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James Mason
J Mason 
Number of games in database: 497
Years covered: 1866 to 1904

Overall record: +174 -161 =161 (51.3%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 1 exhibition game, blitz/rapid, odds game, etc. is excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (38) 
    C77 C67 C78 C65 C62
 Giuoco Piano (37) 
    C50 C53 C54
 Queen's Pawn Game (25) 
    D00 A40 D04 A45 D02
 Sicilian (17) 
    B40 B45 B30 B23 B46
 French Defense (15) 
    C11 C01 C13 C00 C14
 Vienna Opening (15) 
    C25 C29 C28 C27
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (69) 
    C11 C01 C13 C00 C14
 French (45) 
    C11 C13 C00 C12 C10
 Petrov (35) 
    C42 C43
 Ruy Lopez (29) 
    C65 C67 C80 C78 C77
 Four Knights (13) 
    C48 C47 C49
 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 NN, 1900 1-0
   J Noa vs J Mason, 1883 0-1
   J Mason vs Janowski, 1902 1-0
   Chigorin vs J Mason, 1889 0-1
   Mackenzie vs J Mason, 1882 1/2-1/2
   J Mason vs Englisch, 1882 1/2-1/2
   J Mason vs Englisch, 1883 1-0
   J Mason vs J Mieses, 1895 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   4th American Chess Congress (1876)
   London (1900)
   Nuremberg (1883)
   Hamburg (1885)
   Vienna (1882)
   Amsterdam (1889)
   Berlin (1881)
   London (1883)
   Breslau (1889)
   London (1899)
   Paris (1878)
   Monte Carlo (1903)
   Paris (1900)
   Hastings (1895)
   Monte Carlo (1902)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   akiba82's favorite games by mariofrisini
   akiba82's favorite games by akiba82
   New York 1889 by suenteus po 147
   London 1883 by suenteus po 147
   London 1883 by JoseTigranTalFischer
   Vienna 1882 by suenteus po 147
   Philadelphia 1876 by suenteus po 147

   Pillsbury vs Burn, 1895
   Tarrasch vs J Mieses, 1895
   Tinsley vs Schlechter, 1895
   Tinsley vs Tarrasch, 1895

Search Sacrifice Explorer for James Mason
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(born Nov-19-1849, died Jan-11-1905, 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 (= 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:
Reference: (1) Buffalo Globe, August 1st, 1876.
Reference: (2)

 page 1 of 20; games 1-25 of 497  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. E Schallopp vs J Mason  1-03018662nd BCA CongressC02 French, Advance
2. Merian vs J Mason 1-0431870Casual gameC51 Evans Gambit
3. J Mason vs F E Brenzinger  0-1601870Brooklyn Chess Club TournamentC51 Evans Gambit
4. P Richardson vs J Mason  1-0201873New York, USAC52 Evans Gambit
5. G Reichhelm vs J Mason 1-0571874Philadelphia m1C65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
6. J Mason vs G Reichhelm ½-½561874Philadelphia m1C42 Petrov Defense
7. J Mason vs D M Martinez 1-0251874Philadelphia m2C25 Vienna
8. D M Martinez vs J Mason 1-0381874MatchC42 Petrov Defense
9. D M Martinez vs J Mason 1-0461874Philadelphia m2C84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
10. J Mason vs D M Martinez 0-1401875Philadelphia mC48 Four Knights
11. J Mason vs Bird 1-0251876New York mC33 King's Gambit Accepted
12. Bird vs J Mason 0-1411876New York mA02 Bird's Opening
13. Bird vs J Mason 0-1471876New York mC43 Petrov, Modern Attack
14. J Mason vs Bird 1-0321876New YorkC25 Vienna
15. Bird vs J Mason 1-0501876New York mC11 French
16. Bird vs J Mason 0-1221876New York mA02 Bird's Opening
17. J Mason vs Bird 1-0631876New YorkC25 Vienna
18. H Wernich vs J Mason 0-1251876Clipper Free Centennial TournamentC43 Petrov, Modern Attack
19. J Mason vs Bird 0-1321876New York mC33 King's Gambit Accepted
20. Bird vs J Mason 0-19818764th American Chess CongressA02 Bird's Opening
21. J Mason vs Bird ½-½3818764th American Chess CongressC33 King's Gambit Accepted
22. L D Barbour vs J Mason ½-½9118764th American Chess CongressC66 Ruy Lopez
23. J Mason vs L D Barbour 1-02718764th American Chess CongressB42 Sicilian, Kan
24. D M Martinez vs J Mason 0-14218764th American Chess CongressA83 Dutch, Staunton Gambit
25. J Mason vs D M Martinez 1-02718764th American Chess CongressC01 French, Exchange
 page 1 of 20; games 1-25 of 497  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Mason wins | Mason loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: My 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. Dont split on me till Im dead, and even then I would rather you didnt give the name, its so infernally Milesian, and theyd say that all the faults of the race went with it, particularly love of drink and laziness. I have them both myself! - James Mason
Nov-19-12  The17thPawn: Thanks <Calli> for the insight.
Nov-19-12  talisman: happy birthday!
Premium Chessgames Member
  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.

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

Premium Chessgames Member
  diceman: <brankat:
The Bio says <James Mason> was not his "real" name. Does anyone know what the real name was? Thank You.>


Premium Chessgames Member
  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)

Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: <Zanzibar> I don't think CG did that, one of the editor may have done it, because of the () in the link, which does not translate very well.

Have to use &#forty; and &#forty-one; so the link would work.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Every pawn is a potential queen> - James Mason.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Never make a good move too soon> - James Mason.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: I thought he was pretty good in Lolita
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: he played a mean Rommel.
Premium Chessgames Member
  gars: Let's praise James Mason games and books, but let's not forget Jose Raul Capablanca, born exactly thirty-nine years later.
Nov-19-15  ketchuplover: reincarnation !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: In regards to his play in

<2nd BCA Congress - London (1886)>:

<"Mason's play throughout the entire tournament was as usual notable for tenacity, coupled, at times, with a trifle of dulness, and many of his games were, if not 'linked sweetness,' certainly 'long drawn-out,' for some extended far above 100 moves with a draw to wind up with. Indeed of the twelve games he played exactly one half were drawn. Six draws out of twelve speak well for a player's dogged stubbornness whatever else they may show. It is worthy of note that exclusive of Mason's draws there were only five other draws made by all the remaining masters. His game with Lipschutz was somewhat remarkable. Mason played 1 P to K 3, and his opponent followed his example almost move for move until at the 12th move the following position appeared, wherein the White and Black pieces occupy precisely similar squares."

- BCM v7 p350>

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Maybe mentioned before, definitely good enough to be mentioned again:

A nice profile of Mason. The bio probably should also mention his contributions to BCM.

(And as far as chess is concerned - James Mason is good enough, he used it his entire lifetime)

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy birthday, James Mason.
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