|Staunton - Saint Amant (1843)|
Saint Amant played two matches against Staunton in 1843 (1). The first, in London, Saint Amant won 3½–2½ (+3 -2 =1), but he lost a return match in Paris just before Christmas 13–8 (+6 -11 =4). This second match is often considered an unofficial world championship which cemented Staunton as the leading player of his era (2).|
Match 1, London 28 April - 7 May
Saint Amant moved first in the odd-numbered games.
1 2 3 4 5 6
Saint Amant 0 = 1 0 1 1 3.5
Staunton 1 = 0 1 0 0 2.5
Match 2, Paris 14 Nov - 18 Dec
Saint Amant moved first in the odd-numbered games.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
Staunton 1 1 = 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 0 = 1 0 = = 0 0 1 13.0
Saint Amant 0 0 = 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 = 0 1 = = 1 1 0 8.0
References: (1) Wikipedia article: List of chess world championship matches , (2) Wikipedia article: Pierre Charles Fournier de Saint-Amant , (3) Original collection: Game Collection: WCC Index (Staunton-Saint Amant 1843), by User: suenteus po 147
Missing information: Match 1, Game 6 has no date
| page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 27
| page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 27
|Nov-16-12|| ||brankat: Still no kibitzing?! This is a great collection of fine old games.|
Predecessors, indeed "harbingers", of the coming of a Morphy, a Steinitz, a Lasker etc..
|Nov-16-12|| ||brankat: These two distant (in time) relatives of of Petrosian, Kramnik, Leko...drew 5 games out of 27 :-)|
|Nov-16-12|| ||brankat: One hundred and seventy years ago they played 7 Sicilians in these 27 games! A somewhat "different" Sicilians to be sure, but still...|
Who knew. I think I need a serious brush up of my chess History :-)
|Nov-20-12|| ||Sneaky: So much for "home field advantage" — Staunton loses to Saint-Amant in London but then convincingly defeats him in France.|
|Apr-20-13|| ||Conrad93: This was the match that made Staunton an unofficial World Champion.|
|Aug-03-13|| ||optimal play: <<<The Great Chess Match.—>|
We have received during the course of this memorable contest a number of letters demanding information on various points relative to the play. Some of our correspondents have asked most strange questions, and to such we think it unnecessary to reply ; to the rest, who appear to be actuated by more worthy motives than mere curiosity, the following remarks will probably prove sufficient:—
The play did not take place in the Cafe de la Regence, as many suppose, but at the Chess Club, adjoining the Cafe.
The preparations made for the match were simple.
All the chess-tables, which on ordinary occasions line the room, were removed, and a single card table was placed near the large centre window, bearing a board and men, brought by Mr. Staunton from England, and the use of which he had made one of the conditions of the match.
At each side of the players were seats for the seconds, and around were disposed long benches, covered with crimson, for the spectators.
With one or two exceptions, the members of the club were the only persons permitted to attend.
The temperature of the room never rose to an excessive degree, and all the stories that have appeared in the French and English papers relative to persons being taken out fainting, or of gendarmes being placed at the door to prevent a crush, are ridiculous exaggerations.
During the play not a word was spoken above a whisper, and every precaution was taken to prevent the combatants from being disturbed.
The time taken up in deliberating on the moves of a game was in general about the same on both sides — perhaps, of the two, the English player was a shade longer in studying a difficult or critical position.
Both players appeared much worn out at the termination of a lengthened sitting, and the day's rest which was given between the games seemed absolutely requisite to enable them to recruit their strength ; indeed, it may be remarked, that no brain could resist the influence of a series of protracted sittings, if continued for any length of time.
In the late contest, the effect of intense thinking began to show itself in the players after seven or eight hours' play. Their faces became gradually flushed, and marks of general uneasiness were then visible. If the duration of the play could be restricted in future matches to eight hours at furthest, we conceive that it would be an advantage. Some inconveniences would, no doubt, attend such a decision ; but they would be amply compensated for by the probable superiority of the play.
One point in the late match has excited great surprise, and several of the letters before us refer to it. How does it happen, they ask, that M. Saint Amant, who last year was the victor in his match with Mr. Staunton in England, should here allow his antagonist to ride at first over the lists as he pleased, winning seven frames almost without resistance?
How, also, when the English champion seemed to have the match completely to himself, was he all at once so vigorously arrested in mid-career, the French player getting up to six games, and he himself only winning one game in the last six?
Those terms in the play do at the first glance appear extraordinary, and yet they can be easily accounted for.
Mental training is as requisite for any intellectual contest as bodily preparation is for one of mere corporeal strength and activity. M. St. Amant erred in not subjecting himself to severe practice for at least some weeks previously to the match. His play is acknowledged both by himself and the gentlemen who are aware of his powers to be far below its general average. His mind had, in fact, grown rusty, and it was only after a certain quantity of practice that he again arrived at his usual foree of chess combination, and was able to respond to the fine play of his antagonist.
Dearly did he pay for his neglect. Day after day he sat down to be beaten, and the whole world, except himself, looked on the match as already decided, when at last he won a solitary game. From that time forth the aspect of the contest gradually changed, until at last he won his sixth game, "thereby", as he himself emphatically expressed it, 'sauvant l'honneur!'.
Were the contest to commence again at present, there can be no doubt that the scales of combat would be more equally balanced.
— Galignani's Messenger.>
- Inquirer (Perth, WA) issue Wednesday 24 April 1844>
|Aug-03-13|| ||offramp: So this was the debut of the great Staunton pattern chess set.|
|Jan-21-15|| ||zanzibar: First, is <CG> making a statement that this is the first "unofficial" WCC match?|
Wikipedia would tell it this way:
<La Bourdonnais was considered to be the unofficial World Chess Champion (there was no official title at the time) from 1821—when he became able to beat his chess teacher Alexandre Deschapelles—until his death in 1840. The most famous match series, indeed considered as the world championship, was the series against Alexander McDonnell in 1834.>
I think the La Bourdonnais -- McDonnell match should be promoted to tournament level, for historical significance if nothing else.
* * * * *
Next, was the first game of the first match played in London?
Then why does <CG> version give Paris as the site?
|Jan-21-15|| ||zanzibar: The first and sixth games of the first match are given as Paris (in PGN).|
|Jan-25-15|| ||zanzibar: Thanks to <chessical>, we have several contemporaneous reports of the 2nd match:|
Biographer Bistro (#9231)
* * * * *
The post by <optimal_play> above makes mention of seats for the seconds:
<At each side of the players were seats for the seconds, and around were disposed long benches, covered with crimson, for the spectators.>
From the Webminster site's page on Staunton comes this information identifying the seconds:
< In 1843 he lost a match to France's leading player, Saint-Amant. Staunton won 2 games, drew one game, and lost 3 games. The match was held in London in April-May. In November, Staunton traveled to Paris and on November 14, 1843 he began another match with Saint-Amant. The match was held at the Cafe de la Regence and lasted until December 20, 1843. Staunton won the match with 11 wins, 4 draws, and 6 losses. Staunton's prize money was 100 pounds. Staunton was successful with the opening 1.c4 against Saint-Amant, and the opening became known as the English opening. <This was also the first match that used seconds. Staunton used Wilson, Evans, and Worrell as his seconds.> >
Now the question becomes, who were Saint Amant's seconds?
|Jan-25-15|| ||jnpope: <The seconds and umpires are Messrs Wilson and Worrell, on the part of Mr Staunton; and for the French player, M M Lecrivain and Lasias.>|
source: Bell's Life in London, 1843.11.26
<Latterly Mr Staunton had to contend with the great disadvantages arising from a protracted absence in a foreign land, and the being left in Paris without his umpires, Mr Worrell and Mr Harry Wilson, both being compelled to return prematurely to London, by sudden and grave indisposition; and admirably as their places were filled by Mr Bryan and Mr Dizi, their loss as personal friends could not but be sensibly felt.>
Source: Bell's Life in London, 1843.12.24
|Jan-25-15|| ||jnpope: Evans as a second? Looks like that bio posted at the markofwestminster.com site is by Bill Wall... I'm not sure what sources Wall used but I haven't found any mention of Evans as a second or umpire for Staunton.|
|Jan-25-15|| ||zanzibar: <jn> Yes, I would think the definitive sources would be from each player's respective journals in the day.|
<Chess Player's Chronicle, Vol 5>
I haven't had time to go through it all, but the <George Walker> article on p92 is a must-read.
I'll try to go through the volume more carefully later today. And I should also try to find the <Le Palemède> take on the match as well (luckily, I can read a little French).
I may of overstated the case when I claimed I found the seconds with only the one source - but as I've said, these are working notes, and a little enthusiasm provides the impetus for doing the follow-up research.
Thanks for those refs.
<crawfb5> also found some nice material on the match:
It's funny, after reading Walker's letter, that Staunton ended up going to Paris a second time for a rematch (which never occurred due to him catching pneumonia) - after being so vehement about Saint Amant having to come to London as a condition.
|Jan-26-15|| ||zanzibar: To continue with the identity of the seconds...
Another non-contemporaneous ref can be found here:
<Staunton also brought with him Worrall, Capt. Evans, and later Harry Wilson, to assist him.>
The text is right next to an illustration of the players from the match (where is the illustration from?).
Batgirl/Sarah gives a link via the "to assist him" to here:
It's in German, and I haven't had the time to follow it up.
Batgirl goes on to say this:
<In short, Saint Amant who was basically a coffeehouse player, was steam-rolled. Staunton took an early 9-2 lead in the match while Saint Amant lost all his confidence and had to be encouraged by his friends to even continue the match. But Saint Amant had finally worked his way through these openings he wasn't prepared for and was making a strong comeback, winning 4 of that final 6 decisive games for a finally tally of +11 -6 =4 in favor of Staunton. Saint Amant wanted a third match, but Staunton, who had developed heart trouble during the match, refused.>
I generally like Sarah's writings, but I do have some criticism of the above.
1) Was Saint Amant truly just a "coffeehouse player"?
(Look at all the trouble Giri got in using this term)
2) I wouldn't use the phrase "steam-rolled" to characterize the entire match. As she notes, Saint Amant did fight back rather well (for a coffeehouse player) during the 2nd half of the match.
3) Staunton is said to have not been able to play a 3rd match due to "heart trouble". My understanding is that it was due to pneumonia. If he developed heart trouble from the pneumonia, this should have been noted.
Still investigating more, of course.
(I did learn the good Capt served as Harrwitz's second in a proposed match vs Staunton:
<British Chess Review, Vol 2. 1854 p85 / Chess Intelligence>
|Jan-26-15|| ||zanzibar: PS- A nice summary of the Staunton--Harrwitz dickering can be found here:|
<Eminent Victorian Chess Players: Ten Biographies
By Tim Harding (p 60)>
|Jan-26-15|| ||zanzibar: <RE: Captain Evans as Staunton's Second>|
There is contemporaneous evidence of his potential involvement (or should I more accurately say, evidence of his potential non-involvement?):
<Letter from Staunton to Saint Amand
St. George's Club: Oct 9th, 1843>
Article 7: Captain Evan's absence rendering it impossible for me to ensure his presence at the match, I reserve to myself the privilege of naming my referee when you mention yours.>
<The Chess Player's Chronicle, Vol 6, p148>
So, Staunton at least contemplated using Evan's as his second for the Staunton--Saint Amand match.
|Jan-28-15|| ||jnpope: From Bell's Life in London for 1842.03.06: <[...] Captain Evans, the "Evans Gambit man," who recently settled himself in Greece as commander of the Iberia steamer, running between Malta and the Isles..>|
And from the Bristol Mercury for 1843.12.23:
<The Oriental Company's steam-ship, Iberia, Captain Evans, arrived in the docks this morning, from London, and will take out the Peninsular mails to-morrow [...]>
It would appear that Captain Evans was busy with his "day job" during the match and very unlikely that he could have been involved in the match at any point.
|Jan-28-15|| ||zanzibar: Nice bit of digging there.
I've seen <Bell's Life> referenced elsewhere (e.g. an account of Labourdonnais' sad death in London iirc).
Is it available/searchable online somewhere?
* * * *
I think the most definitive statement concerning who actually were seconds at the match some from Le Palamede, an excerpt of which is quoted by Edward Winters (CN #7028):
<7028. John Worrell
Lynne Leonhardt (Claremont, WA, Australia) is seeking information about her great-great-great-grandfather, John Worrell, who was a second to Staunton in the 1843 match against Saint-Amant in Paris.
We have noted fewer particulars in the Chess Player’s Chronicle than in Le Palamède. From page 481 of the 15 November 1843 issue of the latter:
So, M. Worrell for Staunton, at least till M.H. Wilson became available.
For Saint Amant, it was MM. Sasais and Lecrivain.
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