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John Henry Smythe
Number of games in database: 1
Years covered: 1901

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(born Oct-10-1883, died Aug-14-1956, 72 years old) United States of America

[what is this?]
John Henry Smythe, Jr. was born in Philadelphia, USA. He learned the rules of chess at the age of 16. Smythe Jr. attended Philadelphia University and was the elected chess club president for three years. He finished fifth in the Pennsylvania State Championship on 1902.02.22 which was won by Walter Penn Shipley.

The end of his chess career is interesting as Emil Kemeny wrote in the August 14, 1903 issue of "American Chess Weekly" that Smythe Jr. had "temporarily succumbed to excessive chess playing."

He is also famous for starting the cheering for President Teddy Roosevelt at the Republican National Congress in Chicago, 1904 with a megaphone.

The later stage of his mental health is not known.

 page 1 of 1; one game  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Lasker vs J H Smythe ½-½451901USA tour simC45 Scotch Game

Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-06-08  Karpova: John S. Hilbert's 'The "Megaphone Man":
The Curious Story of J. Henry Smythe, Jr.' from 2002:

An excerpt: <Certainly Stanley P. Johnston, the strong Chicago amateur and chess editor of the Chicago Tribune had great pleasure in writing in his September 20, 1903, column, that “Some months ago a spasm of sermonizing swept over this country because a chess player named J. Henry Smythe Jr. had been confined in a sanitarium, and chess and craziness, suimates and suicide were declared to be Siamese twins. Editorial owls lugubriously declared that sacrificial combinations were a menace to sanity and that the Lopez transmuted lucidity into lunacy. And now the ‘text’ of these anti-chess screeds has ‘fully recovered from his late indisposition.’”>

J. Henry Smythe Jr. was, despite starting to play chess at a very late age, something of a boy prodigy. But he is not famous for his chess skills but for <succumbing to excessive chess playing> and becoming <The Megaphone Man> in 1904 in 1908 (though the latter one was described the Megaphone Man's <Waterloo>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: I'd say there is much more lunacy in other areas of human endeavour than in the world of Chess.
Oct-18-14  ljfyffe: <when he died is not known> He died in 1956.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Stonehenge: There's a John Henry Smythe Jr. here:

Probably but born on the 11th of October.

Premium Chessgames Member

says he was born 10 October, as says his Word War II card:

Oct-18-14  ljfyffe: In his 2012 Writings in Chess History, Hilbert gives Oct. 10, not 16.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: Also 10 October 1883 in his membership application for "The Sons of the American Revolution":

Oct-18-14  ljfyffe: Hilbert references the Indianapolis Star of Mar.,
25, 1911 as giving the 1883 month and day.
Premium Chessgames Member

If this is him, which I suspect (age and activity fit), he died Tuesday 14 Aug 1956.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Stonehenge: Great, next problem: William Nicoll Woodbury :)
Oct-18-14  ljfyffe: well, we can at least assume that he was buried in the wood.
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