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John Lindsay McCutcheon
Number of games in database: 9
Years covered: 1885 to 1903
Overall record: +5 -4 =0 (55.6%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

Most played openings
C12 French, McCutcheon (6 games)

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(born May-28-1857, died Jul-16-1905, 48 years old) United States of America

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John Lindsay McCutcheon, a lawyer from Pittsburgh, was a strong amateur player and generous patron of the game. He devised the line in the French Defense named for him (1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Bb4), played for the United States team in the 2nd Anglo-American Cable Match (1897), and was one of the sponsors of the international tournament at Cambridge Springs (1904).

Last updated: 2018-01-22 01:13:17

 page 1 of 1; 9 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Steinitz vs McCutcheon 0-1281885Simul, 25bC12 French, McCutcheon
2. W Pollock vs McCutcheon  1-0291891corrC12 French, McCutcheon
3. McCutcheon vs H Helms  1-0441895Continental Correspondence TournamentC67 Ruy Lopez
4. E Delmar vs McCutcheon  0-1301897New York State vs PennsylvaniaC01 French, Exchange
5. McCutcheon vs H Jacobs 0-12718972nd Anglo-American Cable MatchB01 Scandinavian
6. Lipschutz vs McCutcheon  1-0331899New York v Pennsylvania Interstate Teams MatchC12 French, McCutcheon
7. McCutcheon vs Lasker 1-0361903Correspondence gameC12 French, McCutcheon
8. Lasker vs McCutcheon 1-0321903Correspondence gameC12 French, McCutcheon
9. K S Howard vs McCutcheon 0-1341903corrC12 French, McCutcheon
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | McCutcheon wins | McCutcheon loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Nov-05-04  Leviathan: Only one game (played in a simul) for this man, who has a defense named after him?

Or maybe the variation took his name only because of this single game (an amateur beating the world champion with a new opening, that's enough to become famous).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Here is another one against another World Champion:

[Event "corr"]
[Site "corr"]
[Date "1904.??.??"]
[Round "0"]
[White "Lasker,Emanuel"]
[Black "McCutcheon,John Lindsay"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Eco "C12"]

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Bb4 5.e5 h6 6.Bd2 Bxc3 7.bxc3 Ne4 8.Bd3 Nxd2 9.Qxd2 c5 10.dxc5 Qc7 11.Qe3 Qa5 12.Ne2 Nd7 13.f4 Nxc5 14.0-0 0-0 15.g4 Bd7 16.f5 Nxd3 17.cxd3 exf5 18.gxf5 Kh7 19.Rf3 Rae8 20.Kf2 d4 21.cxd4 f6 22.e6 Bc6 23.Rf4 Re7 24.Ng3 Rd8 25.Kg1 Qd5 26.Qd2 g6 27.fxg6+ Kg8 28.Re4 Rd6 29.Qxh6 Rdxe6 30.Nh5 Qg5+ 31.Qxg5 fxg5 32.Rc1 1-0

Well, This one was not so successfull for Mr. McCutcheon...:-D

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Only one game (played in a simul) for this man, who has a defense named after him?>

I'll bet my last dollar his last name was spelled MacCutcheon, not McCutcheon...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: "I'll bet my last dollar"

Jeremy Gaige says McCutcheon. I'll send you my bank number for direct deposit. :=o

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Calli> Here's his obit. Curses! Good thing I only bet the last dollar and not the earlier ones.

Dec-13-09  capanegra: Here are a few miscellaneous games McCutcheon played with Pillsbury to test his variation of the French Defence. I took them from the book "Pillsbury’s Chess Career" by Sergeant and Watts (second edition). The dates are no specified.

In the second game McCutcheon plays like a patzer, and as an explanation Hoffer suggested that he could hardly be expected to play well against his own defence, being more interested in the success of Black.

[Event "Miscellaneous"]
[Date "??.??.??"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[White "Pillsbury, Harry Nelson"]
[Black "McCutcheon, John Lindsay"]
[ECO "C12"]

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Bb4 5.e5 h6 6.Bh4 g5 7.Bg3 Ne4 8.Ne2 c5 9.a3 Bxc3+ 10.Nxc3 Nxc3 11.bxc3 Qa5 12.Qd2 Nc6 13.h4 g4 14.dxc5 Qxc5 15.Be2 h5 16.0-0 Bd7 17.Rfb1 Na5 18.Bf4 Nc4 19.Bxc4 dxc4 20.Rxb7 Bc6 21.Rc7 Rd8 22.Qe3 Qd5 23.Rxc6 Qxc6 24.Bg5 Qb6 25.Qxb6 axb6 26.Bxd8 Kxd8 27.Rb1 Ke7 28.Rxb6 Ra8 29.Rc6 Rxa3 30.Rxc4 Ra5 31.Re4 Ra2 32.Re2 Ra3 33.c4 Rc3 34.Kf1 Rxc4 35.Ke1 Kd7 36.Kd2 Kc6 37.Kd3 Kd5 38.g3 Ra4 39.c3 Ra3 (1/2-1/2)

[Event "Miscellaneous"]
[Date "??.??.??"]
[Result "0-1"]
[White "McCutcheon, John Lindsay"]
[Black "Pillsbury, Harry Nelson"]
[ECO "C12"]

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Bb4 5.e5 h6 6.Bd2 Bxc3 7.Bxc3 Ne4 8.Bb4 c5 9.Ba3 Nc6 10.dxc5 Qa5+ 11.Ke2 Nxe5 12.Qe1 Qa4 13.Rc1 Qc4+ 14.Ke3 Ng4+ 15.Kf3 Ng5+ 16.Kg3 Qd4 17.Bd3 e5 18.Ne2 h5 19.h4 Ne4+ 20.Bxe4 Qxe4 21.Qd2 f5 22.f3 f4+ 23.Kh3 Ne3+ 24.Kh2 Qg6 25.g3 0-0 26.Rhg1 Qf5 27.g4 hxg4 28.fxg4 Nxg4+ (0-1)

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <capanegra>< Here are a few miscellaneous games McCutcheon played with Pillsbury to test his variation of the French Defence. I took them from the book "Pillsbury’s Chess Career" by Sergeant and Watts (second edition). The dates are no specified.>

This was a correspondence match from 1901.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Wild Bill: MacCutcheon was actually Armenian. His real name was John Lindsay Mkrtchian.
Jan-28-13  thomastonk: The "Philadelphia Evening Bulletin" from November 15, 1867 presents a Kieseritsky Gambit played in New York between Mr. Delmar and Mr. McCutcheon. This could be an early game of Eugene Delmar, but probably the second player is another McCutcheon. Does anybody have any additional information?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jean Defuse: ...


Olimpiu G. Urcan & John S. Hilbert - W.H.K. Pollock, p. 97:


John Lindsay McCutcheon was born on May 28, 1857, the son of Scottish immigrants who settled in the Pittsburgh area and early became deeply involved with the processing of iron. As an adolescent McCutcheon studied law at Colum­bia University, graduating in 1881. He passed his examinations in June that year and was admitted to the bar in Allegheny City, near Pittsburgh. He practiced in his father's firm.

McCutcheon's first chess exploits (among them a victory over J. Zukertort in an 1884 simultaneous exhibition) brought him for a time to the Brooklyn Chess Club.While it remains unclear the exact date of his invention in the French Defense, it is known that the first extant game dates from a simul­taneous exhibition game won by McCutcheon against Steinitz in November 1885.

McCutcheon's job in the Smoky City prevented him from extensive travels for chess and also kept him away from the main centers of activity such as New York and Philadelphia. Thus he found in correspondence chess an ideal substitute for over-the-board play.

In 1894 he entered the Continental Correspondence Chess Association Tournament, run by Walter Penn Shipley and others out of Philadelphia, and also contested postal (and often thematic) matches with several strong American players. In an effort to promote his variation, McCutcheon sponsored money prizes for the best games played with this particular line in the French at the Monte Carlo international tournaments in 1902 and 1903.

In this sense, he might be considered a minor version of Isaac Rice, who extensively proselytized for the gambit that bears his name. The main difference, of course, is that the McCutcheon variation, unlike the Rice Gambit, is sound. McCutcheon per­sisted in his habit of motivating leading masters to test his variation.

Harry N. Pillsbury played a two-game match (by correspondence) against McCutcheon on the Black side of the opening, winning 1 1/2-1/2. So did Emanuel Lasker in 1904. Lasker scored only 1-1, losing a McCutcheon variation game with Black against its inventor and winning the other against it with White.

According to an obituary in the New York Times of July 17, 1905, McCutcheon, who had been ill for some time, died on July 16, 1905 (Gaige gives July 17, 1905, in his Chess Personalia, which may be based on other, possibly more reliable sources, such as the National Cyclopaedia of American Biography). "Mr. McCutcheon was one of the best known chess players of America; the obituary said, "and had a world-wide reputation both as a player and patron of the game."

A little known fact is that, one of McCutcheon's sisters was the third wife of Thomas De Witt Talmage (1832-1905), at the time one of the most pre-eminent religious figures of nineteenth century America.

<An excellent article on McCutcheon was published by Neil Brennen in The Pennswoodpusher, May 2006:> (pdf) (pgn)

The sharp McCutcheon Variation in the French Defense remains even today a popular variation.


John Lindsay McCutcheon and his variation by James O'Fee: (Part 1-6)

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