonnell (I), Mason (I), Donisthorpe (II), Hooke (II), Loman (II), Michael (II), Reeves (II), Febvret (III), Trenchard (III), and Aicheson (V).  

George A. MacDonnell, James Mason

The entrance fee was 10s 6d. The organizing committee provided four prizes, the proprietors of Simpson's Divan offering five guineas prize money.4 The first prize was £8 8s., second £5 5s., third £3 3s., and fourth £2 2s.5  Playing hours were 1.00 p.m. - 6.00 p.m. and 7.00 p.m. - 11.00 p.m., however,  the contestants were allowed to play in the morning. That is, by mutual consent. Competitors had to play at least two games in a week; no playing schedule was made.6 The time limit was twenty moves per hour.7

According to Leopold Hoffer, editor of The Chess Monthly and The Field, the arrangement of the tourney had been a cushy job.8

As far as we recollect, this is the first important contest which has been arranged without the customary tedious preliminary negotiations. As soon as the idea was broached, a few gentlemen were asked if they were inclined to play and on their replying in the affirmative a few necessary rules were drawn up; a committee elected, the proprietors of the Divan promised £5 towards the prizes, and the preliminaries were thus settled.

Hoffer was manager of the affair. The members of the committee: W.H. Cubison, Thomas Hewitt and A. Skelton.9  The Morning Post of May 5, 1884, announced the tournament for the first time, but it took more than two weeks before play began. The competition started on May 21, 1884.

Joseph H. Blackburne, Isidor Gunsberg

The tournament progressed with fair speed in the first week of play: eleven games were finished in section A and ten in section B. The contestants kept up the pace in the second week. Nine more games were played in section A, of which two were adjourned. In section B another twelve games were finished, and one adjourned.

After the energetic start little progress was made in the third week. Blackburne got indisposed, MacDonnell left London, and Febvret retired because of his health. In spite of the delay Hoffer had still good hopes that the tournament would come to a speedy end. He believed in a fortnight.10 It turned out differently from what he hoped. 

The fourth week of the joust brought forth only seven games, and week number five was about as unenterprising as the preceeding week had been, even though Blackburne returned at the battlefield after his illness. The remaining of the tournament was a lingering affair. Play in the sections dragged on seven to eight weeks for want of a playing schedule.  

John O.S. Thursby, Rudolf J. Loman

Some of the delay might have been caused by the excessive heat. The Morning Post of June 30, 1884, blamed the extreme weather for the poor attendance. It is, however, more likely that the contestants were in no hurry to play. 

MacDonnell, chess editor of The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, critisized the advance of the tournament in the issue of June 28, 1884: "The London Tournament at Simpson's Divan, has been making scarcely progress during the last ten days. Some of the quasi-combatants devote so much time to the study of the score list that they have none to spare for the performance of their martial duties."

A week later (The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News of July 5, 1884) he summoned Hoffer, the manager of the competition, to take action:

The London Tournament at Simpson's Divan is now progressing at the rate of half a game per month. If the competitors only continue to display the activity and courage that have characterised their conduct as a body during the last six weeks, I cherish the fond hope of seeing the tournament finished the day before next midsummer. Mr. L. Hoffer, most worthy of managers, please make one or two rules to meet the exigencies of the position, and coerce the truants into fighting or resigning.

Whether MacDonnell's appeal caused the desired effect, is unknown. Whatever the case might have been, he stated in his column of July 12, 1884, that the tourney had made good progress during the previous week, and would probably be brought to a conclusion in the following week. Play in the sections came to an end in the second or third week of July.  

Herbert Trenchard, Henry A. Reeves

The results each week were (as far as is known):

First week, section A: Guest - Blackburne ½-½, van Guelder - Blackburne 0-1, Collinson - Blackburne 0-1, Blackburne - Pilkington 1-0, Collinson - Gunsberg 0-1, Gunsberg - Pilkington 1-0, Pilkington - Guest 0-1, Hirsch - Keough 1-0, Pilkington - van Guelder 0-1, Collinson - Keough 0-1, Pilkington - Thursby 0-1; section B: Loman - MacDonnell 0-1, Donisthorpe - MacDonnell 1-0, Reeves - MacDonnell 0-1, Hooke won against Loman (colors are unknown), Trenchard - Hooke 1-0, Michael - Donisthorpe 0-1, Trenchard - Donisthorpe 1-0, Donisthorpe - Aicheson 1-0, Michael - Aicheson 0-1, Trenchard won against Febvret.11

Second week, section A: van Guelder - Gunsberg 0-1, Thursby - Gunsberg 0-1, Guest - Hirsch adjourned, Hirsch won against Mundell, Hirsch - Collinson adjourned, Thursby - Hirsch 0-1, Thursby - van Guelder 1-0, van Guelder - Keough 0-1, Mundell - Keough 1-0; section B: Loman - Mason 0-1, Donisthorpe - Mason 0-1, Hooke - MacDonnell adjourned, MacDonnell - Aicheson 1-0, Donisthorpe won against Loman, Loman - Aicheson ½-½, Michael won against Hooke, Reeves - Donisthorpe 0-1, Trenchard - Reeves 0-1, Michael won against Hooke, Trenchard - Michael ½-½, Aicheson - Trenchard 0-1.12

Third week, section A: Guest - Gunsberg ½-½, Hirsch - Gunsberg 0-1, Guest won against Collinson, Hirsch won against van Guelder, Pilkington - Hirsch 0-1, Mundell drew against Collinson, Thursby - Mundell 1-0, Thursby - Collinson 0-1, Pilkington - Collinson 0-1; section B: Mason - Aicheson 1-0, Reeves won against Michael.13

Fourth week, section A: Thursby - Guest 0-1, Guest - Keough 1-0, Keough - Thursby 0-1; section B: Hooke - Mason ½-½, Trenchard - Mason 0-1, Trenchard - MacDonnell ½-½, Reeves - Aicheson 1-0.14

Fifth week, section A: Thursby - Blackburne 0-1, Blackburne - Keough 1-015; section B: Reeves - Mason 0-1, Loman - Reeves ½-½(?), Loman won against Michael, Trenchard - Loman 0-1, Reeves won against Hooke, Hooke - Aicheson 0-1.16

The Field quitted publishing weekly standings after the issue of June 28, 1884. The death of Paul Morphy, the meeting of the Counties Chess Association in Bath (won by William Wayte) and the attempt to establish a British Chess Association seem to have interfered with the weekly account of the tournament's headway.

Sixth week, section A: Gunsberg - Blackburne ½-½, Guest - Hirsch 1-0, and Guest won against van Guelder; section B: Mason - MacDonnell 1-0.17

Seventh week, section A: Mundell - Blackburne 1-0, Mundell - Gunsberg 1-0.18

The Morning Post (July 14, 1884) presented the winners in the sections: Guest in section A and Mason in section B. The fight for second place in both groups was not yet decided when this report was published. Either Blackburne or Gunsberg would take second place in section A, and Donisthorpe or MacDonnell in section B.

Wordsworth Donishtorpe, Antony A.G. Guest

The Chess Monthly of September 1884 (page 3) published the final scores. 

 

Section A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

 

 

Guest

II

.

½

½

½

1

1

1

1

1

1

 7

½

Blackburne

I

½

.

½

0

1

1

1

+

1

1

 7

 

Gunsberg

I

½

½

.

0

1

1

1

+

1

1

 7

 

Mundell

II

½

1

1

.

0

½

0

1

1

1

 6

 

Hirsch

II

0

0

0

1

.

½

1

1

1

1

 5

½

Collinson

II

0

0

0

½

½

.

1

0

1

1

 4

 

Thursby

III

0

0

0

1

0

0

.

1

1

1

 4

 

Keough

V

0

-

-

0

1

1

0

.

0

-

 2

 

van Guelder

II

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

.

1

 1

 

10 

Pilkington

IV

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

+

0

.

 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Section B

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

 

 

Mason

I

.

1

1

1

1

1

1

½

1

+

 8

½

Donisthorpe

II

0

.

1

1

0

1

1

1

1

+

 7

 

Reeves

II

0

0

.

0

1

½

1

1

1

+

 5

½

MacDonnell

I

0

0

1

.

½

1

1

½

.

+

 5

 

Trenchard

III

0

1

0

½

.

0

1

1

½

1

 5

 

Loman

II

0

0

½

0

1

.

½

0

1

+

 4

 

Aicheson

V

0

0

0

1

0

½

.

1

1

+

 3

½

Hooke

II

½

0

0

½

0

1

0

.

0

+

 3

 

Michael

II

0

0

0

.

½

0

0

1

.

+

 2

½

10 

Febvret

III

-

-

-

-

0

-

-

-

-

.

 0

 

+ won by default;   - lost by default.

Guest and Mason seem to have played the first game of their tie match at about the same time that play in the sections was concluded. Guest won. His victory caused confusion. Several papers reported that he had won the tournament.19 The London correspondent of The British Chess Magazine corrected his mistake in the issue of October 1884 (page 362):

I can assure you readers that I have had a lively time of it over my unfortunate blunder anent the Divan Tourney. My friend of Purssell's was the first to give me the pleasing intelligence of my error. "Seen Mason lately?" was his greeting as he met me in the Strand, "I know he is looking for you." "No!" was my response, "I haven't seen him for some time." "Ah I thought not! or you wouldn't be smiling so," and a very grim smile indeed lightened (or darkened) my friend's face. "Smiling! why shouldn't I smile when I see him?" "Why shouldn't you smile? Why, didn't he win the first prize in the Divan tournament and haven't you put him down as being defeated by Guest and only winning the second? Smile! why he's going to lynch you!" However Mr. Mason was made of other stuff and bears no malice for my blunder, which after all was not so much mine as that of a person who assured me that he was present when Mr. Guest actually won the deciding game. In this he was mistaken and I fell into the error by following his statement.

Thus, Mason had won the remaining two games of the tie match, which allowed him to take the first prize.

 

 

1

2

3

 

Mason

I

0

1

1

2

Guest

II

1

0

0

1

Guest won the second prize, and Donisthorpe and Gunsberg divided third and fourth prizes. Blackburne and Gunsberg should have played a tie match for second place in Section A. Blackburne, however, resigned without competing. He went out of town for the sake of his health.20 

Perhaps not surprising: the match between Guest and Mason was also delayed. The former left London after the first confrontation. He visited Bath to witness the proceedings of the Counties Chess Association. This explains the long interval between the first and the second game of the match. 

The first game of the tournament was played on May 21, 1884, the final on August 11, 1884. The joust lasted altogether almost three months. Or to be more precisely, it took 83 days to finish 93 games, of which eleven were won or lost by default and one was never played (Michael - MacDonnell). This is much the same as an average of one game a day.

Twenty-four games and one position have been found.

Rudolf J. Loman - George A. MacDonnell

  • Simpson's Divan Handicap

  • London, May 26, 1884

  • Odds of Pawn and Move

1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Bd3

Better than 3. Bc4, in which case Black could capture the pawn in spite of the violent attack ensuing, e.g.: 3. Bc4 Nxe4 4. Qh5+ g6 5. Qd5 Nf6 6. Qf7+ Kd7 7. Be6+ Kc6 8. d5+ Kb6 9. Be3+ c5 10. dxc6+ Kxc6. There are, of course, many other variations; but none of them dangerous for Black.

3. ... e5 4. dxe5

Taking the pawn relieves Black's position, and enables him to develop his pieces quickly.

4. ... dxe5 5. Nf3 Bc5

White cannot take the king's pawn, because of 6. ... Bxf2+ 7. Kxf2 Qd4+, etc.

6. 0-0 Bg4 7. Nc3 Nc6 8. Bg5 Nd4 9. Nd5

A safer course to adopt would have been 9. Be2. The text move, independent of its hazardous nature, only furthers Black's object, viz.: to open the king's knight's file for attacking purposes, after castling on the queen's side.

9. ... Nxf3+ 10. gxf3 Bh3 11. Re1 h6 12. Nxf6+

The text move was perhaps compulsory, and, although White has to a certain extent lost the opportunity of making the best of the odds received, yet he is still in possession  of the pawn plus, and could make a fair stand.

12. ... gxf6 13. Bh4 Qe7

14. f4

Probably the best plan would have been 14. Kh1, followed by 15. Rg1, etc. Of course White intended to free his queen by threatening Qh5+; but he overlooked Black's 15. ... h5.

14. ... Qg7+ 15. Bg3 h5 16. fxe5 fxe5 17. Be2

White has no means to prevent the immediate loss of a piece. If 17. Bf1, then 17. ... h4 18. Bxh3 hxg3, and wins.

17. ... h4 18. Bh5+ Ke7 19. Qd5 Bd6 20. Qxb7 hxg3 21. hxg3 Rxh5 22. Qxa8 Qxg3+

A very brilliant termination, such as even Mr. Ruskin would admire.

23. fxg3 23. Bc5+

Resigns.

Source: The Field, June 28, 1884 (notes by Leopold Hoffer*).

The Chess Monthly (September 1884, page 25) offered the ending of this game (after Black's 15th move).

Antony A.G. Guest - Joseph H. Blackburne

  • Simpson's Divan Handicap

  • London, May 26, 1884

  • Odds of Pawn and Move

1. e4 Nh6 2. d4 Nf7 3. Nf3 e6 4. Bd3 Be7

The usual continuation - and preferable to the text move - here is 4. ... c5.

5. Nc3 0-0

Premature. Perhaps pawn to c5 might still have been better, although Black would have lost a move by this tardy advance.

6. h4 c5 7. e5 h6

If 7. ... cxd4, White would obtain a winning attack with 8. Bxh7+, leading to a well-known variation frequently arising in positions at the odds of pawn and two.

8. dxc5 Nc6 9. Qe2

A very powerful move, putting even Mr. Blackburne's ability to a severe test.

9. ... Bxc5 10. Qe4 Re8 11. Qh7+ Kf8 12. Bg6 Nd4 13. Bxf7 Kxf7 14. Bxh6 Nxf3+ 15. gxf3 Rg8 16. Rg1

16. . Bxf2+

A desperate remedy, which, however, succeeded; but Black has no saving move whatever at this juncture.

17. Kxf2

A hasty move on the part of White. He should have played 17. Ke2 which would have won the game right off, e.g.: 17. Ke2 Bxg1 18. Rxg1 d5 (forced) 19. Qg6+ Kf8 20. Bxg7+ Ke7 21. Bf6+ Kd7 22. Qf7+ Kc6 23. Bxd8, and Black dare not capture the rook because of 24. Qf7, mate. Any other line of play seems still more unfavorable for Black.

17. ... Qxh4+ 18. Ke3 Qxh6+ 19. Qxh6 gxh6 20. Ne4 d5 21. exd6

Apparently White would have done better had he not taken the offered pawn. More promising would have been 21. Nd6+ Kf8 22. Rxg8+ Kxg8 23. Rg1+ Kh8 (best) 24. Ne8 Bd7 25. Nf6 Bc6 26. Rg6, winning a pawn, when White would have an easy ending with a pawn plus and knight against bishop.

21. ... Bd7 22. c4 b6 23. b4 Rxg1 24. Rxg1 a5 25. a3 axb4 26. axb4 Bc6 27. c5 Ra3+ 28. Kf4 Rb3 29. Ra1 Rxb4 30. Ra7+ Kg6 31. d7 Rd4

Mr. Blackburne pointed out here that, had he played 31. ... Bxd7, followed by 32. ... bxc6, his chance for a draw would have been lessened, owing to the advance of the adverse king to e5.

32. cxb6 Bxd7 33. b7 Rb4 34. b8Q Rxb8 35. Rxd7 Rf8+

Black's modus operandi becomes apparent now. The king cannot advance to e5 now, but must protect the pawn.

36. Kg3 h5 37. Nf2 e5 38. Nd3 Rf5 39. Kh4 Kf6 40. Ne1 e4

Drawn game. This difficult ending was played with great skill and judgment by Mr. Blackburne.

Source: The Field, May 31, 1884 (notes by Leopold Hoffer*).

Wordsworth Donisthorpe - George A. MacDonnell

  • Simpson's Divan Handicap

  • London, May 1884

  • Odds of Pawn and Move

1. e4 e6 2. d4 c5 3. c3 d5 4. e5 Nc6 5. Nf3 Bd7

Not quite necessary; but Black intended castling on the queen's side, and developed with that object in view.

6. Bd3 Qb6 7. 0-0 g6 8. b3 Nh6 9. Be3 Nf5 10. Bxf5 gxf5

All this evidently enters in Black's plan, and if he could succeed in castling queen's rook the open file would be the means of framing a vigorous attack.

11. Ng5 h5 12. h4

Too risky. 12. f4 would have been much sounder.

12. ... cxd4 13. cxd4 f4

The whole of Black's efforts up to this point were concentrated upon breaking White's center, which he cleverly accomplished with the move in the text. For some unaccountable reason, however, he failed to reap the advantage of it at the very moment when his manoeuvers succeeded.

14. Qf3

The sacrifice of the piece is not sound; but White was justified in venturing upon it rather than lose the queen's pawn. If 14. Bxf4, then 14. ... Qxd4 15. Qxd4 Nxd4, with the better game.

14. ... Nxd4

It appears that Black could safely capture the bishop, and probably emerge with a won game, e.g.: 14. ... fxe3 15. Qf7+ Kd8 16. Qf6+ Kc7 17. Qxh8 exf2+ 18. Kh1 (If 18. Rxf2, then 18. ... Qxd4, etc.) 18. ... Qxd4 19. Na3 Bxa3 20. Qxa8 Qxh4+ 21. Nh3 Bb2 22. Rab1 Bxe5, with a superior position.

15. Bxd4 Qxd4 16. Nc3 Bg7

16. ... Be7 would have been somewhat better.

17. Rad1 Qb4

18. Nxd5

Very ingenious, and the speediest way of winning the game whether Black captures the knight or moves the queen. In the latter case 19. ... Nf6+ would leave Black quite a disorganized position.

18. ... exd5 19. Qxd5 0-0-0 20. Nf7 Bc6 21. Qe6+ Bd7 22. Rxd7 Rxd7 23. Rc1+ Kb8 24. Qxd7 a6 25. Nxh8 Bf8,

and White announced mate in five moves.

Sources: The Morning Post, July 14, 1884; The Chess Monthly, July 1884, pages 336-337 (notes by Leopold Hoffer*).

M. Michael - Wordsworth Donisthorpe

  • Simpson's Divan Handicap

  • London, May 1884

  • A20 English Opening

1. a3

Introduced by Anderssen in his match with Morphy, 1858. The obvious object of the move is to bring the position to a Sicilian with an important move ahead for the first player.

1. ... e5

Although we have Morphy's authority for the text move, we, nevertheless, are inclined to prefer 1. ... d5, which neutralizes the above indicated advantage of the first player.

2. c4 f5

Morphy played here 2. ... Nf6 3. Nc3 d5, etc.

3. d4 e4 4. e3 Nf6 5. Be2 d5 6. Nc3 c6 7. cxd5? cxd5 8. Nh3 Nc6 9. 0-0 Bd6 10. f3 0-0 11. b4 a6 12. Qb3 Ne7 13. Nf2

Threatening to win a pawn, owing to the queen's pawn being pinned.

13. ... Kh8! 14. Bd2 Be6? 15. Kh1

White could have won a pawn here as follows: 15. fxe4 fxe4 16. Nfxe4 Nxe4 17. Nxe4 dxe4 18. Qxe6, etc.

15...Qc7 16. f4 b5 17. Rac1 Qd7 18. a4 Rab8 19. axb5 axb5

20. Ra1 Rb7 21. Ra6 h6

21. Rfb1 should have been played here. Mr. Donisthorpe overlooked White's threat.

22. Bxb5

Prettily played. The pawn gained might be retained with proper care.

22. ... Qc7 23. Rb1! Rfb8 24. Qa4 g5

Threatening 24. ... gxf4 25. exf4 e3, winning a piece.

25. Bc6

It is a common failing amongst younger players that, as soon as they obtain an advantage, they get excited, and frequently jeopardize by a hasty move a carefully played game. They will have to learn by experience the art of "winning a won game." White ought to have continued with 25. g3, followed by 26. Ra8, so as to relieve the pressure upon the bishop, the sequel would have come by itself.

25. ... Rxb4 26. Rxb4 Rxb4 27. Nb5

There is nothing better now, and the game is lost.

27. ... Rxa4 28. Nxc7 Rxa6 29. Nxa6 Nxc6 30. g3 Bc8 31. Nc5 Bxc5 32. dxc5 Nd7 33. Bc3+ Kh7 34. Bd4 Nxd4 35. exd4 Nb8,

and after a few more moves White resigned.

Source: The Chess Monthly, July 1884, pages 335-336 (notes by Leopold Hoffer*).

Henry A. Reeves - George A. MacDonnell

  • Simpson's Divan Handicap

  • London, May 1884

  • Odds of Pawn and Move

1. e4 e6 2. d4 c5 3. c3 d5 4. e5 Nc6 5. Bd3 Nge7 6. Ne2

Nf3 is more attacking, although the present line of play and the subsequent development of the knights at f3 and g3 are perfectly sound. 

6. ... Bd7 7. 0-0 g6 8. Nd2 Bg7 9. Nf3 0-0 10. Be3 Nf5 11. Ng3 h6 12. b3 Be8 13. Nxf5 exf5 14. g3 g5 15. Qd2 Qd7

Threatening to win a piece by f4 followed by Qg4+.

16. Qc1 cxd4 17. cxd4 Bh5 18. Be2 Rf7 19. Qb2

White loses time by the queen's moves. The position, however, is such that any attempt to do more than wait for the course of events might lead to disaster.

19. ... Raf8 20. Kh1 f4 21. gxf4 

21. ... Rxf4

A spirited sacrifice, which enables Black to win a useful pawn, and develop the queen's knight with a strong attack.

22. Bxf4 Rxf4 23. Ng1 g4 24. Rad1 Nxd4

Another beautiful move. The knight cannot be taken without loss of the rook.

25. Rxd4 Bxe5 26. Qd2

If Rfd1, 25. ... Qg7 would win.

26. ... Rxd4 27. Qxh6 Qf5

Threatening to win the queen by Bf4.

28. Qe3 Bg6 29. f3 Qh5 30. h3 Qf5 31. fxg4

This and the preceding move are well played by White,  who fights hard to the end, but the skilful attack of his adversary is not to be diverted.

31. ... Qe4+ 32. Qf3 Rd2 33. Kg2 Bd4 34. Re1 Qe6 35. Kf1 Be4 36. Qg3 Qf6+ 37. Nf3 Bxf3

White resigns.

Source: The Morning Post, June 2, 1884 (notes by Antony A.G. Guest).

John O.S. Thursby - S. van Guelder

  • Simpson's Divan Handicap

  • London, May 1884

  • Odds of Pawn and Move

1. e4 Nh6 2. d4 g6 3. Bc4 e6 4. Nf3 Nf7 5. e5 b6 6. Nc3 c6 7. Ne4 Be7 8. Ng3 Na6 9. Qe2 Nc7 10. c3 Bb7 11. a3 c5 12. Be3 cxd4 13. cxd4 Rc8 14. Rc1 Nd5 15. Bxd5 Bxd5 16. Rxc8 Qxc8 17. Qd2 Qc6 

18. Qd1 Qb5 19. Qc2 Bc6 20. Ne2 Bxf3 21. gxf3 Qd5 22. Qe4 Qxe4 23. fxe4 Bg5 24. Kd2 Rf8 25. Rc1 Kd8 26. f4 Bh6 27. h4 d6 28. exd6 Nxd6 29. Kd3 Kd7 30. f5 Bxe3 31. fxe6+ Kxe6 32. Kxe3 Kd7 33.Ng3 Rf7 34. e5 Nf5+ 35. Nxf5 Rxf5 36. Ke4 Rh5 37. Kd5 Rxh4 38.e6+  Kd8 39. Rf1 Ke8 40. Ke5 Rh2 41. Kd6 g5 42. Rc1 Kf8 43. Rc8+ Kg7 44. e7

Resigns.

Sources: The Morning Post, June 9 and 16, 1884.  

N.N. - N.N.

  • Simpson's Divan Handicap

  • London, May(?) 1884

  • Move numbers are missing

1. Nxf7+ Bxf7 

Or 1. ... Kg8 2. Qh6 Kxf7 3. Qxh7+ Ke8 4. Qe7 mate.

2. Qh6 Rg8 3. Rd8 Be8 4. Rxe8 Qf7 5. Re7

and wins.

Source: Knowledge, June 6, 1884.  

Wordsworth Donisthorpe - James Mason

  • Simpson's Divan Handicap

  • London, June 2, 1884

  • Odds of Pawn and Move

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nf3 cxd4 6. cxd4 Bb4+

The form of defense adopted by Mr. Mason does not yield any satisfactory result. The position is too simple, and consequently to the advantage of the odds receiver. The text move is loss of time, because it would not be advisable to take the knight so that the bishop remains out of play, when it is urgently required for defensive purposes on the weak king's side.

7. Nc3 Nge7 8. Bd3 h6

Black could not castle now, owing to 9. Bxh7+ Kxh7 10. Ng5+ Kg6 11. h4, followed by 12 h5+, etc.

9. 0-0 a6

To prevent the advance of Knight to b5 after a3.

10. Ne2 Kd7

Had Black castled now, he would have had to submit to a very strong attack; but hardly more severe than that which followed his retreat with the king.

11. a3 Ba5 12. b4 Bb6 13. Be3 Kc7 14. Nd2 Kb8

Apparently the king's move shuts in the rook; but White could easily force the retreat of the adverse king with Rc1, etc.

15. Nb3 g5 16. Nc5 Bxc5

Painful, but compulsory, so as to develop the queen's bishop without compelling the queen to remain stationary.

17. bxc5 Nf5 18. Rb1 h5 19. Qa4 Kc7 20. Rb6 Rg8 21. Nc3 Rb8 22. Rfb1

 

Threatening 23. Rxc6 bxc6 24. Qa5+ K moves 25. Qxd8, and 26. Rxb8, with a piece ahead.

22. ... Nxe3

This exchange is forced now because, as indicated above, Black is compelled to defend the knight with Bd7, when White would reply 23. Bxf5 exf5 24. Nxd5+, etc.

23. fxe3 Bd7 24. Bxa6

Up to this point Mr. Donisthorpe has played remarkably well, and he certainly had a won game at this juncture. The sacrifice is very tempting, and although it turns out to be unsound, yet it might be considered justifiable because, in any case, White remains with three pawns for the piece which would in most cases be an equivalent; but, perhaps, not against an opponent like Mr. Mason. After the conclusion of the game, Mr. Donisthorpe pointed out that, instead of the violent course adopted, the quiet move 24. e4 would have won the game for White in every variation. Another, but more complicated variation was pointed out by Mr. Blackburne, viz.: 24. Bb5, leading to a certain win. If Black captures the bishop, White mates in four moves with: 24. ... axb5 25. Nxb5+ Kc8 26. Nd6+ K moves 27. Rxb7+ Rxb7 28. Rxb7 mate. If, however, Black does not take the bishop, then White may proceed with 25. e4, etc.

24. ... bxa6 25. Qxa6 Qc8 26. Nb5+ Kd8 27. Qxc8+ Rxc8 28. Nd6 Ra8 29. a4

It was pointed out by Mr. Gunsberg that White could have secured a draw here with 29. Rf1, followed by 30. Rf7. This is quite correct, and leads to some very interesting variations. Mr. Donisthorpe, however, had not given up all hope of winning yet, and thought he might succeed in queening the queen's rook's pawn.

29. ... Ke7 30. Ra1 Rgf8 31. Nb7 Ra7 32. a5 Rfa8 33. a6 Nb8 34. c6

A pawn, of course, is lost now, and White prefers to keep the rook's pawn.

34. ... Nxc6 35. Nc5 Rb8 36. Nb7 Nd8 37. Rab1 Nxb7 38. Rxb7

It is immaterial how White retakes, the pawn would fall in any case.

38. ... Rba8 39. Rc1 Rxb7 40. axb7 Rb8 41. Rb1 Bc6 42. Rb6 Kd7 43. Kf2 Rxb7 44. Ra6 Rc7 45. Kf3 Ke7 46. h3 Kf7 47. g3 Bb5

The initiation of a very pretty final combination.

48. Rb6 Bd3 49. g4 Rc2

Threatening mate in two moves.

50. Rb7+ Kg6 51. gxh5+ Kxh5 52. e4 dxe4+

Resigns. If 53 Ke3, Black mates on the move. If 53 Kg3,  then 53 ... Bf1, and the mate cannot be averted.

Sources: The Field, June 7, 1884 (notes by Leopold Hoffer*); The Chess Monthly, July 1884, pages 337-339.

Rudolf J. Loman - James Mason

  • Simpson's Divan Handicap

  • London, June 1884

  • Odds of Pawn and Move

1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 e6 4. Bg5

As good a course as any is to develop by Nf3, and then Bd3 or Be2, according to taste.

4. ... Be7 5. e5

The kind of move that pleases odds givers, as it determines all central uncertainty.

5. ... Nfd7 6. Bxe7 Qxe7 7. exd6

Having gone in for a game of this kind, he should play 7 f4. Black could not immediately reply with 7. . c5 on account of 8. Ne4 or 8. Nb5, either of which would give White a clear advantage.

7. ... cxd6 8. Qh5+ g6 9. Qh6 Nf6 10. Bd3 Rf8 11. Nf3 Na6 12. 0-0-0 Bd7 13. Rhe1 Nc7

As lit by this move, Black's position is seen to be consolidated and comfortable. White could have taken off this knight, but Black would have been consoled by the absence of the king's bishop.

14. h3 0-0-0 15. Nd2 Kb8 16. Nb3 Rc8 17. Qd2 Bc6 18. Be4

Not very meritorious. He should rather have moved his king's bishop's pawn a step.

18. ... Bxe4 19. Nxe4 Nxe4 20. Rxe4 Rf5 21. Rde1 Rb5 22. Kb1 Qd7 23. c4 Rb6 24. c5 Rc6 25. cxd6

Na5 yields various complications, and could White fathom them it would be his best course, not that any gain could be forced, but the final position would be simpler and less dangerous for White, and he would have still his pawn ahead.

25. ... Qxd6 26. Qe2 Qd5 27. g3

Pawn to f3 is better.

27. ... b6 28. Re5 Qd7 29. a4

Doubtless intending an attack, but as his position does not allow of any, this move yields an extra chance to the enemy. At the same time it must be admitted that his game is at once bare of satisfactory possibilities and full of evil ones. Pawn to f4 is about his best line.

29. ... a5 30. Qd3 Qd6 31. Qe4 Rc4 32. Rc1 Qb4 33. Rxc4 Qxc4 34. Nd2 Qxa4

35. Qd3

The movement of his queen have been signals of distress and proofs of bewilderment. The game is and has been for some time too difficult for the odds. 35. Qf4 seems to promise some relief, but if met by Qd1+ 36. Ka2 Ka7, it comes to nothing. There remains a choice between 35. Qc2, 35. Qe1, and 35. Qe2. Apart from the abandonment of another pawn little or no comfort is obtainable from any of these moves.

35. ... Qd1+ 36. Ka2 Nd5

This knight, having stayed on c7 for twenty-three moves, now comes forward and wins. These moves, viz.: 13. Nc7 and 36. Nd5, one of them strong for defense and the other for attack, are two special characteristics or "mental dents" of the present game.

37. Ka3

He has a lost game, however playing, so that the speedy end thus brought about may be allowed to serve as a resignation. Black mates in two moves.

Sources: Land and Water, July 12, 1884 (notes by William N. Potter); The Chess Monthly, July 1884, pages 333-334.

Henry A. Reeves - Wordsworth Donisthorpe

  • Simpson's Divan Handicap

  • London, June 1884

  • C27 Vienna Game

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Bc5 3. Nc3 c6 4. d3 Nf6 5. Nf3 d6 6. 0-0 b5

As a rule this premature advance of the pawns may be considered inferior, for the attack as well as for the defense.

7. Bb3 Bg4

Pinning the knight is useless, as White would willingly submit to it, so as to get an open knight's file. 7. ... Be6 might be played.

8. Be3 Nbd7 9. Kh1 a5 10. a4 b4 11. Ne2 0-0 12. c3 Be6 13. Bc2 Bxe3 14. fxe3 Ng4 15. Qd2 b3

This should prove a very weak pawn in the ending.

16. Bd1 f5 17. exf5 Rxf5 18. Ng3 Rf7 19. h3

19. Ne4 looks more promising, although there is no harm in the text move.

19. ... Nh6 20. Ne4 Nf5 21. Qe1 h6 22. g4 Nh4

 

23. Qxh4

This seems an oversight. 23. Be2 or Nxd6 is safe enough, and White's game might be taken for choice.

23. ... Qxh4 24. Nxh4 Rxf1+ 25. Kg2 Raf8

25. ... Rff8 appears to be better, because this rook is in an unsafe position where it stands.

26. Nf5

White had here chance to regain the exchange with 26. Nf3, but even the text move was good enough if it had been properly followed up.

26. ... Bxf5 27. gxf5 R1xf5 28. Bxb3+

28. Bg4 seems to give White the advantage. Black must abandon the exchange.

28. ... d5 29. Rb1 Kh8 30. Ng3 Rf2+ 31. Kg1 Nc5 32. Nh1 Rd2 33. Bd1 Nxd3 34. b4 axb4 35. cxb4 Rb2 36. Rxb2 Nxb2 37. Bc2 Rb8 38. a5 Rxb4 39. a6 Rb6 40. Kf2 Rxa6 41. Ke2 Ra1 42. Nf2 e4 43. Bb3 Nd3 44. Nxd3 exd3+ 45. Kxd3 Ra3 46. Kc3 g5 47. Kb4 Rxb3+

Resigns.

Source: The Chess Monthly, July 1884, pages 331-332 (notes by Leopold Hoffer*).

Herbert W. Trenchard - Henry A. Reeves

  • Simpson's Divan Handicap

  • London, June 1884

  • Odds of Pawn and Move

1. e4 e6 2. d4 c5 3. dxc5 Qa5+

The immediate recapture of the pawn is not necessary. 3. ... Nf6 or Nc6 may be played.

4. Qd2

White is so eager to exchange queens that he rather loses two moves to effect that object. The consequence is that two moves later, having had the first move, he has no piece in play, whereas his opponent has a well-developed game and the attack.

4. ... Qxc5 5. Qc3 Nf6 6. Qxc5 Bxc5 7. f3 Nc6 8. Bd3 0-0 9. Nc3 d5 10. exd5 exd5 11. Bg5 Bb4 12. Bd2

The previous move was useless, he might have played the text move at once.

12. ... Re8+ 13. Nge2? Bc5 14. 0-0-0 Be6 15. Nf4 Bf7 16. Nce2 a6 17. h4 b5 18. g4 Ne5! 19. Rhf1 b4 20. Ng3 Nfd7 21. Bf5 Nb6 22. Nd3 Nxd3+ 23. Bxd3 Nc4 24. Bxc4

Kb1 would have been better; because it left Black the isolated queen's pawn.

24. ... dxc4

 

25. Ne4 Bf8! 26. h5 a5 27. c3 Bd5

Black had no intention to take the knight, but only to gain a move in bringing his bishop into play as in the text. He gains time in compelling White to retreat his knight, for if the latter defended it with 29. Rde1, Black would exchange, leaving his opponent with a weak king's pawn.

28. Ng3 Bc6 29. Bf4? bxc3 30. bxc3 Ba3+ 31. Kb1

Forced. The king cannot move to d2 on account of 31. ... Rad8+ 32. Kc2 Ba4+, winning.

31. ... Ra7 32. Rd4

32. Bc1 seems to be the saving move here.

32. ... Rb7+ 33. Kc2 Rb2+ 34. Kc1 Rf2+ 35. Kb1 Ba4 36. Bd2 Rb8+ 37. Ka1 Bb2+,

and after a few more moves White resigns. Dr. Reeves has admirably conducted the whole game, and displayed great judgment in putting to proper account his opponent's palpable eagerness to force exchanges.

Source: The Chess Monthly, July 1884, pages 332-333 (notes by Leopold Hoffer*).

A. Hirsch - Isidor Gunsberg

  • Simpson's Divan Handicap

  • London, June 7, 1884

  • Odds of Pawn and Move

1. e4 Nc6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nf3 e6 5. Bd3 Nge7

Better than 5. ... Bxd3, recommended, we believe, by older authorities.

6. Bg5 Bg4 7. c3 Qd7 8. h3 Bh5

Although this bishop is required to guard the weak queen's pawn, yet in trying to keep it, Black loses too much time. It is, therefore, questionable if it were not better to play here 8. ... Bxf3 9. Qxf3 0-0-0, etc. If White should move 10. Qf7, then 10. ... Re8, followed by 11. ... Nd8 accordingly.

9. g4 Bf7 10. Nbd2 h6 11. Be3 a6 12. Qc2 Nc8 13. Nh4 Nb6 14. Ng6 Rg8 15. f4 0-0-0 16. 0-0-0 Bxg6 17. Bxg6 Kb8 18. f5 Na5 19. Rde1 Nac4 20. Nxc4 Nxc4 21. Rhf1 Qb5

Threatening to win a piece with Nxe3, etc.

22. Qb3 exf5 23. Qxb5 axb5 24. Rxf5 Be7 25. Rf7

25. Bd2 followed by 26. Ref1 would have been better, although White could have saved the loss of the exchange with 26. Bd2. It so happens that, even after this loss, White has still a won game; but it might have been otherwise.

25. ... Bh4 26. Re2

26. ... Nxe3 27. Rxe3 Bg5 28. Kd2 Rgf8 29. Ke2 Bxe3

"Another such victory and we are lost." Black might have been content to play for a draw with bishops of different color.

30. Kxe3 Rxf7 31. Bxf7 Rd7 32. e6 Re7

Compelled, else the pawn could not be stopped.

33. Kf4 c6 34. Kf5 Kc7 35. Kg6 b6 36. Kxg7 c5 37. Kf6 Kd6 38. h4

White has plenty of time for the text move. 38. a3 would have secured the queen's side against Black's threatened counter attack.

38. ... b4 39. g5 hxg5 40. hxg5 bxc3 41. bxc3 Ra7 42. g6

White ought to have played now 42. a4, followed by 43. e7 if Black moves 42. ... Rxa4.

42. ... Rxa2 43. Kg7

Mr. Hirsch made this hasty move under the misapprehension, thinking that in advancing the pawn to g7 he would lose it, thereby throwing away a well-deserved victory. The plausible continuation after 43. g7 , instead of the text move, would have been 43. ... Rf2+ 44. Kg6 Rg2+ 45. Kh6 Rh2+ 46. Bh5 Rg2 47. Bg6 Rh2+ 48. Kg5 Rg2+ 49. Kf6 Rf2+ 50. Bf5 Rg2 51. Kf7, and wins.

43. ... cxd4 44. cxd4

A last attempt might have been made here with 44. Kf8, and if 44. ... Ra8+, 45. Be8 followed by queening the knight's pawn; but it is doubtful whether White would have escaped with a draw.

44. ... Ke7 45. Kg8 Rh2 46. g7 Rh6

Resigns. White might have continued the struggle yet, although he would have ultimately lost the game. But the ending is not easy by any means and the chances of drawing numerous. Black could win with 47. Bh5 b5 48. Be2 b4 49. Bd3 b3 50. Bh7 b2 51. Kh8 Rxh7+ 52. Kxh7 b1Q+, and wins.

Source: The Field, June 14, 1884 (notes by Leopold Hoffer*).

Gunsberg claimed in Knowledge (June 13, 1884) that the game was a draw after White's 41st move. He offered the following position, which did not occur in the game published in The Field. However, after 1. g5 the position is identical to that after White's 41st move in The Field.

White can only draw by playing

1. g5 Ra7 2. g6 Rxa2 3. g7

This is a good position, and yields some interesting play, notably if White on his third move plays Kg7. In every case, however, a draw will result, with best play.

3. . Rf2+ 4. Kg6 Rg2+ 5. Kh6 Rh2+ 6. Bh5 Rg2 7. Bg6

If, instead of 7. Bg6, White plays 7. Kh7 Kxe6 8. g8Q+ Rxg8 9. Kxg8 cxd4 10. cxd4 Kf5 11. Bf3 Kf4 12. Bxd5 Ke3, and draws.

7. ... Th2+ 8. Kg5 Tg2+ 9. Kf5 Tf2+ 10. Kg4 Tg2+

Drawn by perpetual check.

Antony A.G. Guest - Isidor Gunsberg

  • Simpson's Divan Handicap

  • London, June 7, 1884

  • Odds of Pawn and Move

1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Bd3

Better than 3. Bc4, because Black could safely capture the pawn, e.g.: 3. Bc4 Nxe4 4. Qh5+ g6 5. Qd5 Nf6 6. Qf7+ Kd7 7. Be6+ Kc6 8. d5+ Kb6 9. Be3+ c5 or Ka6, with a comparatively good game. It is needless to point out the many other variations; Black has a valid defense to all of them.

3. ... Nc6 4. c3 e5 5. Be3 Be7 6. h3 0-0 7. Nf3 Kh8 8. Nbd2 a5 9. Nf1 exd4 10. cxd4 d5 11. e5 Ne4 12. a3 Bf5 13. Ng3 Nxg3 14. fxg3 Bxd3 15. Qxd3 a4 16. h4

Intending 17. Ng5, which would lead to a powerful attack and enable White even to sacrifice a piece, e.g.: 17. Ng5 g6 18. Nxh7 Kxh7 h5, etc.

16. ... Qd7! 17. 0-0 h6 18. Rae1 Qe6

Of course it would be preferable if Black could occupy that square with the knight; but in the present instance it would not be advisable owing to the threatened advance of White's pawn to g4.

19. Kh2 Ra6

Momentarily this move produces some pressure on the queen's side; but the advantage, if any, is neutralized later on, when Black has to lose several moves to bring the rook back whence it started.

20. Bc1 Rb6 21. Nd2 Qg4

Premature. This move might have been reserved, as the queen cannot maintain itself in that position.

22. Rxf8+ Bxf8 23. Rf1 Be7 24. Rf4 Qe6 25. b4? axb3 26. Nxb3 g5 27. hxg5 hxg5 28. Rf1 Ra6

Although it would seem advisable to leave the rook in this position, so as to keep the pressure on the knight, it appears, nevertheless, that the retrograde movements are necessary, in order to parry White's threatened attack on the king's side.

29. Rh1

Bringing the rook from a good into a bad position for the sake of a very transparent threat. What the French call: "une attaque à l'eau de rose."

29. ... Kg7 30. Qf3 Ra8 31. Kg1 Rf8! 32. Qh5 Qg6 33. g4? Nxe5

Very clever; gaining White's pawn and turning the game in favor of Black. If 34. Qxg6+, then 34. ... Nxg6. If 34. dxe5, then 34. ... Qb6+ 35. Kh2 Rh8, etc.

34. Rh3 Nc4 35. Nc5 Qxh5 36. gxh5 Bxc5 37. dxc5 Kh6 38. Rb3 b6 39. cxb6 Nxb6 40. Be3 Nc4 41. Bc5 Rf1+ 42. Kh2

In actual play it would be difficult, especially under time limit, to exhaust the many variations arising from 42. Kxf1. The player in such cases must rely more on his judgment of position than calculation. In the present instance it would be doubtful whether White could take the rook with safety. A careful analysis yields the advantage to Black.

42. ... Kxh5 43. Rb7 Rf7 44. a4 Kg6 45. Bb4 c6 46. Rxf7 Kxf7 47. a5 c5 48. Bxc5 Nxa5 49. Kg3 Nb3

After the text move the game is drawn by force. 49. ... Nc4 would have left many possibilities of victory. Anyhow it would have prevented White from sacrificing his bishop for the two pawns, e.g.: 49. ... Nc4 50. Kg4 Kg6 51. Bd4 Nd2 52. Be3 Ne4 53. Bd4 Nf6+ 54. K moves Kf5, etc.

50. Be3 Kg6 51. Kg4 d4 52. Bxg5 d3 53. Be3

Drawn game.

Source: The Chess Monthly, July 1884, pages 329-330 (notes by Leopold Hoffer*).

George A. Hooke - James Mason

  • Simpson's Divan Handicap

  • London, June 10, 1884

  • Odds of Pawn and Move

1. e4 Nc6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Be3 e6 5. Bd3 Bxd3

We prefer 5. ... Nge7.

6. Qxd3 Nge7 7. Nf3 Nf5 8. Nc3 Be7 9. a3 a6 10. Ne2 Qd7 11. Nf4 0-0 12. 0-0 Nd8 13. b4 Nf7 14. c4 c6 15. c5 Nh8 16. Rad1 Rf7 17. Bc1 Raf8 18. Nh3 h6 19. Ne1 g5

Up to this point both players have confined themselves to strategical movements only. Black is waiting for White to commence the attack, for which he is prepared, but having exhausted all his coups de repos, he must seize the initiative himself.

20. g3 Rg7 21. Ng2 Ng6 22. Ne3 Bd8 23. Nxf5 Rxf5

It cannot be denied that considerable danger would arise from 23. ... exf5, owing to White obtaining a passed pawn. On the other hand, perceiving White's extremely cautious proceedings, it is questionable whether 23. ... exf5 should not have been played. The knight could be posted at e6, compelling White to guard his queen's pawn, and Black could advance then either with pawn to f4 or with the king's rook's pawn accordingly.

24. Kh1 Qf7 25. f3 Qf8

Compelled, so as to have a retreat for the rook after g4.

26. g4 Rff7 27. Rf2 Qe8

Equally a defensive measure, protecting the knight indirectly.

28. Rdf1 Nf4

Compulsory; Black cannot permit the advance of the bishop's pawn.

29. Bxf4 gxf4 30. Rg2 Bg5 31. Ng1 Rf8 32. h3 Kh8 33. Rh2 Bh4 34. Ne2 Qe7 35. Rg1 Qg5 36. Rhg2 Rgf7 37. Kh2 Kg7 38. Rf1 Qg6

At this stage the time for adjournment being near, Mr. Mason thought it advisable to offer the exchange of queens. White's queen is more powerful, and could become dangerous in supporting an advance of the pawns on the queen's side.

39. Qxg6+

White ought not to have exchanged queens for the above stated reason.

39. ... Kxg6

40. Kh1 Kg5 41. Kh2 Kg6 42. Rgg1 Bg3+ 43. Kg2

If White were to take the bishop, Black would obtain an advantage with 43. ... fxg3+ 44. Kxg3 or Rxg3 Rf4, etc.

43. ... Bh4 44. Rd1 Kg5 45. Rd3 Rh8 46. Rb3 Rhf8 47. a4 Ra8 48. Rgb1 Rff8 49. b5 axb5 50. axb5 Ra2 51. R3b2 Rfa8 52. bxc6 bxc6 53. Nc3 Rxb2+ 54. Rxb2 h5

Black is obliged to open a square for his king, because White could threaten mate with Rb7.

55. Ne2 Ra4 56. gxh5 Bg3 57. Rd2 Be1 58. Rd1 Bg3 59. h4+

If 59. Nxg3, Black would reply 59. ... Ra7+ 60. K moves fxg3, with a better game.

59. ... Bxh4

Obviously, if 59. ... Kxh4, then 60. Rh1+, etc.

60. Kh3 Bf2 61. h6 Kxh6 62. Kg4 Be3 63. Nxf4 Rxd4 64. Rxd4 Bxd4 65. Nxe6 Bxe5 66. Kf5 Bb2 67. Nf4 Bc1 68. Nd3 Be3 69. Ke6 Kg5 70. Ke5

Here appears to be the turning point of the game. White should have played 70. Kd6, and probably he would have scored a victory. The knight prevents the adverse king from approaching the king's bishop's pawn, whilst the queen's bishop's pawn becomes passed. This is the only instance where Mr. Hooke relaxed in that vigilance which he so ably maintained all through this difficult game.

70. ... Bg1 71. f4+ Kg6 72. Kd6

Now 72. Ke6 again would be ineffective, owing to Black's reply 72. ... Bd4, etc.

72. ... Kf5 73. Kxc6 Ke4 74. Kd6 Kxd3 75. f5 Kc4 76. c6 Bh2+ 77. Kd7 d4 78. f6 d3,

and the game was abandoned as drawn.

Source: The Field, June 21, 1884 (notes by Leopold Hoffer*).

John O.S. Thursby - Antony A.G. Guest

  • Simpson's Divan Handicap

  • London, June 1884

  • Odds of Pawn and Move

1. e4 e6 2. d4 c5 3. Nf3 d5 4. e5 Nc6 5. c3 Bd7 6. Bd3 Qb6 7. Bc2 g6 8. b3

Castling would have been better.

8. ... cxd4 9. cxd4 Bb4+ 10. Kf1 Qc7

In order to give more freedom to king's bishop.

11. Be3 Nge7 12. a3 Ba5 13. b4 Bb6 14. Qd2 0-0 15. h4 Nf5 16. Bxf5

Pawn to h5 would have given him a very strong attack.

16. ... Rxf5 17. Nc3 a6 18. Ne2

Not so good as Rc1.

18. ... Raf8 19. Ng3 R5f7 20. h5 g5 21. Nxg5

He ought to have taken with bishop, thus: 21. Bxg5 Bxd4 22. Bf6 Rxf6 23. exf6 Bxa1 24. Qg5+ Kf7 25. Qg7+ Ke8 26. f7+ Rxf7 27. Qxa1.

21. ... Rxf2+

Involving a deep, sound, and ingenious combination.

22. Bxf2

Ruinous; sacrificing queen for two rooks was best.

22. ... Bxd4 23. Nf3

"One woe doth tread upon another's heel. So fast they follow." His treatment of his rooks is unaccountable. He imprisons the king's rook, and ignores the existence of the queen's rook. The latter at c1 would have done some service to the state.

23. ... Bxa1 24. Qg5+ Kh8

This move ought to have entailed loss upon Black.

25. Nh4

Qh6 would have made Black miserable.

25. ... Qxe5 26. Ng6+ hxg6 27. hxg6+ Kg8 28. Qh4 Qg7 29. Rh3 Bd4 30. Nh5 Rxf2+ 31. Qxf2 Bxf2 32. Nxg7 Bb6 33. Rh7 Ne5 34. Nh5 Bb5+ 35. Ke1 Nd7 36. Re7

Winning knight and bishop for rook would have done him no good.

36. ... Bd4

Very well played: had he advanced the king's pawn, White would have checked with rook, and if Kf8, then Rh7, forcing a draw.

37. Rxe6 Nf8 38. Rd6 Bc6 39. Rd8 Bg7 40. Nf4 d4 41. Ne6 Bxg2 42. Nxg7 Kxg7 43. Rxd4 Bc6 44. Kd2 Nxg6 45. Kc3 Kf7 46. Kc4 Ke6 47. Kc5 Ne5 48. Rd1

Kb6 would have drawn easily.

48. ... Nd7+ 49. Kc4 Ba4 50. Rd2 Ne5+ 51. Kc5

A problem composer so skilful ought not to have fallen into a trap so obvious.

51. ... b6+ 52. Kxb6 Nc4+ 53. Kxa6 Nxd2 54. b5 Kd7 55. b6 Kc8 56. Ka7 Bc6 57. a4 Nc4 58. Ka6 Kb8 59. a5 Nd6

White resigns.

Source: The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, July 5, 1884 (notes by George A. MacDonnell).

Antony A.G. Guest - Keough

  • Simpson's Divan Handicap

  • London, June 1884

  • Odds of King's Knight

1. e4 e5 2. d4 exd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Bc4 Qf6 5. Nxc3 Bb4 6. Bd2 Ne7 7. 0-0 c6 8. Kh1 0-0 9. f4 d5 10. exd5 Bd7 11. Qb3 c5 12. Rae1 Bf5 13. a3 Ba5 14. g4 Bxg4 15. Ne4 Qb6 16. Bxa5 Qxb3

If 16. ... Qxa5, White wins a piece by 17. Nf2.

17. Bxb3 Nf5 18. Bc3 Nd7 19. Nd2 b5 20. Rg1 Bh5 21. Bc2 

21. ... Nd4

21. ... Bg6 would have lost the game speedily, because of White's reply 22. Bxf5, followed by 23. Rxg7+.

22. b4 f6

If he had played 22. ... Nxc2, then follows: 23. Rxg7+ Kh8 24. Reg1 Nd4 25. bxc5, and wins.

23. Bxd4 cxd4 24. Bf5 Rad8 25. Re7 Rf7 26. Be6 Kf8 27. Bxf7 Kxe7 28. Bxh5,

and Black resigned.

Source: The Illustrated London News, July 19, 1884 (notes by Antony A.G. Guest).

Rudolf J. Loman - Henry A. Reeves

  • Simpson's Divan Handicap

  • London, June 1884

  • C54 Giuoco Piano

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. b4 Bb6 5. a4 a6 6. c3 Nf6 7. d3 d6 8. Bg5

Up to this point the opening moves are identical with those of a game recently played between Zukertort v. Martinez. The former moved here 8. a5 Ba7 9. Nbd2, eventually posting the knight at g3. White's object in pinning the knight is to prevent the advance of Black's queen's pawn; but 8. Qb3 seems preferable.

8. ... 0-0 9. Nbd2 Be6 10. 0-0 h6 11. Bh4

Perhaps 11. Be3 would have been the right square for the bishop. The adverse bishop occupies a threatening diagonal, and Black obtained a strong counter attack later in advancing his pawns on the king's side.

11. ... Kh8

Preparatory to the advance alluded to above.

12. Bxe6 fxe6 13. Nc4 Ba7 14. Re1 Rg8 15. h3 Qe7 16. Nfd2

Here might be suggested 16. b5, and if 16. ... axb5, then 17. axb5 Nd8 18. b6, etc. If 16. ... N moves, then 17. Ne3, etc.

16. ... g5 17. Bg3 h5

 

18. Nf1

Perhaps 18. Ne3 should have been played here. There was time enough for the text move.

18. ... h4 19. Bh2 g4 20. hxg4 Nxg4 21. Nce3 Nxf2

The sacrifice, although Black succeeded in winning, does not appear to be sound. Black had a very good attack; but he precipitated matters.

22. Kxf2

22. Qh5+, followed by 23. Kxf2, according to Black's reply, ought to have been played.

22. ... Qg5,

and Black won the game in a few moves. The score ends here, and we only know that Black won in a few moves. But it seems doubtful whether he ought to win by correct play. We should rather thake White's game for choice.

Source: The Field, August 2, 1884 (notes by Leopold Hoffer*).  

According to the scores published in The Field and The Chess Monthly  this game was drawn.

A. Hirch - Joseph H. Blackburne

  • Simpson's Divan Handicap

  • London, June 28, 1884

  • Odds of Pawn and Move

1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Bd3

See note (a) in the game published on June 28 [first note in the game Loman - MacDonnell].

3. ... Nc6 4. c3 e5 5. d5 Ne7 6. Ne2 Ng6 7. Bg5 Be7 8. h4 h6 9. Bxf6 Bxf6 10. g3 0-0 11. Na3 Qe8 12. Qd2

12. Nb5 would have been quite useless on account of 12. ... Bd8, followed by 13. ... c6, and 14. ... Bb6, when the bishop would have been brought in an attacking position without loss of time.

12. ... Be7 13. Rh2 Bd7 14. 0-0-0 b5 15. f4 a5 16. f5 Nh8 17. g4 Nf7 18. Rdh1

Perhaps 18. Rg1, for the purpose of supporting the advance of the king's knight's pawn, would have been more forcible.

18. ... Qb8 19. Ng1

White has to execute now this manoeuver with the knight, in order to support the advance above alluded to. His attack would  have been formidable had he posted his rooks on the knight's file; but Mr. Hirsch had a different plan of attack.

19. ... b4 20. Nb1 Rc8 21. Nf3 c5 22. c4 a4 23. g5 Bf8 24. g6 Nd8

 

25. Qg5

A very brilliant conception, and we believe perfectly sound. The complications arising from the capture of the queen are very difficult and interesting, but it is one of those positions which can hardly be worked out with a time limit in actual play. A quiet analysis of hours, perhaps, would not exhaust its numerous and difficult variations. Mr. Hirsch might, therefore, have done better to adopt the less violent continuation of 25. Ng5. Obviously Black could not capture the knight, because White could then announce mate in five moves, viz.: 25. ... hxg5 26. hxg5 Nf7 27. Rh8+ Nxh8 28. Rxh8+ Kxh8 29. Qh2+, and mates next move.

25. ... hxg5 26. hxg5 Nf7 27. f6 Bg4 28. Be2

A fine move, threatening 29. Nxe5, etc., winning right off.

28. ... gxf6 29. gxf6 Bxf3 30. Bxf3 Bg7 31. fxg7

It seems as if White had an opportunity here to emerge advantageously from the complication by playing gxf7+ instead of the text move, e.g.: 31. gxf7+ Kxf7 32. fxg7 Kxg7 33. Rg1+ Kf6 (best) 34. Rh6+ Ke7 (best) 35. Rh7+ Kf8 36. Bg4 Rc7 37. Rh8+, winning the queen, and White should win then with two minor pieces for a rook. It would be worth the trouble of the reader to exhaust the position by a thorough analysis. Such remarkable endings rarely occur.

31. ... Ng5 32. Bg4 Kxg7 33. Bf5 Rh8 34. Rxh8 Qxh8

This breaks the attack, and puts a speedy termination to the struggle. Black remains with the exchange ahead, and the rest is only a matter of time. We might add that Black could have established a successful counter attack had he played 21. c6 instead of c5, for obvious reasons.

35. Rxh8 Rxh8 36. Nd2 Rh1+ 37. Kc2 Ra1 38. a3 bxa3 39. bxa3 Ra2+ 40. Kc3 Rxa3+ 41. Kb2 Re3 42. Nb1 Nxe4

Resigns.

Source: The Field, July 26, 1884 (notes by Leopold Hoffer*).

Knowledge (July 4, 1884) offered the ending of this game (after Black's 24th move). 

Antony A.G. Guest - A. Hirsch

  • Simpson's Divan Handicap

  • London, July 1884

  • C45 Scotch Game

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Bc5 5. c3 Qf6 6. Be3 Nge7 7. Be2 d6 8. 0-0 Bd7 9. b4 Bb6 10. Nb5 Rc8 11. Bxb6 axb6 12. f4 0-0 13. e5 Qg6 14. exd6 Bh3 15. Bf3 Nf5 16. Qd3 Rce8

 

17. Be4 Bxg2 18. Bxf5 Bxf1+ 19. Bxg6 Bxd3 20. Bxd3 cxd6 21. Nd2 Re6 22. Bc4 d5 23. Nf1 Re4 24. Bxd5 Rxf4 25. a3 Rd8 26. Re1 g6 27. c4 Rd7 28. Re8+ Kg7 29. Ne3 Ne7 30. Kg2 h5 31. Nc3 g5 32. Ne2 Rh4 33. Ng3 Kf6 34. Rh8 Ng6 35. Re8 Nf4+ 36. Kg1 Ne6 37. Ne4+ Rxe4 38. Bxe4 Ke5 39. Bd5 g4 40. Kf2 Kd4 41. Bxe6 fxe6 42. Rxe6 Rf7+ 43. Ke2 Rf3 44. Rd6+ Ke4 45. Nf1 Rxa3 46. Rxb6 h4 47. Rxb7 Ra2+ 48. Nd2+ Kd4 49. Rd7+ Kc3 50. b5 g3 51. Rd3+ Kb4 52. hxg3 h3 53. g4 h2 54. Rh3,

and White wins.

Source: The Morning Post, July 7, 1884.

Isidor Gunsberg - Joseph H. Blackburne

  • Simpson's Divan Handicap

  • London, July 1884

  • D05 Queen's Pawn Game

1. Nf3

First adopted in an important modern contest by Baron d'André in the Paris tournament, 1867.

1. ... e6 2. d4 d5 3. e3 Nf6 4. Be2 Bd6 5. b3 0-0 6. 0-0 Nbd7 7. c4 c6 8. Ba3

This appears to be a judicious exchange, inasmuch as Black's bishop is in very good play as compared with his own.

8. ... Bxa3 9. Nxa3 Qe7 10. Nc2 h6

A waiting move, no doubt. It seems, however, that Black might have developed his queen's bishop after 10. ... b6 instead.

11. Nce1 e5 12. dxe5 Nxe5 13. Nxe5 Qxe5 14. Nf3 Qe7 15. Qd4 Re8 16. cxd5 Nxd5 17. Bd3 Qf6

Suggestive of the ultimate result.

18. Qxf6 Nxf6 19. Rac1 Be6 20. Nd4 Rad8 21. Rfd1 Bc8 22. b4 a6 23. a3 Rd6 24. Bc2 Red8

 

25. Bb3 Kf8 26. f3 Ne8 27. Kf2 Nc7 28. a4 Be6 29. Nxe6+ Nxe6 30. Rxd6 Rxd6 31. Bxe6 Rxe6 32. Rd1 Ke7 33. e4 Rd6 34. Rxd6 Kxd6 35. Ke3 c5

The sound and correct play on both sides, coupled with judicious exchanges now and then, brings it to an interesting pawn ending, when the puzzling question arises whether the four pawns against the three on the one side or the three against the two on the other are preferable. The actual play beginning with the text move resulted in a draw; the only other alternative would be to try 35. ... a5, which, however, would have scarcely so favorable a result, e.g.: 35. ... a5 36. bxa5 (forced) 36. ... Kc5 37. f4 Kb4 (37. ... f6 38. g4 g5 39. f5 Kd6 40. Kd4 c5+ 41. Kc4 Kc6 (If 41. ... Ke5 42. Kxc5, followed by 43. Kb6, and must win) 42. h3 Kd6 43. Kb5, and wins) 38. a6 bxa6 39. e5 Kc5 (Forced, because if 39. ... c5, White would play 40. f5, winning) 40. Ke4 a5 41. f5 h5 42. g3 f6 43. e6, and wins. The variations being so numerous, we give only the most plausible, leaving to the reader to examine the remainder for himself.

36. b5 axb5 37. axb5 b6 38. f4 g5 39. g3 Ke6 40. h4 gxh4 41. gxh4 h5 42. Kd3 Kd6 43. Kc4 Ke6

Drawn game.

Source: The Chess Monthly, September 1884, pages 13-14 (notes by Leopold Hoffer*).

W.H.A. Mundell - Joseph H. Blackburne

  • Simpson's Divan Handicap

  • London, July 1884

  • Odds of Pawn and Move

1. e4 d6 2. Bc4

An interesting though unusual line.

2. ... Nf6 3. Nc3 e6 4. d3

This continuation imparts such an appearance as might be presented by some opening upon even terms. We do not condemn, and, indeed, we have often thought that strong receivers of these odds might as well adopt such a course.

4. ... Nc6 5. Bg5 Be7 6. Bb3 0-0 7. f4 

A perfectly justifiable advance were the queen's bishop at home, but hardly so under the actual circumstances, as his king's third will be a weak spot.

7. ... Kh8 8. Nh3 d5

Pawn to e5 has claims, but the text move is good enough to say no more.

9. e5

Undoubtedly best. Pawn takes pawn would result in grave disadvantage.

9. ... Ng8 10. Bxe7

We rather prefer 10. 0-0 Bxg5 11. Nxg5. If now 11. ... Nxe5, 12. Nxe6 or Nxh7. A question like this is, however, a mere matter of style and taste.

10. ... Qxe7 11. 0-0 Nh6 12. d4

This loses either a pawn or the exchange. 12. Qd2, though not satisfactory, is about the best course.

12. ... Nf5 13. Ne2

Correctly judged. The pawn is here worth more than the exchange.

13. ... Ne3 14. Qd3 Nxf1 15. Rxf1 g6 16. c3 a5 17. Rf3

A menacing position, and Black will have to be careful.

17. ... Nd8

Qg7, followed by Ne7, has claims.

18. Bc2 Nf7

We consider that b5, or c5, would be a stronger course. It must be allowed, however, that the line of play thus inaugurated looks highly promising.

19. Ng3 b6 20. Bb1 Ba6 21. Qc2 c5 22. Nh5

Prettily played, and his best resource, as he has not time to take the bishop's pawn.

22. ... cxd4

Much can be said for 22. ... Nh6 23. Nf6 Rxf6 24. exf6 Qxf6, with even forces, which means that he has won the pawn originally given. It is not to be denied, however, that his position looks enfeebled.

23. Nf6 d3 24. Qd2 Nh6

We like neither this move nor its ingenious continuation. The true defense appears to be  24. ... Kg7 25. Rg3 Nh6 26. Nh5+ Kh8. There are variations and sub-variations, but they do not impeach 24. Kg7. This move has the additional merit that it allows in various cases of the exchange being given up with even forces and a fair position, should Black feel inclined.

25. Ng5 Ra7 26. Rh3 Rxf6

He may play Qc5+, but it comes to the same thing, as rook takes knight must follow. Other lines attract, but on examination turn out to be frauds. It must be acknowledged that in this part of the game Mr. Mundell has outplayed his eminent opponent.

27. exf6 Qc5+ 28. Kh1 Ng4 

29. f7

The fly which spoils Black's ointment.

29. ... Rxf7

If Nf2+, then of course Qxf2. He has no resource but to capture that pawn.

30. Nxf7+ Kg7 31. Rf3

By a curious revolution he is now the exchange ahead instead of the exchange behind, but Black has the more compact position.

31. ... Kxf7 32. h3 Nf6 33. Bxd3 Bb7 34. Qe3 d4

Qc6 would be our choice most decidedly. If 35. a4 Ne4 36. Bb5 Qc7 or Qd6, with a very firm position.

35. cxd4 Qh5 36. Rf1 Qh4 37. Bc4 Ne4 38. Kh2 Qf6 39. d5

A daring stroke, and one marked by much insight, but, for all that, not quite sound, as its result should have been a deterioration of advantage.

39. ... exd5

By 39. ... Bxd5 40. Qxb6 Nd2 Black's chance of a draw would have been much improved. White has nothing better than 41. Bxd5 Nxf1+ 42. Kg1, and though theoretically he should win, yet the process will be long and difficult. Of 39. ... Bxd5 40. exd5 the same remark may be made.

40. Qxe4 Qc6 41. Rd1

With a clear winning game, and, as will be perceived, it is duly carried to victory.

41. ... dxc4 42. Qxc6 Bxc6 43. Rd6 Be4 44. Rxb6 Bd3 45. g4 a4 46. a3 Bc2 47. Kg3 h5 48. gxh5 gxh5 49. Kh4 Bd1 50. Kg5 Ke7 51. f5 Kd7 52. f6 Bb3 53. Kg6

Black resigns. By this game Mr. Blackburne lost his chance of either first or second prize. He said to us about it, "I ought to have won, but Mundell played very well."

Source: Land and Water, July 26, 1884 (notes by William N. Potter).  

W.H.A. Mundell - Isidor Gunsberg

  • Simpson's Divan Handicap

  • London, July 9, 1884

  • Odds of Pawn and Move

1. e4 d6 2. Bc4 

This can hardly be considered as good as 2. d4. 

2. ... Nf6 3. Nc3 e5 4. d3 Nc6 5. Bb3 Nd4 6. Nce2 

To disengage his queen's side, and make both knights available for attack on the king's side. 

6. ... Nxb3 7. axb3 Be7 8. f4 exf4 9. Nxf4 0-0 10. Nf3 c6 11. 0-0 h6 12. Be3 

This move gives Black time to develop his pieces. 

12. ... Ng4 13. Bd2 Bf6 14. d4 Qb6 15. c3 Re8 16. Re1 Bd7 17. Nh5 

If h3, then Ne5. Black has brought his pieces well into play. 

17. ... Be7 18. h3 Nf6 19. Nxf6+ Bxf6 20. Kh1 Qb5 21. b4 Qh5 

A very useful flank movement. The queen now occupies a good position. 

22. Bf4 Be7 

With a view to playing rook to f8, which might give a chance for Bxh3. 

23. e5 d5 24. e6 

Although tempting, this is weak, as the pawn will sooner or later be captured. 

24. ... Bc8 25. Ne5 Qf5 

If Black plays Qxd1 Raxd1 Bxe6 Nxc6.

26. Nd3 Bxe6 27. g4 Qf6 28. Re3 

To guard against Qh4, also to double his rook on the king's file. 

28. ... Bf7 

To bring the bishop into good play. 

29. Qe2 Bg6 30. Rf1 Be4+ 31. Kh2 

Kg1 was the proper move. 

31. ... Rf8 32. Rf2 

To guard against g5. 

32. ... Bxd3 

Black now brings about the exchange of four pieces, remaining with a superior end position. 

33. Rxd3 Bd6 34. Rdf3 Bxf4+ 35. Rxf4 Qd6 36. Qe5 Qxe5 37. dxe5 Rxf4 38. Rxf4 Re8 39. Rf5 g6 40. Rf6 Kg7 41. Rd6 Kf7 

If Rxe5 White could equalize the game by playing Rd7+, followed by Rxb7 and Rc7. 

42. Rd7+ 

This is playing Black's game. White ought to have played Rf6+, driving the king back again. 

42. ... Re7 43. Rxe7+ Kxe7 44. g5 

A good move. It would be dangerous to take, as by Kg3 and Kg4 White would gain a decisive advantage.

44. ... h5 

Now, of course, the game is virtually over, as White has but the one square on f4 to defend his king's pawn, and when short of a move he will have to move his king. 

45. Kg3 Ke6 46. Kf4 b6 47. b3 a6 48. c4 dxc4 49. bxc4 

Now comes the most extraordinary part, which should serve as a warning that a game is never won until checkmate is given. By playing pawn to c5 Black wins, as the rook's pawn becomes free to advance whether White replies with bxc5 or b5. Instead of winning the game on the move Black lost it on the move by hastily advancing the wrong pawn without examining the consequences. Besides losing the well-earned victory in a hard fought game, Black loses all chances to paly for first and second prize, although this is the only game lost out of eight games played. 

49. ... a5 50. c5 

Resigns. The game is not to be saved if Black plays a4 then cxb6 (it would be quite useless to play the king on account of e6) a3 b7 a2 b8Q a1Q Qd6+ Kf7 e6+ Kg8 Qb8+ Kh7 Qc7+ Kg8 Qf7+ Kh8 Qf6+, and wins.

Source: Knowledge, July 18, 1884 (notes by Isidor Gunsberg*).  

Antony A.G. Guest - James Mason

  • Tie Match Simpson's Divan Handicap, Game 1

  • London, July 1884

  • Odds of Pawn and Move

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. a3 Nf6 4. e3 Be7 5. Nc3 0-0 6. Nf3 Bd7 7. Bd3 Be8 8. Qc2 Nbd7 9. Ng5 Bf7 10. Bxh7+ Kh8 11. Bg6 Bg8 12. h4 Ng4 13. Qe2 Nh6 14. e4 dxe4 15. Ngxe4 Nf6 16. Bxh6 gxh6 17. 0-0-0 Kg7 18. Nxf6 Bxf6 19. Qg4 Kh8 20. Qh5 Bg7 21. Ne4 Qe7 22. g4 Bf7

 

23. g5 Bxg6 24. Qxg6 Qf7 25. h5 Rad8 26. gxh6 Qf4+ 27. Kb1 Bxh6 28. Rh4 Rg8 29. Qxe6 Rde8 30. Qf6+ Qxf6 31. Nxf6 Bg5 32. Nxe8 Bxh4 33. Nxc7 Rc8 34. Nb5 Rxc4 35. Nxa7 Bxf2 36. Nb5 Rc8 37. d5 Rd8 38. d6 Rd7 39. Kc2 Kg7 40. Kb3 Kh6 41. Rd5 Be3 42. Kc4 Bg5 43. Nd4 Bc1 44. Rb5 Bf4 45. Rb6 Kxh5 46. Kd5 Kg4 47. Ke6 Rh7 48. a4

White wins.

Source: The Morning Post, July 21, 1884.

Antony A.G. Guest - James Mason

  • Tie Match Simpson's Divan Handicap, Game 2

  • London, August 7, 1884

  • Odds of Pawn and Move

1. Nf3

Not good, considering the odds received.

1. ... Nf6 2. d4 d6 3. e3 Bg4 4. Bd3 Nc6 5. c4 e5 6. d5 Nb8 7. Nc3 Nbd7 8. h3 Bxf3 9. Qxf3 Nc5 10. Bc2 Be7 11. b4

This advance only tends to weaken the queen's pawns. Bd2, so as to be prepared to castle on either side, seems his best course.

11. ... Ncd7 12. h4

Rash, against so able a defender as Mr. Mason - able! or rather one of the very ablest.

12. ... 0-0 13. h5 Nb6 14. g4

Mr. Guest skittles away his pawns as though he had an attack that would compensate him for their loss - but the attack, where is it? well, not on White's side. The whole of the game on the part of the first player falls below the high standard of play exhibited in his other games in this tourney.

14. ... Nfxd5 15. Qe4 Nf6 16. Qd3 

16. ... d5

A move simple, but of the highest order. White's pseudo-attack now collapses.

17. cxd5 Bxb4 18. Bd2 Bxc3 19. Bxc3 e4 20. Qf1 Nfxd5 21. 0-0-0 Qe7 22. Bb3 Qc5 23. Qe1 a5 24. a4 Rad8 25. Kb2

It matters not where; the battle's over.

25. ... Nc4+ 26. Kb1 b5

Black now hammers down his Thor-like blows with remorseless force.

27. Bd4 Qa3 28. Bxc4 bxc4 29. Qxa5 Rb8+ 30. Kc2 Rxf2+ 31. Rd2 Qd3+

White resigns.

Sources: The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, August 16, 1884 (notes by George A. MacDonnell); The Chess Monthly, October 1884, page 42.  

The Chess Monthly offered additional moves before the game was concluded (32. Kc1 Rb1 mate), and published a different move order: 11. h4 0-0 12. b4 Ncd7 13. h5 and 27. Bxc4 bxc4 28. Bd4 Qa3 29. Qxa5.

Antony A.G. Guest - James Mason

  • Tie Match Simpson's Divan Handicap, Game 3

  • London, August 11, 1884

  • Odds of Pawn and Move

1. e4 d6 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. h3

In the second tie game White allowed the king's knight to be pinned, and came to grief; he, therefore, adopted this unnecessary precautionary measure, resolved upon a quiet development. But the text move is loss of time, and tantamount to giving up the first move.

3. ... Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. d4 Be7 6. Bc4 d5

Black has now a much better opening than he ought to get if White had chosen a more energetic course.

7. Bd3 Bb4 8. Bg5 h6 9. Bxf6

Forced. 9. Bh4 would obviously be followed by 9. . g5, etc., and 9. e5 would be equally unsatisfactory because of 9. ... hxg5 10. Bg6+ Kd7 11. exf6 Qxf6, with a fine game for Black.

9. ... Qxf6 10. 0-0 Bxc3 11. bxc3 0-0 12. e5 Qf7 13. Nh4 Ne7 14. Qg4 Bd7 15. Ng6 Nxg6 16. Qxg6

White pursues consistently the plan he resolved upon at the start, viz.: an unenterprising game. Satisfied with the pawn ahead, he avoids complications by forcing an early exchange of pieces. Besides, it will be found that if 16. Bxg6, it would turn to the advantage of Black.

16. ... Qxg6 17. Bxg6 Bb5 18. Bd3

This appears to be of doubtful value, but quite in keeping with White's modest aspirations.

18. ... Bxd3 19. cxd3 Rac8

 

The only vulnerable point in White's position, where a breach can be effected, and Mr. Mason spots it with his usual fine judgment.

20. Rac1

Probably 20. Rab1, followed by 21. Rfc1, would have been sounder play. The main object should have been to prevent Black from remaining with two pawns against one on the queen's side.

20. ... c5 21. dxc5 Rxc5 22. d4 Rc4 23. Rb1

White now tries to rectify the omission alluded to above, which Black, however, fully utilizes.

23. ... b6 24. Rb3 Rfc8 25. Ra3

This rook is now in an unfavorable position, and, in spite of the pawn plus, White's game is inferior.

25. ... R8c7 26. Rc1 Kf7

Mr. Mason points out that 26. ... Kh7 would have gained him a move; but at that stage he was not quite decided whether he would bring the king over to the queen's side.

27. Kf1 Kg6 28. Ke1 Rxd4 29. cxd4 Rxc1+ 30. Kd2

If White had played 28. Ke2 instead of Ke1 he would not have lost a pawn immediately. As it is, however, Black takes the rook checking, and has time to defend his own pawn.

30. ... Rc7 31. f4 Kf5 32. Ke3 h5 33. g3 g5 34. fxg5 Kxg5 35. Kf3 Kf5 36. g4+ hxg4+ 37. hxg4+ Kg5 38. Kg3 Rf7

Black's game is now practically won, and the remainder only a matter of time. White's king is shut out from the defense, and Black forces the game by the simple process of advancing his pawns.

39. Rd3 Rf4 40. a3 Rxg4+ 41. Kf3 Rh4 42. Kg3 Rf4,

and after a few more moves, White resigned.

Sources: The Field, August 16, 1884; The Morning Post, August 18, 1884; The Chess Monthly, September 1884, pages 20-21 (notes by  Leopold Hoffer*).

The Morning Post offered only 39 moves.  

The cartoon entitled 'A Chess Divan in the Strand' was number six in the series that was published in Punch under the heading 'Interiors and Exteriors.' Other places or events pictured were, to name a few, the reading room in the British Museum, theatrical celebrities meeting for a benefit, the meeting of the Zoological Society at Hanover Square, and a Cabinet Council. The series started at February 14, 1885. The artist was Harry Furniss.

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* The diagram was given in the original source.

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Notes:   1 The Field, May 15, 1885; The Morning Post, May 19, 1885.   2 The Field, May 22, 1885.   3 The Field, May 15, 1885; The Chess Monthly, June 1884, page 290.  4 The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, May 10, 1885; The Chess Monthly, June 1884, page 289.   5 The Field, May 15, 1885; The Morning Post, May 19, 1885   6 The Chess Monthly, June 1884, page 290.   7 The Field, May 15, 1884.   8 The Chess Monthly, June 1884, page 289.   9 The Chess Monthly, June 1884, page 289.   10 The Field, June 14, 1884.   11 The Field, May 31, 1884.   12 The Field, June 7, 1884.   13 The Field, June 14, 1884.   14 The Field, June 21, 1884.   15 The Morning Post (June 30, 1884) claimed that Blackburne played against Thursby and Hirsch.   16 The Field, June 28, 1884.   17 The Morning Post, July 7, 1884. The Field of June 7, 1884, reported that the game between MacDonnell and Mason was played in the second week of the competition. Guest's claim in The Morning Post that the game was played in the sixth week of tournament was confirmed by MacDonnell in The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News of July 12, 1884. This is what MacDonnell had to say about his loss to Mason (Mason had White): "His opponent [MacDonnell] adopted a novel form of the Philidor defence, and had, about the twentieth move, obtained a pleasanter, if not more advantageous, position than Mason, but rushing forward carelessly and impetuously he dropped a pawn and then fell into a pit." The game has not been found.   18 The Morning Post, July 14, 1884.   19 Incorrect reports have been found in The British Chess Magazine August/September 1884, page 319, The Times, July 21, 1884, and the Nottinghamshire Guardian, August 22, 1884.   20 The Chess Monthly, September 1884, page 3.   

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Pictures: Simpson's Divan (Punch, or the London Charivari, April 4, 1885); George A. MacDonnell (Brentano's Chess Monthly, October 1881); James Mason (Neue Illustrirte Zeitung, Number 39, 1882); Joseph H. Blackburne (The Chess Monthly, February 1889); Isidor Gunsberg (Illustrirte Zeitung, July 5, 1890); John O.S. Thursby (The Chess Monthly, March 1893); Rudolf J. Loman (Illustrirte Zeitung, October 1, 1892); Herbert Trenchard (Cassell's Magazine, 1898, page 636); Henry A. Reeves (The Chess Monthly, October 1892); Wordsworth Donisthorpe (The Chess Monthly, December 1890); Antony A.G. Guest (The Chess Bouquet,1897, page 109).

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