Yorkshire Chess History



1908: Lasker in Sheffield











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Simultaneous Display by Dr. Emanuel Lasker

Thursday, 26/03/1908

Sheffield Chess Club, Holland’s Cafe, Chapel Walk, Sheffield

over 26 boards


During a tour of the country in 1908, the reigning world chess champion, Dr. Emanuel Lasker, paid a visit to Sheffield, more specifically Sheffield Chess Club, which was the realisation in 1905 of the long-cherished dream of a central chess club in Sheffield.  The main purpose was a simultaneous display, though there was also a lecture the following day.


The simultaneous display took place at Sheffield Chess Club’s premises at Holland’s Café.  S. Holland Ltd were provision merchants, Italian warehousemen, and café and luncheon-room proprietors, rather as were the Davy family.  They had premises at 9 Fargate (a provision merchant’s shop), on the north corner with Chapel Walk, and round the corner from 1 to 25 Chapel Walk, which presumably included the café component of the business.


The world champion took on 26 opponents, which was probably the most taken on at once, in this way, in Sheffield to date, though the number was dwarfed by the 40 later taken on in Sheffield by Capablanca in 1919.  The simultaneous display was reported in detail by the Sheffield Daily Telegraph, but only briefly by the Yorkshire Telegraph & Star, though the latter gave an excellent picture of Dr. Lasker, such pictures being the Star’s speciality at that time.


The report given by the Sheffield Daily Telegraph of Friday, 27/03/1908, page 3, column 5, read as follows:









One of the most important events in the chess history of Sheffield took place last night, when Dr. Emanuel Lasker, the champion of the world, paid a visit to the Sheffield Chess Club and gave an exhibition of simultaneous play.  Dr. Lasker is one of the most eminent players that has ever lived.  Born in Prussia forty years ago, he proved his claim to rank with the masters at an early age.  When about 24 years old he came to England and achieved great success against the strongest native players. In a subsequent American tour he enhanced his reputation.

It was in 1894 that he gained the world’s championship, defeating Steinitz, who had held the title 23 years, by 10 games to five, with four draws.  Two years later he played a second match with Steinitz, and won by a more substantial majority.  Only once since then has he been called upon to uphold his title.  This was last year, when he accepted a challenge from the brilliant American player, Marshall.  In that encounter Dr. Lasker easily proved victorious, winning by 8 to none, and 7 draws.  The champion’s successes in international tournaments have been numerous, and though he has several great rivals, he stands to-day the acknowledged head of the chess world.

Last night he gave one of those remarkable exhibitions of chess played against a number of opponents, by which masters have long been accustomed to display their skill against amateurs.  He met altogether 26 players, including most of the strongest members of the Sheffield Chess Club.  It was a formidable team for any master to encounter, and gave Dr. Lasker as severe a task as any he has had to perform during his present successful tour in this country.  But he emerged from the ordeal with triumph.  He lost two games - one to Mr. E. Dale (the Yorkshire champion) and the other to Mr. L. Eppenheim.  He drew with four opponents - Messrs. H. D. Rockett, F. E. Foster, C. A. Smith, and H. H. Bromham.

All the other 20 games were won by the champion, the losers being Messrs. A. E. Harrison, G. Breakwell, E. F. Gardner, J. E. Brown, J. D. Hendry, L. F. Miller, W. H. Sparkes, A. O. Boardman, G. H. Harrison, J. Orange, H. H. Holroyd, J. T. Dayson, W. Knowles, M. T. Miner, W. Driver, W. J. Dingley, G. H. Longdin, J. H. Hirst. F. H. Reynolds, and E. Lewis.

The performance attracted great interest, and there was a large gathering of spectators, from Sheffield and the district.  The champion will again be at the club tonight, and will give a lecture on the games of the immortal Paul Morphy.



Readers of the Yorkshire Telegraph & Star of 27/03/1908 had to be contented with a photograph of Lasker and a brief note which added nothing to the above.


The Sheffield Daily Telegraph of Saturday 28/03/1908, page 12, col.4, gave an account of the proceedings at Holland’s Café on the following evening (Friday), presided over by Dr. Husband, in which Lasker delivered a lecture on the games of Paul Morphy.


The identities of those listed as opposing Lasker in the simultaneous display, where as follows:


Reported Name

Fuller Name

A. O. Boardman

Arthur Oswald Boardman

G. Breakwell

H. H. Bromham

Henry Herbert Bromham

J. E. Brown

E. Dale

Edward Dale

J. T. Dayson

James Thomas Dayson

W. J. Dingley

William John Dingley

W. Driver

L. Eppenheim

Leo Eppenheim (see below)

F. E. Foster

Frederick Edward Foster

E. F. Gardner

Ernest Frank Gardner

A. E. Harrison

Arthur Ernest Harrison

G. H. Harrison

George Henry Harrison

J. D. Hendry

James Duncan Hendry

J. H. Hirst

H. H. Holroyd

Harry Herman Holroyd

W. Knowles


E. Lewis


G. H. Longdin

George Henry Longdin

L. F. Miller

M. T. Miner

Major* Thomas Miner

J. Orange

James Orange

F. H. Reynolds

Frank Holdsworth Reynolds

H. D. Rockett

Hildreth Dudley Rockett

C. A. Smith

W. H. Sparkes

William Henry John Sparkes

(* That was his name, not a military rank.)


A few names are unfamiliar as those of local players.  “L. Eppenheim” is a very rare name, and would appear to refer to a Londoner, Leo Eppenheim (born 1883, London; married Minna Fleischmann, 1913, London), a Jewish (Bayswater congregation) metal merchant, trading (in 1912) at 31 Duke Street, London EC, with his home (in 1910) at 24 Castellain Road, London, who was perhaps in Sheffield on business at the time.  He evidently had Yorkshire links, perhaps living in Sheffield briefly around this time, as he played for Yorkshire in the 1908-09 Yorkshire v Ireland correspondence match.





Stephen John Mann

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