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Joseph Henry Blackburne
British Chess Magazine Vol 42 (1922)  
Number of games in database: 1,217
Years covered: 1861 to 1918

Overall record: +521 -276 =256 (61.6%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 164 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 French Defense (82) 
    C01 C11 C00 C14 C13
 Scotch Game (69) 
 Ruy Lopez (59) 
    C77 C65 C60 C67 C70
 Vienna Opening (52) 
    C25 C29 C26 C28 C27
 King's Gambit Accepted (46) 
    C39 C33 C38 C34 C36
 French (46) 
    C11 C00 C13 C10
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (90) 
    C01 C11 C00 C14 C02
 Ruy Lopez (59) 
    C61 C62 C66 C60 C77
 French (39) 
    C11 C00 C10 C13
 Sicilian (36) 
    B45 B40 B30 B23 B21
 Queen's Pawn Game (31) 
    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
   NN vs Blackburne, 1871 0-1
   Blackburne vs J Schwarz, 1881 1-0
   A Steinkuehler vs Blackburne, 1863 0-1
   Blackburne vs Mr. L, 1885 1-0
   Blackburne vs Blanchard, 1891 1-0
   Blackburne vs NN, 1894 1-0
   Bird vs Blackburne, 1886 0-1
   Blackburne vs Steinitz, 1883 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Berlin (1881)
   Vienna (1873)
   Nuremberg (1883)
   Manchester (1890)
   Frankfurt (1887)
   Hamburg (1885)
   Paris (1878)
   London (1883)
   Berlin (1897)
   6th American Chess Congress (1889)
   9th DSB Kongress, Leipzig (1894)
   Vienna (1882)
   London (1899)
   Breslau (1889)
   Hastings (1895)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Anderssen - Blackburne - Charousek - Fredthebear by fredthebear
   Anderssen, Blackburne, Charousek by monet11
   1870s - 1890s Classic Chess Principles Arise by fredthebear
   tactics 2 by tactics
   Annotations e4 Various Authorities & Fredthebear by fredthebear
   Blindfold Blackburne by ughaibu
   New York 1889 by suenteus po 147
   Challenger Blackburne by Gottschalk
   London 1883 by suenteus po 147
   London 1883 by JoseTigranTalFischer
   Vienna 1873 by JoseTigranTalFischer
   Vienna 1873 by suenteus po 147
   Vienna 1882 by suenteus po 147
   FAVORITE PLAYERS by gambitfan

   NN vs Blackburne, 1884
   NN vs Blackburne, 1871
   Blackburne vs NN, 1863
   A Steinkuehler vs Blackburne, 1863
   Blackburne vs Mr. L, 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.

 page 1 of 49; games 1-25 of 1,218  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. A Steinkuehler vs Blackburne 0-1241861ManchesterC44 King's Pawn Game
4. Blackburne vs E Pindar  1-0241861Casual GameC39 King's Gambit Accepted
5. Blackburne vs E Pindar  0-1411861Blackburne - Pindar m(3)C01 French, Exchange
6. Blackburne vs E Pindar  0-1291861Blackburne - Pindar m(1)B07 Pirc
7. E Pindar vs Blackburne  1-0201861Blackburne - Pindar m(1)C01 French, Exchange
8. E Pindar vs Blackburne  1-0391861Blackburne - Pindar m(1)A02 Bird's Opening
9. Blackburne vs E Pindar  0-1331861Blackburne - Pindar m(1)C36 King's Gambit Accepted, Abbazia Defense
10. E Pindar vs Blackburne  1-0261861Blackburne - Pindar m(1)A10 English
11. Blackburne vs E Pindar  ½-½481861Blackburne - Pindar m(2)C01 French, Exchange
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. Paulsen vs Blackburne 1-0501861Casual GameC15 French, Winawer
15. Blackburne vs Paulsen ½-½291861Casual GameC60 Ruy Lopez
16. Paulsen vs Blackburne 1-0331861Blindfold simul, 10bC00 French Defense
17. Blackburne vs Jetson 1-0191861Blindfold simul, 3bB40 Sicilian
18. Blackburne vs A Steinkuehler 1-0211862Manchester CC chC51 Evans Gambit
19. Blackburne vs E Pindar  ½-½421862Blackburne - Pindar m(3)C84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
20. Blackburne vs W Hamilton 1-0161862Blindfold simul, 4bC38 King's Gambit Accepted
21. Blackburne vs W Hamilton  0-1341862Blindfold simul, 7bC38 King's Gambit Accepted
22. Blackburne vs G Tegeler  1-0321862Blindfold simul, 10bC66 Ruy Lopez
23. Blackburne vs J B Payne 1-0301862Blindfold simul, 10bC45 Scotch Game
24. Blackburne vs S Wellington 1-0271862Manchester CC - Liverpool CCC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
25. S Wellington vs Blackburne  0-1281862Liverpool CC - Manchester CCC40 King's Knight Opening
 page 1 of 49; games 1-25 of 1,218  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 10 OF 10 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-08-18  zanzibar: <<Missy> But not enough to buy a copy.>

I know this is an attempt at a snarky-knock, but really, it's rather presumptuous of <Missy> to represent Dr. Harding.

The good doctor and I have a reciprocal relation - he's able to use my research, like the stone worker find.

But let's examine the role of <Missy> to complain about $$ or ¡ê¡ê ... given his complaining about <ChessBase> policies,

Nils Grandelius (kibitz #72)

or his outright solicitation of <CG> funding for personal gain,

Kibitzer's Café (kibitz #222074)
Santa Claus (kibitz #1881)
Karpov - Fischer World Championship Match (1975) (kibitz #3233)

or his unending reliance of <Tab> for genealogical research:

Biographer Bistro (kibitz #17487)
Biographer Bistro (kibitz #17238)
Biographer Bistro (kibitz #17059)

How could anyone think <MissS> was <Edward Winter> is a bit beyond me.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <The good doctor and I have a reciprocal relation - he's able to use my research, like the stone worker find.>

I saw this before and was going to let it pass, but isn't that my find?

Joseph Henry Blackburne (kibitz #182)

I don't know what your game is, but if you annoy me further I'm going to add you to my little black book just below <Edward Winter>.

Feb-10-18  zanzibar: <MissS> yes, I've updated my blog page to credit you making the find first.

I really only recalled <offramp>'s promise to visit the site from that period of time - and just stumbled across the original article again when doing some research on another topic.

My page didn't really have me making an original find, and while I'd normally put your posts at the top of the page, I think it reads better as is (especially given the fun little drawing of Blackburn aside the article).

Your attribution is at the bottom, in plain-view. Still wondering if Harding ever came across it, and just deemed it not worthy of inclusion, or not creditable enough.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: This guy never played Morphy I don't believe, was it for the same reasons as Steinitz? Didn't get really good until he was in his 30's?? Any help appreciated!
Apr-12-18  WorstPlayerEver: <Joshka>

Maybe Blackburne took up chess because of Morphy, I suppose. Because only after Morphy retired Blackburne became professionally interested in chess :)

Apr-12-18  Nosnibor: <Joshka> Blackburne was already in the world`s elite players in his late twenties finishing in third place at Baden-Baden in July 1870 beating Steinitz,De Vere,Paulsen,Winawer,etc. He was less than 18 when Morphy left England but there is no doubt that he was influenced by his blindfold play which he himself took up later.
Nov-28-18  Blue Morphine: I heard that Blackburne was a huge fan of Morphy. He was an amazing successor though. Not as accurate as morphy, but surely as stylish as him.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: I'm wondering what he was usually called apart from <Mr. Blackburne> and <Sir>. Did people just call him <Joe>?
Jan-13-19  zanzibar: <<The British Committee having charge of the testimonial for J. H. Blackburne, the celebrated English blindfold player, and who for many years was the chess champion of Great Britain, and who is now seventy years of age, having been born December 10, 1842, announce that they have made a definite arrangement whereby an annuity of £104 will be secured to Mr. and Mrs. Blackburn for their lives, on the death of either, the same amount will be paid to the survivor for his or her life. The trustee of this fund is Mr. A. Bonar Law, M. D., a member of Parliament. Certainly the trustees have made good disposition of this fund, as both Mr. and Mrs. Blackburne will now be absolutely secured from want for the balance of their days. >

Phil-Inq 1912-12-15 p6

(slightly edited)

Mar-15-19  Chessonly: The black death’s games
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Not only was Blackburne a chess professional (one whose main source of income was chess) for several decades - he was that rare bird who didn't rely on journalism or publishing for a substantial part of their income. Was he the only British player before the 1970s of whom that could be said? For this purpose, I exclude foreigh masters like Steinitz, Zukertort or Lasker who spent extended periods living in Britain.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jean Defuse: ...

<Displacement Chess>

Steinitz in 'The Field':

'The interesting game published below was played at the West End Chess Club between Messrs. Blackburne and Potter a fortnight ago, for a small prize offered by Mr. Ballard.

Both parties agreed to a displacement of the pieces,in order to waive all advantages from the knowledge of the openings, and it was therefore arranged that on both sides the Bishops should be placed on the Knights' squares, and the Knights on the squares of the Bishops.

We have adopted the usual notation, as if the pieces had been placed in the ordinary way.'


[Event "Displacement Chess"]
[Site "London, West End CC"]
[Date "1875.10.??"]
[White "Blackburne, Joseph Henry"]
[Black "Potter, William Norwood"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "

click for larger view


1. Ng3 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. Nf5 Ne6 4. b3 c3 5. d4 g6 6. d5 gxf5 7. dxe6 Qxd1+ 8. Kxd1 fxe6 9. Nd3 c6 10. f4 Bf7 11. Bd4 Rg8 12. g3 Nd6 13. Bxc3 Bc7 14. Ne5 Bh5 15. Bd3 O-O-O 16. Kc2 Ne4 17. Bc4 Rd6 18. Rhd1 Rgd8 19. Bb4 c5 20. Be1 Nf6 21. Bf2 Bb6 22. Rxd6 Rxd6 23. Rd1 Nd5 24. a3 a6 25. Kb2 Nc7 26. Rc1 Rd2+ 27. Kc3 Rd6 28. Kb2 Rd2+ 29. Kc3 1/2-1/2


Apr-01-19  Telemus: Steinitz's comments:
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jean Defuse: ...

This unknown Blackburne game was published by Bob Jones in 'Chess 2018 No. 06':

[Event "Simultaneous display (circa 1910)"]
[Site "Truro"]
[Date "1910.??.??"]
[White "Blackburne, Joseph Henry"]
[Black "Smith, William C"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C30"]
[Source "Chess 2018 #06"]

1. e4 e5 2. f4 f5 3. exf5 exf4 4. Qh5+ Ke7 5. Nf3 d6 6. Nc3 Nf6 7. Qg5 c6 8. d4 Ke8 9. Bxf4 Nbd7 10. O-O-O Ng8 11. Re1+ Ne7 12. Qh5+ g6 13. fxg6 Bg7 14. gxh7+ Kf8 15. Ng5 Ne5 16. Bxe5 Qe8 17. Qf3+ Bf5 18. Bxd6 Qg6 19. Bxe7+ Ke8 20. Bf6+ Kd7 21. Re7+ Kc8 22. Qf4 1-0

The story about the score-sheet can be found in the PDF example on page 5-6:


Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Why are you posting it here? How many more times have I got to tell you people!?
Aug-30-19  Chesgambit: blackburne find exchange sacrfice idea ( in opening) still computer can't solved
Italian game two knight defense , knight attack blackburne varition strong chess player ( but made some blunders :D It's normal)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: <Jean Defuse> maybe the earliest example of a FRC game.
Dec-10-19  Nosnibor: There is no mention in Tim Harding`s biography of a simul given by Blackburne on October 12th 1910 in Leicester where he played 21 players.He lost one game to Dr. H.Mason, the first Leicestershire champion,drew 10 and won 10.Blackburne`s fee was two guineas (£2.20) which was confirmed in his letter dated September16th 1910 from his address at39 Stillness Road,Forest Hill,S.E.He was a very busy person because shortly before this he had played some games with Gunsberg and on the 13th October he was playing a simul in Coventry.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Blackburne`s fee was two guineas (£2.20)>

£2.10, methinks.

Such snippets from the archives are always welcome, but are there any unpublished games scores of, say, Henry Atkins?

Dec-10-19  Nosnibor: <MissScarlett> I have managed to trace an unpublished game from 1911.This was a simul Atkins played against Victor Lovell whilst contesting 21 other boards. The game was drawn following a Vienna Opening in 35 moves. I will submit the game if it is of interest.
Dec-10-19  Nosnibor: <MissScarlett> Since my last post I have discovered another game between the same opponents which was played on the 19th November 1908 whereby Atkins gave the odds of a Rook and won in 46 moves.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <I will submit the game if it is of interest.> Do it!
Dec-11-19  Nosnibor: <MissScarlett> Below is the game first mentioned which mistakenly I had said was a draw but in fact Atkins won it in 38 moves. ["Event: Simultaneous Display"]
["Site: Leicestershire Chess Club"]
["Date: 29/04/1911"]
["Result 1-0"]
["ECO C26"]
Dec-11-19  Nosnibor: <MissScarlett> Further to the Atkins-Lovell game 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.d3 d6 5.f4 Nc6 6.f5 Na5 7.Bg5 Nxc4 8.dxc4 c6 9.Qd2 Bb6 10.Nge2 Qe7 11.0-0-0 Bc7 12.Ng3 g6 13.Rdf1 Rf8 14.Rf2 Bd8 15.Rd1 Qc7 16.c5 dxc5 17.Qxd8+ Qxd8 18.Rxd8+ Kxd8 19.Bxf6 Ke8 20.Bxe5 f6 21.Bd6 Rf1 22.Bxc5 b6 23.Bd6 Bb7 24.e5 fxe5 25.f6 Rd8 26.Bxe5 c5 27.h4 Rfd7 28.h5 Bd5 29.b3 Kf8 30.hxg6 hxg6 31.Nxd5 Rxd5 32.Bc3 b5 33.a3 Rd1+ 34.Kb2 Rg1 35.b4 c4 36.Ne4 Re8 37.Ng5 Rd1 38.f7 Resigns 1-0 [Source: Lovells personal chess records.]
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Have you submitted it?
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