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The History and The Culture of Chess

 Winning Chess Problems of the 1st American Chess Congress Problem Tournament

August 2005


E. B. Cook, along with W. G. Thomas, W. J. A. Fuller, J. Freguson and S. R. Calthrop judged the entries in the problem tournament at the 1st American Chess Congress.

Problems were to be submitted in sets of three and given an appropriate title.
The 1st and 2nd place sets  (by Rudolf Willmers and Conrad Bayer respectively) were both mates-in-four. 3rd place, Sam Loyd, however, gave a mate-in-three, mate-in-four and mate-in-five)

For 1st place, Rudolf Willmers' problems entitled, "Strive for Honor!", won $30 and 5 copies of the Congress tournament book.
For 2nd place, Conrad Bayer's problems entitled, "Three is the Charm", won $15 and 3 copies of the book.
For 3rd place (honorable mention), Sam Loyd's problems entitled, "Certum Pete Finem", won nothing.

Other sets entered:
   Non Quo, Sed Quomodo - by H. R. Agnel of West Point
   Des Strebendwerth  - by Franz della Torre of Vienna
   But Washington's a watchword, such as ne'er
   Shall sink while there's an echo left to air
- by Charles White of Sunbury, England
   Quod Potui Perfeci - by Theo. M. Brown of Newark, N. J.
   Credo Majori and Curiosum (seemingly a dual-named set of two) by Cark Meier of Bremen
other (non-set) single compositions were arranged by E. B. Cook for inclusion in the book, including 6 compositions each by:
   J. A. Potter of Salem, Mass.
   Denis Julien of New York City
   Eugene B. Cook of Hoboken, N. J.
   Sam Loyd of Florence, N. J.
   Napoleon Marache of New York City
and two special problems by E. B. Cook
   Dedicated with the Highest Esteem and Admiration to Paul Morphy, The Only - used as tournament book's frontpiece
   With Friendly Regard, to Rudolph Willmers, Conrad Bayer and S. Loyd

also submitted but not included in the tournament book:
When we cannot do as we wish, we must do as we can - by John Tanner of New Orleans
Les Trois Mousquetaires - by Edwin J. Weller of Boston
A. B. C. - by T. J. Grotjan of San Francisco


From the tournament book:

Mr. Rudolph Willmers, who secured the highest prize in this intellectual joust, is an eminent pianist, occupying a position in the musical profession side by side with the celebrated Liszt. He was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, in the year 1820, pursued the study of music in Germany, and since the year 1838 has given concerts in the leading cities of Europe. He was an unsuccessful competitor for the prize in the Problem Tournament, which was originated some two years since by Mr. L÷wenthal, the chess editor of the London Era.
The winner of the second prize, Mr. Conrad Bayer, has been known for some years as one of the most ingenious and fertile problem composers of the day. To the chess journals of Germany, England and America, he is a frequent and valuable contributor, both of stratagems and literary articles. In 1857 he took the prize in the Era Problem Tournay.
Mr. Samuel Loyd, who holds the third place on the Committee's list, although stil very young, has already gained a high reputation on both sides of the Atlantic for his genius in the strategic art. He was born in Philadelphia in the year 1841, and began to publish chess problems at the age of fifteen. For the last three years no composer has been more prolific. He gained in 1857 the first prize in the Chess Monthly Problem Tournay.
Professor Agnel is the author of Chess for Winter Evenings; Mr. Franz della Torre is one of the foremost of the many famous problem-makers of Germany; Mr. Charles White is a contributor to the British chess organs, in which he has published some fine specimens of his powers, and is about twenty years of age; Dr. Carl Meier is the author, we believe, of a German work on chess, which appeared in 1844; and Mr. Theodore M. Brown has distinguished himself by the composition of a host of beautiful positions, and in the department of suicidal and conditional problems has few superiors


Strive for Honor

Rudolf Willmers
White to play and mate in four White to play and mate in four White to play and mate in four

Three is the Charm

Conrad Bayer
White to play and mate in four White to play and mate in four White to play and mate in four

Certum Pete Finem

Sam Loyd
White to play and mate in three White to play and mate in four White to play and mate in five


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