THE LIFE AND CHESS OF PAUL MORPHY                                                                                                                                                      First American Chess Congress Opponents



Participants in the 1st American Chess Congress

(The notes in RED are those given by Max Lange)

Judge Alexander Beaufort Meek, President of the American Chess Congress (whom Morphy won six games against in 1854 at age 17)

Hon. ALEX. B. MEEK, the President of the Congress, is known as a lawyer, an orator, and a poet. Born in Columbia, in 1814, he has passed the greater part of his life in Alabama. He was attorney-general in the southern district of Alabama, and afterwards judge there. He has also published an appendix to the code of laws of Alabama, and has distinguished himself MS member of the legislative body of Mobile, in the years 1853-1854, as well as by establishing free schools in Alabama. Through his activity, as well as through his eloquence, which he displayed on many public occasions, he became very popular. He also gained considerable reputation in. literary circles by numerous lectures in several branches of history, and meritorious researches into the historical development of the south-western countries. We would recommend, amongst others, his work entitled Romantic Passages in South-western History. Three years ago he published a little poem entitled the Red Eagle, which soon became a favourite with the public. It was founded upon the war of General Jackson with the Creek Indians. In the summer of 1858 he published his Songs and Poems of the South, in which he depicts in glowing language the feelings and sentiments of the south. Having made a happy marriage two years ago, he now lives in Mobile, but every year passes several months in the northern towns. Tall and strongly built, of a kindly and gay-disposition, he combines in his office of president, dignity with amenity of manners, and by these qualities has considerably contributed to the success of the first Chess Congress of America.




Charles Stanley, a strong American player; organized and participated in and won the first US championship, Stanley vs. Rousseau in 1845 with $1,000 purse. He was the creator of the first American chess column in THE SPIRIT OF THE TIMES, NY(1845); the first US chess publication, "AMERICAN CHESS MAGAZINE"(1846); published the 1st US book on a chess match, "31 GAMES OF CHESS" in 1846. His wife named their daughter Pauline after Paul Morphy.

C. H. STANLEY, born in 1819, in England, enjoyed, during many years, a high reputation in the United States, in the literary as well as in the practical part of the game. His love of the game dates from his early youth; he was instructed in it by the well-known master, Popert, of Hamburg, and won, when but eighteen years old, a match of Staunton, in which that master gave him the odds of Pawn and two moves. When he arrived in New York, he visited the Chess Club, and conquered there every opponent. His victories over Schulten, Rousseau (of New Orleans), Turner (Kentucky), and Hammond (Boston), all four players of high reputation in the United States, caused his reputation to be greatly enhanced. After having played a match of some import with Mr. Turner, eight years ago, his increased professional avocations kept him for some time from Chess; and it was only when the celebrated St. Amant passed in his travels through New York, that he again resumed Chess play; they played with equal success, each winning four games. Stanley was for a long time the leader of the Chess press in the United States. He wrote at first Chess articles for the paper called the Spirit of the Times, and afterwards published the New York Chess Player's Magazine. He also contributed Chess articles to the Albion, and to the New York Illustrated News. He is the life and soul of social circles, and shines by his gay humour and ready wit. It is well known he suffers a defeat with as much equanimity as he announces a victory. His gentlemanly conduct has made him a great favourite with his associates on the chequered field


Louis Paulsen arrived from Germany in 1854 along with his older brother Wilfried and worked as a tobacco broker. He was a relatively unknown player at the time of the Congress but won second place, gave several blindfold demonstrations, and although having publicly proclaimed that he would in fact win the tournament, afterwards praised Morphy's skills as such he considered Morphy's challenge to play any American at odds of a pawn and a move reasonable, even against himself. Paulsen later became one of the strongest player's in the world and a leading theorist. He won second place in London, 1862 and first place at Leipzig, 1877. He also won two matches against Adolph Anderssen between 1876 and 1877.

Louis PAULSEN, the second victor in the great tournament, is a German, born in Lippe-Detmold, twenty-four years old, and from 1854 a denizen of Iowa, in the United States. He has distinguished himself not only by his success in the tourney, but still more by his wonderful talent in blindfold play. He has lately succeeded in playing and winning twelve games at the same time, without seeing the board. The Schachzeitung of September, 1858, gives a more detailed account of these extraordinary performances, as well as of Mr. Paulsen himself.



Frederick Perrin, secretary of the N.Y. Chess Club. Born in London in 1816. Of Swiss ancestry, he moved to the U.S. in 1845. He died in 1889.

FREDERICK PERRIN, born in London, descended from a Swiss family, and is now in his forty-third year. From infancy he excelled in all games where intellect was required, but Chess he preferred to all others. At the age of fourteen he went to a college in Switzerland, where he had but little opportunity to cultivate his favourite game. Afterwards we find him in London, where he filled a commercial situation, and his hours of leisure were devoted to Chess practice in the cigar divan. There he encountered many players of European fame, but generally played with the late Mr. Daniels, well known in English Chess circles, on account of his brilliant play. On his arrival in America in 1845, he began again to practice Chess seriously, and played with many of the well-known players in Philadelphia, chiefly, however, with one Mr. Vezin [ Charles Vezin - born in Hanover, 1781 and died in Philadelphia 1853 - one of the country's best players in his day. Lost, won and drew  matches with Oliver in 1841, lost a match to Schulten that same year; lost a match with Oliver in 1842; lost a match to Stanley] . Afterwards he accepted the appointment of Professor of Modern Languages at Princeton College, and played nearly every day with Eugene B. Cook, whose excellent problems have found favour with all the followers of Caïssa. In 1853 he left Princeton College and returned to business in New York, where he now lives in very prosperous circumstances. During several years the club met in his house, and he was considered as pleasant an antagonist as he was an active secretary of the society newly reorganized by himself. His Chess articles, now published in the Albion, contain "much valuable matter."

Brooklyn Eagle, Jan 28, 1889, reported that Perrin died of pneumonia age 73 after only a 3 week illness. Just a short time before, he had played his last game at Brooklyn Chess Club, defeating Mackenzie.
His last words were "Doctor, I am puzzled over that last move of mine."
Perrin was a native of Switzerland, a linguist, an excellent violinist and a master of French and German.
He was a former professor of  languages at Princeton and for the past 20 years, a confidential clerk at Brinckerhof, Turner, and Co. Formerly He served as chess editor for the Wilkes Spirit.


Daniel Willard Fiske was born in 1833 and died in 1904. He was a strong chess player who helped organize the First American Chess Congress. He was a Scandinavian scholar by profession, educated at Upsala and Copenhagen but was also editor of the Chess Monthly while Morphy worked as co-editor. He wrote several books about chess with insights into Morphy. His letters to Morphy, Maurian and to others concerning Morphy are also quite revealing.

DANIEL WILLARD FISKE, Secretary of the Chess Congress, was born in the county of Jefferson, and is now twenty-five years old. After two years' study in Hamilton College, he went, in 1850, to Europe, in order to visit the universities of Upsala and Copenhagen, and to travel in Germany, France, and England. His chief study was that of the old Icelandic language, and of its descendants the Danish and Swedish, and he is now considered the most distinguished Scandinavian scholar in the United States. He has been for some years assistant librarian at the Astor Library, New York, and is at present engaged in elaborating the Scandinavian articles for Appleton's American Cyclopedia. Three years ago, when studying the Persian language, he met with some Chess poetry, and it was then, for the first time, that he got acquainted with the game. He quickly conquered the difficulties of its rudiments, and entered, in 1856, the Chess Club of New York, where the members gave him the odds of a piece. Thus he continued till the month of February of 1857, when, to the surprise of every one, he won the first prize in a little tournament which took place amongst eight of the strongest members of the club. The interest which he took in the literary part of Chess, augmented in proportion to his progress in practical play, and he is now possessed of one of the largest Chess libraries of the United States. In the month of January of the same year, he began the publication of a monthly periodical on Chess, the well-known Chess Monthly, which is now looked upon as the chief organ of Transatlantic Chess, and has already made a reputation on this side of the ocean. There is but one opinion as to the literary and theoretical merits of this periodical: the correctness of its historical researches nearly surpasses German punctiliousness, and shows that the author is as well versed in German as in his own literature. It is also a favourable circumstance that the author is in direct correspondence with some of the most distinguished Chess writers of Europe, and spares neither time nor labour in investigating those materials which are necessary to his subject. The honour belongs to him, to have been the first to give the impulse to the national Chess Congress, and, through his extensive acquaintance with the Chess celebrities in New York and other states, to have contributed to their reciprocal understanding, and to the final realization of this great event. Notwithstanding his youth, he already enjoys a high reputation in the literary as well as in the Chess world; and his election to the most onerous, important, and influential office (that of secretary) in the Congress, appears but a natural acknowledgment of his ability and activity.



James Thompson, born in 1808 an Englishman, emigrated to the US in 1815. In his two visits to Europe in 1840 and 1850, he played about 100 games receiving Pawn & move odds from Kieseritzky, winning the majority. He owned a restaurant in N.Y., the Epicures, and also helped advertise the tournament. He was known as a strong attacking player, but one who reveled in intimidating his opponents with both his somewhat unsound combinations and his disparaging words. He was thought to be an expert with the Evans Gambit and considered himself St. Amant's superior as well as Morphy's equal. He was probably wrong on both counts.

JAMES THOMPSON, born in London in 1805, came, at the age of ten years, with his parents, to the United States, where they settled, in the county of Susquehanna. From 1826 he has lived in New York. He learnt the elementary part of the game when eight years old; but it was only in 1836 that he began seriously to practice it, at the time when Mr. Bussford opened his Chess rooms in Fulton Street. At that place a club, numbering about forty members, was formed, which afterwards changed its place of meeting to Barclay Street, where the preliminary games between Stanley and Schulten were played. Soon afterwards the club met at the house of Mr. Perrin, where Mr. J. Thompson was the strongest player. When St. Amant passed through New York, and presented to the society a complete copy of the Palamede, Thompson won this work in the tournament, in which it was given as a prize. During his stay in Europe in 1840 and 1850, he played with Kieseritzky nearly one hundred games, of which he won a slight majority, having the odds of Pawn and move given to him. He passes for a very brilliant player; and had he not been so unfortunate as to be opposed in the great tournament in his first tourney to Morphy, he would, there is no doubt, have valiantly disputed some of the prizes with their more fortunate owners.


Theodore Lichtenhein of New York came there from Prussia in his early years. He was president of the New York Chess Club.


THEODOR  LICHTENHEIN, born at Konigsberg, in Prussia, in 1829; studied at first for the medical profession, and afterwards entered the service of the Prussian army, and about eight years ago, emigrated to New York. He learnt Chess at the age of twelve, and six years afterwards, he became president of one of the Chess Clubs in Konigsberg. He then left off Chess for some time, till in 1856 he resumed it in the New York Chess Club, where he owed his victories more to a safe and well-calculated play than to brilliancy. In the great tournament he bore off the third prize.



Dr. Benjamin I. Raphael - born in Virginia in 1818, played as a representative of Kentucky, died in 1880.


DR. B. I. RAPHAEL, from Kentucky, was born in 1818, in Richmond, and took his degrees at the University of Virginia. He learnt the rudiments of the game from his father, but made slow progress at first. It was only when he came to New York and visited the Club, which at that time was held in Carlton House, that his strength increased, by constant practice with reputed players, such as Mead, Stanley, Thompson, &c, who gave him the odds of a Knight. After three years' attendance in the New York Hospital, having completed his medical studies there, he went for some time to Europe, chiefly for practice in the hospital "La Charite," in Paris. There he met sometimes St. Amant and Kieseritzky in the Cafe de la Régence; he was also, in the winter of 1843, an eyewitness of the match between Staunton and St. Amant. On returning to the United States, he established himself in Louisville, in Kentucky, as a medical practitioner and lecturer at the College, and accepted an appointment at the hospital. In 1845 he took part in forming a Chess Club, which soon afterwards, jointly with the clubs of Lexington and Frankfort, had the merit of instituting the well-known tournaments which take place every year in the bathing places of Kentucky. Seconded by Mr. Ballard, he played two games by correspondence with the Lexington club, as well as several matches by the electric telegraph with Frankfort, Cincinnati, Nashville, and other towns. In the spring of 1857 he charged his residence to New York, where he enjoys an extensive medical practice. In the tournament he obtained the fourth prize.




Hubert Knott



H. KNOTT, from Brockly, New York



William S. Allison



 W. S. ALLISON, from Minnesota, who first introduced Paulsen into the Chess world



Samuel Robert Calthrop  (1829-1917)

was born in Swineshead Abbey, Lincolnshire, England in 1829 and moved to America in 1851. He first lived in Bridgeport, Connecticut, eventually ending up in Syracuse N.Y. He won the New York State Champion in 1880 and 1883.
Gave "a lecture on physical development, and its relations to mental and spiritual development,: delivered before the American Institute of Instruction" in 1859. Text can be read here.
Calthrop served as as minister at May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Society at 3800 East Genesee St. in Syracuse, NY for 43 years - from 1868-1911.
A brief bio can be read here.
                                           A Tournament is held in Calthrop's honor, managed through Samuel Calthrop Memorial Chess Tournament

                                                          S.  R.  CALTHROP, from Connecticut


William James (W. J. A.). Fuller - Chess editor of Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, born in London in 1822

W. J. A. FULLER, the former talented Chess editor of the New York illustrated paper, has passed a varied and chequered life. He has fought with whales in the Polar seas, has swam through large rivers for a wager, and once, at the Falls of Niagara, he swam for his life. For a short time he was schoolmaster and newspaper editor in the far west; in after-times, he once lost his way on the road to California, and, wandering about in endless wildernesses, he lost everything, barely saving his life; at another time, soaring high above this terrestrial tumult, above the peaks of the Chimborasso, he drank the health of his country in the juice of the grape of the plains of Champagne, accompanying Mr. Godard, the well-known aeronaut, in a balloon. He has finally succeeded to a law firm; and, although serving a goddess with blinded eyes, his own eyes are said to be still wide open in the interest of his clients. Strong and stout, of great perseverance and clear intellect, he knows no obstacle in what he has once undertaken, be it to serve a friend, to play a game of Chess, to combat an adversary in a court of justice, or to make a political speech.


Hardman Philips Montgomery -literally, a  Philadelphia lawyer and member of the Philadelphia Chess Club.

 Born September 25, 1834, one of eight children of John Crathorne  Montgomery and Elizabeth Henrietta Phillips; died January 22, 1870.

Mr. HARDMAN PHILIPS MONTGOMERY, a young law student (twenty-four years of age), from Philadelphia



Hiram Kennicott



HIRAM KENNICOTT, from New York, at present living at Chicago, in Illinois



15   Napoleon Marache born in 1815; died in 1875 - helped found the chess periodical, The Chess Palladium and Mathematical Sphinx in 1846 and Wrote a book entitled, Marache's Manual  of Chess in 1866.

Was the chess editor of Wilkes' Spirit of the Times

N. MARACHE, well known as a practical player and problem composer, was the successor of Fuller as editor of the Chess articles in the illustrated New York paper. Born in France in 1818, in Meaux, lie came, at the age of thirteen, to America. But he only got acquainted witn the noble game at the age of twenty-six, when, in the space of a quarter of an hour, he understood its rudiments. He was delighted with the game, and procured some Chess works, among which, some volumes of the Chess Player's Chronicle and Lewis's Treatise. In the space of three weeks, he could give the Rook to his first master, who had given him the Queen. He owed, however, most to Mr. D. S. Roberts, with whom he also soon became equal. In 1845 he began to compose problems, and his first essays appeared in the Spirit of the Times. Since that time, nearly one hundred of his problems have been published. In 1846 he edited the first American Chess periodical under the title, the Chess Palladium and Mathematical Sphinx, of which, however, only three numbers were printed. At the reorganization of the New York Chess Club, through Mr. Fr. Perrin, Marache became a member, having conquered Stanley shortly before. In 1856 lie won the first prize in a tournament of the society, consisting of a silver cup; and from that time lie was considered the best player of the New York Club.

Colonel Charles Dillingham Mead

Colonel D. MEAD, formerly President of the Chess Club at New York, now President of the great Chess Association, is known in the United States as the most enthusiastic and popular lover of the noble game. He was born in New York, and is now forty-three years old. Having taken his degrees at the College of Columbia, he practiced law during ten years, and then went to Europe, where he remained a considerable time. Here, a true knight-errant, he tried to find out the Chess celebrities of the different countries, and believes that he had found nowhere an opponent of a force considerably superior to his own, although he had met in Paris, several times, with Kieseritzky. Once, only, in Florence, a stranger who passed through the town was presented to him, against whom he had not the shadow of a chance. The Colonel believes that this stranger could be no other than the famous German master, Heydebrandt von der Lasa.  In the year 1839, he and J. Thompson founded the Chess Club at New York, which soon distinguished itself by winning a game by correspondence with Norfolk. Colonel Mead afterwards made a second voyage to Europe and on his return, was again elected president of the now considerably enlarged club. It was owing to the reputation he had of being the most devoted lover of the game, and upon the express recommendation of the leader of the congress, Judge Meek, that he was elected to the high and honourable office of President of the Association. In his speech at the Congress dinner he dwelt upon the social influence of Chess, and mentioned, as a result of his long experience, that during a quarter of a century he had made the acquaintance of several thousand players in the New as well as in the Old World, and had had opponents of princely rank as well as of humble extraction, but that he had not met one he could object to shake hands with, or exchange fraternal salutations.