Year Book 2019-20 Contents
Thing of the Day
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Harrwitz at YCA Meeting, Hull, 1847; also Playing Blindfold
Chess-players of national or international standing from time to time presented themselves at the annual meetings of the Yorkshire Chess Association and of the West Yorkshire Chess Association, in the early years. For instance, Frenchman St. Amant (b. 12/09/1800; d, 29/10/1872), famous for losing to Staunton, was at the YCA meetings of 1846, 1847 and 1850. He had to tender his apologies for absence from the 1848 meeting as his military duties detained him. (They were having a revolution in France that year.)
Another such visitor was Polish-born Daniel Harrwitz (b. 29/04/1823; d. 09/01/1884), who attended the YCA meetings of 1847, 1850 and 1857; and the West Yorkshire Chess Association meeting of 1860.
At the 1847 YCA annual meeting, in Hull, Harrwitz played simultaneously, blindfold, two Hull players, Samuel Standidge Boden (b. 04/04/1826, Retford – not Hull as popularly believed; d. 13/01/1882, London), and Mr. Lucas (treasurer of Hull Chess Club). Boden, a player of some standing, won his game in 19 moves; Mr. Lucas lost, though he managed to spin out the game to a decent length.
Final position in Harrwitz-Boden
It the 1800s it was common for a stronger player to take on a weaker player giving “odds”. It was also common for players to “announce” mate in so many moves, and such an announcement was obviously more likely to happen against an unwitting weaker opponent.
So it was that Polish-born Daniel Harrwitz, then resident in London, gave odds of a rook (the queen’s rook) to a certain Mr. Storey of Liverpool. Who Mr. Storey was, and how strong he was, are unclear. The game was published in the Chess Player’s Chronical of 1959 (page 337). After 14. … Nc6xPd4 the game had reached the following position:
At first glance things look a bit bleak for White, but Harrwitz (White) announced mate in 7 moves.
Can you see how to mate in 7?
Obviously White will not be able to give Black the chance of playing Qe2+, essentially futile though it might be,
as that would increase the number of moves to more than 7.
Click here to play through the lively game, a Falkbeer Counter Gambit,
and reveal the 7-move mate at the end.