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James Mason vs Joseph Henry Blackburne
Paris (1878), Paris FRA, rd 2, Jun-19
Queen's Indian Defense: Spassky System (E14)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: A picture after 44.hxg5:

click for larger view

A little later:

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Here white played 49.g7+. But 49.Rh7 looks very strong!

White plays 51.Bh7.

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There follows some complicated exchanging and just 5 moves later we are down to this:

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The R v B ending is actually complicated, but both drunkards play it quite well. Mason finds the only move here:

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...and the game ends in essentially bare kings...

A strangely 1960s-looking game.

Jan-22-14  JimNorCal: Thanks for bringing this to our attention, it is an entertaining and instructive, indeed a rollicking, game. No lack of action!
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: White goofed this one up; with Black's KR passive, 32.e4 had to be tried, for example: 32.e4 Qb7 33.Ng6+ fxg6 34.fxg6 Kg7 35.e5 Rf8 36.exf6+ Rbxf6 37.Rxf6 Kxf6 38.Qe5#

or 32.e4 Nxe4 33.Bxe4 dxe4 34.Qxe4 Bc6 35.d5 Bb5 36.Qd4 Rf6 37.Re1 Qd8 38.Nxc4 Bxc4 39.Qxc4 and White has a winning position

<offramp> Mason was a drunk too? Perhaps this explains the oversights


Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: This James Mason certainly liked a drinky-poo.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: <Mason had unfortunately become fond of drink and reportedly lost many a game while "in hilarious condition". In tournament after tournament he would invariably lead the field until the halfway stage, even ahead of the great masters of the day, Steinitz, Zukertort et al, and had play been confined to only one game against each opponent, he would undoubtedly have been counted among the most successful tournament winners of all time, but then, again quoting Lasker, "the Celtic part of his brain heated up and he would leave the board at a critical stage and not return." In the great Hastings Tournament of 1895 he was even found at one such critical stage asleep in the fireplace! Again and again, after putting a string of victories together against illustrious opponents, he invariably would have what came to be known as "Mason's day" when everything would blow up in his face and he would eventually come in, trailing well down in the prize list, having lost to non-entitities, when he had defeated the top masters.

Querulous, crotchety and questioning, he became a most difficult problem for tournament organisers, one famous player holding as a souvenir a chess box which was used by Mason as a missile in enforcing an argument against one of the managers of the Sixth American Chess Congress. His escapades also extended, on at least one notable occasion, to the non chess-playing world, when he was hauled up in front of magistrates for breaking a window during some form of a street fracas. In spite of his barrister's defence plea, on the effect of the strain of playing high level chess, he was, to his chagrin, fined 5.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: A five pound fine then is equivalent to nearly a million pounds today. Poor Mason! How could he raise a million pounds?
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <offramp: Poor Mason! How could he raise a million pounds?>

There are ways, even for a filthy old drunkie.

Mar-23-16  zanzibar: So, Mason is the "little rippler" referred to here:

<We are also accused of patiality in the selection of our portraits, and therefore hasten to make amends by introducing to your attention, the genial features of the "coming problemist," and the little rippler; promisng very shortly to produce an excellent likeness of the Great Patron, as he appreared presiding at the banquet in honor of the famous Cafe International Consultation Match.>

-- ACJ v3-4 (1878-79) p191/212

The entire article should be read to see the full context.

Mar-23-16  ughaibu: Is this the first example of a Pillsbury attack?
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