This match between Jacques Mieses and the British Champion William Ewart Napier took place from the 8th to 20th March 1905, in the Queen's Hotel, on the seafront at Hastings, England, which had also been the venue for the famous Hastings (1895) tournament. The match was organised as part of the Hastings Chess Club's Twelfth Chess Festival and was deliberately designed to encourage spectacular and aggressive chess,
"In order to prevent the ever-recurring Queens and Ruy Lopez being the only examples of play, selected openings are to be used, each master taking alternately the attack and defence." (1)
"The Committee of the Hastings Chess Club has arranged for the annual Festival to be held in the Queen's Hotel, from Wednesday, March 8th, until Monday, March 20th, both inclusive. This year the chief event will be a most interesting and important match between Mr. W. E. Napier (British Champion) and Herr J. Mieses, the famous and brilliant German master. The players have selected the Bishops, Danish, Evans and Vienna gambits and the Ruy Lopez openings, and will play two games of each, making a total of ten games in the match. Play will be from 10.0 a.m. to. 1.0 p.m., and from 3.0 to 7.0 p.m. every day, with the exception of Saturday, March 11th, when each master will play three games against the first-class players of the Club, consulting together and will give simultaneous performance against the Club." (2)
This match replaced the former format of master and amateurs consultation games. "Departing from the course hitherto adopted at these gatherings of consultation games, between masters with members of the Club as consultants, this year the main feature of the Hastings Festival is a match of ten games between the British master, Mr. W. E. Napier, and the German expert, Herr J. Mieses, of Leipsic." (3)
This innovation caused a degree of friction between the committee and some of the members of the Hastings club. ""Much disappointment has been expressed by several members of the Chess Club at not seeing the name of Mr Joseph Henry Blackburne the well-known and greatest English master, mentioned in connection with the forthcoming Festival. It is greatly be hoped that the Committee will still be able to arrange for the additional attraction of an engagement of this favourite, for a portion of the time at all events." Mr Blackburne is no doubt very popular with local chessists, and his absence from the approaching Festival ... will be regretted by a number of people. But the Committee of the Chess can hardly be blamed for arranging a change of such importance in the engagement two such masters as Napier and Mieses and for the rest, the question resolves itself into a financial consideration. If the friends of Mr Blackburne would like to meet the expense of engaging him, no doubt the Committee will be glad to again include him in the Festival programme." (4)
"It appears that the organisation of the Festival has not given entire satisfaction to members of the Hastings Club. One of its oldest supporters writes to us complaining about the changed arrangements whereby the match between Napier and Mieses was substituted for the consultation games between Masters and Amateurs, which have always been popular feature the meeting. Our correspondent also writes: "Many of us specially feel that the committee has acted ungenerously in, for the first time for many years, leaving out an old and popular English master, Mr. Blackburne, from the programme. His residence at Hastings some years ago, and assistance in the Congress of and other matters largely contributed to raising the Hastings Club its present prominent position." The committee's sudden change of programme without consulting the subscribers seems to be generally resented by the club. We should, however, be sorry to hear of any serious dissension arising in this vigorous and hitherto thoroughly united organisation, and it will be hoped that, having expressed their protest, the discontented members will allow the matter to pass. No one can suppose that any slight is intended to Mr. Blackburne who has always been on the best of terms with the club." (5)
The above criticism now seems rather carping. Blackburne it was noted "was an interested spectator of the play on Saturday." (6) The Committee did manage to arrange subsidiary to the match both a simultaneous display of 22 boards and four consultation games each involving both masters.
"HASTINGS CHESS FESTIVAL. The Saturday afternoon was most boisterous, the attendance was, therefore, less than expected, and only four consultation games between members and the two masters were played. Herr Mieses won both his games, Mr Napier won one, but had to yield to the combined efforts of Messrs. Dobell, Mann, Ginner, and Stephenson a splendidly-fought game. The evening had cleared up, and a full attendance showed the great interest taken in the play of the two masters, who conducted simultaneously twenty-two games, each master taking the round alternately. This method was a considerable handicap to the two players, as, not consulting, they sometimes undid the work of the preceding move, which gave the members a more hopeful chance; thus on one board Napier played the Kt from Q5, and then Mieses in his round played the from to again, Napier played the Kt from to a very strong move, but on his next round found that Mieses had not seen his idea, and had consequently returned the Kt to B3. Although there were such little drawbacks, the masters won on fifteen boards, drew with Messrs. Dobell, J. E. Watson, R. Lucas, and G. Womersley, but had to succumb to the three players, E. E. Middleton, junior, Angelo Lewis, and A, J. Price. The whole function was almost a chess conversation, enjoyable and interesting alike to the onlookers as well as the players." (7)
The 24-year-old William Ewart Napier was a British born American master who cut short his playing career to concentrate instead on the insurance business. As a result, he is probably best remembered for a famous fighting loss against Emanuel Lasker (Lasker vs W Napier, 1904) at Cambridge Springs (1904). Napier was at the beginning of the twentieth century a challenger to Marshall to become the premier American player displacing the ailing Pillsbury. He crushed Frank James Marshall by 8½ to 2½ (Napier - Marshall (1896)). He also came a long way in front of Marshall when he took second place at Buffalo (1901) (see Game Collection: 1901 Buffalo). Marshall was ahead of him at by two places and 1½ at Monte Carlo (1902), but Napier won the brilliancy prize for his game against Mikhail Chigorin (W Napier vs Chigorin, 1902). Marshall outpaced him at Cambridge Springs (1904). Although Napier was a long way down the field finishing 13th, scoring +3 -7 =5, he won the second brilliancy prize for his game against John Finan Barry. (8)
Napier played better and came fifth at the very strong 13th DSB Kongress (Hanover) (1902), scoring +7 -4 =6. In July 1904, Napier competed in the City of London Chess Club's National Tournament, where he shaded out Richard Teichmann by half a point to win first prize. He then tied for first at the British Championship held in August 1904 and won the play-off in January 1905 against Henry Ernest Atkins. In February 1905, Napier went to Glasgow to play Teichmann who had been barred from the Championship on the grounds of nationality. "The champion of England, who had only last month gained his laurels by defeating Mr. H. E. Atkins at Hastings, was immediately asked to play a match by Mr. R. Teichmann. Mr. Napier accepted the challenge, and a match of five games up at the Glasgow Chess Club was commenced yesterday." (9)
"The match between Teichmann and Napier at the Glasgow Chess Club has ended in a decisive victory for Teichmann, who won five games, lost one and drew five. We expected Teichmann to win, but not by such a majority, and we are quite at a loss to suggest any good reason, why Napier, who is beyond doubt strong and accomplished player, should have been so badly beaten." (10)
"The Teichmann-Napier match ended badly for the British champion, who lost the games played on Friday and Saturday, and thus suffered defeat by five games to one. This result gives Teichmann a strong claim be considered the best player now resident in England. At the same time Napier was clearly not at his best, and the loss of the two first games seems to have quite discouraged him. Napier now commences an engagement with Mieses, at Hastings, with whom ten games are to be played at five openings selected by the two masters. This match is the chief event of the 12th Annual Festival of the Hastings Club ..." (11)
The 40-year-old German master Jacques Mieses was a regular player in the prestige European events with seventeen years of tournament experience. The first decade of the twentieth century saw his peak performances. (12) He had a dashing and vigorous style of play, preferring open games such as the Scottish, Vienna and the Danish Gambit.
The historical rating analyses of Edo Chess and Chessmetrics shows that Napier was slightly the higher-rated and that their relative strength was not disproportionate. All of the games appeared in the Hastings and St. Leonards Observer of the 11th, 18th and 25th of March.
Progress of the match
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
Mieses 1 ½ 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 ½ 5
Napier 0 ½ 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 ½ 5
Mieses had White in the odd-numbered games.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
Mieses 1 1½ 1½ 1½ 1½ 2½ 3½ 3½ 4½ 5
Napier 0 ½ 1½ 2½ 3½ 3½ 3½ 4½ 4½ 5
Napier lost the first game after miscounting in a drawn pawn ending. Yet it was Mieses who had to recover from a poor start to the match; at the halfway point he was two games down to Napier. Mieses made decisive blunders early in Games 3 and 5 and he also lost a difficult, but potentially drawn, ending in Game 4. Mieses pulled himself level in the second half despite a blunder in Game 8 which led to one of the shortest defeats of his career. Mieses responded in Games 6 and 7 by stirring up complications and won twice in short but not entirely accurate order. Napier was presented with a gift point in Game 8 and achieved a winning position in the ending of Game 9 only to make a simple blunder and lose. The final game, with Napier as White, followed Pillsbury vs Lasker, 1896. There was a flurry of exchanges which led to a quick draw and a drawn match.
"The ten games in the match between Napier and Mieses yielded equal honours — five each. Owing to the restricted openings the games were below the usual strength of these masters. A match without restrictions, leaving the players to the freedom their will, would probably have better results. There were also at the festival a number of consultation games, some of a very high order. We give one, in which Napier and Blackburne, who were each assisted by several local amateurs, were opposed ...
White. Messrs. Blackburne, Chapman, Seyers.
Black. Messrs. Napier, Middletoun, Mann.
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 d5 4.Bxd5 Qh4+ 5.Kf1 g5 6.Qf3 c6 7.Qc3 f6 8.Nf3 Qh5 9.Bxg8 Rxg8 10.Qxf6 Be7 11.Qc3 g4 12.Ne1 Be6 13.d4 Rf8 14.Nd2 Nd7 15.b4 Nb6 16.a4 f3 17.g3 Qh3+ 18.Kf2 Bd6 19.e5 Bd5 20.exd6 0–0–0 21.d7+ Kxd7 22.Ne4 Bxe4 23.Bf4 Nd5 24.Qc5 Rxf4 25.b5 Rf6 26.Qxa7 Qh6 27.bxc6+ Ke8 0-1 (13)
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Herr Mieses proved less fortunate against Mr Blackburne: Mieses / Middleton / Mann vs Blackburne / Chapman / Skyrme, 1905
"Napier began very well in his match with Mieses. He lost, it is true, the first game — a Vienna of a particularly interesting character, with nice play on both sides — and only succeeded in drawing with the first move. In the next couple of games, however, the young British champion showed to advantage, as he succeeded in winning with Evans' Gambits — the opening previously agreed upon — both with the White and Black forces." (14)
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"The second game of the series of ten to be played between these two masters was contested at the Queen’s Hotel, Hastings, yesterday. Napier, having the move, played the second Vienna Game. The middle play was rather interesting, but led to an exchange of pieces, which produced a long end-game. After 60 moves a draw resulted. The next opening taken will be the Evans." (15)
"The third game of the match between Napier and Mieses at Hastings was a lively Evans Gambit, in which the give-and-take spirit of attack and counter-attack was fully maintained. Napier won in twenty-four moves." (16)
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Mieses' retreat <17.Qc2?> allowed Napier a vital attacking tempo with <17..Nd4>
"Napier and Mieses did not take part in a match game on Saturday, but yesterday the fourth game was played. Napier, with the Evans Gambit, obtained a good attack, and ultimately won, though Mieses might perhaps have drawn. Scores: Napier, 2; Mieses, 1; drawn, 1." (17)
"On the Monday the two Masters met for their fourth encounter, when Mr. Napier opened an Evans Gambit, very smart and energetic play left the game in a critical position at the mid-day adjournment; the afternoon play was a very clever demonstration of the manoeuvring of Bishop and pawns against Knight and pawns." (18)
Mieses could not hold a difficult ending where his Knight was outclassed by the Bishop in an ending with widely spaced pawns.
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"The fifth game, a Bishop’s gambit, also ended in favour of Napier, who forced exchanges in an advantageous position, and won after a long endgame. The sixth game was won Mieses. In the Danish gambits played in the seventh and eighth games a win each was scored, the attack succeeding each time. Thus with two games to play score stood at: Napier 4½, Mieses 3½, drawn 1." (19)
"The fifth game of the series now being played at Hastings between these two masters was Bishop’s gambit. An exchange of Queens and minor pieces by Mieses left the British champion with a better end game position, and this he won after a long struggle, leaving the scores:—Napier, 3 wins; Mieses, 1; drawn, 1." (20)
"The sixth game, a Bishop's Gambit, and the seventh, a Danish Gambit, were both won by Mieses, making the score three all. Mieses is justly famed for his skill and prowess in conducting the very fascinating attack in this Gambit." (21)
"In the seventh game, played on Thursday, he did himself full justice and made such capital use of a slight chance Napier gave him that he won the game in twenty-five moves." (21)
"The seventh match, played on Thursday, saw the introduction of the Danish Gambit, to which Herr Mieses had given special study, having played it in past tournaments with much success. The attack was beautifully maintained by White. After <10.f3>, Black never had a chance to repel White's pressure, although he endeavoured to institute a counter-movement, it availed little and Black resigned at close of the morning sitting." (22)
"The eighth game was contested on Friday and a grave oversight on Herr Mieses' part brought the end almost before onlookers had realised that the game was developed. It extended to only 15 moves and well illustrates the danger of making an immaterial capture before developing the Queen's-side .." (23)
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Mieses had played a very sharp and ultimately unsound defence, and by playing <15...Nxg3?> he overlooked a forced mate after <16.Qg6+!>
"These masters played the ninth game their match on Saturday. In defending the Ruy Lopez, Napier obtained a very good game and was left in the ending with pawn up. Playing to win he committed an oversight, and Mieses won — Napier 4, Mieses 4, drawn 1. The last game, which will be played to-day, will likewise be a Ruy Lopez."(24)
"With the tenth game, played yesterday at the Queen's Hotel, Hastings, the match between the British champion and Herr Mieses terminated. The opening was a Ruy Lopez, defended by Napier with the Berlin defence. He tried hard to produce a complication, but even positions resulting a draw was agreed to. The final score is — Napier 4, Mieses 4, drawn 2." (25)
"The series of games displayed some fine chess. Mr Napier, however, was not at his best. He has probably had too much hard chess in the past ten months, having played no less than 145 match games during this period, more than enough to try the nervous energy of the most robust of men." (26) This comes very close to special pleading. Napier soon after won a match with Marshall, commencing on the 29th April in London, "to test the Rice Gambit". (27) Mieses himself had been on a busy schedule touring Scandinavia, Germany and Holland giving simultaneous exhibitions. (28)
1) Hastings and St. Leonards Observer, Saturday 11th March 1905, page 7.
2) Hastings and St. Leonards Observer, Saturday 4th March 1905, page 1.
3) Hastings and St. Leonards Observer, Saturday 11th March 1905, page 7.
4) Hastings and St. Leonards Observer, Saturday 4th March 1905, page 6.
5) Morning Post, Monday 13th March 1905, page 5.
6) Hastings and St Leonards Observer, Saturday 18th March 1905, page 8.
7) Hastings and St Leonards Observer, Saturday 18 March 1905, page 8.
8) American Chess Bulletin, November 1904, page 127.
9) Sheffield Daily Telegraph, Wednesday 15th February 1905, page 12.
10) Weekly Irish Times, Saturday 25th March 1905, page 11.
11) London Daily News, Saturday 11th March 1905, page 11.
12) See http://www.edochess.ca/players/p483... and also http://www.chessmetrics.com/cm/CM2/....
13) Belfast News Letter, Thursday 30th March 1905, page 4.
14) Hampshire Telegraph, Saturday 1st April 1905, page 9.
15) Sheffield Daily Telegraph, Friday 10th March 1905, page 12.
16) Pall Mall Gazette, Saturday 18th March 1905, page 10.
17) Sheffield Daily Telegraph, Tuesday 14th March 1905, page 12.
18) Hastings and St Leonards Observer, Saturday 18th March 1905, page 8.
19) Hampshire Telegraph, Saturday 1st April 1905, page 9.
20) Sheffield Daily Telegraph, Wednesday 15th March 1905, page 12.
21) Pall Mall Gazette, Saturday 18th March 1905, page 10.
22) British Chess Magazine, April 1905, page 146.
23) British Chess Magazine, April 1905, page 146.
24) Lancashire Evening Post, Monday 20th March 1905, page 4.
25) Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, Tuesday 21st March 1905, page 9.
26) British Chess Magazine, April 1905, page 146.
27) British Chess Magazine, April 1905, page 197.
Original collection compiled by User: MissScarlett. Text by User: User: Chessical. The Blackburne consultation game is newly found has been added to the database.