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James Swain Mucklow
Number of games in database: 10
Years covered: 1851
Overall record: +2 -8 =0 (20.0%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

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B21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4 (2 games)
A13 English (2 games)

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(born Jan-19-1820, died 1897, 77 years old) United Kingdom

[what is this?]
James Mucklow was born in Finsbury, London, as the son of oilman, gentleman and traveller Thomas Mucklow (1782-1842) and Jane Swain (1789-1862), who came together in 1815. In 1844 he married Ann Smith (1821-1896) from Dunham, Cheshire, daughter of a grocer. They ran a successful business in the Manchester area for some years, with him as an artist and pattern designer, until a bankruptcy in 1868 made them enter the plant nursery business. They had four children.

He played in the London (1851) tournament, where he was permitted to enter as provisional competitor. He also had printed a few chess problems.

Main sources: Chess Player's Chronicle vol. 14 (p. 60), 17 (p. 127) and 19 (p. 128), The Chess Congress of 1862 (p. 427), The London Gazette (May 8, 1868), and censuses and church records. Note: this bio is partly based on circumstantial evidence.

 page 1 of 1; 10 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. J S Mucklow vs E S Kennedy 1-0621851LondonD00 Queen's Pawn Game
2. E S Kennedy vs J S Mucklow 0-1431851LondonB44 Sicilian
3. J S Mucklow vs H Kennedy 0-1351851LondonA40 Queen's Pawn Game
4. E Williams vs J S Mucklow 1-0771851LondonB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
5. J S Mucklow vs E Williams 0-1441851LondonA13 English
6. E Williams vs J S Mucklow 1-0381851LondonB30 Sicilian
7. J S Mucklow vs E Williams 0-1291851LondonC02 French, Advance
8. H Kennedy vs J S Mucklow 1-0441851LondonB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
9. J S Mucklow vs H Kennedy 0-1201851LondonA13 English
10. H Kennedy vs J S Mucklow 1-0431851LondonD10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Mucklow wins | Mucklow loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-26-12  Cibator: Hard to say, <offramp>: both he and Mucklow (not to mention one or two others) have proved very difficult subjects for researchers. See the following thread on the English Chess Forum:

Several of the worst performers at the 1851 tournament were in fact promoted from a lesser event held alongside it. This was done to fill up places left vacant by stronger players who were unable to attend. (The knockout format used for the tourney wouldn't have worked otherwise.)

Jun-26-12  sneaky pete: "To save the assembled players from delay and inconvenience, Mr. Kennedy, like Mr. Brodie [who played "pending the arrival of Mr. Schumoff" the first round match against Staunton - sp], 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.

Mr. Mucklow, however, a player never heard of, even, until his appearance in the lists, came, like the redoubted <Gow Chrom>, "to fight on his own hand", an act, considering the repute of the combatants, and his own utter inexperience, which was thought more valorous than discreet. As the field was open to every one, and he persisted in refusing the advice of those who wished him rather to join the Provincial lances, there was no help for it."

Staunton in the tournament book. How then could this man win his two games against Kennedy? Staunton explains in a note to Kennedy's 17.Be4? .. in the second game: "These games must not be taken as any test of the relative strength of the two combatants. In his ordinary play, Mr. Kennedy is rarely guilty of the errors which, worn out by the intolerable and incredible slowness of his adversary, he fell into in this match."

Staunton missed his true calling, he should have become a politician. I don't know what < Gow Chrom> is, maybe an early version of Google Chrome.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <sneaky pete>

Apparently a heroic blacksmith in the Waverly novels.

Jun-26-12  Calli: G.H. Diggle explained that the inclusion of Mucklow and others was due to the London CC. They hated Staunton, refused to subscribe to the tournament and its members like Harrwitz did not particpate. See C.N. 7705
Jun-27-12  offramp: ...which was the article that brought me here in the first place LOL!
Jun-27-12  thomastonk: The Chess Player's Chronicle published in 1856 a consultation game of Mucklow and Wilkinson against Johann Jacob Loewenthal, where Mucklow is called "the leading amateur of that time of Oxford city". The game was played in Oxford in December 1851.

Again in the Chess Player's Chronicle, this time 1859, a game "lately played at the PHILIDORIAN" between Mucklow and Franciscus G Janssens is given.

My database of old games claims that the initial "J" stands for "James", but I don't know on which basis.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: <Cibator: Hard to say, <offramp>: both he and Mucklow (not to mention one or two others) have proved very difficult subjects for researchers. See the following thread on the English Chess Forum:>

There, a Richard James says

<IGI gives two Mucklow brothers, the sons of Thomas and Jane, both baptised at St Luke Old Street, Finsbury:

Thomas Patrick Mucklow born 15 Oct 1815 christened 24 Dec 1815 James Swain Mucklow born 19 Jan 1820 christened 5 Mar 1820>

This Thomas died in 1816 according to London Death Records. But the same parents have a son "Thomas" baptized 15 Jan. 1819 in Monier Street, Middlesex (= near Finsbury). This will be Thomas <Percival> Mucklow 1819 (possibly 1818) - 1872, the chemist and druggist. And chess player, I believe.

On "J. R." we have a baptism document saying <James Swain Daughter of> Thomas and Jane, born 19 Jan. 1820 in Chiswell Street, Finsbury. And what more, hmm..

Apr-16-13  Calli: The London 1862 tournament book has problems by James Mucklow of Manchester.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: <Calli> Thanks.

Thomas Mucklow and Catharine Swain married 10 Jun 1810 in Shoreditch, London. As if that helps :/

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: Well, the James Swain Mucklow born 19 Jan. 1820 in Finsbury, London, can be traced in the censuses (under the name James Mucklow (no middle name) and born in Finsbury or London):

1891 Nurseryman in Flixton, Lancashire

1881 Nurseryman & Florist in Flixton, Lancashire

1871 Independent in St Michael (Flixton), Lancashire

1861 Artist & Designer in Altrincham, Cheshire

1851 Pattern Designer in Elton, Lancashire

1841 Designer in Bury, Lancashire

These are all places within <Manchester>, where the chess player James came from. His elder brother is Thomas Percival Mucklow born 1818/1819, also in Finsbury London.

The original parish register leaves out "Percival", and presumably also the "R." in James (R) Mucklow. Instead it has James <Swain> which would be the mother's surname.

Is this our man?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: <Calli: The London 1862 tournament book has problems by James Mucklow of Manchester.>

<James Mucklow, Esq. of Manchester>, even. Must be him.

The book of 1851 gives only <Mr. Mucklow>, no initials?

Apr-17-13  DoctorD: It must not, but could be.

The chess problem database Meso has two problems by a JP Mucklow, which could further complicate matters,

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: <DoctorD> Thanks. I have now found a piece about Elijah Williams in the Chess Player's Chronicle vol. IV New Series (1856), and on the London (1851) tournament we read:

<In the second round, Mr. Williams defeated <Mr. James Mucklow>, the winner scoring 4 games, the loser none.> (page 127)

In vol. 1 for 1853 (printed 1854) we read:

<Mr Mucklow must not be confused with the player - a near relative of his - who took part in the tournament of 1851, and who is very inferior to the Oxford player.>

I now consider it pretty certain that we have James Mucklow from Manchester playing in London 1851, and his brother Thomas Percival Mucklow residing in Oxford.

Any protest?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: <DoctorD: The chess problem database Meso has two problems by a JP Mucklow> Not an original source, but I find also in Chess Player's Chronicle vol. 19 for 1860 (printed 1861) p. 128:

<Mr. J. P. Mucklow>, and the index has <Mucklow, J. P. Esq.>

Apr-18-13  Calli: This is certainly "James Mucklow", the amateur from Manchester/Lancashire. The mystery is where the "R" in "J R Mucklow" came from. There seems to be no 19th century references to such a player. "J R" is in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Chess Games (1981), but they source his games back to Staunton. And we know Staunton only used the surname. Curious! I guess Richard James is suggesting the initial may actually be "S" for Swain.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: <Calli> Yes, he says <My guess is that it's the same person and that either J.R. was a misprint for J.S. which everyone else copied or that he changed his middle name.>

There are four different "Jane Swain" born around 1780-90. It was not uncommon to put the mother's surname as a middle name in the parish book of births. I bet the mother's name was Jane Swain, but there exists no marriage record of Thomas and Jane, except that he married <Catharine> Swain in 1810. My guess is that Thomas and Catharine had no children, then he went with Jane Swain (possibly a sister) and they got 8 children between 1815 and 1827.

A mysterious "Catharine Mucklow" gets married elsewhere in England in 1811 and 1815.

Thomas Mucklow (the father) died in 1842 at St Luke, Finsbury London. At the birth of his children he is called "Traveller", "Oilman", "Gentleman" (twice), "Commercial Agent", and "Independent". There is also a newspaper referring to "Mr. Mucklow, the oilman of London". Apparently a businessman, in making and/or selling perfumes?

<Thi 26 Aug 1827 Letitia Allport d> = baptised, in Yorkshire, daughter of <Thomas & Jane Mucklow of No. 36 Great George Street, Liverpool, commercial traveller> In Liverpool??

The same (?) couple also baptised <Letitia Allpat Mucklow 11 Oct 1824 York, Yorkshire Father's Name: Thomas Mucklow Mother's Name: Jane>, and no record of the death of that child.

Not to mention that incredibly many Mucklow's were both in Manchester around that time with a "Thomas Mucklow" as father.

There is a "Jane Swain" who died in 1868 at St Luke, Finsbury London, the birthplace of James Swain Mucklow. Normally her name would be "Jane Mucklow" then, but perhaps she took her old name back.

I searched for hours through looking for "J. R." and "J. P." Mucklow, but none. No James R. or James P. either. It is still possible that James added a middle name (of R. or P.) himself, like his brother Thomas added "Percival" to his name. (Possibly even as a remembrance of Thomas Patrick born 1815 and died 1816.)

I assume the name is James. And will finally try to find other "James Mucklow" candidates than the one born in Finsbury 1820.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: <Not to mention that incredibly many Mucklow's were both in Manchester around that time with a "Thomas Mucklow" as father.> I mean <born> in Manchester.

Well I find a Thomas Mucklow in 1827 Liverpool, <commission agent, 57>, thus 10 years older than "our" Thomas Mucklow.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: Ok, I find James Mucklow's born in 1797, 1800, 1803, 1810, 1813, 1818, 1820, 1820 (our man), 1824, 1829, and 1830. None with middle name of R. or P., and none living in Manchester (Lancashire and Cheshire) except our man.

James Mucklow marriages: 1821, 1832, 1840, 1842, 1844 (our man), 1846, 1851, 1854, 1862, and 1870. None with middle name of R. or P., and none living in Manchester (Lancashire and Cheshire) except our man.

Censuses: only one James Mucklow in "Manchester", and he is worthy of an "esq." as he is independent artist and designer.

This James Mucklow has a "near relative" (brother) named "T. P. Mucklow" (Thomas "Percival" Mucklow) who lived in Oxford and who played chess.

Conclusion: James Swain Mucklow. I'll write a short bio if no objections.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <oilman, gentleman and traveller Thomas Mucklow (1782-1842)>

Is that a polite way of saying gypsy, tramp, and thief? Seems early for the oil business.

<Thomas Mucklow (1782-1842) and Jane Swain (1789-1862), who came together in 1815>

This kind of smut is inappropriate for a family site.

Jan-06-14  Karpova: <to come together> =

1. <to start to be good or effective because different parts are combining well>

2. <if people or groups come together, they meet or join in order to do something>


This does not appear to be "smut" (the Urban Dictionary doesn't even know it: )

It's quite likely, that the Bio was not written by a native speaker. I guess that not a business relationship is meant, so what would you suggest instead, <keypusher>? Perhaps <found each other> or <started a relationship>?

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Karpova>

I was joking, but it was a bad joke. Apologies to you and tabanus. It does appear that a marriage is meant.

And oilman was how he was listed in the paper, I see. Very curious.

Jan-06-14  offramp: Well I thought it was funny!

There's something else slightly funny in the bio:

<... a bankruptcy in 1868 made them enter the plant nursery business. They had four children.>

I wonder if the children were vegetative?

Jan-19-16  TheFocus: Happy birthday, James Mucklow.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: The Era, March 13th 1859, p.13:

<T. P. M. - We are requested to state that the Mr. Mucklow mentioned in the columns of a contemporary, as so anxious to play the champion of the Chess world, is not the Mr. Mucklow so well-known in the metropolitan Chess circles.>

<T. P. M.> evidently stands for <Thomas Percival Mucklow>, and not, as I first surmised, <To Paul Morphy>.

Dec-09-22  DataFly: I'm not convinced that James Swain Mucklow and Thomas (Percival) Mucklow were brothers. I think they might have been cousins.

I'm still putting together the evidence for this, but it is based on the fact that James Mucklow was at the household of Emma Hockley, nee Mucklow, in Elton, Lancashire, in the 1851 census. In the census form he is described as a cousin of the head of the house.

I can find two different Janes, Jane Swain and Jane Patrick, who seem to have married different people called Thomas Mucklow. What I don't really understand is how these Thomas Mucklows can be brothers! It might be that the Thomas Mucklows were themselves cousins and that James and Emma in the 1851 census were second cousins.

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