NORTHERN AND MIDLAND COUNTIES CHESS ASSOCIATION.
The first meeting of the new Society was held at the Royal Exchange,
Manchester, on Friday, 6th May, 1853. Mr. C. A. Duval, President of the
Manchester Club, was elected President of the Association for the year.
The extension of the sphere of operations was marked by the accession of
many new members. The Manchester players, of course, mustered in great
force. Among the most notable in addition to the President were Messrs.
Kipping, Hasche, Kyllman, Unili, and Cohen. The visitors were also very
numerous, including Messrs. Williams,
Löwenthal, Staunton, Harrwitz, Horwitz, Sir John Blunden, Bart., of
Kilkenny, Sir G. Stephen, Newham, Cronhelm, and others. Play commenced at
11 o'clock. The games contested during the two days of the meeting
comprised—two which Herr Löwenthal played simultaneously against Sir John
Blunden and Mr. E. Cronhelm, both of which he won:—five between Messrs.
Williams and Kipping, the former winning three to two:—one game in which
Mr. Staunton gave the Pawn and two moves to Sir John Blunden, the Eev. S.
Burnell, and Messrs. Gregg and King, in consultation, which was won by the
allies :—one game between Mr. Staunton against Messrs. Duval and Kipping,
in consultation, won by Mr. Staunton:—several between Messrs. Harrwitz and
Allen, at the odds of the Rook :—a blindfold game played by Herr Harrwitz
against Messrs. Hirst and Ralli, which was won by Herr Harrwitz:—a game
played by Herr Horwitz against Sir John Blunden and the Rev. S. Burnell,
lost by the allies :—several simultaneous games contested by Herr
Löwenthal against various amateurs
at various odds, the majority of which he won:—and two simultaneous
consultation games, played by Messrs. Löwenthal and Horwitz, against
Messrs. Williams and Harrwitz. This last encounter excited considerable
interest, the games being keenly contested ; they were discontinued at 9
p.m. on Friday, and were never resumed. A portion of Saturday was devoted
to consideration of the propriety of remodelling the laws of the game. At
the meeting called for the purpose, Mr. Staunton gave expression to the
long cherished wish for a new and comprehensive code, and descanted at
length on the anomalies of the existing rules. After a desultory
conversation on various points connected with the subject, the following
resolution was unanimously adopted. "That Mr. Staunton be requested to put
himself in communication with Major Jaenisch, of Russia, and Mr.
Heydebrand, of Germany, the most distinguished Chess authors of the
Continent, to induce them to co-operate with him in drawing up a code of
Chess laws for general adoption, to be reported on at the next meeting of
At six o'clock the members adjourned to the Queen's Hotel for dinner, Mr.
Duval occupying the chair, and Mr. Cronhelm the vice-chair. The
after-dinner proceedings were of great length, much of the time being
taken up by a general and somewhat acrimonious discussion respecting the
famous challenges, and counter challenges, which were passing at the time
between Messrs. Harrwitz and Staunton. The most interesting speech was one
quite independent of this exciting topic, and was delivered by the
vice-chairman in reply to the toast of "Success to the Association,"
coupled with his name. It was an address in which that gentleman, in his
own peculiar and imaginative vein, entertained his audience by drawing a
number of close and humorous parallels between the game of Chess and the
conduct of political and military affairs, illustrated by events adduced
from ancient and modern history. After some conversation as to the place
of the next year's meeting, the choice fell upon Liverpool, Mr. Morton
Sparke being appointed to act as Honorary Secretary.
THE MEETING ON THE LAWS.
On Thursday, July 17th, the Association met in full Congress to receive
the following Report of the Sub-committee appointed to consider Mr.
Staunton's propositions for a new Code of Laws ; and for the transaction
of other business.
IN compliance with the instructions of the Managing Committee, the
Committee on the Laws werе taken into their consideration the propositions
of Mr. Stauuton for a complete Code, as set forth by that gentleman in his
late publication—the "Chess Praxis." It will be within the memory of the
Members of the Association, that the agitation for a revised Code began аs
far back as the meeting at Manchester in 1853, at which Mr. Staunton
discussed at length the anomalies of the existing Laws. The object held in
view at that time was the formation of an universal Code, and to that end,
Mr. Staunton was desired to put himself in communication with Major
Jaenisch and with Mr. Heydebrand. Since that time nine years have elapsed,
and the idea then entertained of obtaining an universal Code, has, from
the almost insuperable difficulties attending the task, given way to the
more practicable one of framing a comprehensive Code of Laws for British
Players. Mr. Staunton's propositions were published in 1860, and it now
remains for the Association in Congress assembled, formally to adopt them,
or such a modification of them as may seem desirable. In making use of
them in framing the following Rules, the Committee could not but admire
the great care and research bestowed on the subject by Messrs. Staunton
and his co-labourers ; and in the notes and observations intended to
elucidate the various questions, the Committee have found a mass of very
curious and interesting information, which has been of great assistance to
them, and for which the Chess world owe a debt of gratitude. From these
notes, the Committee have availed themselves of several suggestions which
appear to them to tend towards the theoretical perfection of the game ;
but as regards
the arrangement of the Bules under the various headings, they have adopted
a simpler form than that used in the propositions, while in one or two
points they differ from the author of the "Praxis," namely, on those of
"Penalties" and " Castling." They think it unnecessary to enter into
definitions of "The Board," "The Men," "The Moves," &c.,
as these may fairly be presumed to be known to the Members, and may
be learned from any elementary treatise. It now only remains for them to
propose that the following Rules and Regulations shall for
the future govern all play at the Meetings of the British Chess
GEO. W. MEDLEY, Hon. Sec
СОММПТЕЕ ROOM, PPESSELL'S,
30th June, 1862.
To this was appended the proposed new Code,
According to previous advertisement, Lord Lyttelton took the chair
at 8 p.m. Among the members present were Messrs. Mongredien, T. I.
Hampton, "W. Hampton, Fonblanque, Pearson, Deacon, Eev. G. McDonnell, Rev.
John Owen, F. H. Lewis, F. Thompson, J. Duncan, M.A., Staunton, Medley,
Greenaway, Wormald, Worrell, Rev. J. Donaldson, Löwenthal, Anderssen,
Steinitz, and Dufresne.
THE PRESIDENT, in opening the proceedings, drew attention to the
object for which principally the meeting had been called ; namely, to pass
an authoritative Code of Laws. Doubtless every one present had read the
report of the Committee, and the alterations which they proposed. His
lordship then rapidly passed in review the efforts which had been made
from time to time towards the formation of a revised Code, and which are
familiar to the Chess world: and trusted that the result of their
deliberations that evening would accomplish the desired
Mr. MONGREDIEN moved that the rules and regulations proposed by the
Committee should in future govern all play at the meetings of the British
Mr. DEACON seconded the motion.
Mr. STAUNTON objected to the adoption of the Code proposed by the
Committee, and proceeded to state the grounds on which he did so.
Some conversation then arose as to the manner in which the
discussion should be taken, it being ultimately agreed that the proposed
Code should be considered clause by clause. The Rules were then taken in
numerical order, each sentence being subjected to strict scrutiny. The
following Laws were the result of the deliberations.
I.—THE CHESS BOARD.
The board must be so placed during play that each combatant has a white
square in his right hand corner. If, during the progress of a game, either
player discovers that the board has been improperly placed, he may insist
on its being adjusted.
If, at any time in the course of a game, it is found that the men were not
properly placed, or that one or more of them were omitted at the
beginning, the game in question must be annulled. If, at any time it is
discovered that a man has been dropped off the board, and moves have been
made during its absence, such moves shall be retracted, and the man
restored. If the players cannot agree as to the square on which it should
he replaced, the game must be annulled.
Ш.—RIGHT OF MOVE AND CHOICE OP COLOUR.
The right of making the first move, and (if either player require it) of
choosing the colour, which shall be retained throughout the sitting, must
be decided by lot. In any series of games between the same players at one
sitting, each shall have the first move alternately in all the games,
whether won or drawn. In an annulled game, the player who had the first
move in that game shall move first in the next.
IV.—COMMENCING OUT OF TURN.
If a player malte the first move in a game when it is not his turn to do
sо, the game must be annulled if the error has been noticed before both
players have completed the fourth move. After four moves on each side have
been made, the game must be played out as it stands.
V.—PLAYING TWO MOTES IN SUCCESSION.
If, in the course of a game, a player move a man when it is not his turn
to play, he must retract the said move; and after his adversary has moved,
must play the man wrongly moved, if it can be played legally.
VI.—TOUCH AND MOTE.
A player must never touch any of the men except when it is his turn to
play, or except when he touches a man for the purpose of adjusting it; in
which latter case he must, before touching it, say, " I adjust," or words
to that effect. A player who touches with his hand (except accidentally)
one of his own men when it is his turn to play, must move it, if it can be
legally moved, unless, before touching it, he say, "I adjust," as above ;
and a player who touches one of his adversary's men, under the same
conditions, must take it, if he can legally do so.
If, in either case, the move cannot be legally made, the offender
must move his King ; but in the event of the King having no legal move,
there shall be no penalty. If a player hold a man in his hand, undecided
on which square to play it, his adversary may require him to replace it
until he has decided on its destination ; that man, however, must be
moved. If a player, when it is his turn to play, touch with his hand
(except accidentally or in castling) more than one of his own men, he must
play any one of them legally moveable that his opponent selects. If under
the same circumstances, he touch two or more of the adversary's men, he
must capture whichever of them his antagonist chooses, provided it can be
legally taken. If it happen that none of the men so touched can be moved
or captured, the offender must move his King ; but if the King cannot be
legally moved, there shall be no penalty.
VII.— FALSE MOVES AND ILLEGAL MOTES.
If a player make a false move — that is, either by playing a man of his
own to a square to which it cannot be legally moved, or by capturing an
adverse man by a move which cannot be legally made — he must, at the
choice of his opponent, and according to the case, either move his own man
legally, capture the man legally, or move any other man legally moveable.
If, in the course of a game, an illegality be discovered (not involving a
King being in check), and the move on which it was committed hag been
replied to, and not more than four moves on each
side have been made subsequently, all these latter moves, including that
on which the illegality was committed, must be retracted. If more than
four moves on each side have been made, the game must be played out as it
A player must audibly say "Check !" when he makes a move which puts the
hostile King in check. The mere announcement of check shall have no
signification if check be not actually given. If check be given but not
announced, and the adversary makes a move which obviates the check the
move must stand. If check be given and announced, and the adversary
neglects to obviate it, he shall not have the option of capturing the
checking piece, or of covering, but must " move his King" out of check ;
but if the King have no legal move there shall be no penalty. If in the
course of a game it be discovered that a King has been left in check for
one or more moves on either side, all the moves, subsequent to that on
which the check was given, must be retracted. Should these not be
remembered the game must be annulled.
IX. — ENFORCING PENALTIES.
A player is not bound to enforce a penalty. A penalty can only be enforced
by a player before he has touched a man in reply. Should he touch a man in
reply in consequence of a false or illegal move of his opponent, or a
false cry of check, he shall not be compelled to move that man, and his
right to enforce a penalty shall remain. When the King is moved as a
penalty, it cannot castle on that move.
X — CASTLING.
In castling, the player shall move King and Book simultaneously, or shall
touch the King first. If he touch the Book first, he must not quit it
before having touched the King ; or his opponent may claim the move of the
Book аз a complete move. When the odds of either Rook or both Rooks are
given, the player giving the odds shall be allowed to move his King as in
castling, and as though the Rooks were on the
XI.—СOUNTING FIFTY MOTES.
A player may call upon his opponent to draw the game, or to mate him
within fifty moves on each side, whenever his opponent persists in
repeating a particular check, or series of checks, or the some line of
play, or whenever he has a King alone on the board, or
King and Queen,
King and Rook
King and Bishop
against an equal or superior force.
King and Knight
King and Two Bishops,
King and Two Knights,
against King and Queen.
King, Bishop and Knight,
and in all analogous cases ;
and whenever one player considers that his opponent can force the game, or
that neither side can win it, he has the right of submitting the case to
the umpire or bystanders, who shall decide whether it is one for the fifty
move counting ; should he not be mated within the fifty mores, he may
claim that the game shall proceed.
XII.—PAWN TAKING IN PASSING.
Should a player be left with no other move than to take a Pawn in,
passing, ho shall be bound to play that move.
XIII.—QUEENING A PAWN.
When a pawn has reached the eighth square, the player has the option of
selecting a piece, whether such piece has been previously lost or
not, whose name and powers it shall then assume, or of deciding that it
shall remain a Pawn.
XIV.—ABANDONING THE GAME.
If a player abandon the game, discontinue his moves, voluntarily resign,
wilfully upset the board, or refuse to abide by these laws, or to submit
to the decision of the umpire, he must be considered to have lost the
XV.—THE UMPIRE оr BYSTANDERS.
The umpire shall have authority to decide any question whatever that may
arise in the course of a game, but must never interfere except when
appealed to. He must always apply the laws as herein expressed, and
neither assume the power of modifying them, nor of deviating from them in
particular cases, according to his own judgment. When a question is
submitted to the umpire, or to bystanders, by both players, their decision
shall be final and binding upon both players. The term bystander shall
comprise any impartial player of eminence who can be
appealed to, absent or present.* *
See notes on the New Laws, p. lxxxvii.
The only point of importance on which any difference of opinion arose, was
during the discussion on Law 13, "Queening a Pawn." Mr. Staunton
maintained, that to allow a pawn at its eighth square to remain a pawn was
a serious innovation, a gross absurdity, and a violation of the
fundamental laws of the game. In reply, it was pointed out that a pawn
remaining a pawn at its eighth was no novelty, Mr. Staunton himself giving
in the " Praxis" a game from Ponziani, in which an example occurs ; that
the law relative to the point had been altered several times ; that as to
the reproach of innovation, the game itself was nothing but the result of
a series of innovations on its original form ; and that Mr. Staunton had
admitted in the " Praxis" that the tendency of modern legislation was to
consider the queening a pawn as the highest feat which a player can
accomplish, and to reward it with the greatest possible advantage. It was
urged that to compel a player to choose a superior piece without the
option of refusing promotion, would not in all cases confer the greatest
possible advantage, there being positions in which a player compelled to
take a superior piece would be subjected to a fatal penalty, the following
being an instance adduced by Mr. Kling.
In this position, if White
take Book with Pawn, and claim any superior piece, Black will take Bishop
with Pawn and mate next move. If, however, he refuse promotion, as allowed
by the new law, Black cannot do more than draw the game. On taking the
votes, a large majority decided on raising the new privilege.*
The discussion on the various points did not terminate until a late hour;
the remaining business was therefore hastily dispatched. THE REV. G. A.
McDONNELL, in the absence of the Rev. John Owen, to whom the resolution
had been entrusted, and who had been obliged to leave — moved that the
Managing Committee continue their labours until the next General Meeting,
he paid a tribute to the exertions of that body, and thanked the members
for the efficient way in which the arrangements had been carried out.
Mr. DEACON seconded the motion, which was carried unanimously.
THE PRESIDENT then briefly alluded to one of the tasks before the
Committee, that of taking steps towards the reorganization of the
Association ; and then stated, that the public business of the Congress
being then finally closed, nothing remained but for him to dissolve the
meeting. A vote of thanks to his lordship was then proposed by Mr.
Hampton, and carried by acclamation ; whereupon the meeting separated.
NOTES ON THE NEW CODE OF LAWS.
In framing its new laws, the Association has taken as a basis the
propositions of Mr. Staunton, as published in the "Praxis," I860, which
contains three chapters on the subject. Chapter I. contains what are
termed " Fundamental Laws and Legal Definitions ; Chapter II. contains "
Regulations for Playing ;" and Chapter III. gives Rules for playing the
game at odds, by correspondence, and by consultation. For the present, the
Association has confined itself to Regulations for playing the ordinary
game. An examination of these will show that the incompleteness which has
been the characteristic of former codes no longer exists, while the
anomalies which rendered them absurd have been abolished ; the result
being a set of Rules in harmony with the spirit of the game.*
Rule 1. "The Chess Board," agrees substantially with that on the
same subject in the " Praxis." In order to see what has been done, we will
take the new Laws seriatim, and compare them with the propositions.
Rule 2. "The Chessmen," agrees with that of the "Praxis," bnt
includes under this head its 18th Regulation, "Dropped Man."
Rule 3. "Eight of Move and Choice of Colour," is substantially the
same as in the "Praxis," except that the penalty of "forfeiting a move,"
which it allows, is not permitted by the New Code, as being in itself an
infringement of the law of alternate moves.
Rule 4. "Commencing out of Turn," and Rule б, "Playing Two Moves in
Succession," are substantially the same as in the " Praxis."
Rule 6. "Touch and Move." This rule includes the subjects treated
in the "Praxis," under the heads of "Touch and Move," "Touching a Square
with a Man," " Touching more than One Man," and "J'adoube." The "Praxis"
lays it down that "a player who touches with his own hand one of his own
men . . .must move it . . . unless . . . he say j'adoube," &c., no
provision is made for accidental touching; the omission, however, is
repaired in the new law. It also sets down the penalty for an infraction
of this rule as, that the King shall be moved; and in the event of its
having no legal move, that the offender shall move any man legally
moveable the adversary chooses. The new Code rejects the latter portion of
the penalty as being far too severe. The last clause of, "Touch and Move,"
in the "Praxis" is treated under 9 in the New Code. The rule 7 in "Praxis"
on "Touching a square with a Man," commences with a partial definition of
what constitutes " a move," (which should have appeared in Chapter I.,
devoted to what are termed" legal definitions,") wherein it is stated,
that a man may be played to any
square it commands, which the player has not touched with it during his
deliberation on the move, and then somewhat unnecessarily adds, "But it
must always be played to a different square from that it occupied
previously to the move." The New Code simply enacts that "If a player hold
a man in his hand, undecided on which square to play it, his adversary may
require him to replace it," which seems sufficient, but
if any more particular regulation on this point were necessary, it would
appear more consistent with the spirit of chess law to compel a man to be
played to a square which it has touched, instead of to one which it has
Rule 7. "False Moves and Illegal Moves." The "Praxis" under its 8th
rule, " False Moves," subjects the offender to a forfeiture of his move.
This penalty, as before stated, is rejected by the New Code. The other
penalties proposed are retained; one of them being that, in certain cases,
"a player shall move any other man, legally moveable, his opponent may
select." This is certainly very severe ; but then the offence at which it
is aimed is, in chess, a most heinous one. As regards illegalities not
involving a King being in check, the New Code enacts,
that in the event of any remaining undiscovered after four moves on each
side have been made, the game shall be played out as it stands ; the
"Praxis," however, proposed that " if an illegality be discovered at any
later period [than immediately afterwards] the move on which it was
committed . . . must be retracted, and the error corrected at the
offending party's own option," the reason for which it is hard to
understand. In enacting that after four moves have been made the game
shall be played out as it stands, the New Code proceeds on the principle,
that an illegality, unnoticed for that time, removes the game from the
operation of chess law, and places it in the domain of equity ; whatever
the combatants may be engaged in, it is no longer Chess. Rule 8. "Check"
comprises what is treated of in the "Praxis," under 11, " Check," and 12,
"A King remaining in check."
Rule 9. " Enforcing Penalties." In the New Code care is taken to
state that the enforcement of penalties is permissive, not obligatory ; an
important point not mentioned in the "Praxis."
Rule 10. " Castling." The " Praxis" contains no regulation on this
point, although the subject is discussed in notes appended to the
propositions. The object of this rule is to leave no doubt as to what is
the intention of the player. In stating that when the odds of a Rook are
given, the giver of the odds may move his King as though the Rook were on
the board, the New Code only confirms what has been the practice of the
chess world as far back as our records extend. A practice founded on the
fact that notwithstanding the introduction of the modern system of
"Castling," which was at first performed in two distinct moves, and then
allowed, for convenience, to be completed in one—the King's ancient leap
has never been formally abolished. The reader may consult with advantage
"Praxis," p. 47, and for authorities in practice may turn to "Traite des
Amateurs," Paris, 1775 ; Walker's " One Thousand Game*," p. 51, " Philidor
and Atwood ;" p. 21, " Labourdonnais, and Rev. C. D Arblay ; p. 40, "
Rule 11. "Counting Fifty Moves," ie substantially the same as in
the "Praxis," with the addition in the last clause of a regulation on a
point which has long agitated the chess world. By enacting that if the
player be not mated within the fifty moves, he may claim that the game
shall proceed, the New Code provides for such cases as the following :—
A is left with King and Queen against B, who has King and Eook. В proposes
to draw the game, which of course A refuses to do ; whereon В says, " then
mate me in fifty moves." The game goes on until, say the forty-ninth move,
when A by a blunder loses his Queen. Under the old law, whatever might be
the position of the pieces at this conjuncture, the game must be drawn. A
most absurd conclusion ! Why should a player (especially the one with the
stronger force) be placed by a regulation in such a position that he
cannot lose the game ? There was no compact between A and В ; in fact, the
offer which В made was rejected ; and it was a monstrous thing to allow A,
after losing his Queen to say, " I now accept your offer." In future, В
will be able to reply, "No ; the game must proceed ;" and it will be
competent for A, in his turn, to claim the operation of the fifty move
counting. The "Praxis," though discussing this question ш its notes,
offers no practical regulation.
Rule 12. "Pawn taking in Passing," is merely an authoritative
statement on a question which was raised some years ago, and which it was
desirable to set at rest. It corresponds with " The Move and Forced Move
of the "Praxis," Chapter I.
Rule 13. "Queening a Pawn." This regulation, by which a player will
in future be allowed to refuse promotion for a Pawn arrived at the eighth
square, is framed in accordance with that principle of the modern game
which, regarding the Queening a Pawn as the highest feat a player can
accomplish, would reward it with the greatest possible advantage. The law
on this point has undergone many changes. At first, the Queening of a Pawn
was attended with little if any advantage to the player ; but as time
rolled on, and the powers of the various pieces became subject to
successive modifications, it was found expedient to grant ever increasing
privileges on the achievement. From being made to lie dormant at the
eighth square until a piece was taken which should then supply its place ;
from being restricted to changing into a piece on whose square it finally
arrived, or into a Knight or a Queen only ; from being compelled to make
certain additional moves before becoming entitled to enjoy its new rank ;
it had at length attained the utmost freedom of choice, except in one most
important particular. It might become a Queen, a Rook, a Bishop, or a
Knight, but could not refuse promotion ; and this defect the new law
supplies. It may be useful to state that at the present time, the
Italians, who do not admit what is termed " plurality of pieces," that is,
more than one Queen, two Knights, «fee., on the board at one time, retain
the Pawn at the eighth as a Pawn, until some piece is captured, for which
it may be exchanged. Mr. Staunton, however, appears to be unaware of this
law, as may be seen by turning to p. 41 of the "Praxis," where he speaks
of it as a proposition merely. The object of the new rule is simply to
give the utmost latitude of choice ; and it is still a question whether,
instead of allowing the Pawn to remain at the eighth, it should not, on
its arrival there, be removed from the board, and the player be permitted
to refuse the substitution of any piece. The "Praxis" in its notes, gives
a position by M. Petroff, who submits the point as a question for the
Chess world. See p. 45. See also p. lxxii, of this volume.
Rule 14. "Abandoning the Game," includes 16, " Upsetting the
Board," and 18, "Abandoning the Game," in the "Praxis," and agrees with
Rule 15. "The Umpire, or Bystanders," is substantially the same as
19 of the "Praxis." Under" 15, Duration,"the "Praxis" contains some
remarks on the expediency of limiting the time taken over moves in matches
of importance ; this and similar points, however, are matters for private
agreement, and cannot form subjects for legislation.
* The New Code has been adopted by the following Clubs :—The London, St.
George's, St. James's, Dublin, Dublin Athenœum, Liverpool, Manchester,
Birmingham, Bath, Coventry, Abingdon, Worcester, Ipiwich, and Penzance.