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London Tournament

Adolf Anderssen15/21(+14 -5 =2)[view games]
Elijah Williams13.5/21(+13 -7 =1)[view games]
Marmaduke Wyvill13/24(+12 -10 =2)[view games]
Jozsef Szen12.5/17(+12 -4 =1)[view games]
Hugh Alexander Kennedy10/19(+9 -8 =2)[view games]
Howard Staunton10/21(+9 -10 =2)[view games]
Bernhard Horwitz5/15(+4 -9 =2)[view games]
James Swain Mucklow2/10(+2 -8 =0)[view games]
Henry Edward Bird1.5/4(+1 -2 =1)[view games]
Johann Jacob Loewenthal1/3(+1 -2 =0)[view games]
Lionel Adalbert Bagration Felix Kieseritsky0.5/3(+0 -2 =1)[view games]
Edward Shirley Kennedy0/2(+0 -2 =0)[view games]
Samuel Newham0/2(+0 -2 =0)[view games]
Alfred Brodie0/2(+0 -2 =0)[view games]
Edward Lowe0/2(+0 -2 =0)[view games]
Karl Mayet0/2(+0 -2 =0)[view games] Chess Event Description
London (1851)
Some of the main organizers of the tournament were Bledow (who had passed away by the time the final proposals could be arranged), von der Lasa, Kennedy and Staunton(1). They wanted a congress of competitive chess players at the start of the London World's Fair that could serve as an international and recurring chess meeting for the best players in Europe and the rest of the world(2). The tournament started in May of that year and proceeded to standardize issues such as consistent time-controls, rules and notation in a knock-out style format.

First Round Second Round Semi-final Final ---------- Anderssen 2½ Kieseritsky ½ Anderssen 4 Szen 2 Szen 2 Newham 0 ---------- Anderssen 4 Horwitz 2½ Staunton 1 Bird 1½ Staunton 4½ Staunton 2 Horwitz 2½ Brodie 0 ---------- Anderssen 4½ Williams 2 Wyvill 2½ Löwenthal 0 Williams 4 Mucklow 2 Mucklow 0 E Kennedy 0 Wyvill 4 ---------- Williams 3 H Kennedy 2 Mayet 0 Wyvill 4½ Wyvill 2 H Kennedy 3½ Löwe 0

Anderssen vs Kieseritzky, 1851, the famous Immortal Game, was played at the venue but was not part of the tournament.

References: (1) Wikipedia article: London 1851 chess tournament , (2)

Original collection: Game Collection: WCC Index (London 1851), by User: suenteus po 147

Missing information: no dates

 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 84  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Wyvill vs H Kennedy 1-057 1851 LondonA13 English
2. Anderssen vs Staunton 1-032 1851 LondonB40 Sicilian
3. Staunton vs Anderssen 0-147 1851 LondonC50 Giuoco Piano
4. Anderssen vs Staunton 1-035 1851 LondonC45 Scotch Game
5. Staunton vs Anderssen 1-030 1851 LondonC53 Giuoco Piano
6. E Williams vs Wyvill 1-032 1851 LondonB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
7. E Williams vs Wyvill 1-036 1851 LondonB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
8. Wyvill vs E Williams 1-037 1851 LondonA13 English
9. E Williams vs Wyvill 0-150 1851 LondonA00 Uncommon Opening
10. J S Mucklow vs E Williams 0-129 1851 LondonC02 French, Advance
11. E Williams vs J S Mucklow 1-038 1851 LondonB30 Sicilian
12. J S Mucklow vs E Williams 0-144 1851 LondonA13 English
13. H Kennedy vs Wyvill 1-065 1851 LondonA03 Bird's Opening
14. Wyvill vs H Kennedy 0-135 1851 LondonA13 English
15. H Kennedy vs Wyvill 0-152 1851 LondonB54 Sicilian
16. Wyvill vs H Kennedy ½-½62 1851 LondonA13 English
17. H Kennedy vs Wyvill 1-037 1851 LondonB46 Sicilian, Taimanov Variation
18. Wyvill vs H Kennedy 1-036 1851 LondonA13 English
19. H Kennedy vs Wyvill 0-128 1851 LondonB34 Sicilian, Accelerated Fianchetto
20. E Williams vs J S Mucklow 1-077 1851 LondonB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
21. Horwitz vs Szen 0-143 1851 LondonC00 French Defense
22. Szen vs Horwitz 1-028 1851 LondonC67 Ruy Lopez
23. Staunton vs E Williams 1-034 1851 LondonC01 French, Exchange
24. E Williams vs Staunton 1-046 1851 LondonA03 Bird's Opening
25. E Williams vs Staunton ½-½37 1851 LondonA43 Old Benoni
 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 84  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-25-13  Expendable Asset: From Wyvill's biography section on <Marmaduke Wyvill was an English Member of Parliament who finished 2nd to Adolf Anderssen at the London (1851) tournament.>

And the description above shows that Anderssen defeated Wyvill in the final to claim first place, thereby placing Wyvill as second.

However, the standings at the top indicate that Wyvill came in third place.


Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: It looks like he might have come second by knockout (the tournament table) and 3rd by his score in the games he played (chessgames table).
Feb-26-13  Expendable Asset: <Dionysius1> So that's why. Thanks for pointing it out.

Getting second place in the 1851 International was a very impressive feat at the time. But it doesn't seem to matter at all in the long-run, since very few chess players today even know about Wyvill. He's barely mentioned in any 20-21st century chess books, yet he came ahead of Staunton, Bird, Szen, Kieseritsky, Horwitz, and others. And he got the best performance overall against the winner of the tournament, Adolf Anderssen.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Expendable Asset> Wyvill was a member of Parliament who didn't play a lot of chess compared to people like Staunton or Anderssen.

He had a wonderful result in this tournament but had a relatively easy draw (Lowe, H.A. Kennedy, and Elijah Williams) before the final. If you play through the games I think you'll agree that Szen was Anderssen's toughest opponent. Szen also crushed H.A. Kennedy and Horwitz in "loser's bracket" matches -- he probably had the best overall performance after Anderssen.

Feb-26-13  Expendable Asset: <keypusher> Understood. One should blame the format of the tournament and the lucky/unlucky pairings, though, not Wyvill for going up against weaker players.

And I meant the best result <against> the winner of the tournament, meaning XYZ vs Anderssen, not who had the best performance overall in the tournament after Anderssen. Wyvill vs Anderssen was a 2.5/4.5, while Szen vs Anderssen was 2/4, both in Anderssen's favor, but Wyvill had the best individual overall performance playing against Anderssen alone. Wyvill was not a pushover. A lot of people mention how far Staunton got in 1851 but very few bother to give Wyvill some real credit for his accomplishment here. We're talking about the 1851 International, not the games anybody played after, not the games anybody played before. Ex. just because Bird played over 50 years more of chess doesn't suddenly make him more important or notable in <1851> than Wyvill.

Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: The Chess Tournament London 1851 by Howard Staunton..

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Expendable Asset>

<And I meant the best result <against> the winner of the tournament, meaning XYZ vs Anderssen, not who had the best performance overall in the tournament after Anderssen. Wyvill vs Anderssen was a 2.5/4.5, while Szen vs Anderssen was 2/4, both in Anderssen's favor, but Wyvill had the best individual overall performance playing against Anderssen alone. >

To quote myself, <If you play through the games I think you'll agree that Szen was Anderssen's toughest opponent. > None of Anderssen's four wins over Wyvill lasted 30 moves.

Apr-21-14  zanzibar: Adding this short piece of information from wikipedia would be quite a bit helpful here:

< Each first-round match was a best-of-three games, draws not counting. Subsequent rounds were best-of-seven, and losers played consolation matches. The pairings were made by chance,>

Jul-08-15  zanzibar: The tournament book by Staunton is available from google books:

Jul-08-15  zanzibar: <Anderssen seemed to be infusing a new spirit into the game as he swept several players off the board with aggressive Kingside assaults and was reported to have won the tournament in easy fashion.

This was an impressive accomplishment, especially considering the fact that there were not yet any type of time controls in place and players could move at their own pace. Some players used this factor as a psychological tactic, which caused severe irritation amongst some of the players. Additionally, the playing conditions were reportedly bad enough to inspire the following quote from Anderssen:

Things were not particularly comfortable; tables and chairs were both small and low; the large boards stuck out over both edges of the tables; any space near the player was taken away by the person recording the moves; in short, there was not the slightest amount of free space on which one could support one’s head which might be so full of care during the hard struggles.>

Jul-09-15  zanzibar: The <CG> intro presently seen here could stand with some improvement. Especially considering the importance of this, the first truly international tournament.

Perhaps another brief introduction, Bill Wall's, is a good starting point to compliment the above:

He at least gives the hard-to-find bracket dates (the finish date being the more difficult),

<The games were played from May 27 to July 15, 1851 at the St. George’s Chess Club at 5 Cavendish Square in London.>

and explicitly mentions the important role Staunton played in organizing the event (he was first among the organizers, I believe).

For example, it was Staunton who financially generously underwrote the travel expenses of Anderssen (in the event he were not to win), thereby ensuring his participation.

As for the <CG> intro, it could be improved by expansion. But also in some of the details. For example, given that the London tournament was played without any explicit time control, it is hard to argue that the tournament contributed much to the standardization of time controls.

Maybe insofar as precipitating discussion...

Jul-09-15  zanzibar: Some germane comments from the <1st American Chess Congress (1857)> tournament book:

<America took no part in this world's festival of chess [i.e. <London (1851)>]. Our chess public, at that time, was, indeed, singularly apathetic. It seems to have sunk into one of those periodical fits of inaction to which every art and pursuit are subject, and from which our amusement has no right to claim an exemption.

Few or no clubs were then in existence. The magazine established by Mr. Stanley had been discontinued, and the only regular chess publication was weekly problem in the Albion newspaper. The excitement consequent upon the playing of various important matches by Mr. Stanley, Mr. Rousseau, Mr. Schulten, and Mr. Turner had died away. In the west the Kentucky Tournaments had ceased in the south the career of Paul Morphy had scarcely begun in the east Mr. Hammond played but little and in the north neither Philadelphia nor New York possessed any organized chess associations.

But in spite of the want of regular chess organs and the general lack of interest in the game, stray notices of the London Tournament crossed the Atlantic, were read, and served to revive the old enthusiasm. Several clubs soon after wards sprang into existence. Chess departments were com menced in various journals, and at length magazine exclusively devoted to the interests of the chess fraternity was established.

It is somewhat strange that no one should have conceived the idea of general meeting of American players during the period between the years 1840 and 1848 period which was distinguished by widely-manifested interest in the game. It is still more strange that, with the example of the British amateurs before them, no one should have proposed similar convention in this country, during the time which has elapsed since 1851. It was not until the beginning of 1857 that any person appears to have seen the desirableness of national tournament.>

(PP's added)

BTW- I was wondering why there were so little notice of <London (1851)> in the O'Keefe Timeline. This excerpt explains why.

Aug-09-15  SBC: <intro presently seen here could stand with some improvement.>

"Some of the main organizers of the tournament were Bledow (who had passed away by the time the final proposals could be arranged)"

Since Bledow died 5 years before the tournament, he probably passed away before the initial proposals could have been arranged.

Nov-20-15  thomastonk: What a horrible introduction!
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