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Blackburne: more about the book

Blackburne (right) playing James MortimerThis image, which was published in The Field on 31 December 1910, was not of sufficient quality to reproduce in the book. So we use it to introduce this page, which gives any additional information and significant corrections that come to light. Reviews.

About J. H. Blackburne and the book    Table of contents

The first issue of the new German chess history magazine Caissa included an article by distinguished grandmaster Robert Hübner about the first match between Blackburne and Steinitz, including a claim to have found a missing game in a long-lost manuscript.

Unfortunately Hübner had not seen my book when he wrote his article and has not stated where this MS exists. Until Hübner (or the manuscript's owner) makes the source available for verification by third persons it cannot be admitted to the Blackburne canon.

As a result of the ongoing digitisation of newspapers by the British Newspaper Archive, two more Blackburne games and a correction to another have been found since the book first went to press.

This game and the corrections mentioned on this page are included in the reprint which is now available.

Page 478. Game 1122. Blackburne – Fred Brown

British Championship, Oxford (10), 25 August 1910 · Van ’t Kruijs Opening-> English Opening (A00 -> A20)
Yorkshire Post, 26 August 1910.
1. e3 e5 2. c4 d5?! 3. cxd5 Qxd5 4. Nc3 Qa5 5. Bc4 Bd6 6. Nf3 Nh6? 7. a3 c6 8. Ne4 Qc7 9. b4 0–0 10. Bb2 Bg4 11. h3 Bxf3 12. Qxf3 Kh8 13. Qh5 f6 14. g4! Nd7 15. Rg1 Ng8 16. Bd3 g6 17. Qh4 Kg7 18. Qg3 Rae8 19 Qg2 Nb6 20. Rc1 Qd7 21. Bb1 a6 22. h4 Nd5? 23. h5 g5 24. Nxd6 Qxd6 25. Qe4 f5 26. gxf5 Ngf6 27. Rxg5+ Kh6 28. Qh4 Rg8 29. Rg3 Rxg3 30. fxg3 Rg8 31. e4 Rg5 32. exd5 Qxd5 33. Rc5 Qg2 34. Bxe5 Nxh5 35. Bf4 Qg1+ 36. Ke2 Qf1+ 37. Kxf1 1–0


Page 477, Game 1118, S. F. Smith, British Championship 1910. We have a correction to Black’s 18th move. There was a conflict of sources which could only be resolved now.
18. a4 Rfd8 Some newspapers, B.C.M., and ChessBase have 18. ... Re8 but an explicit correction appeared in the Yorkshire Post on 23 August 1907.

Additionally, Edward Winter has pointed out that one game score in the first impression of the book is incomplete, since a Belgian contributor sent him an alternative version of the score from an obscure African newspaper! The score reproduced in Winter's article contains many misprints but the following appears to be the correct record of the game concerned and this is what now appears in the reprint:

Page 460, Game 1069, Blackburne-M. Billecard

Ostend Masters (23), 15 June 1907 · Giuoco Piano (C50)
Teichmann #317 pages 260-261;Chess Notes #7324.

The Manchester Guardian , 17 June, said Blackburne “beat himself by weak opening play against Billecard.” The Frenchman, a pupil of Rosenthal who was then working as a judge near Algiers, annotated the game in the newspaper Illustration Algérienne, Tunisienne et Marocaine, 27 July and 3 August 1907 (reprinted in Winter’s Chess Notes).

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nc6 3. d3 Nf6 4. Nf3 Bc5 5. Be3 Bb6 6. Nc3 d6 7. 0–0 Bg4 Castling was premature because this pin is unpleasant. 8. Bb5 0–0 9. h3 Bh5 10. Kh2 Nd4 11. Bxd4 exd4 12. Ne2 c6 13. Ba4 Bxf3 14. gxf3 Nh5 15. Rg1 Qh4 16. Qf1 f5! Teichmann (the tournament book) published the next two move pairs in reverse order. 17. Qg2 Rf6 18. Bb3+ Kh8 19. f4 fxe4 20. dxe4 Raf8 21. f5 d5! 22. Qg4 22. f3 d3 or 22. Ng3? Nf4. 22. ... Qxf2+ 23. Rg2 Bc7+ 24. Kh1 Qe3! 25. Rf1 25. Qxh5 Rh6. 25. ... dxe4 26. Nxd4 Ng3+ 27. Rxg3 Qxg3 28. Qxg3 Bxg3 The game ends here in the book because Teichmann printed no further moves. 29. Kg2 Be5 30. Ne6 Re8 31. Ng5 g6 32. Be6 gxf5 33. Nf7+ Kg7 34. Nxe5 Rexe6 35. Nc4 f4 36. a4 b5 37. axb5 cxb5 38. Na3 a6 39. c3 f3+ 40. Kh1 e3 0–1.

The search continues for games from the poorly-reported 1914 British Championship (played in Chester shortly after the outbreak of World War One). Colours for some of the missing games may have been the opposite of what is stated in the book. The following game score recently turned up:

Page 493, Game 1160, R. H. V. Smith-Blackburne

Queen's Pawn Game (A48)

1 d4 Nf6 2 e3 d6 3 Nf3 g6 4 b3 Bg7 5 Bb2 0–0 6 Be2 Ne4 7 Nbd2 Nxd2 8 Qxd2 Nd7 9 h4 Nf6 10 h5 Ne4 11 Qc1 c6 12 Bd3 d5 13 c3 Bf5 14 Qc2 Nd6 15 hxg6 hxg6 16 Ne5 Qc8 17 0–0–0 Ne4 18 g4 Bxg4 19 f3 Bxe5 20 dxe5 Bxf3 21 Qh2 Bh5 22 Rdg1 Qf5 23 Be2 Kg7 24 Bxh5 Rh8 25 Qe2 e6 26 Bf3 Rxh1 27 Bxh1 Nc5 28 Rd1 Rh8 29 Ba3 Nd7 30 c4 Rh4 31 Bb2 Nb6 32 Rf1 Rh2 33 Bg2 Qg5 34 Rf2 dxc4 35 Qf3 Qe7 36 Kb1 cxb3 37 axb3 Nd5 38 e4 Nb6 39 Ka2 Nd7 40 Rd2 c5 41 Qf4 Rh8 42 Bf1 a6 43 Rd6 Nb8 44 Qf2 Rc8 45 Ba3 Qc7 46 Bc4 Nd7 47 Bb2 Re8 48 Qd2 Nf8 49 Bc3 b5 50 Ba5 Qb7 51 Bf1 c4 52 bxc4 Rc8 53 Qd4 bxc4 54 Bxc4 Rb8 55 Bb6 Qe7 56 Bd8 Qb7 57 Rb6 Qd7 58 Qxd7 Nxd7 59 Rxb8 Nxb8 60 Bc7 Nc6 ½–½

Contributed to Britbase by Tony Gillam; the exact date of its publication in the Saturday Westminster Gazette remains to be confirmed.

Page 111: The photograph said to be of Henry Bird turns out actually to be of Buckle. It was mis-captioned in P. W. Sergeant's book where we found it, and several other authors have been deceived by this. The picture has been replaced by a genuine photograph of Bird in the reprint..

Page 367: We have been informed that the Berlin 1897 tournament was not in fact one of the German federation series but rather the 70th jubilee tournament of the Berlin club.

Page 382, Game 863 (Trenchard-Blackburne), In the note to move 10. FOR 12. Qxb5 READ 12. Bxb5

The reprint also incorporates a few minor corrections (mostly small typos).