Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing

Harry Davidson
H Davidson 
American Chess Bulletin 1905 (p. 102)  
Number of games in database: 22
Years covered: 1876 to 1905
Overall record: +8 -6 =8 (54.5%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

Repertoire Explorer
Most played openings
C01 French, Exchange (3 games)
C61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense (2 games)
A10 English (2 games)
C43 Petrov, Modern Attack (2 games)
C33 King's Gambit Accepted (2 games)

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Harry Davidson
Search Google for Harry Davidson

(born Mar-25-1858, died Aug-11-1924, 66 years old) United States of America

[what is this?]

Harry Davidson was born in Philadelphia on March 25, 1858, as the tenth of about eleven children born to Julius Davidson (1808-1879) (who emigrated from Poland to Pennsylvania in 1844) and Rachel Davidson (1819-1895), originally from England. Trained as a wood engraver by Frederick Faust, he moved to New York around 1880 where he later became an art critic for the magazine Vogue.

A member of the Philadelphia Chess Club in his teenage years, Davidson finished fifth and first in two club handicap tournmanents in 1875. He tied for 4th place at the 4th American Chess Congress (1876), and played exhibition games that year against George Henry Mackenzie (+1 -1) and Henry Edward Bird (+5 -2 =2). Another set of exhibition games against Mackenzie in 1880 also finished even (+1 -1 =1), while a match against Benjamin Milnes Neill was left unfinished with Davidson leading (+3 -2 =2).

After moving to New York, Davidson joined the Manhattan Chess Club but limited his competitive chess to team matches. Perhaps his last appearance came in a cable match between New York and Berlin in 1905, when he drew with Horatio Caro.

Sources: ; ;

Last updated: 2017-06-20 03:55:27

 page 1 of 1; 22 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Bird vs H Davidson 0-1251876PhiladelphiaC43 Petrov, Modern Attack
2. H Davidson vs J Elson  0-1221876PhiladelphiaC01 French, Exchange
3. H Davidson vs D M Martinez  ½-½6118764th American Chess CongressC01 French, Exchange
4. D M Martinez vs H Davidson ½-½7218764th American Chess CongressA83 Dutch, Staunton Gambit
5. M Judd vs H Davidson ½-½4818764th American Chess CongressA10 English
6. H Davidson vs M Judd 1-05118764th American Chess CongressB45 Sicilian, Taimanov
7. L D Barbour vs H Davidson 0-14518764th American Chess CongressC43 Petrov, Modern Attack
8. H Davidson vs L D Barbour 1-01518764th American Chess CongressC42 Petrov Defense
9. H Davidson vs J Elson  0-14718764th American Chess CongressC01 French, Exchange
10. Albert Roberts vs H Davidson  0-13618764th American Chess CongressC33 King's Gambit Accepted
11. J Elson vs H Davidson  ½-½2618764th American Chess CongressC31 King's Gambit Declined, Falkbeer Counter Gambit
12. H Davidson vs Albert Roberts  ½-½2418764th American Chess CongressC60 Ruy Lopez
13. J Mason vs H Davidson 0-14218764th American Chess CongressC33 King's Gambit Accepted
14. H Davidson vs J Mason  0-16118764th American Chess CongressC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
15. H Davidson vs Bird 0-12518764th American Chess CongressC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
16. Bird vs H Davidson ½-½4118764th American Chess CongressA03 Bird's Opening
17. P Ware vs H Davidson  0-16918764th American Chess CongressA40 Queen's Pawn Game
18. H Davidson vs P Ware 0-14918764th American Chess CongressA10 English
19. H Davidson vs Mackenzie 1-0331880PhiladelphiaC63 Ruy Lopez, Schliemann Defense
20. H Davidson vs B M Neill  0-1341881PhiladelphiaC25 Vienna
21. H Davidson vs W P Shipley  ½-½221897Franklin CC - Manhattan CCC49 Four Knights
22. H Davidson vs H Caro  ½-½331905New York - Berlin mB13 Caro-Kann, Exchange
 page 1 of 1; 22 games  PGN Download 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Davidson wins | Davidson loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: <Phony Benoni> AYE! I'm impressed.

Yes he no doubt left for New York around 1880 (he is listed in the Philadelphia 1880 census). I was mostly worried that you'd come up with another Harry Davidson (there were many), but I think we have him now.

How, after hours of googling, I missed the following obituary in Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 14, 1924, is beyond me.

<Death of Harry Davidson.

The Manhattan Chess Club has lost another one of its staunch oldtime members through the sudden death on Monday of Harry Davidson, whose funeral services were held yesteday at the Stephen Merritt Funeral Chapel, 161th ave., Manhattan. Although not active in chess circles in recent years, Mr. Davidson was in his day ranked among the strongest players and could always be depended upon to hold up his end in any match in which he represented that powerful organization.

The deceased was born in Philadelphia in 1868 and was a participant in the International Centennial Chess Congress in 1876, which was won by James Mason, then of New York, with Max Judd of St. Louis, second, and H. E. Bird of London, third. Mr. Davidson tied with Jacob Elson, another Philadelphian, for fourth and fifth prizes, having made a score of 9—7. He won one of his games from Mason, defeated Judd by 1 1/2 to 1/2, and drew a game each with Bird and Elson. In a brief biographical sketch in the congress book, he was referred to as "probably the most brilliant player in the country, the youngest contestant, of indomitable pluck and daring style."

Mr. Davison was a wood engraver and one of the leaders in that profession in this country. Until a year ago he was art critic for the Vogue Magazine and was connected for 25 years with the Century Company. He had been a resident here since the age of 21 and belonged to the Salmagundi Club and the Art Center. Three sons and a daughter survive him. His late residence was at 320 W. 18th St., Manhattan.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Tabanus> Up through the 1930s, New York newspapers had good coverage of local chess events, particularly the Brooklyn Daily Eagle with its regular Thursday column by Hermann Helms. This is one way of searching them:

It can be very clunky and difficult to work with, but there is a lot of gold to be found.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: <PB> Thanks, added to favorites.

Perhaps not all in there can be reached by googling from Europe. The link you sent took a long time to download.

All we need now is to merge with the Henry Davidson games, and crown it with a picture of Harry :) If any picture exists.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Tabanus> There are a couple of pictures of Davidson in the November, 1905 issue of the <American Chess Bulletin>, but I don't know if they are available online.

Fulton can be very slow, especially the first couple of searches in a session.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: <PB>

with a picture of "H. L. Davidson", while the text has "Henry F. Davidson". Hmm..

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: But online it's not complete. Will I go through the whole list of online journals? Nah.. :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Tabanus> That's the same picture used in the November 1905 issue of ACB reporting on the New York vs. Berlin match, and labelled "Harry Davidson". There's a second picture of the match in progress, and there's no doubt it's the same person.

The "Rice Gambit Supplement" was prepared by Herman Keidanz, who may have just made a mistake. But Helms wasn't always 100% accurate on names either.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: <Phony> Thanks. Not sure if the librarian would like this, I can copy the picture but only in this form:

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Tabanus> That's something that should probably go to chessforum, not to the Librarian. They have to be very careful about using pictures due to copyright restrictions, but you can try. They might be able to crop it as well.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: <Phony Benoni> Ok request sent to the cg forum! Please check if I did it right.

Then let's wait and see.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: Hartford Weekly Times, Nov. 1, 1873:

<H. Davidson, is the name of a boy player in Philadelphia, who is astonishing the natives.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Obituary by Walter Penn Shipley in the Philadelphia Inquirer, August 31, 1924:

Shipley gives birthdate as 1857.

Mar-25-16  TheFocus: Harley's dad.
Jun-18-17  zanzibar: Writing about one of his victories over Bird, Renette writes this about Davidson:

<The victory of the young and talented Harry Davidson, aptly nicknamed the giant-slayer, over Bird was hailed by his club mates>


Jun-19-17  zanzibar: An example of his other handiwork:

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Looks like Alec Guinness being Edgar Allan Poe.
Jun-19-17  zanzibar: His middle name shows up as L. a few times in the chess magazines.

I'm a little curious if we can find out his full middle name. So far I'm not having any luck.


Jun-19-17  zanzibar: FWIW - I believe this is his father's obit:


Jun-19-17  zanzibar: Perhaps Henry is his official first name...

"Johnson, Avery, and a few others retired, but Henry ("Harry") Davidson "stole a march" over his fellow craftsmen by ..."

which might confuse researching his detailed records.

Jun-19-17  zanzibar: This article, using Henry, contains a detailed writeup and many more examples of his work as an engraver:

(But no help on his middle name...)


Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: The 1860 census has "Harry", 1,5 years old. It woukld seem he was born 1858, but I don't know where the exact date is from. He is Harry also in 1870, and 1880 (as wood engraver). His father Julius was born in Poland, and his mother Rachel in England (censuses).
Jun-20-17  zanzibar: <Tab> RE: Father's name...

This is the source I used <The Jews of Philadelphia>

Usually this kinds of works are pretty trust-worthy. It clearly identifies the father of the wood engraver as <Dr. David>, which matches with the obit I cited yesterday.

This work is also the primary source (afaik) for Harry's dob.

Now, the father may have come from Poland, and may have adopted a new first name upon immigrating to the US. I don't really know.


Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: Julius died in 1879. He is a Physician in 1860 and a Chiropodist in 1870. In 1870, of his many children (incl. Harry, 12) is the son David A., 23, student of medicine.

1880 census; Rachael Davidson, 60, "Mother", with 6 sons and 4 daughters, incl. Dr. D. Davidson, 33, Doctor, and Harry, 22, Wood Engraver.

I can't read the obit or the book. There are pitfalls, but it seems clear that "Dr. David" is an 11 years older brother, not the father.

Jun-21-17  zanzibar: Yes <Tab> I think you're right on this - and that the <Jews of Philadelphia> is mistaken.

Which is strange - it's from 1894 and very local.

But I just saw the dod in the obit being 1887, and that the name matched - which seemed consistent - so I stopped reading there.

A mistake on my part, because reading further in the obit shows Dr. David was only 40 years old (dob 1847), and got his medical degree in 1871.

Which definitely matches a bother and not the father.

(The bother died from Bright's disease)


Jun-21-17  zanzibar: BTW- it's a damn shame you can't read the source PD material that I can.
search thread:   
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>

NOTE: Create an account today to post replies and access other powerful features which are available only to registered users. Becoming a member is free, anonymous, and takes less than 1 minute! If you already have a username, then simply login login under your username now to join the discussion.

Please observe our posting guidelines:

  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, duplicate, or gibberish posts.
  3. No vitriolic or systematic personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No cyberstalking or malicious posting of negative or private information (doxing/doxxing) of members.
  6. No trolling.
  7. The use of "sock puppet" accounts to circumvent disciplinary action taken by moderators, create a false impression of consensus or support, or stage conversations, is prohibited.

Please try to maintain a semblance of civility at all times.

Blow the Whistle

See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform a moderator.

NOTE: Please keep all discussion on-topic. This forum is for this specific player only. To discuss chess or this site in general, visit the Kibitzer's Café.

Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors.
All moderator actions taken are ultimately at the sole discretion of the administration.

Spot an error? Please suggest your correction and help us eliminate database mistakes!
Home | About | Login | Logout | F.A.Q. | Profile | Preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | New Kibitzing | Chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | Notable Games | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | Privacy Notice | Contact Us

Copyright 2001-2021, Chessgames Services LLC