James Mason in America

The Early Chess Career, 1867–1878

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About the Book

Few men are prominent chess players as well as esteemed chess writers. James Mason, in his lifetime, had the reputation of being both. This book chronicles Mason’s early career in the United States, providing many details on his writings and annotations for The Spirit of the Times and The American Chess Journal, his participation in the Café Europa and Café International tournaments, his win in 1876’s Fourth American Chess Congress, and his matches against chess greats like George H. Mackenzie, Eugene Delmar, Dión M. Martínez, Edward Alberoni, and Henry E. Bird. Mason’s efforts to establish an American Chess Association and to arrange an international centennial congress in 1876 are also explored. In addition to the general index, the work also includes indexes of games, annotators, and openings.

About the Author(s)

Journalist Joost van Winsen lives in the Netherlands. He has previously written about American chess history of the Nineteenth century, and has contributed articles to ChessCafe.com and ChessArcheology.com.

Bibliographic Details

Joost van Winsen
Format: library binding (7 x 10)
Pages: 384
Bibliographic Info: 43 photos, 232 diagrams, appendix, notes, bibliography, indexes
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4892-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Preface and Acknowledgments 1

A Note to the Reader 3

Part I. Mason’s Chess Career in America

One “Establishing Himself in Business” 7

Intermezzo: American Chess in 1867 26

Two After the Break 27

Intermezzo: Chess Players’ Baseball Game 45

Intermezzo: Chess in Philadelphia 46

Three New World versus Old World 47

Intermezzo: Nineteenth Century American Congresses 89

Four Disputed Victories 90

Intermezzo: The Café International 105

Five The Pencil and the Game 106

Intermezzo: The Spirit of the Times 129

Six “Get Up Some Attack” 130

Intermezzo: The Lieders’ Cup 144

Part II. Matches and Tournaments

Mackenzie–Mason (New York, 1869) 147 • Königs–Mason (New York, 1873?) 148 • Delmar–Mason (Brooklyn–New York, 1873) 148 • Delmar–Mason (Brooklyn–New York, 1873) 148 • Martínez–Mason (Philadelphia, 1874) 149 • Delmar–Mason (New York, 1874) 149 • Alberoni–Mason (New York, 1875) 149 • Bird–Mason (New York, 1875–1876) 150 • Consultation Match (New York, 1877–1878) 151 • First Café Europa Tournament (New York, 1868–1869) 152 • Second Café Europa Tournament (New York, 1869) 153 • Third Café Europa Tournament (New York, 1869) 153 • Fourth Café Europa Tournament (New York, 1869) 154 • Fifth Café Europa Tournament (New York, 1869–1870) 156 • Brooklyn Chess Club Tournament (Brooklyn, 1870) 157 • Café International Tournament (New York, 1870) 158 • Café International Tournament (New York, 1874–1875) 159 • Café International Tournament (New York, 1875) 160 • Café International Tournament (New York, 1876) 161 • Fourth American Chess Congress (Philadelphia, 1876) 163 • Clipper Free Centennial Tournament (New York, 1876) 165

Part III. Games and Positions

Miscellaneous 1868 169 • First Café Europa Tournament (New York, 1868–1869) 170 • Second Café Europa Tournament (New York, 1869) 170 • Third Café Europa Tournament (New York, 1869) 171 • Fourth Café Europa Tournament (New York, 1869) 172 • Match Mackenzie–Mason (New York, 1869) 176 • Miscellaneous 1869 179 • Fifth Café Europa Tournament (New York, 1869–1870) 181 • Brooklyn Chess Club Tournament (Brooklyn, 1870) 181 • Miscellaneous 1870 182 • Miscellaneous 1872 184 • Match Königs–Mason (New York, 1873?) 185 • Match Delmar–Mason (Brooklyn–

New York, 1873) 186 • Match Delmar–Mason (Brooklyn–New York, 1873) 187 •

Miscellaneous 1873 190 • Match Martínez–Mason (Philadelphia, 1874) 200 • Match Delmar–Mason (New York, 1874) 201 • Miscellaneous 1874 203 • Café International Tournament (New York, 1874–1875) 209 • Café International Tournament (New York, 1875) 211 • Match Alberoni–Mason (New York, 1875) 212 • Miscellaneous 1875 214 • Match Bird–Mason (New York, 1875–1876) 225 • Café International Tournament (New York, 1876) 235 • Fourth American Chess Congress (Philadelphia, 1876) 242 • Clipper Free Centennial Tournament (New York, 1876) 250 • Miscellaneous 1876 253 • Miscellaneous 1877 259 • Consultation Match (New York, 1877–1878) 264 • Miscellaneous 1878 269

Part IV. Appendices, Sources and Indexes

Appendix 1. Problems and an Endgame 275

Appendix 2. A Summary of Mason’s Results 280

Match Record 280 • Tournament Record 280 • Record Against

Prominent Players 281 • Simultaneous Exhibition 284

Appendix 3. Chess Activity in New York and Brooklyn 285

Appendix 4. Chess Personalities, Clubs and Resorts 295

Appendix 5. Published Works by Mason 307

Appendix 6. Articles by Others 322

Appendix 7. Letters to Editors of Newspapers and Journals 326

Appendix 8. Notes in Original Languages 342

Sources 347

Index of Opponents 351

Consultation Games Index 354

Handicap Games Index 355

Index of Annotators 356

Index of Openings (ECO Codes) 359

General Index 363

Book Reviews & Awards

“the 1860s and 1870s were a golden time for chess journalism in the United States…a particularly nice touch is the reproduction of drawings of several chess clubs of the day…a first rate effort that will be fascinating reading for anyone interested in chess in 19th century America…a first-class productions effort with high quality paper and library binding…recommended”—IM John Donaldson (JeremySilman.com); “invaluable…excellent”—Manchester Chess Federation; “invaluable”—The Compulsive Reader; “exceptionally good”—ChessCafe.com; “beautifully bound and printed. Flows like a novel, very much a 21st century book on a 19th century topic!”—British Chess Magazine; “a rich look at the early career of a fine player and writer and the development of the American chess scene”—Chessville.