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John Spencer Turner
Number of games in database: 3
Years covered: 1870 to 1895

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(born Mar-03-1830, died Sep-18-1905, 75 years old) United States of America

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Last updated: 2019-04-06 04:53:21

 page 1 of 1; 3 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. J S Turner vs F E Brenzinger  0-1441870Brooklyn Chess Club TournamentC77 Ruy Lopez
2. F E Brenzinger vs J S Turner  1-0481870Brooklyn Chess Club TournamentC53 Giuoco Piano
3. Pillsbury vs J S Turner  ½-½491895Blindfold simul, 4bC54 Giuoco Piano
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Turner wins | Turner loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-12-06  SBC: <Calli>

I don't have the book itself, just my notes from reading it - and the hope that my notes are accurate.

<"Soltis says "Here is the final game.", but in the game header it says "Sixth Game".">

Could Solis be referring to the last game in which Turner tried the KG rather than the last game of the match?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <SBC> The paragraph is curious.

(right after the score of the 3rd game)

"Stanley led 2-1 after that game and was lucky to draw, a knight down, in the fourth game in 55 moves. But he ended the struggle with two crushing defeats. Here is the final game."

C38 King's Gambit
"The Great Match", Sixth Game
(followed by the score)

Makes it look like a six game match! Weird considering the match score given previously. I believe it was a 17 game match and have no explanation for the Soltis' confusion.

Aug-12-06  SBC: <Calli>

It does sound like Soltis & Co. dropped the ball on this.

Here's some paraphernalia from Jeremy Spinrad's closet:

from the Albion
Feb 23, 1850: Stanley's report on match with Turner, includes seconds initials, score Stanley - Turner 11-5-1. Game 1 Stanley-Turner - Bishop Opening

Mar 2, 1850:
Game 2 Turner-Stanley - KGA drawn

Mar 9, 1850:
Game 6 Turner-Stanley - KGA
notes say shook Turner's faith in KG and did not play it again in match.

Turner in NY, on his way to taking Loewenthal out west. NY Match results:
Loewenthal-Turner 11-4-8/3;
Turner-Thompson 6-2.

Mar 16, 1850: Game 7 Turner- Stanley - Vienna (from Bishop Opening)

Apr 13, 1850: "Great Match" at Lexington Ky - 1st to 11 so far Loewentahl ahead of Dudley 7-5-4.

<how many "Great Matches" are there??>

from the Ogden Standard Examiner:
July 22, 1888: Amer Chess Cong elected J Spencer Turner pres.

<Is that the same John Spencer Turner still very active in 1888?>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <SBC> Thanks! Yep, its pretty clear that Soltis/McCormick failed to nail this one down. Also the account they used was not from the Albion, but some other newspaper.

JS Turner could easily been active that long. According to the dates from Gaige given earlier in the thread, 1830-1905, he would have been in his late 50s in 1888. The dates also argue against him meeting Staunton in 1845 at age 15 in Brighton. I still lean toward that being a different J Turner.

Aug-12-06  SBC: <Calli>

<I still lean toward that being a different J Turner>

Whom Gaige somehow overlooked?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Only JS is in Gaige. JH is not in there and he played a recognized match. An unknown "J Turner" who played in no events, only three odds games with Staunton probably would not make it in unless he did something else in chess.
Aug-12-06  SBC: <Calli>

is that the new edition??

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <SBC> the paperback edition. Its a reprint of the original 1987 book, not an update. Got it a little while back for $20. Its a bit used and the outside is a little messed up, but I jumped on it when it showed up in an internet search.
Aug-13-06  SBC: <Calli>

That's a good buy for a handy book.

But now you'll have to spring for $55 more and get the updated edition, hoping JH Turner and J Turner made the cut.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: What I was trying to say is that there is no second edition, nor is there likely to be one. Mr Gaige is in his eighies and has not done chess research in some time. McFarland's recent version is only a paperback reprint of the 1987 book.
Aug-13-06  SBC: <Calli>

<What I was trying to say is that there is no second edition>


I had been under the impression that there was a second edition in the works. Maybe I'm thinking of something else.

Aug-23-06  edo.chess: <SBC> <from the Albion >

Thanks for the information from the Albion!

<Calli> <There is another J. Turner who was British>

I found the Illustrated London News in my university library and had some fun looking through a few of Staunton's chess columns. In vol.XIV, No.354, "for the week ending Saturday, Jan. 20, 1849", p.42, is given the knight-odds win by Staunton against "Mr. J. Turner, the Hon. Secretary of the Brighton Chess Club." This almost certainly means that this J. Turner is not one of the American J. Turners on a visit.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <edo.chess> Thanks! We definitely have three Turners. Are you able to confirm that Staunton mistakenly gave "J.S." as Stanley's opponent in 1850?

BTW- I am impressed that they have the London Illustrated going that far back in the library.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <edo.chess> The site has an index of the Illustrated London News. I did not find the Stanley match, but the J Turner 1849 game is listed. Perhaps not everything is listed on the website, but, looking at the index, Staunton only published one or two games per week. It seems odd that he would give six games from this match alone. I wonder if Oxford Encyclopedia made a mistake and they were actually published in the Chess Players Chronicle.
Aug-25-06  edo.chess: <Calli> Staunton got it right. In the Illustrated London News, Vol. XVI, No. 410 (week ending Jan. 26, 1850), he mentions the upcoming match between C.H. Stanley and "J.H.T____, of Louisville, Kentucky". In Vol. XVI, No. 416 (week ending Mar. 9, 1850), he gives the results of the match as:

C. Stanley .. 11
J.H. Turner .. 5
Drawn .. .. .. 1

He also notes that all 17 games were played in 4 days between Feb. 11 and Feb. 14!

Aug-25-06  SBC: <Calli>

<<edo.chess> I think it is 99% sure that the player in this match is JH Turner because Soltis and McCormick (I have failed to credit the co-author previously.) are clearly reading from a contemporary source with all the details they give. >

When I read Soltis' book on US champions, it struck me at the time that the information he was giving concerning the 19th century players came straight from the congress books - and not other sources. I never tried to comfirm this since it was just an impression I had. Anyway, this business with JH Turner had me puzzled because I figured for sure it would be in the Book of the First American Chess Congress, but when I couldn't find but a passing reference to Turner, I figured my initial impression was wrong and didn't think anymore about it. Today, while perusing the book for some references to Hiram Kennicitt, I came across the exact passage that Soltis lifted almost verbatim from the book under the section entitled "Miscellanea and Addenda" -page 534.

Fiske confirms that Stanley played J.H.Turner.

and Soltis, as I suspected, simply lifted most, if not all, his information from the congress books and re-packaged them in well-written narrative.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: To sum up then,

1) There are three Turners and it was JH played the 1850 match

2) The OXFORD made an inexplicable error assigning the match to the wrong Turner when Staunton had it right. No wonder there was no second volume. (Ok, a cheap shot)

3) Soltis erred when giving the 6th game as "Final" and even the other games he appears to have the wrong round assigned according to the Albion. Perhaps he was quoting someone else at that point.

4) What was the question? :-)

For my part, I looked up Spinrads ref in ACB 1905, p300 and there is one line:

"The death, about the same time, is reported of J. Spencer Turner, of Brooklyn, president of the Sixth American Chess Congrees, of which Steinitz was secretary."

"About the same time" as what, you might well ask. Well, coincidentally, the item above reported the death of Jules Arnous de Riviere on Sept 11, 1905 at the age of 75. J Spenser Turner is also mentioned in the 5th Congress Book as President of the Brooklyn CC.

Aug-25-06  SBC: <Calli>
<To sum up then>

<1) There are three Turners and it was JH played the 1850 match>

Well, there's also Tina Turner. She might have recorded for Chess records.

<No wonder there was no second volume. (Ok, a cheap shot)>

Not really. The quality of that volume is extremely disappointing (to me, at any rate), considering the stature of it's authors and it's common acceptance as a standard reference tool.

<Jules Arnous de Riviere on Sept 11, 1905 at the age of 75> Just two years after that big brouhaha with Chigorin at Monte Carlo

Sep-05-06  edo.chess: <Calli> and <SBC>

A nice addition to the discussion about JH Turner is an engraving of him playing Stanley, reproduced in Winter's Chess Note 3503 (!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <edo.chess> Great find! The picture just goes to show that there was coverage of the event somewhere. But where? Apparently Hazeltine does not mention a source for the engraving. Writing in 1866, he says "fought at Washington some 20 years since", confusing the date of the Turner match, 1850, with the Rousseau match, 1845.

Hazeltine was chess editor of the New York Clipper for 50 years!

Sep-23-06  edo.chess: <SBC> <I had been under the impression that there was a second edition in the works. Maybe I'm thinking of something else.>

Your memory is not faulty. There was a 1994 update of Gaige's Chess Personalia, but it appears only to have been circulated privately, not published. See .

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: <Calli>For my part, I looked up Spinrads ref in ACB 1905, p300 and there is one line:

"The death, about the same time, is reported of J. Spencer Turner, of Brooklyn, president of the Sixth American Chess Congrees, of which Steinitz was secretary."

Here is am item from the chess column of the "Queenslander" newspaper, dated the 3rd of November 1888:

"The Sixth American Chess Congress Comittee recently met and reported that the $5,000 to be awarded in prizes had been raised after eighteen months canvassing. J Spencer Turner, of New York, and Max Judd, of St Louis, pledge themselves for $600 of this amount."

Mar-14-14  Gottschalk: born 1830 died 1905
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: The Eagle and Brooklyn: The Record of the Progress of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Howard, Volume 2, 1893, p. 1015 ( :

<John Spencer Turner was born in Philadelphia on March 3, 1830; when old enough he apprenticed himself to the trade of sailmaking and rigging, and twelve years later was admitted to the firm of Gilbert, Hubbard & Co. In 1867 he moved to New York and connected himself with the commission firm of Theodore Polhemus & Co. After many changes in the firm he took control of the business, which he still retains. He is married and resides at 57 Remsen street. He is vice-president of the Hamilton Club and a member of the Crescent Athletic, Brooklyn, and Brooklyn Chess clubs, and the Merchants' and Union League clubs of New York. He is a life member of the Brooklyn Library Association. He is a 32 Mason, and is president of the board of trustees of the Strong place Baptist Church. In politics he has always been a staunch Republican.>

Apr-06-19  Granny O Doul: Is it too late for a "happy belated"?
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