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James A Leonard
J A Leonard 
Brentano's Chess Monthly, November 1881, p. 320
Photograph courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Number of games in database: 22
Years covered: 1860 to 1862
Overall record: +17 -4 =1 (79.5%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

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Most played openings
C51 Evans Gambit (3 games)
C01 French, Exchange (3 games)
C53 Giuoco Piano (2 games)
C21 Center Game (2 games)
C52 Evans Gambit (2 games)

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(born Nov-06-1841, died Sep-26-1862, 20 years old) Ireland (federation/nationality United States of America)

[what is this?]
James A. Leonard grew up in New York, NY, USA. Even as a young man he was considered to be one of America's great chess talents.

He enlisted on the side of the Union in the American Civil War in Company F., 88 N.Y. Volunteers, an Irish regiment. He was captured by the Confederate Army and died of dysentery while being held prisoner in Annapolis, Maryland.

Wikipedia article: James A. Leonard

 page 1 of 1; 22 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. J A Leonard vs Lecour  1-0191860New YorkC51 Evans Gambit
2. James Thompson vs J A Leonard  0-1271860New YorkC21 Center Game
3. O Michaelis vs J A Leonard 0-1201860New YorkC53 Giuoco Piano
4. J A Leonard vs Frank Perry  1-0191860New YorkC27 Vienna Game
5. Loyd vs J A Leonard  0-1191860New YorkC77 Ruy Lopez
6. J A Leonard vs J P Barnett  1-0261860New YorkC52 Evans Gambit
7. J A Leonard vs L Mark 1-0371860New YorkC50 Giuoco Piano
8. J A Leonard vs Loyd  0-1331860New YorkC01 French, Exchange
9. P Richardson vs J A Leonard  ½-½411860New YorkC38 King's Gambit Accepted
10. W Horner vs J A Leonard 0-1211860Third Free HandicapTournament New YorkC53 Giuoco Piano
11. J A Leonard vs T Loyd 1-0311861New York, USAC52 Evans Gambit
12. J A Leonard vs W Thomas 1-0351861Philadelphia, USAC41 Philidor Defense
13. J A Leonard vs J Leonard 1-081861New YorkA41 Queen's Pawn Game (with ...d6)
14. W Thomas vs J A Leonard 1-0281861MatchB01 Scandinavian
15. N Marache vs J A Leonard 0-12218613rd Free Handicap TournamentC55 Two Knights Defense
16. J A Leonard vs J Elson 1-0301861MatchC30 King's Gambit Declined
17. J A Leonard vs W Dwight  1-0371861MatchC01 French, Exchange
18. J A Leonard vs W Dwight  0-1321861Match gameC01 French, Exchange
19. W Dwight vs J A Leonard 1-0151861Casual GameC51 Evans Gambit
20. J A Leonard vs Matthews 1-0221861blindfold exhC51 Evans Gambit
21. J A Leonard vs Hoffman  1-0311861New York BlindfoldC21 Center Game
22. J A Leonard vs C A Gilberg  1-0251862Simultaneous blindfold exhibitionC70 Ruy Lopez
 page 1 of 1; 22 games  PGN Download 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Leonard wins | Leonard loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-17-07  Karpova:

James A. Leonard was considered to be one of the most promising chessplayers the USA ever produced. He was born on 6 November 1841 and died in late Septmeber 1862.

That's what James D. Séguin had to say about him:
<With the admitted exception of the king of chess kings, our own Paul Morphy, Pillsbury assuredly stands as the finest exponent of the game that America has yet produced – unless perhaps on a plane with him may be placed the natural (though never fairly developed) capacity of that remarkable if erratic and early eclipsed genius of the early sixties, James Leonard, of New York, whose life so soon disappeared amid the smoke and gloom of battle in the great Civil War. But, of course, lack of opportunity to attain development of genius on Leonard’s side precludes fair comparison in this instance> July 1906 American Chess Bulletin (page 127), a tribute to Pillsbury reprinted from the New Orleans Times-Democrat

And here's more on his tragic death:
<‘Moved in an evil hour – by what mocking friend we know not - he enlisted on 1 February 1862 to Company F., 88 N.Y. Volunteers, an Irish Regiment. He was in the battle of Fair Oaks, and in the seven days’ battles, till that of Savage’s Station where he was captured. Though detained less than three months, so ill would his frame bear the unavoidable hardships that he was attacked with fever and scorbutic dysentery and died at Annapolis. … The sad intelligence of his death was conveyed to the writer by his brother, who with his now doubly bereaved mother repaired to Annapolis to soothe his last moments. But before reaching him, on 26 September, his spirit departed. He remembered with blessings his friends in his last hours.’> reported by Hazeltine in the Macon Telegraph of 1867

That's an interesting article with lots of games!

Premium Chessgames Member
  vonKrolock: So (?!) probably following game was played in one of Leonard's blind simuls - Was (!?) his adversary the known problemist who wrote <C. A. Gilberg: Crumbs from the Chess-Board (1890) An 80 page selection from the problems composed by Charles A. Gilberg >: James A Leonard USA - Black player Charles Alexander Gilberg USA -
New York blindfold exh 1861 (0) ½-½
Source: -
1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.Nc3 Bc5 5.O-O O-O 6.d3 h6 7.Ne2 d6 8.Ng3 Bg4 9.c3 Nh7 10.h3 Bxf3 11.Qxf3 Ng5 12.Bxg5 Qxg5 13.Nf5 Rae8 14.a4 a5 15.Rad1 Kh8 16.d4 exd4 17.cxd4 Bb6 18.Rfe1 g6 19.h4 Qf6 20.Nxh6 Qxf3 21.gxf3 Kg7 22.g4 Nxd4 (from NIC base on-line)
Jan-01-12  King Death: Oh what might have been! This youngster had a promising future. Another war that claimed so many on both sides.
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: The Tragic Life And Short Chess Career of James A Leonard, 1841-1862 by John S. Hilbert

Sep-12-13  thomastonk: Leonard was a main contributor to the chess column of the "New York Clipper", which published also a brief report on his final months by his brother:
Sep-10-15  The Kings Domain: If there was one contender to the crown of Morphy, it was Leonard. The game of Chess was robbed of one of its brightest luminaries with his untimely death at the tragically young age of 20. Leonard should have dodged the war, moved to Canada, then after the war was over, move back to the States and become world champion. :-)
Sep-10-15  The Kings Domain: Chessgames should include more of Leonard's games in the site. There are two in Wikipedia alone that are not included here, not to mention the games that can be found in Hilbert's book.
Sep-10-15  savagerules: Wow that is sad. Especially the part about him dying just before his mother arrived to see him. Life can really suck and be unfair at times.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: It's remarkable that Leonard and Morphy were both essentially Hibernian.
Feb-15-17  JonDSouzaEva: Here is the game given in the New York Clipper article above: [White "Leonard, James A"]
[Black "Perrin, Frederick"]
[Result "1-0"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Bc4 Nxe4 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. Nxe5 d5 6. Bb3 Bd6 7. d4 O-O 8. Bg5 h6 9. Bh4 Be6 10. f4 c5 11. Qd2 c4 12. Ba4 a6 13. O-O-O b5 14. f5 Bxf5 15. Rdf1 Bh7 16. Rxf6 gxf6 17. Nxd5 Bxe5 18. dxe5 Nd7 19. Qxh6 fxe5 20. Bxd8 Raxd8 21. Rf1 f5 22. Ne7+ Kh8 23. Ng6+ Kg8 24. Rf3 Rf7 25. Rg3 f4 and White won.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Even as a young man he was considered to be one of America's great chess talents.>

Not sure I like this turn of phrase, because he was only ever <a young man>. How about <Despite his youth, he was...>?

His death notice in the <NYT> of October 5th 1862, p.5, gives his place of birth as New York, but also states he was born on November 21st, 1842. In noting he was taken prisoner at the battle of Savage Station, it recounts he was <conveyed to Richmond, where for upward of three months he suffered the hardships of prison discipline, aggravated by the usual inhumanities and barbarities practiced upon our captured soldiers in the South.>

Feb-04-18  Granny O Doul: "Talent" though is generally an attribute assigned to the young, so "despite" is problematic.

Anyway, tough life, pal. Sorry. I'd be curious to know what NYC neighborhood he lived in.

Feb-05-18  TheFocus: The posts here have me interested in buying Hilbert's book on Leonard.
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