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|Feb-26-11|| ||Karpova: Olimpiu G. Urcan reviews Joost van Winsen's 'James Mason in America: The Early Chess Career, 1867-1878' (McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2010) in his latest Past Pieces called 'An Irishman's Riveting American Story'.|
Link: http://www.chesscafe.com/urcan/urca... (no pdf-link available yet)
<Van Winsen accompanies Mason's first moments with the game with details of New York's chess life in 1866-67, a low-intensity scene with the New York Chess Club as the city's only chess club and Otis Fields' Rooms as the most active chess resort. When in 1868 the Europa Chess Rooms opened its doors and the Brooklyn Chess Club was resurrected, New York's chess life soared. Mason's earliest chess play was registered in a number of handicap tournaments played at the Europa Chess Rooms between the end of 1868 and early 1870. It was there that he must have understood that once he was allowed to sit at a board across from an accomplished gentleman, he was at least his equal if not more; quite a significant psychological change for an immigrant teenager who used to earn his living by shining such gentlemen's boots or attempted, often quite desperately, to sell them a newspaper. In one of these handicap tournaments, Mason played well enough to come very close to challenging Mackenzie's status, then the nation's leading player. As van Winsen shows, this contest between an accomplished master and a youthful up-and-comer who was able to hold his own without receiving odds excited the chess public, as expressed in contemporary newspapers (pages 16-17). Despite Mason's eventual match loss against Mackenzie in September 1869, the nineteen-year old's newly found fame reached even the shores of England.>
Urcan considers the book to be very good.
|Nov-19-11|| ||brankat: Happy Birthday master Mason.|
|Mar-29-12|| ||AVRO38: It should be pointed out that Mason had the strongest performance (both Neustadtl and Sonneborn-Berger) in the strongest tournament (Vienna 1882) of all time.|
|Mar-30-12|| ||AVRO38: <Mackenzie did not participate in the 4th American Chess Congress in 1876 (won by James Mason, an Irishman who was not an American citizen)>|
Mason moved to the U.S. when he was either 11 or 12 years old and lived there for the next 17 years. I find it hard to believe that he did not become a U.S. citizen in all that time. Ireland was not an independent country until the 20th century after Mason was already dead.
So the question is, was Mason a U.S. or British citizen in 1876 when he won the 4th American Chess Congress? If he was a U.S. citizen, then he should be included on the roster of U.S. Chess Champions.
|Jun-11-12|| ||Whitehat1963: Loved him in The Verdict and Lolita.|
|Nov-19-12|| ||edbermac: <Whitehat1963: Loved him in The Verdict and Lolita.>|
He was also in Age Of Consent (1969) as an artist painting a very young and very nekkid Helen Mirren.
Some guys have all the luck.
|Nov-19-12|| ||brankat: R.I.P. master Mason.
The Bio says <James Mason> was not his "real" name. Does anyone know what the real name was? Thank You.
|Nov-19-12|| ||Abdel Irada: Interesting. I had no idea that 1. d4, d5; 2. Bf4 was named after Mason.|
As a high-schooler in 1982, in fact, I thought I'd invented the opening myself. Not having any opening books at the time, I took to trying to develop a safe way to open the game that was "mathematically correct" and avoided lines that my opponents knew.
My criteria in that process were harmonic development, central control, spatial aggressiveness and solidity. Without any particular, specific ambitions, I sought to get my pieces out fast with the general scheme (d4, Bf4, Nf3, e3, c3, Bd3, o-o) now known as the London System.
Then I *did* study openings, and found 1. e4 more to my liking — now that I knew enough to avoid the traps and tactics for which double king-pawn games are notorious.
But I've always nurtured a sentimental attachment to "my" old opening.
|Nov-19-12|| ||The17thPawn: Why is this fellow so often identified as a booze hound? I'm not arguing the point just wondering if there is actually historical record regarding his infermity? Any responses are appreciated.|
|Nov-19-12|| ||Calli: ďMy father adopted the name of Mason on landing in New Orleans when I was 11, his object being avoidance of the prejudice which obtained against the Irish. Donít split on me till Iím dead, and even then I would rather you didnít give the name, itís so infernally Milesian, and theyíd say that all the faults of the race went with it, particularly love of drink and laziness. I have them both myself!Ē - James Mason|
|Nov-19-12|| ||The17thPawn: Thanks <Calli> for the insight.|
|Nov-19-12|| ||talisman: happy birthday!|
|Nov-19-12|| ||brankat: "Mason had the unique quality of competently simmering through six aching hours, and scintillating in the seventh. Others resembled him, but forgot to scintillate." |
-- William Napier
"About Mason it has recently been written that in a sober state he doesn't have to lose a game to anyone. This may be true, but as this state is increasingly rare, it must be feared that his result here will be as mediocre as in his previous tournament."
-- Source Unknown (on the eve of the 1895 Hastings tournament)
|Nov-24-12|| ||Eric Farley: Mason's book "The Art of Chess" is an excellent book for novices, but it was written in 1895. The opening 1.d4 d5 2.Bf4 is actually called "Sarrat Attack." The book "Winning with the London System" discusses it. A contemporary player that uses the Sarrat Attack (or Mason Opening) is Antoaneta Stefanova.|
|May-05-13|| ||Caissanist: <brankat>: no one knows for sure, but the link given by <Graham Clayton> indicates that his givn name was probably Patrick Dwyer.|
I say original name because it was extremely common for immigrants to the USA to at least partially change their names, and for all practical purposes his name really was James Mason from the time his family got off the boat.
|May-05-13|| ||offramp: I'm not at all sure about the Patrick Dwyer conclusion. Such a name in America would not have needed to be changed! I think the jury its still out.|
|May-08-13|| ||offramp: I have contacted the rector of St Peter's Church, Thundersley, Benfleet to see if Mason really is buried there.|
|May-28-13|| ||offramp: The only thing we knew for certain about James Mason was that his name wasn't James Mason. - Bob Dylan|
|Nov-16-13|| ||wordfunph: In 1888 James Mason was in court charged with breaking windows. His defence counsel said that "Chessplayers were generally men of intellect, but inordinate drink turned them into beasts." Mason was fined five shillings.|
Source: BCM November 1993
|Mar-13-14|| ||RedShield: <Why is this fellow so often identified as a booze hound? I'm not arguing the point just wondering if there is actually historical record regarding his infermity? Any responses are appreciated.>|
According to <The Even More Complete Chess Addict>:
<Mason [...] frequently lost games in a 'hilarious condition'. During a game in the London Tournament, 1899, he was discovered asleep in the fireplace.>
|Jun-02-14|| ||ljfyffe: Frank J. Marshall was awarded a copy of Mason's Art of Chess for his inter-club play as a youngster in Montreal.|
|Jan-13-15|| ||zanzibar: < "Many's the good man before now drank out of the bottle." > - Joyce in <Ivy Day in the Committee Room>|
Continuing the riff...
<Zak spent the entire war at the front, and there he joined the Party,
which at the time was quite natural. Chess was always the main thing
in his life. Before the war he studied with Romanovsky. At the house
of the maestro a group of young Leningrad players gathered, including
Zak. Under the guidance of Romanovsky they analysed games, developed
openings, and played theme tournaments. Often he would talk about the
leading players from the past. Zak tried to carry over the aroma of
these lessons to the children in the Pioneers' Palace.
'Who, do you think, was the strongest player of all at the end of the
last century?' he would ask, copying Romanovsky.
The children had absolutely no idea what to answer, and were totally
at a loss : 'Steinitz? Chigorin?'
'That is what we too replied', said Vladimir Grigoryevich.
<After all the conceivable names had been given, Romanovsky, raising
his index finger, would say: 'Mason, you should look at Mason's
games. Mason played stronger than anyone...'>
Only on becoming more grown up, were the children to learn the
conclusion of this sentence, which was not said to them for
pedagogical reasons. It was : '... if he was sober, of course, and
this did not happen often...'
It is noteworthy that Zak himself did not in fact become a master.>
<Russian Silhouette's> by <Genna Sosokonko> (2009)
As noted by <offramp> earlier.
|Jan-13-15|| ||diceman: <brankat:
The Bio says <James Mason> was not his "real" name.
Does anyone know what the real name was? Thank You.>
|Jan-14-15|| ||zanzibar: Since when does <CG> use tinyurl's for wiki refs?|
Also, this is one of the better bios I've found on him:
(Ref'ed by wiki article too)
|Jan-14-15|| ||WannaBe: <Zanzibar> I don't think CG did that, one of the editor may have done it, because of the () in the link, which CG.com does not translate very well.|
Have to use forty; and forty-one; so the link would work.
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