Yorkshire Chess History
1852: Johann Jacob Löwenthal in Yorkshire
In 1851-52 Johann Jacob Löwenthal toured England, playing chess against members of the local clubs. His tour started with Cambridge, more specifically the “gown and town” chess club, as opposed to the “gown”-only club in Trinity College. There he renewed a prior acquaintance with Arthur Bolland Skipworth (not yet ordained), on whose enthusiasm for chess Löwenthal commented to Staunton [CPC Vol. XII, 1851, p.365].
From Cambridge Löwenthal went to Oxford, specifically the Oxford Hermes Chess Club. From Oxford, in a letter dated December 1851, he advised Staunton of the planned next stages in his itinerary, namely Reading, Birmingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Halifax, Preston, Manchester, Liverpool, “and, I hope, to Glasgow and Edinburgh.” [CPC Vol. XIII, 1852, p.61]
Löwenthal visited Sheffield in January 1852. His presence was announced in The Sheffield Times of Saturday 17th January 1852 as follows:
“Chess. – Lovers of chess will be gratified to learn that Herr Löwenthal, the celebrated Hungarian player, who took so prominent a part in the late chess tournament at London, is at present spending a few days in the town, and that the Lyceum chess club have arranged for his attendance at their rooms, where he purposes playing against individual members or against the united club in consultation.”
It seems Löwenthal was due to visit both the Lyceum Chess Club and the Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club. Löwenthal’s activities at the Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club were described in The Sheffield Times of Saturday 24th January 1852 as follows:
“Chess. – Two games (by consultation) of chess were played, simultaneously, between the celebrated chess-player M. Löwenthal (who represented the Hungarians in the national [international!] chess tournament of 1851) and the members of the Athenaeum club, yesterday evening week. The play commenced at 8 o’clock, and after a contest of six hours the games were resigned in favour of M. Löwenthall [sic]. On the evening of Wednesday last two games were played by a similar arrangement, and after a hard contest of nearly seven hours each game was drawn. The following is a statement of the openings or gambits which were played: - First evening’s play – Game No. 1: King’s knight’s opening. No. 2: King’s bishop’s gambit. – Second evening – Game No. 1: King’s knight’s opening. No. 2: King’s gambit.”
The chronology is a bit complicated. The openings of “Second evening” match the wins by Löwenthal recorded by Staunton, but the wins are described first, so “Second evening” must mean second in time not second in the narrative, implying the “Wednesday last” preceded the quaintly termed “yesterday evening week”. Löwenthal’s draws were thus presumably played on Wednesday 14th January, and his wins on Friday 16th January.
The Chess Player’s Chronicle gave Löwenthal’s wins, but not the draws:
White: Löwenthal, Johann Jacob (London), Black: Allies (Sheffield);
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5 d5 5. exd5 Nxd5 6. Nxf7 Kxf7 7. Qf3+ Ke6 8. Nc3 Ne7 9. d4 c6 10. Qe4 Ng6 11. f4 Kd7 12. Nxd5 cxd5 13. Qxd5+ Kc7 14. fxe5 Qxd5 15. Bxd5 Be7 16. Be4 Rf8 17. Be3 Bf5 18. Bf3 Nh4 19. O-O Nxf3+ 20. Rxf3 Be4 21. Rf4 Rxf4 22. Bxf4 Kd7 23. c4 Rf8 24. Be3 Ke6 25. Bf2 Rd8 26. Re1 Bd3 27. d5+ Kf7 28. d6 Bxd6 29. exd6 Rxd6 30. Rd1 a6 31. c5 Rd7 32. Bg3 Bf5 33. Bd6 Ke6 34. b4 g6 35. Kf2 h5 36. h4 Rf7 37. Ke3 Rd7 38. Rd2 b6 39. Kd4 b5 40. Re2+ Kf6 41. Kd5 Bg4 42. Rf2+ Bf5 43. Kc6 Ke6 44. Re2+ Kf7 45. Kb6 Kf6 46. Kxa6 Kf7 47. Re3 Be6 48. Kxb5 Bxa2 49. Kc6 Ra7 50. b5 Be6 51. b6 Bd7+ 52. Kd5 Ra6 53. Re7+ Black resigns, 1-0 [CPC Vol. XIII, 1852, p.97]
White: Allies (Sheffield), Black: Löwenthal, Johann Jacob (London)
1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 g5 4. Bc4 Bg7 5. d4 d6 6. c3 h6 7. O-O Qe7 8. e5 dxe5 9. Re1 e4 10. Qc2 Nf6 11. Nd2 Bf5 12. Bd3 O-O 13. Nxe4 Nxe4 14. Bxe4 Bxe4 15. Rxe4 Qd6 16. Bd2 Nd7 17. Rf1 Qg6 18. Rc1 c5 19. Re7 Qd6 20. Qe4 Bf6 21. Rxd7 Qxd7 22. dxc5 Re8 23. Qc4 Rd8 24. Rf1 Qd3 25. Qxd3 Rxd3 26. h3 Rd8 27. Rd1 Be7 28. Kf1 Bxc5 29. Ke2 Be3 30. Nd4 Rxd2+ 31. Rxd2 Bxd2 32. Kxd2 f5 33. Ke2 Rxd4 34. cxd4 Kf7 35. Kd3 Ke6 36. Kc4 g4 37. hxg4 fxg4 38. Kd3 Kd5 39. b4 b5 40. a3 h5 White resigns, 0-1 [CPC Vol. XIII, 1852, p.98]
The Chess Player’s Chronicle earlier recorded the following game, with Dr. John Charles Hall, as being played at the Lyceum Chess Club, of which Dr. Hall was a member. The Lyceum Club’s premises and Dr. Hall’s own premises were both in Surrey Street, whereas the more expensive Sheffield Athenaeum was at that time round the corner in Norfolk Street.
White: Hall, Dr John Charles (Sheffield), Black: Löwenthal, Johann Jacob (London),
Löwenthal giving odds of KBP and 2 moves; remove Black’s Pf7:
1. e4 __ 2. d4 e6 3. Bd3 Qe7 4. Nf3 d5 5. e5 Nc6 6. Bg5 Qf7 7. Be3 Be7 8. c3 Bd7 9. Qc2 g6 10. h4 O-O-O 11. Ng5 Bxg5 12. hxg5 Ne7 13. Nd2 Nf5 14. Nf1 Nxe3 15. fxe3 Ne7 16. O-O-O Rf8 17. Rd2 Nf5 18. g4 Ne7 19. Rh2 Qg7 20. Ng3 Rf3 21. Rh3 Rxe3 22. Nf5 Rxh3 23. Nxe7+ Qxe7 24. Rxh3 Qxg5+ 25. Kb1 Qxg4 26. Rh1 Be8 27. Qf2 Qg5 28. Rg1 Qe7 29. Qh2 Rg8 30. Rg4 Bd7 31. Qg2 Rf8 32. Rg3 Qf7 33. Qh2 Qf2 34. Rg2 Qe1+ 35. Kc2 Be8 36. Qxh7 Rf2+ 37. Rxf2 Qxf2+ 38. Kb3 Qf7 39. Qxf7 Bxf7 40. Kc2 Kd7 41. Kd2 Ke7 42. Ke3 g5 43. Kf2 Bh5 44. Kg3 Kf7 45. a3 b6 46. Bc2 c5 47. Bd3 Bg6 48. Bf1 Bf5 49. Bb5 c4 50. Kf3 Kg7 51. Ba4 Kh6 52. b4 Kh5 53. Kg3 g4 54. Be8+ Bg6 55. Bxg6+ Kxg6 56. Kxg4 b5 57. Kf4 Kh5 58. Kg3 Kg5 59. Kf3 Kf5 60. Ke3 Kg4 61. Ke2 Kf4 62. Kf2 Ke4 63. Ke2 a6 64. Kd2 Kf3 65. Kc2 Ke2 66. Kc1 Kd3 67. Kb2 Kd2 White resigns, 0-1 [CPC Vol. XIII, p.76]
This game was perhaps played Thursday 15th January, between the more demanding evenings at the Athenaeum.
In Leeds Löwenthal took on (amongst others, presumably) a leading Bradford player, Rosenthal, giving odds of a knight and winning.
White: Löwenthal, Johann Jacob (London), Black: Rosenthal (Bradford);
remove White’s Nb1:
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. b4 Bxb4 5. c3 Ba5 6. O-O Bb6 7. d4 d6 8. dxe5 dxe5 9. Bxf7+ Kxf7 10. Nxe5+ Ke7 11. Ba3+ Ke8 12. Qh5+ g6 13. Nxg6 Nf6 14. Qh6 Rg8 15. Rd1 Bd7 16. e5 hxg6 17. e6 Ne5 18. e7 Kf7 19. exd8=N+ Rxd8 20. Qf4 Ng4 21. h3 g5 22. Rxd7+ Rxd7 23. Qc4+ Kg7 24. hxg4 c6 25. Bc1 Rd5 26. Qe2 Re8 27. Qc2 Nxg4 28. g3 Re5 29. Kg2 Nxf2 30. Rxf2 Bxf2 31. Kxf2 Black resigns, 1-0 [CPC Vol. XIII, p.100]
Coverage by the local press of Löwenthal’s time in Leeds is elusive or non-existent. Three Leeds papers consulted seem silent on the matter.
Löwenthal visited Halifax in late February. One suspects he was entertained by F. W. Cronhelm at Crow Wood. The newly-formed Halifax St George’s Chess Club put a notice in the Halifax Guardian of 21st February 1852 which read as follows:
THE HALIFAX ST. GEORGE’S CHESS
ROOMS, at the White Lion Hotel, open every Wednes-day Evening, at Seven o’clock.
President, - F. W. CRONHELM, ESQ.
The Officers have
the pleasure to announce to the Members
The Halifax Guardian of 28th February 1852 carried the following report:
Halifax St. George’s Chess Club. – Agreeably to the announcement in our last, this club had on Wednesday evening the honour of a visit from the celebrated Hungarian chess-player, Herr Loewenthal, who gratified a numerous assemblage of the members and their friends by playing six games simultaneously, in all of which he gave odds proportioned to the strength of his opponents. The result of this interesting contest was a victory for the distinguished champion in four games out of the six. The other two were won by Courtney Kenny Clarke, Esq., at the odds of the King’s Knight, and by the secretary, Mr. Edward Cronhelm, at the odds of the Pawn and move. Amongst the four games won by Herr Loewenthal, there was one exceedingly well-contested by Mr. Thomas, at the odds of Pawn and move, which lasted five hours.
“Mr. Thomas” was probably I. Thomas. The win by Courtney Kenny Clarke was as follows.
White: Löwenthal, Johann Jacob (London), Black: Clarke, Courtney Kenny (Halifax);
remove White’s Ng1:
1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Bc5 3. O-O Nf6 4. b4 Bxb4 5. c3 Ba5 6. d4 d6 7. Qa4+ c6 8. Qb3 d5 9. exd5 cxd5 10. Bb5+ Nc6 11. dxe5 Ne4 12. Ba3 Be6 13. Qc2 a6 14. Bxc6+ bxc6 15. f3 Bb6+ 16. Kh1 Ng3+ 17. hxg3 Qg5 18. Rf2 Qxg3 19. Kg1 Bf5 20. Qd2 O-O-O 21. Bd6 Re8 22. Qe2 Bd3 White resigns, 0-1 [CPC Vol. XIII, p.115]
While Löwenthal was in Glasgow he was invited by Fife Chess Club to visit them. Events on his trip to Fife, on the evenings of Thursday 8th and Friday 9th of April 1852, are described on page 186 of the Chess Player’s Chronicle Vol. XIII, 1852.
The tour must have been completed by mid-April as Staunton thanked Löwenthal in the Illustrated London News of 17th April 1852 for a collection of games from the complete tour.
Copyright © 2012 Stephen John Mann