Mr. Blackburne's Games at Chess
331 pages, hardback, Reprint, Caissa 90-Olomouc, original edition 1899
The aim of this work is twofold. In the first place it is a collection of the best games of a very brilliant and interesting English Chess player; in the second, it is hoped that it may be found of much use as a manual for Chess players. Everybody knows what a wearisome thing it is to learn Chess by means of the old system of analysis with its endless variations and back games. A pleasanter and quicker method is by playing over the games of a master, and Mr. Blackburne has unique advantages for this purpose. For nearly forty years he has held the foremost place in English Chess, and there is scarcely a tournament between that held in London in 1862 and that in 1899 wherein he has not been a prominent figure—der Schwarze Tod der Schachspieler, as he was named in the Deutschen Zeitung a quarter of a century ago. His match games, arranged in openings and by date, form in themselves a history of Chess moves, and will not only show the student how to play, but ut a glance explain to him why certain tactics have become old-fashioned and others have come into vogue.
During a great part of the same period it has been Mr. Blackburne's custom to make annual pilgrimages through England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, engaging the members of provincial clubs in simultaneous and blindfold play. It may be most confidently assumed that the games preserved from these engagements will at once delight and instruct the student. Except in a few cases where the endings have, a special interest, only well-played games have been admitted; and, as Mr. Blackburne's genius for the game has always found its best expression on these occasions, the weak but plausible moves which pass current for years have their inadequacy demonstrated here in the most effectual and brilliant fashion. Next to actual practice with a great master it is impossible to imagine anything more likely to improve play than going over these games, teeming as they are with ideas capable of constant application. For it may be emphatically stated that this is not a book of theory but of practice, not a work of analysis but a record of achievement.
The book has a further claim to attention as presenting a picture of the Chess of the whole world during the time of the present generation. Examples from the games of every great master, from the day of Staunton to that of Pillsbury, will be found within its covers-examples, too, from nearly every land, and culled from many different languages. Nor is this all. There is scarcely a local club in the British Islands, scarcely a local champion who does not figure here, so that we cannot be wrong in saying that the book contains specimens of every extant style of play.
In all about 400 games are given, and they are divided into three classes— match, off-hand and blindfold games. To these is added a brief selection of problems that have a curious interest of their own, as showing how much the delicate art of problem-composition has changed during the last thirty or forty years. It has now come to be quite a separate department of chess.
A word of advice may be added for the benefit of the young student who wishes to improve his play by a study of these games. As has been already said, this is a book of ideas, and what the student should do is to try and seize hold of the principles. Perhaps the easiest way to explain is by illustration. At the corner of page 41 will be found a diagram showing White about to offer the sacrifice of his Queen. It is a beautiful position, but the idea of the combination may be traced back to Legal, even though it is not identical with Legal's famous mate. But the principle must have been in Mr. Blackburne's head when he offered his Queen to Dr. Zukertort. So, likewise, the careful student will find that several very brilliant combinations bear resemblance enough to positions in Morphy to show what help had been gained from a study of that master. This shows the advantage of acquiring ideas.
Again, the worst of analytical books is that they do not demonstrate the weakness of bad moves. But let any one play through the match games in an opening and then follow the off-hand and blindfold games in it, and in the end it will be the fault of his own intelligence if he be not thoroughly familiar alike with its strong and its weak points-he will at once see where traps are laid for his own feet, and also learn how to take full advantage of any stumble on the part of his opponent.
The games are arranged by date, chiefly for the convenience of those who are interested in studying the development of modern play, which has undergone very important changes since the date on which Mr. Blackburne first entered the arena.
v Editor's preface
001 Chapter I: Joseph Henry Blackburne 017 Chapter II: Games played in matches and tournaments, or in consultation (Games 1-134):
017 (I.) The French Defence
035 (II.) The Ruy Lopez
052 (III.) The Scotch Gambit and the Scotch Opening
060 (IV.) The Vienna Opening
067 (V.) The Giuoco Piano, Evans Gambit, and their branches
084 (VI.) The King's Gambit Accepted and Declined
099 (VII.) The Sicilian Defence
106 (VIII.) The Queen's Gambit Accepted and Declined
122 (IX.) Miscellaneous Openings
133 (X). Irregular openings
141 Chapter III. Games played off-hand, simultaneously, or at odds (Games 185-204)
187 Chapter IV. Endings from actual play (Games 205-249)
205 Chapter V. Blindfold Chess
213 Chapter VI. Games played blindfold (Games 250-407)
317Chapter VII. Problems
Joseph Henry Blackburne lebte von 1842 bis 1924. Er war viele Jahrzehnte der stärkste und populärste Schachspieler Englands. In seiner besten Zeit gehörte er zur absoluten Weltspitze. Er kreuzte die Klingen mit Anderssen, Steinitz, Lasker, Capab-lanca und Aljechin. Eigentlich hat er im Schach alles erreicht außer dem Gewinn der Weltmeisterschaft.
Sein vielleicht größter Triumph war der Sieg auf dem zweiten Kongress des Deutschen Schachbundes 1881 in Berlin mit einem gewaltigen Vorsprung vor Zuckertort, Tschigorin und Winawer. Er erreichte sehr viele gute Platzierungen bei Turnieren, die zu den berühmtesten der Schachgeschichte zählen: Baden-Baden 1870, Wien 1873, Paris 1878, London 1883, New York 1889, Hastings 1895 und London 1899.
Nach der Jahrhundertwende spielte er seltener im Ausland und Ostende 1907 war im Grunde genommen das Ende seiner internationalen Karriere. Als 1914 die Organisatoren in St. Petersburg beschlossen, zu ihrem Turnier ohne Rücksicht auf Alter und Form nur Meister einzuladen, die schon einmal einen ersten Preis gewonnen hatten, um sicher zu stellen, dass nur die klangvollsten Namen am
Start waren, feierte er mit 72 Jahren ein erstaunliches Come-Back.
Im Jahre 1899 gab Blackburne eine Sammlung eigener Partien heraus. Das Buch enthielt 134 Turnierpartien, 70 Simultanpartien, 45 Endspiele, 158 Blindpartien und 28 Probleme. Es erschien bei Longmans, Green and Co und wurde nun unverändert von Publishing House Moravian Chess nachgedruckt.
Die beschreibende englische Notation, das etwas bedenkliche Papier sowie Diagramme mit dem Charme vergangener Zeiten werden den modernen Käufer vielleicht irritieren. Wer sich für die Geschichte des Schachspiels interessiert, wird mit dem Buch dennoch zufrieden sein.