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J Mason 
 
James Mason
Number of games in database: 490
Years covered: 1870 to 1904
Overall record: +174 -158 =157 (51.6%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      1 exhibition game, odds game, etc. is excluded from this statistic.

MOST PLAYED OPENINGS
With the White pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (38) 
    C77 C84 C67 C65 C62
 Giuoco Piano (36) 
    C50 C53 C54
 Queen's Pawn Game (26) 
    D00 A40 D04 A45 D05
 Sicilian (17) 
    B45 B40 B30 B42 B24
 French Defense (15) 
    C11 C01 C13 C14 C00
 Vienna Opening (15) 
    C25 C29 C28 C27
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (67) 
    C11 C01 C13 C00 C14
 French (45) 
    C11 C13 C00 C12 C10
 Petrov (35) 
    C42 C43
 Ruy Lopez (29) 
    C65 C67 C80 C84 C61
 Four Knights (13) 
    C48 C49 C47
 Vienna Opening (13) 
    C29 C26 C25
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   J Mason vs Winawer, 1882 1-0
   J Mason vs Chigorin, 1889 1-0
   J Mason vs Janowski, 1902 1-0
   J Mason vs NN, 1900 1-0
   Mackenzie vs J Mason, 1882 1/2-1/2
   Bird vs J Mason, 1876 0-1
   J Noa vs J Mason, 1883 0-1
   Chigorin vs J Mason, 1889 0-1
   J W Baird vs J Mason, 1889 0-1
   J Mason vs Englisch, 1883 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Philadelphia (1876)
   London (1900)
   Nuremberg (1883)
   Vienna (1882)
   Hamburg (1885)
   Berlin (1881)
   London (1883)
   Breslau (1889)
   London (1899)
   Paris (1878)
   Monte Carlo (1903)
   Paris (1900)
   Hastings (1895)
   9th DSB Kongress, Leipzig (1894)
   Monte Carlo (1902)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   akiba82's favorite games by akiba82
   New York 1889 by suenteus po 147
   London 1883 by suenteus po 147
   Vienna 1882 by suenteus po 147
   Philadelphia 1876 by suenteus po 147
   City Club Invitational (London, 1900) by Phony Benoni
   Amsterdam 1889 by Phony Benoni

GAMES ANNOTATED BY MASON: [what is this?]
   Pillsbury vs Burn, 1895
   Tarrasch vs Mieses, 1895
   Tinsley vs Schlechter, 1895
   Tinsley vs Tarrasch, 1895

Search Sacrifice Explorer for James Mason
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JAMES MASON
(born Nov-19-1849, died Jan-15-1905, 55 years old) Ireland

[what is this?]
James Mason was born on November 19, 1849 in Kilkenny, Ireland. He was adopted as a child and his name changed; his original name is unknown. He immigrated to the United States in 1861 as a child, and then to England in 1878 as an adult.

While in the United States he won first prizes at the 4th American Chess Congress in Philadelphia http://graeme.50webs.com/chesschamp... (= Philadelphia (1876)) and then at the New York Clipper tournament. He also won a match against visiting English master Henry Edward Bird (+11 =4 -4). He edited a chess column for Wilkes' Spirit of the Times (1).

According to Chessmetrics, he was the strongest player in the world from August 1877 through June 1878 (2). In 1879 he drew a match (+5 =11 -5) with William Norwood Potter. His best result was at the Vienna (1882) tournament (+17 =12 -5) when he finished third behind the joint winners Wilhelm Steinitz and Simon Winawer. He died in Rochford, Essex, England in 1905.

Wikipedia article: http://bit.ly/12VkJUO
Reference: (1) Buffalo Globe, August 1st, 1876.
Reference: (2) http://www.chessmetrics.com/cm/CM2/...


 page 1 of 20; games 1-25 of 490  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Merian vs J Mason 1-043 1870 Casual gameC51 Evans Gambit
2. J Mason vs F E Brenzinger  0-160 1870 Brooklyn Chess Club TournamentC51 Evans Gambit
3. P Richardson vs J Mason  1-020 1873 New York, USAC52 Evans Gambit
4. J Mason vs D M Martinez 1-025 1874 Philadelphia m2C25 Vienna
5. G Reichhelm vs J Mason 1-057 1874 Philadelphia m1C65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
6. D M Martinez vs J Mason 1-046 1874 Philadelphia m2C84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
7. D M Martinez vs J Mason 1-038 1874 MatchC42 Petrov Defense
8. J Mason vs G Reichhelm ½-½54 1874 Philadelphia m1C42 Petrov Defense
9. J Mason vs D M Martinez 0-140 1875 Philadelphia mC48 Four Knights
10. D M Martinez vs J Mason 0-142 1876 PhiladelphiaA83 Dutch, Staunton Gambit
11. J Mason vs Bird 1-025 1876 New York mC33 King's Gambit Accepted
12. J Elson vs J Mason  ½-½33 1876 PhiladelphiaC11 French
13. Bird vs J Mason 1-050 1876 New York mC11 French
14. M Judd vs J Mason  0-148 1876 PhiladelphiaC00 French Defense
15. P Ware vs J Mason 0-133 1876 PhiladelphiaC00 French Defense
16. Bird vs J Mason 0-147 1876 New York mC43 Petrov, Modern Attack
17. H Davidson vs J Mason  0-161 1876 PhiladelphiaC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
18. J Mason vs A Roberts 1-028 1876 PhiladelphiaC77 Ruy Lopez
19. Bird vs J Mason 0-122 1876 New YorkA02 Bird's Opening
20. J Mason vs Bird 1-032 1876 New YorkC25 Vienna
21. L D Barbour vs J Mason ½-½91 1876 PhiladelphiaC66 Ruy Lopez
22. J Mason vs Bird ½-½38 1876 PhiladelphiaC33 King's Gambit Accepted
23. J Mason vs P Ware  1-036 1876 PhiladelphiaD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
24. J Mason vs J Elson  1-039 1876 PhiladelphiaC01 French, Exchange
25. H Wernich vs J Mason 0-125 1876 Clipper Free Centennial TournamentC43 Petrov, Modern Attack
 page 1 of 20; games 1-25 of 490  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Mason wins | Mason loses  
 

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Nov-25-10  Marcelo Bruno: Does anybody know the real meaning of Mason's motto "Begone, dull care! you and I will never agree"?
Nov-25-10  BobCrisp: What's the unreal meaning?
Nov-25-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: In the movies, I played Erwin Rommel, the Victorian Watson, and a crooked lawyer who opposed Paul Newman. Who am I?
Dec-31-10  Bartleby: James Mason also resembles a mustachioed Shea Wigham, who plays "Eli Thompson", brother of "Nucky" Thompson (Steve Buscemi), on HBO's Boardwalk Empire. The fact that it has to do with Prohibition-era bootleggers and Irish vice lords in Atlantic City makes the resemblance all the more fitting. The character Eli in the show even has a prodigious drinking problem that clouds his talents.

On the chess front, the Mason Opening 1. d4 d5 2. Bf4 is an interesting little-played line. It usually leads into the London System or Barry Attack via transposition, but has some independent character. One of the more interesting wrinkles is 1. d4 d5 2. Bf4 c5 3. e4!? Opting to play an Albin-Countergambit reversed a tempo up, in this case a bishop posted on f4. In the Albin proper the queen's bishop often ends up on either g4 or f5, so it fits the system. This needs some tests!

Feb-26-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  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.

http://www.themoviegourmet.com/wp-c...

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
Premium Chessgames Member
  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
Premium Chessgames Member
  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
Premium Chessgames Member
  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
Premium Chessgames Member
  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
Premium Chessgames Member
  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
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I have contacted the rector of St Peter's Church, Thundersley, Benfleet to see if Mason really is buried there.
May-28-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: The only thing we knew for certain about James Mason was that his name wasn't James Mason. - Bob Dylan
Nov-16-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  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.
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