First published in 1883
This edition, © 1997, The Bristol & District Chess League. All rights reserved.
CLIFTON, June, 1883.
HAVING been encouraged by the late Mr. Thomson to publish a selection of Games played by various members of "The Bristol Chess Club," I now venture to do so; he having thought such would be appreciated by the present and future members, as well as by players in general, and that they would tend to promote the interest in, and welfare of the game, and Club in Bristol.
The collection I offer may not be uninteresting as fair specimens of play by a large number of past and present members of that Society selected, as they are, from various works, London and local newspapers, that have been edited and conducted by Walker, Staunton, Williams, Lowenthal, Ranken, Skipworth, Selkirk, and other analysts, and a large number of hitherto unpublished games. A short history of the Club, with specimens of Problems by its composers, and a few End Games. The notes are also taken from the same source, except those by "Editor" or single note by "Ed." which alone I am responsible for.
Book I. describes the history of the Club from its earliest date, a short account of the yearly proceedings during the past 23 years, and a brief sketch of the Club's chief players. and Chess Authors. For its early history, and sketch of the late Mr. Williams, I am chiefly indebted to his friend Mr. J. Cleland, who for over 40 years was a continuous member of the Club. If I have dwelt longer on personal events in 1871 and 1881 than seem justified by the proceedings of those years, my only motive with regard to the former date was, to endeavour to remove an erroneous impression still existing in some quarters that my actions were dictated by selfish considerations; and with regard to the latter year, to give a correct account of facts which have been wilfully misrepresented by a small clique from selfish interest.
Book II. comprises Games from the earliest extant by any Bristol player to 1859, and Problems by composers of that era.
Book III. Correspondence, Consultation and other games played in "The Athenæum Club," between 1859 and 1871, and Problems composed at that period.
Book IV. Games, and End Games, played in the present Club, and Problems composed by its Members.
Several typographical errors escaped attention in revision, which will be found corrected in the "Errata." Also a few obscure moves from the printed copy.
Author of "The Book of Chess," &c.,
To "J. B.,"
In remembrance of the stern battles of by-gone days,
the greater the severity of which
the more was the friendship cemented.
White to move, and mate in six moves.
Solution at the end of Book I.
THE history of chess in Bristol may be divided. into three periods, or stages. First:--From the primal formation of the club, under the title of "The Bristol Chess Club." Second:--Its revival as "The Bristol Athenæum Chess Club." And, third;--Its reorganization and construction under its existing name:-- "The Bristol and Clifton Chess Association."
As regards the Bristol Chess Club, we have no reliable data to offer as to the exact period when it first emerged into light, as no record remains of the event: but, we have undoubted evidence that it was formed in 1829 or 1830, under the presidentship of Mr. Elijah Williams, who from his earliest years had been one of Caïssa's most devoted worshippers, and became the strongest player in the city; Mr. Withers, who was little inferior to Mr. Williams in strength, acted as treasurer: and that it was one of the first, if not the first, provincial club in the country.
Prior to the above date, the principal players in Bristol were in the habit of meeting weekly at the late Mr. Withers's residence in Castle street for practice, and all doubtless felt--
"The stern delight which warriors feel
In foemen worthy of their steel !"
A more suitable site could not have been found for the votaries of the Royal Game to pitch their tent and fight their battles in, than on the ruins of such an historical spot; for here Bristol's old Castle stood, with its four towers - representing the "castles" or "towers," as we hear them sometimes called by old players--where Kings and Queens in days of yore had trod its squares and courts, directing the more serious and destructive contests between man and man. Where Camden's warlike bishop held haughty sway, and knights, and soldiers (Pawns) fought and fell, though not like the "men" of chess-"To rise and fight another day." Upon this interesting spot the local pioneers of the game planted their standard, and assembled their little army of players, small at first, but compact and irresistible against all invaders, London alone excepted.
Through the skill and influence of the principal players, the club soon became the rendezvous of all Chessites in the locality, until, having outgrown its accommodation, it was found necessary in 1840 to remove it to more commodious quarters, and a suitable room was found at No. 25, Trinity street, College Green. A secretary and committee were now indispensable, and upwards of sixty members' names were on the strength of the club. Considering the limited number of players at that time in the city, this was a sufficient proof of the popularity of the president, who no doubt gained it from possessing every qualification for his position, viz:--strength of play, sociability, urbanity, tact, judgment, patience, and enthusiasm for the game--all traits indispensable to the harmony and stability of any Chess club. A social and harmonious feeling accordingly prevailed at all its meetings, and added greatly to its success and prestige. Here the three strongest members possessed by any club out of London, Williams, Withers and Henderson, contested with each other for honourable supremacy, and yielded large odds to the tyro. The celebrated Correspondence match with Mr. Staunton was also conducted by them here: and "The Souvenir Games" played, with others of equal excellence and brilliancy, published at that period through the "Chess Player's Chronicle," "Illustrated London News," "Bell's Life," and other chess publications. The club soon became celebrated throughout the country; and from its influence clubs sprang into existence in nearly every town and city in the country, and the game was cultivated in a manner previously unknown. The taste thus given for the royal pastime has steadily progressed, until England now stands the foremost country in the world for its cultivation, strength, and number of players. We think that Mr. Williams, and Mr. Staunton, through his victory over M. St. Amant, the French champion, in 1843 in Paris, are justly entitled to the honour between them, of having elevated chess to the pinnacle it now occupies. Prior to this period France was looked upon as the cradle of chess.
The anniversary of the opening of the Club was celebrated every year with a dinner at the Montague hotel, and a jovial evening spent, interspersed with songs and toasts; which last called forth the oratorical proclivities of the various prominent members, and judging from the published specimens extant these were of no mean order. The following extracts from the speeches of different members, show the spirit which animated the general body, and might serve to stimulate the present guardians of its honour to maintain the trust handed down to them by their predecessors unimpaired, as it did the writer, seventeen or eighteen years since, when he first read them. A member of the committee in responding to the toast, " Prosperity to the Bristol Chess Club," said:--
" The necessity of some relaxation of the mind, is allowed by every one to be essential for the due observance of the various duties in life we are called upon respectively to fulfil. In youth, before the intellectual faculties are fully developed, infantine amusements are the best calculated to invigorate the constitution, and prepare the mind for the reception of more lofty attainments; but when we become men, we must put away childish things, and it is then of importance that we should select those amusements and recreations, which even by ascetics must be pronounced at least harmless, if not beneficial. In the barbarous and middle ages, when the energies of the mind were necessarily directed to the cultivation of a warlike spirit, the recreations of our forefathers were more particularly adapted to produce the greatest possible amount of physical strength. But as civilisation progressed, they would find encouragement no longer given to mere displays of brute force; thus had popular taste gradually changed, until at length we come to our own happy era, when on every side we behold the glorious triumph of mind over matter. With confidence would he appeal to the gentlemen present; for doubtless not one amongst them would venture to avow a predilection for the brutal contests of former days, in preference to the scientific amusements of the nineteenth century. If proof were needed of this fact, let them contemplate 'The Bristol Chess Club,' not only springing into existence as a thing of life, but possessing from its very birth the vitality and the energy of manhood, such as might well call forth the admiration, not only of its parental guardians, but the whole chess world. It is true, they had been denied the pleasure of bestowing that fostering care, so essential in early years; and on that account he would the more remind them that the time might arrive, when misfortune may possibly paralyse this offspring of their mutual exertions, and then their dormant affections would be called into exercise, by rendering a double supply of succour and assistance. Before he sat down, he would beg them to reflect upon the advantages which a club possessed for the cultivation of chess, and the reunion of its votaries. Upon the former he need scarcely dilate, as it must be apparent that eminence can alone be attained by encountering a variety of players. It is in the reassemblage of its friends, that chess is entitled to our warmest support. What kind- hearted feelings! What cheerful sensations and innocent delights does it produce ! Once let the comforts, the enjoyments and the 'flow of soul' be circumscribed, and in that moment they lost a proper and just estimate of what essentially constitutes a club. Firmly believing that in this club there existed a feeling of mutual esteem and kindness, he called upon them, not only to remain firm at their posts, but to be 'up and doing,' until each successive year increased their strength, and at length placed 'The Bristol Chess Club' upon the very pinnacle of chess celebrity."
Another member, in proposing the health of "The president," said:--"'The Bristol Chess Club' was proud of its president; and he thought all would agree with him (the speaker) in the opinion, that to whatever importance in public estimation the Club might in future attain, much of that importance would be owing to him, and to his zeal and skill."
The Treasurer stated:--"After a considerable outlay in furnishing chess-boards and men, together with the whole of the 'Chess Chronicle' from the commencement, 'Bell's Life' and other incidental expenses, there was such a surplus fund in hand, that if they did not suggest some mode of increasing its expenditure to the satisfaction of the members, a very few years would place them in a position to offer premiums for a regular and constant attendance at the Club.
If the sentiments enunciated at these festive gatherings were more generally observed than they are in chess clubs, and the rigid rules of caste were relaxed, a more friendly feeling would prevail; our favourite recreation would attract fresh votaries; clubs would increase in numbers and importance, and mankind would advance in happiness and contentment. For we are told by the learned Dr. Franklin, that it is a beneficial amusement, and teaches, 'Foresight, circumspection, caution ;' also, 'the habit of not being discouraged by present bad appearances in the state of our affairs, the habit of hoping for a favourable change, and that of persevering in the search of resources. All creeds and classes should be dropped at the chess-room door, and one and all meet in Caïssa's Temple on an equal footing
The Club took great interest in the memorable match between Mr. Staunton and M. St. Amant--
"When England encountered sunny France,
In fierce and angry fight,"
and was foremost in congratulating the victor on his return to England, invited him to a banquet, which he accepted, and on his visiting the Club afforded an excited crowd of members an opportunity of witnessing his unsurpassed excellence in the mysteries of "The game and playe of the Chesse." The speeches delivered at this banquet are not preserved to us; we are therefore unable to judge of their quality or quantity; but we are assured by a friend, who was present, that they were witty, amusing, and complimentary to the guest, who was much pleased with the enthusiastic reception and hospitality. The members also subscribed a large sum, and presented the champion with a handsome set of chessmen, as a memento of the gratification his visit had afforded them.
Some time during the latter end of 1844, the Club sustained the loss of one of its chief pillars, and ablest players, in the departure of Mr. Henderson for the continent, a serious loss to the strength of the society. But the truism "Misfortunes never come singly," was never more verified than in the succeeding year, when the creator of the club, its mainstay and its chief, also left the city for the capital; bearing with him many expressions of regret, and good wishes for his prosperity. Such a loss was irreparable and depressing in the extreme. He was elected honorary member.
Mr. Withers, on whom the mantle of Mr. Williams justly descended as the strongest player left, struggled to support the drooping energies of the members, ably supported by Rev. Mr. Brice, but only succeeded in maintaining the semblance of the Club's former activity and cohesiveness, for a short time. It was consequently found necessary the following year, 1846, to remove the Club to more advantageous quarters, and the Old Athenæum, in Corn street, was its destined locale for some years. Here Mr. Thomson first became acquainted with the mysteries of the game, and under the tutorship of Mr. Withers, those latent qualities soon developed, which made his name famous as a chess player. Mr. Kipping, also a strong-player, was resident for a short time in Bristol at this period, and became a member of the Club, frequently doing battle with the president, and other members, for honourable supremacy.
In 1849 and 1850, we find the indefatigable president and Mr. Thomson putting forth their joint energies to restore the Club to its original influence and usefulness. Their efforts were crowned with much success, upwards of seventy members' names were on the list: a clear proof of the popularity of the game in the city, and that nothing was wanted but proper organization, and inspired enthusiasm, to maintain its strength and prestige as a first-class provincial society. Much spirit and activity were shown by the members; eight or ten sets of players usually assembled each evening during the winter. But the promoters were unable to support permanently the interest in the meetings, and were doomed to see their followers diminish each successive year; until, in 1859, Captain Kennedy, who had recently established his abode in Bath, paid them a visit, and made the acquaintance of Withers, Thomson, Brice and others, who invited him to accept the presidency of the Club, which he consented to do. It was now deemed advisable to reconstruct their society and place it on a firm basis. An arrangement was made with the directors of the Athenæum for a separate room, where the members could meet daily on payment of a small subscription. This was a great success; those members who had left, or took little interest in the Club's gatherings, returned to their allegiance, and the president soon had the satisfaction of seeing one of the largest and strongest body of players, possessed by any town in England, under his command. The Club was now known as "The Bristol Athenæum Chess Club," and the chess-room was open from 9.30 a.m. till 9.30 p.m. Herr Lowenthal wrote of "The Bristol Club" in the "Daily Telegraph" thus:-"Of all chess clubs out of London, that of Bristol was one of the most famous. If other clubs succeeded to the inheritance, the influence of such a leading provincial Society was the main cause of their success."
A meeting of the local players was held at the Athenæum on the 11th July, 1859, for the purpose of drawing up a set of rules for the new club, electing officers, and for other arrangements. Capt. Kennedy was elected President, Mr. Thomson, Vice-President, Mr. Tilly, treasurer, and Mr. Phillips, secretary. Six other members, including Mr. Withers, formed a Council of Management. The following rules were adopted:--
1. The game of Chess is to be conducted in strict accordance with the laws of chess, as published in "Staunton's Chess Player's Handbook."
2. The affairs of the Club to be conducted by a council, consisting of a president, vice-president, treasurer, secretary, and six other members: three to form a quorum.
3. The annual subscription to be -- for members of the Bristol Athenæum, two shillings and six-pence; and for non- members, seven shillings and six-pence.
4. Candidates will be admitted Annual Members of the Club, upon being proposed and seconded by two members of the Athenæum, except a majority of the members of the Club vote against the same.
5. No books, or other property of the Club, to be taken from the club room.
6. Members of other chess clubs, residing ten miles from Bristol, will be admitted to the Club as occasional visitors, upon the introduction of a member, and placing their names upon the Visitors' book.
7. Smoking is not allowed in the club room.
8. The club room to be open every day (except Sunday) from Ten in the morning till Ten at night. There will be a special muster every Thursday evening at Seven o'clock.
9. A general meeting of the Club to be held annually, on the first Thursday in September.
10. No alteration to be made in these Laws, except at the Annual Meeting, or a Special Meeting called for that purpose. One week's notice of such proposed alteration must be signed by two members, and posted on the Notice Board in the room.
The number of members was sixty-nine. Under the able influence of Capt. Kennedy much spirit and activity were called into play. The following autumn witnessed the commencement of two games by correspondence, between the Club and that of Cardiff; in which the local champions were worsted in both games; they were conducted by Messrs. Selkirk, Holloway, and Phillips, with occasional assistance from others, and they are poor specimens of those players' chess force.
1860.--At the annual meeting, all the officers were re- elected, and Mr. Withers elected vice-president with Mr. Thomson. On the suggestion of the president, it was resolved to engage Herr Lowenthal for a week's practice at the Club the following November; accordingly, on the 5th of that month he made his appearance amongst them, and opened fire on the gallant defenders of the Club's honour, which resulted in a general victory for the invader, after a stubborn resistance on the part of his opponents. The programme for the week included a soirée on the 6th, on which occasion the visitor opened the proceedings with a lecture on the History of Chess, its antiquity, and advantages in every-day life, &c. This was the first chess soirée held in the city, out of which those emanated, seven or eight years later at Clifton, which gave such pleasure and satisfaction to all who attended them, and contributed in no small degree to place the Bristol Club on a higher pinnacle than it had ever previously attained. After a most successful week of play, Mr. Lowenthal left the city, but before doing so he arranged for a visit of the British Chess Association to Bristol the following year. The engagement of Mr. Lowenthal was the first entered into with any professional by the local players.
A chess column in the "Bristol Daily Post" was commenced at this period, and continued to give a weekly record of the Club's doings, games, problems, &c., for three or four years, ably conducted by Messrs. Selkirk and Holloway.
A special general meeting of members was held November 29th, the president in the chair, when it was proposed by Mr. Phillips, and seconded by Mr. Thomson-"That a Provisional Committee be appointed to consider the practicability of holding the next meeting of the British Chess Association in Bristol," and carried. At a subsequent meeting it was resolved to invite the Association to hold the meeting the following year, and proposed by Capt. Kennedy and seconded by Mr. Phillips-"That the Bristol Chess Club pledges itself to provide £20 for the general fund, and £10 for the local expenses," and agreed to.
1861.--The seventh meeting of the British Chess Association was opened at the Athenæum for the week commencing September 10th, with much eclât, Capt. Kennedy, in the absence of the president, Lord Lyttleton, presiding. Nearly all the leading English players were present, and the following from other countries :--Horwitz, Kolish, Paulson and Stanley, who were all hospitably entertained by the members of the Club. No local player entered the grand tournament, but several entered the minor, which was a handicap, and Mr. Pigott secured the second prize. A game by telegraph was played between the Bristol Club, represented by Rev. A. C. Rowley, Messrs. Withers and Phillips, and that of Liverpool, the result being a victory for the latter. During the week Mr. Paulson played eleven simultaneous blindfold games, against the following Bristol players, and others:-- Messrs. Vines, Berry, Holloway, and Selkirk. Three only were finished; of these, two were drawn by Berry and Selkirk. The meeting was one of the most successful ever held by the Association, and the visitors left the city much pleased with the attention shown them. The following December, Herr Kling, the great problematist and chess player, spent a few days at the Club.
1862.--The Club requiring repose after the drain upon its resources, and excitement of the previous year, no stirring event enlivened its proceedings beyond frequent visits by Captain Kennedy, and daily practice of the members. At the annual meeting, on the 10th September, the president, vice-presidents, and treasurer were re-elected, and Mr. Holloway, secretary, vice Phillips, retired.
1863.--Beyond a visit from Mr. Bolt, of Dawlish, who contested several games with Mr. Withers, nothing of importance took place at the Club this year. At the annual meeting the same officers were again chosen.
1864.--The autumn of this year found the Club in a mood for great exertions and activity. The members resolved to be "up and doing." It was consequently decided to hold a Chess Carnival during the week commencing September 5th. Herr Lowenthal's services were secured for the week, to act as director of ceremonies, referee, and actor occasionally in the melée. Funds flowed into the exchequer, which enabled the committee to offer two valuable prizes in a "Grand Tournament," open to all the strongest players in the West of England and South Wales, and smaller prizes in a Handicap Tournament. Eight entered in the former, who were paired by lot, and played one game with each other, draws not counting. The losers retired, and the winners again paired, until two only were left, who played for first and second honours. In the first round Mr. Fedden was beaten by Mr. Withers, Mr. Bolt won of the Rev. Mr. Pierpoint, Rev. A. C. Rowley was unable to play Mr. Holloway, and the latter scored the game. Mr. Thorold won of Mr. Fenton. In the second round, Withers defeated Holloway, and Bolt secured his game off Thorold, through the latter being unable to sit up all night to finish it. Third round, Withers lost to Bolt, who took first prize. The following entered the handicap, which was not concluded that week,--Messrs. Bartlett, Berry, Burt, Cleland, Isaacs, Pigott, Plaister, Reed, Rogers, Sanders, Tilly and H. Vines. A Consultation game was played between the Club and that of Cardiff; the local players were Withers and Holloway. After an arduous contest of several hours' duration, and 43 moves had been made on each side, Cardiff resigned.
At the annual meeting on the 10th November, Mr. Berry was elected secretary, vice Holloway, resigned; the remaining officers the same as last year. The president offered a set of Staunton men and Terrace board to be played for by members of the Bristol and Bath clubs, in a handicap, the games to be played in the two club rooms. Thirty entered, fourteen of Bath and sixteen of Bristol. The contest was conducted in a very friendly spirit, the players interchanging visits to the respective clubs until the tournament closed.
1865.--The contest for Captain Kennedy's prize was brought to a close in the month of May, when Mr. Isaacs, of the Bristol club, was declared the winner of the largest number of games, and entitled to its possession.
On the suggestion of the president, efforts were made to establish a "West of England and South Wales Chess Association" for the purpose of bringing the chess players of the district "into closer and more intimate relations with each other personally in the case of those who might otherwise ever remain strangers, except in reputation," and "to advance our noble game, and lead to its more widespread cultivation amongst all classes." The following gentlemen were appointed a committee to take preliminary steps for organising the Association :--Captain Kennedy, chairman ; Messrs. Meeker, Pigott, Boorne, Burt, Holloway, Lloyd, Sanders, Stoate, Isaacs, and Berry, of Bristol; Thorold and Holloway, of Bath; Fedden, Fenton, and Wakefield, of Cardiff; and G. H. Selkirk, secretary, pro tem. From lack of sufficient support, the project was soon abandoned.
At the annual meeting Mr. Meeker was elected vice-president in Mr. Withers's stead, who had left Bristol and was elected an honorary member. A soirée was held on November 8th, at the Club; a large number of visitors from Bath and surrounding neighbourhood were present; many consultation, simultaneous, and other games were played.
1866.--The Club engaged Herr Lowenthal for three days, commencing Monday, March the 12th, and the following Wednesday played a match of eight games (one consultation by telegraph, with the St. George's club, London. The latter was conducted by the Rev. A. C. Rowley, Messrs. Phillips and D. Vines; after thirty-two moves had been made it was abandoned. The other games were played by Messrs. Thorold, Isaacs, Fedden, Holloway, Franklin, Fenton, and Meeker. Result,--won by Bristol, two; drawn, one; unfinished, four.
At the annual meeting Captain Kennedy resigned the office of president, and Mr. Thorold was invited to accept the honour, which he consented to do, and was elected accordingly. Mr. Tilly resigned the treasurership, and Mr. Stoate accepted the office. No other change. The late president was elected an honorary member.
1867.--A challenge was received from the Cambridge University Chess Club, to play a match of two games by correspondence for a 50/- set of Staunton men; it was promptly accepted, and commenced at once. The chief players on the part of the Club were Gamman, Isaacs, and Burt. At the annual meeting the same officers were elected. Mr. Burt suggested that a soirée should be held at the Victoria Rooms, Clifton, and that music and other amusements should be provided for non-chess players, by inviting amateur friends to give a concert. The committee agreed to give the proposal a trial on the 30th of October. It was a great success. Everyone was pleased, and desired another to be held during the winter. At the meeting a set of Staunton men and a table were presented to the secretary, as an acknowledgment of his services during the period he had held the office. Mr. Thorold played ten simultaneous games, and won nine; the other unfinished.
1868.--The match with Cambridge was brought to a successful termination, both games being scored by the Club after a gallant struggle on the part of its opponents. With the resignation of the last game, the committee received a challenge from the strongest player in the Cambridge club, to play any member of their club two games by correspondence; they selected Mr. Burt to uphold its honour, who succeeded in winning one and drawing the other. The value of the chess men, received from Cambridge, was spent by the committee on a trophy board. At the annual meeting, the author proposed "that for the future, members should be elected by ballot." After a good deal of opposition it was carried, and has been in operation to the present time. No change was made in the officers for the year. The soirée was repeated at the Victoria Rooms, October the 29th, and was even more successful than the preceding one. Mr. Thorold repeated his performance of playing ten games at the same time, winning eight and losing two.
1869.--All the officers were re-elected at the annual meeting. The annual soirée was held at the Victoria Rooms on the 21st October, the attendance being very large. Mr. Thorold played his usual ten pedigerous games, and won nine, lost one. A match of eight games was played by telegraph from the Athenæum, with the British Chess Association in London, by the following representatives :--Captain Kennedy, Messrs. Thorold, Fedden, Meeker, Berry, Burt, Fenton, and Franklin, the result being that London won four, drew one, unfinished three.
1870.--The officers of the preceding year were again returned. The annual soirée was held at Clifton as usual, on the 19th October. A consultation game was played between Messrs. Rowley and Thomson, for the Club, and Messrs. Pierpoint and Hathaway, of Bath. Ten simultaneous games were played by Mr. Thorold with his usual success.
A match of two games, by correspondence, was commenced with the Birmingham club, the stakes a 50/- set of Staunton men. All the principal players in the Cambridge match having left the Club, except Burt, the lion's share of the responsibility devolved upon him; a, great portion of the moves were made by him in the Isle of Wight during a summer tour.
1871.--The match with the Birmingham club was brought to a satisfactory close, by the Club scoring one game and drawing the other.
At the annual meeting of the Club (its last meeting) Mr. Thorold retired from the office of president, and the members expressing a wish to have a local player as president offered the vacant post to Mr. Burt, who had been a member of the committee for some years, which he declined, and proposed Mr. Thomson, a much older member than himself, and one of Bristol's strongest players; he was consequently elected. Mr. Meeker having retired, Mr. Burt was elected vice-president. Treasurer and secretary the same. The Treasurer having a large balance in hand from the soirées, it was resolved to engage Mr. Blackburne for three days in November. Meanwhile events were occurring in the Club which made this the most important and eventful year of any in the history of the society. The author being the chief actor, and having been charged in some quarters with breaking up the Club, claims the reader's brief indulgence for a fuller account of the year's proceedings.
The original cause of the great change that happened in our little chess community, was produced through the managers of the Athenæum depriving the Club of its room, where it had been located for many years, and substituting another at the top of the building, where the members declared their brains were frozen in the winter, and dissolved by the heat of summer: indeed one individual protested that he saw conclusive evidence of the mischief at work in the escape of that necessary organ from the pate of one of the most indefatigable of players, during the progress of a game; which very much alarmed that sapient individual, as well as his friends, who were aware that he did not possess brains in sufficient quantity to enable him to part with any portion of it with impunity. The older members objected to the number of steps to mount before reaching the room. In consequence of these complaints the following circular was extensively sent round the city:-- "Volunteer Club, Queen's Road, Clifton. A preliminary meeting of all chess players desirous of forming a club at Clifton, will be held on Wednesday evening next, September 6th, at 8 o'clock, at the above place. Signed, W. P. Meeker, Wm. Berry, hon. secs. pro tem." The author was averse to the project, as he foresaw that if it succeeded, it would eventually lead to the dissolution of the existing club; he did not attend the meeting, but urged the directors, unfortunately without success, to restore the Club to its old room. Herr Lowenthal came from London, and presided over the meeting, and strongly urged the players to unite and establish a club. No decision was, however, arrived at, except that it was desirable in the opinion of the meeting, to form a new club there, and to appoint a committee "to obtain full information as to all the necessary details, and to report thereon to another general meeting." The projectors, not meeting with much encouragement from the general body of players in the city, abandoned their undertaking, without holding another meting, and appealed to Mr. Burt to give them a club at Clifton, and be their leader. He, finding that no terms could be made to improve the position of the old club, consented to undertake the arduous responsibility if he obtained sufficient support to meet the heavy rent demanded for accommodation in that locality: with a subscription of 10/6 per annum, and assistance in furnishing the Club; this was readily forthcoming. The Athenæum club possessed no property of its own, except a few sets of Staunton men and boards, which Mr. Burt had a few years previously been the means of placing there with money collected from a few of its members, and was now enabled to remove. Mr. A. Lee very generously offered to be responsible for the first year's rent; and other friends presented sets of men and boards, or money to purchase what was required: which enabled him to secure an excellent room at the Academy of Fine Arts, Clifton. Meanwhile the Club received a challenge from General Goodwyn, on behalf of the Bath players, to play a friendly match with them, which was accepted, and on the 1st November twenty-three players from that city came to Bristol and played the match at the Athenæum. Eighty-eight games were contested; resulting in favour of the home team by 46 won, to 31 lost--11 being drawn.
Mr. Blackburne arrived November 21st, and played ten blindfold games simultaneously against the following strong opponents,--Rev. A. C. Rowley, Messrs. Thomson, Fedden, Burt, Boorne, Vines, Cook, Banfield, Berry, and Col. Baker. The first three were drawn after 5½ hours play; Burt won at the end of 8 hours, and all the rest lost.
In December, the following notice of invitation was issued: "Clifton Chess Association, Academy of Fine Arts, Queen's Road. A general meeting of the members of the above Association, will be held at the Academy, on Tuesday evening next, December 19th, at 7.30, to elect officers, &c. for the ensuing year, at which your presence is particularly requested. John Burt, chairman, pro tem., Wm. Berry, L. Mosely, hon. secs., pro tem." The Rev. A. C. Rowley was invited to attend and preside, which he readily consented to do. The author was under great obligation to him for his ready and invaluable assistance and influence during the formation of the Association, and his kindness in accepting the presidentship; without his assistance the Association never could have attained its great success and celebrity. Mr. Burt explained to the meeting the arrangements that had been made, the objects and prospects of the newly-formed club, and that he had received promises of support from over seventy members, a larger number than had ever previously joined the Bristol Club in its most palmy days, and he anticipated a much larger number when the Club was established and became known. He afterwards submitted the following Rules, which he had compiled, which were adopted after Mr. Rowley had suggested "Bristol and" to "Clifton Chess Association":--
1.--That this Association be called "THE BRISTOL AND CLIFTON CHESS ASSOCIATION."
2.--That the condition of membership be an Annual Subscription of 10s. 6d., except for members residing five or more miles from Clifton, who shall be admitted on payment of 5s. 6d. per annum. Subscriptions to be paid in advance.
3.--Candidates for admission to be proposed by a member, and elected by ballot on Wednesday evenings at Eight o'Clock, provided ten members be present. A notice containing the name and address of the candidate and the name of the member proposing him, to be posted in the club-room seven days before the ballot can take place; one black ball in five to exclude.
4.--The affairs of the Association shall be managed and the rules enforced by a president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer, assisted by a committee of five members; three to form a quorum. The chairman shall have a casting vote in the event of an equality of votes.
5.--The Club-room to be open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.
6.--A General Meeting of the Association to be held annually in September; seven days' notice to be sent to each member. At this meeting the accounts shall be rendered and the officers and committee for the ensuing year elected.
7.--The game of Chess to be conducted in strict accordance with the "Regulations of the Bristol Chess Association," dated September, 1862.
8. The Association have power to admit as Honorary Members, gentlemen who shall be recommended to that privilege on account of valuable services rendered to the Association or to chess in general; also life members on payment of five guineas each.
9.--That any member may introduce a visitor, not more than six times a year, on entering his name in a book kept for that purpose.
10.--No books or other property of the Association to be taken from the club-room.
11.--Smoking is strictly prohibited.
12.--The Officers and Committee shall meet at least once every month during the months of September, October, November, December, January, February, March and April, on a day fixed by the president or vice-president.
13.--Any member wishing to withdraw from the Association must signify his intention to the Secretary before the close of the current year, and in the event of his neglecting to do so, his name will be retained on the list of members.
14.--The property of the Association shall be held by the the president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer for the time being, for the benefit of the Association.
15.--No alteration to be made in these rules except at the annual meeting, or at a meeting called for that purpose by the president or vice-president, at which meeting ten members shall form a quorum. Seven days' notice, stating the object of the meeting shall be sent to each member.
Mr. Rowley was unanimously elected its first president; J. Burt, vice-president; W. Tribe, treasurer ; L. Mosely, secretary; and the following members of the committee-- W. Berry, Mr. Franklin, W. Hibbins, A. Lee, and W. P. Meeker.
It was agreed to open the Club with a soirée on the 9th January, 1872. This meeting sealed the fate of the old club--a club that had flourished and been famous throughout the country for twelve years, for strength of play and enthusiasm of its members, who never refused a challenge from any club, in or out of London. It numbered amongst its members some of the best and ablest provincial players, this or any other country could produce, in the persons of Kennedy, Withers, Thorold, Thomson and others.
Its memory will long dwell in the hearts of those whose privilege it was to be members of it. The presidents were its best players, who cherished and fostered any talent for the game that showed itself in the young aspirants after chess fame, and were above the petty jealousies and fears of the second or third rate player, when placed in similar positions. The chess-room was always the abode of harmony, good humour, and sociability; qualities which its successor would be none the worse for imitating.
It is marvellous the contrary effects produced, not only in the harmony and sociability of a club, but in the quality and quantity of the play also, by a bright and genial influence exercised for its good and our royal pastime on the one side, and a cold ascetic and arbitrary ambition on the other. The former has the same exhilirating effects as sunshine and showers have in the cheerful months of spring upon all nature; calling into existence bright and joyful hopes and ambitions; spirit, vigour, and life; qualities which alone can produce sound and effective play, The latter has the chilling effects of November fogs and mists; shrivelling up the well-springs of life, producing discord, disunion, weakness, inefficient play, and frequently ultimate dissolution.
1872.--The Bristol and Clifton Chess Club Association was formally opened by the president, in a few appropriate words on the 9th January, and a soirée held at the Academy. The programme comprised a consultation match - Bath with General Goodwyn and the Rev. Mr. Pierpoint v. Bristol with Rev. A. C. Rowley and Mr. Thomson, which was abandoned as drawn, after several hours' play. A match between eleven married and eleven single members. Thirteen simultaneous peripatetic games, played by Mr. Burt, of which he won ten, lost one, and two were drawn. Mr. Selkirk played two simultaneous blindfold games, and won both. And a concert in a separate room, by the Club's members and friends. February 1st, the return match with Bath was played in that city, between 24 of Bristol and an equal number of Bath. Won by Bath, 38; by Bristol, 24; drawn 10. July 30th, four games were played at the Club by Messrs. Burt, Berry, Tagart, and Banfield, with a like number at the Crystal Palace, Sydenham, by telegraph, during the meeting of "The British Chess Association" there. Before either game was finished the Londoners were obliged to leave. During the year the vice-president proposed that ladies should be admitted to the Club as associates, at an annual subscription of 5s., which was agreed to. We believe that no members of the softer sex were admitted as subscribers, by any chess club in this country, prior to this date.
The Club played a match of two games by correspondence with the Sheffield club; the chief players being the president and vice-president. One game was won by Sheffield, and the other drawn. The first annual meeting of the Club was held September 23rd, when all the officers were re-elected.
A third match with Bath was played at the Club, November 21st, by 20 players of each club. Sixty-eight games were contested with the following result:-- won by Bristol, 35; by Bath, 26; drawn, 7. The annual soirée was held December 12th. A consultation match was played by the president and Mr. Thomson, against Mr. Fedden and the Rev. Mr. Ash, of Cardiff, unfinished. Mr. Thorold played 15 pedestrian games, won 11, and lost 4. The number of subscribing members at this period were one hundred and twenty-six, the largest number possessed by any club out of London.
On the Club's first anniversary the members dined together at the Volunteer Club.
1873.--The vice-president having stated in April that he was about to leave Bristol, many members expressed a wish that he should not do so without some token of the Club's appreciation of his exertions in its behalf. In a very short period, a substantial sum was subscribed by the members, and a handsome bronze and marble timepiece purchased and presented to him with the following inscription:--"presented to J. Burt, Esq., by members of the Bristol and Clifton Chess Association, in testimony of their appreciation of the great services rendered by him in promoting its welfare. April 26th, 1873." With the following address signed by sixty of the members: "Clifton, April 29th, 1873. To J. Burt, Esq. We, the undersigned members of the Bristol and Clifton Chess Association, having learned that you are about to leave Clifton, are anxious to express our sincere regret at your departure, and the very high sense we entertain of the great services you have rendered to the Club. Both in its formation, and in promoting its welfare, when formed, you have at all times shown an unflagging interest and unwearied zeal, and we all feel that its present highly prosperous condition is largely due to your exertions. You have honourably maintained the credit of the club in its foreign encounters. Your acknowledged skill has always been at the disposal of the members, whether weak or strong, whereby many among us have been greatly benefited, and in endeavouring to carry out successfully our chess gatherings, you have spared neither time, trouble, nor labour. Viewed under these and similar aspects, we much fear that it will be difficult, not to say impossible to supply your place. We hope, however, that you will not forget us, but continue to further our welfare, as opportunities may present themselves, and we need scarcely say how welcome you will always be as a visitor. Finally, we beg your acceptance of the accompanying time-piece as a memorial of our appreciation of your valuable services, and sincerely wish you health and happiness in your new home."
The Counties Chess Association held its annual meeting at the club this year, during the week commencing August 4th. The following local players entered Class I:- Mr. Thomson, Mr. Rowley, and Mr. Burt, none of whom succeeded in taking a prize offered by the Association. Mr. Thomson won a prize offered by the club, for the highest local score. In November, eight members proceeded to Oxford and played a match with eight members of the University Club, winning 11 games, and losing 6. At the annual meeting, Mr. Burt consented to retain the office of vice-president by desire of the meeting, another year, Mr. Berry being elected second vice-president, to act in his absence. Mr. Banfield was elected secretary, vice Mosely resigned. The remaining offices, the same as last year.
1874.--The annual soirée was held February 4th, and, for the first time, it was a financial failure, since which they have not been repeated. Mr. Burt, who first suggested the soirées, and assisted at all previous ones, took no part in this one. Two games were played this year with the Sheffield Club, and both lost by Bristol; Mr. Minchin was the chief conductor, the other performers being Messrs. Cook, Greene and Berry, who also played two games with the, Cambridge University Club, and lost both. At the annual meeting, Messrs. Rowley and Burt relinquished their offices. The Rev. J. Greene was elected president, Mr. Thomson vice-president, and Mr. Castle secretary. The subscription was raised to 15s. per annum. The president offered a silver cup, to be played for in a handicap, the player who first won it twice to be entitled to keep it. Mr. Thorold is the fortunate possessor of it.
1875.--A match between nine members of the Club, and nine of the Cheltenham club, was played at Cheltenham, and resulted in the latter winning twelve games to three lost, unfinished and drawn, five. The return match, eight players a side, was played at Clifton, in December, when Bristol won six games to Cheltenham's four; drawn, four. Mr. Blackburne visited the Club for three days in February, and .played ten simultaneous blindfold games against the Revs. Pierpoint and Tibbits, Miss M. Rudge, and Messrs. Minchin, Thorold, Berry, Boorne, Perry, Fedden and Cook; his opponents succeeded in winning five games, losing three, and drawing two. We believe Mr. Blackburne was suffering from a severe cold at the time, which, probably, was the cause of his heavy defeat. .Last year's officers were returned at the annual meeting.
1876.-The Club engaged Dr. Zukertort for three days in October, on which occasion he played twelve blindfold games at one sitting, with Messrs. Berry, Boorne, D. Vines, Cross, Horlor, Tibbits, Harding, Newton, Harsant, Tribe, Perry, and Miss Rudge, winning five, losing one, drawing three, and three unfinished. The services of last year's officers were secured for the ensuing year.
1877.--The same officers elected.
1878.--The president offered a "champion cup," to be played for on even terms, the players to be paired by lot, and play till one won five games, the losers to retire, and the winners again pair and play until one only remained, who should play the winner of the year's handicap for the possession of the cup for one year, the holder of which should be dubbed "champion" for the year, from that date. Subsequently the conditions of play were altered, and the players played all round with each other until one had won two games, and the winner of the largest number at the close of the tournament was privileged to play the holder for its possession and the coveted distinction. The officers were re-elected at the annual meeting.
1879.--The Rev. G. R. Moncrieff was declared the winner of the greatest number of games in the cup contest, and entitled to play the winner in the handicap (Mr. Berry). The result was greatly in favour of the former, who became the first champion. In March the Club removed its quarters to the Volunteer club, Queen's Road. Mr. Castle retiring at the annual meeting, Mr. Harsant superseded him. The remaining officers were again chosen, except Mr. Thomson, who died during the current year.
1880.--Dr. Zukertort was again engaged for three days, in February, and played nine games blindfold against the following:-Revs. Pierpoint, Moncrieff, Vernon and Tibbits, Messrs. Thorold, Perry, Burt, Fedden, Berry and Boorne, consulting; the single player won four, lost four, drawn one. Mr. Fedden was the winner this year in the cup tournament, and played the holder of the trophy for its possession and the championship, and won it. At the annual meeting the Club's officers were re-appointed. Mr. Burt drew attention to the great decrease and gradual falling off of members since 1871, when the strength of the Club was 120 and at the present time only 53, and recommended a little more life being infused into the management, the revival of the soirées, &c., which advice was not taken, one of the Club's guardians declaring they never paid, because the last, which was the only one that he ever took an active part in, was a disastrous failure.
1881.--A match between fourteen members of the Club and fourteen of the Birmingham club, was played at the Imperial Hotel, August 1st, the result being a drawn battle, each side scoring eleven games, drawn four. At the annual meeting Mr. Greene and Mr. Harsant resigned their offices. Mr. Berry succeeded the former, Mr. Taylor the latter. Messrs. Harsant and Fedden were elected vice-presidents. The Club removed its quarters to the Imperial Hotel. The cup tournament was brought to a close in December, Mr. Burt being the winner with a score of twenty-two games; the next highest won 18; but no sooner was this made apparent than the holder of the cup--the champion thought that the next best winner should be permitted to score his unplayed games; though he had neglected to attend the meetings and play all the games, even when the tournament had been kept open twelve months chiefly to admit of this. The committee--of which the champion was a member-- taking the same view, refused to let the winner play with him, in spite of the rules, which distinctly stated that the winner--not the scorer of the largest number--- should do so, as had been done by two previous holders of the cup. They therefore, to cover any appearance of partiality, determined on referring the matter to the Chess Editor of "The Field." To this Mr. Burt did not object, on a promise being given by the president that the rules and a fair statement of facts should also he forwarded to the referee. After the decision had been given against Mr. Burt, and the committee had added a sufficient number of games to make the next highest winner's score one above his, Mr. Burt discovered that the rules had not been sent, neither the chief facts which could guide the referee in a just decision. On making this discovery, he wrote twice to the secretary-- the committee refusing to see him collectively, or give him any information individually--inquiring the reason why they had not kept their promise, and also applying for a copy of the rules. Those letters were never answered; but a few weeks later, when it was known in and out of the Club, and much talked of, the committee declared--but not to Mr. Burt--that the rules were lost two months before the tournament closed. Yet during the whole of that time the rules remained on the Club's notice board, and were referred to by Mr. Burt and another prominent member after the tournament was finished! Moreover, he saw: them removed by one of the committee. This was the first time in the history of the Bristol Club that its committee had broken faith with a player, or favoured one member at the expense of another. The Champion had good cause to prefer the scorer to the winner, to play for the possession of the trophy, since he had an easy victory over the former, scoring six games to two lost; while with the latter he could only score one out of the last five they played together, and one draw--four of them being match games. The president's forgetfulness of such a little matter as a faithful promise, may of course be excused when we consider the enormous greatness thrust upon him by his elevation to the presidentship, and the great responsibility and multitudinous duties consequent on his elevated and novel position. After this extraordinary exhibition of partiality and injustice on the committee's part, Mr. Burt had no other alternative than to leave the Club, where he had, for nearly twenty years, disdained to take an unfair advantage of an opponent, and had always urged the members to act towards each other in the same spirit.
When a Club elects its presidents and leaders, year after year, from the second and third rate players, the stronger ones must either descend to their level, and so gratify their ambition, or leave.
1882.--April 4th, thirteen members of the club played the return match with Birmingham in that town, and won 12½ to 10½ lost. On the 4th May, a match between twelve members of the Bath Club and twelve of Bristol was played at the latter's room. Result, Bristol 12 Bath 11. The return match was played at Bath, June 3, when Bristol won 13, and lost 12. A match of two games by correspondence was conducted during the year between the Bristol and Dublin Clubs, and resulted in the former winning one of the games and drawing the other. The games were conducted by a committee, comprising Messrs. Greene, Fedden, Harsant, and Vernon. Mr. Greene offered a prize of £5 5s. to be played for by the club's champion and Mr. Thorold. The latter won 11 games to the former's 3; drawn 3.
Mr. E. Williams.--The subject of this brief sketch was the founder of the Bristol Chess Club, its president until he left the city in 1844, and the strongest player. Many of his games with Withers, Henderson, Brice, Justice, and others during this period were printed and "perused with so much interest that public expectation placed him in the highest rank amongst our English players." He must have commenced his cultivation of chess very early in life, for two games played by him at the early age of fifteen years, with the automaton player in London, in 1819 or '20, are extant. After quitting Bristol, he became one of the first players in London, and in the grand tournament in 1851 won the third prize, the celebrated Anderssen being first, Wyvill second, and Staunton fourth. His style was solid, cautious, and sometimes brilliant. Mr. Williams edited "The Souvenir of the Bristol Chess Club," comprising 100 games played in the club; "Horæ Divanianæ", 150 games played in the Divan, London; and was the chief contributor to, and manager of, the chess articles in "The Historic Times" and "The Field." He died in 1855.
Mr. J. Withers.--Coadjutor of Williams in the formation of the club, and its treasurer until the latter left the city when he was elected president, which post he continued to occupy until 1859. He was little inferior to his chief in strength of play during the latter's residence in Bristol, and his superior in brilliancy. The author of "Sketches of our Provincial Chess Clubs, and their chief notabilities," in 1853 wrote: "Mr. Withers possesses all the qualifications of an excellent player. Depth and accuracy, spirit and comprehensiveness are his, to the full extent of the meaning of these words. Nor is he ever tedious in his combinations; play flows from him without laborious effort." Mr. Withers seldom engaged in club or other matches. He left Bristol for the south of France in 1865, where he died in 1882, aged 77.
Mr. W. Henderson.-Another of the club's shining lights during 1842, '43, and '44; he was a player of great force and comprehensiveness. During his sojourn in the city, the club held the proud distinction of numbering amongst its members the three strongest players of any club out of London. He left England in the latter year for the continent.
The Rev. H. C. Brice.--One of the oldest and most enthusiastic of the club's players. A player of lightning-like rapidity, and strong withal, seldom taking more than a few seconds over his moves, even in difficult positions, and rarely erring in his calculations. He died in 1867.
Mr. W. Thomson.--A chess pupil of Withers, learnt the game late in life, previous to which he cultivated draughts, and was one of the best, if not the best, player of that game in the west of England. In the zenith of his play, he was the best pawn player of any member, past or present. The author of "Sketches," referred to, says of his play: "His calculations are usually sound and accurate, but he has not yet (1853) attained anything like the form of Withers. In some points, however, Mr. Thomson is far above most provincial amateurs; he never avoids play, and never depreciates an antagonist." In a few years he attained quite his preceptor's strength. It was seldom that he engaged in match play, but in 1873 he was prevailed upon by his friends to enter class I at the meeting of the Counties' Chess Association at Clifton, and won the local prize for the highest local scorer. He also played in the handicap, with the Rev. Mr. McDonnell, even, and drew the first and second games. Mr. Thomson was the last president of the Athenæum club, and departed this life in 1879.
Captain H. A. Kennedy.--Author of "Waifs and Strays." The Bristol players were under great obligation to Captain Kennedy for his successful efforts, when the club's influence was at a very low ebb, in restoring it to its former strength and prestige. As a player, his name is known wherever the game is cultivated. He was president of the Athenæum Club from 1859 to 1866, and for many years president of the Bath Club, in which city he resided. He died in 1879.
Mr. E. Thorold.--On the retirement of Captain Kennedy from the club, Mr. Thorold was elected president, and held that post till 1871, when he relinquished it. As an amateur player, he has been the acknowledged strongest in the west of England for many years, and second to none in the provinces. His dashing style, profound knowledge of the openings, and rapid perception of intricate positions, enable him to yield larger odds to his opponents than any other provincial player in England. He has repeatedly carried off the chief honours at the meetings of the Counties' Chess Association, is an honorary member of the club! and in a recent encounter with its champion, won eleven games to his opponent's three.
Rev. A. C. Rowley.--The first president of the Bristol and Clifton Chess Association, and a player of the late Mr. Thomson's calibre, but inferior to him in the "Book" openings. The club is greatly indebted to Mr. Rowley for much of its great success and renown in its early years; and it is surprising that he has not been elected honorary member of the club yet. Rule 9 was intended to confer the Club's acknowledgements on such members as Mr. Rowley, Mr. Selkirk, Mr. Cook, and other retired members, who had rendered it good service by their exertions, or conferred honour on it by their abilities. Those honours have hitherto been reserved for others, although it is ready to receive their names on its list as subscribers.
Mr. F. H. Matthews. One of the late Mr. McDonnell's most formidable English opponents; who has recently "gone to the majority." As early as 1820 Mr. Matthews was one of the recognised strongest provincial players in England, and a frequent opponent of McDonnell's. In 1834 they played 130 games together, the latter yielding the large odds of knight, the result being a balance of three games to the odds receiver. In M. d'Arblay's popular poem "Caïssa Rediviva," the subject of this sketch is alluded to in the following terms :-
"Pale Matthews, with unlooked for wile:
Well-trained his foeman to beguile,
T'attack or to defend."
He joined the Bristol Chess Club in 1864, and indulged in his favourite pastime almost daily until the year 1869, at which date he engaged in a match with the author and overtaxed his powers. Acting under medical advice he abandoned practice ever afterwards, but took the same lively interest in everything connected with the game to the last. The author was indebted to Mr. Matthews for much encouragement and assistance in his preparation of this work; as late as three weeks before his decease, he called upon him by invitation, and received some of the earliest and best played games in the selection. In 1878 Mr. Matthews published a pleasing collection of poems, under the title of "Fancies and Fragments;" and died at Clifton, January, 1883, aged 84.
Mr. G. H. Selkirk.--One of Bristol's strongest and ablest players, a chess pupil of Thomson's: author of "The Book of Chess," "Guide to the Cricket Field," &c. The former is a work for profound analysis, and deep research, never equalled by any English amateur, except Mr. Cook, who has not had the benefit of London practice. It is a work that is eminently suited to the tyro or the most finished proficient. Mr. Selkirk is an excellent annotator of games: most of the games, proceedings of the club, and other chess matter, that has appeared in the Bristol daily papers during the past 25 years have been supplied by him.
Mr. J. Burt.--Entered the club in 1863 as a mere chess novice, having just previously learnt the moves. He made sufficient progress to be entitled, nine months after, to yield the odds of pawn and move to the club's treasurer in a handicap which they both entered, with success; much to his own satisfaction and his opponent's chagrin. Any proficiency that he attained in the mysteries of the game was acquired through the able tutorship of Withers, Thomson, and Matthews, all of whom took much pains to instruct him: the latter always averred that Mr. Burt's quick perception of the board and style of play, was very similar to that of Mons. de la Bourdonnais. Except when yielding large odds his full powers are rarely called into exercise. Mr. Burt retired from the club in 1882.
Mr. W. Cook.--Late member of the Bristol club, where he acquired his proficiency in chess, principally under the tutorship of Mr. Burt; now the leading player of the Birmingham club. Author of "The Synopses," which has passed through three editions, and which thus speaks for itself.
Mr. N. Fedden.--Joined the club about three years since, prior to which he was one of the strongest members of the late Cardiff Chess club.
Solution of Mr. Selkirk's "J. B." Problem:--
1. B to Kt third (check) 1. K to R eighth
2. Q takes Kt (check) 2. K takes Q
3. Kt takes P (check) 3. K to Kt second
4. B takes P (check) 4. Kt to B sixth
5. Kt to K third (check) 5. K to R square
6. R takes B (mate)