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Book of the Second American Chess Congress held at Cleveland, Ohio December, 1871

Book of the Second American Chess Congress held at Cleveland, Ohio December, 1871

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Book of the Second American Chess Congress held at Cleveland, Ohio December, 1871

by Brownson, Orestes Augustus (1828-1892)

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  • Hardcover
  • first
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About This Item

112 pages with 2 portraits and diagrams. Small octavo (7 3/4" x 5 1/4") bound in half brown cloth over marbled boards. (Betts: 25-8, (Bibliotheca Van der Linde-Niemeijeriana: 5198) First edition.

The 2nd American Chess Congress was held at the Kennard House in Cleveland, 5-15 December 1871. Two decisive games (+2, -2, or +1 -1) were required against each opponent. There were 73 total games. No dates or round numbers are given in the tournament book. Players were responsible for playing from 9-12 am, 2-5 pm, and 7-10 pm each day, but may have been able to arrange their own time of play, and sequence of opponents. The Ohio newspapers have more details, including dates for most of the games.

The players: George Henry Mackenzie led an interesting life away from the chessboard. (2) After he resigned his commission in the British Army but before moving to the United States, he lost a match to George Alcock MacDonnell (+4 -7 =2) and won a second (+6 -3 =2). He moved to the United States in 1863 and joined the Union Army twice. His Civil War service as captain was with the 10th Regiment of the US Colored Troops (Infantry), Company I. His earlier service as a private was with the 162nd New York Infantry, Company G. Mackenzie's most impressive results still awaited him, but Cleveland 1871 was the start of a string of domestic successes. Frederick H Elder. Two important tournaments in which Elder played: Cleveland 1871 and Chicago 1874. The Edo historical rating estimates Elder as in the 2300s based on these games. Henry Hosmer played in Cleveland 1871 and Chicago 1874. Nevertheless, Hosmer was considered one of the (if not the) strongest player in the western US. The year before Cleveland he won a casual 3-game match against Max Judd. The Edo historical rating estimates Hosmer as approximately 2500 based on these games. Max Judd was born near Cracow. Judd moved to the US at the age of 11 and lived in various areas of the midwest before settling in St. Louis. Judd finished tied for 3rd in the Michigan state championship the year before the congress at Cleveland. Later in life he became a successful businessman, and served for a time as Consul General to Austria. He was also a chess patron, contributing to and helping organize various events. He later won matches against Albert Hodges (1887, +5 -2 =2) and Jackson Whipps Schowalter (1890, +7 -3 =0), while losing matches to Mackenzie (1881, +5 -7 =3), Showalter (1892, +4 -7 =3) and Harry Nelson Pilsbury (1899, +1 -4 =0). Preston Ware was perhaps best known for advocating and playing unusual openings. He achieved some infamy when he came forward at the end of the 5th American Chess Congress (1880) to claim that James Glover Grundy had reneged on an agreement to play for a draw in the last round. The basic details are laid out in the official tournament book and as the charges could not be proven to the committee's satisfaction, no action was taken at the time. Harsen Darwin Smith was from New York and settled as an attorney in Michigan in the 1860's. He played two matches against Judd in 1870 while Judd lived in Michigan, drawing one (+3 -3 =2) and losing the other (2-6). Henry Harding only major tournament was Cleveland 1871 is the only known important tournament for Harding. He was another Michigan player. A Johnston, Cleveland 1871, is the only known important tournament for Johnston, who was listed as from across the state in Cincinnati. William B Haughton very little is known about tailender other than he was from Chicago. There is even some discrepancy over the spelling of his name, with Houghton used in the crosstable and in the list of competitors while Haughton was used in all the game scores in the tournament book.

About nine o'clock Tuesday morning, the necessary preliminary arrangements having been made, the regular work of the American chess congress began. Room No. 1 of the Kennard house, a spacious apartment on the first floor and just in the rear of the office, was set apart for the sessions. The players of the first class already here drew lots Monday evening for their first opponents and with the following result: Captain McKenzie, of New York, was matched against Henry Harding of Michigan. Mr. Fred H. Elder, of Detroit, against Mr. H. Hosmer, of Chicago. Mr. Max Judd, of Cleveland, against Mr. P. Ware, of Boston. Mr. H. D. Smith, of Cassopolis, Michigan, against Mr. A. Johnson, of Cincinnati. Mr. W. P. Houghton, of Chicago, will meet the first player who arrives to-day. The entries for the second class are Messrs. J. T. Wilson, E. D. Stark, E. W. Goddard and I. Judd, all of Cleveland. None of these were on hand at the opening of the congress, Tuesday morning. There being but four entries in the second class, there has been a change in prizes, some being taken from the second class and added to the first class, as follows: First class - First prize, $100; second, $50; third, $40; fourth, $30; fifth, $25; sixth, $15; seventh, $10. Second class - First prize, $30; second, $20. Mr. W. G. Yates was chosen referee and Messrs. E. B. Cook of New Jersey, F. H. Mason and J. G. White of Cleveland as committee of examination in the problem tourney. The playroom on Tuesday morning presented a singular spectacle. Eight men, in pairs, were seated at little black stands with chess boards painted in large red and white squares on the top. Some sat bent over the stands, silently staring at the wooden men, others leaned back in their chairs but as earnestly gazing at the fascinating little images. Two or three were smoking pipes, one puffed at a cigar, several empty pipes and a bag of tobacco were scattered convenient to the players. At the stands allotted to Messrs. Elder and Hosmer and Smith and Johnson were four hour glasses filled with red sand. These are to make sure that twelve moves are made by each player within sixty minutes; when one player has moved he turns the glass on the side so that the sand ceases to run while the other player stands his glass upright. At the stand where Messrs. Judd and Ware were vis-a-vis a watch was used as a reminder. Messrs. Judd and Smith and partners have at the right hand of each a sheet of paper, properly headed and marked off, on which they note each move as soon as made, each player keeping track of the whole game. Captain McKenzie and Mr. Harding have neither hour glass or watch to guide them nor paper for record. Mr. Elder and partner also rely on memory to sketch the game when finished.


Corners bumped and rubbed, spine rubbed, some foxing, marginal to page 9, old glue residue to pate downs some internal soiling else about very good.


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Bookseller's Inventory #
Book of the Second American Chess Congress held at Cleveland, Ohio December, 1871
Brownson, Orestes Augustus (1828-1892)
Book Condition
Used - About Very Good
Quantity Available
O A Brownson
Place of Publication
Date Published
112 pages with 2 portraits and diagrams
Small octavo
Chess, Ajedrez, Schach, Echecs

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