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Eugene Beauharnais Cook vs Daniel F M Starbuck
Blindfold (Black) (1883) (blindfold), Chicago, IL USA
King's Gambit: Accepted. Double Muzio Gambit (C37)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: Looking at Cook's play here I don't understand why Starbuck played it blindfolded. Cook was surely no beginner:)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <Alexmagnus> They liked to give odds in the 19th century - the stronger player would give up some material or play blindfold. All that was needed was for Starbuck to be regarded as a stronger player - Cook might have been quite competent. I've played three simultaneous games blindfold (scoring 2.5/3 against non-beginners, though not exactly strong players) - it's good mental exercise, and I'm well below master strength.

Odds went out of fashion with the wider use of clocks, which offered a handicapping system without changing the game.

Or maybe he was just trying to show off? I agree that Cook shows a high degree of skill and familiarity with the Double Muzio, which hardly suggests any kind of weak player.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Starbuck seems to have been a player of some repute who lived in Cincinnati, Ohio and died at the age of twenty-seven. His game page shows several wins over Max Judd, and a long line of victories over the ever-venerable NN, including some posthumus samples. Here is one that shows what he could do blindfold on the White side of a Double Muzio:

D Starbuck vs NN, 1884

By contrast, this game was played <Blindfolf>, a variant with which I am not familiar. It may have had something to do with overindulgence in double expresso lattes. His opponent is more commonly known as a problemist, but had no problems in this game. Too many cooks may spoil the broth, but one can play a decent game of chess.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Joking aside, Starbuck must have been an excellent player, and may be another example of a promising career cut short by illness. Here's a contemporary obituary from the <Brooklyn Chess Chronicle>, April 15, 1884, p. 103.:

<"We have also to chronicle the death of Mr. D. F. M. Starbuck, which occurred in Cincinnati, Ohio, a few days ago. Mr. Starbuck was in his twenty-seventh year; he was a brilliant and sound player; thoroughly posted in all the openings, and was considered a very strong player and second only to the champion, Capt. Mackenzie. He played a match with Mr. Grundy, winning the majority of the games. Mr. Starbuck was probably the best blindfold player in the United States after the days of Morphy. The country has lost a good man, and the Chess fraternity will mourn his loos as we do.">

"Mr Grundy" had tied for first at the 5th American Chess Congress in 1880 (albeit with some hired help), so a match win over him is significant. It also sets me to wondering if the colors are reversed in this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  master8ch: White's last move was his worst, missing mate in 2.

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