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Joseph Henry Blackburne
British Chess Magazine Vol 42 (1922)  
Number of games in database: 1,415
Years covered: 1861 to 1918

Overall record: +525 -292 =262 (60.8%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 336 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 French Defense (108) 
    C01 C11 C00 C14 C13
 Scotch Game (81) 
 Vienna Opening (73) 
    C25 C29 C28 C27 C26
 King's Gambit Accepted (71) 
    C39 C33 C38 C34 C36
 Evans Gambit (67) 
    C51 C52
 Ruy Lopez (60) 
    C77 C65 C60 C67 C70
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (93) 
    C01 C11 C00 C14 C02
 Ruy Lopez (61) 
    C61 C62 C66 C71 C60
 French (41) 
    C11 C00 C10 C13
 Sicilian (37) 
    B45 B73 B40 B21 B22
 Queen's Pawn Game (36) 
    D02 D00 D05 A46 A45
 Scandinavian (25) 
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   NN vs Blackburne, 1884 0-1
   Blackburne vs NN, 1863 1-0
   Blackburne vs J Schwarz, 1881 1-0
   A Steinkuehler vs Blackburne, 1863 0-1
   NN vs Blackburne, 1871 0-1
   Blackburne vs Blanchard, 1891 1-0
   Blackburne vs Leverson, 1885 1-0
   Blackburne vs Steinitz, 1883 1-0
   Blackburne vs A Muller, 1894 1-0
   M Weiss vs Blackburne, 1889 0-1

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Berlin (1881)
   Vienna (1873)
   Hamburg (1885)
   Nuremberg (1883)
   Frankfurt (1887)
   Manchester (1890)
   Paris (1878)
   London (1883)
   6th American Chess Congress (1889)
   9th DSB Kongress, Leipzig (1894)
   London (1904)
   Vienna (1882)
   London (1899)
   Ostend-B (1907)
   Hastings (1895)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Anderssen - Blackburne - Charousek - Fredthebear by fredthebear
   Anderssen, Blackburne, Charousek by monet11
   Challenger Blackburne by Gottschalk
   y1870s - 1890s Classic Chess Principles Arise by fredthebear
   Annotations e4 Various Authorities & Fredthebear by fredthebear
   taxes II burne by fredthebear
   tactics 2 by tactics
   Annotations e4 Various Authorities & Fredthebear by Patca63
   Annotations e4 Various Authorities & Fredthebear by mneuwirth
   Blindfold Blackburne by irrawang
   Blindfold Blackburne by ughaibu
   New York 1889 by suenteus po 147
   London 1883 by JoseTigranTalFischer
   London 1883 by suenteus po 147

   NN vs Blackburne, 1884
   NN vs Blackburne, 1871
   Blackburne vs NN, 1863
   A Steinkuehler vs Blackburne, 1863
   Blackburne vs Leverson, 1885

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Joseph Henry Blackburne
Search Google for Joseph Henry Blackburne

(born Dec-10-1841, died Sep-01-1924, 82 years old) United Kingdom

[what is this?]

Joseph Henry Blackburne was born in Chorlton, Manchester. He came to be known as "The Black Death". He enjoyed a great deal of success giving blindfold and simultaneous exhibitions. Tournament highlights include first place with Wilhelm Steinitz at Vienna 1873, first at London 1876, and first at Berlin 1881 ahead of Johannes Zukertort. In matchplay he lost twice to Steinitz and once to Emanuel Lasker. He fared a little better with Zukertort (Blackburne - Zukertort (1881)) and Isidor Gunsberg, by splitting a pair of matches, and defeating Francis Joseph Lee, ( Blackburne - Lee (1890) ). One of the last successes of his career was at the age of 72, when he tied for first place with Fred Dewhirst Yates at the 1914 British Championship.

In his later years, a subscription by British chess players provided an annuity of £100 (approx £4,000 in 2015 value), and a gift of £250 on his 80th birthday.

In 1923 he suffered a stroke, and the next year he died of a heart attack.

Note: Blackburne played on the teams of Steinitz / Bird / Blackburne, Blackburne / Bird / MacDonnell, Bird / Blackburne, Blackburne / Aloof, Steinitz / Blackburne, Blackburne / Steinitz / De Vere, Blackburne / Potter, Blackburne / Horace Chapman & Joseph Henry Blackburne / Allies.

Wikipedia article: Joseph Henry Blackburne

1 Source: Grantham Journal - Saturday 17 December 1921, p.3.

Last updated: 2020-07-11 05:57:56

 page 1 of 57; games 1-25 of 1,420  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Blackburne vs E Pindar  0-1211861Casual gameC36 King's Gambit Accepted, Abbazia Defense
2. Blackburne vs E Pindar  1-0341861Blackburne - Pindar m(2)C01 French, Exchange
3. Blackburne vs E Pindar  0-1411861Blackburne - Pindar m(3)C01 French, Exchange
4. A Steinkuehler vs Blackburne 0-1241861Casual gameC44 King's Pawn Game
5. Blackburne vs E Pindar  1-0241861Casual gameC39 King's Gambit Accepted
6. Blackburne vs C Stanley ½-½281861Casual gameC45 Scotch Game
7. E Pindar vs Blackburne  1-0391861Blackburne - Pindar m(1)A02 Bird's Opening
8. E Pindar vs Blackburne 1-0201861Blackburne - Pindar m(1)C01 French, Exchange
9. Blackburne vs E Pindar  0-1291861Blackburne - Pindar m(1)B07 Pirc
10. Blackburne vs E Pindar  0-1331861Blackburne - Pindar m(1)C36 King's Gambit Accepted, Abbazia Defense
11. E Pindar vs Blackburne  1-0261861Blackburne - Pindar m(1)A10 English
12. E Pindar vs Blackburne  0-1401861Blackburne - Pindar m(2)A03 Bird's Opening
13. E Pindar vs Blackburne  0-1491861Blackburne - Pindar m(2)A20 English
14. Blackburne vs E Pindar  ½-½481861Blackburne - Pindar m(2)C01 French, Exchange
15. Blackburne vs C Stanley ½-½271861Casual gameC33 King's Gambit Accepted
16. Paulsen vs Blackburne 1-0511861Casual gameC15 French, Winawer
17. Blackburne vs Paulsen ½-½291861Casual gameC60 Ruy Lopez
18. Paulsen vs Blackburne 1-0331861Blindfold simul, 10bC00 French Defense
19. Blackburne vs Jebson 1-0191861Blindfold simul, 3bB40 Sicilian
20. Blackburne vs E Pindar  ½-½421862Blackburne - Pindar m(3)C84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
21. Blackburne vs A Steinkuehler 1-0211862Manchester CC chC51 Evans Gambit
22. C Stanley vs Blackburne  0-1321862Casual gameC44 King's Pawn Game
23. La Fontaine vs Blackburne  0-1251862Casual gameC24 Bishop's Opening
24. Blackburne vs La Fontaine  1-0151862Casual gameC24 Bishop's Opening
25. Blackburne vs Harley 1-0201862Odds game000 Chess variants
 page 1 of 57; games 1-25 of 1,420  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Blackburne wins | Blackburne loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 11 OF 11 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-28-19  Carrots and Pizza: Blackburne was such a great chess player. What a tactician! He was capable of beating anyone on a given day, had a wealth of experience and a strong will to win. I wonder why he was never world champion, even if just for a little while.
Mar-26-20  Jean Defuse: ...

Two wins by the "Black Death" against George Alcock MacDonnell from my database - without date and occasion:


[White "MacDonnell, George Alcock"]
[Black "Blackburne, Joseph Henry"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A16"]

1. c4 d5 2. cxd5 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nxd5 4. e4 Nxc3 5. bxc3 e5 6. Bc4 Bd6 7. Ne2 O-O 8. O-O Nc6 9. d4 Qe7 10. f3 Kh8 11. Kh1 f5 12. Bd3 exd4 13. cxd4 Nxd4 14. Nxd4 Qe5 15. Bf4 Qxf4 16. g3 Qh6 17. f4 fxe4 18. Bxe4 Bh3 19. Bxb7 Rab8 20. Bg2 Bxg2+ 21. Kxg2 Rb2+ 22. Nc2 Qg6 23. Rf2 Qe4+ 24. Qf3 Qxf3+ 25. Kxf3 g5 26. Re2 gxf4 27. g4 Kg7 28. Nd4 Rxe2 29. Nxe2 Re8 30. Nd4 Re3+ 31. Kf2 Ra3 32. Nf5+ Kf6 33. Nxd6 cxd6 34. h4 d5 35. Rd1 Ke5 36. Re1+ Kd6 37. Re2 Rh3 38. Re8 Rxh4 39. Kf3 h5 40. Ra8 hxg4+ 41. Kxf4 g3+ 42. Kxg3 Ra4 43. Rd8+ Kc5 44. Rc8+ Kd4 45. Rc2 Ke3 46. Rc7 d4 47. Re7+ Kd2 48. Re4 Ra3+ 49. Kf4 d3 50. Rd4 Kd1 51. Ke3 d2+ 52. Kf2 Rxa2 0-1


[White "MacDonnell, George Alcock"]
[Black "Blackburne, Joseph Henry"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C32"]

1. f4 e5 2. e4 d5 3. exd5 e4 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. d3 Bb4 6. dxe4 Nxe4 7. Qd4 Qe7 8. Be3 O-O 9. Bd3 Nxc3 10. bxc3 Bxc3+ 11. Qxc3 Qxe3+ 12. Ne2 Re8 13. Qd2 Qc5 14. O-O-O Bg4 15. Rde1 Nd7 16. h3 Bxe2 17. Rxe2 Rxe2 18. Bxe2 Nb6 19. Bf3 Qa3+ 20. Kb1 Nc4 21. Qd4 b5 22. Rd1 Rd8 23. Rd3 Qb4+ 24. Kc1 Qe1+ 25. Rd1 Qa5 26. Kb1 Qb4+ 27. Kc1 c5 28. Qa1 Ne3 29. Qe5 Qa3+ 30. Kb1 Nxd1 31. Bxd1 c4 32. c3 Kf8 33. Qd4 Qd6 34. Bf3 Qb6 35. Qxb6 axb6 36. Kb2 Ra8 37. d6 Rd8 38. Ka3 Rxd6 39. Kb4 Rd2 40. Kxb5 Rxa2 41. Kxc4 Ra5 42. Bd5 Ke7 43. Kd4 f6 44. g4 Kd6 45. Be4 h6 46. h4 g5 47. hxg5 hxg5 48. fxg5 fxg5 49. Bf5 Ra4+ 50. Kd3 Ke5 51. Bd7 Rf4 52. Bc8 Rf7 53. Ba6 Rc7 54. Bc4 Rh7 55. Ba6 Kf4 56. Bc8 Rc7 57. Be6 Rc6 58. Bf5 Ke5 59. Kd2 Rf6 60. Bc8 Rf3 61. Kc2 Kd6 62. Kd2 Kc5 63. Bb7 Rg3 64. Bc8 Kd5 65. Kc2 Re3 66. Kb3 Kc5 67. Kc2 Kc4 68. Ba6+ b5 69. Kb2 Re2+ 70. Ka3 Re6 71. Bc8 Re8 72. Bd7 Re7 73. Bc6 Kxc3 74. Bxb5 Ra7+ 75. Ba4 Ra8 0-1


<Does anyone know when and where these games were played?>


Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Why do I get the feeling this is directed at me?
Mar-26-20  Jean Defuse: Not only - but yes ;-)
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: I shall submit both games with the requisite data.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Here you go: G MacDonnell vs Blackburne, 1887

G MacDonnell vs Blackburne, 1886

Mar-26-20  Jean Defuse: thanks a lot!
Nov-22-20  Nosnibor: In Harding`s excellent biography of Blackburne there appears to be a mistake with the death certificate. It states his age at date of death 83 years but this of course should be 82. This was not picked up by Tim Harding who is usually so meticulous in his writings.
Jan-04-21  ColdSong: Blackburne is an heavyweight in chess history.Just look at these wins with the best players(Imo) of his time.Anderssen,+3,Steinitz,+9,Neumann,+1,Paulsen- ,+6,Zukertort,+15,Gunsberg,+17,Chigorin,+6,Weiss- ,+4,Tarrasch,+4,Burn,+3,Schlechter,+3,Janowski,+- 2,Teichmann,+3,Lasker,+2,Pillsbury,+5,Marshall,+- 3,Nimzowitsch,+1.I apologize if I (most probably)only repeat it,but it can be useful for everybody.
Mar-22-21  Nosnibor: According to Harding Blackburne played a simultaneous at the Victoria Coffee House in Leicester on the 24th November 1893 where he states that he played 20 players. Of these he lost two to Dr. Mason and Dr.Finch and drew one against E.H.Collier. However he won 11 games and not 14. The victims being A.A. Cooper, A. Pickard, A.A. Allnutt, T Carter, T.Underwood. Councillor W. Stanyon, J. Coy, A.F.Atkins, Israel Hart ( Mayor of Leicester ), Alderman R. P. Swain, and Councillor H.P. Rogers. (Source: "Leicester Mercury" 25/11/1893.)
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Has there ever been a reasonable guesstimate made as to how many simultaneous exhibition games Blackburne played in his long career?
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: On Blackburne's last years, Harding has (p.503):

<Alekhine visited Blackburne on Sunday 14 October 1923, reported Brian Harley the following weekend in <The Observer>; "it was a great meeting." Also the <Oxford Dictionary of National Biography> says that in the fall of 1922 Capablanca visited Blackburne at his bedside.>

Harding, the word is <autumn>.

Aug-27-21  login:

@GC Joseph Henry Blackburne (kibitz #248)

Still counting

1 of many (not yet in the DB)

Ats us nai,


wee chess in Belfast is back on map.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: I'll be damned if there's another 600 Blackburne games hiding out there.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Here's a couple from a blindfold simul in Reigate, Surrey, in December 1898:

Blackburne vs NN, 1898

Blackburne vs NN, 1898

This display is missing from the list in Harding's biography (pp. 529-532). It's mentioned in the <Croydon Observer> on December 2nd that Blackburne is coming, and on December 23rd, that's he's been and gone, but nothing in between that I can see.

Sep-19-22  Nosnibor: >MissScarlet> I am sure that there is another 600 games of Blackburne hiding somewhere. One of these is from the B.C.A. Handicap Tournament 1868/69 where he lost as black to H.J.S. Selfe in an odds game with a pawn and two moves start.
Dec-02-22  DataFly: Tim Harding's book about Blackburne says that it was Blackburne who gave the odds in his loss to Henry James Selfe Selfe (the artist formally known as Henry James Selfe Page). This is on page 60.

On page 511 it suggests that Blackburne was White, i.e. moved first, which wouldn't really make sense if he gave Selfe a two move head start.

I'm just basing this on the preview of the pages on Google. I don't own Harding's book.

Dec-02-22  Nosnibor: <DataFly> I own a copy of the said book and I believe that page 511 stating that Blackburne was White is an error which was overlooked before publication. Generally speaking Harding undertook an ardous task and produced a marvellous biography and games collection.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <I own a copy of the said book and I believe that page 511 stating that Blackburne was White is an error which was overlooked before publication.>

It's not an error because Blackburne is the first name in all the match-ups - including other pawn and move(s) games - given on page 511, so colour is not being indicated.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Here's the Selfe game: Henry Selfe vs Blackburne, 1868

Without the null move (which I'll add shortly) it can be viewed using Olga.

Dec-02-22  stone free or die: Just curious, but what was the last year where White could have the black pieces (and Black the white pieces)?

At one time it wasn't so uncommon.


Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: 1880.
Dec-03-22  stone free or die: Do we have a source for that? Hopefully with the game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: I suspect this article was in play:
Dec-03-22  stone free or die: Thanks <MIssy>, that is a highly relevant article.

It could be in play, or maybe not, though.

I still wonder who (and where) the "early writers" were who promoted the White first-move standard.


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