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The Welsh sea captain William Davies Evans (1790-1872) was the inventor of the chess opening known as the Evans Gambit, which he devised while working for the British Post Office on mail packet boats between Wales and Ireland in the 1820s.
Concern for marine safety led him to develop his most important work, a system of lights eventually adopted by the British Admiralty, of which he is now the recognised author.
A summary of Evans's achievements may be found in the article about him which Tim Harding wrote for the online edition of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. A full account may be found in the first chapter of Tim's book Eminent Victorian Chess Players.