|Oct-12-10|| ||GrahamClayton: Wormald's "Handbook of Chess" can be seen in full on Google books.|
|Jun-03-13|| ||thomastonk: His exact date of birth seems unknown here and elsewhere (e.g. in Gaige's Chess Personalia). But with the following information I think someone with full access to Ancestry.com data will solve that issue easily. |
He was baptized on May 12, 1834 in Braham Church, near Boston Spa, Yorkshire. His father was Samuel Wormald, and his mother Elizabeth, daughter of Rev. Robert Bownas. I have much more biographical information (education, life, health and chess, of course), if needed.
|Jun-05-13|| ||Tabanus: <thomastonk> I find scanned page from the parish church of Leeds, York: Robert Bownas born 28 Jan. 1829, baptism solemnized <25 June 1829>. Parents: Samuel and Elizabeth Wormald Knostrop. Looks like our man.|
If May 12, 1834 is correct, it is well possible that the Leeds church was not licensed for baptisms in 1829.
Alternatively (and equally likely), the 1829 Robert Bownas died and they game this name to another son.
|Jun-05-13|| ||Tabanus: The 1891 census has a "R. B. Wormald", 62 (= born 1829) who lives in Yeadon, Yorkshire (1891) and was born in Yeadon.|
Yeadon is today a town within the City of Leeds metropolitan borough, in West Yorkshire. Are you sure he died in 1876?
|Jun-05-13|| ||Tabanus: England & Wales, National Probate Calendar has a Robert Bownas Wormald who died Dec. 4, 1876.|
|Jun-05-13|| ||Tabanus: http://www.sjmann.supanet.com/Grave...|
shows that the first Robert Bownas died 21 Dec. 1829, 10 months old. I find no later birth/baptism records, except some "Robert Wormald"'s b. around 1835 with other parents.
|Jun-06-13|| ||thomastonk: The current birth and death information are those from Gaige's "Chess Personalia", which points to the following sources:|
"The Chess Player's Chronicle", 1877, p 20-21:
"Death of Mr Wormald.-- We much regret to have to announce the death, on December 4th, of Mr Wormald, the Chess Editor of the Illustrated London News, who, since the decease of Mr Staunton, has conducted the Chess column of that paper. ...."
The "Westminster Papers", October 1876, p 104:
"PORTRAIT GALLERY No.8. -- MR. ROBERT B. WORMALD.
Mr. Robert B. Wormald is a scion of one of our oldest county families, and was born in the vicinity of York in the year 1834. ...."
The "Westminster Papers", January 1877, p 164-65:
"Death of Mr.Wormald.
Only three months ago we published a brief sketch of the Chess career of Robert Bownas Wormald, and now it is our sad duty to record his death, which occured on the 4th ultimo, in the forty-third year of his age. ..."
From these sources: he entered Oxford University in 1853 and obtained his degree in 1857. His entry in "Alumni Oxoniensis" Vol. VIII, p 1609 from 1891 is:
"Wormald, Robert Bownas, 35. Bryan, from Branham, Yorks, gent. LINCOLN COLL., matric. 2 June 1852(sic), aged 18, bible clerk 1852-56, B.A. 1857. " (By some reason "35. Bryan" shall mean "3rd son of Brian Wormald, gent.")
There is also an article on Wormald in "Chess Life-Pictures", p 45-48, by George Alcock MacDonnell, but I have no access to that.
Some information from other sources: he married 1865 in Braham "Frances, daughter of Thomas Kell, of an old Border family and land-agent for George Lane-Fox". He died at "23 Angell Road, Brixton, December 4, 1876 and was buried at Norwood Cemetery".
|Jun-06-13|| ||Tabanus: <thomastonk> Ok, so it seems we will have to live with just "1834" for a while. He is no doubt named after the one who died 10 months old. I won't write any bio, it's all in your post and in the Yorkshire chess site.|
|Jun-06-13|| ||thomastonk: <Tabanus> Thank you for the efforts!
<it seems we will have to live with just "1834" for a while> This week was not the first time I tried to find this date. And I know I haven't been the first one who tried it: the while is lasting already for more than 100 years, I think, but the date of baptism was a new hope.|
|Aug-08-15|| ||zanzibar: A mini-bio, with portrait, appears in <Sci. Am. Suppl. (Dec 8, 1877) p1614>.|
The <CG> bio should mention his prominent role as editor of <Bell's Life> ("conducted the chess department of ~).
<He was universally beloved and admired, and his loss have been mourned by the entire chess faternity.>
Included is also a 1869 "Challenge Cup" game, Wormald--de Vere which de Vere won in 26 moves.
|Jan-17-16|| ||zanzibar: Edward Winter has a discussion of the controversy Steinitz embroiled himself in by publishing a negative review of Wormald's <Chess Openings (1875)> book:|
<A notable assertion by MacDonnell was that a negative book review by Steinitz led to the closure of the City of London Chess Magazine. On pages 39-40 of The Knights and Kings of Chess MacDonnell wrote of Steinitz:
‘Years ago he said to me, “Nothing would induce me to take charge of a chess column”; and when I asked why he replied, “Because I should be so fair in dispensing blame as well as praise that I should be sure to give offence and make enemies.” However, when offered a column in the Field, he accepted it, and conducted it for some time with fairness and decorum. His first false move was his attack on Wormald’s book on the openings. When he showed me the proof of his review, I at once condemned its tone, and advised him to omit personalities. But he declined to do so and, the Field rejecting the article, he was fain to publish it in the City of London [Chess] Magazine, where its appearance caused much confusion, and led ultimately to the extinction of that journal. Of the article, suffice it here to say that it filled eight octavo pages, took Steinitz eight months to write, and took his friends eight years to forget.’>
Winter quotes this from Steinitz:
<In fairness to the other critics who have pronounced views opposite to our own in reference to Mr Wormald’s book, we frankly confess that at first we were much prepossessed in its favour, having been taken in by the remarkable garrulity of the author, which we trusted would be at least supported by common care and ordinary judgment, until on closer research we found the most hollow propositions spread out over pages.’>
Much more can be found here:
|Jan-17-16|| ||zanzibar: It's a little sad to say, but Steinitz may have been right in his criticism. At least if Gossip's opening book can be trusted:|
Look at all the footnotes mentioning Wormald.
Wormald's original book can be found online here:
(at least today it can - you know, the internet and all that)
|Jan-18-16|| ||zanzibar: Wormald's <Chess Openings> book was first published in 1862, and an enlarged 2nd edition in 1875.|
He was an associate of Valentine Green and others from their time at Oxford.
More biographical info in <Westminster Papers v9 (1877) Oct 1876 p104>
|Mar-10-16|| ||zanzibar: < OUR PORTRAIT GALLERY N0. 8, -- MR. ROBERT B. WORMALD.|
MR. ROBERT B. Womald is a scion of one of our oldest county families, and was born in the vicinity of York in the year 1834. While yet a schoolboy he evinced remarkable talent for Chess, and it was first displayed as a problem composer in the columns of the Illustrated London News: at the early age of fifteen. In 1853 he entered Oxford University, and during his undergraduate career he became associated with Brien, Ranken, Wilkinson, Dolby, Valentine Green, and many others whose names are familiar to every reader of the Old Chess Players' Chronicle, and whose exploits upon the chequered field had spread the fame of the Hermes Chess Club throughout the entire Chess World. Mr. Wormald obtained his degree in 1857, and coming to London adopted the profession of journalist, devoting much of his leisure to practical Chess play and the composition of problems. In 1858 he played a match with the late Mr. Charles Kenny, a prominent amateur in those days, winning every game, and in 1859 the only other public match in which he has engaged, was fought with Mr. Campbell, then the rising star of English Chess. This match, which was, perhaps, the most stubbornly contested one on record, no fewer than fourteen drawn games having occurred in it, was won by Mr. Campbell with a score of seven to five. Mr. Wormald's Chess Openings was produced in 1862. Its success at once placed him among the first analysts of our time, and the new and enlarged edition of the work produced in 1875 was endorsed with the approval of every authority on the subject. Since his arrival in London, twenty years ago, Mr. Wormald has been a constant contributor of problems, analyses and games to the newspaper and periodica literature of Chess, and his life-long friendship with the late Mr. Staunton marked him out as the fittest successor to that gentleman in the post he now worthily fills on the staff of the Illustrated London News. His writings are distinguished by scholarly grace and amodesty of statement in Chess analysis, unfortunately somewhat novel to the subject, and his high personal qualities have secured for him the cordial regard of every one that knows him.
Westminster Papers v10 (2nd Oct 1876) p104
|Jul-09-17|| ||MissScarlett: Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, December 9th 1876, p.247:|
<WE chronicle, with much pain, the somewhat sudden demise of Mr. Robert Wormald. It is nearly twelve years since the present writer and poor dear Wormald discussed in Fleet-street the then nebulous Sportsman, upon which journal they had severally been engaged. At that time he was a stalwart fellow, abounding in "go," who looked all his inches (he stood upwards of six feet high), and boasted a physique such as those who have only known him during the past five years would find it difficult to credit him with. [...]
Latterly his failing health prevented him, poor fellow! from doing perfect justice to his prostrated powers. For many weary years a martyr to rheumatic gout, last winter found him laid aside with a complicated attack of bronchitis and congestion of the lungs. His friends feared that his end was at hand, but such was his own brave cheery nature that, hoping with all their might against hope, they prayed that "Dear old Tommy" (the name by which he was best known to the friends who loved him, and to know him was to love him) would yet recover. But, alas! it was not to be. The seldom genial days of early summer were too fleeting to bring in their train any permanently healing influence on the pitifully emaciated frame. He never gave in - he was too brave for that - but his friends did. Only last week, seated in the very room where at this moment these lines fall so feebly from the pen, he spoke with the heart of a lion of what he would do in the future, when he had taken another house. He went home and died. In many a circle for many a year to come Wormald's name will be remembered with deep and tender regret. He never made an enemy and never lost a friend. He was a gentle-man in the old chivalric sense of the term. In truth, a very perfect knight. In closing this sadly inadequate notice of Robert B. Wormald, we remember, with mournful pleasure, that he was connected with this journal from the first number to the hour of his death. Almost the last lines he wrote were the Answers to Correspondents, in our last week's Chess column. The last important work of his pen is a story which will appear in our "Christmas Number," to be published next week. Poor Wormald leaves a widow to mourn his loss. God rest him and comfort her.>
|Jul-09-17|| ||MissScarlett: Sporting Times, December 9th 1876, p.5:
<It is with great regret that we have to announce the death of Mr. R. B. Wormald, which sad event took place somewhat suddenly in the early part of the present week. Mr. Wormald was an accomplished scholar and excellent gentleman. In his death, chess has lost one of its finest exponents. He was also a first-class whist player, a rare judge of aquatics, and a good fisherman. His writing was of a very pleasant character, and when we last saw him, not a fortnight ago, he arranged with us to communicate sporting notes to these columns. For some time past he had been in very delicate health, and to the gout he was a martyr. In his life he was geniality itself, combined with gentleness. Light lie the turf o'er his head.>