A Meeting of the Chess players of the
Northern and Midland Counties took place at Nottingham,
a short time since, in the Assembly Rooms, Low Pavement.
been customary for several years for similar meetings to take place in
Yorkshire, and a number of players from Nottingham being
present at the meeting held last November at Huddersfield, it was then
agreed to assemble the following year nearer the southern players, at the
"good old town of Nottingham."
those present we observed the following gentlemen .—
Esq., High Sheriff, Ruddington; T. Wakefield, Esq., Mr. Newham, Mr. Neuberg,
Mr. H. Attenburrow, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Dodson, Mr. Sidney Smith, and Mr.
Woodhouse, of Nottingham; Mr. Rhodes, and Mr.
Cadman, Leeds; Mr. Forbes and Mr. Cronhelm, Halifax; Rev. R. Garvay [sic],
M.A., Mr. W. Robinson, Mr. E. Shepherd, and Mr. A. Shepherd, Wakefield; Mr.
Parrott, Mr. Mann, Mr. Kilner, Mr. Bradshaw, and Mr. Brierley,
Huddersfield; M. Hanau and M. Rostall, Frankfort-on-the-Maine; Mr. Hudson
and Mr. Kahrs, Derby; Mr. Hardy, Mr. Coleman, Mr. Kinton, and Mr. Bosworth,
Leicester; Mr. Stubbs, London.
room at the place of meeting was appropriated to the players; and a number
of boards were set out, exhibiting Chess men of every variety of pattern
and style of workmanship; several of which were the deserved trophies of
the successful play of our townsmen, in previous matches.
commenced at ten in the morning, and, with the intermission of an hour for
lunch, continued until five in the evening. The arrangements, under the
direction of Mr. Newham, were as perfect as possible and every attention
was paid to the comfort of the players.
after five o'clock the company adjourned to dinner, which comprised every
delicacy of the season. The wines and dessert were also excellent, and the
greatest satisfaction was evinced by every gentleman present with the
entertainment. The chair was occupied by C. Paget, Esq., of Ruddington,
High Sheriff of the county of Nottingham, and
the vice-chair by Mr. Neuberg.
R. Garvay [sic] having said grace, and the cloth being withdrawn, [sic]
chairman rose to propose the first toast usually drunk at public dinners,
namely, "the Queen." (Applause.) He had no doubt the toast would
be drunk with the greatest satisfaction by every one present, not so much
because the Queen was the head of the State, as that she reigned and acted
with an evident desire to promote the welfare of all her subjects. (Hear,
hear.) He concluded by giving "Queen Victoria," which was
drunk with the greatest cordiality.
chairman, on rising to propose the next toast, remarked that he was sure it
would be well received by that company, as it comprised the health of an
individual who was not only a patron of Chess, but also a good player.
(Hear, hear.) If it were true that Prince Albert was playing at Chess when
he received the first intimation of the high station he had since been
called to fulfil, his Royal Highness would never think of Chess without the
most agreeable recollections. (Hear, hear, and cheers.) He, therefore,
begged to give '* Prince Albert and all the Royal Family."
Chairman next gave "Mr. Robinson and the Yorkshire Chess
Associations." (Applause.) One of the distinguishing features of
the present times, was railway travelling, by means of which distant
localities were connected with each other, and the
remotest parts of the country were placed, as it might he said, within
visiting distances of each other. None of the benefits showered upon trade
and commerce by the quick transmission of merchandize, however, exceeded
the advantages conferred upon society by the facility with which men of
science from all parts of England or of Europe might be assembled together;
and he believed the present meeting was indebted to steam for the presence
of many of those gentlemen who surrounded that festive board. (Hear, hear.)
Indeed, without the railway, he thought the players of Nottingham would never have had
so good an opportunity of measuring their own skill with that of their
Yorkshire friends. He concluded by giving the toast, which was drunk with
Robinson, in returning thanks for the honour conferred upon himself and the
Yorkshire Association, wished that the duty had devolved upon some of the
older members, who were better able than himself to perform it; he would
however say, that no one could feel the compliment more than he did. (Hear,
hear.) It was quite true, that the presence of the visitors from Yorkshire
was owing to the advantages of the railway, and therefore he united
cordially with the Chairman in celebrating its praises. He had long been
delighted with such meetings of Chessplayers as the one they were engaged
in, and disclaiming any egotistic feeling, although he had been a principal
means of their establishment, he begged to state briefly the history of
their origination. The Leeds Club having been for some time in a declining
state, efforts were made by Mr. [John] Rhodes, the prince of Yorkshire
Chess-players, Mr. Brown [Robert Alexander Brown], himself (the speaker),
and others, to effect a revival. The consequence was, that several matches
were made between players from the different towns in Yorkshire, who,
although not the best players, were considered pretty equal in proficiency.
Of course these matches could not be played in one day; and the consequence
of the visits of the players of one town to the players of another was a
general meeting. The first assembly of this description took place in 1840,
and a great impetus being thus given to the progress of Chess, he
was happy to say these annual gatherings had been kept up ever since. The
next meeting took place in 1841, at Wakefield, when they were honoured by
the presence of Mr. Newham, Mr. Marx, and other gentlemen from Nottingham. At Halifax, in the following year, the
meeting was equally well attended by Chess-players of first-rate ability
from different parts of the kingdom. In 1843, at Huddersfield, Mr. Newham
had expressed his regret that the Midland Counties should be behind
Yorkshire, and wished the next meeting to be held at Nottingham.
From the high character of the Nottingham players
his wishes were readily acceded to, and it was agreed that the meeting of 1844 should be at that town. He believed that
gentlemen from the different Yorkshire clubs pledged themselves to attend the
meeting, and he was sorry that they were not so numerous as he had
expected. For himself, however, he would say that had the distance been
twice as great, be would have attended. (Cheer*.) One reason why some Clubs
in Yorkshire succeeded so well, was, that the best players were not
permitted to waste their time in meeting inferior players upon equal terms;
and great pains were taken to inspire the belief that at Chess it was no
disgrace to accept odds. Every game was registered, and the inferior players
were compelled to take odds. Thus, a new member played with all the old
members ten games each; and if with any of them he should lose six, he is
then compelled to take a Pawn or two Pawns, or a Knight, or any other odds
which may be thought to equalize him with his antagonist. Should lie
hereafter win a majority of ten games, the odds were reduced; and thus they
could always tell whether their members improved, and exactly what the
prowess of each was as compared with the others. It must also be an article
of their creed that it was no mark of inferior intellect to be beaten at
Chess. The most talented men might be bad Chess-players, and might be
beaten by persons very much their inferiors in point of intellect. (Hear,
hear.) He then apologized for the inefficient manner in which he had
responded to the toast; and alluded to the number of games he had lost. He
did, however, think that he was a match for several of his opponents, bnt
that he had played that day as weak as a kitten. (Laughter.) He concluded by
reiterating his heartfelt thanks.
paid a high compliment to the Chairman (C. Paget, Esq.) for the exemplary
manner in which he had discharged the duties he had so kindly undertaken,
and proposed his health with three times three hearty cheers.
cheering having subsided, the Chairman returned thanks in a neat speech.
proposed the health of the Vice-President, who was not only entitled to the
honour as a good Chess-player, but from the efficient manner in which he
had filled the vice-chair. He also confessed a peculiar satisfaction in
proposing this toast, as both Mr. Neuberg and himself owned a common
extraction from the "Faderland." (Hear, hear.) He concluded by
giving Mr. Neuberg's health.
Vice-President returned thanks for the kind manner in which his health had
been drunk; and declared that he should ever highly estimate the
Chess-players of Nottingham, as the first
friends he had made in the town, were members of the Club. (Hear, hear.) He
thought social intercourse was much benefited by meetings like the present,
when men could assemble and cultivate the best feelings of their nature,
and for the time lose sight of the incessant strife kept up now-a-days by
self-interest and excessive competition in trade. He was happy to express
the delight he had experienced in the proceedings of that meeting, and
feeling that they owed a debt of gratitude to those gentlemen who had cast
aside the cares and anxieties of a long journey to visit them, proposed the
health of the strangers from London, Leicester, Derby, Frankfort, and
Hamburg, with three times three.
Rostall and Mr. Stubbs each acknowledged the compliment.
R. Garvay [sic] wished to bear testimony to the liberal spirit in which the
visitors generally had been entertained by the Nottingham
Chess-players; indeed, their reception had been of the most generous
description. (Hear, hear.) Some allusions had been made by Mr. Robinson, to
the poor manner in which the Yorkshire gentlemen had redeemed the pledge
they had last year given to visit Nottingham;
but he could assure the gentlemen of Nottingham, that
it was a fear of their prowess which had produced so small an attendance.
(Hear.) For himself he had looked forward to the meeting with great
interest, and had determined to be present if it were within the bounds of
possibility. (Cheers.) When he informed them that he had come all the way
from Scotland, where he was salmon fishing, those gentlemen who had
experienced the delightful sport of throwing the fly upon one of the finest
streams of that country, would feel that he had made no small sacrifice to
attend th« meeting. (Cheers.) He was, however, happy to bear
testimony to the high reputation of the Nottingham Club,
and in proposing success to it, begged also to drink the health of one of
the finest Chess-players in the provinces; he meant his talented friend Mr.
Newham, whom he believed they all sincerely respected. (Cheers.) He would,
therefore, conclude by giving "Mr. Newham and the Nottingham Chess Club," with three times three.
returned thanks in an excellent speech. He felt grateful to the friends who
had come from so great a distance, and thought the Nottingham
players were bound to have met them in greater numbers, and given them a most hearty welcome. (Cheers.)
He again reiterated his thanks for the honour conferred on himself and his
brethren; and, in conclusion, begged to propose "the health of Mr.
Staunton," the best Chess-player of the day. While La
Bourdonnais lived, he undoubtedly stood first; St. Amant had been called
his lieutenant, but Mr. Staunton had successfully attacked his claim to
that title, and had offered again to play, giving every point which St.
Amant wished; but he still demurred, and the fact was that St. Amant dare not
meet Mr. Staunton. —The toast was received with loud applause.
Ladies of Nottingham," "Prosperity to
the Town and Trade of Nottingham," and
several other toasts were drunk, after which the company retired to the
large room, where coffee was served; and the play was resumed, which was
continued till nearly midnight.