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Howard Staunton by H.J.R. Murray
 June 2007

Yet another truly remarkable contribution from WilhelmThe2nd


Howard Staunton

November,  1908


HEN Louis Charles de Labourdonnais died on December 13th, r8ao in his forty-fourth year. the first period of
nineteenth-century chess may be said to have come to a close. The chief characteristics of the period had been the concentration of master-play in London and Paris, a tradition which had been established by Philidor, and the supremacy of William Lewis and his great pupil, Alexander MacDonnell, in England. and of Deschapelles and his first pupil, Labourdonnais, in France. The most interesting events of the period were the somewhat informal reunion of these two French players with Lewis and John Cochrane in Paris in April. 182r ; the immortal series of matches between MacDonnell and Labourdonnais, at Westminster, in 18,34 the correspondence matches London v. Edinburgh, in 1824-8, and Paris v. Westminster, in 1834-6 ; and the renewed interest in the chess problem in connection with which I may name Lewis, William Bone, and the Rev. H. Bolton, of Oby, Norfolk. Of possibly greater importance for the future development of chess was the revival of German chess, the work of the German problemist and player, Mendheim (D. 1836), and in a more special measure of that talented group of seven young Berlin players, the " Pleiades." The results of this revival were, however, only apparent in the following period.
The new period opened with but little promise. Writing of Labourdonnais in 1841, George Walker said " In life he was unrivalled as a chess-player ; in death he leaves no one worthy to fill his place " ; and, indeed, the age of giants seemed to have passed away. Lewis and Deschapelles, it is true, were still alive, but both had long withdrawn from the arena. Lewis never showed any desire to reclaim the sceptre which he laid down of his own free will in 1827-8. Deschapelles, on the other hand, still from his tent claimed to be the first player of his time, and played occasionally at the odds of Pawn and two, or at his weird game of Pawns, while he would from time to time, when the noise of the exploits of the younger generation penetrated to his retirement, emerge and blow his trumpet lustily with a challenge to the world to prove that he was still alive, but which was never intended to be taken seriously. The leading players in full practice were all on a lower level than MacDonnell and Labourdonnais, and had received odds from the one or the other. In France the wine merchant, St. Amant, a descendant of the old nobility, and in chess a pupil of both Deschapelles and Labourdonnais, stood out as the best player left ; in England, George Walker, Frederick L. Slous, and H. W. Popert were probably the leading players in active play. I gave Walker's life in this Magazine in 1906 : Slous (B. i8ox, D. 1892) was a player of much promise, who, according to Walker, would have proved a formidable rival to Staunton had not ill-health compelled him to abandon chess : Popert had played much with MacDonnell, and had a reputation for defensive play. Mongredien once remarked : " That when the position was critical and required deep calculation, his opponent had ample time to go away, eat his lunch, and return before Popert had made up his mind what to do." He must have been an uncomfortable antagonist, and it would be small consolation to his weary adversary to know that Popert always made the best move in such circumstances.
But while " The Old Guard " were doing their best for the reputation of English chess, there was a new player rapidly climbing up to their level who was to snatch the sceptre from them all. With his advent the second period of nineteenth-century chess commenced—the period which saw the inception of international tournaments, the success of the chess magazine, and the recognition of the weekly chess column as an institution. The culminating point of the period was the visit of Paul Morphy to Europe, in 1858-9.
It is to this period that Howard Staunton belongs. In the previous period it had been usual to speak of players in terms of their early instructors in the game. Thus MacDonnell, Cochrane, and Walker were the " pupils " of Lewis, as Lewis himself had been the " pupil " of Sarratt. Staunton stood in no such relationship to his predecessors. He was the product of the Divan and other West End chess resorts.
Staunton's early history is somewhat obscure. What I have to tell has been gleaned from various obituary notices and from the " Dictionary of National Biography." Howard Staunton was born in 1810, and was reputed to be the natural son of Frederick Howard, fifth Earl of Carlisle. He was neglected in youth, and received little or no education, and although he spent some time in Oxford, he was never a member of the University. When he came of age he received a few thousand pounds under his father's will, a fortune which he soon squandered. We know little of his manner of life at this time, but he was passionately fond of the theatre, and apparently spent some time on the stage. In later life he often used to tell how he had once played the part of Lorenzo in the Merchant of Venice to Edmund Kean's Shylock. But from 1836, at least onwards, he was dependent upon his pen for a livelihood, and eventually he discovered two profitable subjects for his literary labours in chess and the Shakespearian drama.
Staunton was nearly twenty years of age before he learnt the rudiments of chess, and it was not until 1835-6 that he really yielded to the fascination of the game. In 1836 I find the name of H. Staunton, Esq., among the subscribers to Greenwood Walker's Selection of Games at Chess, actually played in London, by the late Alexander M'Donnell, Esq. (London, 1836). This is probably his first public appearance in connection with chess. In later life he used to say that he had never actually seen either MacDonnell or Labourdonnais, and that the first good player he ever encountered was Popert. It is somewhat extraordinary that he missed Labourdonnais, who was in England after Staunton had taken to chess, and played in the resorts where Staunton himself visited. In 1836 Staunton was a mere tyro, and when St. Amant played a short series of games in that year with George Walker (St. A. 5 ; W. 3 ; one draw), he estimated that either player could easily have given him a Rook. But he rapidly improved. Regular practice at the Divan, at Huttmann's, in Covent Garden ; at the " Shades," Old Savile House, Leicester Square ; and at Goode's, Ludgate Hill, soon told its tale. In 184o he played a match with Popert at the Old London Chess Club, and won by the odd game, and chess-players began to recognise him as a player of distinction. In the course of the next two years he established his position as the first English player of the day. I recognise three factors as contributing to this result.
First and foremost I would place the remarkable series of games which he contested with John Cochrane during 1841-2. Cochrane, a Barrister of the Middle Temple, had held a legal appointment in India since about 1826, and was home on eighteen months' furlough. As a young man he had been an enthusiastic player, with a brilliant style and fertile imagination It has been said of him that he invented many attacks in various openings, but never a sound one among them. Their novelty was their success in their author's hands. The Cochrane Gambit is called after him, though he was not the originator of it. Although he had been out of serious chess for fifteen years, he returned o it with enthusiasm, and soon convinced London players that his old reputation had a real basis. For the last year of his stay he continued to play regularly, and proved himself easily the superior of every English player that he encountered, with the exception of Howard Staunton. He played Io games also with St. Amant, in 1841-2, on one of his annual visits to England, and won 6 games to his opponent's 4. With Staunton some 120 games are extant on level terms, and Staunton led in the proportion of two to one. Just before Cochrane's return to India, Staunton began to give him the odds of Pawn and move, and of seven games at these odds each player won three, the other game being drawn. The two players used to meet at the " Shades," and they played for a guinea a game. At the same resort Staunton played many games with Mr. J. Brown, Q.C., a strong London amateur.
In the second place I place Staunton's success in giving odds to other players of reputation. At a later date there were players who sneered at this success and hinted that Staunton had made a special study of the odds of Pawn and move and Pawn and two, and that he won because his opponents were less familiar with the game at odds. There never was a more baseless assertion. The game at odds was probably more played from 1830-5o than at any period in England, and the very men who failed against Staunton were regularly giving the same odds themselves to other players.
And, thirdly, Staunton's literary activity kept his name prominently before the chess public. In 1841 he saw an opening for a chess magazine that should, above all things, give a plentiful supply of games of recent date, and, after a very brief career as part of the " British Miscellany," the chess portion of this magazine was placed upon an independent footing as the Chess Player's Chronicle. Staunton was both owner and editor of this magazine from 1841-52. In its pages he published week by week his best games. thinly disguising the names of each antagonist under initials sir describing him as " one of the strongest Metropolitan amateurs of the day." By means of these games, and others which L, he published between other leading players of the day, it was possible 4' for country chess-players to draw a line between players and infer Staunton's superiority. But in the magazine I regret to find also the beginnings of those petty personalities, likes and dislikes, that were to accompany Staunton throughout his whole chess career. I would fain ignore them if I could, but they are far too prominent. The odium scaccicum is a very real thing, and chess-players seem particularly prone to petty jealousies. The dispossessed magnates of chess were angry at the success of an interloper, and whispered imputations on Staunton's private character. It is possible that his irregular birth made Staunton specially sensitive to such things, but, instead of ignoring the gossip, he hit out at his enemies, real or supposed, under the cover of answers to correspondents. There were people who refused t0 credit the existence of these correspondents. On the other hand, Staunton was very vain of his chess successes, and gave offence by his patronising airs in the magazine. And so English players were soon divided into two camps, the pro-Staunton party, who lauded their hero to the skies and the anti-Staunton party, whose one desire was to see him humiliated, and who did not care even if it should prove to he a foreigner who unseated the English champion. It must be admitted once for all that Staunton did not always fight fairly. He misused his editorial position again and again, and in this way gave his enemies openings of which they were not slow to avail themselves.
No man was ever worse served by his friends or suffered more as a result of his own indiscretions.
In the spring of 1843, Staunton, who had recently been elected a member of the St. George's Club, played a few games there with St. Amant, then in England on his annual business visit. Six games in all were played for a nominal stake of a guinea, and the result was :St.
Amant, 3 ; Staunton, 2 ; drawn, I. There was no talk of a match, but St. Anima was naturally elated, and took care to let French players know of his success through the Palamède, of which he had become editor. Staunton, who had been in poor health at the time did not consider that he had done himself justice in these games, and so he issued a challenge to St. Amant for a match of 21 or 41 games for either 50 or 100 guineas a-side. There was some difficulty over the preliminary negotiations, but they were all surmounted, owing to Staunton's eagerness to play, and the match of twenty-one games was finally commenced in Paris on November 1843 for 100 a-side. Four games were played each week, generally on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and the match ended on December 20th with the complete triumph of the English player, who secured 12 games to his opponents 6,  4 being drawn. At one time a far more run-away victory appeared likely, for at the end of the tenth game Staunton was leading by 8 to 1. There was no time limit in those days, and play ruled decidedly slow, St. Amant being the worst offender in this respect. Throughout the whole of the match both players kept to close openings. Three times only did St. Amant, and twice only did Staunton, venture upon  P—K 4, in every instance to be promptly met by the second player with the Sicilian Defence. Otherwise St. Amant stuck to the Queen's Pawn game (1. P —Q 4), and Staunton played 1. P —Q 4 twice and 1. P—Q B4 six times : the last opening taking as a result the name of the English Opening. The games naturally challenge comparison with the Labourdounais — MacDonnell match games, and very diverse opinions have been expressed about the relative excellence of the two sets.   On the whole, I think the Staunton—St. .Arnant games are the less interesting to the ordinary player. They are, however, regarded as chess classics.
The victory was the climax of Staunton's chess career. The public had at once seized upon the international significance of the match, and were looking for the reversal of the verdict id the Labourdonnais— -MacDonnell match. The Englishman's victor.- was received with great enthusiasm. and Staunton was feted on his return to England. It was before the days of chess championships, or Staunton would have been acclaimed as the champion of the world. As a matter of fact, he was at the time regarded very much in this light ; while modern writers, attempting to trace back the line of champions from the time of the first claimant to the title—William Steinitz—regard this match as a contest for the championship, and date Staunton's tenure from this year,
One would have thought that Staunton's victory was sufficiently decisive, but St. .Amant refused to accept the verdict. He recalled the six informal games in London, of which he had won the bare majority, and magnified them into a chess match, which he placed upon an equality with the formal contest in Paris. His defeat at Paris had been a mere accident : " je ne reconnais votre supériorité que comme fait accidental." he wrote in a later letter to Staunton.  He professed to be anxious for a new match, but he posed as still the champion, and insisted in regarding Staunton as the challenger. His vanity was immense, and rendered all negotiations very difficult. Correspondence over the terms of the new match went on all through 1844. Staunton wished to treat the negotiations as private, but St. Amant published everything that suited his purpose, grandiloquently claiming that they were making chess history, and that the letters were historical documents Very sorry reading is it all. and it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that St. Amant was endeavouring to force Staunton to break off the negotiations. But Staunton resolutely refused to take offence ; he ignored the almost insolent tone of the letters, and crossed to Paris in October. 1844, with his seconds, hoping to commence play on October 15th. Unhappily the fates ruled otherwise. Staunton caught cold on the journey, and pneumonia supervened. Want of care in the early stages of convalescence resulted in a bad relapse, and for some days his life was in danger. It was a very serious illness, and it left behind it a permanent weakness of the heart, which really unfitted Staunton thenceforward for the hard work entailed in playing important matches. Finally, after three months in Paris, Staunton was compelled to return to London, and all idea of a return match was abandoned. The acrimonious correspondence continued for six months more, but public sympathy was strongly on Staunton's side, and St. Amant's final letters did himself no good.

H. J. R. M.             

Howard Staunton

December,  1908


IN 1843 Staunton took charge of the recently established chess column in the Illustrated London News, a column which he
conducted for the remainder of his life. For a long time it exercised an important influence on English chess and enjoyed a European reputation ; in it was announced the discovery of the Florence MSS. of mediaeval chess, and in it appeared Professor Duncan Forbes' series of articles that later were amplified into the History of Chess (London, /864 Unfortunately, Staunton was not sufficiently impartially minded to conduct a chess column without giving offence. In annotating games he never forgot the personalities of the players, and his praise or blame was coloured accordingly. Moreover, his heart trouble showed itself in a great irritability of temper, and other chess-players found it difficult to get on with him. His most faithful friends were those who rarely met him in the flesh. Personal intercourse inevitably ended before long in a breach.
One of the earliest results of the growing unpopularity of Staunton in English chess circles was the matches in r846 at the London Chess Club with the foreign players—Bernard Horwitz, one of the Pleiades, who had taken up his residence in London ; and Daniel Hurwitz, of Breslau, who were put up to play the English champion in the hope that one or other might prove too much for him. But Staunton won the Horwitz match of at games on level terms by 14 to 7 and 3 draws ; and the Harrwitz match by 12 to 9 and 1 draw. The conditions of this last match were remarkable. Staunton gave Pawn and move in seven games, Pawn and two in seven more, and seven games were to be played even, draws not counting. The three matches went on simultaneously, the games following one another in this order : Pawn and move, level, Pawn and two. Staunton won the whole of the even games, won 1 to 6 of those at Pawn and move, and 4 to 3 of those at Pawn and two. One game at Pawn and move was drawn.
Horwitz was not in good health at the time of his match, but subsequent play would show that the result was really a fair statement of the relative skill of the two players. Horwitz was not a good match player, and his forte was end-game analysis. The match is interesting as containing one of the very few instances on record of Staunton adopting the Ruy Lopez. He justified the choice on the ground that since the St. Amant match he had given odds in every game that he had played ; that he knew his opponent was well posted in the regular openings, and that it was accordingly necessary to take him " out of the books " : a statement that shows how far we have moved since that period.*

* In the games, however, which Staunton played with v.d. Lasa in 1853, he adopted the Ruy Lopez no less than five times.

The curious thing about the Harrwitz match is the fact that Harrwitz did so much better at Pawn and move than at Pawn and two. Many attempts have been made to explain this ; probably the correct explanation is to be found in Staunton's greater familiarity with the longer odds, which again tempted his young opponent (who had a free attacking style of play) into premature attacks that recoiled upon his own head. The play in these games at odds used to be much admired.
The following year (1847) Staunton published The Chess-Player's Handbook in Bohn's Scientific Library. Based ultimately upon the German Handbuch, it was enriched with many variations and analyses of Staunton's own, and the work added greatly to his reputation. The cheapness, the convenience of the arrangement, the position of the author, all combined to make it an instant success. Even to-day it is still the door through which many English players approach the study of the openings. Staunton, however, did not profit by the unexpected success of the book ; he parted with his interest in the copyright to the publishers, and the hard things that have been said about the morality of reprinting without change a book that was first written sixty years ago must not be applied to Staunton. The publishers, I suppose, have never realised that there is no finality in chess analysis.
During the winter of 1847-8 Staunton engaged in a short match of seven games at the odds of Pawn and two with Lowe, a German professional player, who had taken up his residence in London. The match was intended to commemorate a recent enlargement of the Divan. Lowe won handsomely, with a score of 4 to I and 2 draws. Staunton's subsequent conduct with regard to this match was inexpressibly silly. He had announced it with a great flourish in the Chess Player's Magazine, and published the first five games. In
subsequent issues he made no reference whatever to the result of the match, and he never published the concluding games. Finally, in the correspondence in the chess column of the Illustrated London News, he made a spiteful critique on his opponent's skill, and described him as " unquestionably inferior to the great body of English players to whom Mr. Staunton gives the odds of Pawn and two." No wonder that Staunton's enemies hugged themselves with delight at this colossal blunder in good taste, and that Thomas Beeby in his Account of the late celebrated match between Mr. Howard Staunton and Mr. Lowe (London, 1848) lashed Staunton with scorpions.
In 1849 Staunton contributed another volume to Bohn's Library, with the title The Chess-Player's Companion. This is a collection of his own games and a valuable treatise upon the games at odds. In the former part of the book he did full justice to his chess career by publishing the games of his three great matches. " This still remains," quotes the ' Dictionary of National Biography,' " a noble monument for any chess-player to have raised for himself. The notes are in general as much distinguished by their good taste as by their literary talent and critical value." Later in the same year he designed a new type of chessmen, which were registered as the "Staunton Chessmen," and were at once recognised as an improvement on all existing types of piece. With the chessmen was issued The Chess-Player's Text Book, a small work intended for the instruction of. beginners.
The year 1851 is memorable as the year in which the first international tournament was held. In the arrangements for this Staunton played a very prominent part. It was he who made the first public suggestions that the Great Exhibition offered an appropriate opportunity for the holding of a chess congress. He secured a strong committee, enlisted the active interest of the St. George's Club, and did the preliminary work that was necessary to make the tournament a success. Unfortunately, petty jealousies were aroused, and the London Chess Club resented the prominent part allotted to the St. George's Club, but their action did not affect the success of the official tournament. Sixteen players took part, but at the last moment the places reserved for Jaenisch and Schumoff had to be filled by English players of second-rate skill. The players were paired, and the unsuccessful players in the first round were thrown out, the remainder being re-paired for a second round. This unsatisfactory principle of play was only abandoned finally in 1862 for the modern method by which every competitor plays every other one. The result of the tournament is well known. Anderssen, of Breslau, obtained the first prize ; Wyvill was second, Williams third, Staunton fourth, Szen fifth, Captain Kennedy sixth, Horwitz seventh, and Mucklow eighth.
Bird, Mayet, Lowenthal, and Kieseritzky were among the eight players thrown out in the first round. Andersson's victory was the first convincing proof of the revival of Germany. In this tournament Staunton undoubtedly overtaxed his strength by attempting to combine the roles of secretary and competitor, and probably never realised how great a strain either function would put upon a man. He defeated Brodie (one of the emergency entrants) in the first round, Horwitz in the second j hut succumbed to Anderssen in the semi-final, and lost his match with Williams for the third prize. Williams was a player to whom he was giving odds just before the tournament.*

* Staunton lost a match with Williams later in the same year by 7 to 6, with three draws. In this match he gave Williams three games, and they played level.

At the conclusion of the tournament Staunton challenged Anderssen to a match of 21 games, for £100, a challenge which Anderssen accepted ; but it never came off. Staunton was physically unfit for the strain of play, and Anderssen's holiday was all but up. Once again Staunton's irritability of temper at his poor success was the cause of some references to the standard of play at the tournament in his column in the Illustrated London News that were unworthy of his position, and that did him no good. In 1852 he published the official account of the tournament in The Chess Tournament (Bohn's Library). Here, again, there is much written that one could now wish unwritten.
In September, 1853, Staunton was in Brussels, and there he met Von der Lasa, with whom he had long carried on correspondence. V.d. Lasa and he played 13 games, with the result v.d. Lasa 5, Staunton_ 4, drawn 3, unfinished 1. The games were very highly spoken of in the Schachzeitung, and are among the most interesting of Staunton's games. He was still thinking of the Anderssen match, but had been in ill-health ever since the tournament, and even these friendly games with v.d. Lasa were too much for him. The latter master, who always wrote in a most kindly way of Staunton, recognised that Staunton's match days were over, and it was no surprise to him when the proposed. match was abandoned.

It is interesting to note that v.d. Lasa, who played with both Staunton and Buckle, was strongly of opinion that Staunton was the superior player.  Some modern writers have tried to represent them as being of equal strength

This was the real end of Staunton's career as a player. Other interests were already pressing upon him, and in 1854 he sold the Chess-Player's Chronicle. Henceforward the Illustrated London News was to be his main connection with chess, but literary work in connection with the Shakespearian drama occupied all his energies. About this time he entered into an arrangement with Messrs. Routledge to edit the text of Shakespeare for a new edition which they were planning, for which Sir John Gilbert was to do the illustrations. This edition appeared in parts from 1857 to 1860, and Staunton's work has received appreciative praise from competent scholars. His emendations of the text are sensible, and confined within due limits ; his notes are distinguished by common-sense and exhaustive research.
It was just when busiest with the preparation of this work that Staunton received a most courteous and flattering letter from the New Orleans Chess Club, in which he was invited to that city to meet Paul Morphy, who had commenced his meteoric career by winning the first prize in the recent New York Congress. It was obviously impossible and unreasonable to expect Staunton or any European player to cross the Atlantic, and Staunton, in a dignified reply, pointed out this. He also stated that he himself had "been compelled, by laborious literary occupation, to abandon the practice of chess, beyond the indulgence of an occasional game," and concluded : " If Mr. Morphy—for whose skill we entertain the liveliest admiration—be desirous to win his spurs among the chess chivalry of Europe, he must take advantage of his purposed visit next year ; he will then meet in this country, in France, in Germany, and in Russia, many champions whose names must be as household words to him, ready to test and do honour to his prowess." This reads to me like a courteous refusal to undertake the match ; but Morphy understood it differently, and one of the main reasons for his visit to Europe in 1858 was the hope of playing a match with Staunton.
Morphy accordingly took an early opportunity of challenging Staunton to a match, and the latter gave a conditional acceptance. He was deeply pledged to his publishers, and entirely out of practice for chess. If he could postpone the commencement of the match until he had had time to get into better practice and surmount the business difficulties, he was ready to play. A postponement for a month was first agreed upon ; then one until after the Birmingham meeting ; then for two months more ; but before the expiration of this time Staunton wrote to say that he was unable to play, giving the same reasons which he had named throughout the negotiations—viz., his responsible engagements to his publishers and the impossibility of obtaining time to get into adequate practice. He also alludes to his health, which had been sorely tried by his attempts to save time for the match. In all this there is but little in which we can reproach Staunton, beyond the fact that he kept open the possibility of a match for so long, and even here there is a good deal that could be urged in justification of the course followed by Staunton. Unhappily, a bitter controversy broke out, into which it is not necessary to enter. Neither side comes well out of it, though, on the whole, Morphy was the better served. As in the St. Amant letters, " tactics " are too obvious, and the rancour of the partisans did more harm than good to the side they favoured.
In his endeavour to get into practice Staunton had taken part in the tournament at the Birmingham meeting. It was arranged on the older system of successive rounds, and Staunton got through the first round by defeating Hughes. In the second round he was drawn against Löwenthal, and was thrown out. Morphy took no official part in the tournament, and the only games in which Staunton and Morphy met remain the two consultation games in London, in which Staunton and Owen played Morphy and Barnes. The latter pair won both games.
With the Birmingham games Staunton took his leave of serious chess. His reputation as a Shakespearian scholar was growing, and for the remainder of his life he found plenty to occupy himself with in literary work. I ought, however, to mention that in 1860 he published Chess Praxis, again in Bohn's Library, which was intended to serve as a supplement to the Chess Player's Handbook. In this he gives many of Morphy's games, and recognises in the notes the masterly play of the talented American. His previous annotations in the Illustrated London News had too often been coloured by personal feelings. In 1864 Staunton brought out a photo-lithographic reproduction of the 1600 Quarto of Much Ado about Nothing, to be followed, in 1866, by a similar reproduction of the First Folio of Shakespeare. In 1865 he did a careful work on the Great Schools of England. From 1872 until his death he contributed an able series of papers to the Athenæum on "Unsuspected Corruptions of Shakespeare's Text." He died suddenly, of heart disease, June 22nd, 1874 (Morphy's birthday), while seated at his desk and writing one of these papers.
     Staunton was in later years somewhat of a recluse, but in congenial society he proved himself "a brilliant talker, prolific in anecdote, and in apt quotation from Shakespeare."  It is unfortunate that the charmingness of his character which he exhibited to his friends did not exert a greater influence upon his references in print to other players. Right down to the end he indulged in ill-natured statements in the columns of the Illustrated London News, and one reason for the appearance of the Westminster Papers was to reply to his strictures. But this did not prevent this chess magazine from doing ample justice in its obituary notice on Staunton to the great services rendered by the latter to English chess.
     Staunton married, about 1854, Frances, widow of W. N. Nethersole, a solicitor. She survived him for nearly eight years.
     I conclude this article with a brief selection from Staunton's games; many more will be found in his own books, and specially in the Chess-Player's Companion, in Walker's Chess Studies, and in magazines and columns issued during his life-time. They show him to have been a straightforward, practical player with a complete knowledge of the theory of the game, as known in his day and a sound judgment of position, who bore down his opponents by the solidity and accuracy of his play rather than its brilliance.   His genius was that of common sense and, as Morphy is said to have remarked, he was deficient in the imaginative and creative power which conceives positions and brings them about.  That is to say, he knew where his own strength lay and was content to keep to the well-trodden paths. We find none of the imagination in his play that characterized the highest efforts of Labourdonnais, MacDonnell and Anderssen, and if it had been possible for him to have encountered any of these masters, he would not have fought successfully against them. He would have stood no chance against Morphy in 1857, even if he had retained his chess strength of 1843. He would have had more chance against a player of the modern school.
     The historian will rank him higher as an analyst. Powers of analysis are a special gift, and Staunton possessed them in a very high degree. He made many important contributions to our knowledge of the openings, and, in England at least, he was the pioneer in the scientific arrangement of that knowledge.
     Our portrait [at the top of the page] is taken from a woodcut in F. M. Edge's "Paul Morphy" (London, 1859), a work which deals with the Staunton-Morphy episode in a strongly anti-Staunton manner. An excellent reproduction of Marlet's painting of the Staunton-St. Amant match was given in this Magazine in February, 1899.

H. J. R. Murray         


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