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Alexander G Sellman
Number of games in database: 60
Years covered: 1880 to 1885

Overall record: +16 -26 =18 (41.7%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database.

With the White pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (9) 
    C77 C70 C60 C65
 French Defense (7) 
    C01 C00 C10
 Sicilian (4) 
    B45 B88 B40
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (19) 
    C13 C11 C01 C00 C14
 French (13) 
    C13 C11 C00
 Queen's Pawn Game (4) 
    D00 D05 D02 A40
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Sellman vs J Grundy, 1880 1-0
   Sellman vs Zukertort, 1883 1-0
   Sellman vs E Delmar, 1880 1-0
   Sellman vs A Cohnfeld, 1880 1-0
   Sellman vs Mackenzie, 1883 1/2-1/2
   Blackburne vs Sellman, 1883 1/2-1/2
   Sellman vs J Mortimer, 1883 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   5th American Chess Congress (1880)
   London (1883)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   New York 1880 by suenteus po 147

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(born Jan-15-1856, died Oct-07-1888, 32 years old) United States of America

[what is this?]
Author of "Games of the Vienna (1882) tournament, a selection of the best and most brilliant games, with critical analysis by Alex. G. Sellman, together with a short account of the Tournament". It was the only contemporary book about the tournament. He also served as the chess editor of the Baltimore - News American (1) between 1880-86 and later for the Baltimore Sunday Herald between 1886-87 (2).

References: (1) Wikipedia article: Baltimore American (Baltimore American), (2) (selected Herald archives).

 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 60  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Sellman vs E Delmar 1-04918805th American Chess CongressC77 Ruy Lopez
2. E Delmar vs Sellman  ½-½6618805th American Chess CongressC13 French
3. Sellman vs J A Congdon 1-06718805th American Chess CongressB01 Scandinavian
4. J A Congdon vs Sellman  0-12518805th American Chess CongressC01 French, Exchange
5. Sellman vs C Moehle  1-05018805th American Chess CongressB40 Sicilian
6. C Moehle vs Sellman  ½-½6618805th American Chess CongressC14 French, Classical
7. Mackenzie vs Sellman ½-½6118805th American Chess CongressC00 French Defense
8. Sellman vs Mackenzie  ½-½2918805th American Chess CongressC77 Ruy Lopez
9. Sellman vs P Ware  0-13318805th American Chess CongressB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
10. P Ware vs Sellman  ½-½5218805th American Chess CongressD00 Queen's Pawn Game
11. Sellman vs M Judd  1-04118805th American Chess CongressC01 French, Exchange
12. M Judd vs Sellman 1-05418805th American Chess CongressC11 French
13. J Grundy vs Sellman  1-06518805th American Chess CongressC01 French, Exchange
14. Sellman vs J Grundy 1-03718805th American Chess CongressC10 French
15. Sellman vs A Cohnfeld  1-02318805th American Chess CongressC41 Philidor Defense
16. A Cohnfeld vs Sellman  0-14918805th American Chess CongressC42 Petrov Defense
17. J S Ryan vs Sellman  0-13318805th American Chess CongressC42 Petrov Defense
18. Sellman vs J S Ryan  1-05118805th American Chess CongressC77 Ruy Lopez
19. Steinitz vs Sellman  ½-½471882MatchC00 French Defense
20. Steinitz vs Sellman  1-0751882MatchC00 French Defense
21. Sellman vs Steinitz ½-½411882MatchC70 Ruy Lopez
22. Blackburne vs Sellman ½-½291883LondonC11 French
23. Sellman vs S Rosenthal  ½-½341883LondonC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
24. S Rosenthal vs Sellman  0-1471883LondonC42 Petrov Defense
25. Winawer vs Sellman  1-0381883LondonC49 Four Knights
 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 60  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Sellman wins | Sellman loses  

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  GrahamClayton: Obituary notice from the New York Times, dated October 10, 1888:

Baltimore, Md - Oct 9. Alexander G Sellman, the most successful chess player Baltimore ever produced, is dead in the thirty-third year of his age. He had been quite and invalid for a year past, and had spent that period in travelling. Mr Sellman began playing chess when quite young, and soon displayed a remarkable capacity for the game. In 1880 he entered the tourney of the fifth American chess congress in New York, and in a remarkably close contest took fourth prize, being only a few games behind Capt. Mackenzie and the other leaders. He afterwards met some of the strongest players in the world, including Steinitz and the late Dr Zukertort. He made highly credible scores with them in private play.

Later on he entered the international chess tournament at London, where he met both these great players, as well as many others of eminence. Up to the time of his death Mr Sellman was recognised as the chess champion of the Southern States. He took great interest in local chess matters, was chiefly instrumental in forming the Baltimore Chess Association, and edited chess columns in several of the Baltimore papers."

Apr-03-13  thomastonk: About the date of death. Gaige's "Chess Personalia" gives four sources for an obituary:

1. "Baltimore Sunday News", October 14, 1888,

2. "Columbia Chess Chronicle" 1888, p 134-5,

3. Steinitz' "International Chess Magazine" 1888, p 304-5, and

4. "New York Times", October 10, 1888.

I haven't seen no.1, and no.2 & 4 do not contain a date of his death. In no.3, Steinitz reports that he died October 7.

However, the "New York Daily Tribune, October 10, states that he died October 8. Moreover, the "Newark Sunday Call", October 14, reports that he died last monday, which means October 8, too.

But things are not so easy. The "Wilmington Sunday Morning Star", October 14, claims that he died on sunday, i.e. October 7. And the "Nashville Daily American", October 14, mentions October 7 explicitely.

Apr-03-13  Nosnibor: Sellman played a short match against Zukertort in December 1883 at the Baltimore Chess Club. The game shown in the db is the first game in the match.Zukertort went on to win the remaining two games thus taking the contest by two games to one.I will shortly submit one of these games if there is a demand for it.
Apr-02-14  dernier thylacine: TO NOSNIBOR:

Thank you for your offer, and as there are only three games, maybe it would even be possible to submit the match in his globality? Excuse me to be greedy, but even I do not post many kibitzes because my level is not high enough to make them instructive, I am a fan of Zukertort (and of Mackenzie) and I love the games of their time especially when they are commented or annotated!!

Excuse too my poor english, I am a Frenchman...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Ken MacGillivray: <dernier thylacine> <Excuse too my poor english, I am a Frenchman...> No need to apologise monsiuer, au contraire, my french is crap and I am envious of people who are multilingual.
Premium Chessgames Member
  paderamo: I am currently clipping and downloading chess columns from the Wilkes-Barre Record. A number of columns were about Sellman when he decided to relocate to that city.

Here is a copy of the Baltimore News from October 14, 1888 as republished in the Wilkes-Barre Record:

Also, a remembrance of his short time in Wilkes-Barre from the October 25, 1888 newspaper:

Discusses the bizarre announcement he made during a chess lecture and the follow-up. Very sad.

Jan-20-15  zanzibar: <paderamo> Did he take his own life in Baltimore then?

The newspaper accounts are unclear on this, as far as I can tell.

Premium Chessgames Member
  paderamo: I could not find anything definitive.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: To buy or Sell: that is the question.
Dec-27-15  zanzibar: Mentioned, fondly, on p122 of <The Knights and Kings of Chess> by George Alcock MacDonnell:

Dec-29-15  zanzibar: Played two serious games, both draws, with Capt McKenzie during the latter's visit to Baltimore in 1885.

Saturday 19 February 1881, Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney).

The 2nd game is noted as a Ruy Lopez.

Dec-29-15  zanzibar: Was he a mute? I found this very interesting mention:

<I have just learned from a gentle- man that the best chess player in
Baltimore is a mate. His name is
Alex G. Sellman, and he keeps a cigar
store in that city. He can bear, but
cannot speak. He has been playing
with the champion of the world Mr.
Steinitz, not a mute.>

(The Deaf Mutes Journal - 1883-01-25 p4)

Dec-29-15  zanzibar: I also found mention of him giving a blindfold simul in Wilkes-Barre, in I believe 1887. No real particulars though.
Premium Chessgames Member

A simul by Sellman in 1887 and his decision to move to Wilkes-Barre.

Premium Chessgames Member

A second game from the silmul.

Premium Chessgames Member

A game prior to his simul. Wendel was the President of the Wilkes-Barre Chess Club.

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Another game with Wendel.

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Another game from the simul.

Premium Chessgames Member

He was not a mute.

Jul-09-17  zanzibar: Thank you <paderamo>.

Can any photograph of Sellman be found?


Jul-10-17  WorstPlayerEver: <z>

Jul-10-17  zanzibar: Thanks <wpe>, that's a good lead.

I forgot to check CPL, which the photo reminded me of, so I'll go recheck there too.

PS- always thought you'd look different.

Jul-10-17  WorstPlayerEver: <z>

I had to go for second best.

Jul-10-17  zanzibar: <wpe> would that be second best of the worst?

Anyways, CPL did indeed have a nice hi-res copy.

Jul-10-17  WorstPlayerEver: <z> I couldn't find my pic.
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