Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Knowledge Necessary for a Gentleman

"CHESS, a sport without some knowledge of which no man dared to call himself of gentle blood in those chivalrous ages when the bold knight left the battle field for the tourney and the chesse, when kings looked over the board and queens were proud to grace the victor".

GEORGE WALKER (1803-79) A New Treatise On Chess, 1832.

 George Walker was a London stockbroker, whose hobby was chess and writing about chess.  A useful though not brilliant player,he admitted that men with the force of Paul Morphy or Alexander McDonnell could always give him the odds of pawn and move. But from1840 to 1847, when he gave up first class chess, he was inferior only to Buckle and Staunton among English players.

 He was a founder of the famous Westminster Club, the scene of the titanic struggle between McDonnell and Laboudonnais, and of the St George's Club, which survived until the beginnings of the 20th century.

 His chess writings had a European reputation.  A laudator temporis acti, he used to contend that a match between Philidor and Ponziani would surpass the play of any of his contemporaries.  Among the latter his special hero was Labourdonnais, whom he tended in his last illness and buried at his own expense at Kensal Green.

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