THE LIFE AND CHESS OF PAUL MORPHY                                                                                                                                                                                                      GEORGE WALKER

 

George Walker only played one game against Morphy as part of the blindfold exhibition on April 13, 1859 in London. He was able to draw. He did, however, consult with Morphy in one of Paul's few consultation games. (Morphy, Greenaway, Walker vs. L÷wenthal, Medley, Mongredien, the London Chess Club, July 1858). The game was abandoned due to the lateness of the hour.

Walker's contributions to chess were enormous.

He was born March 13, 1803.

In 1823 he edited the first known chess column in the Lancet. Although the column didn't last but a year, Walker's next attempt was a column in Bell's Life in London in 1835. This column lasted until 1873 (Bell's Life itself only ran from 1822-1886). Walker studied chess under William Lewis and, while considered one of the stronger London players, his main contributions were in publishing. George Walker was a publisher himself (and later in life, he became a stockbroker). William Lewis also published chess books. In a price war that broke out between the two of them, they managed to lose a tremendous amount of money while giving the public unprecedented access to chess literature at giveaway prices. Walker wrote books and articles (most notably those published in Frazer's Magazine).

Some examples:

Books:
New Treatise on Chess - 1832
Chess Made Easy - 1837
Chess Studies: comprising One Thousand Games actually played during the last century - 1844
The Art of chess play - 1846
Chess & Chess Players: consisting Original Stories and Sketches - 1850

Articles:
Deschapelles: The Chess-King
Kieseritzky the Livonian chess-player! - 1841
Mated and checkmated; an oriental sketch. 1842
The game of chess, a scene in the court of Philip the Second. 1852

Walker was the arranger of the Bourdonnais-MacDonnell Matches in 1834 which was played at the Westminster Chess club at Huttman's, a club he himself founded in 1831. All the moves in that match were recorded by William Greenwood Walker (no relation) who was the Secretary of the Westminster Chess Club and published in W. G. Walker's book, A Selection of Games At Chess (published by Thomas Hurst in1836) William Greenwood Walker was very old at the time and died at the conclusion of the matches. In 1840, Bourdonnais, critically ill and broke, moved to London when invited to be the Divan's house professional. George Walker raised money to allow Bourdonnais and his wife to move out of squalor and into decent quarters. After Bourdonnais died, three weeks later, Walker took up a subscription for his widow.

In 1837, Walker founded The Philidorian, England's first  magazine devoted solely to chess. It folded after just a few issues however.

Walker founded a second chess club, St George's at Hanover Square in 1843. He and Staunton had had a falling out and since Staunton was ever-present and the most celebrated member of the Westminster Club, Walker simply left and founded a new one. Staunton took a very imperious attitude towards Walker which often resulted in attacks on each other in their respective chess columns.

In 1853, Walker suggest the idea that, since the black pieces were thought to be the lucky color,  the players who drew white should always  have the first move as compensation. It wasn't until 1929 when this rule became universally accepted.

One more contribution by Walker was the use of players' names when recording games. Many games prior featured the "master" by name but not his opponent, who became the infamous "NN."

George Walker died April 23, 1879.

 


Some games by George Walker


 


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