Walter Penn Shipley

Philadelphia’s Friend of Chess


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About the Book

Walter Penn Shipley was crucial to the development of chess in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He organized correspondence chess in the United States in the 1890s, was a talented player and was a friend of world champions and contenders. He served as the president of the Franklin Chess Club in Philadelphia at the height of its power and prestige.
This work is a complete biography and games collection of Walter Penn Shipley. It draws from original documents—correspondence with Steinitz, Lasker, Capablanca, Pillsbury and others, detailed Shipley family records—and extensive research conducted in contemporary newspapers, journals and magazines. The book contains approximately 250 games (most of them annotated), with 246 positional diagrams.

About the Author(s)

John S. Hilbert, a retired senior attorney with the Social Security Administration living in Buffalo, New York, has written 16 chess books and over 100 articles on chess biography and history, winning multiple national and international awards.

Bibliographic Details

John S. Hilbert

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 464
Bibliographic Info: photos (23 glossy photos), 246 diagrams, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012 [2003]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7160-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction     1

1. Arrival and Antecedents (1860–1880)      3
2. Early Chess Club Play (1880–1887)      20
3. Philadelphia’s Champion (1887–1890)      46
4. Expansion and New Friends (1891–1893)     74
5. Golden Years, Golden Play (1894–1898)     110
6. Very Good Years (1899–1904)      196
7. Years of Transition, and Controversy (1905–1910)      267
8. Through the Decade (1911–1920)      349
9. Through the Years (1921–1942)      396

Selected Bibliography     433
Index     437

Book Reviews & Awards

• “I’m a great fan of books by [Hilbert]. They are always incredibly well researched and deep, usually uncovering material you will not find in any other book.”—American Chess Magazine

• “Well-researched”—Chess Horizons

• “Recommend[ed]…lives up to its publisher’s standard for quality books”—Chess Mail

• “Wonderful book”—IM John Donaldson (

• “A fine addition to any library on chess, chess players, and correspondence chess, and is a worthy contribution to the literature of the game of Kings”—Quarterly for Chess History

• “Extremely well-written”—Squares

• “Cover[s] unexplored territory in chess history…a great book…heavily researched…a large amount of previously unknown material…the physical production of the book itself is in the finest traditions of McFarland…the library quality binding, glossy photographs from the Shipley family archive (including some never-before seen photos of Capablanca), and beautiful layout speak louder than words of the care put into production of this volume…the contents of this book are as wonderful as the production…a fine addition”—Correspondence Chess

• “Fills out the historical record and should delight fans”—

• “Splendidly researched”—The New York Post

• “I believe that if Shipley were alive today and he read this book, he would congratulate the author and the Publishers for this fine work. I think he would be delighted. There can be no better compliment than that. I consider myself lucky to have read this and learned about an incredible man. I felt as I was reading the book that I was actually there, accompanying Shipley as his chess developed. I could sense the shear enjoyment that the man had for chess, so wonderfully has it been described by Hilbert… a fascinating read.”—Chess Book Reviews