Monday, September 7, 2015

Blackburne Has Arrived

I have already mentioned Tim Harding's new book, Joseph Henry Blackburne A Chess Biography, published by McFarland. It is now available.

My copy arrived yesterday, and this large, attractive and comprehensive book is likely to keep me very occupied - and even interfere with this blog, if I am not careful.

Since Blackburne's destruction of the Jerome Gambit is probably the the best-known Jerome game, I wondered if there might be other examples in the book. I had a good laugh when I read
To attempt a "complete games of Blackburne" is unrealistic. Such a book must be huge yet one could never have confidence that every published offhand and exhibition game had been found. It would also include hundreds of atrocious games against weak amateurs, decided by feeble opening play and gross blunders. Graham estimated that Blackburne had played (already by 1899) somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 games, although the higher figure is probably an overestimate. Besides his blindfold and ordinary simuls, Blackburne must have played thousands of casual games at clubs and public chess resorts, perhaps for a shilling stake. The vast majority were never published or, probably, even recorded.
So, probably no more Jerome Gambits, and maybe no Blackburne Shilling Gambitc, either, to be found in the pages. I certainly will let readers know if I discover any!

In the meantime, I am content to enjoy playing over the games (more than 1,000) of a brilliant attacking player who crossed swords with the top players of his time.

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