Yorkshire Chess History
Edward Albert Lassen
Edward Albert Lassen was Bradford-born, but of German extraction. His paternal grandfather was Edward Samuel Lassen (born 1816/17, Plau, in the Mecklenburg area of north Germany). “Plau”, the town from which the family originated, was in fact Plau am See, about 90 miles NW of Berlin , on the west bank of a lake called Plauer See. Edward Samuel Lassen and his first wife must have settled in England by 1847, as Edward Albert Lassen’s father, Albert William Lassen, was born in Bradford 1846/47. There’s a feeling within the present-day family that the Lassens arrived in Bradford in the 1820s .
Grandfather Edward Samuel Lassen became a naturalised British subject. His first wife must have died fairly early, as he took a second wife, Irene Lyals(?) Lassen (born 1842/43, Munich, Bavaria), hardly older that his son Albert William Lassen! This couple had at least the following three children:
These three were technically Edward Albert Lassen’s aunts and uncle, despite being less than 10 years older than him.
Entry 427 in the marriage register of St. Paul’s, Manningham, records the marriage of Albert William Lassen, bachelor, merchant of Manningham Lane, son of merchant Edward Samuel Lassen, to Louisa Agnes Philipp, spinster of Manningham Lane, daughter of merchant Jacob Philipp, on 15/09/1875. The register entry appears not to have been signed by the officiating cleric. Louisa had been born 1855/56, in Bradford.
The couple had four children, all born in Bradford:
Entry 169 in the baptism register of St. Paul’s, Manningham, records the baptism on 10/11/1876 of Edward Albert Lassen, son of Albert William Lassen, merchant of Manningham, and Louisa Agnes Lassen, by Wilbury Milton/Mitton(?). Entry 355 of the same register is that for Sydney Philip Lassen.
Within the family, Edward Albert Lassen was known as “Bertie”, the familiar form of his middle .
Alburt Edward Lassen and his father Edward Samuel Lassen were at for a time in partnership with Albert Heymann, William Henry Heymann, and Albert Bernhard Alexander. They are recorded as “carrying on business as Merchants, at. Bradford, in the county of York, and at the city of Hamburg, under the style or firm of Heymann and Alexander.” The same five, along with Henry Hirsch, are similarly recorded as “carrying on business as Merchants, at the town of Nottingham, in England, and at St. Pierre les Calais, in France, under the style or firm of Heymann and Alexander. (Albert Heymann retired from the partnership as from 18/06/1880.) 
The 1881 census found grandfather Edward and his wife, with the above three children, and nine servants, living at Rose Mount House, 11 Clifton Villas, Manningham, Bradford.
The 1881 census found the father Albert William Lassen and his wife away from home, but their first three sons and three servants were listed as living at 3 Mount Royd, Parkfield Road, in the Manningham area of Bradford.
Kelly's Directory of West Riding of Yorkshire, 1881, listed Albert William Lassen at 3 Mount Royd, Parkfield Road, Manningham, Bradford, in the court section, and in the Bradford section recorded him as being Austro-Hungarian vice-consul at 45 Well Street, Bradford. That may explain the absence from home in the 1881 census.
The same directory listed Edward Samuel Lassen at Rose Mount House, Clifton Villas, Manningham, Bradford. (Chess-player Benjamin Broughton lived next door at Rose Mount Villa.)
The 1891 census found parents Albert and Louisa and 14-year-old Edward still living at 3 Mount Royd. Father Albert was now described as a volunteer artillery sergeant. 14-year-old Edward was a scholar.
In time young Edward joined the 2nd West Riding of Yorkshire, Western Division, Royal Garrison Artillery (Volunteers), and became a second lieutenant from 24/01/1900 . From 01/04/1908, he was appointed to the 4th West Riding Battery, 2nd West Riding Brigade, with rank and precedence as in the Volunteer Force .
The 1901 census found Albert and Louisa living with their four sons and three servants at 2 Clifton Villas, Manningham, Bradford. Both father Albert and Edward were now described as a yarn, wool, tops and stuff merchants. There were seven servants residing at 2 Clifton Villas, and there were a further two living on their own at number 4, though whose servants those two were is unclear.
Grandfather Edward Samuel Lassen, by then of “Shantallah”, Maidenhead, Berkshire, retired merchant, died 31/07/1903, probate being granted to Irene Eugenie Ernestine Lassen. His effects totalled £329 9s 9d.
It appears Edward Albert Lassen may have married twice. The marriage of an Edward Albert Lassen to Constance Mary Crumsall was registered in the third quarter of 1906 at Fylde, Lancashire.
At some stage he joined the 2nd West Riding of Yorkshire Garrison Artillery (Volunteers), in which he was a captain. From 01/04/1908, he was appointed “to the battery”, whatever that meant .
The 1911 census found parents Albert and Louisa still living at 2 Clifton Villas, but with only the youngest of their four sons, Eric, still living with them. They had eight servants. Edward Albert Lassen is elusive in the 1911 census.
The marriage of “Edward A. Lassen” (definitely our man) to Constance Elaine Perkins was registered in the fourth quarter of 1925 at Bradford. This was part of a relatively unusual “double”, as our man’s brother, Eric John Lassen, married Nora Perkins, older sister of Constance Elaine Perkins .
Edward Albert Lassen was probably more widely known as a golfer than as a chess player. He won the Yorkshire golf championship in 1900, 1908, 1909, 1913 and 1914, and he was runner-up in 1906 and 1922 . He won the British amateur golf championship in 1908, and was runner-up in 1911. (There exists on family website, within a famous commercial genealogical website, a picture purporting to be of Edward Albert Lassen “in his new car” in around 1908, but this photograph is said by those possessing a copy to be of another member of the extended family, Albert Lee, the first cutler in Sheffield to use celluloid handles. Interesting, but not the chess-player.)
By 1928 Edward Albert Lassen and wife Constance were living at Sefton lodge, Park Drive, Heaton, Bradford. He was a stuff merchant operating from premises at 72 Vicar Lane, Bradford. Business might not have gone as well as it might, as he and his business were mentioned in connection with a bankruptcy receiving order in November 1928 .
“Uncle Bertie” became the subject of many family anecdotes regarding his golfing, his man-about-town nature and his chess-playing .
Edward Albert Lassen of 2 Randall Place, Heaton, Bradford, died 14/08/1938. Administration of his estate was granted to Constance Elaine Lassen, widow. His effects totalled £599 16s 5d.
He played in the Yorkshire-Lancashire match of 1899, and that of 1900. He played for Bradford in the Woodhouse Cup for 1899-00 onwards, for some years, in the earlier years usually on one of the top three boards.
Though his golf record was impressive, one of his chess achievements may have been for him as satisfying, if not more so. When Capablanca gave a simultaneous display in Bradford on 07/10/1919, he was one of the three who beat Capablanca:
White: Jose Raoul Capablanca, Black: Edward Albert Lassen; Simultaneous display, Bradford, 07/10/1919
1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 Bb4 5. Nge2 d5 6. exd5 Nxd5 7. O-O Nxc3 8. bxc3 Bd6 9. Ng3 O-O 10. Qh5 Be6 11. Bg5 Be7 12. Bxe6 Bxg5 13. Bb3 g6 14. Qg4 Kg7 15. h4 Be7 16. Nf5+ Kh8 17. Nh6 f5 18. Qh3 Kg7 19. h5 Kxh6 20. hxg6+ Kxg6 21. f4 exf4 22. Rxf4 Bg5 23. Rf3 Qd6 24. Raf1 f4 25. d4 Na5 26. Be6 Rae8 27. Bg4 Kg7 28. Bh5 Re3 29. Qg4 h6 30. Rb1 Qe6 31. Qxe6 Rxe6 32. c4 Re3 33. c5 b6 34. Rb4 Nc6 35. Ra4 b5 36. Ra6 Nxd4 37. Rf1 Rf6 38. Rxa7 Rc6 39. Rd1 Nxc2 40. Rd5 Bh4 41. Kh2 Re1 42. Rd7+ Re7 43. Rd8 Bg3+ 44. Kh3 Rxc5 45. Bd1 Ne3 46. Raa8 Nxd1 47. Rxd1 Rh5+ 48. Kg4 Rg5+ 49. Kh3 Re1 0-1
Chess was played elsewhere in the family. His nephew, John Lassen (son of his brother Eric John Lassen) and John Lassen’s son, Jonathan Lassen, used to play chess together .
5 Information supplied by Eric John Lassen’s granddaughter, Judith Lassen Coops.
Copyright © 2013 & 2014 Stephen John Mann
Census information is copyright of The National Archive, see UK Census Information