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The Classical Era of Modern Chess

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Henry Chadwick: Friend of Chess

by John S. Hilbert

Not long ago Edward Winter featured Henry Chadwick, "the Father of Baseball," in one of his Chess Notes. (C.N. 8697, released June 27, 2014) Several interesting images of Chadwick and his publications appear there, as well as Chadwick's remarks on the eccentricities of chess players, a group he generally admired and among whom he fondly included himself – at least, when writing about those he respected. Mentioned too is Andrew J. Schiff's "The Father of Baseball": A Biography of Henry Chadwick (McFarland 2008), a work worth reading for anyone interested in a curious figure whose presence on the American scene advanced not only what became the nation's national pastime, but, admittedly to a far lesser extent, our own game as well. For unattributed information about Chadwick I am indebted to Schiff's work. Another excellent source about Chadwick, quite short but focused on chess, is Edward Tassinari's "Henry Chadwick: 'Father of Baseball,' Friend of Chess" in Lasker and His Contemporaries, Issue 5 (1997), pp.47-51.

Mentioned too in C.N. 8697 is that the Chadwick biography contains few direct references to chess. Only three are noted, appearing at pages 7, 226, and 237. Given Schiff's intention of writing about Chadwick's career as chronicler and promoter of baseball, in addition to his innovations that popularized the game, the dearth of chess references is understandable. But what Schiff's biography lacks in relation to Chadwick's chess connections, it more than makes up for in information regarding Chadwick's background and character. And it is Chadwick's character, we will learn, that determined not only his relation to a wide array of physical activities such as baseball, ice skating, and gymnastics, but also his view regarding activities of the mind, and in particular, chess.

Henry Chadwick
Henry Chadwick

Chadwick began life on October 5, 1824, at Jessamine Cottage in St. Thomas, Exeter, England. His early years were dominated by his father's and grandfather's strong sense of social responsibility. Chadwick's father also gave his son a strong background in moral philosophy, an education better suited for proselytizing than business success. Chadwick's half-brother Edwin, twenty-four years his senior, began the first sanitary reform movement in London. Edwin's determination to better living conditions for the poor also strongly influenced his young half-brother. In his own fashion Henry Chadwick brought the forceful presence of his family background to his coverage of the sports world, including the world of chess.

Shortly before his thirteenth birthday, in the fall of 1837, Chadwick and his family crossed the Atlantic, arriving in Manhattan. They soon moved to a Brooklyn Heights boarding house along Fulton Street, where Chadwick much later recollected he grew up drinking pump water, reading by whale oil lamp, and never dreaming of indoor plumbing. Unlike today, the area where Chadwick grew up in Brooklyn was a relative wilderness, lending itself to more rural summer pleasures including fishing, hunting and hiking. Colder weather brought ice-skating and sledding. Chadwick's father encouraged him to appreciate the outdoors, and also taught him to cultivate his spirit and body. Like many chess players, Chadwick also loved music. He sang, played piano, and composed. For several of his early years he worked as a music teacher. In 1840, according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle ("BDE"), he worked for a time as a young assistant librarian at the Brooklyn Institute, and for decades retained his membership in that library, spending many hours there. (BDE, April 20, 1908) After his early experiences in the work world, Chadwick turned to journalism as a career.

His personal life saw his marriage to Jane Botts on August 19, 1848. The Botts family, from Richmond, Virginia, brought with them strong ties with the South. Jane's father had served as Virginia State Council president, and had been a friend of the famous politician John C. Calhoun. Chadwick's wife was five years older than the burgeoning journalist, and through her family connections brought added financial stability to the union, one that eventually produced three children, including a son, Richard Westlake Chadwick, in 1850, followed by Susan (1851) and Rosa (1854). Sadly, the couple's son, Richard, died of convulsions on January 11, 1859. The family's grief doubled when their younger daughter, Rosa, died three days later of scarlet fever. Two years after these devastating losses, in 1861, the Chadwicks adopted a little girl.

During 1860-61, Chadwick worked for the New York City News. He and his wife went to visit in her home city, Richmond. Thus Chadwick happened to be in the Virginia capital when the Civil War erupted. He intended one day to tell his experiences finding himself a Yankee journalist in the heart of Dixie at the start of hostilities, but sadly no evidence could be found he ever did so.

Well into his old age, Chadwick remained a proselytizer for the advantages of sports for the mind and body, writing and editing books on baseball, cricket and chess, as well as writing articles advocating all sorts of other sports and pursuits. In his later years, he participated in the less strenuous activities of fishing, billiards and chess, although his activity in chess, certainly, spanned over six decades.

Chadwick's professional life, of course, was as a sports journalist. At nineteen, in 1843, he began writing articles for a local Brooklyn newspaper, first involving news items, but soon turning his attention to the New York greater metropolitan sports world. His first love was cricket. His pursuit of a journalistic career coincided with the era's technological revolution compressing time and space in communications: the telegraph. Soon all manner of sporting news found faster access to the public through journalists such as Chadwick, aided as they were by the changing technology. By the following decade, Chadwick had become a full-time sports writer, and his emphasis, and life's work, was devoted to the popularization of baseball. And baseball was booming. Chadwick was named cricket and baseball editor of the New York Clipper, with his reports starting to appear June 20, 1857. Miron Hazeltine had been editing the Clipper's chess column since August 16, 1856, ten months before. (Chess Columns: A List, by Kenneth Whyld, Moravian Chess 2002, p.80) The fall of 1857 saw Paul Morphy's triumph at the First American Chess Congress, held in New York City and likely attended by both Chadwick and Hazeltine. Cleary the two men knew one another, as we shall learn.

Statistics in baseball, which Chadwick popularized, allowed him to popularize the game and evaluate the players with an element of objectivity. He thus could draw attention to individuals for poor play without personally attacking them, a journalistic technique much popular at the time. The numbers, rather than personal opinion, could drive discussion of a player's performance. Such discretion mirrored Chadwick's character. Inevitably, as middleclass sport gave way to baseball as a business and players as professionals, statistics were incorporated into manager and owner evaluation of a player's worth. Thus was play for the love of the game transformed into production rate standards. The sport had become a business, and business was booming. Baseball was gaining a wider and wider fan base, with some rivalries generating a gate of 14,000 to 20,000, far eclipsing anything even the Morphy boom, short-lived as it was, provided for chess.

Chadwick's growing contacts with the baseball world, developed during the game's infancy, bore extraordinary fruit. In July 1867, for example, while traveling as official scorer for one of the professional ball teams, Chadwick met a sixteen-year-old pitcher named Albert Goodwill Spalding. Spalding's baseball career has long been eclipsed by his sporting goods business, begun in Chicago in 1876 and still going strong today as a recognized name brand and producer of a wide range of sports equipment. The two men developed a friendship, sometimes a quite strained one, that over forty years proved essential to the development and popularization of baseball.

In time Chadwick's work appeared in numerous journals and newspapers, and it was his ever-expanding network of sports news outlets, combined with his passion for the game and endless boosting of it that led to his being known popularly as "the Father of Baseball." Chadwick's interest in sports, however, as we know was far ranging, and included many pursuits readers today would hardly consider "sports" at all. More generally Chadwick referred to these as pastimes, and indeed, in 1884 he authored Sports and Pastimes for American Boys, a volume that included everything from gymnastics, cricket and baseball to badminton, hide-and-seek, marbles and chess. Chadwick emphasized the need for physical play as a restoration from work, and mental play as a character-building alternative to the evil enticements facing so many urban youths: gambling, drugs and general dissipation.

Past Pieces
Chadwick's volume on multiple activities,
including chess and baseball, appeared in 1884.

Chadwick's extended emphasis on such secondary benefits for sports and games may strike today's reader as somewhat antiquated, although many of the same points are used to sell the benefits of chess today. But Chadwick well knew that his generally middleclass Victorian readership, certainly outside of the more popular baseball scene, expected entertainment to be at least of moral value, if not directed to advancing the then still prevalent Puritan work ethic. Even when games and sports found more general acceptance, they were still in Chadwick's world bound to proper deportment. A true baseball player would never dispute the decision of an umpire, any more than a proper chess player would dispute the adjudication of a position at the end of time for a team match. Or knowingly irritate his opponent. In this respect, the generally received image of Morphy's conduct at the chessboard might be said to have been Chadwick's paradigm for the proper chess player. Chadwick was a moralist, devoted to good sportsmanship. He saved his sarcasm for poor losers, and his anger for, as Schiff reminds us, the "gamblers, crooks, drunks and those who disrupted games with rowdiness." Of course, Schiff was referring largely to baseball, but the point has more than passing relevance to the chess world as well.

Although few of Chadwick's own chess games survive, a few of his contests saw print, largely in relation to his efforts to boost chess, and almost invariably in the context of simultaneous exhibitions. Henry Chadwick's chess efforts, largely confined in print sources to prior to 1882, should not be confused with those of Stanley H. Chadwick, later Secretary of the Brooklyn Chess Club and a figure appearing in many of Hermann Helms' Eagle reports in later years. The two Chadwicks were not related, according to Helms. (BDE October 11, 1903)

Chadwick was hardly a strong player, even for his day, but his love of the game, and his open-hearted admiration for those who were his chessic betters, endeared him to many in the chess world. Having learned the game from Napoleon Marache, Chadwick played with many of the local chess figures of the late 1840s and 1850s. One early example of Chadwick's play, as well as his willingness to openhandedly praise his opponents, was Chadwick's participation in an eight game, blindfold exhibition given by the teenage chess phenomenon, James Leonard. At the game's conclusion, according to Miron Hazeltine, Chadwick exclaimed of his youthful antagonist, "He has played it beautifully!"

James Leonard - Chadwick [C41]
Blindfold Exhibition, Board One (1:8)
Morphy Chess Rooms, New York City
October 25, 1861

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Bg4 4.dxe5 Bxf3 5.Qxf3 dxe5 6.Bc4 Qf6 7.Qb3 b6 8.0-0 Bd6 9.Nc3 Ne7 10.Be3 0-0 11.f4

Past Pieces
[FEN "rn3rk1/p1p1nppp/1p1b1q2/4p3/
2B1PP2/1QN1B3/PPP3PP/R4RK1 b - - 0 11"]

11...Bc5 Chadwick's move allows Leonard to take care of one blindfold opponent rather easily. – jsh 12.Bxc5 bxc5 13.fxe5 Qxe5 14.Rxf7 Rxf7 15.Bxf7+ Kf8 16.Qb7 Kxf7 17.Qxa8 Nec6 18.Qb7 Qd4+ 19.Kh1 Kg6 20.Qc8 Qd7 21.Qxd7 Nxd7 22.Nd5 1-0 [New York Clipper, November 16, 1861]

Chadwick continually expanded his sports writing, his columns and material appearing in many sources. He began writing about baseball for the New York Herald in 1862, was a sports writer for the New York Sun for six years, and for the New York World for thirteen. His relationship with the Clipper lasted for decades, although not as long as Hazeltine's did. Chadwick's chess articles were often, in effect, detailed advertisements promoting clubs and suggesting readers visit them. The publicity given chess clubs made him a welcome guest. Eventually, Chadwick was best known to the fans of baseball for his editing of his friend's annual Spalding Base Ball Guide. Spalding hired Chadwick in 1882 to handle the editorial duties for his Guide, and thus began Chadwick's multi-decade association with that seminal publication.

Spalding
Spalding at 21
From Spalding's Base Ball Guide 1896
(Between pp.161-162)

Past Pieces
Cover Page, Spalding's 1896 Base Ball Guide
Note Chadwick listed as Editor

Chadwick, however, continued to promote his wide range of sports, including chess. And he also continued to enjoy playing the game. He participated in the 1869 Brooklyn Chess Club handicap tournament, at one point holding a 17-4 record. The tournament included New York players such as Brenzinger, Delmar and Perrin. (New York Times, November 4, 1869)

Chadwick happily followed chess wherever it wandered in Brooklyn, including in one instance to a fledgling club associated with a military unit. Referring to the group as "the Fourteenth Regiment Chess Coterie," Chadwick reported the group held its first meeting on a Thursday night in January 1871. The following week, he reported Charles Gilberg winning a blindfold game played against Chadwick and a Colonel Fowler. (BDE January 7 and 14, 1871) Then, the following week, Chadwick wrote that the Regiment held "their third chess meeting last night at the regular place of gathering, and [witnessed] another very interesting display of blindfold chess playing by Mr. Gilberg, who, on this occasion, undertook the difficult task of playing two games at the same time without seeing men or boards. At table No. 1 he had Mr. Chadwick as his opponent, and at table No. 2 Mr. King and Col. DeBevoise were in consultation against him. We give below the full score of the game at the first table, that at the second being marked by an important error which cost Mr. Gilberg the game:"

Charles Gilberg - Chadwick [C30]
Gilberg Blindfolded (1:2)
14th Regiment Chess Coterie
January 19, 1871

1.e4 e5 2.f4 Nc6 3.Nf3 d6 4.d4 Bg4 5.dxe5 dxe5 6.Qxd8+ Rxd8 7.Bb5 Bxf3 8.gxf3 Bd6 9.fxe5 Bxe5 10.c4 Bf6 11.e5 Bh4+ 12.Ke2 Nge7 13.Nc3 0-0 14.Rd1 Nd4+ 15.Kf1 Nxf3 16.Rxd8 Rxd8 17.Rb1 c6 18.Ba4 Nd4 19.Be3 Nef5 20.Bf2 b5 21.Bd1 Bxf2 22.Kxf2 b4 23.Ne4 Ne6 24.Bg4 g6 25.Kg1 Neg7 26.h4 h5 27.Be2 Rd4 28.Nf6+ Kf8 29.Bf3 Rxc4 30.Rd1 Nd4 31.Rd3 Nge6 32.Kg2 Nf4+ And Black won after several more moves. 0-1 [Brooklyn Daily Eagle, January 20, 1871]

The game ends with a blunder on Gilberg's part, one of several both players made throughout. Gilberg lost the other game as well, thus finishing his small exhibition 0-2. Still, in typical Chadwickian fashion, the kind-hearted journalist concluded that "Considering that Mr. Gilberg is out of practice in blindfold chess playing, this double effort was a noteworthy display of skill. At the next meeting he will doubtless be more successful." Nothing more appears to have been reported regarding this chess group, and like so many fledgling groups it may well have quickly returned to the dreams in which its creators first proposed it.

A few years before the turn of the century, Chadwick produced another Spalding series title, but this one on chess: The Game of Chess: A Work Designed Exclusively for Novices, by Henry Chadwick (New York: American Sports Publishing 1895) The work first appeared in Spaulding's Home Library, a monthly publication, in Vol. 1, No. 1, July 1895. A work for beginners, Chadwick's The Game of Chess extolled the virtues of the game and its play. He took the opportunity to republish some of his own pieces, such as his "Peculiarities of Chess Players," which highlighted the difference between poor sports and the more "manly" players who could acknowledge magnanimously the fine play of their opponents, even when losing to them. In his remarks on studying chess problems, Chadwick included eleven of his own compositions, again generally for beginners. An example of one of his mates in two: (solution at end of article)

Past Pieces
[FEN "r1k1r3/p1p1b3/1p6/3b1Np1/
1N3pB1/1P6/2P5/2KR4 w - - 0 1"]

White Mates in Two
The Game of Chess, p.35

The same volume included a fragment of a game he played against George Mackenzie, for many years the strongest player residing on American soil. Chadwick had an idiosyncratic way of referring to simultaneous chess exhibitions as chess "tourneys," and thus simultaneous games as "tourney games." His language was not designed to deceive, as his report makes clear the nature of the contest, but rather reflected the lack of more standard descriptive terms familiar to today's players. As the decades passed, Chadwick's terminology remained the same, and even to his contemporaries, near the end of the century, his language must have sounded old fashioned, in some degree.

In 1895 he introduced his effort against Mackenzie as follows:

"The writer, when in his prime as a player, in the early '80s, played two tourney games with the late champion, Captain Mackenzie, one of which took place at the old rooms of the Manhattan Chess Club on the Bowery, near Canal Street, and the other at their rooms on Fourteenth Street, opposite Irving Place, later on. The following is the report in brief: Twenty tables were placed in the form of a square, with as many players sitting at them on the outside, while inside the square the Captain walked from one table to the other, and, as he came to each table its occupant had to be ready to play the moment he reached it. He began with the move, and, of course, had the choice of the gambit in the attack. The contest began at 8:30 p.m. and finished at midnight, with the result of the success of the champion in winning seventeen out of the twenty games, the other three being won by Mr. Ward, of the Manhattan Club; Mr. Bennett, of the Syracuse Club, and Mr. Chadwick, of the Danites Club, of Brooklyn. It was the second victory of the latter over the Captain in the same class of contests. The opening moves of the contest won by Mr. Chadwick were as follows:

George H. Mackenzie - Chadwick [C25]
Simultaneous Exhibition (1:20)
Manhattan Chess Club
November 28, 1882

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 c6 3.f4 exf4 4.Nf3 g5 5.e5 Bb4 6.Bc4 Bxc3 7.dxc3 h5 8.0-0 Qe7 9.Nd4 d5 10.exd6 Qxd6 11.Re1+ Ne7 12.Kh1 Bg4 13.Qd2 Nd7 14.Qf2 Ne5 15.Bb3 0-0-0

Past Pieces
[FEN "2kr3r/pp2np2/2pq4/4n1pp/3N1pb1/
1BP5/PPP2QPP/R1B1R2K w - - 0 16"]

"The Captain resigned on the thirty-fifth move, his opponent having retained the advantage of the gambit pawn to the last." 0-1 [The Game of Chess, pp.37-38]

Why Chadwick didn't give the remaining moves is unknown. The original report, in slightly modified form, appeared years earlier in the Eagle for November 29, 1882. Keep in mind that Mackenzie was as much a businessman as he was a chess player; in that context, his loss above could be considered a sound investment for the publicity it achieved. Mackenzie obviously knew his opponent, and knew the added "value" of any game they played for promoting his own interests, should it find its way to print. The game, as it turned out, was published on the Eagle's front page.

But perhaps such a speculation regarding Mackenzie is too cynical. What we know for a certainty is that Chadwick retained a life-long interest in chess, and rarely missed an opportunity locally to appear at key moments in the game's developing history. He took a board at another simultaneous display, this one against Wilhelm Steinitz, on February 15, 1883, when Steinitz faced twenty-eight hand-picked opponents at the rooms of the Manhattan. Here Chadwick managed "an oversight" that dropped his Queen. Steinitz finished 21-3, with 4 draws. (Turf, Field and Farm, February 23, 1883). At the age of 82, Chadwick even made an appearance at Thomas Jefferson Hall, Court Street, Brooklyn, for the opening game of the Lasker - Marshall 1907 world championship match. (New York Sun, January 27, 1907) Imagine witnessing chess events a decade before Morphy's ascendency, and still being agile enough to watch Lasker manhandle Marshall sixty years later!

Chadwick continued publishing various sports columns almost until his death. One fertile source for chess materials, surprisingly late in Chadwick's life, was his "The World of Sports Reviewed by an Expert" column in the Brooklyn Standard Union (BSU). His column routinely covered topics as varied as "aquatic sports," "automobiling," baseball, bowling, cricket and cycling, as well as chess, to name just a few from the start of the alphabet. The length of some of Chadwick's columns are hard to comprehend for anyone growing up with a personal history of today's painfully reduced print newspapers, but Chadwick could easily fill a full, seven columns of small print, and more, as he offered his readers a synopsis of all the sports and pastimes available to them in the metropolitan area.

At times, Chadwick's sports and chess connections overlapped. The clearest case was with Jackson Whipps Showalter. For instance, in April 1896, Showalter and Chadwick had been in Ohio to see the season opener played by the Cincinnati Red Stockings. That evening, they tried to visit the old Cincinnati Chess Club, only to find it closed except for weekday afternoons. Chess interest had shifted to the suburbs, they were told. (BDE May 7, 1896) A few years later, when Showalter returned from London 1899, Chadwick was on hand to interview his "chess friend" during the latter's four day stay at the Union Square Hotel. Showalter, an amateur baseball player in his younger days, was for one day the guest of Charles Ebbetts, then president of the Washington Ball Park Grounds. Ebbetts had not long before purchased the Brooklyn team, and eventually, of course, was the builder of Ebbetts Field, where his Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers played. Chadwick reported Showalter's chess gossip from when they chatted at the Manhattan Chess Club, including talk of Showalter's possible matches with Pillsbury and Janowski (neither of which transpired) as well as the Kentuckian's pleasure in hearing the applause in London from sporting British amateurs when he defeated their favorites, Blackburne, Bird and Lee. It was the kind of sportsmanship detail Chadwick was sure to pick up on and include in his pieces. (BSU, August 12, 1899)

Exploration of Chadwick's later columns also reveal hitherto forgotten games played by great names in America's chess past. When the nation's best native-born talent gathered for the annual Anglo-American Cable Match in March 1900, for instance, Chadwick was on hand for the festivities. The Americans played at the Academy of Music over the weekend of March 24-25, 1900, and the final result, in a topsy-turvy affair, left the New Yorkers and their teammates quite relieved, with a 6-4 victory. Thanks to Chadwick's reporting, numerous details of the event have been preserved, right down to his own contribution to the spirit of fairness in the proceedings: "I noticed on the morning of Friday that though this was an international match with Great Britain, there was not an English flag in the hall, so I called attention to the mistake, and Mr. Craig, of the Brooklyn Club, promptly sent home for his large English and American flags and hung them up in the hall side by side amidst applause." (BSU March 31, 1900)

Chadwick also noted that "The night after the tourney [the Anglo-American Cable Match, played March 24-25, 1900] there was quite a gathering of experts at the Brooklyn Club, including Messrs. Pillsbury, Showalter and [John] Barry [of Boston], and an offhand game was played in which Showalter and Barry consulted against Pillsbury and Secretary [Stanley] Chadwick, the result being a victory for the former after a close contest. I append the score, not previously published."

The game has not to my knowledge appeared in any collected work on Pillsbury, and it should be kept in mind that Stanley H. Chadwick was apparently no relation to Henry Chadwick.:

Showalter, John Barry - Pillsbury, Stanley H. Chadwick [B72]
Brooklyn Chess Club Consultation Game
March 26, 1900

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be2 g6 7.Be3 Bg7 8.h3 Bd7 9.Qd2 0-0 10.g4 Nxd4 11.Bxd4 Bc6 12.f3 Qa5 13.a3 Rfd8 14.b4 Qc7 15.b5 e5 16.Bf2 d5 17.bxc6 dxe4 18.Qe3 exf3 19.cxb7 Rab8 20.Qxf3 e4 21.Qg3 Nd5 Black has held a difficult position since their decision to play 16...d5 opened the game up to White's advantage, but this move makes matters much worse. 22.Nxd5 Qa5+ 23.c3

Past Pieces
[FEN "1r1r2k1/pP3pbp/6p1/q2N4/4p1P1/
P1P3QP/4BB2/R3K2R b KQ - 0 23"]

23...e3 Allowing a simple rejoinder that the White team in turns overlooks. Better is the straightforward 23...Qxd5. 24.Bxe3 Winning, but White had 24.Ne7+ Kf8 25.Qxe3 when further resistance is clearly futile: 25...Qxc3+ (25...Re8 26.Nxg6+ hxg6 27.Qc5+ Qxc5 28.Bxc5+ Kg8 29.Rb1 Bxc3+ 30.Kf2 etc.) 26.Qxc3 Bxc3+ 27.Kf1 Bxa1 28.Nc6 etc. 24...Qxd5 25.0-0 Bxc3 26.Bf3 Qd3 27.Bxa7 Bxa1 28.Bxb8 Bd4+ 29.Kg2 Bb6 30.Be5 Qc2+ 31.Kh1 Qc4 32.Bg2 Ba7 33.b8Q 33.Qh4 Rd5 (33...Re8 34.Qf6) 34.Qf2! 33...Bxb8 34.Bxb8 Rd3 35.Qf4 Qxf4 36.Rxf4 Rxa3 37.Be5 g5 38.Rd4 h5 Allowing mate in four, but the position was long hopeless. 39.Rd8+ Kh7 40.Be4+ 1-0 [Brooklyn Standard Union, March 31, 1900, annotations (computer assisted) by jsh]

Not surprisingly, Chadwick's coverage around this time included material connected with his baseball and chess friend, Showalter. The same day the above consultation game was played, Showalter managed to find himself mated in eighteen moves – a rarity for him, obviously, throughout his long career. His conqueror was Robert Cowell, a member of the Brooklyn club since its inception in 1886, and who was remembered at his death in 1919 as a player whose board was generally surrounded by fellow members as anxious to hear Cowell's humorous side comments as watch his game. (American Chess Bulletin, July-August 1919, p.197) Here surely was a delightful moment for the club's jester, his pleasure introduced by Chadwick himself:

"Quite a number of noteworthy games played at the Brooklyn Chess Club under ordinary circumstances escape outside attention from the fact that they do not come within the observation of the chess critics of the papers. My attention was called to a very clever piece of skillful chess strategy which marked an off-hand game played by Mr. Colwell – the well-known humorist of the club – with Jackson W. Showalter on March 26, which, as an illustration of the brilliancy of attack of the Muzio gambit, was one of the best efforts of Mr. Colwell of the season, and a decided surprise party for the Kentucky champion. Mr. C. was evidently at his best in the attack in this game, and his liberality in yielding up pieces for position simply astonished Showalter. Here is the score of the game, which I induced Mr. C. to let me have. I shall, of course, send it to my Kentucky chess friend as a reminder of the uncertainties of chess, especially when played in the Brooklyn Club." Showalter's blunder at move sixteen suggests he was hardly giving the game his full attention – or else he wanted to give his opponent the pleasure of mating him quickly.

Robert Colwell - Showalter [C37]
Brooklyn Chess Club Offhand Game
March 26, 1900

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.0-0 gxf3 6.Qxf3 Qf6 7.e5 Qxe5 8.d3 Bh6 9.Nc3 Qd4+ 10.Kh1 Ne7? 11.Bxf4 (11.Nb5!) 11...Bxf4 12.Rae1 c6 13.Re4 Qg7 14.Bxf7+ Qxf7 15.Rxf4 Qg7 16.Rf7

Past Pieces
[FEN "rnb1k2r/pp1pnRqp/2p5/8/8/
2NP1Q2/PPP3PP/5R1K b kq - 0 16"]

16...Qg6?? 17.Rf8+ Rxf8 18.Qxf8 mate. 1-0 [Brooklyn Standard Union, April 7, 1900]

On a more personal note, I am also pleased to see Chadwick included in the same, April 7, 1900, column one of Showalter's simultaneous exhibition games, played the next night after the game above, on March 27, 1900. Showalter had been the guest of the Queens County Chess Club of Jamaica, Long Island, in large measure thanks to Chadwick's efforts. (Chadwick also acted as referee for the four hour exhibition.) As expected, the single player won an overwhelming number of his games. Sixteen in all were conducted, with one board played in consultation by two men. Showalter finished 13-2, with 1 draw. (BDE March 28, 1900) In those days, masters were more willing than today to take a board against an exhibitioner, enlivening the contest for not only the players but the spectators as well. Thus did a young Frank Marshall, already New York State champion and Anglo-American match fellow teammate of Showalter's, sit down at board two to try his luck against his senior.

The game escaped my searches when writing about Marshall's early development in chess, although I did my best at the time to locate as many of Marshall's games played in 1900 or earlier. (Young Marshall: The Early Chess Career of Frank James Marshall, with Collected Games 1893-1900, Moravian Chess, 2002) I am happy to present it here:

Showalter - Marshall [C43]
Queens County Chess Club, Jamaica, Long Island
Simultaneous Exhibition (1:16)
March 3, 1900

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 Nxe4 4.Bd3 d5 5.Nxe5 Bd6 6.Qe2 0-0 7.0-0 Bxe5 8.dxe5 Nc5 9.Nc3 Nxd3 10.Qxd3 c6 11.f4 f6 12.Be3 b6 13.b4 Na6 14.a3 Nc7 15.Rad1? Ba6 16.b5 Nxb5 17.Rf3? Nxc3 18.Qxc3 Be2 19.Rh3 Bxd1 20.Qd3 Bg4? 20...g6 21.Qxd1 fxe5 22.fxe5 Qe7 is the clearest path to the win. 21.Qxh7+ Kf7

Past Pieces
[FEN "r2q1r2/p4kpQ/1pp2p2/3pP3/
5Pb1/P3B2R/2P3PP/6K1 w - - 0 22"]

22.Rg3? 22.f5! Bxf5 (22...Bxh3? 23.e6+ Ke8 24.Qg6+ Ke7 25.Qxg7+) 23.Qxf5 would at least give White chances. After Marshall plays several accurate moves, Showalter wisely gives up hope. 22...Rh8 23.e6+ Kxe6 24.Qxg7 Rg8 25.Qb7 Qd7 26.Qa6 Bf5 0-1 [Brooklyn Standard Union, April 7, 1900, annotations (computer assisted) by jsh]

As Chadwick aged, his reportage of chess included more and more chess reminiscences. Sadly he never saw fit to publish a volume covering his own vast connection with chess history in the making. Those anecdotes he did publish, however, can sometimes offer insight regarding the times, as well as possible leads regarding more complete information concerning a significant period in American chess history.

For instance, in speaking about one of the early incarnations of the Brooklyn Chess Club, Chadwick remarked that "It was at this clubroom that Paulson played two games blindfold, it being considered quite a feat then. The club moved in 1857 to Bassford's billiard saloon, corner of Remsen and Court streets, and the membership then included Messrs. Perrin, Frere, Alfred Thompson, Horner ... Napoleon Marache and H. Chadwick. It was here that Paul Morphy played a match of best two out of three with Marache on the night of June 16, 1859, giving him the odds of the Knight, Morphy winning two games consecutively with ease."

The only surviving game Morphy contested against Marache from about this time has simply been identified as "New York 1859." Morphy - Marache, New York, Knight Odds New York, 1859: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.0-0 Bc5 6.e5 d5 7.exf6 dxc4 8.Re1+ Be6 9.Ng5 Qxf6 10.Nxe6 fxe6 11.Qh5+ g6 12.Qxc5 Rf8 13.Bg5 Qxf2+ 14.Kh1 Rf5 15.Qxc4 Rxg5 16.Qxe6+ Kf8 17.Rf1 Rxg2 18.Qh3 Rg1+ 19.Rxg1 Kg7 20.Rae1 Rf8 21.Rgf1 Qxc2 22.Qd7+ Kg8 23.Rxf8+ Kxf8 24.Re8 mate. 1-0 (Paul Morphy, by Géza Maróczy, 1908 (translated by Robert Sherwood; Caissa Editions 2012), p.232.) A brief report in the New York Tribune, which Chadwick also said he was working for at the time, noted that indeed Morphy had played in the afternoon and evening of June 16, 1859, at the Brooklyn Chess Club, where he won a game offering knight odds to Marache, although no mention was made of the game being one of two won by Morphy on that occasion. (New York Tribune, June 18, 1859) In another account, Chadwick mistakenly attributed the game to 1858, but added that "After the opening moves of the game had been rapidly played Morphy took time for the formation of a special plan of attack, and after a rather lengthy analysis, his moves were again made with rapidity, and it was not long before he declared 'a mate in four' involving a beautiful sacrifice. The game did not occupy over an hour. (American Chess World, June 1901, p.120) Although not all the pieces of this small chess history puzzle are in place, thanks to Chadwick's recollections and early chess reportage, it may now be possible to better date and locate this game in Morphy's career.

Another curious chess recollection Chadwick shared with readers was that "It was in [the Brooklyn Chess Club] that I had a bout with Theodore Tilton, in which I won four straight games from the young man, who did not again play at the club after his defeat." (BSU March 3, 1900) Chadwick made the same remark in another source, adding there that "Tilton could not brook defeat in anything." (American Chess World, June 1901, p.121; see also American Chess Magazine, December 1899, pp.224-225)

Such comments about playing chess with Tilton were typical of Chadwick who, after all, stated repeatedly that "If ever there was a game calculated to bring into prominent view the idiosyncrasies of individuals, it is chess. It shows up a man's prevailing characteristics at times so plainly that he who runs may read. The faults of human nature, as shown in conceit, selfishness, obstinacy, ill-temper and meanness, are brought out into prominence in playing the game, as strikingly as are the virtues of humility, generosity, good temper, and a charitable consideration of your adversary's weak points. ... In fact, in the eager desire for victory in a contest in which one's mental power is brought into play, and in a game in which the element of chance is entirely eliminated, a man is apt to exhibit his prominent traits of character very plainly at times." (Outing, December 1880, p.260; The Game of Chess, 1895, p.9)

Chadwick did not identify Theodore Tilton for his readers, as he likely assumed anyone reading his recollections at the time of their first publication remembered Tilton's dubious place in Brooklyn's history. Theodore Tilton (1835-1907) was an editorial assistant to Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887), when Beecher was named editor of the New York City abolitionist daily The Independent. Tilton later for a time edited the Brooklyn Union. Beecher's sister is better remembered today: Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin. In his day, though, Henry Ward Beecher, the fiery abolitionist preacher of Brooklyn's Plymouth Church, commanded national and international attention.

Tilton and Beecher were associates for several years, but eventually developed difficulties. Scandal erupted when Tilton charged Beecher with seducing his wife and sued him for $100,000 in civil damages. The suit ended in a hung jury, in part perhaps because testimony showed that Tilton himself had engaged in the questionable practice of the "free love" movement titillating newspaper readers at the time. (For images of Tilton and more information on the scandal, the reader may care to visit these links; similarly, for Beecher.)

The voluminous details of the scandal are of no interest here, other than as an explanation for why Chadwick thought it fitting to mention Theodore Tilton in his chess recollections, and to suggest that Tilton's reaction to loss at chess exhibited a revealingly compromised character. On at least one occasion Chadwick gave a more detailed story regarding his meeting with Tilton. In May 1907 Tilton had died in Paris, where he lived avoiding as much publicity as possible. His death prompted Chadwick to recall their chess meeting over forty years earlier:

"It was in the early sixties, when I began my newspaper life in connection with the old City News of Brooklyn. At the time in question, I was a member of the old Brooklyn Chess Club, which had it chess rooms in Bassford's Billiard Saloon, then located on the corner of Court and Remsen streets, the site now occupied by the Dime Savings Bank. I used to drop in there after getting through with my writing on the City News, the editorial rooms of which were on Fulton street, near what is now the Shubert Theater.

"I was in the chess room in question one afternoon, when who should walk in and take a seat, to watch the chess players, but young Theodore Tilton, to whom Bassford introduced me, asking Tilton if he would like to play a game with a young player like himself. So we sat down to a game, and in a short time I beat him. 'Will you try another Mr. Chadwick?' he said, with a few remarks about his being 'out of practice.' So we played a second game, and this time he had what he said was 'the best of the game,' when he made a costly move which lost him his queen. 'We'll try one more, if you please,' said Tilton, and play was resumed. In the third game I out-maneuvered him and won again. He got up, looked at his watch, hesitated, and again sat down as he remarked, 'Fortune is against me, I fear.' Despite his defeat he pluckily went at it again. But evidently he had lost his control of temper and with it, of course, went his judgment, and for the fourth time his defeat was the result; and as the inevitable 'checkmate' was called he got up from his seat, took up his hat, and saying 'Good day, sir,' he left the rooms.

"Theodore was so mentally constituted that he could not withstand defeat in anything. Young Bassford told me afterward that Tilton played a pretty fair game of chess, and was generally successful, but that the result in my case was a disagreeable surprise to him. He never played chess with me after that experience, though a few years afterward I became a writer on the old Union newspaper, when Mr. Bowen gave Tilton the editorship of the Union for a year. But the young editor of the period lacked the instinct of true journalism – that is, he worked solely for his own special interests, and not for the public welfare at large. ..." (Rome (New York) Daily Sentinel, May 25, 1907)

That Theodore Tilton was a true devotee of chess is quite clear, as his own wife's testimony confirmed. Elizabeth Richards Tilton, the subject of the alleged scandal with Beecher, gave testimony during the proceedings regarding Tilton's neglect of her. Among her statements was the following: "Theodore, I can truthfully tell you, in that time never gave me any sympathy at all; he called to see how I did in the morning and in the evening, or late at night; at this period he was absorbed in chess to such a degree that he would sometimes be up all night; I have known him to stand up at night, ready for bed, engaged upon a problem in chess, and to be found in that same condition in the morning, without having gone to bed at all." (New York Herald, August 5, 1874)

Past Pieces
Testimony in the Great Beecher - Tilton Scandal Case Illustrated, circa 1875
Designed and drawn by James E. Cook, 46 Desplaines St.
Commercial Lithograph Company
180 Clark St., NY City
Library of Congress

The lawsuit lost, the couple separated. Although Tilton and his wife never divorced, they went their separate ways, Elizabeth Tilton to live in her native Brooklyn and Theodore Tilton to live in Paris. Curiously enough, when Elizabeth Tilton died over a quarter century later, in April 1897, just below her death notice in the New York Tribune for April 16, 1897, was published Pillsbury's tenth and final win over Showalter in their closely contested match. (New York Tribune, April 16, 1897) Whether Tilton ever saw the juxtaposition of a chess score with the notice of his estranged wife's death is unknown. If he did, one can only guess which he read first.

That Tilton's interest in chess was lifelong is not a mystery, nor is his connection with yet another early chess figure in the United States: William James Appleton Fuller. As one source reported it, "For many years Mr. Tilton occupied a small two-room lodging in a remote quarter of the Isle St. Louis, near Notre Dame Cathedral. At this time his sole passion was chess, and he haunted the Café de la Regence, where the celebrated chess players of Europe congregated, and where he became acquainted with many famous Frenchmen, and matched his skill, among others, with that of M. Grevy, before he became president of the republic. He often played with Judah Phillip Benjamin, who was then residing in Paris. Later, when Mr. Fuller, at one time a law partner of Governor Abbett of New Jersey, went to Paris with his maiden daughter, the two old friends took a modest apartment on the fifth floor of a house in the Avenue Kleber, near the American embassy, and since Mr. Fuller's death Mr. Tilton had retained a room in Miss Fuller's apartments." (Rome (New York) Daily Sentinel, May 25, 1907) Whether Tilton and Fuller knew one another initially through a chess connection is unknown, although interesting to consider. So ended Tilton and his connection with chess.

Alas, for Chadwick, sports reporting paid little more than did chess, and despite the $50 a month pension for life awarded him by the National Baseball League's Playing Rules Committee in November 1896, his last years knew pecuniary want. In 1900 Chadwick supposedly estimated he made no more than $1,400 a year from his sports writing. Police reporters were earning on average $15 more a week than sports writers, while regular newspaper reporters averaged about $25 a week more.

Henry Chadwick
Henry Chadwick: "The Father of Baseball"
The Salt Lake Tribune, July 2, 1905

Chadwick found himself unable to enjoy a retirement, or to find time and energy to write the book he wished to, about his half-century love affair with baseball. His health was compromised, and he found it more and more difficult to attend events, although attend he did. His livelihood depended on his writing, even in his 80s, and the local color for his reports depended on his attending them. As his final days approached, he wrote an old friend, saying "here I am, at 84 years of age, with lots of dear relatives to look after and working harder and for less than I did forty years ago." He lived in a top floor apartment of a four story apartment building. Soon thereafter, while moving furniture, Chadwick overtaxed his heart. His condition, complicated by pneumonia, led to his death on April 20, 1908.

Chadwick was buried in a plot provided some years before by his old, and now rich, baseball friend, Spalding. He was buried on the morning of April 23, 1908, at Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery. A year later, on April 22, 1909, the New York Tribune reported baseball's unveiling of the Chadwick Memorial at Green-Wood. (For an image of, and information about, the memorial, visit this link) Charles Ebbetts was master of ceremonies.

Had Chadwick been alive to read about his memorial, he might well have smiled to himself when he noticed in the Tribune column to the left of his write-up was the baseball box score for Yale's 3-2 victory over Fordham University, and in the column to the right, the score of a young Capablanca's first match game win over Frank Marshall, played the night before.


Chadwick's Mate in Two

1.Nd6+ Kb8 (1...Kd8 2.Nf7 mate, or 2.Nb7 mate) 2.Na6 mate. The Game of Chess (Chadwick, 1895), p.35. 


Copyright © 2014 by John S. Hilbert


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Olimpiu G. Urcan is the author of Arthur Kaufmann: A Chess Biography, 1872-1938 (2012) and other books by McFarland Inc. Publishers. Follow his chess history updates on Twitter: @OlimpiuUrcan.


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