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Alfred Brodie
Number of games in database: 2
Years covered: 1851

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(born 1809, died Feb-19-1857, 47 years old) United Kingdom

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Alfred Brodie was born in Eastbourne, Sussex, as the 5th of 12 children of Rev. Dr. Alexander Brodie (1773-1828), vicar in Eastbourne since 1809, and Anna Walter (1779-1864), a daughter of the founder of The Times. After childhood in The Gore (Eastbourne), he matriculated in 1827 at the Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was an Admitted Pensioner before moving in 1830 to Magdalene College, Cambridge, to become a Fellow Commoner. He did not graduate, but did businesses in London and Hastings until he married (as Esq. of Eastbourne) in 1834 to the 48 years old Mary Anne Fenning (1786-1869), daughter of merchant Samuel Fenning (1746-1826) who had been Acting Director of the Royal Exchange¤ Assurance Office. They had no children.

In 1837 he went insolvent and ended in prison, but the case was adjourned. In 1839, he had to sell his inherited interest in The Times. Then he also arranged it so that he would receive an annual amount of money if he should outlive his wife. That did not happen. They moved to Marylebone (Cavendish-square), London, near her birthplace in Islington, and continued business. He was a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club* (1848) and The Highland Society# (1850), and one of the directors in Beacon Life and Assurance (1856). Yet, he had an old debt and only £200 when he died in Eastbourne.

He is today best known for two losses to Howard Staunton in the London (1851) chess tournament.

Main sources:, Cambridge Alumni, London Annual Register 1834 (p. 196), London Gazette 1837 (2611), 1839 (Feb. 26), The Spirit of the Times 1848 (June 3), The Highland Society (London 1856), Calendar Letters of Administration 1858 (p. 148), and church records. ¤Wikipedia article: Royal Exchange, London. *Wikipedia article: Marylebone Cricket Club. #Wikipedia article: Highland Society of London.

Last updated: 2017-03-18 17:59:06

 page 1 of 1; 2 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Staunton vs A Brodie 1-0151851LondonC44 King's Pawn Game
2. A Brodie vs Staunton 0-1521851LondonA30 English, Symmetrical
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Brodie wins | Brodie loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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  Honza Cervenka: Alfred Brodie
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  Tabanus: Sources on Brodie in Chess Player's Chronicle (CPC):

Vol. 12 (1851) pp. 218 & 282:

<Mr. Staunton drew against M. Brodie>*, and <Brodie, Alfred, Esq.> as subscriber to the tournament. (Most players were also subscribers. The list e. g. mentions Capt. Kennedy, E. S. Kennedy and a "Kennedy, H. H. Esq." which probably should be <B.> H. Kennedy = Benjamin Hall Kennedy from Shrewsbury (who did not play)). Esq. Alfred Brodie gave 5 pounds, which is quite a lot, and more than most others.

*not the game, but drew from the ballot-box.

Vol. 15 (1854) p. 90:

<two members of the St. George's Chess Club, Mr. Brodie and myself>, and <I dare say if Mr. Brodie is in town, that he will send you an account of his and my interview with the President of the London Chess Club>

Apart from a few other references to the player <Brodie> or <Mr. Brodie>. It is also stated that he entered the tournament as provisional competitor.

On Alfred Brodie (1809-1857), here is a good place to start: It could be him.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: London Gazette 1837 p. 2611:

Alfred Brodie, formerly of No. 89, Pall-mall, Saint James's, Middlesex, and of Eastbourne, Sussex, then of No. 41, Great Portland-street, afterwards of Euston-place, New-road, both in Middlesex aforesaid, and late of Pall-mall, Middlesex aforesaid, and of Hastings, Sussex aforesaid, Esq. (known at the last-mentioned place by the name Bathurst).>

London Gazette Feb. 26, 1839

<To be sold by public auction, by Mr. Hammond, Auctioneer, Chancery-lane, at the Auction Mart, London, on Monday the 25th day of March next, by order of the assignees of Alfred Brodie, an insolvent; A contingent reversionary interest in one eleventh part of two sixteenth shares of the Times and Evening Mail Newspapers; and a like reversionary interest in one eleventh part of £444S 11s. 2d. £3 per Cent. Consols, and all accruing interests to the insolvent's estate on the above, subject to £2000 mortgage and interest.

Also a contingent annuity of £lOO per annum, being well secured on funded property, for the life of the said Alfred Brodie, aged about 29, payable during his life, in the event of his surviving his wife, who is aged about 45.> She was 53, in March 1839.

London Gazette, May 10, 1867:
(case reopened after his mother's death)

<A MEETING of the Creditors of Alfred Brodie, late of Pall Mall, St. James's, Middlesex, and of Eastbourne and Hastings, Sussex, Esq., known as Bathurst, deceased, an insolvent debtor, will be held at the office of the late Insolvent Debtors' Court, No. 5, Portugal-street, Lincoln's-inn, Middlesex, on Saturday, the 25th day of May, 1867>

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  Tabanus: His mother's share in The Times was divided by 11 children - probably not to make a living. I wonder why he died so young? Probably the most telling is missing from the bio. Btw, his wife (who was 23 years older than him) left £45000 when she died 12 years later.
Apr-28-13  IndigoViolet: <I wonder why he died so young? Probably the most telling is missing from the bio. Btw, his wife (who was 23 years older than him)>

Would have been more telling if she'd been 23 years younger.

His bio suggests he was one of those dilettante, slightly shonky Victorians who dabbled in business but lacked the head or hard work required to succeed. Many of the strongest amateurs in British chess of the time were clergymen, so that background might explain where he fostered his interest in the game.

Jun-10-16  zanzibar: Here is a case where the subscriber list makes a valid connection between the player and the rest of the biographical data.

Here is a comment by Staunton about Brodie's participation in the great 1851 tournament:

<It is proper to mention that Mr. Brodie chivalrously entered the lists as a provisional combatant, pending the arrival of Mr. Schumoff, who was hourly expected from St. Petersburgh ; and although he was unfortunate in being cast to play against so practised an antagonist, he sustained his place gallantly, and was not ingloriously defeated.>

TB G-9 p15/115 ff

Jun-10-16  zanzibar: And also:

<* To save the assembled players from delay and inconvenience, Mr. Kennedy, like Mr. Brodie, very handsomely volunteered his services, and consented to enter as the locum tenens of Major Jaenisch, who had engaged to be present at the outset, but was prevented.>

TB G-10 p18/117 ff

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Esq. Alfred Brodie gave 5 pounds, which is quite a lot, and more than most others.>

That was the requisite entrance fee to the main tournament. Staunton, Wyvill and the Kennedys subscribed additional amounts.

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