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Eugene Beauharnais Cook
Number of games in database: 1
Years covered: 1883

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(born May-19-1830, died Mar-19-1915, 84 years old) United States of America

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Eugene Cook was a prolific problemist and compiler of the classic collection, <American Chess Nuts>.

 page 1 of 1; one game  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. E B Cook vs D Starbuck 1-0201883Blindfold (Black)C37 King's Gambit Accepted

Kibitzer's Corner
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  whiteshark: Thy days may be long, Mr. Cook.
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  whiteshark: Here is a nice puzzle by E.B. Cook, published 1852 in the "New York Albion" :

click for larger view

White to move mates in 8

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  whiteshark: Here is another, easy puzzle by the genuine study composer Eugene B. Cook (*1830-05-19 † 1915-03-19) published 1868 in "American Chess Nuts" :

click for larger view

White to move mates in two.


For solution see:

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  OhioChessFan: I was born by the river in a little tent
Oh and just like the river I been a runnin' ever since It's been a long, a long time coming but I know
A change gon' come oh yes it will
It's been too hard living but I'm afraid to die
Cuz I don't know what's up there beyond the sky
It's been a long, a long time coming but I know
A change gon' come oh yes it will

I go to the movie, and I go downtown
Somebody keep tellin me "don't hang around"
It's been a long, a long time coming, but i know
A change gon' come oh yes it will

Then I go to my brother
And I say "brother, help me please"
But he winds up knocking me
Back down on my knees
There been times that I thought I wouldn't last for long Now think I'm able to carry on
It's been a long, along time coming but I know
A change gon' come, oh yes it will

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  tpstar: "Easy Does It" by Robert Lincoln

"Eugene Beauharnais Cook (1830-1915) was justly famous for a phenomenal solving talent. He could decrypt perplexing enigmas outside the scope of more humble folk. It is supposed that his reputation became attached to the term 'cook,' i.e. any damaging flaw contrary to the composer's intention. And Cook did amaze colleagues by regularly detecting unwelcome nuances. However, the word exists in commentaries published *before* he achieved prominence. Nonetheless, his name and 'unwanted solution' continue to be treated as synonymous."

"Chess Life" November 1999

May-20-10  posoo: Why Call Hiim COOK and have BIO say "Eugene B. Cook???"

Why not call him Eugene B. Book and have no BIO?

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  wordfunph: Eugene Beauharnais Cook (1813-1915) of Hoboken, New Jersey had the third largest chess book collection in the world. When he died, the chess library of over 2,500 volumes was presented to the Princeton University Library. The Princeton University Library is the second largest in the U.S. for chess book collection. The White Collection at the Cleveland Public Library is the largest.

May-19-13  thomastonk: Almost every day I use digitized books from his collection, and so it is high time to add some fact about his life.

From the ACM, February 1898, p 517-520, we learn that Cook was born in New York. His father was General William Cook, a graduate of West Point, who became later a Chief Engineer of Camden and Amboy R.R., the first railroad company in New Jersey. His mother, Mrs. Martha Walker Cook edited the "Continental Monthly" for two years and had a number of literary efforts, among them the translation of Liszt's "Life of Chopin".

Eugene spend his early days in Bordentown, N.J., where private tutors educated him. At the age of sixteen, he entered the freshman class of Princeton College. His studies were quite succesful, and in his free time he solved mathematical enigmas. "Hard study and over-application induced tension of the brain, and so much deranged his nervous system that while in the second term of the Junior Class he became completely prostrated, and was compelled to leave college, without hope of being able to resume his studies. He was for a long time dangerously ill, and remained for several years invalid. ... Within a year or two his health has improved considerably, and he is no longer the close prisoner he once was. It was only after leaving College that Mr. Cook paid any serious attention to chess, although he had been taught the moves by his mother, at the early age of eleven."

At this time he played with Frederick Perrin, first at odds and finally on even terms, and there the result has been Perrin 18, Cook 13, drawn 3. But Cook was too nervous and physically to weak to become a first-rate player, and so he turned his attention to chess problems.


May-20-13  thomastonk: In 1868 Cook received the A.M. degree from Princeton. His physical powers had returned and he practised extensive mountain climbing in the summer and skating in the winter.

In 1898, when this article was written, he had composed 655 problems, and he held the position of the president of the Hoboken Chess and Checkers Club already for nine years.

From the obituary of the ACB, 1915, p 65-67. When Cook died in 1915, he had composed more than 800 problems. He loved to play the violine and had a fondness on cats and the literature on cats.

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  Karpova: Cook died in Hoboken.

Source: Page 105 of the May-June 1915 'Wiener Schachzeitung'

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  zanzibar: Thank you <thomastonk> for the additional info.

Eugene B. Cook shows up in the nameplates of many of the digitized books available on Google books, all of which are from the Princeton Library collection.

I found an informative notice of an exhibition entitled <The Art of Chess> from the Princeton libraries, circa 1997:

I'll include all of it in the next post (if it fits).

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  zanzibar: <The Art of Chess

by Jim Weinheimer
Curator of the Chess Exhibition
Princeton University

[ed- edited to fit]

Eugene Beauharnais Cook was a well known American chess problemist. He composed his first problem while still at Princeton, and later published his problems in newspapers and magazines around the world. No less important were his contributions to chess history. Working closely with other important scholars and collectors, he amassed the third largest chess library in the world.

At his death in 1915, his collection came to Princeton University. It consists of early-printed works, a great number of chess magazines, and a wide range of correspondence with the most important chess figures of the 19th and early 20th century. He was also one of the earliest chess organizers, and his collection is particularly rich in source material for the early history of American chess.

William Spackman, class of 1927, was a novelist, essayist, teacher and chess editor. In the 1940s he edited the respected journal The Chess Correspondent and also compiled a major library. He left his chess collection to Princeton in 1955.

This collection primarily consists of tournament books and bulletins, along with many game collections. Dr. and Mrs. Benjamin Levene have collected chess sets from all over the world. They now have one of the largest collections in the United States.

The Exhibition
The exhibition itself is divided by several themes. There are several fine examples of incunabulae, including a manuscript by Jacobus de Cessolis Libellus de moribus hominum et de officiis nobilium super ludo scaccorum. Manuscript. France, 15th century, and Cook's most notable acquisition, Luis Ramˇrez de Lucena's Repetici˘n de amores & arte de axedrez. Salamanca, ca. 1497, the first chess book ever published.

All the major early treatises are displayed, Damiano's Libro da imparare giocare … scachi, et de bellissimi partiti. Rome? 1510?, Greco's The royall game of chesse-play. London, 1656, Ruy Lopez's Libro de la inuenci˘n liberal y arte del juego del axedrez. Alcal , 1561, Arthur Saul's The famous game of chesse-play. London, 1672, and many others.

Later works include Paul Rudolph von Bilguer's Handbuch des Schachspiels. Berlin, 1843, and the first American chess books: Chess made easy. Philadelphia, 1802 (with Benjamin Franklin's essay) and The Elements of chess. Boston, 1805.

There are a few books from the Spackmann collection, illustrating its strengths. Among others, the tournament books from San Sebastian 1911, and Zurich, 1935 are on display.

Cook attempted to collect problems exhaustively, and just a few examples from his vast collection are on display. Of printed books, there are Philip Stamma's Essai sur le jeu des ‚checs. Paris, 1737; William Lewis's Oriental chess. London, 1817. Aaron Alexandre's Collection des plus beaux problŠmes d'‚checs. Paris, 1846, Cook's own publication American Chess-Nuts. New York, 1868. is here, and Sam Loyd's Chess strategy. Elizabeth, 1878 (affectionately dedicated to Cook).

There are also a huge number of problems from Cook's papers. Framed on the walls are several original manuscripts of Cook's problems. Also of interest is a computer demonstration which animates six of Cook's problems, including his first problem, and his clever Atalanta, the Fleet-Footed Queen, which was performed with live pieces at the New York Academy of Music, in April, 1879.

Cook's deep interest in chess history is shown in several beautiful early printed books, such as the Gesta Romanorum. Strassburg, 1499; and Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Arabshah's Kitab ajaib al-maqdur fi akhbar Timur. Leyden, 1636.

Also displayed are copies of manuscripts made by John White and Tassilo Heydebrand und der Lasa. These include marginalia and annotations by Cook, White, and Heydebrand und der Lasa.

The chess automaton is described and explained by several books on the subject. Among them, Observations on the automaton chess player. London, 1819 and Joseph Friedrich, Freiherr zu Racknitz's Ueber den Schachspieler des Herrn von Kempelen. Leipzig, 1789.

Finally, but certainly the most popular part of the exhibition are the wonderful chess sets on loan from the collection of Dr. Benjamin Levene. The center piece is the humorous set by Doug Anderson: Rock and roll vs. Classical musicians. The king of Rock and roll, Elvis Presley, is accompanied by his Queen, Tina Turner, while the classical side is led by Leonard Bernstein, with his Queen, Kirsten Flagsted, dressed as a Valkyrie. Other sets include a modern Italian puzzle set, a Waterford crystal set, and a rare Ivory set of mounted chessmen from Germany.

The exhibition is free to the public and will run until September 21, 1997. Hours are:
Monday-Friday: 8:30AM-4:30PM
Sat.-Sunday: 12:00-5:00PM

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  zanzibar: Continuing, the omitted problem:

<A problem composed by Eugene Cook:

White: Kd4, Bg5; pawns - b6, e7, f7, h4
Black: Kd6, b7, g7, g6

White to move and mate in three>

click for larger view

Note- You must find White's M3, and avoid the M2.

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