London Chess Club Tournament (1851) – The Cup Tourney
This tournament was a 9-player single-win Round Robin tournament sponsored by the London Chess Club for foreign players who remained in London after the completion of the more famous Staunton International Tournament held at St. Georges Chess Club. This was the first major tournament utilizing that format, predating the <London (1862)> tournament.
It was held from Monday July 28, 1851 until Saturday August 16, 1851 (the exact ending date is somewhere between the 9th and 16th). The tournament offered a single prize, a gold cup worth 100£ (actually 100 guineas), which was won by Anderssen. Mayerhofer is reported to have taken 2nd place.
Early in the contest it became clear that Anderssen would emerge the winner, and several players are known to have dropped out without completing play. In fact, only 14 games are known to exist (of which 13 are available here, 11 from primary sources). Additionally, due to the friction between the two London clubs, the press coverage was limited – with little mention in any of Staunton’s reporting.
Thus, the best coverage was in Horwitz and Kling’s The Chess Player, despite them often including scores without explicitly mentioning the source of the game. Luckily, Anderssen included all of his games in the Schachzeitung der Berliner, allowing additional confidence in Horwitz and Kling’s reporting.
Additional reporting is given in Bell’s Life articles of the time, to which I don’t have access:
Itt’s easier to hand edit some of the updates in for the player bios to get this:
London Chess Club Tournament London ENG, 1851.07.28-08.16 Age Nat Score An Ma Ho De Ha Ki Eh Sz Lo ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1: Anderssen, Adolf 33 GER 7.5 / 8 XX 1. =1 1. .. 1. 1. 1. 1. (+7 -0 =1) 2: Mayerhofer, Carl 23 AUT 2.0 / 3 0. XX .. .. 1. 1. .. .. .. (+2 -1 =0) 3: Horwitz, Bernhard 44 GER 1.5 / 3 =0 .. XX .. .. .. .. .. 1. (+1 -1 =1) 4: Deacon, Frederic 21 BEL 1.0 / 2 0. .. .. XX .. .. .. .. 1. (+1 -1 =0) 5: Harrwitz, Daniel 30 GER 1.0 / 2 .. 0. .. .. XX .. 1. .. .. (+1 -1 =0) 6: Kieseritsky, Lionel 45 RUS 1.0 / 3 0. 0. .. .. .. XX .. 1. .. (+1 -2 =0) 7: Ehrmann, August 65 GER 0.0 / 2 0. .. .. .. 0. .. XX .. .. (+0 -2 =0) 8: Szabo, (Colonel) 25 HUN 0.0 / 2 0. .. .. .. .. 0. .. XX .. (+0 -2 =0) 9: Lowe, Edward 56 CZE 0.0 / 3 0. .. 0. 0. .. .. .. .. XX (+0 -3 =0) ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 14 games: +8 =1 -5 (End date is from Chess Player report publication date)
I used <CG> for several of the dob’s, including Mayerhofer and Ehrmann. For Szabo, I used this site:
Often, chess sites will give this player as Szabo, Djuro, but using Gaige, he would be too young for this tournament. Edwards uses Szabo, Emeric, based on an obit from the 1865 Liverpool Mercury which I don’t have access to. In keeping with the contemporaneous reporting, I will use Szabo, (Colonel). This player certainly did become a member of the Liverpool Chess Club in 1859, and is reported as playing for Liverpool in 1856:
July 1851 Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 <-- July 28th, tournament start August 1851 Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 <-- Anderssen finishes on 8th. 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 <-- End date not exact, probably on or before the 9th. 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 Underline = Chess Player issue (see below)
Here are the brief mentions of the tournament from various issues of Horwitz and Kling’s <The Chess Player>:
It must be noted that <The Chess Player> was a weekly, and this appeared in an issue already at the end of the first week of play. This indicates a delay of over one week, between the writing of copy and its printing and distribution. The initial roster of players was to be:
Anderssen, Loewenthal, Harrwitz, Horwitz, Szabo, Kling, Deacon, Meyerhoffer, Loewe and several others.
It can be seen that the definition of “foreign” was somewhat broad, as Horwitz and Kling, were well entrenched in London by that time. Loewenthal was yet to become the mainstream fixture of London chess that he was destined to becom, having come to London for Staunton’s tournament, and staying on in a position at St. George’s. Despite this reportage, neither Loewenthal nor Kling participated in the tournament, instead Ehrmann and Kieseritsky joined. Kieseritsky had actually returned to Paris after Staunton’s tournament, and agreed to return to London after being enjoined by Mr. Mongredien, president of the London CC.
The tournament was fairly fast-paced by design. Many of the vistors to the City were due to depart soon after the main tournament. The members of the London Chess Club wanted to share in the opportunity presented by the visitation of so many chess experts from foreign lands and so designed the tournament to be a RR-1w partly out of necessity. As it was, Anderssen returned to the continent before the formal end of the tournament (though he was known to be the winner far ahead of the close of ceremonies). His victory Cup had to be mailed to him in Breslau!
It’s also an unfortunate corollary of Anderssen’s fast-paced victory, and the offer of but one grand prize, that several other players withdrew from the tournament before finishing their schedule. Kieseritsky himself reported in his <La Régence> that he only played three games, a win over Szabo, an expected loss to Anderssen, and an unexpected lost to Mayerhofer. Mayerhofer was a Viennese player, much beloved in his home city (both for his chess skills, and for his operatic talent as singer). His second place finish was likely the high point of his chess career, even if the tournament itself was somewhat blemished by dropouts.
Another player who exited early from the tournament was Harrwitz. His win over Ehrmann is given in <The Chess Player>, but he supposedly withdrew after losing a game to Mayerhofer. I suspect he dropped out before even facing Anderssen, since the latter reported all his other games in his magazine. The Mayerhofer–Harrwitz game is on <CG>, but I have yet to discover its provenance. Staunton later wrote scoffingly of Harrwitz’s withdrawal from this tournament, calling Harrwitz a “retreating general” and a “Runaway Apprentice” in <Chess Player’s Chronicle v15 (1854)>.
In the end, this tournament can only be partially reconstructed. We know for certain that Anderssen won:
The collection of tournament games is complete insofar as Anderssen is concerned. All his games were published on both sides of the Channel (the only pairing missing is Harrwitz, who I believe forfeited). The fact that Mayerhofer, the second place finisher who happened to be in London studying singing, is 2nd in collection of present-day preserved games is a happy accident – we don’t know his actual score. Nor those of all the other players.
In the end the tournament must be viewed as a failure in consequence. It was at the time. Partly this was a result of the failure in planning (it was hastily arranged), in the offering of but one prize, and of scheduling (many players were likely exhausted by the many tournament and match games played). Staunton’s lack of press coverage also contributes to the failure, certainly from our perspective of preserving the record.
Staunton probably had cause for some measure of hard feelings due to the schism between the clubs, but he certainly wasn’t above adding fuel to the fire:
It is the praise which the author of the pamphlet in question bestows on that shrivelled and exanimate body, whilom the London Chess Club, but now hardly a club at all in numbers, and perhaps rather more a card-playing, than a chess-playing meeting, if the truth were told.
We had almost forgotten another encomium bestowed by the pamphleteer on this society, that of having saved the immortal name of British hospitality, by giving cigars and potables to Herr Anderseen and his companions. Well, be it so. The credit of the cigars is entirely due to the London Chess Club: that of the tournament to the St. George’s.
<The Chess Player’s Chronicle v8 p191/208 (1852)>
This isn’t penned by Staunton, but was published by him. The “credit of the cigars” phrase is entertaining with a little context. One of the incentives offered the players in the London CC tournament, besides the gold Cup, was their offer to supply food, drink, and cigars, at no cost, to the players during play (as mentioned at the end of this SZB notice).
The foreign players were really caught in the middle between the two clubs, not wanting to alienate either. Another curious result of this was that, while Staunton’s <London (1851)> tournament book had virtually no coverage of the London CC tournament, the German translation of his book had a supplemental chapter at the very end covering this secondary tournament. Here is a google translation of it:
Das Schach Turnier zu London im jahre 1851.pdf (last chapter) We have mentioned in the text that the provincial tournament had done neither of events yet to play some reports s worth it. Can we therefore the communication of the latter relieved keep what the English Rapporteur not free standing, so we believe the Partieen not to perform, after the tournament, as it seems, as an advocacy of worthiness for Men Staunton, Lowenthal, Horwitz and Lowe were arranged by the senior committee. Only through this arrangement, however, a Beischmack carries from that the Committee of Georg Clubs alleged "exclusiveness" or not control profiled arbitrariness, this after matche have a connection with the tournament. Equal another series of interesting, also played outside the tournament Partieen between Anderssen, Mayet, Perigal, Mongredien, Buckle, Horwitz, Lowenthal, Scen & c., Find subsequently held sweepstakes their place in the Berliner Zeitung chess. By contrast, some news about the London German readers are - organized club sweepstakes hopefully not be unwelcome. The arranged by London club tournament began July 28. The winner was to receive a large silver cup, worth 100 guineas. The fighters were: Anderssen, Löwenthal, Deacon, Lowe, Harrwitz, Meierhofer, Horwitz, Szabo, Kling, Of these 9 combatants everyone should play with each a game, who last won the most Partieen, received the award. It should therefore be played the whole 36 Partieen, so this competition, because every day 8 players could be active at the same time, required a period of two weeks. The fight took place in London club. This time, the players obtained each Comfort and all meals and drinks, cigars etc were administered free of charge. Before the start of the real struggle, however, were withdrawn from the said competitors Kling and Lowenthal; by contrast, Ehrmann had joined from Strasbourg and Kieseritzky. Anderssen won after a quick 8 August ended struggle against Kieseritzky, Horwitz, Lowe, Meyerhofer, Szabo, Deacon and Ehrmann honorary cup. Harrwitz wanted after he lost a game against Meyerhofer not mitkämpfen on. Over the further course of the reported "Régence": "A second tournament took place in London, in the rooms of London clubs. In the most honorable intentions, the members of this club have not wished that there should glad that they had kept away from all participation in the tournament of the St. Georg club from selfishness or greed. On the contrary, they lay in the righteous feelings of national self-love much because the foreign chess players left London with the most perfect conviction to be recorded in England warm and with distinction. For this reason, they have the strangers showered with compliments and therefore devised a second tournament, whose prize was a very valuable silver cup. Ten foreign players, Mr Anderssen, Deacon, Ehrmann, Harr joke, Kling, Lowe, Lowenthal, Meyerhofer and Szabo were invited to take part in this struggle Theil. Mr. Kieseritzky, which was then in Paris, received this from the honorable president of the company, a postal and drafted in such flattering terms invitation that there could be no talk of the Decline. Following the measures taken by the Commission means the price should be accorded to that would win most Partieen, namely make each player a game with each of the remainder of participants. This device was defective, because the majority of players withdrew when they realized to have no chance of winning. Thus the purpose of obtaining a rich collection well played Partieen, missed by only got about 20 games of very questionable value. Also it was not cheap to stay a single price. Much better it would have been, the number of of each participator with each other to gambling Partieen fixed at two, to be quite fair and then to divide the price in the ratio of games won and indecisive, two parts in any profits, a part would have been expected zn on each depot. In this mode, each would have stayed to the end. Mr. Kieseritzky arrived only at the points in time when half the players had already retired; he found only opportunity with Mr. Anderssen and Mayerhofer two games that he lost, and he gained to play against Mr. Szabo." In the end it is stated after adjusting for a given erroneous respected in the Berliner Zeitung chess communication of: "We need not add that the result has rule considering the excellent Anderssen game, we leave full justice, not surprised us." On August 9 Anderssen left the scene of his victory after he had been answered at the moment of departure Staunton's lenge, as reported above. On 13 he met, greeted warmly, in Berlin. Near and far had followed with growing interest him so soon after another ascended honor stages also outside the chess world was expected of the first successes of the highest voltage and heard with proudest satisfaction after the last that the German master ascended the imperial throne of chess would have. Before Allen the Berlin and Potsdam friends could it not fail to receive now their victorious representatives with Triumph and Herzlickkeit. Had Germany, however, can contend with the proud Albion at the price of talent, yet it is the rich Albion in the glow of festivities to vie unable. Indisputably there is therefore gelagen at the ceremony, which were organized to Staunton's consolation, his hergegangen brilliant than in the modest purpose food that gege in the flower garden to Berlin Anderssen honor Ben was. We ask here about comparing the Berliner Zeitung Chess (1851 S.308).