Year Book 2019-20 Contents
Thing of the Day
(Click on underlined link) \/ to end of list \/
Chess On Line – a Century or so Ago
The “line” was, of course, the telephone or telegraph line.
What was perhaps the first telephone match in Yorkshire took place on Monday, 29/09/1884, between Bradford and Wakefield. The primary organiser was Herr Hartwig Cassel of Bradford Chess Club, but the prime technical facilitator was probably George Henry Swithenbank of Bradford Chess Club, who happened to work for the National Telephone Company. A telephone line to the playing room of Bradford Chess Club, in the Exchange Café, had to be laid on specially. From there the line was connected to Leeds, and thence to Wakefield, making the length of connection about 25 miles as opposed to the travelling distance of about 15 miles. Play ran from 6.30 p.m. to 11.00 p.m. The line reportedly served well, with no interference or interruption. Results were as follows.
(@ denotes unfinished game sent for adjudication)
The Leeds Mercury Weekly Supplement of 04/101884 gave the moves of the games from boards 1 and 5. The game on board 1 was a draw of little especial interest, but is included here.
The board 5 game afforded some entertainment. White seemingly had a lapse of concentration and lost a piece. Then, in the endgame stage, Black arranged his pawns so that his knight was locked in, being limited to h8, f7, d8 and b7, with all potential points of egress either covered by white pawns or occupied by black pawns. This game could not be completed in the time available, and was sent for adjudication, with Wakefield (W) claiming a draw, and Bradford (B) claiming a win. The position in question was as follows, with Black to move.
A bold attempt at finding a win for Black might be 40. … g4.
The series of Anglo-American Cable matches ran from 1896 to 1911, the teams competing for the Newnes Cup. By winning it three times in a row, Great Britain won the cup outright and the series terminated. Henry Ernest Atkins played in all 13 matches except that of 1909, scoring +4, =4, -4. (There were no matches in 1904, 1905 or 1906.) Fred Dewhirst Yates played only in 1910 and 1911, winning in both.
The best-known of his opponents who Atkins defeated was Frank Marshall, whom he played in 1902.
Atkins’ game as White against James Finan Barry, in 1910, was not well played by his opponent, but yielded the following nice final position.
Black now resigned in view of the following possibilities:
Both of Yates’s wins looked effortless.
The following is a summary of the cable match results over its 16-year lifespan.
6 wins apiece, with one draw.
For biographical data on people named above click on the name below.