Yorkshire Chess History



Samuel Standidge Boden











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



04/04/1826, Retford


27/07/1826, East Retford


13/01/1882, London




Popularly recycled wisdom has it that Samuel Standidge Boden was born in Hull, but this seems untrue.  His death in London on 13/01/1882 was documented in the chess periodicals of the day.  Related probate records name the Rev. Edward Boden of Clitheroe as a brother of the deceased.  Census records indicate the said Rev. Edward Boden of Clitheroe was a Cambridge man.  Venn records the father of the Rev. Edward Boden, and hence of his brother Samuel Standidge Boden, as a the Rev. James Boden, an Independent Minister resident in Retford at the time of Edward‘s birth.  England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 lists the baptisms at Retford of the four oldest Boden children, including Edward and Samuel Standidge.  The 1841 census finds the whole family, except the eldest son, living in Beverley, and significantly indicates the places of birth of Charlotte, Edward and Samuel were outside Yorkshire.  So, Samuel Standidge Boden was really born in Retford, Notts.  The chess-playing J. T. Boden of Settle was also a brother.




Samuel Standidge Boden’s parents were the Congregational Minister James Boden (born 1795/96, outside Yorkshire) and Mary Frances Boden (born 1800/01, Hull).  The couple had at least the following ten children:


John Thornton Boden

born 16/11/1820, Retford (or 16/11/1821)

baptised 17/04/1821, Chapel Gate Congregational, East Retford

baptised 12/12/1821, Queen Street Congregational, Sheffield

Charlotte Frances Boden

born 13/04/1822, Retford

baptised 17/09/1822, Chapel Gate Congregational, East Retford

baptised 28/07/1822, Queen Street Congregational, Sheffield

Edward Boden

born 10/01/1824, Retford

baptised 20/05/1824, Chapel Gate Congregational, East Retford

baptised 29/08/1824, Queen Street Congregational, Sheffield

Samuel Standidge Boden

born 04/04/1826, Retford

baptised 27/07/1826, Chapel Gate Congregational, East Retford

baptised 05/02/1826, Queen Street Congregational, Sheffield

Mary Ann Boden

born 27/02/1828, Sheffield

baptised 18/07/1828, Queen Street Congregational, Sheffield

Emily Jane Boden

born 05/05/1830, Sheffield

baptised 03/08/1830, Queen Street Congregational, Sheffield

William Henry Boden

born 19/05/1832, Beverley

baptised 15/10/1833, Lairgate Independent, Beverley

Lucy Boden

born 16/11/1833, Beverley

baptised 29/07/1834, Lairgate Independent, Beverley

James Boden

born 03/02/1837, Beverley

baptised 16/12/1837, Queen Street Congregational, Sheffield ?

Edith Boden

born 1839/40, Beverley



English Births and Christenings 1558-1975 lists baptisms in Sheffield for all but Lucy, as well as the ones in East Retford or Beverley.  Except for John Thornton Boden, the two christening records for each child agree on date of birth.  For John Thornton Boden, the East Retford christening records gives 16/11/1820 at date of birth, whereas the Sheffield christening record gives 16/11/1821 as date of birth, but the former is the only birth date to agree with ages in census returns.


The father’s job meant the family moved round from place to place.


Retford, Nottinghamshire


Around the early 1820s, James Boden was an Independent Minister in West Retford [1].  It was while the family lived in Retford that the eldest four children, including Edward Boden and Samuel Standidge Boden, were born.  (East Retford is on the east bank of the River Idle, while West Retford and South Retford are on the west bank of the River Idle.  Today they are known together simply as Retford.)


The England Birth and Christening Indexes list Samuel Standidge Boden as born 04/05/1826 to James Boden and Mary Frances Boden, and baptised on 27/07/1826 at Chapelgate Congregational (or Independent) church, East Retford, Notts.


Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire


In about 1827, give or take a year, the Boden family moved to Sheffield.  Mary and Emily were born in Sheffield.  Pigot & Co.'s 1828-29 directory of northern and midland counties listed the Rev. James Boden at Western Bank, Sheffield.


White’s History & Directory of Sheffield, &c, 1833, mentioned the Rev. James Boden as minister at the Queen Street Chapel (built 1784), though the information had probably recently become out of date, as evidenced by William Henry Boden’s date and place of birth.  It listed the Rev. James Boden, minster of Queen Street Chapel, residing at West Bank, which was either the name of a house or a mistake for the street name Western Bank, though such a mistake was very unlikely as White was himself a Sheffielder.


Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire


Soon after that, in about 1832, give or take a year, the family moved to Beverley, about eight miles north of Kingston-upon-Hull, and it was in Beverley that the youngest four children were born.


Sheffield Again


White’s History, Gazette and Directory of the West Riding of Yorkshire, 1837, listed the Rev. James Boden, independent minister, at “West Bank” (meaning Western Bank?), Sheffield.  This might look like old data, yet James Boden junior is recorded as baptised in Sheffield, suggesting the family moved to and fro between Sheffield and Beverley before settling in the latter.  In describing Sheffield’s independent chapels, White listed:

QUEEN STREET CHAPEL built 1784 (with burial ground and school-house over it) of which the Rev. James Boden is minister, assisted by the Rev. J. A. Miller.


Beverley Again


The 1841 census found the family living in Beverley, at Riding Fields in the St. Nicholas part of Beverley.  Eldest son John Thornton Boden had by now left home, it seems, and 7-year-old Lucy Boden wasn’t listed either, though she was back in the fold by 1851.


White’s History, Gazette & Directory of the East and North Ridings, 1840, listed the Rev. James Boden at Ridding Field House, Beverley.


Pigot & Co.'s Directory of Yorks, Leics &c , 1841, listed Rev. James Boden at Riding Fields, Beverley.


Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire


White’s Hull and York Directory of 1846 listed no Boden in Beverley, but listed Mrs. Mary Boden at 22 Charles Street, Hull.  This implied almost certainly that at some time from 1841 to 1846, the father, James Boden, died, and the family moved to Hull and elsewhere.  The family continued to disperse during this decade.


The 1851 census found the widowed Mary Frances Boden, who was now described as a landed proprietor, living at 12 Wellington Place, in the Sculcoates part of Hull.  Edward was by now vice-principal of Huddersfield College, and Samuel was absent.  William Henry was now a merchant’s clerk, and James was a scholar.  They had one servant.


The 1861 census found Mary Frances Boden, a land-owner, living at 14 Wellington Terrace, Beverley Road, Hull.  Charlotte, Emily Jane and Lucy had now left home, leaving at home only William, a timber merchant, James, a merchant’s clerk (working for his brother?), and Edith.  They had one servant.


The 1871 census found Mary Frances Boden, an annuitant, living still at 14 Wellington Terrace, with married daughter Charlotte Frances Bean, unmarried daughter Edith Boden and one servant.


Mary Frances Boden died on 22/07/1879.  She left an estate of “under £2,000”.  James Boden, merchant, and Richard Champney, both of Anlaby Road, Hull, were the executors.


John Thornton Boden


Eldest brother John was another chess-player. . He embarked on a career in banking, which took him to Settle and then Thirsk.  For more details see John Thornton Boden.


Edward Boden (brother of Samuel Standidge Boden)


There’s a suggestion Edward was also a chess-player.  His details are important for identifying him as the brother mentioned in Samuel Standidge Boden’s probate record, thereby identifying this family as that of the chess-player Samuel Standidge Boden.


Venn tells us Edward Boden was born 10/01/1824 at West Retford, where his father, James Boden, was an Independent Minister.  Edward was admitted as a sizar at St. John’s College, Cambridge, matriculating Easter 1847, getting his BA in 1850, and his MA in 1853.  He was ordained a deacon (Ripon) in 1851, and a priest in 1851.  He did not, however, enter the priesthood, but became a schoolmaster.  He was vice-principal of Huddersfield College School from 1850 to 1853, then headmaster of Clitheroe Grammar School, Lancashire, from 1853 to 1886.  He died 04/12/1886 at Clitheroe, and was buried there.  These details enable us to identify this Edward Boden as the brother of Samuel Standidge Boden who has an executor of the latter’s will.


Edward and his wife Julia had at least nine children, and named one of their sons Samuel Standidge.  This Samuel Standidge Boden, nephew to the chess-playing artist, was born 17/05/1862, and baptised at Clitheroe, Lancs., on 22/06/1862.  His marriage to Constance Mary Ensor was recorded in the first quarter of 1872.  He died on 01/06/1914; probate was granted to his wife, Constance Mary Boden, and Cecil Louth Boden, bank manager.  There was a Samuel Standidge Boden who was a 2nd Lieutenant in the 14th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry who was killed in action after nine months in France on 15/10/1916.  This Samuel Standidge Boden seems likely to have been the son of the chess-player’s nephew of that name.


The 1851 census found 28-year-old Retford-born Edward Boden, B.A. Cambs., vice-principal of [Huddersfield] Collegiate School, living at Collegiate House, Clare Hill, Huddersfield.


The move in 1853 to Clitheroe, Lancashire, hints at a connection with the fact that brother John’s wife was born in Clitheroe.  Maybe that was just coincidental.


The 1871 census found 47-year-old Retford-born Edward Boden, grammar school master, M.A. Cambs., clergyman, at Well Hall Clitheroe with wife and seven children.


The 1881 census found 57-year-old Retford-born Edward Boden, M.A. Cambs., clergyman without cure of souls, headmaster of Clitheroe Grammar School, living at Well Hall, York Street, Clitheroe.  Living with him were his wife Julia T. Boden (born 1828/29, Ecclesfield, near Sheffield), and six Clitheroe-born children of ages ranging from 10 to 24.


Samuel Standidge Boden


Samuel Standidge Boden seems oddly elusive in the 1851 census and subsequent ones.  This may be due in part to his name being mis-transcribed in the searchable databases, and may be due in part to him moving to London.  (His surname in the 1841 census was mis-transcribed as “Bochen”.)


For the earlier part of his chess career he was described as coming from Hull, but at some stage he moved to London, which is where he resided when he died.  He was a member of Hull Chess Club in 1847, at the time of the Annual Meeting of the Yorkshire Chess Association that year in Hull.  That he participated in the “Provincial” tournament at the 1851 tournament, suggested he still lived in Hull at the time.  Indeed, The Chess Player of 1851 refers to him as “of Hull”.  By 1856 he was playing against the likes of Barnes, Buckle, Falkbeer and the Rev. Owen, which would presumably mean he was in London.


F. White’s General Directory of Kingston-upon-Hull, and York, 1851, listed no “Boden” among the Beverley gentry and clergy etc, suggesting father James had moved on or died, nor were there any Boden’s listed in Hull.


There exists a record of the marriage of a Samuel Standidge Boden being registered in the first quarter of 1872, at Burton-on-Trent, Staffs.  He’d be 45 years of age at the time, if this were the chess-player.


He started his working life as a railway clerk [2], but was also something of a landscape artist [2].  At some stage he inherited some property from a relative and has able to devote himself more to his art [2].  His probate record described him simply as “artist” as regards occupation.




Samuel Standidge Boden, artist, died 13/01/1882 at his residence, 3 Tavistock Street, Bedford Square, Middlesex.  The executors of his will were his brother, Reverend Edward Boden “of Hall Clitheroe Lancs.”, and Thomas Hewitt of 27 Ely Place, Middlesex, solicitor [probate record].  The phrase “of Hall Clitheroe Lancs” clearly should have read “of Well Hall Clitheroe Lancs.”  The quarterly death return index listed his age at death as “56”, perhaps a misreading by the typist of handwritten “55”, (then erroneously transcribed for digitisation as 57!).  The age of 55 as given by the Chess Player’s Quarterly seems accurate.  He had been ill for about fourteen days before he died [2].




He attended the 1847 meeting of the original Yorkshire Chess Association, as did eldest brother, John Thornton Boden, then of Settle.


The write-up of the 1850 meeting of the original Yorkshire Chess Association listed “E. Boden” of Hull as attending.  Was this a typographical error for “S. Boden”, or was it Samuel’s older brother Edward putting in an appearance just before taking up the new job in Huddersfield?  Either way, Samuel was present as he is recorded as playing St. Amant, receiving odds of pawn and two moves, and winning [The Chess Player (edited by Kling & Horwitz), CP Vol.1, No.16, Nov. 1st 1851, p.128].


He won the “Provincial Tournament” at the 1851 London tournament.


In 1851 he had published a manual on chess called “A Popular Introduction to Chess”, which Staunton commended in the Chess Player’s Chronicle, 1851, page 368, were in was reproduced from the book a game between Samuel Standidge Boden and his brother John Thomas Boden.


He played in the 1857 meeting of the (British) Chess Association at Manchester, finishing second behind Löwenthal.


When Morphy was in England, he played Boden, scoring +7, =1, -2.  Morphy supposedly expressed the opinion that Boden was the strongest player in England at the time.


In a match against the Rev. John Owen, in 1858, he scored 10½-4½.


At the 4th British Chess Association Tournament, Bristol, 1861, he came second to Louis Paulsen in the Grand Tournament (8-player knockout.)  He also played in the Bristol-London telegraph match, drawing with J. Kling.


His name was given to the mating pattern in a game of his with Schulder in 1853 (British Chess Review, 1853, page 58), known as Boden's Mate, in which mate is delivered by one bishop which the other bishop, operating at right angles to the first, covers two squares by the mated king.  The other two squares by the mated king were occupied by two of the mated king’s own men, though variants with those squares covered by an opposing piece or pieces might also be thought of as examples of Boden’s mate.


His name attaches also to a number of variations of chess openings, perhaps most noticeably the Boden-Kieseritzky Gambit (1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nxe4 4. Nc3).




[1]  Venn

[2]  Obituary in Chess Player’s Chronicle, Vol. VI, 1882, p. 31





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

Census information is copyright of The National Archive, see UK Census Information

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