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Henry Buckle
H Buckle 

Number of games in database: 56
Years covered: 1840 to 1855
Overall record: +21 -10 =7 (64.5%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 18 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Giuoco Piano (9) 
    C50 C54
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (9) 
    C01 C00
 Sicilian (5) 
    B20 B30 B21 B32 B40
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   H Buckle vs NN, 1840 1-0
   H Buckle vs Harrwitz, 1846 1-0
   H Buckle vs Loewenthal, 1851 1-0
   H Buckle vs Anderssen, 1851 1-0
   H Buckle vs NN, 1849 1-0
   H Buckle vs Kieseritzky, 1848 1-0
   Loewenthal vs H Buckle, 1851 0-1
   H Buckle vs Kieseritzky, 1848 1-0
   Kieseritzky vs H Buckle, 1848 1/2-1/2
   C F Smith vs H Buckle, 1849 0-1

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Buckle - Loewenthal (1851)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Buckle - Loewenthal Match 1851 by Calli

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(born Nov-24-1821, died May-29-1862, 40 years old) United Kingdom

[what is this?]
Henry Thomas Buckle was born in Lee, Kent, England. An eminent historian, he was also a very strong amateur player. In match play he defeated Lionel Adalbert Bagration Felix Kieseritsky in 1848 (+3, =3, -2) and Johann Jacob Loewenthal in 1851 (+4, =1, -3). He won the 'Divan Tourney' of 1849 but after 1851 he largely gave up serious chess. He began his great historical work 'A History Of Civilisation' in the 1850's but died of typhoid fever in Damascus in 1862. The major part of his work was published posthumously.

Wikipedia article: Henry Thomas Buckle

 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 56  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. H Buckle vs NN 1-0101840LondonB50 Sicilian
2. Zytogorski vs H Buckle  ½-½411842EnglandC38 King's Gambit Accepted
3. M Wyvill vs H Buckle  1-0301843Casual gameC00 French Defense
4. H Buckle vs von der Lasa  0-1391843Casual gameB01 Scandinavian
5. H Buckle vs Staunton 1-0501843Odds game000 Chess variants
6. H Buckle vs Staunton 1-0361843Odds game000 Chess variants
7. H Buckle vs Staunton  0-1181843Odds game000 Chess variants
8. H Kennedy vs H Buckle  1-0321845London MatchC41 Philidor Defense
9. H Buckle vs Harrwitz 0-1601846Casual gameC50 Giuoco Piano
10. H Buckle vs Harrwitz 1-0481846Casual gameC50 Giuoco Piano
11. Kieseritzky vs H Buckle 1-0361846LondonB20 Sicilian
12. H Kennedy vs H Buckle ½-½331846Casual gameC41 Philidor Defense
13. Harrwitz vs H Buckle  ½-½551846Casual gameB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
14. H Buckle vs Harrwitz  ½-½341846Casual gameC51 Evans Gambit
15. Harrwitz vs H Buckle 0-1581847Casual gameC01 French, Exchange
16. H Buckle vs Delamain  1-0161848Odds gameC02 French, Advance
17. Horwitz vs H Buckle  0-1281848Casual gameC01 French, Exchange
18. H Buckle vs Kieseritzky 1-0441848MatchC54 Giuoco Piano
19. Kieseritzky vs H Buckle ½-½571848MatchC01 French, Exchange
20. Kieseritzky vs H Buckle 1-0581848MatchC01 French, Exchange
21. Kieseritzky vs H Buckle 1-0401848MatchC01 French, Exchange
22. Kieseritzky vs H Buckle  ½-½391848MatchC01 French, Exchange
23. H Buckle vs Kieseritzky 1-0431848MatchC54 Giuoco Piano
24. H Buckle vs J R Medley  1-0531849Ries' Divan TournamentC01 French, Exchange
25. H Buckle vs E Williams 1-0581849Ries' Divan TournamentA84 Dutch
 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 56  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Buckle wins | Buckle loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Nov-11-08  brankat: Undoubtedly a very strong player. Other than J.J.Loewenthal, he had also beaten A.Anderssen and St.Amant, the leading masters of the period.

An excerpt from his Biography (the above link):

"His working library at times numbered 22,000 volumes, but having a prodigious and accurate memory he would dispose of those of which he had no further need. Even so he left 11,000 volumes.

Overall a frugal man - during his study-day he ate only bread and fruit "to keep clear the brain" - he was generous to all, including beggars.

His only extravagances were his books and good cigars - yet he allowed himself only 3 cigars per day.

In 1851 he again met with the best European chess players on the occasion of the Great Exhibition. Apparently he was the equal of all, and beat Anderssen and Loewenthal.

But he begrudged the time away from his studies "and never afterwards took part in a public match"

He was by then well along with shaping the "History of Civilization" ~

R.I.P. Mr.Buckle.

Dec-04-08  Karpova: "Buckle as a Chess Player" by Colonel Hugh Alexander Kennedy from his book "Waifs and Strays, Chiefly from the Chess-board" (second enlarged edition 1876):

His strength:

<Mr. Buckle, by almost unanimous consent of his contemporaries, was allowed to be a consummate master of chess-craft; but it is certain, that, for some reason or other, his best play did not always find its way into print. His published games, therefore, although many of them are of a high order of merit, do not, in my opinion, sustain the great reputation he had acquired, and unquestionably deserved. Nature had gifted him with a superlative aptitude for the game of chess, and he brought the powers of a rare intellect - clear, penetrating, and sagacious beyond that of most men - to bear upon it. His imagination was like that of the poet, "all compact," but still subservient to the dictates of a logical judgment. His combinations, accordingly, under such guidance, seldom, if ever, exhibited a flaw, being characterised by exactitude of calculation, and brilliant device. He excelled in pawn play, which he conducted with an ingenuity and deadly accuracy worthy of the renowned pawn general, Szén, himself. He gave large odds, such as rook and knight, with wonderful skill and success, appearing to have a sort of intuitive knowledge of a strange opponent's chess idiosyncracy, which enabled him precisely to gauge the kind of risks he might venture to run. The rendering of heavy odds, as every experienced chess-player knows, necessitates hazardous and unsound play on the part of the giver.>


<I first knew him in June 1841, when he was nineteen years old, having lost his father a few months previously. He then played chess exceedingly well, so strongly, indeed, that I much doubt if the play of his maturity was anything in advance of that of his juvenile days. I remember, in that early time of our acquaintance, being struck by the bold originality and grasp of thought, the variety and extent of general knowledge possessed by the pale, delicate-looking stripling, who might have passed for a year or two younger than he really was.>

His weakness:

<With all Buckle's superb genius for the game, he lacked something of the solid power, the unflagging patience, resource, and depth of Staunton, and in a set encounter with him, would, in my judgment, have had the worst of it.> (Kennedy believes that Buckle would have been the favorite in a match with Staunton in 1850/51 but not in Staunton's prime).

His behaviour at the chessboard:

<Whether winning or losing, Mr. Buckle was a courteous and pleasant adversary, and sat quietly before the board, smoking his cigar, and pursuing his game with inflexible steadiness. He was sometimes harassed when at play by a nervous hiccough, which he would endeavour to suppress by humming some little air.>

There's much more, e. g. his preparation and training for chess contests, his aversion to music, his love for reading (he read everything), his exceptional memory, etc.

His last words: <"My book, my book, I shall never finish my book !"> (he was talking about "A History Of Civilisation").

Btw, Kennedy says that he died on May the 31st, 1862 (unlike the biography).

Dec-31-08  Karpova: Another article by Colonel Hugh Alexander Kennedy: "Buckle's Chess References"

<Testimony to the extensive reading and large research of a gifted compiler.>


Nov-11-09  BIDMONFA: Henry Thomas Buckle

BUCKLE, Henry T.

Nov-11-09  bengalcat47: Buckle was also very skilled at draughts, or checkers as it's known in the US.
Nov-11-12  YoungEd: In fisticuffs, not many people could belt Buckle.
Nov-11-12  Castleinthesky: He was known as a very sound sleeper. Friends would come to visit and ask is "Buckle up?," often to no avail.
Nov-24-12  brankat: A great writer and a talented chess player.

R.I.P. Mr.Buckle.

Jun-13-13  whiteshark: <Adolf Anderssen claimed Buckle was among the finest players he had met.>

Nov-24-13  grasser: Ah. Mr. Buckle Player of the Day again. Did Mr. Buckle go out every day teaching others as I do while in debilitating pain from Interstitial Cystitis as I do? Did he teach over 500 children how to play Chess, as I have done? Did he do 20 episodes of a Show called "Chess Now" that can be seen on YouTube. I would like a Player of the Day Honor too.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: < grasser: Ah. Mr. Buckle Player of the Day again. Did Mr. Buckle go out every day teaching others as I do while in debilitating pain from Interstitial Cystitis as I do? Did he teach over 500 children how to play Chess, as I have done? Did he do 20 episodes of a Show called "Chess Now" that can be seen on YouTube. I would like a Player of the Day Honor too.>

It does seem very unfair.

Jan-10-14  Karpova: Some snippets from Josef Krejcik's <Buckle als Schachspieler>:

Born: 1822.11.02 in Lee

Died: 1862.05.29

Author of <History of Civilisation in England.>

Page 212 of the 1854 "The Chess Players' Chronicle" is quoted: <One of the most distinguished masters of the day.>

After Stauunton's debacle at London (1851), he was for a short time considered to be the best player in England.

He beat Löwenthal (4:3, 3 draws) and Kieseritsky (3:2, 3 draws) in matches.

His play was solid, but not brilliant.

He died on a trip to the Orient in Damascus, and his death received the proper echo in the chess press, e. g. Lasa wrote an obituary in the 'Deutsche Schachzeitung'.

Source: Page 44 of the January-February 1913 'Wiener Schachzeitung'

Jan-16-16  zanzibar: A contemporaneous obituary can be found here:

Noted as "author of the world famous 'History of Civilization'".

His death, in Damascus, is given as the 31th May.

Nov-24-16  martin moller: Hello Chess games I think the photo is Henry Edward Bird.
Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: <martin moller: <Hello Chess games I think the photo is Henry Edward Bird.>>

Better to know than to think. This is definitely Buckle.

Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: Although you are not alone in _thinking_ it is Bird:

Nov-24-16  martin moller: <jnpope> Ok i just had a pichture in a Danish chess book : Verdens bedste skak vol. 1 by Jens Enevoldsen. But thank you for the interesting links.
Nov-24-16  TheFocus: happy birthday, Mr. Buckle.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: That's a seriously big head.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.>

Generally attributed to <Eleanor Roosevelt>, but it seems Ol' Big Head deserves the main credit:

May-30-17  zanzibar: And big heads discuss big heads -- z
May-31-20  mckmac: <Buckle said, in his dogmatic way: “Men and women range themselves into three classes or orders of intelligence; you can tell the lowest class by their habit of always talking about persons; the next by the fact that their habit is always to converse about things; the highest by their preference for the discussion of ideas.”>

From 'The Legacy of Henry Thomas Buckle' by Raymond Keene

Jan-28-22  Polonia: when henry thomas buckle was dying, supposedly his final words were: what about my books? well, here are 3 of his posthumous works, biography and then some... not forgotten thanx to me! i wonder how will the dead repair such favors in the afterlife!?
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: C.N. 11906: <Cranium giganticus>.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Fyodor Dostoevsky's <Notes From Underground> discusses Buckle's theories (not about chess).
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