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Joseph Henry Blackburne
British Chess Magazine Vol 42 (1922)  
Number of games in database: 1,008
Years covered: 1861 to 1916

Overall record: +455 -243 =223 (61.5%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 87 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 French Defense (65) 
    C11 C01 C00 C14 C13
 Ruy Lopez (53) 
    C77 C65 C60 C67 C70
 Scotch Game (52) 
 Vienna Opening (42) 
    C25 C29 C26 C28
 French (40) 
    C11 C00 C13 C10
 Evans Gambit (38) 
    C51 C52
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (85) 
    C01 C11 C00 C14 C02
 Ruy Lopez (47) 
    C61 C62 C66 C71 C60
 French (38) 
    C11 C00 C10 C13
 Sicilian (33) 
    B45 B21 B25 B22 B40
 Queen's Pawn Game (27) 
    D00 D02 D05 A46 D04
 Scandinavian (23) 
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   NN vs Blackburne, 1880 0-1
   Blackburne vs NN, 1863 1-0
   NN vs Blackburne, 1871 0-1
   A Steinkuehler vs Blackburne, 1863 0-1
   Blackburne vs J Schwarz, 1881 1-0
   Blackburne vs Mr. L, 1886 1-0
   Bird vs Blackburne, 1886 0-1
   Blackburne vs Blanchard, 1891 1-0
   Blackburne vs NN, 1894 1-0
   Blackburne vs Steinitz, 1883 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Berlin (1881)
   Vienna (1873)
   Nuremberg (1883)
   Hamburg (1885)
   Frankfurt (1887)
   Paris (1878)
   London (1883)
   Berlin (1897)
   9th DSB Kongress, Leipzig (1894)
   Vienna (1882)
   London (1899)
   Breslau (1889)
   Hastings (1895)
   Nuremberg (1896)
   Vienna (1898)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Anderssen - Blackburne - Charousek - Fredthebear by fredthebear
   Anderssen, Blackburne, Charousek by monet11
   tactics 2 by tactics
   1870s - 1890s Classic Chess Principles Arise by fredthebear
   Annotations by Various Authorities & Fredthebear by fredthebear
   Blindfold Blackburne by ughaibu
   New York 1889 by suenteus po 147
   London 1883 by JoseTigranTalFischer
   London 1883 by suenteus po 147
   Challenger Blackburne by Gottschalk
   Vienna 1873 by JoseTigranTalFischer
   Vienna 1873 by suenteus po 147
   Vienna 1882 by suenteus po 147
   FAVORITE PLAYERS by gambitfan

   NN vs Blackburne, 1880
   NN vs Blackburne, 1871
   Blackburne vs NN, 1863
   A Steinkuehler vs Blackburne, 1863
   Blackburne vs Mr. L, 1886

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Joseph Henry Blackburne
Search Google for Joseph Henry Blackburne

(born Dec-10-1841, died Sep-01-1924, 82 years old) United Kingdom

[what is this?]
Joseph Henry Blackburne was born in Chorlton, Manchester. He came to be known as "The Black Death". He enjoyed a great deal of success giving blindfold and simultaneous exhibitions. Tournament highlights include first place with Wilhelm Steinitz at Vienna 1873, first at London 1876, and first at Berlin 1881 ahead of Johannes Zukertort. In matchplay he lost twice to Steinitz and once to Emanuel Lasker. He fared a little better with Zukertort (Blackburne - Zukertort (1881)) and Isidor Gunsberg, by splitting a pair of matches, and defeating Francis Joseph Lee, ( Blackburne - Lee (1890) ). One of the last successes of his career was at the age of 72, when he tied for first place with Fred Dewhirst Yates at the 1914 British Championship.

In his later years, a subscription by British chess players provided an annuity of 100 (approx 4,000 in 2015 value), and a gift of 250 on his 80th birthday.

In 1923 he suffered a stroke, and the next year he died of a heart attack.

Note: Blackburne played on the teams of Steinitz / Bird / Blackburne, Blackburne / Bird / MacDonnell, Bird / Blackburne, Blackburne / Aloof, Steinitz / Blackburne, Blackburne / Steinitz / De Vere, Blackburne / Potter, Blackburne / Horace Chapman & Joseph Henry Blackburne / Allies.

Wikipedia article: Joseph Henry Blackburne

1 Source: Grantham Journal - Saturday 17 December 1921, p.3.

 page 1 of 41; games 1-25 of 1,007  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. A Steinkuehler vs Blackburne 0-1241861ManchesterC44 King's Pawn Game
2. Paulsen vs Blackburne 1-0501861Casual GameC15 French, Winawer
3. Paulsen vs Blackburne 1-0331861Blindfold simul, 10bC00 French Defense
4. Blackburne vs Jetson 1-0191861Blindfold simul, 3bB40 Sicilian
5. Blackburne vs A Steinkuehler 1-0211862Manchester CC chC51 Evans Gambit
6. Blackburne vs H T Young ½-½241862Blindfold simulC41 Philidor Defense
7. Blackburne vs W M Chinnery 1-0401862Blindfold simulC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
8. Blackburne vs Mongredien  ½-½521862LondonB01 Scandinavian
9. Blackburne vs J W Rimington-Wilson  ½-½321862Blindfold simulB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
10. Mongredien vs Blackburne  ½-½351862LondonC33 King's Gambit Accepted
11. Anderssen vs Blackburne 1-0291862LondonC33 King's Gambit Accepted
12. Steinitz vs Blackburne 0-1701862LondonC01 French, Exchange
13. Blackburne vs H B Parminter 0-1351862Blindfold simulC51 Evans Gambit
14. Blackburne vs F Deacon  0-1441862LondonC41 Philidor Defense
15. Blackburne vs A Pigott 1-0211862Blindfold simulC34 King's Gambit Accepted
16. Paulsen vs Blackburne  ½-½361862LondonA07 King's Indian Attack
17. Blackburne vs Anderssen 1-0241862Offhand gameC37 King's Gambit Accepted
18. Blackburne vs Paulsen 0-1551862LondonD00 Queen's Pawn Game
19. Hannah vs Blackburne 1-0411862LondonC42 Petrov Defense
20. Blackburne vs J F Gillam 0-1321862Blindfold simulB40 Sicilian
21. Blackburne vs Owen 1-0231862LondonB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
22. Blackburne vs H T Liddell ½-½221862Blindfold simulB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
23. Anderssen vs Blackburne 1-0531862LondonC01 French, Exchange
24. Steinitz vs Blackburne 1-0421862LondonC01 French, Exchange
25. Blackburne vs Steinitz 0-1401862London (England)C51 Evans Gambit
 page 1 of 41; games 1-25 of 1,007  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Blackburne wins | Blackburne loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 9 OF 9 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: Happy birthday, Joseph Henry!
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: The grand man gets a grand day from <CG>.

He was the embodiment of Victorian chess and its history.

Joseph Henry Blackburne (kibitz #188)

We're all indebted to Harding for his wonderful biography.

PS- still waiting for those links from <offramp>

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Harding, via Graham's son Stephan, relates this anecdote where Blackburne imitates Steinitz:

<That is the back story of the semi-autobiographical novel Lost Battle (1934), written by his son Stephen Graham (born 1884), in which his father is called John Rae Belfort and Blackburne appears as a drunken acquaintance. The author probably exaggerated his early memories of the chess master, writing a quarter of a century later. In an early chapter Blackburne joins the Belforts for Sunday tea. The veteran champion "with the big red face" is also described as "vinous, swollen-veined, dead-featured, but with back of his head colossal." When Belfort tells Blackburne he has played over all Steinitz's games, Blackburne closes his eyes and parodies the ex-world champion's fractured way of speaking English: "I do not vant to vin a pawn. It is enough if I only veekens a pawn." They play chess in Belfort's study after tea. The more whisky Blackburne drinks, the better he plays and he leaves only in time to catch the last train.

Harding - Blackburne p404

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: And, from ibid p405, we have Harding quoting Buckley's review of Blackburne's book, specifically commenting on Graham:

<In the Birmingham Weekly Mercury, of 18 November 1899, Buckley first praised the games, the collection of which "must be an endless pleasure to amateurs of many succeeding generations."

Then he wrote:

The editor's work is less satisfactory, though Mr. P. Anderson Graham has at least one requisite for the task. He possesses enthusiasm, and, moreover, is a sincere admirer of his hero. But his biographical sketch is lamentably incomplete and unsatisfactory, The sketch of the history of blindfold chess is little more than a pretence, and both sketches have the painful air of amateurishness which is the almost invariable characteristic of chess lucubrations. We cannot but regret that a subject so interesting should have been given to the world so imperfectly. The opportunity was a great one. The record of Blackburne's career presented incomparable opportunities; but the editor has derived little of interest there from, and largely contents himself with writing of the catalogue-type mingled with his own inconclusive opinions and doubtful statements.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Does Harding estimate how many simul exhibitions Blackburne gave over the years? The number of times one sees references to him in newspapers, one could be forgiven for thinking he played chess non-stop for 50 years. And yet there are less than a thousand of his games here.

The only masters who come to mind who might challenge him on this front are Alekhine, Koltanowski and Marshall, but I can't speak about the Continental scene.

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: I'm not sure about general simuls, but for blindfolds, Harding gives a listing in his appendix V

< ~2444 total (excluding just a few exceptions) W-L-D = 1552-202-660 >

Harding must give an estimate of Blackburne's total, but I couldn't readily find it.


Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Blackburne interview excerpt:

Edward Pindar (kibitz #12)


Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: There is an excellent drawing (worthy of inclusion IMO) in the Illustrated London News, 8 Oct 1881.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: <Tab> is it online anywhere?

Where did you see it?

If it's not available online can you mail me a scan? I could post it for you (well, for the www - whole wide world) if you'd like.

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Ah, I see, he's got the "I just won Berlin" shine.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: I always thought this one was rather grand:

(Maybe it's the hat?)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: <z> That's a good one too, but not the one I found in ILN, 8 Oct 1881 (via the steadily improving http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.... who are constantly adding new periodicals). Oh, please, don't have me go through the OneNote (or whatever it was) process again.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: What's the OneNote process?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: Nah it was something else. The process of taking a screenshot and then making it available on the web. I did it a year or three back, and you told me how.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: <Tab> I really can't imagine doing my research without being able to save snippets of text and pictures.

Certainly for visuals/portraits out of the old magazines and newspapers.

Of course, most of them go into various folders for personal use - but very many make their way to both <CG> and Zanchess.

You should start your own blog - it could be in Norwegian and showcase your research/writing, in addition to being a launching-pad for <CG> contributions.


Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: My website would go stale after some years.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: I was reading 'The Story of the Dundee Chess Club' by Peter Walsh.

The famous story about Blackburne taking a drink en passant apparently took place in Dundee in 1911.

The piece on page 29 starts off with "The following true story illustrates the good fellowship between him [Blackburne] and the Dundee players."

It continues with Blackburne taking a drink by mistake and then being jokingly forgiven. Then comes the famous en passant quip. He is giving another drink and another then Blackburne leaves a piece en prise and resigns.

Blackburne liked Dundee. Between 1897 and 1911 he visited the club every year bar 1910 to play simuls and give a lecture.

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: <My website would go stale after some years.>

Perhaps, but so does pretty much every website, though some might last as long as a good bottle of whiskey. The real idea is to get a framework out there which others will copy and propagate.

<jnpope>'s site is one I hope lasts a long, long time.

What happens to <Winter>'s site will be interesting. <CG> will be OK as long as Daniel is around I think, but it will always run the risk of going the way ChessCafe did.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Glory is fleeting but obscurity is forever.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Entropy wins in the end.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: <Blackburne was a stone worker>

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <We're all indebted to Harding for his wonderful biography.>

But not enough to buy a copy.

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: <<Missy> But not enough to buy a copy.>

I know this is an attempt at a snarky-knock, but really, it's rather presumptuous of <Missy> to represent Dr. Harding.

The good doctor and I have a reciprocal relation - he's able to use my research, like the stone worker find.

But let's examine the role of <Missy> to complain about $$ or ... given his complaining about <ChessBase> policies,

Nils Grandelius (kibitz #72)

or his outright solicitation of <CG> funding for personal gain,

Kibitzer's Café (kibitz #222074)
Santa Claus (kibitz #1881)
Karpov - Fischer World Championship Match (1975) (kibitz #3233)

or his unending reliance of <Tab> for genealogical research:

Biographer Bistro (kibitz #17487)
Biographer Bistro (kibitz #17238)
Biographer Bistro (kibitz #17059)

How could anyone think <MissS> was <Edward Winter> is a bit beyond me.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <The good doctor and I have a reciprocal relation - he's able to use my research, like the stone worker find.>

I saw this before and was going to let it pass, but isn't that my find?

Joseph Henry Blackburne (kibitz #182)

I don't know what your game is, but if you annoy me further I'm going to add you to my little black book just below <Edward Winter>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: <MissS> yes, I've updated my blog page to credit you making the find first.

I really only recalled <offramp>'s promise to visit the site from that period of time - and just stumbled across the original article again when doing some research on another topic.

My page didn't really have me making an original find, and while I'd normally put your posts at the top of the page, I think it reads better as is (especially given the fun little drawing of Blackburn aside the article).

Your attribution is at the bottom, in plain-view. Still wondering if Harding ever came across it, and just deemed it not worthy of inclusion, or not creditable enough.

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