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John Odin Howard Taylor
Number of games in database: 9
Years covered: 1862 to 1876
Overall record: +5 -2 =2 (66.7%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

Most played openings
C52 Evans Gambit (2 games)

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(born Mar-02-1836, died May-15-1890, 54 years old) United Kingdom

[what is this?]
He was a solicitor in London and financial supporter of chess. He is given partial credit for the idea of a Brilliancy Prize. An illness forced his retirement and he died in Norwich.

"For upwards of forty years he was an enthusiastic supporter of local and national chess; he founded, in conjunction with the late Mr. F. H. Lewis, the brilliancy prize now established in connection with all important tourneys, and he regularly contributed to the principal tournaments in this country. His liberality was not by any means, however, confined to chess, and many other societies—religious, charitable, literary, and scientific—in his own neighbourhood have acknowledged ready help from him. Privately, his purse and pen were constantly in requisition for the benefit of those overtaken by misfortune." - The British chess magazine, Volume 10, page 229

He was the author of two well known chess books:

Chess Brilliants: One Hundred Games (1869)

Chess Skirmishes (1889)

 page 1 of 1; 9 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. J O H Taylor vs NN 1-0131862LondonC27 Vienna Game
2. Blackburne vs J O H Taylor  0-1301862Blindfold simul, 10bB40 Sicilian
3. J O H Taylor vs Steinitz 0-1221865LondonC52 Evans Gambit
4. J O H Taylor vs Steinitz  ½-½271865LondonC52 Evans Gambit
5. C H Capon vs J O H Taylor 0-1181873ThorpeC44 King's Pawn Game
6. J O H Taylor vs NN 1-0131874ThorpeC37 King's Gambit Accepted
7. J O H Taylor vs Zukertort 1-0231874ENGC51 Evans Gambit
8. J O H Taylor vs S Boden 0-1291874NorwichC40 King's Knight Opening
9. Blackburne vs J O H Taylor  ½-½381876Blindfold simul, 8bC11 French
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | H Taylor wins | H Taylor loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: John Odin Howard Taylor (1836-1890) was a solicitor from Norwich, and author of the books "Chess Brilliants" and "Chess Skirmishes".
Jul-03-13  thomastonk: In his book "Chess Skirmishes", he introduced himself as: "I.O. Howard Taylor, Officer of his Hawaiian Majesty's Order, the Star of Oceania ; upwards of thirty years member, and sometime president, of the Norfolk and Norwich Chess Club; compiler of ``Chess Brilliants.´´"

And consequently the book has this dedication: "TO HIS MAJESTY, KING KALAKAUA."

This man, however, did not only play with Steinitz. Other opponents, partly in odds games, include Anderssen, Blackburne, Boden, De Vere, Kolisch, Loewe, Rev. MacDonnell, and Zukertort.

Premium Chessgames Member

<Unquestionably, the club’s most influential member was the previously mentioned local solicitor, John Odin Howard Taylor (1836-1890). He was an originator of the concept of awarding a ‘best game prize’ in tournaments. His book Chess Brilliants (1869) contained the best games of great players many of whom he was to entertain at his house ‘Pinebanks’ at Thorpe, near Norwich.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  heuristic: note that the two 1874 games are identical
J O H Taylor vs NN, 1874
J O H Taylor vs NN, 1874

note that this game is this player
Taylor vs NN, 1862

and the game is in Chernev's "1000 best short games of chess" see chess notes #7564

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: I'm wondering about <thomastonk>'s comment -

Why did Taylor use the initials <I. O.> in both of his books?

<Chess Brillants (1869)> -

<Chess Skirmishes (1889)> -

In <Chess Skirmishes> he signs off with the following (sorry that <CG> strips off spaces):


Nolaila, ina e ai oukou,

a ina e inu oukou,

a o na mea a pau oukou e hana'i,

e hana oukou i na mea a pau


ka hoonani

aku i ki AKUA -- 27th July, 1889.>

It's in Hawaiian, and can be found here:

31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. >

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: He is almost universally known as <I. O. Howard Taylor> in the contemporaneous chess literature.

How and why the discrepancy in names?

I was thinking it could be a typesetting font thing, but that can't be. So then the idea that his name really was <I.O.> occurs, and the question of what the I. stands for remains.

But there is also this, 1883 ref:

of some legal documentation showing <John Odin Howard Taylor esq.> as property owner.

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: There is also this record of <John Odin>:

where his father's name <John Oddin Taylor, D.L.> and dod 1874 are noted.

<John Odin> is noted as the eldest son, and a Lord.

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: The father's name was probably a typo in the above:

notes it as <Odin>. The chessplaying son was not only a Lord, but was also Earl of Albemarle, and had more than a passing interest in music.

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: The bio above should definitely note the use of the <I.O.> initials for the player.

Apparently, my idea about the font/typesetting is shared by Tim Harding:

Premium Chessgames Member
  soldal: <In his book "Chess Skirmishes", he introduced himself as: "I.O. Howard Taylor, Officer of his Hawaiian Majesty's Order, the Star of Oceania ; upwards of thirty years member, and sometime president, of the Norfolk and Norwich Chess Club; compiler of ``Chess Brilliants.´´">

Hawaiian alphabet:

Premium Chessgames Member
  soldal: There's also this parallell, from the same century, which has nothing to do with Hawaii. (He's almost exclusively referred to as I. C. Dahl even today):

<Johan Christian Claussen Dahl (February 24, 1788 – October 14, 1857), often known as J. C. Dahl or I. C. Dahl, was a Norwegian artist who is considered the first great romantic painter in Norway, the founder of the "golden age" of Norwegian painting, and one of the greatest European artists of all time.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <He is almost universally known as <I. O. Howard Taylor> in the contemporaneous chess literature.

How and why the discrepancy in names?>

The <I> might stand for <Ieuan>, a Welsh form of <John>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <One of the first chess masters to produce these miniatures was Bridport’s John Brown, who styled himself ‘J.B. of Bridport’ in his chess life to avoid confusion with others of the same name. (It was often printed as ‘I.B.’, the ‘I’ standing for ‘Iohannes’, the Latinized form of ‘John’; indeed his tomb in the churchyard of Bradpole Parish Church is inscribed ‘I.B. of Bridport’.)>

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: The Gazette (Montreal), June 13th 1888, p.7:

<The King of Hawaii has conferred upon I. O. Howard Taylor, Esquire, the honor of the order of "The Star of Oceana" in recognition of his reception of Queen Kapiolani during her visit to Norwich, noticed in our column of the 6th July last, and of the hospitality, which her Majesty received at his magnificent residence at Pine Banks Tower.>

<Royal Order of the Star of Oceania. In 1886, King Kalakaua established this order to help build alliances with notable people throughout the Pacific and advancing his plan to establish a conference of islands across the Pacific. It was abolished during the overthrown of Queen Lili’uokalani in 1893.>

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