SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
The following position is from the game Showalter vs Gossip, played in New York in 1889. Black to play and win! Good luck! (Solution tomorrow!)
George Gossip was born in New York on December 6, 1841, though he was a British subject. He was winner of the Correspondence Tournament of the Chess Players Chronicle in 1873-1874. In 1874, he published The Chess-Players Manual, a more than 900 page opening book. In 1885, he took 2nd place in the 1st Australian championship. In 1887, he took 3rd place in the 2nd Australian championship. In 1889, he took last place in the 5th British Chess Federation championship. In 1889, he took last place in the 6th German Chess Federation championship. In 1890, he took last place in the 6th British Chess Federation Congress. In 1892, he took last place in the 7th British Chess Federation Congress. In October 1893, he took last place in New York. He died on May 11, 1907 in Liphook, England.
Can you imagine the size of this book? How much it must have weighed! The main body of the book is 884 pages of text written by G. H. D. Gossip ; after that, there is a 122-page appendix written by S. Lipschütz (died 1905). The copyright page of the book shows that it was copyrighted in 1888 by Joseph L. Blamire, and again in 1902 by David McKay. It was published by David McKay, 610 South Washington Square, Philadelphia (no date given, no ISBN).
Remember, this was first published in 1874. The future world champion E.Lasker was then just 5 years old! Capablanca and Alekhine would be born many years later…There can be little doubt that this book was the definitive opening bible of the times, and must have been studied by every master of the day.
While chess information was relatively scarce in those days, the information that was published was of very high quality. Back then there were hundreds of quality chess magazines. And in 1874 about 95% of present-day end game knowledge (before the advent of the table-bases) was already known!
The chess master of the 19th century was certainly no slacker! Today we like to think that the modern master has a huge advantage over his 19th century counterpart in the information department, but– while few will argue that there is more information today–how much can any person absorb and memorize? Of the 5 million games in the modern data-base collections , how many have you played over?? I trust you get my point…
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS