Below is a further article by G.H. Diggle, the Badmaster, from page 90 of Chess Characters (Geneva, 1984). It was originally published in the January 1983 issue of Newsflash.
‘The bellicose BM, who keeps a collection of chess disputes in letters, articles and pamphlets going back over 150 years, has duly added to his catalogue the correspondence in December Newsflash in which two most eminent lady players cross swords in fair fight and with due regard to the rules of honourable controversy. But alas! compared with the fights of Victorian days, “what a falling off was there!”
In 1848 Staunton, whose match career since 1843 had been an unbroken success both on level terms and at odds, finally lost a match at “pawn and two” to the least likely player imaginable – namely, Edward Löwe, a perfunctory old Divan player considered to be a very soft touch, as he seldom attacked or made a combination but “just pottered along without having the road up at every step”. The defeated Staunton rose to the occasion magnificently – “You see, sir”, he told a friend, “the odds were not large enough – I could not play my best. I ought to have given him a Knight!” But a fiery anti-Stauntonian, Thomas Beeby of Dyers Hall College, wrote triumphantly to the Morning Post, “The result has proved that Mr Staunton, though never in better play, and having won at the same odds against Mr Harrwitz, Captain Kennedy and other celebrated players, has on the present occasion been over-matched”. At this the high-spirited Captain Kennedy, annoyed at the inference that Löwe was stronger than himself, sprang to the defence of Staunton’s reputation (and his own): “I believe it to be a pleasant delusion (mentis gratissimus error) on the part of Mr Löwe and his friends that Mr Staunton is unable to yield him the odds of pawn and two. It was commonly remarked amongst those who witnessed the match that Mr S. played loosely and considerably below his ordinary pitch, being somewhat rusty for lack of practice. Had Mr S. fought the match in the same trenchant fashion as he did in his former engagements with Mr Harrwitz and myself, I make bold to asseverate that Mr Löwe would have been routed horse, foot, and artillery ... ”
Beeby replied with an enormous letter which wound up by “offering Mr Löwe an engagement at his (Beeby’s) own expense to play Captain Kennedy a match of 25 games the games to be published without note or comment, but on the express understanding that whatever the result, we hear nothing of indigestion, indisposition, headache, want of preparation, rustiness, or any other excuse, however ingenious, as palliative of defeat!” Captain Kennedy affected to regard the last paragraph as an imputation on his temperance and refused to correspond further with Beeby, but agreed to play the match and handed over all negotiations to Mr Turner, the Secretary of the Brighton Chess Club, a high-handed gentleman who (after some heated exchanges with Beeby) followed the Captain by “breaking off all relations”: “I am more than sorry – I am ashamed – that I ever addressed you at all. I desire that you will not write to me again on this or any other subject, as it is not my intention to hold any further communication with you.” Beeby then let himself go in a searing pamphlet: “To reason with such a man as Turner, is like stabbing at water, like cudgeling a woolsack ... I nevertheless endeavoured to dwarf myself to the measure of his capacity by writing in such a manner that no-one not worthy of being an inmate in a lunatic asylum could escape my meaning – the attempt, however, failed, Turner was impervious to reason.” Amazing to relate, the Match did later come off, Löwe winning 7-6-1.’>>